clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cup of coffee in the big time: NJPW making big mistake going after GIF accounts on Twitter

Wrestling promotions own their product. We should start there, because I’ve certainly been through enough fair use and media rights training seminars to last a lifetime. And a decade-plus career covering MMA means I’m intensely aware of combat sports promotions (UFC) who closely guard their content and aggressively attack social media GIFs and videos.

But New Japan Pro Wrestling’s decision to go after popular wrestling GIF accounts on social media is petty and only serves to hurt themselves.

Sending DCMA takedown notices to multiple popular GIF accounts (including @MrLariato), resulting in the suspension of popular account @BulletClubItal, goes against a very simple equation that should be in place for a wrestling company, especially one aggressively pursuing expansion in America.

The only question NJPW should be asking is this: Does this exposure increase our visibility and drive interest in following our product or does it drive people away from our subscription services such as NJPW World?

I find it hard to believe there are many people who would subscribe to NJPW World who do not because they see GIFs from the event on social media. On the flip side, there are plenty of people who actively state they became interested in the product because they saw GIFs of incredible action on Twitter.

Many independent companies have enacted specific policies to protect smaller-scale iPPV or subscription service sales, while WWE has all but entirely stopped sending takedown requests for GIFs.

Here is WWN’s policy (which I’d argue is almost too strict for their own good):

-Never show a finish to a match.
-No botches of any kind from moves to equipment.
-Never show a clip that might embarrass a fan.
-Limit GIFs to 3 or under per match.
-GIFs must be under 15 seconds.
-Please use hashtag #WWNLive when posting.

Similarly, Progress asks for finishes to not be GIFed and their event be tagged in posts.

NJPW would do well to establish some sort of policy in line with these companies rather than a sudden blanket ban across social media — one that targets people who have contributed to significant buzz about their product, as mentioned by @TotalDivasEps in a report on the situation at (emphasis mine):

The content belongs to New Japan, TV Asahi and their media rights holders, and it’s theirs to protect how they see fit. However, I think there has to be some consideration that people like MrLARIATO (and Showbuckle, who had some excellent videos on YouTube removed by copyright strikes) have played a role in helping to popularize New Japan in the west. I can’t even imagine the dollar amount that could be placed on the publicity NJPW gained through Lariato’s GIFs of the Ospreay/Ricochet BOSJ 2016 match taking over the Internet for a week.

Regressive media policies will not benefit NJPW in the long run and the buzz around their events will decrease if this is their path forward.

Here’s hoping for a solution to the situation that makes sense for the world of 2018.

Well, I suppose I can’t end our Friday edition with a NJPW GIF, so let’s go to Impact instead.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats