Man arrested for uploading gameplay footage in Japan

arrested footage

It marks the first time a YouTuber has been arrested in the country for uploading game footage without permission.


As reported by Japan Today (and picked up by, a 52-year-old man has been arrested in Japan for uploading footage of the game Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace to YouTube. Shinobu Yoshida is a resident of Nagoya, and was charged over uploading three videos of the Steins;Gate title, which were monetised and showed the ending of the game.

The incident marks the first time that someone has been arrested in Japan for uploading gameplay videos. Videos of gameplay footage are common in the country, and it’s not hard to find other YouTube playthroughs of Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace, a 2011 visual novel that was released in English in 2019. But other Steins;Gate playthroughs generally have the adverts turned off, so it appears that the rights holder, Kadokawa, might have taken exception to the fact that Yoshida-san was making ad revenue from his videos.

Japan Today also suggests that because the game is a visual novel with limited interactivity, Kadokawa might have felt that the videos could result in lost sales for the publisher, since “watching a video of Steins;Gate gameplay is arguably a far more viable substitute for playing (and buying) the game for oneself than it would be with a game with a higher degree of interactivity for the player.”

The rules about uploading gameplay footage can be murky. As a general rule, uploading copyrighted game footage without permission is illegal, but many publishers, such as Ubisoft, post guidelines that allow the uploading of gameplay videos as long as it’s for non-commercial use. However, not all publishers are so permissive, and Nintendo in particular has a reputation for issuing copyright strikes against gameplay videos.

Shinobu Yoshida has admitted to the charges against him, saying: “I knew it was illegal, even as I was doing it.”

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