Nintendo monetizing fanmade videos on YouTube

Fans that produce "Let's Play" style videos of Nintendo content will no longer be able to earn any ad revenue due to a new policy being enforced by the publisher.

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Fans that produce "Let's Play" style videos of Nintendo content will no longer be able to earn any ad revenue. The publisher has issued a "content ID match claim" on content that features audio or video of a certain length from its games. Offending videos will not be taken down from YouTube, but instead will feature advertising that will go directly to Nintendo--not the uploader.

YouTube user Zack Scott wrote an open letter on Facebook saying that "filing claims against LPers is backwards" and that because of Nintendo's actions, he can no longer play their games. "I won't because it jeopardizes my channel's copyright standing and the livelihood of all LPers," he added.

Nintendo defended their actions in a statement to GameFront. "As part of our on-going push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media channels in an appropriate and safe way, we became a YouTube partner and as such in February 2013 we registered our copyright content in the YouTube database. For most fan videos this will not result in any changes, however, for those videos featuring Nintendo-owned content, such as images or audio of a certain length, adverts will now appear at the beginning, next to or at the end of the clips," they said. "We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on YouTube, and that is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property."

Mike Bithell, developer of Thomas Was Alone, wrote an editorial on Develop, criticizing the publisher for their stance. "Thomas Was Alone would not have been a hit without YouTube," he said. "Without the frequent infringement of my copyright, the astonishingly aggressive use of my intellectual property and oftentimes presumptuous use of work comprising years of my life, I wouldn't be sat right now, at home, taking a break from my work as a full time indie developer."

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 16, 2013 12:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Nintendo monetizing fanmade videos on YouTube.

    Fans that produce "Let's Play" style videos of Nintendo content will no longer be able to earn any ad revenue due to a new policy being enforced by the publisher.

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 12:19 PM

      Well this was a mistake on Nintendo's part... A popular let's play can bring an entirely new crowd to a game's audience, and Nintendo is trading that benefit for a couple of drops in the bucket from ads.

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 12:19 PM

      It was just a matter of time before a company tried to pull this strategy with Let's Play videos. The question I have is where are they going to draw the line and will the auto-content ID matching be able to distinguish between reviews and Let's Play videos. I doubt it. It is pretty dubious to redirect the ad revenue. I honestly don't think any one confuses a random YT channel with an Official Nintendo one.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 12:37 PM

        "Confusion" is trademark, not copyright. This is people, some of which are profiting, by creating content based on other copyrighted works. I think everyone is correct, including the Thomas Was Alone guy quoted in the article, that killing the videos entirely would not be in their best interests, which is why they haven't done that. I'm not convinced that tagging videos with ads will stop people from making them based on everyone else who has gone that route.

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 12:44 PM

          They are likely to get the same backlash as if they took the videos down. I realize it is their right to do this but it is still going to be a PR nightmare. There are lot of channels out there that straddle the line of fair use like Angry Video Game Nerd which does reviews of 8-16 era systems that goes a bit beyond merely recording the game like his own special effects and what not. Google Content ID system isn't perfect I have heard stories of it flagging content made by the authors themselves. So like I said before what is to stop it from detecting fair use stuff like video-blog reviews, humorous reviews (AVGN) that use the game for context but add their own content/substance.

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 12:25 PM

      Surprised this hasn't happened before, how long until other publishers follow Nintendo's lead?

      I've always wondered why any of them let people show entire runs of recent games, I mean old games that are out of print I can understand but people put up brand new releases ASAP in their entirety. Taking the ad money seems like a weird situation for everyone involved but I suppose it's good they aren't just taking them down?

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 12:42 PM

        I always assumed there was a fundamental difference between playing a game and watching a game

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          May 16, 2013 12:44 PM

          I've never had to pay to watch somebody play a game before.

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 12:46 PM

          Of course there is, but so many of the big budget games these days involve just watching a lot of cutscenes for the story and progression. Which is the same whether you are seeing a video on youtube or paying $60 for it.

          • reply
            May 16, 2013 12:51 PM

            I'm not saying that's a good thing either. I personally hate cutscenes and think games can do better, I just understand why some developers and publishers wouldn't want all of the content like that out there for free. Especially when it costs as much as it does for direction, assets, voice acting, sound, music, etc for those non-interactive scenes.

            In the most basic sense, it's really no different than someone uploading a full hollywood movie to youtube the day it hits theaters. That's frowned upon, illegal even. But not for games.

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              May 16, 2013 12:53 PM

              Moreover, there's no difference between ad views on Youtube or on a major broadcast network. If CBS can't monetize footage of someone playing 10 hours of Bioshock with ads, why should some random YouTuber?

