Why Nintendo’s Copyright Policy Sucks

Nintendo has a long and colorful history of wielding copyright laws against its fans. With the controversy lately on YouTube and the crackdown on The Legend of Zelda tribute browser game, Nintendo needs to realize exactly what it’s doing to its fans. I don’t know what its trying to do, but the consequences from angry fans could mean a huge loss in business for Nintendo. Earn to die

The most significant victims of Nintendo lately reside on YouTube as reviewers, vbloggers, parody creators, and even news reporters. All of these folks have been fighting back under the doctrine of fair use. Fair use is (in the US) the doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder. YouTube, however, has a system in place that allows companies like Nintendo to abuse their rights as copyright holders. As paraphrased from the esteemed Nostalgia Critic, certain Hollywood studios and copyright holders are unfairly targeting YouTubers, making false copyright claims and getting videos taken down and accounts deleted. YouTube parodists and critics can appeal these claims, but they often find themselves hopelessly lost in a maze of bureaucracy with little to no legal recourse. earn to die 2


A lot of YouTubers are understandably upset by these conditions, most especially in regards to Nintendo. To YouTubers like Angry Joe, it feels like Nintendo is on some sort of copyright crusade, taking down anything and everything related to the game company. In fact, Angry Joe insists that “while other companies are understanding of how valuable the YouTube gaming community is, Nintendo only sees free labor and dollar signs. » He believes that while many companies appreciate the free publicity that YouTube coverage provides, Nintendo only sees people making money that should belong to the company. He currently refuses to review Nintendo games due to the company’s actions.

Such righteous distress extends to all Nintendo fans, not just those on YouTube. Editor in Chief Nathanial at Zelda Informer has had nearly twenty years of experience communicating with Nintendo, both positively and negatively. In a chat I had with him and the owner of ZI, Mases, they both recalled an incident with Nintendo of America. Back in 2012, Nintendo legal had employed restrictions on advertising that prohibited them from advertising on URLs that use Nintendo trademarks such as Nintendo, Wii, Zelda, etc. in their main domain name. This impacted Zelda Informer a great deal, lasting for two straight years because they had ‘Zelda’ as part of their name. At the time, Nintendo’s ads were ZI’s primary income, so they were working with the site, but at the same time yanking ads over copyright claims.


Again, Nintendo needs to realize exactly what it’s doing to fans with this overzealous enforcement of copyright law. If major sites as the Zelda news network are being affected, a great deal of other content might fall victim to Nintendo’s wrath as well. It is only a matter of time before Nintendo turns its attention to news items, video content on other sites like Twitch, or even fan art, as they did with the browser game. This is clearly just a lazy money-grab on Nintendo’s behalf, but with so many cases of unfair abuse of copyright laws, I fear for the consequences for the fans and Nintendo’s business.


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