Japanese Man Given Two Years in Prison After Monetising Let’s Plays on YouTube

A Japanese man has been sentenced to two years in prison and fined ¥1 million (around $6,785) after monetising gameplay videos on YouTube.

As reported by Japanese outlet Asahi Shimbun (translated by The Verge and verified by IGN), 53-year-old Shinobu Yoshida was convicted for violating copyright law after uploading the videos without publisher permission. This is the first conviction of its kind in Japan, according to Asahi Shimbun.

Yoshida uploaded gameplay videos of visual novel Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace and other videos summarising episodes of the Steins;Gate and Spy x Family anime shows. Monetising the videos, meaning to earn revenue from them, is what violated a Japanese law that prohibits making money from copyrighted material, according to Japanese anti-piracy trade group Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA).

This was a “malicious case of posting videos containing content and endings (spoilers) without permission from the rights holders”, CODA said, “and unfairly gaining advertising revenue through copyright infringement.” Yoshida admitted to knowing his actions were illegal, CODA added, but said: “As part of my hobby, I wanted someone to see what I made.”

The prosecution reportedly said Yoshida’s actions were “a malicious act that tramples on the effort of content production” as consumers would be les incentivised to spend money on the game or anime episodes after having them spoiled.

Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelance reporter. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.

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Author: Ryan Dinsdale