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Nintendo The Media Youtube

Nintendo Nixes YouTube Videos of Super Mario Speedruns 151

The Boston Globe reports (based on Kotaku's story earlier this month) that Nintendo is cracking down on YouTube videos which show speedruns of its games -- computer-guided play that skips completely human hands pressing buttons on a controller. Why? The article notes that these play-throughs "require the use of ROMs, digital backup files of the original game that can be freely passed from computer to computer, or downloaded from well-known websites. Therefore, Nintendo reasons — and YouTube is clearly sympathetic to this reasoning — there are copyright issues at play, since players aren’t using the (ancient) original game cartridges, or newer copies sold directly online by Nintendo." Legally justifiable or not, this seems unlikely to build goodwill with some of Nintendo's most nostalgic fans.
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Nintendo Nixes YouTube Videos of Super Mario Speedruns

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I feel like we've talked about this before.

    Maybe I'm remembering the takedown of the JavaScript remake of SMB. Either way, Nintendo are being assholes about this stuff. Maybe create some new games and consoles instead of protecting your 30-year-old stuff!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20, 2015 @10:56AM (#50560937)

    What the deuce? Yes, there are *some* people out there who use ROMs, hacked or otherwise, for their speedruns, but there are quite a few people who do them using stock consoles and vanilla cartridges. I can understand Nintendo getting upset about hacked gameplay, but they should not penalize people who glitch games or simply try to play as fast as possible.

    • Not only that, but there are things like Retrode ( https://www.dragonbox.de/en/63... [dragonbox.de] ) that allow you to make your own ROM - file from an original cartridge that you own or just play directly from the cartridge using an emulator.

    • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @11:07AM (#50560991)
      They're not penalizing normal speedruns, the summary is baiting you into thinking that. If you read the article you'll see that they're targeting tool-assisted speedruns, i.e.: ones that use pirated software.
      • There is absolutely nothing about a speedrun being tool-assisted that requires pirated software. The Retrode I just linked, for example, is a really easy and simple way of using your own, original cartridges. Also, there are plenty of videos on the Internet where people are using original consoles and cartridges connected to automated, modified controllers -- ie. tool-assisted runs.

        • Which no doubt is illegal in the eyes of Nintendo (and probably some states). You can be sure that they do not endorse any modification or copying of cartridges of systems.
          • Really? Nintendo had it in their console license agreement that you could not use third-party controllers? Or that you could only use Nintendo-licensed third-party controllers?

          • I do recall nintendo having beef with game genie at one point. I would look at this took in the same vein as a game genie
          • I don't think having a robot arm control the controller can be considered modifying the system. And I can't see how Nintendo could prove that this isn't how you did it.

        • by AAWood ( 918613 )
          To follow on this, I invite people to look up the Awesome Games Done Quick/Summer Games Down Quick charity streams. They often include sections by TASbot; a robot that plays tool assisted speedruns on actual consoles, running the actual games from actual game cartridge. ROMs were probably involved somewhere along the lines to create those TAS runs, but that's not what the videos are showing.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you read the article you'll see that they're targeting tool-assisted speedruns, i.e.: ones that use pirated software.

        They have absolutely no way of knowing if the software used is pirated or not.
        They just assume that it is pirated since it is easier to use pirated software than licensed software in this case.

        I also assume that Nintendo are illegally bribing politicians and should be considered a criminal organization since it is easier to get to a dominant market position that way. Just like Nintendo I don't have any proof to back my speculations up with.

      • There is a difference between an infringing work and a work that may have involved infringement in its making.

        For example, posting a song/movie without the copyright holder's permission is not the same thing as posting a video that includes a song/movie clip that is protected by fair use, but instead of buying the song/movie you got it from a filesharing site.
    • by porges ( 58715 )

      The summary and Slashdot headline are inaccurate; the story makes clear that it's only talking about tool-assisted speedruns, which do require a ROM. (And the concrete example in the Times article refers to a hacked ROM.)

      • But you can dump your own ROM. Or at least, you can get the same version ROM that matches a cart you bought at the flea market. So that's not necessarily illegal, either.

