YouTuber Arrested for Game and Anime Uploads

A YouTuber in Japan was arrested in Nagoya for uploading anime and gameplay clips to his YouTube account. The uploads were found to be in violation of the CopyRight Act, as determined by the Content Overseas Distrubution Association (CODA). It is the first arrest of its type so far in Japan, though it may not be the last. The man is 52 years old and was arrested by Miyagi Prefectural Police.

Among the anime the man uploaded were clips from Steins;Gate and Spy x Family. He had also uploaded gameplay footage from the visual novel game Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace, with an hour-long “Let’s Play” style video that had over 800,000,000 views. It was this video that alerted Kadokawa, who hold the copyright for Steins;Gate, about the YouTube channel. Reportedly, the YouTuber had been uploading anime footage since 2019 with no consequence – until now.

The main issues that were found with the YouTuber’s content were the length of the videos, and the fact that many were being monetized (including the one with 800 million views). While many game and anime companies understand that fans will upload parts of their media onto YouTube, they often put a limit for how long the clips used can be, and what can actually be monetized considering the YouTubers do not hold any copyright licenses. This often limits the upload of things like full episodes of anime, or Let’s Play videos that make money from ads.

These kinds of guidelines are different depending on the anime and gaming company, with some having very strict and specific guidelines about what can be uploaded and others less strict. Some companies, like Nintendo, allow monetization of gameplay footage – as long as the creator is part of the YouTube Partner Program. All of these rules and regulations regarding what can and cannot be uploaded and monetized are complicated, but have to be strictly adhered to according to what is legal and what will land you arrested like this man.CODA is the group protecting many of Japan’s biggest media companies’ copyrights. Along with other organizations like the Motion Picture Association of the United States and the Copyright Society of China, they are at the center of International Anti-Piracy Organization (along with 450 other members). This organization was formed in April 2022, so it is relatively new, and this arrest is the first one that CODA has made in Japan.

Now that organizations like CODA are starting to crack down on copyright infringement, it may change the streaming world. Streamers and content creators will need to be careful about what they upload in the future, and remember that not one set of rules applies to every game, or every anime, in every country. While some may feel that this will limit people’s freedom and creativity, it is important all the same to follow the law, and an important lesson can be learned about the consequences of ignoring it.

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Sean Morrison