The first arrest was made when someone was thrown behind bars for uploading the ending of a game.
JapanToday reported that a fifty-two-year-old YouTube user, Shinobu Yoshida, had been arrested for illegally uploading videos of games to YouTube. The man from Nagoya also made the mistake of monetizing his uploads, i.e., advertisements were visible in the videos (provided they were not watched with no ad-blocker). We could understand if it was a brand new game (e.g., The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom) that he was being punished for, but that’s not the case.
It’s A of Stein;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace, released in 2011 and re-released in 2019. So it’s not a new game, but let’s not forget the other angle: it’s a visual novel. Hence, the game’s publisher, Kadokawa (they also own FromSoftware, which needs no introduction…), is perhaps fitting to claim that the uploads are spoilers and that viewing them makes viewers less inclined to buy the game. However, Yoshida has uploaded some stuff from the anime adaptation of the game and from another program, Spy x Family!
JapanToday added that it’s expected, or even standard practice, on YouTube, that videos posted by users there don’t have ads (or if they do, it’s because the YouTube systems identify the material, so the uploader doesn’t get the revenue). Hence, they are ad-free or at least not made for profit. According to CODA, the Content Overseas Distribution Promotion Organization of Japan, “in principle,” any use of a game video requires the rights holder’s permission.
But what if the game is inspired by (but not a direct sequel to!) an anime from the 1980s, its developers no longer exist, and the publisher has since merged with another company? Who should we ask for permission from? Why should consent be required for everything if uploads are not made for profit? Sometimes, the Japanese iron discipline on copyright goes overboard!
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