        • UMG v. MP3.com (Score:4, Informative)

          by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.TEAcom minus caffeine> on Sunday September 20, 2015 @11:21AM (#50561057) Homepage Journal

          Or at least, you can get the same version ROM that matches a cart you bought at the flea market.

          This is illegal, you know [youtube.com], for the reasoning described in the opinion of the court in UMG v. MP3.com [wikipedia.org]. To take advantage of the necessary adaptation and backup provisions of US copyright law (17 USC 117), you have to dump the ROM yourself. And you can't just buy an NES Game Pak reader at the same flea market. Even the Retrode never supported NES format; it came with Super NES and Sega Genesis cartridge readers, and most adapters fit in one of those slots.

          • I know there used to be readers for NES games. I never owned one myself, I only had one for the SNES and Genesis. I forget who I gave it to long ago, accompanied by a big collection of floppies. I replaced the fdd in it before passing it along.

            • Kazzo [infiniteneslives.com] is a $20-30 USB device for Windows only (sigh). You get one connector for $20, $5 for each additional connector, and the options are NES, FC, and SNES — but the SNES connector is only for loading their SNES flash cart.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Not in Canada.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Are you sure? The Canadian government added several new restrictions to the Copyright Act in 2012 through the Copyright Modernization Act.

    • by PKFC ( 580410 ) <pkfcNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Sunday September 20, 2015 @11:32AM (#50561091)

      Here's a list of tool assisted speed runs that are actually run on real hardware with a real copy of software : http://tasvideos.org/Movies-Ve... [tasvideos.org]

      Getting things to sync to real hardware is amazing that so much effort FROM FANS has gone into preserving these games in emulators that it works outside of those emulators.

  • H4xx0ring (Score:4, Insightful)

    by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @10:59AM (#50560959) Journal

    It's also bullshit because that's a handy way to get kids into the guts of computing. They see it and think "I want to do that!" And they can. They can get an emulator, they can get the ROM, and all of a sudden they're looking at the machine code trying to figure out how it makes all the bleeps and the bloops on the screen.

    I think that's missing in this age of locked-down everything. Back in my day (THERE. I SAID IT. I SAID IT.) I got into programming by copying the BASIC code for games out of the back of magazines into my Apple IIe. You realize all the stuff on the screen and all action comes from things humans wrote...and it's not really that much...and this is neat and all but how I make the ships move a little faster? Oh, that must be this part of the code right here...I'll change that to a 5 instead of a 4 and look the ships go faster!

    • Let them get an emulator, and let them get a homebrew ROM [pdroms.de]. Just stay away from infringing copies of games published by Nintendo itself.

    • Oh, come on, it's easier for young people today to get into the guts of computing than ever before. I remember as a child, the most I could do with my parent's Mac was play with Resedit or create little Forth programs that could hardly interface with the OS. All the cool stuff (C compilers, documentation) was extremely expensive. It was only in the 1990s that, thanks to the convergence of Free Software and x86, a person could get a serious dev environment for cheap. Kids these days can get a Raspberry Pi fo
      • Oh, yes, and I know there was Applescript and Hypercard too, but those are still more abstracted from the machine than other things that a budding dev would like to do.
      • Re:H4xx0ring (Score:4, Informative)

        by flink ( 18449 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @12:38PM (#50561461)

        Oh, come on, it's easier for young people today to get into the guts of computing than ever before. I remember as a child, the most I could do with my parent's Mac was play with Resedit or create little Forth programs that could hardly interface with the OS. All the cool stuff (C compilers, documentation) was extremely expensive. It was only in the 1990s that, thanks to the convergence of Free Software and x86, a person could get a serious dev environment for cheap. Kids these days can get a Raspberry Pi for cheap, install Linux, and immediately have access to all kinds of ways to tinker -- even quasi-professional documentation like O'Reilly books is free today thanks to torrents.

