A whole bunch of you have been sending over a blog post from Kotaku quoting Nintendo president Satoru Iwata responding at a shareholder meeting to a question about how the company handles "fan activities" that technically infringe on Nintendo's intellectual property. Iwatu said they don't want to criminalize fans doing something out of appreciation
, but that there's a lot that goes into the decision making process:
As the principle, please understand that the question is regarding a rather delicate issue to which no one can perhaps identify a clear-cut criterion. Of course, we cannot say that we can give tacit approval to any and all the activities which threaten our intellectual properties. But on the other hand, it would not be appropriate if we treated people who did something based on affection for Nintendo, as criminals. It is true that some expressions are detrimental enough to diminish the dignity of our intellectual properties, and others destroy our intellectual properties' world-views by connecting them with something not based on fact. We think one of the criteria for deciding how to respond is whether the expression in question socially diminishes the dignity or value of our intellectual properties or not. Of course, it is very hard to have a blanket standard as this problem involves many complex elements that are very difficult to judge.
In these meanings, we cannot say OK to any and all such activities and, at the same time, it is not feasible for us to immediately respond to each small issue of this nature every time. However, these days an individual can easily transmit information through the Internet. Hearing your question today, as we cannot find these problems only by ourselves, we feel that a kind of contact window should be set up so that people can somehow report to us any inappropriate uses of Nintendo's intellectual properties which diminish their dignities or values, so that we can respond appropriately.
While a lot of people are suggesting this is a revelation, I'm not so sure. Lots of companies give this kind of wishy-washy answer on such things. I remember hearing something quite similar
from Warner Bros. general counsel concerning how it views fan fiction as well. But, again, the proof is in the pudding, and when we hear stories about Nintendo shutting down a fan-made film
based on The Legend of Zelda
, it suggests that perhaps they're not necessarily living up to the claims made by Iwatu.