Nintendo kills off an ad-free YouTube channel where fans could listen to its game music, because copyright

Walled Culture has just written about the way the boundaries between digital platforms and digital producers are becoming more fluid. Here’s another interesting melding of media: the GilvaSunner channel on YouTube, which consists of nothing but video game soundtracks, mostly from Nintendo games. It’s a pity we can no longer visit it (original account that is now deactivated, multiple Internet Archive versions available).

Back in 2019, Nintendo sent 115 takedown notices to the channel; it’s just done the same again, this time demanding that 3,500 videos be taken down. Now, GilvaSunner has had enough, it seems, writing on Twitter:

After thinking about this a lot over the past few days, I’ve decided that at this point it’s really not worth it to keep the channel up any longer, and will therefore delete the GilvaSunner YouTube channel (or what’s left of it) this coming Friday.

There are many different opinions over what is happening and that’s fine! I can understand pretty much all sides. I know this is disappointing to read for a lot of you, but I hope you can respect my decision to want to move on at this point.

Just another day in the world of copyright takedowns, you might think. But there are two aspects to this story that are worth noting. First, GilvaSunner never made any money from the channel. Secondly, and just as importantly, Nintendo itself doesn’t make any money from its soundtracks either, because there is no official way to pay to listen to them.

It’s a great example of the petty but destructive power of copyright. GilvaSunner made no money from the channel, provided simple pleasure to the 473,000 people who subscribed to it, promoted Nintendo’s products, and celebrated the musicians who worked for the company. Nintendo lost nothing by leaving the soundtracks up, but the iron law of copyright says they had to be expunged.

There may be a glimmer of hope, though. It seems that Nintendo has now released the music for a couple of its videogames. It’s a start, I suppose.

Featured image by Evan-Amos.

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