Did Konami Use YouTube Copyright Rules To Censor Kojima Criticism?


As Barabara Streisand once famously learned, sometimes trying to keep information off of the internet is the best way to make sure that information ends up all over the internet. That’s a lesson that Konami is learning after trying to censor a video by YouTube gaming pundit George Weidman, better known as Super Bunnyhop. Weeks ago Weidman posted a video which he claimed to have inside information about the rumored feud between video game publisher Konami and famed game designer and Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima.

Copies of the original video are currently circulating on YouTube

In his video, Weidman claimed to have an anonymous source who attributed the rumored rift between Konami and its superstar game designer to a personal feud between Kojima and Konami founder and CEO Kagemasa Kozuki. Though Weidman did offer a disclaimer and encouraged his viewers to take the words of his anonymous source with a grain of salt, the video still generated significant discussion. Fans have been growing anxious about the looming possibility of Kojima’s departure after the completion of the latest Metal Gear installment and that anxiety has been fueled by silence from both Konami and Kojima on the issue.


Then, just as the video began to gain traction, it disappeared from YouTube due to a copyright claim from Konami Digital Entertainment. Copies of the video don’t include any visible copyrighted content, suggesting that the video wasn’t swept up by YouTube’s automated content ID system. If that’s the case, then the only alternative is a manual copyright flag submitted by Konami.

If this was, indeed, an effort by Konami to use YouTube’s copyright policies to censor a YouTube creator, it wouldn’t be the first time a game maker had used YouTube’s copyright rules as a blunt instrument.  As in previous cases, this one would amount to a categorical failure, as the video’s removal has only prompted more attention from the industry and media. YouTubers might well be the future of media, especially when it comes to critical niches like gaming, but they still function on a platform that is ripe for manipulation.


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