Let's Play Videos on YouTube do NOT violate copyright laws

Let's Play Videos on YouTube do NOT violate copyright laws
Pewdiepie currently has the most subscribed channel on YouTube with more than 50 Million subs. He became famous by making let's play videos of Amnesia and other horror games like OutLast. And yes, he's making millions of dollars just by playing video games. Just recently, the developer of Firewatch issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice to one of Pewdiepie's videos on his game. And you know what? It pushed through and the Pewdiepie's video playing Firewatch got taken down by YouTube. Pewdiepie said that if he gets one more strike, his channel might be taken down as well.

But is recording yourself playing a video game a violation of copyright laws? I don't think so. When you talk about copyright in video games, you talk about making a copy of that game and redistributing it to somebody else in order for them to be able to play the game either for free or for your own personal gain. Making a let's play video does not violate any copyright law because you don't make a copy of the game and make it available for others to play. Makers of let's play videos like Pewdiepie are actually helping game developers because they're giving them free publicity, free marketing. The developer of Firewatch has overreacted. His arrogance has cost him dearly though as his game has received a ton of negative reviews online already.

What's your take on let's play videos? Do you think they violate copyright laws?



Gray area.

Strictly speaking, I think technically people who make Let's Play videos aren't protected by copyright and "fair use" laws. I'm pretty sure that any company who wants to take down a video with a copyright claim has the legal right to do so. That being said, no one does so because it would be really dumb and they know that. It isn't the same as streaming a movie where everyone has the same experience. When you play a video game you are experiencing it for yourself and everyone has a unique experience. What happens with one streamer isn't guaranteed to happen with you. Because of this fact, people may watch someone playing a game and decide to buy it for themselves so that they can have their own experience. It's a win-win for both the streamer and the company, so no one takes these videos down.
Posted by Denis_P on 09-22-2017

Freedom of Speech

People don't understand that freedom of speech works both ways. If you want make other people listen to your opinion. You have to listen to their own too. And that's how the people are building their type of the community around. Most of the time the liberal people dont' understand the opinion of liberal people and vice versa. And that's the problem on youtube and thing may go down with the earning.
Posted by overcast on 09-22-2017

Common sense is not so legally common!!

Apparently the law has been bent outa shape so often that it often impedes on itself. I don't see the logics here but then not everything is logical in the world of judiciary. This is not a very good implication for the free world of expression and even distribution of information without any intent of reproducing the material. Even if this was an individual target. It does not speak well for the diaspora of venturers who seek to share their enthusiasm by promoting a harmless video that could otherwise boost the sales of the product for the same company seeking to contradict the endeavor.
Posted by Joteque on 09-21-2017

Completely legal

I don't see people are taking copyright laws to this extreme. In fact, it's beneficial for the producers to have their games played. I can't remember how many games I bought because of youtube reviews
Posted by Marvadaum on 09-21-2017

It's completely fine.

I honestly don't see any kind of problem in that, but the point is that the games industry doesn't see things from our perspective. We are the potential consumers / buyers of the products they manufacture, and they should take us more seriously and stop these stupid attitudes.
Posted by wiseagent on 09-21-2017


Well, i have been watching PEWDEW for last five years or so. Well, the game developers fully support the youtubing of the games except when you add the music. For example, EA does allow to upload a video of the match but doesn't allow the EA jukebox to be uploaded as it's music has copyrights of different musicians and singers. But still, if overwatch developer didn't allow it then its fair but everyone else do allow it.
Posted by muaaz.93 on 09-21-2017


They do not violate copyright laws in any way. No physical or illegal copies are being distributed when you record yourself playing, and often they are doing the developers a favor because they are promoting the game. Before I buy a videogame I always look it up on YouTube, removing let's play videos would make me buy games in a different way which would probably not benefit the developers.
Posted by Tania997 on 09-21-2017

I agree with you.

I still do not understand why some of these games manufacturing companies are trying to show some kind of attitude that can piss some of us that are game lovers off. I mean what is wrong with someone playing games and videoing himself and all that. I'm still trying to understand the reason one of his videos was taken down, that is not just right.
Posted by Barida on 09-21-2017

Not Illegal

Generally when you're talking about copyright infringement it explicitly states making physical copies and distributing them without permission for profit. Playing a game and making a video of the play through doesn't violate any of those specific terms. You have people live streaming MMOs and FPS games all the time with no issue. I think greed came into play with this. He was raking in ad revenue for just playing video games. What the company doesn't realize is that what he makes is pennies compared to the free advertising he gives them.
Posted by Rhodolite on 09-21-2017


I dont think playing while taking video is a bad thing. Because some people are just doing that to share their gameplay experience. They just want to see other people that the game was good to play. They should be great when someone is doing this because their game is being promoted and other people will encourage to play it also. Its not a copyright thing.they didnt copy the game so there nothing wrong with it.
Posted by jayken on 09-21-2017

Not at all.

