Nintendo Appears To Be Using A Fan-Made Drawing Of Mario Without Artist's Permission Or Credit

from the real-nice-guys dept

Nintendo, of course, has an impressively long history of being IP protectionist in the extreme. But if there is one thing that Nintendo really cannot stand, it’s when its own fans choose to express their fandom with art and creativity. Cool ways to use Animal Crossing? Nintendo shut it down. Dedicated gamers porting an antique Mario title to the PC? Nintendo shut it down. Fan game, after fan game, after fan game? Nintendo shut those down too. In other words, the impression you’re left with is that fan creations using anything remotely close to Nintendo IP is the devil’s work in the eyes of the company.

Except, perhaps, when the company would like to use some of that work without permission or giving credit to the artist, it seems.

A new website for Nintendo’s upcoming Japanese theme park Super Nintendo World went live yesterday. It featured new details and a virtual tour of the video game wonderland ahead of its February 4 opening. It also used an image of Mario for its loading screen that appears to have been created not by Nintendo, but one of its fans.

“I love how Nintendo used MY old ass Mario render in their official Nintendo World website,” Twitter user and Mario fan artist ujiidow tweeted earlier today. Their image of Mario was created roughly three years ago using the open source animation software Blender, and was shared on Reddit at the time. The Mario model used for the render wasn’t one of Nintendo’s, but instead belonged to 3D artist RafaKnight, who shared it for download on their Patreon in 2017.

Nintendo hasn’t bothered to comment on any of this, but it’s a funny thing how those that scream about respecting artists and creators can’t seem to find it in themselves to treat others the way they want to be treated. Now, some will point out that Nintendo controls the Mario Bros. IP, as though it gave them the right to simply use any 3rd party artwork as though it were their own. That almost certainly isn’t true, though, and is sort of besides the point. Nintendo goes way beyond just following the law in its intellectual property enforcement and treats it like some sort of ethos that aggressive protection is the right way to go.

So why, then, not seek permission from the artist to use what he created? Why not credit the artist in some way? It’s not like said artist wouldn’t have been amendable to any of this.

Ujiidow isn’t necessarily complaining though. “I’m so used to my Mario renders getting very little attention,” they told Kotaku in an email. “I’m being told to take action on the matter but I find it very nice to finally have some recognition on it.”

Holy shit, imagine if Nintendo had the same gentle attitude towards its fans that its fans have toward Nintendo? What a wonderful world that would be.

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Companies: nintendo

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Comments on “Nintendo Appears To Be Using A Fan-Made Drawing Of Mario Without Artist's Permission Or Credit”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Must be a day ending in 'y'

You can practically set your clock by the frequency and reliability that the same people who scream the loudest about how evil copyright infringement is and how it’s stealing food right from the mouths of creators will in turn engage in the same if not worse behavior.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Reminds me of what a Daily Show writer once said…

Reminds me of what a Daily Show writer once said during the WGA strike of 2007 about Sumner Redstone as head of Viacom suing YouTube but being cheap when it came to paying the writers:

If you’re not paying [Sumner Redstone], you owe him $342 million. If he’s not paying you, he’s not paying you.

Same deal with Nintendo vis-à-vis their fans.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

HORRIBLE business model!!

Yep. With Capitalism the most corrupt wins. Why? Because it’s often the most profitable.

Don’t worry though, Nintendo has done it’s best in fufilling it’s obligations to it’s shareholders in this action and will continue to look for even more ways to do so in the future. After all, the shareholders’s profits are all that need to matter to companies right?

TL;DR: Don’t complain about the business model being corrupt when you and your governments allow companies to do whatever they want to society in the name of Capitalism.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
This comment has been deemed funny by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Don’t complain about the business model being corrupt when you and your governments allow companies to do whatever they want to society in the name of Capitalism."