        The 8-bit computers of the early to mid 80s are way simpler to understand and hack on for a kid than an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. When I was 7 there was no way I would have had any grasp on a C compiler. However, booting up my VIC-20 dumped me immediately to a BASIC interpreter where I could immediately begin to mess around. It wasn't very long before I was POKEing values into video memory to create simple animations and games based on program listings in books and magazines. Eventually I was creating my own programs from scratch with not much more than 5 or 6 simple commands and no tool chain to learn.

        Modern systems might be far more capable and make it "easier" to create a sophisticated system, but there are many more layers of abstraction between you and the machine and a lot more to learn in order to make it do something useful.

        • The 8-bit computers of the early to mid 80s are way simpler to understand and hack on for a kid than an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

          If desired, a Raspberry Pi can be set up to dump the user right into an interpreted language. A child today can have the same experience as the early-mid 1980s plus a myriad of other ways to tinker, ranging from a variety of scripted languages to compiled code and even poking hardware values (all of which are well-documented on the Pi).

          And while a compiler or whatever might have se

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Do your kids a favour and NOT subject them to this. Don't fool them into thinking computers are a way to get a great career because they're not. At best they'll end up slaving on keyboards, at worst any mention of the knowledge garnered this way will make them "persons of interest". This is the world we live in now, unfortunately, and there's no changing it.

      • Yes, it's easier today to get into, but you have to go looking for it. Their playing games on the iPhones but they can't look at the code for the phone to see how it works.

      • Oh, come on, it's easier for young people today to get into the guts of computing than ever before.

        Not true. Before, it used to be necessary to get into the guts of computing, eg the aforementioned typing in BASIC code from a magazine. Now it is technically easier, but no longer necessary -- so it can only be done by those few who possess the rare trait of initiative. Most will just browse the web and play games, because they rolled a critical fail on their initiative check.

    • "because that's a handy way to get kids into the guts of computing."

      This is not Nintendo's problem, and they are under no obligation to facilitate it.

      While Nintendo's position is not the best it could be, silly counterarguments just give them an excuse to dismiss alternatives.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @11:08AM (#50561001)

    1. Retards -- let's piss off the consumers ...who _used_ to buy your stuff; Keep it up and Nintendo will find they won't have any consumers left to sell to.

    2. Can someone smack Nintendo's Marketing dept with a sudden-outbreak-of-common-sense please?

    Speed runs are FREE publicity.

    This is the best advertising money can buy -- when consumers _willingly_ advertise your product for you without it costing you a cent! /sarcasm Nah, can't have that -- let's waste money on bullshit DMCA and drive a wedge between consumers.

    3. Part of creating something for the culture to enjoy is that it BECOMES part of the culture -- ergo, the limited terms of copyright.

    4. Why am I _not_ allowed to use an emulator if I legally have a physical cartridge? The medium is irrelevant -- I already purchased a license by physically buying the cartridge.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Speed runs are FREE publicity.

      Not every publisher desires every type of publicity for every product it produces. Some publishers, for example, don't want modified versions of older products to compete with the same publisher's newer products. For example, if hackers mod all the new Super Smash Bros. For characters into Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nintendo won't be able to sell as many copies of Super Smash Bros. For.

      Part of creating something for the culture to enjoy is that it BECOMES part of the culture -- ergo, the limited terms of copyright.

      Super Mario Bros. is less than one-third of the way through its limited copyright term. It has 65 more years to become part

    • It's Nintendo, the most oblivious game company out there, the company that could easily make a very pretty penny by putting their last two decades of games on Steam for a reasonable (keyword there) price. Does this really come as a surprise to anyone? Who really knows what they're thinking.

      ergo, the limited terms of copyright.

      Ha. It's funny that the only way to Super Mario Bros. legally (outside of a used copy at a yard sale or something) is to spend $5 at the Nintendo eshop. Five dollars, for something that came out in 1985, literally 3 d

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Odd.

        You say

        It's Nintendo, the most oblivious game company out there, the company that could easily make a very pretty penny by putting their last two decades of games on Steam for a reasonable (keyword there) price. Does this really come as a surprise to anyone? Who really knows what they're thinking.

        then you say

        Ha. It's funny that the only way to Super Mario Bros. legally (outside of a used copy at a yard sale or something) is to spend $5 at the Nintendo eshop. Five dollars, for something that came out in

    • 1. Retards -- let's piss off the consumers ...who _used_ to buy your stuff; Keep it up and Nintendo will find they won't have any consumers left to sell to.

