Animal Crossing is a game designed to be a relaxing play and its soundtrack has been made to reflect that, similar to Stardew Valley and classic Sim City. The calm and chilled melodies are perfect for channels with some downtime, a break or a be right back screen – but can you legally used them on your Twitch stream without punishment? Let’s find out.
Is Animal Crossing music copyrighted on Twitch?
The following mainline Animal Crossing games and their respective soundtracks are all copyrighted materials which belong to Nintendo:
- Animal Forest (2001)
- Animal Crossing (2002)
- Animal Crossing: Wild World (2005)
- Animal Crossing: City Folk (2008)
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf (2012)
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)
This is true of any game, even retro. Animal Crossing is no exception. But, even though its copyrighted there are ways you can still use it on your Twitch content. If you don’t believe us read on.
Can you use Animal Crossing soundtracks on your Twitch stream?
You can use music and audio from Animal Crossing on your Twitch stream provided you have followed the guidelines they have set out here. To make things easier here’s the part where it makes it possible and how best to interpret that:
Videos and images that contain mere copies of Nintendo Game Content without creative input or commentary are not permitted.Nintendo Game Content Guidelines for Online Video & Image Sharing Platforms
You can’t use the audio without creative input
Nintendo do not permit the use of the AC soundtrack without talking about or playing an Animal Crossing related title. You might get away using it while creating content on other Nintendo owned games and properties. Nintendo expand on this:
We encourage you to use Nintendo Game Content in videos and images that feature your creative input and commentary. For example, Let’s Play videos and video game reviews are within the scope of the Guidelines.
What about playing Animal Crossing playlists that claim to be copyright free?
There are plenty of YouTube playlists and Spotify playlists that claim to be DMCA/Copyright free. Like this:
The reality is, you as a content creator do not know that they are copyright free and it is unlikely that they are – they do not have the authority to allow you to use the music in the first place, only Nintendo do.
If you use someone else’s content which is copyrighted then everyone who uses it is infringing on the copyright.
If you’re seeing loads and loads of Animal Crossing music on YouTube/Spotify and thinking if they haven’t been taken down then neither will you then we say this – it is not about if they get taken down but when. Plus, they are taking a risk on their revenue streams are you willing to risk yours?
Can you stream Animal Crossing and have the audio on?
Yes, absolutely. You are free to stream any of the Animal Crossing titles either directly from the device or through a capture card and be within Nintendo’s guidelines.
Can you use Animal Crossing music in your be right back screen?
Yes, we believe that you can use AC music for your be right back screen so long as its Animal Crossing OR Nintendo related. This means the image or series of clips you’ve used.
Alternatively, if your Twitch stream is generally Animal Crossing related or you as a streamer are KNOWN as an AC streamer then we can’t see using the music in your BRB screen to be a problem.
Can you use Animal Crossing music in your stream starting soon screen?
We can’t see this being a problem for the same reasons as above. If your stream starting soon screen features Animal Crossing or your channel is generally about AC/Nintendo then we can’t see this as being a problem.
Can you use Animal Crossing music while discussing the game (but not playing)?
If you’re discussing any of the Animal Crossing games and probably Nintendo in general then we believe you can use the soundtrack in the background of your Twitch stream. “We encourage you to use Nintendo Game Content in videos and images that feature your creative input and commentary” is the official wording.
Can you use the Animal Crossing soundtrack when Just Chatting
If you just want to chilled out music AC has as you chat to your Twitch community then no, you can’t. This is because you are not adding creative input or commentary
What could happen if you use the AC soundtrack without permission
You would have to be unlucky for Nintendo to take direct action if you were to use the AC soundtrack on occasion on a Twitch stream. Although Nintendo have defender their IPs very aggressively over the years and have a reputation for cracking down on fan projects and so on, streamers using their content on a stream is not at the top of their hit list.
That being said, they are within their right to order a DMCA takedown of your content and channel which would not only risk yourself losing twitch affiliate or twitch partnership but your entire channel.
Using third party sources who claim to be copyright free can land you in the same hot water as the third party. Only Nintendo has the power to give you permission to use their music. Believe they are copyright free would be ignorance.
In the world of law this is called ignorantia juris non excusat which means “ignorance of law excuses no one”. Not being aware of copyright law will not reverse any penalties or punishments against you.
It is not worth the risk and we recommend to stick to their more than generous guidelines on using Animal Content game content.