YouTuber Handed Suspended Sentence for Uploading Gameplay, Anime Footage - Anime News Network
YouTuber Handed Suspended Sentence for Uploading Gameplay, Anime Footage
by Rafael Antonio Pineda
The Sendai District Court found 53-year-old YouTuber Shinobu Yoshida guilty of violating the Copyright Act by uploading gameplay footage of a visual novel, as well as footage of anime, and sentenced him on Thursday to two years in prison, suspended for five years, and a fine of 1 million yen (about US$6,700). (If Yoshida remains on good behavior for five years, he will not serve time in prison, although he still must pay the fine.)
Police arrested Yoshida on May 17. According to the original police report at the time of his arrest, Yoshida uploaded footage of Nitroplus ' Steins;Gate : My Darling's Embrace game and earned money from the videos' ad monetization last year. The suspect also edited and uploaded footage from the Steins;Gate and Spy×Family anime with subtitles and narration. According to Kadokawa (the rights holder for Steins;Gate , among others), the suspect had been uploading footage of other anime since 2019. The video that violated Nitroplus and Kadokawa 's guidelines is an almost hour-long "Jikkyō Play" (somewhat analogous to "Let's Play" videos in the English-speaking sphere) video.
Yoshida had admitted to the charges on August 2. He added that he understood that he was violating copyrights, but had continued uploading footage for financial gain.
The Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) organization previously noted that Yoshida's arrest is the first in Japan made over an upload or stream of game footage.
In recent years, some Japanese YouTube users have uploaded "fast content" or "fast movies" — short videos that summarize movies or series with actual footage, edited with subtitles and narration. Nikkei puts the amount of viewers of Jikkyō Play or Let's Play style videos as over 800 million worldwide.
Media companies and game developers often set guidelines for how much and which sections of their games content creators are allowed to stream or upload, and which content is allowed to be monetized, though there is as-yet no industry-wide standard, and developers often create guidelines on a per-game basis. Such guidelines are created both to discourage spoiler content, as well as prevent content creators from uploading story content in a story-heavy game and profiting off of it. Spike Chunsoft has previously set extremely specific guidelines on their Danganronpa games which specify exact game events, such as "until the first chapter," or "until you have your seventh ally." Still other companies forbid streaming of certain story content or interface elements to varying degrees, such as Aniplex and Type-Moon 's recent release of the Tsukihime -A piece of blue glass moon- and Witch on the Holy Night visual novels, Atlus ' Persona series, and Bandai Namco Entertainment 's Tales series, some of which may forbid streaming or screenshotting of the entire game. Functions within the game consoles themselves allow developers to prevent users from recording or screenshotting the game during such times in the game.
On the other hand, other companies and games only have very loose guidelines on gameplay footage uploads and monetization. This is common in action games or other combat-heavy games where user input makes gameplay footage original to the content creator. Companies such as CAPCOM have often allowed monetization of such footage from their Resident Evil , Monster Hunter , or Devil May Cry series, and Nintendo allows monetization of gameplay footage as long as the content creator is part of the YouTube Partner Program ( Nintendo previously had a more restrictive Creator's Program in place from 2015 to 2018).
Japan's parliament enacted a proposed revised copyright law in June 2020 to expand the law to punish those who knowingly download illegally uploaded or pirated manga, magazines, and academic works. The revised law went into effect in January 2021. The revision also banned "leech sites" that aggregate and provide hyperlinks to pirated media starting in October 2020.
Source: Asahi Shimbun Digital (根津弥), Content Overseas Distribution Association via Hachima Kikō
Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.
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