Nintendo Hates You: Gaming Giant Lobs A DMCA Nuke At Hundreds Of Fan Games

from the nintendon't dept

Nintendo has built quite a reputation for itself as an intellectual property protectionist, going much further than most other game publishers to exert strict control over all of its IP. While this control is deployed in a wide-ranging manner, one of the most visible, common, and consequential avenues for this protectionism comes in the form of Nintendo getting all manner of fan-made creations taken down. These games, almost universally created by huge Nintendo fans as labors of love, are nearly always the subject of DMCA takedowns. Think for just a moment what that means: Nintendo is disallowing, on the regular, the expression of fandom by its own customers.

Every time I have written a post about some individual game being erased in this manner, rather than Nintendo exploring how to officially endorse these fan-made creations so as to protect its IP while still promoting its own fans, it's left me scratching my head. But now that Nintendo has managed to get hundreds of fan-games taken down in one fell swoop, well, it seems the company has decided to take this war on its own fans to another level.

Hundreds of non-commercial Nintendo fangames have been removed from the popular game publishing community Game Jolt after the platform complied with several DMCA takedown requests. Many of the affected games have dedicated fanbases including many die-hard Nintendo fans, some of whom now seem eager to revolt.

A few days ago, Nintendo’s legal department sent DMCA notices to the game publishing community Game Jolt. The site, where hobbyists and indie developers share their creations for free, was notified that hundreds of fangames infringed Nintendo’s trademarks.

Now, GameJolt does advertise on its site, leading Nintendo's DMCA notice to warn that the site was profiting from this infringement. As a result, the site took 379 games down. But it's worth noting both that uploaders appear to have an option to turn off ads on their games' pages and that the developers and fans for these games are absolutely livid about Nintendo's actions. One developer summed it up nicely and then went on to point out why this attempt at enforcement by Nintendo probably won't even work.

“They’ll get no sympathy from me, this isn’t the first time they’ve pulled a stunt like this. They’ve made it clear they hate their fans and repeat it time and time again never learning from it.”

The developer will continue to work on his “Five Nights At Team HQ series” but fears that it will be targeted eventually. That doesn’t stop the developer though, and he encourages others to simply flood the Internet with copies.

“Nintendo if you think taking down everyone’s games will help your image and get people to buy more of your games then you’re sorely mistaken! I’ll keep making and reuploading fan games even if you try to take them down, so DEAL WITH IT! All people who have copies of the fangames that were taken down take them and reupload them all over the internet so they stay up no matter what!”

And that already appears to be happening. Some developers are taking their fan games to other platforms and reuploading them there. Other developers are actually reuploading their games back to GameJolt, but without advertising on them, in the hopes that banner ads were somehow the lynchpin that caused Nintendo to target their particular games.

Nintendo has remained silent on the matter as of the time of this writing, but readers here will know its reputation well enough to know that removing advertisements won't stop the takedowns. Nintendo hates fan-made creations, see, and has taken down plenty of games that were completely devoid of any commercial aspects.

The only thing that will stop the company from treating its biggest fans so poorly, it seems, is if those fans suddenly begin disappearing like the games they created.

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Filed Under: dmca, fangames, fans, takedowns
Companies: nintendo


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 10:51am

    So... they used the DMCA against... supposed confusion caused by trademarks? What?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bruce C., 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:45pm

      Re:

      That's the way the article reads, but it may not necessarily be abuse of DMCA. If you want to send a cease and desist letter to a site and the only contact info you have for the site are a tech support email address and a DMCA form, what would you do? Submitting it as a DMCA makes slightly more sense than sending it to tech support. (Note: I am not saying this is what happened, as I haven't investigated anything.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 11:15am

    Stop buying Nintendo and tell them why! If enough did something instead of just continuously moaning, they'd get the message!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 15 Jan 2021 @ 11:54am

    Not going to happen

    Nintendo fans aren't going anywhere, and Nintendo knows it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 12:03pm

    No need to change at all

    “They’ll get no sympathy from me, this isn’t the first time they’ve pulled a stunt like this. They’ve made it clear they hate their fans and repeat it time and time again never learning from it.”

    Funny, I had the same though as I read the article but I wasn't thinking about Nintendo not learning any lessons. Nintendo's learned plenty, specifically they've learned that they can slap around their fans with impunity because those same people will take the backhand and respond with an open wallet and a 'Thank you sir, may I have another?'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:32am

      Re: No need to change at all

      And this is the most frustrating part.

