The Sendai District Court has sentenced the 53-year old Japanese YouTuber Shinobu Yoshida to two years in prison with a five-year suspended sentence and a one million yen fine for sharing Steins;Gate gameplay videos and a Spy x Family anime video. This is the first time that someone has been convicted of violating the copyright laws by sharing gameplay videos. The judge was Koichi Nakamura, and the suspended sentence means that he won’t have to serve it if he doesn’t commit a crime in the next 5 years (prosecution originally asked for the 2-year prison sentence and yen fine).
The defendant was charged with infringing copyright by distributing three videos on YouTube from September 2019 to May 2022 without permission, including a “spoiler” gameplay video which included the ending to the Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace game, as well as an edited video of the anime Spy Family.
The prosecution argued that this was “a malicious act that trampled on the effort of content creation” by discouraging the purchase of the original products, while the defendant said at trial that he wanted someone to see what he created as part of his hobby.
Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace (Steins;Gate: Hiyoku Renri no Darling) is a visual novel video game developed by 5pb, originally released for the Xbox 360 in 2011. It has since received several ports, most recently being released by Spike Chunsoft in English for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows in 2019.
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