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 1:05 PM

        It's already free ads for them... Now they want to make money on top of the free ads... They should be the one paying for the lets play. I think it's fucking ridiculous.

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 1:18 PM

          Well it isn't like they are making any money of WiiU.

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          May 18, 2013 3:46 AM

          this may sound strange to others, but i actually think it would be bad for publishers and devs to pay youtubers to make Let's Play videos on their products. because then they're just paying for good reviews.

          at the start maybe it would be fine, but it would slowly snowball from people doing a little extra here and there to get people to watch their videos. and pretty soon they're not reviewers or even just a casual gameplay demonstration, but professional marketers, hired by the game company to make an advertisement.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 1:22 PM

        This HAS happened before. With SEGA, particularly Shining Force III.

        Here is clip from a video from the well know Youtuber Total Biscuit made regarding the situation:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k84i3Op-LQI#14m20s

        Apparently he had to of his videos hit with copyright claims from Sega, and that caused two strikes to his account, when normally 3 strikes closes your Youtube account. On of the videos apparently didn't have and Sega content in it. I'm not sure the result of this.

        More info:
        http://www.destructoid.com/sega-forcing-removal-of-shining-force-videos-on-youtube-239581.phtml

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 1:24 PM

          This being a game company taking the ad money and leaving the videos up, not removing them outright like your link. Everyone has heard of that happening before. This Nintendo thing is totally new to me.

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          May 17, 2013 1:19 AM

          that's pretty disgusting. Firstly, you can't even buy Shining Force 3 legally, and second, you aren't even playing it, someone else is.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 1:29 PM

        I'm guessing most of them either don't care or see it as free publicity/advertising.

        A company like Blizzard obviously realizes that all the Starcraft 2 streamers help increase the exposure and profile of that game. Ditto with stuff like Dota 2, LOL and Codblops2.

        Nintendo's been behind the curve on online interactions and internet culture since forever. I'm not surprised they don't really Get It on this either.

        That said, streaming yourself playing a game online or making Let's Play videos most likely is copyright infringement, and so technically Nintendo is in the right on this. Even if they're being fucking stupid.

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 12:34 PM

      But I'm a Tubepreneur! Don't stifle me!

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 12:36 PM

      Hi, I'm Nintendo.

      Things I hate: free promotion for my products.

      Things I love: slowly fading into obscurity.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 12:44 PM

        This.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 1:23 PM

        yep, Nintendo is dumb.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 1:28 PM

        You forgot that they hate people profiting from property they don't own.

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 1:43 PM

          This will totally help them recover from all the money they are losing on the Wii U. They are forgetting, and maybe you are too, that your reputation in the community is an investment too. Sure they might lose a couple dimes in ad revenue but it doesn't matter as long as they are gaining new customers.

          • reply
            May 16, 2013 1:53 PM

            I have nothing to back it up, but I am pretty sure this is an IP protection thing, not a way to make money.

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              May 16, 2013 2:29 PM

              If it was IP protection, they'd use C&D orders, not claim ad revenue on players' streams.

              • reply
                May 16, 2013 5:26 PM

                Not necessarily. They could be sending out a"warning" (for lack of a better term) that says not to profit off their property.

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              May 17, 2013 9:43 AM

              There's no case for IP protection here, because the video makers are in no way represented as or claiming to be the content creators, nor do the videos make an attempt to hide or otherwise conceal the owner of the actual copyright.

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 6:57 PM

          how much $$ are let's play's really pulling in? I was hooked on Dark Souls before I even bought the game by watching LP's.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 1:34 PM

        loltrue

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        May 16, 2013 1:52 PM

        Terrible use of 'Informative'

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 5:29 PM

        Yuuuuuup

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 12:39 PM

      As part of our on-going push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media channels in an appropriate and safe way,

      We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on YouTube, and that is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property

      wait what?

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 12:41 PM

        Translation: "Am I not merciful?"

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 12:45 PM

        im glad someone is finally making longplays safe. i dont know how many instances of longplay injury occur each year, but i am sure its staggeringly high.

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 12:40 PM

      Sony embraces streaming with PS4, Nintendo shuns it with this. Interesting contrast. Bad move by Nintendo.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 12:49 PM

        Who says the sony way wont have the copyright info preset to them so they can start collecting ad money immediately?

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 6:22 PM

          You will say McDonald's and throw the pickle on the burger!

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 12:40 PM

      How much profit does Nintendo really expect to make off this?

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        May 16, 2013 1:30 PM

        none. it's most likely just a lawyer's idea to keep the IP rights legally secure. dunno why people are thinking the top brass at Nintendo sits around with Miyamoto and Reggie discussing freaking youtube videos.

