Unofficial Amiibo Guidebook That Was Essentially Advertising Nintendo Products Gets Nintendo'd

from the nintendon't dept

Nintendo really can’t help itself. With the company’s storied reputation for valuing strict control of all things intellectual property over literally everything else, we have detailed plenty of occasions where this restrictive attitude seems to work directly against the company actually selling things. From DMCAing fan-made ports of Nintendo’s games to antiquated game systems, to getting fan-made expressions of Nintendo fandom taken down from 3rd party creation games like Dreams, to just DMCA carpet-bombing a wide range of fan-made games that serve as homages to Nintendo properties, the company has made it very clear that it will choose strict control over being good to its fans at every opportunity. Even, as is so often the case, when that means getting content taken down that essentially serves as an advertisement for Nintendo products.

Perhaps this has never been more evident than when Nintendo recently got a Kickstarter project shut down, as that project was for a guidebook to Nintendo Amiibo products.

Made by Ninty Media, the unofficial amiibo handbook was designed as a guidebook that catalogued every single amiibo available at the time of the book’s release. Not only does this compendium show off every amiibo, it also gives fun facts about each character listed, and even has estimated prices to help those trying to purchase these desired figures today. The Kickstarter for the book launched last month and has long surpassed its initial goal of £3,000 with £36,172 at the time of its being taken down.

However, that Kickstarter has now come to a halt thanks to this new dispute from Nintendo. Viewing the copyright notification on the Kickstarter page reveals that it is under dispute due to the use of the amiibo logo on the cover of the book, along with some of Nintendo’s other design marks. Paul Murphy, the man behind the amiibo handbook, along with other projects from Ninty Media, has posted on Twitter that he would respond shortly to this claim, demonstrating that the book isn’t cancelled yet. But he did offer refunds to anyone who contributed to the Kickstarter in the event that he loses the dispute.

Now, a couple of things I should stipulate right up front. First, Nintendo is well within its rights to take this action. Use of Nintendo’s branding and imagery certainly runs afoul of copyright and trademark laws. Second, it was fairly silly of the makers of this book to use that branding and imagery, including font-types, without ever having reached out to Nintendo for any kind of approval. That would be the case if this were a book about the products of “Company X”, but when it’s Nintendo? C’mon, guys.

So, with those stipulations out of the way, we can now get into just how stupid this all is on Nintendo’s part as well. First, again, Nintendo doesn’t have to spit directly in the faces of its fans.

Given Nintendo’s history, it’s unsurprising that what have been dubbed by many as the “Nintendo Ninjas” are at it again. Similar to Nintendo’s past cases, it’s a dispute where Nintendo is legally in the right, but dubious in its morality. The more of these projects Nintendo cancels, the clearer the message that Nintendo is against these types of fan projects. It’s not a good message to send to the community, and it harms the relationship Nintendo has with its consumers.

And then let’s add to all of that that this book would essentially serve as a giant advertisement for Nintendo’s Amiibo products. There are a zillion ways the company could have worked amicably with this Kickstarter project so as to both protect its IP, say with a cheap or free license to use the assets in question, while also ensuring that a book for Amiibo enthusiasts still got released. By all accounts, such possibilities were never even explored by Nintendo.

That’s not surprising any longer, but it remains quite disappointing. If we acknowledge that this book generally didn’t serve any real threat to the monetary income of Nintendo, and likely would have been a boon instead, there was literally nothing to lose and everything to gain if Nintendo had chosen to be human and cool in this instance.

Instead, it takes a hit on the relationship front with its fans and loses out on the free advertising for Amiibo products. Great job.

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Companies: kickstarter, nintendo, ninty media

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Comments on “Unofficial Amiibo Guidebook That Was Essentially Advertising Nintendo Products Gets Nintendo'd”

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24 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Thank you sir, may I have another?

It’s both, if fans had even a shred of self-respect Nintendo would only be able to engage in such behavior for a short amount of time before it became a literal ‘knock it off or go out of business’ scenario, however that doesn’t stop Nintendo from being responsible for their actions in showing such contempt.

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Lee Litter says:

Re: Your writing is atrociating.

for valuing strict control of all things intellectual property

AH. Used too many words and accidentally admitted "intellectual property" is part of "all things", REAL and DEFINE-ABLE. — Should have omitted "all things" for both better writing and in line with Techdirt’s notions.

over literally everything else, we have detailed plenty of

"literally" is nearly always a bad choice. No one uses it correctly, not even me, and it’s useless or wrong as an intensifier; definitely "literally" wrong when put with "everything", so you just falsified the whole sentence.

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Lee Litter says:

Re: Your writing is atrociating.

occasions

This usage is not right either, the word is best skipped, worn out; "times" would serve.

where this restrictive attitude seems to work directly against the company actually selling things.

AH AGAIN, since part of what Nintendo sells is "intellectual property", you again support the notion is an identifiable "thing".

You falsify that last clause by listing items that are all "fan-made", which by definition aren’t likely to be sales for Nintendo, definitely not "directly".

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Lee Litter says:

Re: Your writing is atrociating.

Later you toss in "stipulate" which you (like the once-verbose now-vanished "Gary") picked up from being around lawyers who don’t know where to click, and think verbosity enhances your credibility. Here’s the ACTUAL definition; to "stipulate" is not as you mis-use to set up an argument, but to SETTLE one:

stipulate = vt. -lated, -lating 1. to include specifically in the terms of an agreement, contract, etc.; arrange definitely 2. to specify as an essential condition of or requisite in an agreement vi. to make a specific demand or arrangement (for something) as a condition of or requisite in an agreement

I could go on about your illiteration (it’s intentional nonce-word for humor, kids, like a couple above), but skip to pointing out that Nintendo is doing just fine without least attention to your whiny little attacks, and so I wonder WHY you do them? Does Masnick pay you enough to be worthwhile, or do you still think that "writing" here will result in exposure? — If so, any editor will be put off by your errors, and you’ve even dropped the wild verbiage of prior years, so don’t even provide hoots!

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Your writing is atrociating.

It’s amazing that you can rant about one word and how it’s used wrongly while actually not knowing that you can use it as a transitive verb to concede for the purposes of an argument.

You are one stupid fucker that has no better argument for attacking someone than the words they use. Are you regressing perhaps? Are diapers and drooling on the list of things for you in the near future?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Brainy, having run out of actual arguments or facsimiles thereof, has resorted to mocking words and letters that other people use. He attacked me as being “un-American” or some shit because I use vowels with diaresises in words like “coöperate” instead of setting off the prefix with a dash (“co-operate”). It’s sad, is what it is.

Anonymous Coward says:

nintendo do not understand fair use, they are more agressive about taking down video game videos than anyone else.
they dont license content to fans.
they are like the record companys before steve jobs invented the ipod,
they want total control of all their ip.
Even if it means they have to remove fan content and take down videos that act as free advertising for their games

nasch (profile) says:

Copyright?

Use of Nintendo’s branding and imagery certainly runs afoul of copyright and trademark laws.

Trademark, yes, but where’s the copyright issue? And if there’s no copyright issue, the DMCA does not apply.

Description of copyrighted material: Brand design mark

Description of infringing material: "The Campaign offers for sale its “Unofficial Amiibo Handbook,” which prominently displays Nintendo’s AMIIBO Design mark on the cover and also displays throughout the handbook Nintendo’s other design marks and elements of Nintendo’s AMIIBO Design mark"

Is Nintendo’s "brand design mark" even copyrighted? Or copyrightable?

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