Yeah, it’s totally up to me and me alone. My fault, sorry ’bout that.
I will bring capitalism to an end this week end for you, is that soon enough?
btw, what system do you want in its place? I could put any one of several systems in play. Anarchy is possibly the best choice if you want total freedom to do whatever you want. Rugged Individualism seems to be the Nouveau Chic trendy thing these days, it suits you. I think you’ll like it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Every time Theres a new expansion of copyright law its said by big corporations we must protect artists and creators
, everyday music and video is being dmca claimed or removed by big corporations ,
Content that’s made by indie artists or YouTube creators
Nintendo is a Japanese Company the laws on copyright in Japan are extremely strict
There’s no concept of fair use or parody
There’s no way twitch or YouTube would exist
Or be invented if America followed Asian laws
on copyright
Nintendo was the only company that actually
Asked for money from YouTube let’s players
they would dmca let’s plays of Nintendo games
All other video game devs know let’s play is a form of free promotion
Amongst us is a massive hit after 2 years
Because Streamers started playing it on twitch
Most small creators and artists cannot afford to go to court to defend their content
against dmca strikes
on YouTube
Corporations exist to make money
See streaming music
Most money goes to record company’s
Not the people who create the content

Anonymous Coward says:

funny how, particularly with Nintendo, anything fans do that isn’t liked is condemned and removed under the sternest of threats. when the boot is on the other foot however, funny how Nintendo thinks it is perfectly ok for it to ‘steal’ something from a fan! talk about double standards and two-facedness! not cool, Nintendo! not cool at all!!

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m just waiting for Nintendo to start issuing DMCA takedowns of the creator’s works and websites, thus claiming the creator is stealing from himself and violating his IP rights.

Copyright was meant to be a short term guarantee that the creator "could" profit from their works. The short term portion was the incentive to continue to create new works. Now the duration is something like Life + 70 years, or something stupid. The argument is now being made (typically by the heirs), "what incentive does their deceased relative have to create new works, without 10+ generations of descendants being able to do absolutely nothing to contribute to society but still make millions?" Talk about giving new definition to Ghost Writing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The heirs are being disenfranchised by new business model – think investment companies will be happy with death+70? (Neil Young sells song rights in ‘$150m’ deal) "Hipgnosis turns music royalties into an income stream." (Shakira is the latest star to sell the rights to her songs) "… while Hipgnosis – which owns the songs in perpetuity – hopes to profit …"

Anonymous Coward says:

That's what an "exclusive" right means...

<<some will point out that Nintendo controls the Mario Bros. IP, as though it gave them the right to simply use any 3rd party artwork as though it were their own. That almost certainly isn’t true, though…>>

There’s pretty good authority that the author of an unauthorized derivative work can’t own a copyright for it – at least not a copyright that he can assert against the owner of the original work.

Pickett v. Prince, 207 F. 3d 402, 405-406(7th Cir. 2000) ("The Copyright Act grants the owner of a copyright the exclusive right to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work. So [the artist] could not make a derivative work based on the [original] without … authorization[.]") If the only copyright at issue is one that the derivative work’s author "had no right to obtain," then it’s hard to see how he can sue for copyright infringement.

KnowledgeWoods says:

PMP Certification training Course

Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is one of the most renowned certifications in the domain of project management. PMP® is Globally recognized and demanded, the PMP® certification demonstrates that you have the experience, education, and competency to lead and direct projects. This recognition is seen through increased marketability to employers and higher salaries. visit our website for more information:

UEWD says:

If we just his wording, he stole it from RafaKnight first, who stole Mario from Nintendo, and then Nintendo stole Mario back. All Ujiidow did to the original model was pose it slightly. He didn’t even give it a background, which is why his render has a black background.

But the official stance is that Nintendo reserves the right to take any derivative work for themselves. The policy is tough to find on Nintendo’s own website, but a version of it is easily found on the Pokémon website, which shouldn’t be significantly different:

Distribution in any form and any channels now known or in the future of derivative works based on the copyrighted property trademarks, service marks, trade names and other proprietary property (Fan Art) of The Pokémon Company International, Inc., its affiliates and licensors (Pokémon) constitutes a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license from the Fan Art’s creator to Pokémon to use, transmit, copy, modify, and display Fan Art (and its derivatives) for any purpose. No further consideration or compensation of any kind will be given for any Fan Art. Fan Art creator gives up any claims that the use of the Fan Art violates any of their rights, including moral rights, privacy rights, proprietary rights publicity rights, rights to credit for material or ideas or any other right, including the right to approve the way such material is used. In no uncertain terms, does Pokémon’s use of Fan Art constitute a grant to Fan Art’s creator to use the Pokémon intellectual property or Fan Art beyond a personal, noncommercial home use.

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