After apparently resolving its troubled relationship with YouTubers, Nintendo‘s now coming down on those who upload music from its games. At least two popular channels have been hit, and if this starts a trend, there aren’t a lot of alternatives for listening to this music.
The channels GilvaSunner and BrawlBRSTMs3 have both reported Nintendo issuing copyright claims on videos with their music. BrawlBRSTMs3 was terminated last night, though the owner says on Twitter they’d planned to shut it down anyway, citing they knew the risks when it comes to uploading copyrighted music:
I’ve mentioned this before very sternly, but sharing music owned by other entities can yield repercussions. Part of the reason for our voluntary shutdown is out of respect for the copyright owners of all music we’ve shared. I know most of our fanbase understands this already.
— Smash Custom Music (@brawlbrstms) August 14, 2019
The reason this comes as such a surprise is because Nintendo had seemed to have finally eased the boot off of YouTube‘s neck with regards to its intellectual property. Nintendo‘s history with YouTubers is thorny. Originally the company pursued anyone who uploaded gameplay videos with a zeal typically reserved for big game hunters. Then it attempted a “compromise” in the form of the CreatorProgram, essentially a protection racket that involved Nintendo taking a cut of creators’ revenue in exchange for not submitting a copyright claim against their videos.
Game over pic.twitter.com/lsLKKg8ZF8
— GilvaSunner (@GilvaSunner) August 13, 2019
Things seemed to be getting better as of last November, when the company finally scrapped the Creator Program, shifting to a more laissez-faire approach. The company’s new policy on YouTube videos simply asked that users put some kind of distinctive stamp on the video, such as “creative input and commentary,” rather than just straight videos of gameplay.
These terms — create but make sure your content is distinctively yours — might explain why Nintendo‘s now pursuing channels that upload music. It’s not putting a distinctive mark on musical content to just upload it straight to YouTube. And to be clear, Nintendo‘s perfectly within its rights legally to do this.
It still kinda sucks, not going to lie. Nintendo‘s music is wonderful, and it’s also not really available elsewhere. One of my favorite pieces of music from a recent game is a track from Fire Emblem Fates that’s currently only available on the Japan-exclusive CD — unless I want to pay through the nose to import the CD, YouTube‘s my only way of listening to it. Unless Nintendo goes the way of Square Enix and puts its music on Spotify, there won’t really be any other outlet to listen to the music — apart from the games themselves, of course.
We reached out to Nintendo, who declined to comment.