Well I'm no lawyer but I think live streaming myself while playing a certain video game is more of a promotion for the game manufacturer. Now since Pewdewpie bought a copy of the game, he is free to do whatever he wants with it as long as he does not illegally reproduce copies of it. I don't think game manufacturers have a take on what people might say about their game/s. Pewdewpie bought a copy of the game therefore; it is his property and he has the freedom to film his self while playing.
Posted by johnrajiv123 on 09-21-2017



Disagree just for this case

There was a problem recently with PewDiePie using a racist word during one of his streams and it became a massive issue. And I do believe that that is why they put the copyright claim so that they aren't associated with him anymore. I might be wrong of course. Let's Play Videos should definitely not be a violation of copyright, it's silly really.
Posted by kingcool52 on 09-21-2017
The question isn't about the racism. I'm not huge on the fact that he did that. It was in really poor taste. The matter is going after other people who do play throughs as well. He's just more visible because he's got so many followers- but what about others who are climbing? The issue is that if you let one thing slide then more will follow because Youtube now has set a standard of allowance. What's next? Changing the very copyright laws over something that explicitly isn't a violation? Then anybody can be subjected to lawsuits if they're remotely close to a TV showing programming for example.

The law is the law.

I'm all for enforcing copyright laws. Anyway, the artist should have known the deal before getting involved. Therefore, all that can be done now is wait for a verdict from the courts.

However, though, if I were him I would have tried to speak with the company beforehand because I don't think it's really a big deal.

Posted by jyy on 10-17-2017


It depends on the terms and condition of the game for me pewdepie have done nothing wrong in taking a video of himself playing the game he is simply playing it and sharing some knowledge of the game to others. Also pewdepie is not exploiting the game teaching cheats to the players so for me he did not done anything wrong I think the company game got jealous to his fame?.
Posted by tophew on 09-21-2017
I agree that a video of someone that shows he is just playing then what violation has he committed? I am not a fan of any internet stars much with Pewdepie which I haven’t heard until this time. Nevertheless there are some people who have the propensity to create a commotion with such petty matters. I remember the Shakespearian play with the title Much Ado About Nothing.
Posted by Corzhens on 09-16-2018
I don't see where it would be. I am sure Youtube looks for things that are an infringement of copyright laws and does not allow them to be posted if the violation is too flagrant. I think it is fine to do what the young man is doing, and if people want to watch him that is their perogative. Unless I was a serious student of video games though I would pass!
Posted by kgord on 09-21-2017
It is completely legal and no copy right law is being violated. The owner of lets play video makes the video by himself before giving it out, i believe he did not violate the copy right law.
Posted by babyright on 09-21-2017
The young man didn't violate any law,sometimes judiciary act weird and you can't just tell what is going on.This is so illegal for the young man.He didn't copy the content,just videoing and uploading. It quite appalling in this time and age.
Posted by lovely on 09-21-2017
This should serves as a lesson for all those kids building their hops on YouTube or Facebook, that it might be their future. Millions of subscribers watching some dude playing games, it's like they are twice losers. I don't care about copy right, companies, YouTube or Piodypu, I'm worried about those kids.
Posted by joey98 on 09-21-2017
As long as there is constant commentary, technically I don't think it is illegal. I would say speed runs probably also have a bit of leverage when considering their legality since it is still transformative and made somewhat to serve as educational since they can be considered as walkthroughs. I would say that the only time studios would have the right to take a video down is when there is nothing added or transformed such as when the whole gameplay is just uploaded as is or entire cinematic scenes are cut up and put up just for the traffic.
Posted by Wubwub on 09-22-2017
Everything needs a limit or otherwise this life will be a mess, so if they guy was violating copyrights or if he was having a bad attitude, for sure he has to be penalized. They guy have zillions of followers, mostly younger ones, then do we really want our future generation to behave like they want to without limits, going out there breaking rules because that makes them cool? so if this guy is an example for many then they also need to see what happens when you break the rules. Remember, society is the reflection of learning from its mistakes.
Posted by Anonymous on 09-22-2017
Youtube seems to having a lot of issues with the content lately. And they are dictating what type of the ads are going to be on the site. And which channel should have ads. And that is one reason I guess people are not going to like what they are seeing on the web. I guess for the copyright law to properly work. This does seem to be something that needs to be addressed this year. That way creators would be retained on youtube.
Posted by overcast on 09-22-2017
When it comes to copyright law, you need a lawyer to interpret the law for you because it is not easy to say that it is not a violation. We know that lawyers argue in court and sometimes it takes so many hours just to resolve one issue. The same with copyright laws, as a layman, we think that showing the video game on your video is not an infringement of copyright but the copyright owner says otherwise. Just to cite 2 YouTube videos that we have – one uses an Elvis Presley song and another uses a song of a local singer. The copyright owner of the Elvis Presley song takes 50% of the earnings and leaves the 50% to the video maker. But the copyright owner of the local song takes 100% of the earnings leaving nothing to the video maker.
Posted by Corzhens on 01-04-2018