Video games are everywhere in our modern-day; present in our phones, bundled with expensive consoles, triple-A titles playable on computers, and even used in education. It’s safe to say that with the advancement of technology for entertainment, it has allowed the video game industry to evolve and flourish.
On top of that, new business opportunities also arose with the increasing success of video games, and among them include monetization through gameplays and live-streaming. Content creators now dominate this market, from YouTubers to Twitch streamers, all earning substantial amounts through AdSense and subscriptions.
However, at its very core, video games are companies’ intellectual property, and these creative works are also subject to copyright claims. And if these companies see it fit, they can issue a copyright strike against your content and have your video blocked or taken down.
One such case is Nintendo, a beloved video game company we all know, that was swift to use their copyright hammer against videos that featured unauthorized music. And while you might have varying opinions and stands on this matter, the question still stands.
How do content creators protect themselves and their livelihood from copyright claims?
And with that, let us explore Nintendo’s game content guidelines.
Nintendo’s Game Content Guidelines
Video games are a collection of creative works: developers creating 3D models for games, composers making soundtracks, artists and animators devoting so much effort to game art, and many more unseen creative heroes. All these aspects come together to make a game, and as a responsible content creator, you must respect its intellectual property rights and guidelines.
While Nintendo might seem strict with copyright guidelines as portrayed by media, there are basic rules that content creators need to follow to stay in the clear. For example, you can’t merely upload and post footage and images of their games alone, as these are only mere copies and violate the law. The content creator must transform the content into something new:
- Creative Input and Commentary: By inserting your input, such as reactions, criticisms, and commentary, you are already staying within Nintendo’s guidelines and following their rules. So for Let’s Plays and live streams, as long as you make it engaging and offer your creative input, you can consider your content safe.
- Nintendo System Features: If you don’t plan on posting videos and images through other websites, and instead opt to use Nintendo’s built-in features, then you’re also in the clear. On top of that, they won’t require you to add any creative input or commentary; your content is good and follows the guidelines.
As a general rule of thumb, do keep your content appropriate and safe for viewing. Avoid any sexually-explicit input, nasty demeanor, and any other inappropriate actions. Nintendo still reserves the right to take down your videos, so remember to act accordingly.
Monetization of Content
As for monetization, as long as you stay within Nintendo’s specified methods, you can consider your content safe. They generally allow the most commonly used platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, which makes these platforms a sanctuary for content creators bearing in mind that they follow the rest of the guidelines. Other approved methods of monetization include:
- Facebook -Facebook Game Streamer, Facebook Level Up Program
- Niconico Douga/Niconico Live- Niconico Creators Program, Niconico Channel
- OPENREC.tv: OPENREC Creators Program
- Twitter: Amplify Publisher Program
- TwitCasting: “Item Revenue” and “Video Ad Revenue”
Do note that you are only allowed to create content with officially released titles and promotional materials, so avoid any other Nintendo game content that could potentially put you in trouble. For other activities such as hosting tournaments, understand that these are considered separate from the guidelines, so contact them and ask for consent.
Apart from following the guidelines, a content creator can never be too sure when it comes to protecting their content from copyright claims and strikes. So, among the following are safe practices you can observe in your content creation to stay on the safe side of monetization and engaging with your audience.
- Always read the policies: Information is your best friend, and to do that, you need to do some digging and research of your own. Luckily, a quick Google search can direct you to any game company’s policies on gameplays and live streaming. This applies to Nintendo and many others like EA, Epic Games, and Rockstar Games.
- Fair use: Familiarize yourself with fair use policy as many video-sharing and content creating websites follow them. Always make your content original as this will keep the copyright hammer away and garner you more audience.
- Obtain Third-Party Permissions: In Nintendo’s case, it is the content creator’s responsibility to get the necessary permission from third parties for intellectual property. See to it that you get the consent required to all the content you’ll be using and making to avoid any issues down the road.
While rules might seem strict at first, if you align yourself with the set guidelines, there isn’t much to worry about. On top of that, if your content is safe, appropriate, and engaging, then video game companies will have no reason to take them down. And on the off chance that they do, you can file a manual review of your content, knowing that you did not violate anything.