On Atlus and Persona 5's 'No Spoilers' Policy

Atlus is an admirable company which produces high quality games and has a great audience, but is abusing copyright law to prevent spoilers worth it?

By UletheVee4, Posted 10 Apr 2017

One of the most feared and hated words in the gaming community and content creators is "Copyright Infringement". This along with the words "Content ID" can make several Gaming youtubers grind their teeth hard, this has been one of the most common practices used as a method of either censorship for bad criticism (Like TotalBiscuit's Day One Garry's Incident... Incident) or simple means of taking revenue from other creator's work.

I mean, I have been playing Devil's advocate sometimes in this kind of thing saying that companies need to protect their products. And it still holds true to this very day because a property can be stolen and then the thief wouldn't give proper credit to the creator of the work in question. Such thing has happened very frequently in the artist community, which expands from places like DeviantART to the most common Art exhibitions in the world.

Atlus, Persona 5, No Spoilers, Policy, YouTube

However, pieces of work can also be held to scrutiny, parodied and criticized, it's one of the reasons why we gaming journalists exist. And as  such all works that accomplish these goals are covered by a failsafe c alled "Fair Use" which, according to the US Constitution "a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement."

In this case, people can stream gameplay as long as there is commentary and something like a face cam to provide some sort of transformative content, which doesn't infringe copyright law. Nonetheless, some companies like Nintendo or in the case of this article, Atlus. Who has been making some of the most spurious cases of Fair Use violation I have ever seen, and all because of a childish excuse. The avoidance of spoiler content in their newest game Persona 5.

Now, Persona games have been known for their story and characterization, no doubt about it. I personally have been indifferent to Persona games up to this point (But I'll save this argument for later). But this is an all-time low for Atlus as a publisher because they haven't done this in a world where SEGA copyright claims spoiler content for their game Shining Arc. And I'm surprised because Atlus is one of the most beloved gaming companies, my favorite games from them being the Trauma series that spanned on the Wii and the Nintendo DS. They are also known for being okay with content of their game being streamed and shown to the public.

Atlus, Persona 5, No Spoilers, Policy, YouTube

A lot of publishers in the gaming industry already know that streaming gaming content is pretty much common practice in the business, you can't be wrong against free advertisements and open embargo for streamers with a distinct  set of permissions with content. Granted, it's a valid excuse to protect potential customers from spoilers in the days before release because people need to taste the product but not get the entirety of the plate. However, when a company tries to do that -after- the content is released it's often accused as a dumb practice from the developer (Not to mention shady and pointless).

In a note which can be described as the most passive aggressive way to tell your fans to not give spoilers of your game. Atlus makes clear that they don't want events from day 7 in Week 7 to be shown in video or streaming, limiting video times at 90 minutes long at maximum and (Ironically spoiling) the kamoshida boss fight. Stating a threat (It's a threat people.) that if you do show spoilers past 7/7 you will get the risk of being issued a content ID claim or worse, a channel strike/account suspension, which can basically be summed up as a breakup in Public relations.

The backlash Atlus got from this was pretty much what anybody with a working brain would've predicted was going to happen. People are sharing spoilers of past 7/7 afterwards not to mention. The game has a lot of intriguing aspects in its story because its supposedly so good, a lot of YouTuebers and streamers will want to go and exploit that and violate Atlus' conditions to share footage of spoilers (Or make a dummy account in which the game is entirely spoiled). Ending up in a very ironic outcome where the intention really isn't met and Atlus is left with their grand masterpiece completely spoiled for those looking for it.

And really, that's pretty much what the entire thing amounts to, choice. So far I have yet to know what the heck a Persona is and why Persona 4 is so popular, I never got particularly interested into its characters and the most i know about it is thanks to a video from Two Sisters Play. Which basically means I have been avoiding spoilers from persona 4 and 5 without even trying to look for them. Despite the belief that says otherwise, if you really really don't care about a product, you won't be aware of its existence and therefore, you won't get any spoilers for it. If you get spoiled of the contents of the game, sure. It may drive a sale away, but maybe the game is too good that it makes this spoiled person want to experience the game themselves, the last point being more important because the game is a freaking RPG, you know. Where a lot of outcomes can be decided thanks to individual decisions made throughout the game?!

Atlus, Persona 5, No Spoilers, Policy, YouTube

It all returns to the point I was making earlier. The entire point of video footage on YouTube and streaming is free advertising, people will feel enticed to play your game from what they see in the majority of cases, Amazon's new Twitch program where you can buy the game straight off the Streamer's site makes this even easier since you can get your title on the spot with just a few clicks. The Internet is certainly not going to do what they are told, especially if it violates their rights in the terms of fair use and such. So if you ask them to not post spoilers, you can put as many barriers as you may but there's so many Content ID claims you can make before the protesters overwhelm your legal team.

I'm more flabbergasted about the fact that it's Atlus who is responsible for doing this after the track record they had with openly admitting spoilers in their games, even obscure ones. I mean, the intention is right, I suppose. They just wanted people to not be spoiled from the gaming experience Persona 5 has to offer. But to see them using a nuke instead of a scalpel is just. Something yiou'd expect from companies like Activision or Nintendo, I just hope that in the future. All the companies drop this little act and realize that the things gamers do are all in good faith of the games they play.

Javier Ulises, NoobFeed
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General Information

Persona 5

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Platform(s): PS4, PS3
Publisher(s): Atlus
Developer(s): Atlus
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Open World
Release Date: 2017-02-14

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