Recently, we discussed an odd post by the American division of Atlus, the company behind the recently released game Persona 5. The post basically outlined restrictions on streaming the game in the popular “let’s play” format. Those restrictions were pretty clearly geared towards keeping spoilers for the game’s stories off of the internet, with indications that discussing or streaming game content that occur after an in-game date was verbotten. The post was also couched in threats for DMCA notices, which is odd because spoilers aren’t what copyright law was designed to combat. The public backlash was fairly uniform, with Atlus coming out not looking particularly good as a result.
It took a while, but Atlus has finally responded. While it positions this response as a loosening of the restrictions on streaming, it still keeps all of the worst aspects of the original restrictions in place.
On Tuesday Atlus announced that they will allow players to stream or post videos from up until the in-game date of November 19, just before the story’s final act. The post wrote it was in response to “numerous reactive news articles,” opinion videos and “many emails” asking them to loosen the restrictions.
“We also want to apologize to those of you who saw the previous guidelines as threatening,” Atlus wrote. “It was never our intention to threaten people with copyright strikes, but we clearly chose the wrong tone for how to communicate this.”
That last bit is more than laughable. Here is the original text that from the first set of restrictions that caused concern among streamers that they would be hit with copyright strikes.
This being a Japanese title with a single-playthrough story means our masters in Japan are very wary about it. Sharing is currently blocked through the native PS4 UI. However, if you do plan on streaming, video guidelines above apply except length. If you decide to stream past 7/7 (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT DOING THIS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED), you do so at the risk of being issued a content ID claim or worse, a channel strike/account suspension.
That seems pretty clearly to be a threat of copyright or DMCA notices if the rules aren’t followed. As for the loosening of the restrictions on streaming, Altus essentially just pushed back the in-game checkpoint in the rules. Instead of prohibitions on streaming content beginning at the in-game date of 7/7, it now begins at 10/19. And if that following sentence doesn’t read as purely absurd to you, then you need some help getting your mind calibrated.
There is value in having fans stream games in let’s play videos. This has been demonstrated repeatedly. Either Atlus buys into that or it doesn’t. Straddling the line in the name of saving fans from spoilers, even after it has moved that line, isn’t good enough. Restrict streaming. Or don’t. Pick a lane, in other words, rather than trying to build guidelines based on in-game dates. That simply makes no sense.