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 1:36 PM

          Yeah, people don't realize this is IP protection. If they didn't stop it there could be a precedent where people think it's okay to profit off Nintendo's property.

          • reply
            May 17, 2013 9:46 AM

            I said it above, and I'll say it again: there's no valid claim for IP protection here. It's one thing if you were to tape a movie being played and then uploaded it to youtube, because watching movies is considered the "proper consumption" of the media in question. For games, which require a person to play it, copyright does not apply to videos of those games, because watching a game is not the "proper consumption" of that type of media - playing it is.

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 12:47 PM

      Meh. Stupid move.

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      May 16, 2013 12:54 PM

      Nintendo needs to fire everyone. Time to start over.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 1:22 PM

        They only need to fire their marketing, sales, and hardware engineers. Their games are still way above most other companies, and an example of one of the few times where their "we march to the beat of our own drummer" mantra actually pays off.

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 4:04 PM

          i cant help but wonder every time a new nintendo game comes out, how much better it would have been on the PS2/3/Xbox. le sigh :(

          • reply
            May 17, 2013 2:09 PM

            Gamecube was a lot more powerful than the PS2, and I'm guessing this generation we'll see how great they could've been on the PS3/360 via how they are on the Wii U.

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 1:27 PM

      Poor Nintendo :(

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      May 16, 2013 1:30 PM

      If I worked hard and spent a ton of money on a product, I'd hate having people profiting off my hard work.

      I see no difference in this case. The videos are not being pulled down.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 5:24 PM

        It's not like they're stealing Nintendo games and selling them for profit. They're just playing the games, and giving Nintendo free PR and exposure, really.

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          May 16, 2013 5:29 PM

          I think it's a tricky thing, only because if they let people make money off their work, who is to say selling roms is bad when Nintendo let's people make money off their stuff already? What if I managed to livestream the new Star Trek movie (or any movie, even ones that are out on disc) and only let people watch it if I charged a subscription to my channel?

          I don't know, I think people are over-reacting because "lolz Nintendo is in trouble and are desperate for money".

          • reply
            May 16, 2013 5:42 PM

            I'm not. I watch Game Grumps a lot, and they have played a lot of Nintendo games in the past. Now, it might not happen again. And yeah, I'm upset about that.

          • reply
            May 17, 2013 4:05 AM

            You are making an apples to oranges comparison between movies and games. Unlike games, everyone's experience is exactly identical watching a movie. Games are software. Legally it falls into the same category as MS Word. If someone makes a tutorial on how to use word, or windows, or quark, or photoshop, or any other software, there is no legal debate. Not only is it not copyright infringement, they are legally entitled to profit off of said tutorials. It is a multi million dollar industry.

            • reply
              May 17, 2013 4:19 AM

              Making a tutorial for Word clearly falls under Fair Use, but there's an argument to be made that stuff like Let's Play videos don't. It comes down to how much of the original work (that is, the game) is used in the secondary work (the video), and how substantial it is.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Use#Amount_and_substantiality

              • reply
                May 17, 2013 5:06 AM

                The deciding issue is legally is it a creative work or is it software. Prima already fought this legal battle against Nintendo years ago. That's why you don't need a license from the publisher to make a strategy guide

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                May 17, 2013 5:08 AM

                I think there's a pretty compelling argument that LPs and videogame tutorials/combo videos/etc are all exactly like tutorials of other software.

                It might look different because yes, there's a story and graphics involved, but at the end of the day, if you remove the Youtube/twitch.tv/etc user from the mix, viewers would just be looking at a menu that says "Press Start". Everything beyond that, regardless of what allows them to play, only happens because of the direct action of the channel owner.

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 1:32 PM

      Please understand.

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 1:51 PM

      Iwata killed Nintendo.

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      May 16, 2013 2:17 PM

      Excellent. Rather than cancel or deny them the ability, they can keep posting. I like this idea. It is after all, Nintendo's IP's

      • reply
        May 17, 2013 3:32 AM

        While it is, I'm not sure I agree with the sentiment that IP owners should have that level of control.

      • reply
        May 17, 2013 5:09 AM

        next up: Porsche gets any profits when Chris Harris makes a video of him driving one of their cars

    • ArB
      reply
      May 16, 2013 2:29 PM

      That sucks. If others start doing the same thing that'll be the end of that. I assume it would be the same for giant bomb quick looks too. Why bother doing it if you get nothing for it?

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 2:30 PM

        For the love of the hobby? To let other people see what a game is like without buying it?

        I'm sure CBS/Giant Bomb will work something out with Nintendo.

