Tuesday, July 18, 2017

DMCA Claims Questioned for 'River City Ransom Underground'

DMCA takedowns are occurring on Steam for games developed by Conatus Creative, a small developer based in Canada. What's all the hubbub? Well a composer, Alex Mauer, claims that Conatus is using her music without proper compensation. River City Ransom Underground was removed from Steam and Conatus is currently working with their copyright department to get it back up.

This all started in December of 2016, after Mauer began issuing copyright claims on any and all YouTube videos that featured Starr Mazer DSP, developed by Imagos. At the time, Mauer was facing an arrest for theft. From December until March 2017, Mauer issued thousands of claims, causing gaming videos to be removed from multiple YouTube channels, and even shutting down some channels temporarily while Google sorted through the mass of requests. For those who don't know, anytime you are hit with a DMCA claim, YouTube can restrict your channel and any advertising content. If you make any profit from ad revenue, that claim can affect your income until the sanctions are lifted.

In both cases, it's believed that Mauer worked for these companies as a contractor - temporary positions. Even as a contractor, when you work for any business, any creative property that you produce for them becomes theirs. They don't need written permission to utilize your work when you made the content for them. It would be the same as a temp worker for Coke coming up with a new slogan, fulfilling his contract, Coke using it, and then the temp worker asking for additional money. Well, no. That's not how it works. You made that ad FOR the company that you worked for. You signed away your rights to any further compensation. The company owns it. You move on.

Now if Mauer didn't get paid fully for the work based on what was contracted with Conatus and Imagos, then of course the companies should pony up for the rest of the paycheck. But to ask for additional money outside of what was agreed upon because you feel you deserve more - well there are much better ways to approach it then to issue DMCA claims and destroy reputations. As the story continues to emerge, we'll post updates. Right now there is conflicting information on who's side of the story is right. But the bottom line speaks for itself: If Mauer did get paid what was written in the contract, she has no case. If not, the companies need to pay off the rest of her contract and be done with it.

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