I hate spoilers as much as the next person, but Atlus, buddy, this is not how you prevent them from leaking onto the Internet.
Atlus’ latest game, Persona 5, is extremely popular. The company recently posted a guideline that includes suggestions on how to post videos and streams that keep the game’s spoilers to a minimum. Most of what is covered is fairly reasonable (e.g., don’t talk about specific plot points, try to limit your videos to 90 minutes, etc.), but near the end, the post reads less like a suggestion and more like a threat:
“This being a Japanese title with a single-playthrough story means our masters in Japan are very wary about it. Sharing is currently blocked through the native PS4 UI. However, if you plan on streaming, video guidelines above apply except length. If you decide to stream past 7/7 (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT DOING THIS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED), you do so at the risk of being issued a content ID claim or worse, a channel strike/account suspension.”
This threat touches on the extremely controversial topic of “copyright law vs. fair use.” Some people argue that since everything in a video game is copyrighted, posting or streaming gameplay videos violates copyright law, especially if a person monetizes the video. Others claim such videos are covered under fair use due to the inclusion of altering factors such as commentary or various video effects. The law seems to be, at best, unclear on where copyright law ends and fair use begins in gameplay videos, so it is difficult to tell whether or not Atlus is in the right regarding these content ID claims and channel strikes. No matter where the law stands, however, gamers probably will not react well to Atlus’ post; people tend to think poorly of game companies who threaten to take down videos simply because they include game spoilers.
But what do you think? Are streams of Persona 5 past the in-game date of 7/7 protected by fair use? Is Atlus allowed to issue these content ID claims and channel strikes? Please comment down below.