from the nintendon't dept
Nintendo’s war on its own fans’ love of Nintendo game music continues. The company has certainly made headlines over the past few years (with a big ramp up recently) by going on DMCA and threat blitzes for YouTube videos and channels that have uploaded what are essentially just the music from various Nintendo games. The blitzes started by taking down 3-figure numbers of videos, then reached the thousands by 2022. Notably, this has pissed off tons of Nintendo fans, many of whom pointed out that Nintendo was disappearing all of this music that was almost entirely unavailable through legit means.
To continue to be clear on this point, Nintendo can do this… but it certainly doesn’t have to. Evidence for that would be much of the rest of the video game industry. You don’t hear this level of takedowns being done by all the other gaming companies out there.
But, I suppose if you squint really hard and have been inhaling gas fumes, you could argue somehow that a direct recording of Nintendo’s game music being on YouTube is some sort of threat to current or future Nintendo plans. That gets a little bit harder to use to explain why Nintendo is now also targeting people who are uploading their own recreations and covers of Nintendo music.
As first reported by NintendoLife, the newest member of the club is SynaMax, a YouTube channel dedicated to music. The user behind the channel, who says in the channel’s bio that they have been creating music since 2004, had previously uploaded high-quality recreations and covers of some Metroid Prime songs. However, that seems to have attracted the attention of Nintendo and its legal team. In a video uploaded yesterday, the channel creator claimed he was contacted by Nintendo lawyers on May 31 and told to remove nine videos that featured Metroid Prime music covers or remixes.
“I’m really disappointed in Nintendo that they would force me to take down these videos because they want compulsory licenses,” SynaMax said in the new video.
Here again, Nintendo is probably within its rights to demand these videos get taken down, though some of that depends on just how transformative these covers could be seen as being. It’s not something that generally needs considering, because most companies, again, aren’t doing these takedowns like Nintendo is. Over a decade ago, I wrote about OC ReMix, a site dedicated to hosting and promoting fan-created remakes of video game music. That site still operates today and still very much hosts remixes of Nintendo game music. Whether Nintendo will get around to going after that site too instead of just YouTube videos remains to be seen.
But the point here is that Nintendo very much doesn’t have to do this to its creative fans. And why it wants less interest generated in its products through this free promotion it’s getting past its fans.
However, they questioned why the company becomes aggressive instead of just demonetizing relevant videos and letting fans continue to produce and share Nintendo-inspired creations. SynaMax said he would not mind losing that revenue; they just want to share their songs with other fans. SynaMax, his frustration evident, wrapped by saying that they’re done making any more Nintendo-related content “for a very long time.”
And one less free promoter now exists for Nintendo. Surely SynaMax’s content wasn’t threat enough to outweigh his spreading interest in Nintendo music. But that’s Nintendo for you.