      Nintendo is the king of casual gaming (mobile phones excepted of course). The type of customers who care about this are an incredible minority by a far greater margin than for any other game company.

    • by RyoShin ( 610051 )

      Nintendo has a long history of being staunchly anti-first-anything. I believe someone high up in Nintendo once compared the second-hand selling of their games to piracy. Sony and Microsoft have dropped region encoding with their latest consoles, while Nintendo keeps it up.

      The only reason we haven't seen obscene DRM from Nintendo (like requiring the kind of things Microsoft tried to do with the Xbone) is because Nintendo is still trying to completely figure out how that internet thingy works.

      I say all of thi

  • by lesincompetent ( 2836253 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @11:12AM (#50561019)
    And the reasoning behind the need to block these videos is?
    Protecting... uhm... the princess' privacy?
    Perhaps it's just the last tale of woe from the 'corporate bullying' department?
    • by bsolar ( 1176767 )

      First of all, making sure that the existence of emulators is buried as deep as possible, since they somehow believe that it's the major cause of their lack of profits.

      On top of that, they want every content featuring Nintendo IP to be licensed through their Nintendo Creators Program, which requires an approval of the video from Nintendo before publication and Nintendo getting a share of the profits from Youtube. They believe fair use basically never applies to any and whatever content produced which feature

    • The reasoning is probable: because of lawyers.
  • by l2718 ( 514756 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @11:37AM (#50561107)

    I'm not sure what Nintendo's exact legal claim is (of course they'd rather not specify it!), but to this armchair lawyer is seems odd.

    Since these videos are derivative works of the games, they are probably legal because they are fair use of the games (they display graphics from the game but aren't a substitute for the game etc). I guess Nintendo is claiming that "fair use" doesn't apply if your source is an infringing copy of the work. This is not impossible, though I don't see why it should be relevant. More importantly, I think that the custom ROMs involve fair use of Nintendo's ROMs, especially since Nintendo isn't offering new ROMs for sale.

    • I'm not sure what Nintendo's exact legal claim is (of course they'd rather not specify it!)

      A video game is an audiovisual work, and Nintendo has the exclusive right under copyright law to perform its works publicly.

      Since these videos are derivative works of the games

      Nintendo has the exclusive right under copyright law to prepare derivative works of its works.

      I guess Nintendo is claiming that "fair use" doesn't apply if your source is an infringing copy of the work.

      This is true. I remember some courts interpreting the "purpose and character of the use" factor to rule out fair use defenses by alleged infringers who have unclean hands.

      More importantly, I think that the custom ROMs involve fair use of Nintendo's ROMs, especially since Nintendo isn't offering new ROMs for sale.

      Since when were Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World removed from Virtual Console?

      • The existence of Virtual Console versions of these games cancels out the claim of the usual abandonware apologists that 'there is no way to give Nintendo money' so they are entitled to pirate roms of the game.

        Just as was the case when the games were sold in their original versions, you can presently buy a Nintendo 3DS handheld, then go onto the Nintendo online shop and buy the 'virtual console' versions of these games.

        Nintendo does all the work for you: your purchase gets you a nicely set up game to play o

      • by l2718 ( 514756 )
        Thank you for a highly informative reply.
      • A video game is an audiovisual work, and Nintendo has the exclusive right under copyright law to perform its works publicly.

        So does this mean that Twitch is a criminal enterprise? Also, does this mean that any game review is in violation copyright law, since they are derivative works based on the original audiovisual work? Also, you're leaving something out: a game is an interactive audiovisual work. A recording of a speedrun is not interactive.

        I strongly suspect that Nintendo doesn't have any legal standi

        • So does this mean that Twitch is a criminal enterprise?

          It is if it doesn't have a defense to copyright infringement. Following the OCILLA takedown procedure (17 USC 512) is one defense to copyright infringement that Twitch, YouTube, or another service provider can use.

