Posting video game spoilers leads to YouTuber’s arrest in Japan

Posting video game spoilers can lead to an arrest, at least in Japan. The country’s Content Overseas Distribution Promotion Organization (CODA) announced that Youtuber Shinobu Yoshida was arrested by Nagoya police after they posted videos featuring spoilers for the visual novel Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace.

Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace first released on Xbox 360 in 2013, before re-releasing on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC in 2019. Yoshida’s videos of the game featured the game’s ending. In addition, the YouTuber had monetized the videos and had been collecting ad revenue.

Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace

The YouTuber in question also uploaded videos from the animé adaptation of the original Steins;Gate, as well videos of another animé, Spy x Family. The latter were not complete episodes, but were instead reported to be “fast content” or “netabare,” a term used to describe condensed versions of a work, either a series episode or movie. (Read: 5 Top anime adaptations of video games)

Netabare can be translated as “spoiler,” and in criminal discussions is often used in reference to videos that show the ending of a published work.

Non-monetized netabare from Japanese YouTubers are not hard to find n the platform. That said, Yoshida’s videos contain a couple of key differences. The first is the fact that these were monetized.

Beyond that, Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace is a visual novel, a genre whose appeal focuses more on watching the game’s narrative unfold over directly controlling the onscreen action. As such, watching a video of a visual novel like can be seen as a far more viable substitute for playing—and buying—the game in the eyes of the game’s publisher Kadokawa.

As for Yoshida, the 52-year-old YouTuber has admitted to the charges, stating that he “knew it was illegal, even as I was doing it.”

Meanwhile, following the arrest, CODA stated that “in principle,” any use of gameplay videos requires permission from the rights holder.

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