Top Storitorial – Nintendo/YouTube Situation Thoughts

nintendo youtube logo Top Storitorial   Nintendo/YouTube Situation Thoughts
In today’s Top Storitorial we’re discussing the Nintendo/YouTube situation. We posted an article on the site about it here. If you haven’t heard, basically Nintendo is claiming Let’s Play videos and the like as though they are their own content. They claim because the videos contain Nintendo game footage, that Nintendo holds the rights to the entire video including commentary. The most common examples are Let’s Play type videos, but others which feature lower amounts of gameplay have been flagged as well. This is called a “content ID match.” Basically what it means is Nintendo entered their details into YouTube’s database and YouTube’s automatic system flags things which match it, usually catching things that don’t need to be flagged as well. Supposedly sites like IGN and Machinima have been hit with this as well.

It varies depending on who’s reporting it, but most people are saying Nintendo is not doing full takedowns of videos that match, but rather just changing ads in ones which are marked for monetization. So if you’re a YouTuber and you have videos up which contain Nintendo gameplay or audio and those videos have been submitted to YouTube’s monetization program, YouTube’s system will auto-flag them (in theory) and redirect the money made off the advertising to Nintendo and/or put in a Nintendo ad at the beginning and end of the video. It’s not clear whether Nintendo gets all of the money or just part of it. Some are saying Nintendo has pulled down some of their videos, so it looks it like it could be inconsistent.

Nintendo is within their rights to do this one could argue. I’m not a copyright/trademark expert, but I can see why they think this is their footage, because the footage is of their IP. But on the other hand, Nintendo doesn’t own the copyright to audio commentary provided in Let’s Play type videos though, the creator of that commentary does. Then you have videos which feature more production with mainly the host(s) on-screen talking and/or acting in relation to the game and those have some footage in small parts, but Nintendo doesn’t own the rights to those discussions/acting scenes. Blanket moves for things like this are usually not a good idea in my experience and opinion. It catches everyone instead of just certain ones. Sure okay if it’s 100% Nintendo video and audio, then fine, that makes sense, but if there is even 1 minute of non-Nintendo audio/video, then it’s not 100% theirs and shouldn’t be claimed as such.

Let’s Play videos and the like serve as basically free advertising for Nintendo. They’re a company which is not known for strong/in-your-face type advertising. Their advertising is usually more subdued and few and far between. And given their struggles with the Wii U and the 3DS before it (before the price cut), Nintendo obviously needs all the help they can get to try to sell their hardware & software. Granted Nintendo products generally sell themselves to the Nintendo faithful, like myself, but videos of all kinds (Let’s Play, Reviews, First Looks, Previews, Impressions, Tips, etc.) are very helpful to people on the fence about buying a system or game. I myself wasn’t going to get a Wii U right away because there weren’t a whole lot of games for it that I was interested in available. But after watching videos (ironically on YouTube) and hearing podcasters talk about it, I decided to get one. Nintendo got that sale sooner (and probably at a higher price point) 100% because of videos and podcasters. Nintendo didn’t get that sale on their own merit. I was intent on not buying one until more games were available and I’ve been a Nintendo fan my whole life.

More after the jump.

So while it’s completely within their rights to do this sort of thing, they’re just shooting themselves in the foot in my opinion. The money Let’s Play videos and others like them make is most likely minimal compared to the revenue of a company like Nintendo. In case you’re not aware how Internet advertising works, basically it’s based around two factors, CPM and CTR. CPM is Cost Per Thousand Views/Impressions, CTR is Click Through Rate. Basically you get paid a certain amount for each click with CTR and for every 1,000 views/impressions with CPM. Generally these are no more than 10 cents – 1 dollar for CTR and much, much lower for CPM. Considering most people block ads these days, you don’t get anywhere near the impressions you did back in the early days of the Internet or before ad blocking became a thing.

So Nintendo is getting fractions of a cent basically for doing this sort of thing while at the same time pissing off the fans who want to do Let’s Play videos or other similar type videos and basically encouraging them to no longer use Nintendo products in their videos. They’ve decided they’d rather have fractions of a cent for ads than the $60/game from those who convince viewers to buy a game they wouldn’t have bought otherwise. That doesn’t sound like a smart business move to me. Free advertising is good advertising, especially when it’s positive. It gets your name and brand out there and recognized.

And what’s to say Nintendo won’t change their mind one day and decide to take down videos altogether? Why spend the time recording, editing, doing commentary, uploading, etc. if the videos may just be taken down? I mean this would be like one example I read online. What if when you were a kid and had a lemonade stand and the farmers who grew the lemons came to your stand and demanded all the money you made from it for using “their lemons.” Or what if you buy an old beat up car and completely restore it and sell it to someone else and GM, Ford, Chrysler, or whomever comes along and demands you give them the money from the sale? These kinds of things don’t happen, because it wouldn’t make sense. Why should video games be different? You can make the case that those are not IP, which is true, but what if we applied this logic to books? Those are IP as well. But it’s okay to review a book or provide commentary on a book. What if you film a video of you flipping through the book and provide commentary? That is the same kind of situation.

I think this situation should fall under fair use. Yes fair use does not usually apply to commercial undertakings (i.e. monetized videos), but for something like this fair use should apply. The person showing the footage is not selling a copy of the game. The game is not just audio and video. The programming is just as large a part of it as well. The programming of the game is not exposed in a video. There’s no way that I’m aware of to show closed source code for a game during a video. So unless people reverse-engineer it, there’s no way to make a 100% exact duplicate without the source code. Therefore it’s not a 100% copy of the game.

All that being said, I understand why Nintendo is doing this for the most part I think, but I don’t agree with it. I think they should have to split the ad revenue with the video creators. Even if it’s something like 90% Nintendo, 10% creator, that’d still be better than nothing.

We had some videos featuring Nintendo game footage on YouTube but took them down before this all went down for other reasons. We still have a Chrono Trigger video up which was the SNES version, so it’s on a Nintendo platform but this will likely be taken down soon. It’s not clear if this is for Nintendo developed games only, or if it includes Nintendo published games as well, or it includes every game on a Nintendo system.

With that in mind we will no longer be uploading any Nintendo related videos to our YouTube channel. We will still embed and link to other channels with Nintendo related videos including Nintendo’s own, but we will not post them on our own. We will look into finding alternate hosting services which do not have these same kinds of restrictions.

Here at GameSaga we embrace the ideals of the Internet that it should be open and you should be able to share whatever you want. That is why we allow our content to be copied word-for-word in whole or in part on other sites, publications, etc. We want people to share our stories, articles, reviews, etc. Why should we hide them from people who want help advertise for us? All that we ask is that you include a link back to either our homepage or the article’s/story’s/review’s page. This applies for GameSaga Original content, including audio & video. This does not apply to content provided by other websites and publications as those are not GameSaga Originals.

What do you all think of the Nintendo/YouTube situation?

Source: GameSaga Original

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