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
    Free Capitalist (profile), 2 Aug 2010 @ 8:22am

    When can i pick up a brush?

    Just how long should a student have to spend studying copyright law before s/he is permitted to engage in any creative endeavors?

    Is it any wonder more and more kids take a "why bother" attitude towards art, music and anything else creative?

    I saw this interesting disclaimer someone put on the Reddit boards. Though I doubt it would do anything to stop a DMCA take-down notice, it does go to show just what level of legal knowledge we seem to be asking of young creators in this brave new world of copyright economy:

    (from a reddit comment)
    "This was created for non-profit educational purposes. This work has no commercial nature. This work draws on the following copyrighted works (artwork/characters/music): ----------. This work does not draw on the following copyrighted works (source code of the inspiring work, copyrightable elements of the inspiring work not used): ----------. The inspiring work is published by ---------- and can be purchased at: ----------.

    I, (student) ----------, declare that I believe that my use of the works cited above constitutes Fair Use under 17 U.S.C. ยง 107 due to the use of an insubtantial portion of the inspiring work and the negligible effect of this work on the potential market for the inspiring work. If you are the copyright holder and wish this work to be taken down, please contact me at [email]."

    How many kids would want to bother doing the prior art research whenever a new inspiration strikes? Does the brain even remember what influences it is using when inspiration happens?

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