Well, that didn’t take long. The entertainment companies that took millions of dollars from YouTube to operate content channels are coming under fire for their mistreatment of content producers, including exploitative business practices and overreaching contracts. Last week, the LA Weekly published a lengthy piece detailing some of the abuses by these YouTube-funded networks.
The article focuses specifically on two of the largest networks today: Machinima and Maker Studios. Machinima, as you may recall, originally began as an animation movement, but today the name has been co-opted by an entertainment brand that celebrates video game culture in a more general fashion.
Machinima, which represents over 6,000 content creators as part of its channel, has come under fire for contracts that take lifetime ownership rights of everything a content creator posts on YouTube. A skeptic might say the contracts were specifically designed to take advantage of the young creators who make up the largest portion of their content-production network. The LA Weekly states that Machinima is in the process of revising their contracts, but it’s fairly evident that creator exploitation is a big part of their business model, and access to cheap content could also be partly why Machinima is so immensely attractive to investors. Last May, Machinima raised $35 million in a venture capital funding round led by Google, which also owns YouTube.