Just Kidding, Square Enix Still Hates Its Biggest Fans

from the what-was-i-thinking? dept

Human beings are creatures of habit. As such, we generally feel most comfortable when we’re in familiar surroundings and when things typically turn out as we expect. With that in mind, I realize some of you readers may have found yourselves in an unfamiliar and distressing new world when I wrote about a Final Fantasy fan film that appeared to have Square Enix’s tacit approval for a Kickstarter project. The makers of what looks like a fantastic web series mentioned on their Kickstarter page that they had proactively gone to Square Enix to make sure they knew what was happening and that the trailer for the series actually made an appearance on the company’s website. “What the hell is this all about?”, you must have thought. “What’s next, cats and dogs living in harmony? Pepsi admitting that Coke is totally better? What are we going to do!?!?”

Well, rest easy, because Square Enix’s legal team is here to remind you that they still totally hate their biggest fans and all is just as wrong with the world as it ever was. You already know where we’re going with this, so here are the claims from the DMCA takedown notice they sent over the Kickstarter project.

· The project itself is in infringement of our copyrights and should be removed in its entirety from Kickstarter.

· The project itself admits it is an unofficial fan project in its title “Final Fantasy VII: The Web Series (Unofficial Fan Project).

· The description of the project itself claims to use the copyrighted characters and events of Final Fantasy VII.

Not only did the projcet admit it on Kickstarter, they admitted it to you guys when they reached out to let you know what they were doing. And they made a point to secure music licensing. To go the DMCA route rather than finding an amicable way to properly license this with them would be bad enough, but to know what the filmmakers were doing and let them get this far only to dash their project on the rocks of your legal team is downright sadistic. The project’s page is now down, noting that there is an intellectual property dispute, which means prospective backers can’t contribute any longer.

Via their Facebook page, the team let their fans know that they’re still trying to get something worked out with Square Enix and managed to deliver the message with a touch of irony any Final Fantasy 7 fan will appreciate.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

You will have noticed that the Square Enix legal team have taken an interest in our project. We’re in the process of opening up discussions with the team regarding the ongoing status of our project and hopefully the continuation of our Kickstarter campaign. We’ll keep you up to date on any envelopments.

“These days, all it takes for your dreams to come true is money and power.”
– President Shinra

Here’s hoping Square Enix muzzles their legal dogs and does the right thing by their fans, because it would be a shame to see one of the most popular games ever taint its reputation by being DMCA bullies over a harmless fan film.

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Companies: square enix

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Comments on “Just Kidding, Square Enix Still Hates Its Biggest Fans”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Also thinking they’re going to do “the right thing” is naive. So no one should get their hopes up. They didn’t do the ‘right thing’ with any of the Chrono Trigger fan projects, or the last few final fantasy fan projects.

One thing I have noticed with companies like Nintendo and Square-Enix is that these companies act extra aggressive to fan projects that happen overseas. They seem to care not about endless streams of pornography and fan-comics being made in their home country. It really only seems to attract legal ire when it happens elsewhere.

It may be the result of run-amok lawyers, or simply disdain for their foreign fans. But it’s troubling how many Japanese companies are guilty of this. Nintendo recently claimed that every youtube video that featured nintendo properties was “theirs” and they were going to start planting advertisements in them. Sega went on the war-path over footage of several games in a franchise that came out twenty years ago, fair use be damned. Capcom has made too many blunders regarding this to count.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Maybe you should re-read my post and understand that I’m not blaming Japan or companies from Japan as I am the management of big game companies from Japan.

Yes! Surprise and shock! I can be critical of a company in a foreign nation without being critical of that foreign nation! What an amazing concept!

Here’s another mind blower: I can be critical of the dumb decisions those companies have made and still like the company

Wow! I mean, it’s almost as if your attempt to drag this argument into an extremist ‘us vs them’, ‘black vs white’ polarizing trollfest was extremely unwarranted and a little ignorant of you.

