A 52-year-old man, a YouTuber, from Nagoya City, Japan, was arrested by the Miyagi Prefectural Police on Wednesday because of allegedly uploading gameplay footage of visual novels and anime footage online, thus violating the Copyright Law.
Based on the police report, the 52-year-old suspect streamed footage of Nitroplus’ Steins; Gate: My Darling’s Embrace game and edited the Spy×Family anime by putting subtitles and narration before uploading it online to earn money from the video’s ad monetization.
What Did the Suspect Do?
Kadokawa company, the rights holders of Steins; Gate, revealed that the suspected YouTuber had been uploading the anime footage on YouTube since 2019.
The content that violated Kadokawa and Nitoplus’ guidelines had more than 800,000,000 views with almost one-hour duration.
These past few years, many Japanese YouTubers have summarized movies or series and inserted subtitles and narration into the actual footage for their “fast movie” content.
Organizations Fight Piracy
According to Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) organization, this is the first time someone got arrested because of uploading and streaming a game and anime footage in Japan.
CODA is an association comprising Japan’s most prominent publication, media, and entertainment companies that aims to reduce one of any content’s risk factors, piracy, by promoting the international distribution of Japanese content.
Some popular production and game developer companies are part of CODA, including Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Aniplex, Kadokawa, Sunrise, Studio Ghibli, Bandai Namco Arts, Pony Canyon, and Toei Animation, among others.
Thirteen countries all over the world have formed an organization called the “International Anti-Piracy Organization (IAPO)” in April 2022, which includes CODA, the Motion Picture Association of the United States, and members of the Copyright Society of China to mitigate piracy in the industry.
Japan’s Media and Game Developers’ Copyright Guidelines
Indeed, some companies forbid streaming certain, if not totally, content by preventing users from recording or screenshot footage in the game.
However, some media companies and game developers often set guidelines to how much content creators can get from their footage to upload and which content is allowed for monetization to discourage spoiler content somehow and prevent content creators from profiting from story content.
One great example is the guidelines of Spike Chunsoft, a game publishing company. Their guidelines for their Danganronpa games are specified, like “until the first chapter” or “until you have your seventh ally.”
Meanwhile, other companies and game developers such as Nintendo and CAPCOM, creators of Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, and Devil May Cry series, have very loose guidelines on gameplay footage uploads and monetization.
The only thing that content creators have to do is be part of the YouTube Partner Program.
To expand the law punishing those aware of illegally uploaded or pirated works such as manga, magazines, and even anime, Japan’s parliament approved a revised copyright law in June 2020.
The 52-year-old YouTuber’s arrest is a wake-up call to other content creators to be mindful, particularly in following copyright guidelines, because breaking these copyright laws could land them in Jail, especially if they operate from Japan.