Nintendo Hates You: Massive Takedowns Of YouTube Videos Featuring Mario Bros. Fan-Created Levels

from the your-fandom-is-in-another-castle dept

As of late, Nintendo’s relationship with YouTube and the YouTube community has been, shall we say, tumultuous. After rolling out a bad policy to share revenue with YouTubers on the basis that those personalities torpedo their reputations by promising only positive Nintendo coverage, claiming the monetization for a large number of “let’s play” videos uploaded by independent YouTubers, and even going so far as to lay claim to the review of a Nintendo game created by well-known YouTuber “Angry Joe”, Nintendo clearly seems to believe that YouTube is not so much an independent community as it is some kind of official public relations wing for the company. This is really dumb on many different levels, but chiefly it’s dumb because it breeds ill-will amongst fans, of which Nintendo used to have many.

And the war drum beats on, apparently, as Nintendo has seen fit to issue massive takedowns of videos of fan-created Mario Bros. levels as the company releases its own Mario-level-builder, Super Mario Maker. What appears to be catching these YouTubers in Nintendo’s crosshairs is if they used any emulators or hacks in order to make these levels.

Nintendo is targeting speedrunners and modders in a new round of YouTube copyright claims, issuing takedown requests to users who post footage from modified Super Mario World levels. The mass deletion coincides with the upcoming launch of Super Mario Maker, a Nintendo-licensed level creation toolkit for the Wii U console. Removed videos feature unauthorized Super Mario World levels created using freeware tools, rather than Nintendo’s official level design software.

Nintendo’s recent copyright claims impact speedrunners who have spent years crafting and documenting unsanctioned Super Mario World mods. According to a Kotaku report, YouTube user “PangaeaPanga” states that their channel was “wrecked” by copyright claims, resulting in the permanent removal of many popular videos.

In other words, modders had long beat Nintendo to the punch in creating software that allowed fans of Mario Bros. to create their own levels, upload them, and have folks like PangaeaPanga play them out and eventually master them. This was allowed to go on exactly up until Nintendo decided to jump into this arena, at which time the takedowns ensued. What you may not know is that there has been an active Mario Bros. modding community for these past few years, dedicated to building the most challenging levels for others to play and then post their runs on YouTube. In other words, these are huge Nintendo fans.

Super Mario World enthusiasts frequently create custom levels designed to challenge veteran players. Many of these levels require the use of little-known glitches and quirks within Super Mario World‘s engine, adding a degree of difficulty not present in the original game. Creative application of Super Mario World‘s hacking utilities has also produced unique autoplaying levels, including tributes that link in-game sound effects to backing music tracks.

Under the terms of YouTube’s copyright structure, users who have their videos claimed by copyright owners lose the ability to earn advertising revenue from their creations. Copyright holders have the option of claiming ad revenue from content-matched videos. As part of its most recent round of copyright claims, Nintendo instead opted to delete targeted videos entirely.

So we have Nintendo staring lovingly into the eyes of its biggest fans while pissing on their legs. And for what? Part of the reason Nintendo will likely make a killing with Super Mario Maker is that these dedicated fans had built up an interest in these modded levels and speedruns in the first place. Now, Nintendo intends on swooping in, killing off the videos of these fans, and yet cashing in on the market that the fans essentially created? How charming.

It’s not that Nintendo can’t do this, it’s that it shouldn’t. The company gains nothing except another round of fan discontent. Real smart, guys.

Filed Under: , , , , ,
Companies: nintendo, youtube

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Nintendo Hates You: Massive Takedowns Of YouTube Videos Featuring Mario Bros. Fan-Created Levels”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
DanA says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m very tempted to put the asshollish let-me-google-that-for-you link but I’m feeling generous.

HB Gary is a computer security company. The CEO, Aaron Barr, did some investigation to identify the leadership of Anonymous and then started bragging that he knew their real identities, had ‘pwned’ them, and proposed a talk at a security conference to reveal their identities and how he had used social media to figure them out. He got a big story in the financial times upsetting Anonymous and then they found out that he had been going around talking about selling the data and had a meeting with the FBI.

