An Update on the Starr Mazer DSP Situation
A couple of days ago, I posted a story about a musician called Alex Mauer who sent questionable DMCA notices to anyone who posted videos of a game called Starr Mazer DSP. It was already a pretty insane situation, given how said composer was ‘doing it to draw attention’ to how she supposedly wasn’t paid for the music despite the YouTubers have nothing to do with any of it.
But now things have gotten even crazier.
Nope, I’m not making this up. Somehow, a case involving a vengeful musician taking down YouTube videos about a game whose music they don’t own has gotten more insane since a few days ago.
Starting with said composer’s idea of putting the soundtrack on Bandcamp for $1000!
Yup. $1000 for the game’s soundtrack. The same one she likely doesn’t own the rights to and that is the whole reason for this controversy in the first place.
I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out why this is a bad idea.
For starters, who in their right mind would pay that much for this music? Remember, we’re not even talking a CD or something here. We’re talking a digital download for a bunch of songs from a game very few people have even heard of. Or if they have heard of it, for all the wrong reasons.
It’s not something people are going to pay much money for. Heck, they wouldn’t pay that much money for a rare soundtrack CD for a game scored by a world famous composer. Even the most expensive video game soundtracks I know of go for a few hundred at most. Or in the average case… somewhere between $10 and $80.
That’s for music from popular, well known games. The Final Fantasies, Donkey Kong Countries and Legend of Zeldas of the world.
An obscure indie soundtrack no one knows about (or only knows about for the wrong reasons)… Is not going to sell at $1000. Not even close.
But hey, that’s all irrelevant really. Because more importantly, she didn’t have the right to do this.
So Imagos Softworks sent Bandcamp a legal notice and the soundtrack was taken down. Which in its own way, is rather appropriate really. The person who liked sending people dodgy DMCA notices has now received a DMCA notice themself.
However, the story isn’t over yet. Oh no. Somehow, it gets even crazier from here.
That’s because in addition to Starr Mazer DSP, she’s also now going after videos about Death Row to Canada and DucK Game too.
Yes, the Duck Game published by Adult Swim. That’s because the trailer had her music in it
And a result… she’s sent a cease and desist notice to Turner Broadcasting.
As in, the guys who own Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and CNN.
This will not end well. Remember, we’ve already seen instances where copyright and trademark trolls have picked the wrong target to go after.
Like for example, Tim Langdell of Edge Games. He tried to sue EA for Mirrors Edge, after claiming he owned ‘Edge’ as a trademark.
But by doing so, he bit off far more than he could chew. This led to a large legal battle between Edge Games and EA, which he lost horribly. Leading to him losing all his edge related trademarks.
So Alex has now gone and done the same. Good job there kid. Not only have you gone after dozens of YouTubers that have no stake here, you’ve also gone after a multi billion dollar corporation with a lot more in the way of legal resources too. Over something that (most likely) has no valid legal basis.
That’s not going to end well for you.
But hey, don’t take my word for that one. Video game lawyer Leonard French has made a video on the subject where he goes over the case and the legal situations involved within:
It’s a very long (and rather interesting) watch, but the general gist seems to be that Mauer doesn’t have the copyright here. That even if the contract was invalid, it’d have to be proven so in court.
He also goes through Mauer’s contract too, proving that the soundtrack was done as work for hire and that the rights to it most likely belong with Imagos Softworks.
So check it out. Along with SidAlpha’s two videos on the subject:
And the latest Jim Sterling video about the events as well:
They’re all good videos.
Well, for us anyway. Mauer also doesn’t consider making video game videos on YouTube as an actual job either.
So her only response to people like Jim Sterling talking about potentially ruined careers is “hey, it’s not real work, get a job”.
Sorry Alex. That’s not how it works here.
When people are making hundreds or thousands of dollars a month from their YouTube channels, that’s is a proper job.
It’s a career they can’t afford to lose on a dime. Especially not because you “want to prove a point” to a video game developer.
But hey, I’ll end it here for now. Hopefully things will improve on the Starr Mazer front soon, and this whole internet feud will finally be put to rest in a nice peaceful way.
Because it cannot continue like this. No more YouTubers should see their careers damaged or destroyed like this. No more journalists should be targeted for doing their jobs.
Enough with the DMCA notices and C&Ds. Sort the problems out with Imagos. Not random people online for whom three strikes is the end of their career.
Just let it end already.