RWBY is a mere three days away on FIRST! Just a reminder, Volume 5 Chapter 1 premieres Saturday at 10am for FIRST Members, and then on Tuesday 10/17 at 10a CT it’s free to watch for anyone with a registered account on RoosterTeeth.com. And don’t forget to join us for the premiere of RWBY Rewind with Chad and Yssa, live for FIRST Members on Tuesday 10/17 at 5p CT!
RWBY’s premiere means we’re approaching the most intense time of year for my team, who, as part of their responsibilities, helps to review fan projects to make sure they follow our Content Usage Guidelines. To give you a glimpse of what’s involved in this task, we typically receive about 30-50 YouTube ContentID claims per week, and that figure will more than double starting next week. That doesn’t include stuff from unauthorized third-party websites, which can be huge.
We absolutely love fan projects, and encourage you to keep making them! Technically, Rooster Teeth was founded as a fan project. Since Microsoft and 343 are kind enough to let us keep making Red vs. Blue even 15 seasons later, we feel a deep responsibility to pay it forward by allowing our community to participate in our content, transform it, play with it, react to it, and generally have fun with it.
To support this goal, we wrote up these handy Content Usage Guidelines that outline our approach toward fan projects. I’m proud to say we have some of the most lenient usage guidelines of any company I’ve ever seen.
Like I mentioned at the start, actually enforcing these guidelines is complicated and very manual. It’s impossible for a computer/algorithm/machine to reliably understand the difference between a reuploaded episode of RWBY and a reaction video where the reactor doesn’t say much, for instance. Because of that, if you feel a machine/computer/algorithm has flagged a project that in fact follows our guidelines, we have a process that makes sure you can let us and/or our partners at Fullscreen know when you want a human to review your project. We review these as quickly as possible during business hours (Monday through Friday, 10am - 6pm CT).
When you use our process to route your project for manual review, whether that’s in an email, on YouTube, or otherwise, we have our staff (actual, human people - not robots) handle your correspondence. We recognize this could be a very stressful situation, and we really appreciate your patience and kindness when it comes to this communication. This team works very hard and loves RT as much as you do, and they want to help you.
If you have questions about what’s OK and what is not, please take a minute to thoroughly review the Content Usage Guidelines. I’ll surface a few key points here for the TL;DR crowd:
In general, you’re allowed to use Rooster Teeth characters, worlds, video clips, or game play in your fan project, so long as your project is free to watch for everyone and/or you are not selling your project to any third parties.
It’s not OK to use our trademarked logos or words. This can confuse viewers into thinking your project is an officially endorsed RT project, which we want to avoid. Trademarks include the RWBY logo, Rooster Teeth logo, official illustrations of RWBY characters, or any designs featured on Rooster Teeth merch.
On YouTube, we use the ContentID tool to help us detect piracy. If your fan project contains a large amount of a Rooster Teeth video, it will most likely be claimed automatically when you upload it to your channel. The first policy we automatically apply is a “block” policy, which means your video won’t be visible at first. When this happens, all you need to do is dispute the claim in your Video Manager (here are more details on how dispute a claim). Within two business days, we will review your video and will either remove the claim or change the policy. If we don’t remove the claim or change the policy, that means our staff member who watched it decided it does not follow the Content Usage Guidelines or fair use provisions of the US Copyright Act, and our claim and/or policy is correct.
If your dispute was rejected and you still think your fan project follows the content usage guidelines, you can appeal the rejection and we will review the video a second time. At that point, we will reach out via email with three options: 1) If we agree on second review that your video should have a different policy applied, we will ask you to remove your appeal in a specified timeframe so we can apply a new policy to the video. We can’t apply a new policy unless you remove the appeal first. 2) If on second review we still think your video should have the same policy applied, we will ask you to remove your appeal in a specified timeframe. 3) If you do not remove your appeal within the timeframe we specify, we issue a copyright takedown and a strike will be issued to your channel. We hate doing this and rarely do it (about 1% of disputes end in takedowns, and I want that to be lower).
We will not review your fan project in advance and give approval ahead of time. Our process begins when you post your project to the web.
When we post content early on FIRST, we generally appreciate if you can limit your fan projects on other platforms, but we will apply the same guidelines to all fan projects no matter when/where they are posted.
Last but not least, we always reserve the right to handle your fan project as we see fit, or change these guidelines if we feel it’s necessary.
If you have any questions about this process, now is your chance to ask! We’ve spent a year adjusting and honing our guidelines based on specific cases we’ve run into, and we always want to find ways to make it better.