Anonymous hit the and websites using SQL injection (because they were using a shitty management system which didn’t blackhole malformed queries) to grab big chunks of the database including the user database. This wouldn’t have been so bad if the database weren’t poorly encrypted using only a single hash and no salting. Worse yet was that they used the MD5 algorithm which is computationally simple and popular and thus has masses of rainbow tables available for it. As a result all of the users with passwords that weren’t super-complex had them revealed including Barr himself. He further compounded the error by using the same password in all sorts of other systems giving Anonymous access to his email and then, since he was the email administrator, to the entire company’s email. Some social engineering by emailing from Barr’s account and they had the companies security specialist give them both the username and password for root access for

These passwords from the SQL injection also gave them non-root access to the backup and other systems which they quickly turned into root because didn’t patch against exploits that had been known about and patches available for for months. With root access to pretty much everything the company had they stashed piles of data and emails before deleting the original data along with the backups and replacing their website with a standard ‘You got pwned’ one.

Basically HBGary did absolutely everything that it was their business to tell other people not to do.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Oh, this has been going on for longer than that.

What you may not know (even if you know the “what you may not know” from this article) is that there’s an independently developed engine and editor system called Super Mario Bros X that allows fans to create not only levels, but entire games complete with overworld maps, supporting game mechanics from SMB 2, 3, and Super Mario World, with bits and pieces of Zelda and Metroid thrown in for good measure.

It was well received in a certain section of the indie game development community, and some really impressive games were built with it. Then a few years ago, all development abruptly ceased and Nintendo somehow took over the domain name for the project. It’s now a generic Nintendo portal page.

So it doesn’t surprise me in the least to see them pulling a stunt like this.

NeghVar (profile) says:

Killing fan-base

Any company should know the killing or alienating one’s fan-base never turns out good. History has shown this. Back in 1998, Viacom went on a crusade to shut down any and all Star Trek fan sites with copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit threats. It created a huge backlash from the Star Trek community. Viacom eventually ceased their crusade and allow fair use of their IP.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Killing fan-base

Except fans are an extremely forgiving lot, especially the rabid ones that rally around Mario Bros., Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.

Viacom could have simply ignored the backlash and still continue to reap its huge profits. I’m pretty sure Nintendo isn’t going to give much of a rat’s… as it’s always been rather userbase hostile and it STILL has a bulletproof empire with Mario Bros. It tends to have people decrying their “stunts” with one side of the mouth then they fall all over themselves to shove their money in Nintendo’s face soon as the New Hotness Mario game comes out.

EA and Ubisoft are pretty much the same. They have some of the most onerous and broken DRM out there right now and you’ll get massive outcries over the most current broken game and those same idiots turn around and clamour for the next Far Cry, Dragon Age, etc. What are they going to listen to, the reasoned arguments against DRM or the hordes of gamers telling them their broken games and DRM schemes don’t matter by buying them?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Killing fan-base

“it STILL has a bulletproof empire with Mario Bros”

Define “bulletproof”. they suffered huge losses before the Wii, and the Wii U has been massively disappointing. If it weren’t for the DS line (where they have little real competition), the company would be firmly in the crapper.

“get massive outcries over the most current broken game and those same idiots”

What always amuses me about idiot claims like this is the idea that there’s only one group of gamers, one that attacks the company then hypocritically buys their products anyway. The idea that there’s multiple groups of gamers, and at least one group has never bought another product from these companies after being burned by DRM is inconvenient to the narrative.

Yes, there’s a bunch of idiots out there who buy substandard products. They’re the ones we’re trying to educate with the outcries. Your lies about those of us who have boycotted these companies does not help the message.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I gave up on console gaming a long time ago because of the lack/difficulty of modding the games. I also boycott system-specific, exclusive franchises because I refuse to buy a new console just because a cool game came out for it. With PC games, even without publishers’ blessings, gamers can own their games in all relevant senses of the word.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:

With PC games, even without publishers’ blessings, gamers can own their games in all relevant senses of the word.

