Nintendo ends their Creators Program and loosens restrictions on content creators via new guidelines

The past half-week brought about good tidings for content creators who have long supported Nintendo products via live streams and video uploads.

In the midst of YouTube’s exploding popularity in recent years, Nintendo has been incredibly strict on how creators share their content. Copyright claims, and strikes in some cases, peppered a collection of established gaming channels, forcing their creators to either cease their flow of Nintendo content or to exercise more caution in catering to their guidelines, however unclear.

Nintendo is also known for being particularly aggressive against those who pirate their products online. In fact, according to this article by Phoenix New Times, an Arizona couple, Jacob and Cristian Mathias, who’d operated websites where users could download a library of Nintendo titles for free, was sued in July by Nintendo for profiting off their products via ad revenue and donations.

Rather than engage in a grueling legal battle with the gaming giant, the couple agreed to pay $12 million in compensation for the damages, whilst also agreeing to a permanent injunction barring them from future infringements of Nintendo’s property. Their former sites, LoveROMS and LoveRETRO, have since gone dark, as the domain-name registrations for both pages will be handed over to Nintendo’s possession as per the terms of their settlement.

As well, Nintendo had once taken a stance against the growth of tournament scenes that surround their titles, a decision that almost cost the Smash Melee community their spotlight in the 2013 Evolution World Championships at Las Vegas, Nevada.

The event, which is considered the annual world championship for the fighting game community, had raised over $200,000 in a charity drive on behalf of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the funds would be contributed by players seeking to get their game included in the lineup. The Smash Melee community ultimately won the contest by raising almost half that amount, and in doing so, the beloved GameCube classic was locked in as the eighth and final title for EVO 2013.

Shortly after EVO finalized their schedule for the event, a problem arose: they were approached by Nintendo with a “cease and desist” notice for Melee’s portion of the tournament. After an exchange between both parties, Nintendo agreed to let EVO proceed with the event, but at the cost of the opportunity for Melee to be live-streamed. After enduring severe criticism from their outraged fans, however, Nintendo retracted their decision entirely, and EVO was allowed to resume with Melee’s full-on inclusion for the tournament, live-stream and all.

Since then, Nintendo has had a gradual change in heart over the concept of esports. In 2017, they hosted a series of invitationals at E3 for a variety of products coming to the Nintendo Switch, such as Pokken Tournament DX, Splatoon 2 and ARMS. The streak continued in 2018 with an eight-player invitational for Smash Ultimate, which is headed to the Switch next Friday.

Content creators have since been required to submit their content to the Nintendo Creators Program, or NCP for short, in the hopes of obtaining their consent to monetize the aforementioned content.

In a twist that comes as a pleasant surprise to content creators, however, Nintendo has announced that their Creators Program is coming to a close at the end of December 2018. Yes, this means what you think it means: the company is finally loosening the restrictions imposed on content creators in terms of fair use, meaning that YouTube users in particular can breathe a sigh of relief…sort of.

In exchange, Nintendo has drawn up a list of guidelines that Nintendo content creators must abide by when featuring their products in their future videos. This includes games that have been released, as well as promotional materials such as Nintendo Directs.

The guidelines can be found here at Nintendo’s official website, but will be shared below for your convenience. To quote Nintendo’s guidelines:

  • You may monetize your videos and channels using the monetization methods separately specified by Nintendo. Other forms of monetization of our intellectual property for commercial purposes are not permitted.

  • We encourage you to create videos that include your creative input and commentary. Videos and images that contain mere copies of Nintendo Game Content without creative input or commentary are not permitted. You may, however, post gameplay videos and screenshots using Nintendo system features, such as the Capture Button on Nintendo Switch, without additional input or commentary.

  • You are only permitted to use Nintendo Game Content that has been officially released, or from promotional materials officially released by Nintendo (such as product trailers or Nintendo Directs).

  • If you want to use the intellectual property of a third party, you are responsible for obtaining any necessary third-party permissions.

  • You are not permitted to imply or state that your videos are officially affiliated with or sponsored by Nintendo.

  • We reserve the right to remove any content that we believe is unlawful, infringing, inappropriate, or not in line with these Guidelines.

For the competitive players out there, they may be curious to know if these newly established guidelines will affect any and all tournaments hosting live streams for Nintendo products. This appears to be the case with tournaments organized by Nintendo, but otherwise, non-affiliated events are considered to be “outside the scope of the guidelines,” as quoted in an FAQ seen here.

So for any aspiring content creators eager to share their love for Smash Ultimate, or for any other games released by Nintendo, this is particularly good news. Follow the new guidelines, and you have nothing to fear!

JagoBlake, the author of this article, is an esports enthusiast who just so happens to have a way with words. Whenever he is not scouring the Internet in pursuit of breaking news, he's investing time into his favorite fighting games so as not to appear inadequate in the face of competition. To support his work, follow him on Twitter - @xJagoBlake.

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