Because SimRacing604 spoke up about injustice, his YouTube channel was about to be deleted forever – until his community stepped in and saved him.
Photo credit: Kunos Simulazioni / simracing604
Mike Smith, better known as SimRacing604 on YouTube, recently found himself with seven days to save his YouTube channel from permanent deletion. This was the result of a dispute that arose between Smith and a mod distribution outlet by the name of Sim Dream Development. At the heart of the issue is the ever-obscure beast known as copyright law, and its use and misuse played a significant role in the dispute.
The conflict that developed between the two parties occurred in a matter of just a few days. However, there was more to it than that. According to Smith, “Sim Dream Development’s bad practices had been weighing on me for a long time”. The “bad practices” in question are Sim Dream’s reported stealing of mods from others, so as to sell them on their own website. “It was well known that the people who reported their work as stolen were hit with false copyright strikes”, said Smith. “It had become a situation where most people knew there was a problem, but no one dared address it”.
That changed on 4 March, when a friend of Smith’s reached out to him asking for help. The friend stated that their work had been stolen by Sim Dream, and they were unsure how to deal with the problem. Smith’s response was swift: “The next day I released a video and encouraged people not to buy from them. The video was popular, and viewers left a lot of positive comments thanking me”.
Today’s video is easily my most popular ever— SimRacing604 (@SimRacing604) March 5, 2021
I’m really kicking myself for not slipping in a “smash that like button bros”, because apparently that works pic.twitter.com/IH931lUckb
Next morning, Smith awoke to find that the video had been taken down. A total of eight copyright claims against his videos had been made overnight, resulting in two copyright ‘strikes’. As per YouTube’s automated system, three strikes result in the permanent removal of a channel after seven days. In order to evade such a fate, Smith “decided the best course of action was to cease making content”. Unfortunately for him, this wasn’t enough. Forty-eight hours later, Sim Dream filed another claim, giving Smith’s SimRacing604 channel its third and final strike.
“At that point I turned to the community for help”, Smith recalled. “I only had seven days to successfully appeal the strikes”. With YouTube being the goliath that it is, getting noticed in time to save SimRacing604 was a very tall order indeed. However, Smith’s plea was heard by many. Messages of support and sympathy reverberated around the sim racing community, raising the profile of the incident significantly.
According to Smith, the reaction was beyond anything he could have hoped for. “I shed a few tears during this incident. The support I received can only be described as overwhelming”. Several other youtubers made videos in support of Smith, and popular personalities such as Jimmy Broadbent lent their support on Twitter. Smith even managed to get in touch with Sim Dream, who agreed to help to get the strikes removed. The word reached YouTube, and the strikes were undone in time to save SimRacing604.
The plan for the channel going forward is simply to return to normal. “I don’t want the copyright/Sim Dream incident to define my channel, nor do I want it to become a theme”, revealed Smith. That being said, Smith stated his desire to “use [his] voice to help” when he could. “Sim racers are one group, and we won’t tolerate bullying or people who take advantage of people in our community”.
Smith, who is now back to posting his usual content on YouTube, had this to say to his supporters: “For all those who supported me, I say thank you, and I will work harder than ever not to let you down”. Ultimately, the story is one of public spiritedness and justice, as well as enemies putting their differences aside. However, it is also reflective of the sorts of copyright issues that content creators are all too aware of.
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