Dark Souls Modder Gets Copyright Threat From Game Developer For Some Reason

from the facepalm dept

It’s an old story: video game is released, modder makes it better, game developer reacts by treating modders like idiots, even though modding makes the original game more attractive for purchase. It’s not always this way of course; some game developers are capable of seeing the value in the modding community. Too many, unfortunately, do not. But when a game modder makes a game better and then gets a legal threat from the developer, well, that’s just downright stupid.

Dark Souls users on PC have had their lives made infinitely better with modder Durante’s DSFix, which serves to fix some of the game’s rendering issues. Today, Durante received a rather unpleasant surprise when he was slapped with a copyright infringement notice, seemingly from Bandai Namco. Durante contends on NeoGAF that none of his work specifically infringes on any copyrights, since it doesn’t actually use any game code.

Issuing a threat due to a game mod is something of an extension of how Blizzard has behaved in the past. In that case, the issue was going after cheaters within the online gaming community. Wrong as it may have been, there was at least some semblance of good intentions in that case, even if the unintended consequences for copyright caselaw could have been damaging. In this case? Why would a game developer go after a modder who did nothing except make the original game better and more attractive to potential buyers? I don’t get it. It appears that some folks working for Bandai Namco aren’t sure why this happened either.

Meanwhile, Bandai Namco appears to be taken aback by this, with community manager J. Kartje acknowledging on Twitter that he’s actively looking into this situation.

There’s been no update from Kartje on the situation since that last tweet, so apparently the “goings on” haven’t been “seen” yet, but there are replies to the tweet string that indicate fans would never had made the purchase of Dark Souls for their PC if the mod hadn’t been available. One would hope the folks over at Bandai Namco would reign in whoever thought firing off a silly copyright threat was a good idea and make things right with the modder.

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Companies: bandai namco

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Comments on “Dark Souls Modder Gets Copyright Threat From Game Developer For Some Reason”

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9 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Namco Bandai is primary a Japanese studio, Dark Soul is made by their Japanese developer.

This DMCA takedown was issued from their German office, which is only responsible for localizing game in that region.

Like other Japanese game studio, that only make game in Japan, the other region only localize game, Sega of America is an example too.
The game are all made by Sega of Japan, and US localization is done by Sega of America.

Megahurtz says:

As we suspected early on, this was a case of somebody issuing a DMCA takedown notice on something they didn’t understand. Here is a bit of the backstory.

Two years ago, Bamco published Dark Souls in North America and the EU. The PC version shipped with multiplayer interaction handled by Games for Windows Live. GfWL appears to be shutting down imminently, so some publishers and patching their older titles to remove it. FROM pushed out an update a week or two ago that removed GfWL and migrated multiplayer to Steamworks.

However, somebody (Bamco? FROM?) screwed up the updates and accidentally pushed out a debug .exe as an update to the old GfWL version. They seemed to realize their error quickly and pushed another update with the intended .exe, but the debug file was now loose in the wild and people had started to realize what they had. The debug file was backed up and shared online.

While the debug .exe opens up a whole lot of interesting options to fans of the game, it also allows for cheating, which carries over to multiplayer. The MP cheating seems to be what FROM is upset about, and they are attempting to have the debug .exe removed from the Internet.

In this case, Japan contacted Bandai Namco GmbH, who contacted an outfit they had worked with in the past, File Defense Service. Bamco Germany hired FDS to find and take down the debug .exe and stop it from circulating (GOOD LUCK!). A user had uploaded the debug file to Nexus Mods and was sent a PM by a FDS employee asking him to remove the file. FDS claimed that the user was distributing something Bamco never intended to distribute (yet they did!). A GAFer looked up that guy’s name and found a phone number for him, called him, explained the situation, and it now seems that FDS is attempting to repair their damage.

You could criticize FROM and say that if they are so concerned about online cheating, they should have VAC secured their game. As it is, they haven’t done anything in years to stop the online cheating that was prevalent prior to the debug getting loose. People have been able to go online with Cheat Engine since the game came out. Of course, I suppose there is the chance that VAC would ban users for applying DSfix in the first place…

GAFers were asking Durante if he filed the counter-claim notification through Dropbox, but he eventually explained that he had not. Durante said he uses his Dropbox account for his actual work, and having his account frozen/suspended/deleted would cause him tremendous harm. He was not going to risk that, even if he was completely in the right.

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