Well, except for games that use online DRM, like anything from EA, Ubisoft, Steam, etc. For those, you need the company’s permission to install and play the games and they can deactivate them on a moment’s notice if they ever decide that you’ve violated their terms of service.

minijedimaster (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Not all steam games contain DRM or even require steam beyond the installation. There is a decent size list of games out there on steam that can be played once installed even if you uninstalled steam or moved the game folder to another location and closed steam completely.

Either way, Valve has been OK to this point as far as being consumer friendly in my opinion and is the least objectionable. Ubisoft can go suck a bag of dicks though.

Lurker Keith says:

Fair Use

Wouldn’t the Kaizo-difficult ROM hacks count as parodies? Which should make them immune to Nintendo’s incompetence here?

Also, since the levels are different, wouldn’t this be more of a trademark issue, or are the enemies & backgrounds individually copyrighted?

Additionally, many of the fan levels are transformative, to varying degrees. I think many of these levels/ videos may pass a 4-Factor Test.

Also, the Super Beard Bros./ The Completionist has said he has fans within Nintendo enjoying his Kaizo Mario coverage, so this really is just one branch of Nintendo acting against it’s own interest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Every other game company knows youtube videos = free advertising ,made by fans and watched by fans .
Which may encourage sales of new and old games .
They want people to make videos , pay nintendo to
use their games to make videos and basically work for nintendo as pr employee,s .
I think the people in nintendo japan are 50 old employees,
who dont, understand social media ,the internet ,or the concept of fair use ,video reviews .
OR they see youtube as just another source of income ,
like the music companys saw cellphone ringtones .
SO at this point any big youtube personality has stopped making nintendo videos .
Apart from big sites like ign who may put up review video,s .
It,s similar the music companys regarded the web as
just a tool for pr , myspace ,blogs, till steve jobs
and itunes came along and showed them how to use it
as a positive medium.

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: Saw a similar scenario a while back.

When my kids were younger they played Maple Story. Then someone discovered how to run private servers where you could set your own levels etc… some were hard, some easy, some silly. The kids loved them.

Then Nexon went after all the sites that had anything at all about private servers.
Their weapon of choice…copyright.
It didn’t take long until most every site folded up shop.

There were no lawyers, because just like this case, the people that would hire them to fight do not have the bottomless pockets that Nexon and Nintendo have.

Anonymous Coward says:

Romhacks have been around for decades and were the reason Mario Maker was even made in the first place. NOW they’re determined a financial threat even though fans of romhacks bought this game. Are they so desperate, they have to purge free videos that didn’t even make the uploaders a penny?

It’s not free romhacks that drive me away from buying the game, it’s Nintendo’s attitude and approach that make me reluctant to ever give them money again.

That One Guy (profile) says:

You don't have to act smart if your customers are idiots

While I absolutely agree that this is a ridiculously stupid move, showing nothing but contempt towards Nintendo’s fans, the only important question to be asked is:

How many of those who had their videos removed are still buying games and systems from Nintendo?

I’m guessing the percentage is probably fairly high, because a whole lot of people have absolutely no self-respect, and see nothing wrong with throwing money at companies that clearly see them as nothing more than walking wallets.

Should Nintendo attack their fans like this? No, clearly not. But at the same time, why wouldn’t they? It’s not like they’re likely to lose many paying customers from the act, as the same idiots who had their channels gutted are almost certain to turn right around and throw more money at Nintendo, like addicts who just cannot comprehend not getting their fix.

If the majority of a company’s customers will obediently line up to hand over their money, no matter how badly you treat them, it’s safe enough for a company to ignore the minority who are actually willing to vote with their wallets and refuse to do business with them if treated poorly enough.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: You don't have to act smart if your customers are idiots

I’m waiting for the “true”. All I see are multiple people assuming that the people who complain and the people who buy are the same people – no citations for that “fact” except someone’s ass. If that assumption is not true (and it’s certainly not in all cases), th rest of it is just fiction.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You don't have to act smart if your customers are idiots

A) If you complain and weren’t buying before, then the company probably doesn’t care about you.

B) If you complain and were buying before, but aren’t now thanks to how they treated you, the company might care about you, assuming enough people follow suit.

