Rockstar Games has always struck me as sort of wishy-washy when it comes to how the company protects (or imagines it's protecting) its games. On the one hand, it comes up with fun little strategies to combat cheating, by placing all the cheaters
in one place to cheat against other cheaters. On the other hand, the company has embraced DRM
in the past, which is the kind of strategy you employ when you want to accomplish exactly nothing beyond pissing off your actual customers. But, hey, nobody's perfect. What's most
frustrating when it comes to some of this over-protectionism stuff is when it is done with some truly pure intentions, but isn't thought through. And, the folks behind the newly-released Grand Theft Auto 5
have struck that exact chord with their legal policy on posting game videos
Posting video showing the ending of the game, pure cutscenes or any other big reveal in the story. It's ok to show cutscenes as part of a larger play-through (or in a narrated ‘Let’s Play’ type video) but isolated videos of the game's cinematics will be removed. If you are unsure if what you want to post is considered a spoiler, please contact email@example.com and describe exactly what scene you are wondering about and in what context the scene would appear.
On the one hand, it isn't a terribly aggressive policy on posting game videos. There's clearly an embrace of the "Let's Play" style of vids that spread through YouTube and other sites and do so much to help promote the game itself to prospective customers. In a game like GTA
, with its open world and insane amount of freedom, watching a video of the game being played by someone else almost certainly causes zero harm to sales, and likely spurs them forward. It's great to see a company embrace that kind of thing, especially when there have been examples
of takedowns over those sort of videos.
On the other hand... why is Rockstar designating itself as the spoiler police? Because that's all this really is. The company is designating story-mission cutscene videos that don't do anything else for aggressive takedowns. What's the point of that? As I mentioned above, a game like GTA
doesn't live only on its story. In fact, it probably doesn't even live primarily
on its story. It's hard to see how many customers will be lost because, oh, now I know the lead character is going to kill some people and probably do some outrageous stuff. Nevermind that watchers could always... you know... just not
watch the spoiler videos.
I guess Rockstar can handle its IP however it wants, but this seems both misguided and counter to the purpose of copyright to begin with.