Maybe if I didn’t get this kind of treatment every time I tried to criticize large, amorphous companies that are so huge that they are constantly making erroneous business decisions; I may be a little easier on you for trying to pull the “Well you’re just criticizing their businesses because you hate that country” card. In fact, you can sod right off for trying to turn this discussion into that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Maybe you should re-read my post and understand that I’m not blaming Japan or companies from Japan as I am the management of big game companies from Japan.”

Maybe YOU MUST know how Japanese corporate culture works, instead of asking non-American companies to work the same way as the U.S. does.

And I read your post, BTW.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“For them to sit by and watch someone actually make a profitable movie, adds insult to injury.”

Only if they’re self-obsessed idiots.

Otherwise, a reasonable person might see this as being a way to expand the universe without taking on any of the risk. It should be easy in theory – licence the property while demanding a certain level of creative approval and a share of profits. Nobody gets to release a low quality officially licensed product, if it succeeds you get income with little work – and if it flops, someone else has taken the financial hit.

It should be win/win, not only for fans of the series (most of whom were disappointed by The Spirits Within and its vague connection to the games) but for the company itself, who get a new income stream without having to risk their own capital.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this was merely a big company’s right hand not knowing what the left was doing (e.g. the creative people approving this, then the legal department go on the attack without realising what’s been approved), but there should be no reason why this should happen at all…

Kevin Kess (profile) says:

Just Kidding, Square Enix Still Hates Its Biggest Fans

Okay. I understand that Square Enix has the legal right to protect their intellectual properties. I can even understand that they want to make sure that there are certain things they don’t want themselves or certain consumers to be seeing in terms of content.

But, a fan film (and one based on Final Fantasy 7 no less) is what gets their legal team in a rage?

Companies like Square Enix and even Hasbro could stand to learn the difference between someone stealing the characters made under their home studios and passing them off as their own versus those who are merely paying tribute to their works as their way of saying “thank you” by making fan films, abridged series videos on YouTube and games made by the fans.

This is just as bad as Hasbro shutting down 2 Friendship is Magic based fan games and even suing one fan of said 4th My Little Pony incarnation for the simple act of making plush toys and other memorabilia.

The Old Man in The Sea says:

Like all good drones everywhere...

Like all good drones everywhere, they are paid to do (follow exactly what the directions have been given) not paid to think. It doesn’t matter whether they be lawyers, airline staff, NSA/CIA/FBI staff, elected official office staff, government bureaucrats, etc. They have their rule book that must be follow and as a customer or citizen you have to follow our commands (because it is in the rules).

It is very rare today to find someone who actually thinks and can provide a solution for problems that are brought to their attentions.

What was it just recently, a pregnant women escorted of a plane because she didn’t have a medical certificate from her doctor saying she could fly. She had to get it faxed from her doctors to the airline before she could board another flight. And the ridiculous part, no airline staff made any mention of the problem to her until after she had boarded the flight and was seated with her child beside her. Go figure that.

We have become so rule bound that we no longer care about how to help or serve or enhance the lives of people. Governments and companies so short sighted that they will destroy what they are supposed to care about just to follow the rules.

I think the following quote sums it all up

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

Just change scribes and Pharisess for the appropriate group, Congressmen and Senators, CEO’s and lawyers, etc.

Ninja (profile) says:

Pepsi admitting that Coke is totally better? What are we going to do!?!?

No amount of denial can beat an established fact. Pepsi is a Coke wannabe.

Here’s hoping Square Enix muzzles their legal dogs and does the right thing by their fans, because it would be a shame to see one of the most popular games ever taint its reputation by being DMCA bullies over a harmless fan film.

Are you also hoping for the initial stuff?

Jokes apart this is a clear case of copyright HINDERING creativity. For all that whining that pirates are killing whatever this is much, much more harmful than any amount of piracy will ever be.

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