Microsoft has announced, and put into place, a formal new policy regarding the creation of YouTube Let’s Play videos as well as content streamed on services like TwitchTV. Up until now the company didn’t really have a formal policy geared towards this type of content creation. Since streaming on TwitchTV has become a lot easier with Android games and making YouTube videos of Android games has been happening for a long time, this certainly is something to learn about if you plan on streaming or including anything from Microsoft in your upcoming videos and want to monetize them.
For the most part the policy does lean in favor towards content creators but there are a few rules in place to protect the company’s products and intellectual property. To start, video creators and streamers can’t reverse engineer the software to extract files, which means you’re limited to what’s feasible in the game. So making Machinima style story movies can still be done but not with exacting assets from a game. Additionally, Microsoft is prohibiting a variety of offensive content for obvious reasons.
You can’t use Game Content to create an Item (defined as machinima, videos, and other derivative creations) that is pornographic, lewd, obscene, vulgar, discriminatory (on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.), illegal, hate speech, promoting violence, drug use or any illegal activity, promoting crimes against humanity, genocide or torture, or is otherwise objectionable. Whether an Item is “objectionable” is up to us, but you can expect us to be concerned if a significant number of people in the game’s community or the public at large report the content as offensive.
You can not sell the content you make either nor can it be included on a page where other products are being sold, even if it is completely unrelated to what is being sold on that page. So if your monetized video shows up on a page that sells funny boxer shorts, that is violating their policy. Things start to get a bit touchy at this point though. Microsoft also says that videos cannot appear as part of a pay-for-play or subscription website and may also not appear as part of an app that carries a fee. If your content becomes an app itself, it must be a free release.
When it comes to anything created using Microsoft Studios, Microsoft is automatically granted a “royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license”. In other words, Microsoft can use your creations based on their products and your name for promotional purpose without your permission or compensation. This also includes anything you create in terms of side-stories or lore that are based off of Microsoft products.
If you can fit all of this into how you stream or make videos of Microsoft products, you will also need to include this boilerplate language, or a disclosure basically, that must be easily found and readable:
[Name of the Microsoft Game] © Microsoft Corporation. [The title of your Item] was created under Microsoft’s “Game Content Usage Rules” using assets from [Name of the Microsoft Game], and it is not endorsed by or affiliated with Microsoft.
Here on Android we don’t have a ton of Microsoft products to worry about, at least not as of yet. However this does include GameStreaming Microsoft games onto your tablet and streaming it or anything of that nature. Since Microsoft owns Mojang now, and Minecraft because of it, then you are probably wondering if this affects Minecraft content. The answer is no, it does not. Minecraft has had its own guidelines for some time now and those will remain in place. However the rest of Mojang’s line-up does fall into this new policy.
So there you have it, Microsoft’s new policy for video creation and streaming. Keep all of this in mind if/when you stream or make videos with Microsoft products.
Website Referenced: Game Informer