Cover Story: A Battle for Creative Control of the Video World and Its Profits

Twenty-one-year-old Ben Vacas gained attention in the video game world as a top-ranked hunter in World of Warcraft. He moved from that to making videos about his experiences and that of other lead players. He was flattered when Machinima, a multi-channel YouTube network offered him a partnership.

They'd put ads on his videos and he'd get a cut of the revenue generated. Alas, the smart, smart gamer/filmmaker hadn't read the fine print and he came to find out that he'd signed away to whatever he made for the rest of his life and - believe it or not - beyond. His contract would never expire.

So he opted out. Said he'd never make another video if that was going to be his life.

And Vacas wasn't the only one complaining about Machinima and its rival network Maker Studios' business policies.

As writer Tessa Stuart makes clear in this week's cover story Rage Against the Machinima, with the potential for big profits, why should YouTube, backed by its parent company Google, ever stop looking for more folks like Vacas.

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing