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
    ltlw0lf (profile), 2 Aug 2010 @ 10:23pm

    Re: Namco is right, but in a rather ham-handed way.

    Companies *SHOULD* learn that it is not right to teach programmers that sharing is illegal. Sharing is how all programmers learn (show me a half way competent programmer that didn't learn how to program with "Hello World" examples.) Yes, using open source or something you have permission to use is optimal, but how many programming books have "ALL RIGHTS RESERVED" on them, yet we borrowed code from them all the time as part of learning how to program, and only recently has this become wrong in the eyes of publishers.

    Companies *SHOULD* also learn the value of goodwill, and if I ran Namco, I'd be looking to offer students more material to learn from, because they will soon be my best employees. But the difference is that I am forward thinking enough to realize that my future profits as a company are based on the small pool of "infringers" that currently exist, instead of thinking that my ability to afford yet another mansion now is more important than the future of my company.

    Companies *SHOULD* also learn that the law should apply evenly to all people (and not just people and not companies (which shouldn't be people in the eyes of the law anyway.)) Why are companies going after kids for trademark infringement when companies like Disney can copy movies wholesale from Japanese animators (who, unlike the lawyers in the American system, view such blatant copyright infringement as flattery.) If a company copies something, they should have the same (relative) outcome that those they sue who copy their works.

    While this is a trademark case, and not a copyright case (the lawyer is an idiot if he thinks he can fight the copyright aspect here, an idea cannot be copyrighted,) the DMCA is pretty clear that educational use. This cease and desist should be filed in the circular file cabinet where it belongs.

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