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This week, Nintendo has started to claim ownership of YouTube videos starring their games, meaning that the video’s ad revenue will go to the publisher and not the users who made the videos.
The most popular victim to these changeups is the “Let’s Play” videos, where people commentate while playing a particular game, whether for a review or a walkthrough.
YouTube user Zack Scott is one of the first uploaders to sound off on the subject. In a Reddit post, he researched that a few users have been affected with their gameplay videos of more recent games such as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and Super Mario 3D Land. Game Front received a response from Nintendo about the situation:
“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. 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.”
Nintendo is achieving these claims with YouTube’s Content ID, a service that searches YouTube’s videos for copyrighted content and enforces one of three policies upon them:
1. Block: Mute or disable the video. The user may no longer be in “good standing” with YouTube.
2. Track: Record viewership stats and deliver those stats to the copyright owner.
3. Monetize: Add advertisements and collect revenue from them. If they already have ads, the current revenue stream will switch over to the copyright owner.
Nintendo has chosen the last option, while less harsh for the user, can be extremely detrimental to them if they live off of that revenue. However, YouTube is very clear on their copyright rules and Nintendo does has the right to claim ownership of videos that contain gameplay of their games.