The Game Awards aired last night, and you can watch the video-on-demand on YouTube right now … but you cannot hear it.
Google’s video site has muted the entire The Game Awards show due to a copyright claim. This means you can see the video from the show, but it currently does not contain one blip of audio. This action comes despite the video ranking at No. 3 on YouTube’s trending chart. Geoff Keighley, the producer of The Game Awards, is also a close partner of YouTube’s gaming efforts, which suggests no one is safe from the Google entity’s strict copyright-enforcement policies.
“This video previously contained a copyrighted audio track,” reads a notice under the video. “Due to a claim by a copyright holder, the audio track has been muted.”
I’ve asked Keighley and YouTube for a comment. We’ll update this story if either comments.
You can check the video here. As of the time I published this story, audio still had not returned … but feel free to check for yourself:
This is only the latest example of YouTube’s computer-controlled copyright protection. Creators that use the platform have vented publicly for years about how the system will revoke reimbursement or pull videos down completely for featuring even the tiniest snippets of copyright material — usually music.
In 2013, YouTube’s Content ID system, which is an automated service to block videos featuring unlicensed material, mistakenly flagged indie developer Jonathan Blow for posting a clip of his own game.
It’s impossible to tell from looking at The Game Awards if Content ID flagged it or someone manually claimed ownership of a song that show did not properly license. But YouTube’s automated approach still muted the entire broadcast’s three-hour audio track, and that’s the sort of indiscriminate, salt-the-earth approach that makes YouTube so frustrating for so many people who make videos related to previously produced works like games or movies.