Ness and his friends in Summers in the game EarthBound.

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Sony is Flagging EarthBound Videos on YouTube

July 1, 2021

By: Brian Renadette

 
 

Over the past few weeks, YouTubers have reported that their videos of the cult classic RPG EarthBound have been getting flagged by Sony. The reason behind these flagged videos appears to be a dispute over the game's soundtrack.

As reported by NintendoLife, YouTubers, such as long-time Nintendo Lets Player Chuggaaconroy, have posted on social media that videos in which they play EarthBound have been getting flagged by Sony. Exactly what happens to the videos varies, with some videos having their ad revenue claimed while others are removed outright. It may seem strange that Sony is being the copyright police over a decades-old Nintendo game when Nintendo owns the copyright to the series, but the suspected reason has to do with the game's official soundtracks. While American players never got that much in official EarthBound merchandise, in Japan, EarthBound and MOTHER (also known as EarthBound Beginnings) both got official soundtrack releases.

 

A scene from the ending of EarthBound.

Released in August 21, 1989, the soundtrack for MOTHER was released as a studio album by CBS/Sony, with the sequel's soundtrack releasing as a soundtrack album under the Sony label in 1994. While this isn't a problem for MOTHER, due to the songs in the studio album being remastered versions of songs appearing in the NES game, the EarthBound album uses the songs from the actual game. That means Sony can claim any of the music that was on the album. It's unclear if Nintendo is going to step in on this legal issue, as Nintendo is well-known for viciously defending their copyrights, especially against fan games. It's also entirely possible that these claims are being doled out automatically via contentid, which has been done before. However this ends, it's an issue with copyright that's going to get many people riled up over how confusing and difficult it can be to avoid accidential and nonsensical claims.