C) If you don’t complain, and still buy, no matter how the company treats you, then the company has no reason to care about you, because they know you’ll pay out no matter what they do.

This is hardly the first time they’ve pulled a blatantly anti-customer move, and yet they still continue to do so. So either not enough people are doing B, or enough people fall under C that they simply don’t care.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You don't have to act smart if your customers are idiots

“So either not enough people are doing B, or enough people fall under C that they simply don’t care.”

That’s a simplistic way of looking at it, but on an individual level it’s much more nuanced. My main problem is the tendency to pretend that everyone in category B are the ones who buy. That’s not true, by your own definitions.

The trick is to try and get people in category C to care and understand. There may be people who honestly don’t care among them, but many of them may be misinformed (this is hardly something discussed in mainstream press) or apathetic. People may know what’s going on, but either don’t understand the issue or erroneously blame YouTube or video creators rather than understand that Nintendo are to blame. There’s also the issue of new gamers – if 10,000 people boycott a particular game, but the last 10,000 people to buy their first Nintendo buy a copy with their console, that’s not a failure of those who dropped out. It’s also no guarantee that the loss won’t be greater next time.

Also, people who have been category B will drift to A eventually (e.g. if you’ve boycotted Ubisoft since Assassins Creed 2, they will probably consider you category A even if you bought every one of their games before that and would be tempted back for AC Syndicate if they made the right move). That may be money left on the table, not just right now but for a decade, but blaming those people for the fact that some people other bought it is hardly right.

Anyway, that’s really my point. There’s a lot of different demographics and a lot of different kinds of gamer. Pretending that the ones complaining and the ones buying are always the same group is highly disingenuous, as are the person attacks on gamers as a whole for not getting the desired results immediately.

Kal Zekdor (profile) says:

Re: You don't have to act smart if your customers are idiots

You’re acting like it’s a binary situation, either everyone boycotts Nintendo and they go out of business, or everyone lines up like zombies to fork over money. Reality is always much more nuanced.

PR debacles can quickly become disastrous, even a relatively small drop in customers over a short period (say, 10% drop this quarter) can easily trigger restructuring (read: layoffs) if projections aren’t met. Particularly with regard to hardware sales, if you’re not moving units as quickly as you expected, not only are you failing to keep up revenue for production costs, but now you need to pay for storage as well!

If the company is operating on a current deficit (might happen right due to large R&D/production expenditures, i.e., next console generation), their credit rating might take a hit. Shareholders would storm the gates if that happened, demanding the CEOs head on a spike. In this instance, though, I believe Nintendo has quite a lot of liquid capital, (unusual for a company that size), so probably won’t happen.

No company can afford to actively piss off their customers repeatedly. (Well, unless they’re an effective monopoly. Looking at you, Comcast.) All it takes is a few angry, vocal customers with social reach (like, say, popular YouTube uploaders), and there’ll be an anchor dragging the company down. They’re not going to cost them all their customers, but each person they reach is now going to be just that much more difficult to convert to a paying customer, pulling the company down brick by brick.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: You don't have to act smart if your customers are idiots

Not binary, I just don’t imagine sufficient people will be willing to stop buying from the company for them to actually care.

This is hardly the first blatantly anti-customer action they’ve done after all(this very article mentions the time where they basically demanded anyone who wanted to create YT videos using Nintendo stuff only cover Nintendo stuff, and only in a flattering light), and if the previous actions and the responses to them weren’t enough to get their attention, I don’t see this time being any different, though I’d love to be proven wrong.

Kal Zekdor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You don't have to act smart if your customers are idiots

Not binary, I just don’t imagine sufficient people will be willing to stop buying from the company for them to actually care.

That number is one. Every lost customer hurts their bottom line, and no business can afford to be cavalier with customer satisfaction. If nothing else, it reduces their marketing ROI.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“People posting copyrighted materials on Youtube and Nintendo removing them an Techdirt’s headline is “Nintendo hates you”.”

Yes, if “you” are the people who have spent decades buying Nintendo products and hours of their free time creating free promotional material for zero profit, only to be attacked.

