Ubisoft Teams Up With Mystery Rights Holder To Remove Fun Fan-Made 'GoldenEye 007' Maps From 'Far Cry'

from the no-fun-for-you dept

We have seen our monumentally absurd permission and copyright culture kill off all sorts of cool fan projects. Perhaps no industry is impacted by this more than the video game space, where you have the combination of rabid fans of particular games and franchises coupled with an above average level of technical skill in exhibiting that fandom. This combination sees an absolute ton of fan-made projects, including ports of games to different hardware, fan-made games, and even the re-creation of old games within new ones. It should be obvious that all of this carries very little monetary risk for the game makers, and, in fact, often times could be a boon, and yet it is all too common for publishers and developers to sic lawyers on their own fans rather than figuring out a way to coexist or benefit from them.

But sometimes this nonsense gets down to an absurdly granular level. Such appears to the be the case with one YouTuber going by Krollywood, who spent hundreds of hours recreating the maps for the classic N64 game GoldenEye 007 in Far Cry 5, only to have those maps removed by Ubisoft in response to a copyright claim.

You could find and play these levels yourself by hopping into Far Cry 5’s arcade mode and punching in Krollywood’s username. As of this writing, you no longer can. Ubisoft removed them all from Far Cry 5, a move that Krollywood described as “really sad,” noting that he probably won’t be able to restore them since he’s “on their radar now.”

“I’m really sad—not because of myself or the work I put in the last three years, [but] because of the players who wanna play it or bought Far Cry just to play my levels,” Krollywood told Kotaku in an email today.

Ubisoft hasn’t responded as of this writing as to who made the copyright claim, but it appears the rights are held by MGM, the film studio that put out the movie of the same name. Notably, it’s unclear just how valid a copyright claim would even be. Ubisoft owns the code used to make the game and used by fans to make new levels. Krollywood recreated the levels, rather than borrowing any digital assets from the original. Also, the maps were not for sale; they were free to download.

But even if we granted that MGM or someone else could make a valid copyright claim on these maps… why the hell bother to do so? What precisely is the threat being staved off here?

Players just want a taste of nostalgia, and MGM has a track record of shattering the plates before they’re even delivered to the table. (Recall GoldenEye 25, the fan remake of GoldenEye 007 remade entirely in Unreal 4 that was lawyered into oblivion last year.) MGM has further neglected to do anything with the license it’s sitting on—for a game that’s older than the Game Boy Color, by the way. At the end of the day, shooting this latest fan-made project out of the sky comes across as a punitive move, at best.

“In the beginning, I started this project just for me and my best friend, because we loved the original game so much,” Krollywood said. “But there are many GoldenEye fans out there … [The project] found many new fans and I’m so happy about it.”

Sadly, it appears happiness is not on the menu at present, to keep the analogy going. Instead, the only dish served is cold, hard copyright.

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Companies: ubisoft

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Comments on “Ubisoft Teams Up With Mystery Rights Holder To Remove Fun Fan-Made 'GoldenEye 007' Maps From 'Far Cry'”

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tp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It just shows how sloppy these devs are in their copyrights. GoldenEye is clearly bond movie ripoff, recardless of who implemented the material. If the developers had done proper work with naming their assets in such way that noone in the world has product with that name, these issues wouldn’t ever happen. But no, the naming is some random stuff ripped off from some existing popular product.

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

Re: Re: Re:

And a bond movie is derived from the works of Ian Fleming, which are retelling of how a heroic adventurer save the day. The problem with extending copyright to derivative works is that in the end all works are derivatives.

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tp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The problem with extending copyright to derivative works is that in the end all works are derivatives.

The only thing that this "extension" is causing is that copyright owners will need to ask permission from more people. Given that they refuse to ask permission from anyone, adding more people to this list shouldn’t be a big problem. The material is anyway infringing, this extension just lets more people to sue for it.

When you humiliate copyright owners, there’s always consiguences.

keithzg (profile) says:

Re: Surely the only valid claim with a leg to stand on...

You may we’ll be right but ol’ Bill Clinton didn’t really put any penalties on DMCA requests that abuse the system through laughable legal premises, so they can file to take it down anyways, and unless you can fight it out and the eventual court actually doesn’t find against you through specious logic (or relying on problematic legeslation or precedents), that’s that.

Probably not worth it for a fan mod (which is why you should always think twice before doing something based off any corporate IP; at very least sand off the serial numbers ;))

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s a shame to take down a fan made level that’s only available in far cry
The chances of a new goldeneye game is close to zero
It’s just a tribute to a game but made with modern 3d tools
It would likely still be available if it was called some other name
And it’s free
What harm could it be doing to the James bond franchise?

n00bdragon (profile) says:

Can you even copyright the layout of a video game level? Keep in mind: No actual assets of Goldeneye 64 were used, no code from Goldeneye 64 was lifted.

I guess the real crime here is that there’s no crime. Ubisoft is rightfully allowed to moderate or manage whatever levels they want to offer in the Arcade mode of FarCry 5 for any reason they see fit. They don’t need a "rightsholder" to allow them to do that. If someone made a "Yves Guillemot is a big stinky doo doo head" level they’d be perfectly able to remove that too.

The fact they are hiding behind a veneer of "copyright" though is pretty shitty.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Update

So you couldn’t be bothered to actually learn about the subject before saying something that confirms you don’t know what you are talking about again.

Now, will you go and educate yourself and then come back here and correct your mistake, or will you put up some other faulty argument after which I will mock you with facts?

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