Our posts on famed gaming giant Nintendo will likely give you the impression that the company has a very strange distaste for its own fans. Your brain will probably try to convince you that this doesn’t make any sense, since Nintendo fans are what makes Nintendo money. Your brain is wrong. Nintendo has demonstrated over and over again that if forced to choose between maximum control over its intellectual property and allowing fans to do fan-things, it will choose control every single time.
YouTube in particular tends to find itself in Nintendo’s crosshairs, what with the site being the natural place for fans of Nintendo to share Nintendo-y things with other fans. It’s worth noting again that, on matters of copyright at least, there’s really no reason why Nintendo must issue takedowns for anything that even barely could be seen as infringing on its IP. Such is the case with the recent spate of takedowns the company issued against a YouTube channel which had the singular purpose of celebrating Nintendo game music.
“Game over,” the YouTube channel GilvaSunner, which has over 300,000 subscribers, wrote on Twitter yesterday. They also shared a screenshot of an email inbox displaying dozens of copyright claims against videos of music ranging from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s “Hyrule Field” to “Mega Man 2 Medley” from Super Smash Bros. 3DS.
This morning, GilvaSunner shared another bevy of copyright claims, this time against videos featuring music from Fire Emblem: Awakening. “115 videos in total blocked so far,” GilvaSunner wrote. “They started manually with the most viewed content on the channel, and are now going through the playlists one by one I guess.”
Here’s where the lack of sense in these protectionist actions really shines through. Nintendo makes money by having dedicated fans purchase Nintendo consoles and games for its systems. Fans become dedicated through their love of a game and the nostalgia they might have for a particular property. The soundtracks of games can play a huge part in that, of course. In other words, YouTube posts of Nintendo music, while technically infringing, mostly function to supercharge the fandom of Nintendo properties.
Which is why so many gaming companies do nothing to impede this expression of fandom. And Nintendo doesn’t have to either. It can, certainly, and it has, but it doesn’t have to. It only does so because the company appears to view protectionism as some kind of default setting.
Why? Because, while fans love Nintendo, Nintendo doesn’t share that same love for its fans.
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