Perhaps they will choose to spend their money and creativity elsewhere, perhaps Nintendo’s competitors will be more welcoming.

“LOL. And you wonder why this site is seen as a joke.”

Because people here don’t instantly bend over and take it whenever a corporation says “copyright”? Because they dare to say “erm, guys, there’s a better way to deal with this and not alienate your own customers”?

You must run in pretty pathetic circles.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“where is the problem?”

Shall we start with your grasp on the argument, your unquestioning devotion to “copyright” even in cases where doing so is damaging, where it’s unlikely that the people doing this were not paying fans even if they had to hack something to access the tool set they desired, the fact that none of this material actually competed with Nintendo, the actual arguments being made?

“Now I know you’re just delusional”

I know it’s scary when you address a world that’s got grey shades in it rather than the black & white you devote your life to – let alone the full colour one we actually live in – but the real world is not a delusion. You just have to try and understand it rather than reject it with deflection and name calling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

So basically you’re admitting that you’ve never made anything creative and you expect everything to be free? LOL.

Newsflash, in the real world, people should be compensated when people use something that you created. That’s how it works. That doesn’t even cover the pure clickbait of this article title when you consider that they were taking down videos illegally created by unofficial ROMs yet the site is like “OH NINTENDO HATES USERS DERP LOOK HOW EDGE WE ARE”.

Ryunosuke says:

actually, thinking about it...

Nintendo has ALWAYS had problems with 3rd parties, rather how they dealt with them. In the beginning you had “other” publishers like Konami’s “Ultra Games” and the entire TECMO series, due to Nintendo’s … draconian “you can only publish so many games through us”, iirc there was actually a monopoly lawsuit between TECMO and Nintendo on publishing games (I could be wrong though)

Skip ahead to the infamous MK censorship thing. Also of note around this time was the Nintendo/Sony partnership (that fell apart), which you can now see how THAT debacle turned out.

so ya… Nintendo has NEVER worked well with the other kids on the playground, as it were. So while this article is hardly “news” it is a concerning, yet ongoing trend.

Humanitarian crisis says:

Humans? -_-

What is the significant in the comments section? You idiots are the real reason why sick pedos and mass murderers are roaming among the streets right now. and yet, you losers are fighting over a multimillion dollar corporation who’s only resume is to make children happy and not make the world go worse.

You idiots have never been to war, never been to a protest in the 99% vs 1% in Wall Street in New York City, and has never hacked into government files?

Why am I even here? You guys are people just children who never leaves their parents basement because the government didn’t give you a disability funds.

Goodbye human trash!

Cluenatik (profile) says:

You know what, you're right.

I was actually going to get a switch but now that I’ve read your article I think I’ll continue to swear off Nintendo products. I used to get them all the time, I had every console (and most of the mobile devices as well) up until the WiiU.

And the company doesn’t hate you. Well, it’s not just hate, it’s mainly just blatant DISRESPECT. Hate requires an amount of effort I’m not sure they’re capable of. They’re treating FANS of their games and consoles like they’re nothing more than a payday.

And you know what? Boycotting their products won’t work. The people who read this article and I can do this all day long for years and they won’t be out any significant amount. It’s going to take a LONG time before this kind of thing even begins to matter to them (I’ve heard they can lose 2 million a day for 20 years without it being a problem), but eventually it will. Nothing is going to change their inherent disrespect, it’s embedded into their corporate culture.

What I think will eventually happen is multiple chief level officers will be canned, hopefully whomever came up with the policy of treating youtubers like they’re pirates and/or criminals. It won’t solve the underlying issue, but at least they’ll stop being so blatant about it, and at the very least the shitheads who started it will get what they deserve. That’s about as much as I’d expect to come out of this but I wouldn’t expect more if I were you, it’d be a total waste of time.

Again – even this will only happen if people stick to their guns, at their own cost. You won’t get to play all of these new, great looking games for a while. It sucks, but at the end of the day what really sucks is Nintendo, treating their customers and loyal fans like they’re cattle. There’s your "family company" for you, they’ll use you and treat you like dirt, all the while telling you what great people they are.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...