Nintendo Targets Speedrunners in Latest Attack on YouTubers

Nintendo have proven themselves to be quite inadequate when it comes to dealing with the rising gaming community on YouTube. With them strictly enforcing rules on videos containing footage of their games by employing ContentID matches and copyright strikes, they have effectively ensured that many prominent YouTubers don’t bother covering Nintendo games whatsoever, given the inherent risk involved. 

Now YouTuber PangaeaPanga, a speedrunner most famous for his video “Hardest Super Mario World Level Ever” which garnered over a million views on the platform, has seen his channel absolutely decimated for his utilization of tool-assisted speedruns, which spells bad news for the speedrunning community on the whole.

An email sent to Panga from Nintendo highlights how he can request to be a part of the Nintendo Creators Program, the system Nintendo has employed to ensure that they get a cut of the earnings made by YouTubers playing Nintendo games, but also notes that the company does not allow tool-assisted speedruns in general.

The email sent to Pangareads:

We wish to inform you that the videos in question infringe Nintendo’s copyrights. As the owner of the copyright in the games: Mario Kart 8, Super Mario World, andPokémon, Nintendo has the exclusive right to perform the games publicly or to make derivative works based on the games. By making a derivative work using Nintendo’s IP, and then displaying Nintendo’s IP on your YouTube channel, you have violated Nintendo’s exclusive rights.

Nintendo understands that its fans are the reason for its success, and we are always happy to see people share their passion for Nintendo’s games. At the same time, Nintendo’s intellectual property constitutes its most valuable assets, and the unauthorized use of these assets jeopardizes Nintendo’s rights. Because of this, we ask that you please remove the video in question from your channel, and confirm that you will not post any videos using unauthorized software or copies of games, distribute or continue work on the modification, or take any other steps that would infringe Nintendo’s rights.

Nintendo encourages fan engagement on YouTube through the Nintendo Creators Program. Under the program, participants are granted a license to use Nintendo’s characters, games, and other intellectual property, subject to the Code of Conduct included with the agreement. However, please note that this Code of Conduct prohibits you, among other things, from posting any content using unauthorized software or copies of games. This includes videos featuring tool-assisted speedruns, which require making a copy of a game’s ROM file, and running the copied ROM through an emulator. If you are interested in learning more about the Nintendo Creators Program, please see: https://r.ncp.nintendo.net/

Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,

Nintendo Anti-Piracy Team

A huge amount of videos have now been removed from Panga’s channel, with him only being left with 5 in total. Taking to Twitter to address the problem, Panga wrote: “Well, YouTube just wrecked my channel. RIP me,” adding: “Well, it looks like my retirement from making TASes has come earlier than expected…”

Nintendo’s attitude when it comes to YouTube has always attracted criticism, with YouTube being seen as a great source of promotion for video games given the reach various YouTubers have. While some may argue that Nintendo are well within their right to pull videos containing copyrighted content, which would be true if it wasn’t for the fact that most YouTube Let’s Plays are covered under fair use laws, it’s suggestible that Nintendo’s games aren’t exactly the story-driven, plot-heavy sort that would suffer from having their gameplay footage broadcast online.

Nintendo games are always best experienced for yourself, not by watching some guy on YouTube have fun playing them, but this argument has held no weight with Nintendo, who continue to view YouTube and its users as though they are actively damaging its sales whenever a video of Mario Kart 8 appears online. In this instance, though, Nintendo’s actions are even more baffling, given that they have actively targeted videos of a game that was released in 1990. I get that Nintendo isn’t a big fan of emulators, but surely this is just a waste of the time of everyone involved, not to mention a particularly brutal slap in the face of someone who is quite clearly a huge Nintendo fan if they’ve spent so many years of their life devoted to speedrunning their games?

I love Nintendo more than I love most things, but when it comes to their treatment of YouTube, their actions are impossible to defend.