NAMCO Demands Takedown Of Pacman Game Created By Kid Using MIT's Scratch Programming Language

from the create-your-own! dept

An anonymous reader sends over the story, found on Reddit of how Namco Bandai sent a letter complaining that a kid recreated Pacman online using Scratch. If you're not familiar with it, Scratch is a very simple programming "language," basically designed to teach kids how to program (or think about programming) from a young age. And what's one of the best ways to learn to program? It's to recreate an app that already exists. But that's not allowed:
The really obnoxious part is at the end, where it says "While we appreciate the educational nature of your enterprise and look forward to the contributions of the future programmers you are training, part of their education should include concern for the intellectual property of others." Apparently propaganda about copyright is more important than actually teaching little Johnny how to program?

This is how kids learn. They recreate what they know. Kids learn to play music by copying the music that they know. Many learn to draw by copying drawings that they see. They learn to write by copying the writers they like. This is how education works. But in a world where copyright trumps all, learning takes a back seat apparently.

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  1. icon
    Justin Mason (profile), 2 Aug 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Cease and Desist... wakka wakka wakka

    I see a completely valid point to NAMCO's complaint... Little Johnny's program has prevented me from going out and buying my brand new copy of PAC-MAN. This does irrevocable harm to the PAC-MAN empire, and places the average stupid consumer at a total disadvantage. I mean, what if they get confused and think Little Johnny created the idea of PAC-MAN on his very own? Don't worry though, I hear that NAMCO has been even-handed in it's decision to pursue unauthorized PAC-MAN material -- Their lawyers will also be sending a cease and desist order to Little Sally for the crayon drawing of PAC-MAN she did, which was later posted to her mother's Facebook account. Also, they have issued a licensing update, and will be charging us all $0.05 US each time the word "PAC-MAN" is rendered.

    In all seriousness though, I think the belligerent enforcement of Trademark is ridiculous, but also understandable from their perspective. NAMCO didn't build the variable mine-field that is copyright law, but they've had to exist within it. I think the real shame here is the lack of vision on the part of the owners. With a character as iconic as PAC-MAN, there's real opportunity to embrace these types of educational / non-profit characterizations and elevate themselves to a new level of relevancy to a whole new generation -- an overall move I think would be much more profitiable to them moving forward.

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