Sega vs. Shining Force: The Aftermath

Sega vs. Shining Force: The Aftermath

by May 20, 2013

Two months later, has Sega honored their word?

Almost two months ago to the day, we ran a story that seemed to close the book on the long, strange ordeal involving Sega of Japan outright shutting down Youtube channels just for discussing the classic Sega Genesis strategy RPG Shining Force. Sega of America Brand Manager Aaron Webber (known to some under the name “RubyEclipse”) issued a formal apology on the matter, and vowed that those effected by the mishap could contact Sega and have their Youtube account reinstated. It was all part of a series of misunderstandings that had Sega of Japan incorrectly assuming they were under attack by Shining Force fans. With Aaron’s apology and a vow to set things right, the issue seemed to be resolved.

More recently, Nintendo has clarified its policy on Youtube videos featuring their franchises; if you post a video of a Nintendo franchise on Youtube, Nintendo will now claim it as their own and all ad revenue will be redirected to them. For game commentators and Let’s Players who were perhaps making a living off of talking over Nintendo games, a major source of their income is now going to Nintendo directly. This has lead many to begin worrying that Nintendo could start shutting down Youtube channels much like Sega of Japan did over Shining Force – which, thankfully, is untrue. Nintendo is simply placing ads on existing videos, and is not taking anything down or issuing any kind of copyright violations.

But it raised the question: did Sega ever make good on their apology and reverse the copyright strikes made over the Shining Force debacle?

Retsutalk is a podcast co-run by one of the founders of SomethingAwful’s Let’s Play subforum, Slowbeef. SomethingAwful is considered to be the birthplace of the “Let’s Play” phenomenon, and with his co-host Diabetus, the pair often discuss matters relating to the Let’s Play subforum and the community at large. It’s often more interesting than you would expect, given the subject matter – and in the above episode, Slowbeef, Diabetus, and special guest ProtonJon discuss Nintendo’s Youtube decision, with a special sidenote dedicated to discussing what Sega did with Shining Force. It starts at around 18:26. An excerpt from Slowbeef:

So in February, Sega came out with — Sega of AMERICA mind you, came out with this apology, and said “hey, this was totally wrong of us to do, we shouldn’t have done it, we apologize for any inconvenience” was their exact quote – if you contact us at the following email address, we’ll try and reverse the copyright strikes on your account.” They never actually made good on it, as of today. It was kind of bullshit.

Indeed, Slowbeef and prolific commentator TotalBiscuit shared a brief exchange on Twitter over the matter:

TotalBiscuit, if you recall, was one of the Youtube users originally effected by Sega of Japan’s copyright strikes, given he had done a Let’s Play series on Shining Force 3 for the Sega Saturn. Several days ago we reached out to TotalBiscuit for further information and as of yet have not heard a response.

Certainly, legal processes are not always the fastest, most streamlined things in the world – speaking from experience, Youtube has almost zero support process and the one time I managed to get somebody over there to respond to one of my emails, it took them months to do so. But there’s no mistaking – TotalBiscuit does say his channel was cleared of its claims, but as of yet, nobody else’s have. Could this just be a case of Sega dragging its feet? Will all of these copyright claims eventually get sorted out? At this point, only time will tell.

If you or someone you know has been effected by this and had the strikes lifted from their channel, do not hesitate to contact us via a news tip.