YouTube video content from 15-year-old SEGA Saturn game Shining Force 3 is suddenly and apparently randomly being targeted for copyright infringement.
Loyal fans who've determinedly been translating parts of the game that SEGA didn't bother with outside of Japan have had their videos and even their entire channels taken down, according to a Reddit discussion. YouTube works on a shoot first, ask questions later basis (unless you're under the Machinima umbrella or similar).
Why would SEGA do such a thing? Could it be that Sega is planning a Shining Force 3 re-release?
Whoa there Tonto: it might not even be SEGA's doing.
YouTube user MarauderEx had his channel taken down because of alleged Shining Force 3 copyright infringement. He wrote to SEGA and SEGA wrote back.
"Hello," SEGA greeted. "We never give explicit permission to use our intellectual property. However, in cases like this we tend not to take action unless we or our products are slandered in the derivative works. Best Regards, SEGA Customer Support."
MarauderEx hadn't posted slanderous content and here was SEGA telling him it tended not to take action in cases like this. So if SEGA didn't, who did? MarauderEx believes it to be some Lone Ranger troll pretending to be SEGA.
Famed YouTube user TotalBiscuit was also targeted, and posted in the Reddit thread calling the action "weird" and "out of the blue". He said the person who made the copyright infringement claim against him appeared in "some" SEGA credits in a special thanks role, but not those of Shining Force 3. He had a "legit" email address, apparently. "It's a curious case indeed," was the last thing TotalBiscuit wrote.
Another commenter appeared to be one of the people unofficially translating Shining Force 3. This person, synbios16, doubted the re-release angle.
"SEGA's been porting a ton of games over the last several years, but it's extremely rare that any come from the Saturn era," synbios16 wrote. "This is largely because of the complexity involved in emulating the Saturn's hardware, while Dreamcast and Genesis games are far easier to pack up and re-release.
"The few games that have been re-released from the Saturn were actually ports to other consoles first, then ported to newer stuff. Panzer Dragoon when first released also saw a PC version. Any re-release of Panzer Dragoon since has been a port of the PC version. NiGHTS Into Dreams was remade on PS2, and the recent XBL release is an upgrade of the PS2 release.
"We've invested quite a bit of time translating SF3 and have been very careful to avoid these types of problems. We don't accept payments or donations, nobody on staff gets paid or compensated in any way for their time, the project site is run by a single person, and we claim no ownership of anything. We even refuse to support users who pirate this abandonware game and each own an imported copy of each disc. Our script was even taken at one point and used by another group who claimed it as their own, but we just let it go. We do it for the love of the game.
"And we are persecuted for it," the post ended.
So was it SEGA or not? And if it was SEGA then why? I've asked, and I'll let you know when I hear back.
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