Shinobu Yoshida has been detained in the Miyagi prefecture of Japan on suspicion of breaking copyright regulations. He was taken into custody after uploading a video of gameplay from the well-known visual novel STEINS;GATE Hiyoku Renri no Darin without Nitroplus, the rights holder,’s consent. Yoshida earned advertising money from the video, which featured the game’s conclusion.
When announcing the arrest, the Content Overseas Distribution Agency (CODA) made it clear that Yoshida had also posted other movies using protected material, such as the anime versions of STEINS;GATE and Spy Family. These films fall under the umbrella of “fast content,” a subgenre of media production popular in Japan that condenses numerous works such as games, TV series, and movies while frequently providing viewers with summaries through captions or narration. One of these short-form content videos is netabare, which focuses on illustrating and describing resolutions or plot turns.
Yoshida has allegedly been uploading content protected by copyright since 2019, and CODA responded by taking enforcement action after receiving complaints from copyright holders. The “malicious” use of gaming footage was expressly addressed by CODA, especially when simply video clips from a game are merged with a narrative and edited to present a brief overview leading up to the conclusion. Only posting or extracting the climactic scene is regarded as objectionable. The fact that this arrest may be a world first and is thought to be the first of its kind in Japan signals a significant breakthrough.
The fact that STEINS;GATE is a visual novel had a significant influence in this situation even if there are innumerable gameplay footage available on websites like YouTube. Since the majority of the game requires reading through the plot, a “fast content” video may be considered a direct alternative to buying the game. Concerns are raised about how this would affect game sales.
Shinobu Yoshida, a 52-year-old Nagoya resident and the suspect, admitted to the allegations and said he was aware that what he was doing was against the law. He was apprehended after being tracked by a “cyber patrol.”
Technically, copyright violation could apply when a lot of gameplay footage is streamed or uploaded. Nevertheless, most game publishers allow streamers and video makers to share their gameplay, including complete playthroughs, as long as it’s not for profit. This case shows that copyright owners are likely to have legal backing on their side if they decide to go after specific people.
Understanding copyright regulations and upholding the rights of intellectual property owners are crucial for both content producers and viewers. Sharing gameplay videos can be a well-liked form of entertainment and advertising, but it should always be done legally and, if required, with permission.