Nintendo To Collect Royalties From ‘Let’s Play’ YouTube Videos

Posted May 18, 2013

Nintendo is going to start collecting royalties from fan-made YouTube videos that contains content from their games.  Every time that a YouTube user uploads a walkthrough or “let’s play” video, Nintendo will generate revenues from YouTube.  The “let’s play” format generally features a gamer showing how to beat a level or how to collect points in a 10-30 minute video.

“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,” said Nintendo in a statement provided to Gamefront.  “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 placing “content ID match” claims on Let’s Play videos that features levels, characters, and other copyrighted claims.  Many content IDs were placed on the videos uploaded by Zack Scott.  Scott pointed out that this prevents him from monetizing those videos on YouTube.  Content IDs allows publishers, TV networks, and record labels to identify if their content is being used in a video.  Entities that use content IDs can monetize those videos as a result.

“I think filing claims against LPers is backwards. Video games aren?t like movies or TV. Each play-through is a unique audiovisual experience. When I see a film that someone else is also watching, I don?t need to see it again. When I see a game that someone else is playing, I want to play that game for myself! Sure, there may be some people who watch games rather than play them, but are those people even gamers?” said Scott in a Facebook post.  Scott has decided to boycott Nintendo games going forward because it jeopardizes his channel’s copyright and the livelihood of LPers.

Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, said that he was given the same offer by YouTube for people that show walkthroughs of his game.  Persson said that he almost considered that option, but decided against it later on.

Scott has over 81 million views on his YouTube channel featuring ‘Let’s Play” videos.  His most recently video released that was titled Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon hit almost 400,000 views.  Copyright protection is a serious issue for YouTube as they are constantly taking down videos that violate copyright when receiving DMCA take-downs.

[Image Credit: Nintendo Facebook Page]