A few weeks back, Samsung took it upon themselves to file a DMCA takedown notice on a particular YouTube video featuring the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. As you probably know by now, the Note 7 has been subject to actually exploding in peoples homes and once in-hand. The phone has seen a massive recall worldwide, a complete halt of sales, and even a factory shutdown in Korea. The design flaw is no light matter, as there have been reports of the replacement phone exploding too – and one on an airplane of all the safe places. In light of this, it seems only natural that someone make a hilarious GTA V mod and post it on YouTube.
The video features a mod that replaces the normal sticky explosives with an image of the Note 7. Chaos, of course, ensues. I don’t think I’ve been more proud of the GTA fandom. Players are shown throwing the explosive into crowds and watching the bodies fly. It’s not a technically difficult mod by any means, but it comes at the perfect time to be highly entertaining. Comedy is about timing, after all.
Furthermore, this is exactly the kind of humor the GTA series encourages. The games (especially GTA V) are parodies of American life. Take Michael De Santa’s story arc for example. Nothing says mid-life crisis like struggling to get along with his family. His son is a gamer that refuses to do the types of activities Michael enjoys. When he coaxes said son into a bike ride, it ends in disaster. The Boomer generation could not be better represented in a humorous accumulation of stereotypes than in Michael’s story arc. What better way to further this parody than to make light of Samsung’s recent royal screw up? It’s simple (switching out the images), funny as hell (exploding phones), and short (this is not hours of entertainment so much as a cute gimmick).
Samsung, however, didn’t find it quite so funny. Filing the DMCA takedown on only one video seems to be an attempt to suppress negative publicity. First of all, there are plenty of other videos showing players using the mod to their delight – why just this one? It might be because so many reported on the video and it gained a great deal more popularity as a result. To leave all other videos alone still seems odd, especially since Samsung hasn’t tried to fight against reports of all the exploding phone incidents either. Perhaps Samsung just thought YouTube would be easy, since the site seems happy to take down videos on a whim.
Oddly enough, it seems YouTube denied Samsung’s file and reinstated the video. The owner of the video filed a counter-claim, YouTube apparently reviewed it, and voila. No word from Samsung whatsoever. Nonetheless, it should be pointed out that Samsung is abusing the system and should be focusing its efforts on dealing with the actual crisis. Those who were affected certainly haven’t been quiet about it, complaining loudly about damaged property due to the exploding phone – with not a penny from Samsung to compensate.
Focusing on a random YouTube video of a humorous mod is hardly where Samsung should be spending its time. The mod was perfectly justifiable and in the spirit of the game it was made for. Putting all this effort into filing a takedown is just a silly mistake. It sends the wrong message (that Samsung wants to ignore what happened with the Note 7) and aggravates the company’s problems with existing clients. In addition, this also proves the GTA series has built up so much momentum that nothing can stop it (not even the feared DMCA notice)!