Exploding Samsungs are the bad press gifts that keep on giving. Even after two recalls and a full discontinuance of the Galaxy Note 7, people are still dealing with Samsung explosions. However, this time it is the company that is on fire and not the phone.
The uproar started shortly after a Grand Theft Auto V modder, who goes by HitmanNiko, created a mod for the game that reskins the sticky bomb to make it look like a Galaxy Note 7. The mod itself is, of course, a humorous poke at Samsung’s recent Note 7 fiasco. However, when the YouTube community got ahold of the mod and began to post videos of themselves using it, the Korean super corporation did not find it so funny.
Shortly after videos began surfacing, Samsung started issuing takedown notices through YouTube to several users. According to TechSpot, the company was claiming that the videos violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). YouTube took down several of the videos.
However, Samsung had no basis for demanding the removal of the videos. According to Kotaku, the videos did not violate any copyrights, at least not any that were owned by Samsung.
TechSpot agreed, stating, “The Galaxy Note 7 mod for GTA V doesn’t really infringe on the DMCA. The mod videos are also quite clearly a satirical parody of the whole exploding Galaxy Note 7 saga, which is generally protected under various laws.”
At this point, several videos have been taken down. However, not all YouTubers complied to Samsung’s demand, at least not without a fuss.
Kotaku reported that a user “who goes by the handle sdaddy345, said he’d filed a counter-claim against Samsung, noting that the video had done great things for his fledgling YouTube channel.”
When sdaddy345, who runs a YouTube channel called Modded Games, received notice from YouTube that Samsung had issued a takedown notice for his video, he initiated a counter notification to Samsung through YouTube that his video did not infringe on any of its copyrights. Upon receiving the counter-notice, the company dropped their claim and allowed YouTube to reinstate the video.
It appears that Samsung was only attempting to throw its weight around by bullying people who were making fun of their explosion-prone Galaxy Note 7. The company was hoping that the whole dangerous, exploding smartphone issue would just quietly go away. However, upon seeing the GTA V mod videos, the company thought it could scare the community into taking down videos. It has been dealing with a lot of bad public relations issues lately, and this was just another thorn in its side.
Unfortunately, this move backfired for the electronic manufacturer. Instead of YouTube users quietly complying with its demands, at least one is fighting back, and hundreds of others have now posted videos simply because the topic is trending. Had the company left it alone, these videos would probably have flown mostly under the radar as just another GTA V mod video. However, now the videos are getting thousands of views, and it is all thanks to Samsung raising a fuss about it. To top it off, the company now looks worse for it because of these baseless DMCA threats.
A brief recap of the timeline reveals that the Galaxy Note 7 has been one PR disaster after another.
First, the devices began exploding and catching fire. Customers who had only owned the phones for a couple of months started posting videos of the damage to their devices.
Samsung attacked this problem by launching an internal investigation into the matter. When they confirmed that at least 35 incidents were genuine, they issued a recall of the device.
Samsung claimed that the cause of the fires and explosions were due to a defective battery. In an attempt to limit its losses, the company initiated an exchange program that allowed purchasers to trade their original Galaxy Note 7 in for a new one with the battery flaw presumably corrected.
When the swapped phones began exploding, Samsung issued a second recall. However, since the traded phones were also hazardous, it became obvious that the company was lying when they said that the problem was a faulty battery. In fact, the company then admitted that they had never been able to replicate the issue in the lab and didn’t know what was causing the problem.
After the second recall of the device, the company decided to pull the plug altogether on its flagship phone and cut its losses to the tune of $5.4 billion over the next three months.
That brings it up to the present, where Samsung has demanded that YouTube users take down videos that it saw as damaging to its brand. Ironically, the frivolous DMCA takedown notices served to create more bad press for the company, which looks more damaging than a silly GTA V mod could ever have been.
If Samsung spent more time developing a smartphone that does not explode and less time worrying about gamers and YouTubers making fun of it, this nightmare would eventually go away. People and the press would soon grow tired of talking about it, and everybody would move on. However, the company has been impetuous in defense of its brand. It appears that Gregory Lee, CEO of Samsung North America, needs to fire his public relations and legal teams because they have been making dumb decisions.
[Featured Image by sdaddy345/YouTube]