It makes me really sad to see what a chilling effect the abuse of the copyright system has had on people. A heads up on the law:
For one, you have nothing to fear from stickmaking. There’s nothing legally actionable in either building a stick from the ground up or modding an already-built stick. In Sega v Accolade (where Accolade figured out how to manufacture stuff for the Genesis without Sega’s consent), the court ruled that building a device that required discovery of the game console’s interface requirements and modifying console firmware was fair use. Think about all those Mad Catz controllers and stuff; they suck, yes, but they don’t have permission from the console makers and yet are totally legal. You’re cool on this front for sure.
SF vids are also most likely fair use, although there hasn’t been a court case on it yet. For a work to be fair use, you gotta consider the purpose of the new work, the nature (what medium the work is fixed in) of the new work, the amount taken from the original work, and the market value of the new work (like, does the new work have an impact on the market for the original work, or does the new work enter a market in which the creator of the original work could be expected to enter). Well, the purpose in SF vids is spectating and learning new things, which probably isn’t actionable. The nature is that of video, which is an entirely different medium from that of the original work (which is a game). The amount taken from the work isn’t a whole, it’s just videos of the work; the point of the original work, that is, Capcom’s Street Fighter game, is in interacting with the game by playing it. Taking video of it takes only the viewing of the work, and considering the nature of the work, there’s no way that’s enough to be actionable. As for the market impact of SF vids on the original work, if you’re just filming yourself or a tourney and putting the vids up for free, that’s totally fine. It has no negative impact on the market for the original work (if anything, it has a positive impact) and doesn’t really “enter” a market at all, considering it’s not being marketed. If you’re selling the videos, you’re probably still all cool, considering it’s not hurting Capcom’s market for video games and it’s probably not a market that Capcom is going to ever enter.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that there’s an argument to be made that Street Fighter videos are “derivative” works, which is basically where you make something new out of something old. That said, a derivative work is one that is not transformative but exploitative, that is, something that doesn’t change the work a whole lot and seeks to make money off a market that should be the original work’s creator’s market to exploit. SF videos are extremely transformative and, especially in the case of the free ones, are not seeking to exploit a market that has ever exploited or ever even sought to exploit. There’s also the possible issue of the End User License Agreement (EULA), which might expressly forbid the making of SF vids or something more nebulous that could cover vids. I just looked through my CCC2 manual and it says nothing about this, and neither does the game say anything on startup except for “All Rights Reserved.” The right to impede a fair use work is not a right that can be reserved, so again, I don’t think this can stop people from making videos.
Anyway, don’t worry about stickmaking or Street Fighter videos, don’t feel you need to censor yourself on either topic. Lots of companies try to bully people using the copyright system, but Capcom isn’t one of them.
PS I guess I should say that I’m a law student and my area of concentration is copyright and technology law.