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 4:05 PM

        People did it well before youtube had monetized channels and videos with ads and stuff. People still do it for free on live streams.

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 5:30 PM

          Well they're dumb for not making money off it

          Sarcasm

    • reply
      May 16, 2013 6:11 PM

      If someone is making money off their YouTube channel and this content id match is found... Google just allows another corporation to "take" away a YouTuber's profits or make profit off them? Wouldn't this be more of a decision of the content creators? Basically you have two choices, take it down or let Nintendo do this. Why is Google just automatically allowing a company to move in on the profits, or possible profits?

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 6:15 PM

        I'm wondering this too. But there must be some precedent for this policy already, maybe it's just never been applied to video game videos.

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          May 16, 2013 6:40 PM

          Yeah. I would really like to hear from someone with more knowledge of this.

          I mean I think it sucks that Nintendo is doing this, but does Google just allow this?

          • reply
            May 17, 2013 4:06 AM

            Megara9 is the resident Shack copyright expert, I think. But I think the basic jist of it is that you're profiting off someone else's (i.e. Nintendo's) copyrighted works, and that's a no-go. The technical term under Danish copyright law is that you're creating a "derived work", and there's probably similar statutes in US law.

            You could claim Fair Use, but I believe there's some sort limit on how much of someone else's work you can use versus your own original work.

            • reply
              May 17, 2013 4:16 AM

              This is probably true, but I would argue that it shouldn't be.

              Just as I wouldn't expect say, NVIDIA to argue that because I'm rendering the game using their card, that they should get some money. Or Comcast to say that because I'm using their bandwidth to upload the video, that they should get some too, and so on.

              If you have bought and paid for a game, short of copying it and making it available to others, I think you should generally be able to do as you please with it, assuming you're not falsely making it appear that you own/created the IP and such.

            • reply
              May 17, 2013 9:51 AM

              It's fair use because it's in a different medium. If they were creating derivative works that were actually other video games, they'd definitely be violating copyright. But because the proper consumption for video games is *playing* them, and the videos on youtube are just that: videos, then fair use is definitely in effect.

              They're not profiting off of Nintendo's work, they're profiting off of their own work, which just happens to be playing Nintendo's games. That argument is like saying all of the profits from video game tournaments should go to the company that made the game being played, rather than the people who actually won the tournament.

        • reply
          May 16, 2013 8:25 PM

          Don't they already do this with music on some labels?

      • reply
        May 16, 2013 6:48 PM

        Stealing from the poor to give to the rich isn't evil.

    • reply
      May 17, 2013 1:27 PM

      As a youtuber for over 6 years with almost 500 gameplays, I can tell you that games are heavily supported by their YT presence. EA tried this awhile back with BF3 and there was a huge wave of hatred from the community. You'd be foolish to decide to steal measly pocket change (if that!) from us when you are getting views of your product in the hundreds of millions. I've gotten 1 million views on my BF3 videos alone. That's 1 million free ads. This disgusts us and you will lose overwhelming support from us. Shame on you Nintendo. You're making a terrible business move. You should be encouraging and supporting us holding contests and sharing content produced by youtubers which if you forget are your customers. The gaming community trusts us a lot more than they do you. Why don't you listen to publishers that are actually successful like Super Meat Boy and Minecraft? I hope your combined profits of $6,000 is worth all your incoming negative PR backlash.
      http://www.youtube.com/rickychavez

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 11:18 AM

        Total biscuit put it best: It's a drip in the bucket.

    • reply
      May 19, 2013 1:44 AM

      I love this entire idea of IP, somehow they managed to convince most of the
      world that its ok to profit off of something again and again and again and
      again and again, the irony behind this is that its the biggest farce ever,
      no where in the working world does it work that way, you work, you get
      paid for your work and you move on to more work, not you work, get paid
      for those hours then get paid again any time any of the work you did
      was reused or influenced the profit for the day, IE in a restaurant setting you
      get paid for the actual work, you don't get paid more if you do extra prep
      and ensure the supper rush moves quickly or that they will have a better
      appearance because of your hard work, no you do the work and you get
      paid, your IP, IE the work that only you could do because well your you
      and no one else is, is completely ignored, it is treated as something
      that is owned by the person buying your time, the fruits of your labor
      actually go directly to them in exchange for your labor they give you a
      set amount of money agreed upon in the beginning, IP was shoved down
      everyones throat as a necessary thing to protect game and music or
      movie makers, when in reality it only actually protects the middle men
      who think they deserve a cut for their "contribution" which is minimal
      and useless in most cases.

    • reply
      May 22, 2013 4:34 AM

      A business making money by screwing other people, not exactly new. What about every other developer in the world that gets free advertising for their games?

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