Fan-made content produced as tributes to iconic gaming franchises are a mainstay of web culture, including the all-conquering YouTube. As reported recently, however, the Pokémon Reorchestrated channel had received copyright 'strikes' and see its Kanto Symphony playlist removed. This week The Pokémon Company has stepped up its actions, issuing a third takedown notice that prompted the removed of the whole channel.
The basic timeline, via Bulbanews, has played out as follows.
1st February - Takedown notices were first issued against videos in the "Kanto Symphony" series. The takedown notices didn't provide specific details but simply stated that copyrighted material owned by The Pokémon Company International had been used. Pokémon Orchestrated was unable to get further details and accrued two 'strikes'.
16th February - a further takedown notice gave a third strike to the channel, thus shutting it down.
This issue only relates to YouTube, and Pokémon Reorchestrated has full and ongoing licenses for its music to be sold and streamed via platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. The YouTube issue may require a separate licensing agreement - that seems likely in light of the copyright claims being made by The Pokémon Company that took the channel down.
Braxton Burks, the creator of the channel and composer of Pokémon Reorchestrated's various albums, has shared some messages on Twitter around this, a couple of which are below. We've also reached out to Burks to talk about this in more detail.
It's certainly possible (likely, in fact) that The Pokémon Company is on solid legal ground with these copyright notices that eventually forced the channel offline - the licences that Pokémon Reorchestrated holds may not cover YouTube as they do other distribution platforms.
Whether The Pokémon Company is in the legal right, however, doesn't always translate to public opinion, and the publicity damage from shutting down popular projects can be significant. There's certainly some opinion online that the recent takedowns are rather cynically tied to the ongoing Pokémon Anniversary celebrations, as the Reorchestrated channel has been there on YouTube for quite some time until now.
We'll see how it develops, though if you're a fan of Pokémon Reorchestrated you can still enjoy their music away from YouTube.