Sony has filed a trademark for the term ‘Let’s Play’.
The trademark doesn’t mince words about what it’s meant for either. To quote; this is the trademark’s definition of a Let’s Play:
Electronic transmission and streaming of video games via global and local computer networks; streaming of audio, visual, and audiovisual material via global and local computer networks.
To be clear, trademarks and copyrights are different forms of IPs. So, case in point, if a gamer uploaded a video of herself finishing Earthbound, the copyrights to that video belong to Nintendo, APE, and to some degree, the streamer. However, the trademark to the video, if it called itself a Let’s Play, would go to Sony, if this filing gets approved.
Sony is not the only company attempting to file for the trademark, but given their influence and deep pockets, they could push this through if they really wanted it. While the company regularly streams games on its PlayStation platform, it’s not entirely clear why they are even interested in filing such a trademark.
Sony’s official policy regarding Let’s Plays of their own games doesn’t really hint at any interest for the same, but they do have some interesting provisions:
You may have the option to create, post, stream or transmit content such as pictures, photographs, game related materials, or other information ("User Material") through PSN to share with others on PSN or select Third Party Services, provided no rights of others are violated. To the extent permitted by law, you authorize and license SNEI a royalty free and perpetual right to use, distribute, copy, modify, display, and publish your User Material for any reason without any restrictions or payments to you or any third parties. You further agree that SNEI may sublicense its rights to any third party, including its affiliates and subsidiaries. You hereby waive, to the extent permitted by applicable law, all claims, including any moral or patrimonial rights, against SNEI, its affiliates and subsidiaries for SNEI or any third party's use of User Material.
Slowbeef, one of the first people to popularize Let’s Plays as a viral phenomenon from the SomethingAwful forums, was quick to respond to the reported filing.
Sony: "Now Brandon, you definitely heard us trademark the term in 1995?" Brandon Dassey: "uhh" Sony: "Why don't you draw a picture of that?"
— slowbeef (@slowbeef) January 9, 2016
Why do you think Sony would even want to file this trademark? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.