          Also, does this mean that any game review is in violation copyright law, since they are derivative works based on the original audiovisual work?

          A review is infringing unless it has a defense, which is likely one based on the four factors of fair use (17 USC 107). For one thing, a review usually uses far less footage than a complete playthrough, which brings "amount and substantiality" in its favor more than it does for a speedrun video. S

  • Sometimes I play NES/SNES games for achievements and lately I've been documenting them on youtube. I got close to getting 30 lives the hard way in Contra. I either got 29 or 30, not sure. I think I just got up to 29. I mean I earned 27 lives but lost a couple a long the way.

    My next thing I was going to try was Super Mario Bros 1 without any powerups, no warps and no KOs. I figured it might give me a couple months of entertainment and I could share it with others. But if I'm not allowed to do this,
    • Running pirated copies of their games is not 'embracing' them. Buy a Wii or a 3DS and buy a virtual console version of Contra and Super Mario Bros. Pirating their stuff is distancing yourself.

    • You can still do it, you just cant do it on youtube. You dont need youtube to distribute video.
  • Just because something illegal was done somewhere in the process to produce the video doesn't automatically make the video itself illegal.
    This seems like fair use and I don't see how the DMCA or any other law applies in this situation.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These people will just find a new streaming site to use... How do marketing teams think this helps?

  • Nintendo is very aggressive at eliminating anything it doesn't like. It really doesn't seem to get the notion of community or of just letting it slide. They also haven't quite got the hang of the Streisand Effect.

    I can understand to a certain extent why they do this, but like the unofficial Pokemon party, they need to know when to turn a blind eye, or play community building tactics behind the scenes. BTW I am curious to know whether this action was by Nintendo Japan or Nintendo USA and how they vary in th

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let's start by acknowledging that piracy is a major issue for companies like Nintendo and that they should do something.

    That being said I think they are doing the wrong things.

    There was an article about a web browser playable version of the original Mario game whose developer got a take down notice from Nintendo. I understand Nintendo can't allow people to just post their games in a web browser format for free. The problem is that Nintendo should be hiring this developer and doing this themselves either s

    • Nintendo should have their own emulators and a ROM shopping site.

      Nintendo has Virtual Console on the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Cederic ( 9623 )

      Let's start by acknowledging that piracy is a major issue for companies like Nintendo and that they should do something.

      No. I don't acknowledge that at all. I think they are not harmed at all by piracy, of the traditional or electronic kind.

  • In the US, a backup is a backup is a backup. ROMS are LEGAL as long as you own the physical cart. The simple solution is to include a shot of the cart in the video stream and tell Nintendo to pound sand.
  • Goodwill indeed. The suits keep believing they can control the universe, even as steadily-changing conditions/technology shrink their actual grip.

    Down the line, grooming a bigger base will be what matters, harboring loyalty and, yes, good will that makes the phrase "Nintendo" conceptually linked with positive ideas and words in the public consciousness.
  • Nintendo doesn't care about nostalgic fans. All it cares about is how quickly it can file for bankruptcy.
  • I am surprised Nintendo hasn't been more aggressive in enforcing its IP.
    Like targeting http://www.supermariobrosx.org... [supermariobrosx.org] and Super Mario Bros X (a PC game that lets you build and play Mario levels, something in direct competition with their new Super Mario Maker game)
    Or going after the many web sites selling arcade machines featuring unlicensed copies of Nintendo games in them.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Then why don't the SMBX developers make additional graphic skins that aren't pixel-for-pixel copies of Super Mario Bros. graphics?

  • New direction on where and how to control IP ? Be damned the fanboys?
  • If you create a painting using stolen paintbrushes, the painting is still yours.

  • Nintendo created some program, so that users can monetize ther LP's - AFTER Nintendo censored them of course.

    Maybe this is a step to coax those players into this program, where Nintendo can silence all critics at will?

    Or they just don't want the world to know that their Mario Games can be played through in mere minutes :D
    (i know that's not true for all marios, but the older ones for sure)

  • Nothing better to do with their time!

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