      When any other company pulls this crap, they're rightfully called out on it by fans.

      When Nintendo pulls this crap suddenly it's everyone else who's being entitled bastards.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:42pm

      Re: No need to change at all

      Funny, I had the same though as I read the article but I wasn't thinking about Nintendo not learning any lessons. Nintendo's learned plenty, specifically they've learned that they can slap around their fans with impunity because those same people will take the backhand and respond with an open wallet and a 'Thank you sir, may I have another?'

      Funny, given that if you want to penalize Nintendo the company you also have to penalize Nintendo's IP and developers. Much like US education systems, companies facing loss of revenue will always prioritize the paychecks of executives over the final product. Pokemon fans boycotting a major release over quality issues will only serve to harm future titles. Whereas Metroid fans boycotting a questionable decision in storytelling and character development will only serve to shelve all development in the franchise for half a decade. Zelda and Mario would be no different. The franchises and the developers would be hurt first, and suffer the most, long before any executive IP-zealot would lose a single penny.

      Of course, to be legal, you'd still be forbidden from interacting with said franchises throughout your punishment of Nintendo. Downloading what little was produced is blatantly illegal without payment, and Nintendo would be aggressively going after any and all fan projects in the affected franchises. Citing "unfair" competition, IP infringement, etc. in court. Never once reflecting on their actions being the cause. Let alone correcting them. (Hell, that's what they are doing now.)

      Essentially, modern IP law makes punishing any media company impossible for the public, unless the public is willing to completely destroy said media company's franchises. Given that said company would retain the copyrights for at least two generations, it's highly likely that for any such boycott to be effective, it would have to endure just as long as the remaining copyright term. If not longer to ensure the flawed company doesn't attempt to renew it's copyright due to public support increasing as the copyright term ran out. Further, any such boycott that actually succeeded in it's goal would certainly cause the franchise to be lost to the sands of time due to the social stigma surrounding it. (How else would you boycott a franchise for generations without it's enjoyment being a social taboo?)

      TL;DR: You can dismiss concerns about fan / consumer abuse by blaming the victims, but the reality is that the companies have absolute control over their franchises, and there is nothing the fans can do about the abuse. Unless they collectively agree to see their beloved franchises burn in hell for eternity. (If you had any doubt about copyright's purpose being to benefit the public, this should be the final nail in that coffin.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 6:39pm

        Accept the loss or accept the abuse

        TL;DR: You can dismiss concerns about fan / consumer abuse by blaming the victims, but the reality is that the companies have absolute control over their franchises, and there is nothing the fans can do about the abuse. Unless they collectively agree to see their beloved franchises burn in hell for eternity. (If you had any doubt about copyright's purpose being to benefit the public, this should be the final nail in that coffin.)

        Tough. I most certainly blame and condemn companies like Nintendo for their actions, but at the same time I've little sympathy for the fans that are treated as trash and practically beg for more, as if they don't like being slapped around then refusing to give more money to the people doing the slapping is entirely reasonable and if that results in a franchise going under then that's the price they'll have to accept, with the alternative to throw any dignity or self-respect out the window and accept being the punching bag of any company that offers something they like.

        Ultimately the fans have all the power they need to address the abuse heaped upon them, they just need to be willing to accept the cost of wielding it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          crade (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:43pm

          Re: Accept the loss or accept the abuse

          Nintendo's developers are contributing to Nintendo and enabling this behavior and should be penalized for it. The characters that the good people that once worked at Nintendo are just being exploited the company now anyway. I'll shed no tears for them being exploited a little less.

          The fans who support nintendo are encouraging and enabling this behavior and Nintendo can't do it without their support.
          It's like how people vote EA worst company in America but when the real wallet votes are counted they seem to be doing just fine.
          Either stop complaining or stop funding the behavior.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kallethen, 15 Jan 2021 @ 12:37pm

    "Sega does what Nintendon't" still is relevant, eh?

    (For reference, I'm referring to how Sega hired a Sonic fan game maker to make an official Sonic game.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 4:54pm

    rather than Nintendo exploring how to officially endorse these fan-made creations so as to protect its IP while still promoting its own fans, it's left me scratching my head

    Because for Nintendo it's never been about the money. It's always been about protecting their family friendly image. To them, the fanbase they cater to are the children and their parents, the hardcore gamers are always a distant second.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2021 @ 11:19am

    What about creating games from Nuntendo...where you're a nun and have to rescue Princess TinnedPeaches from the clutches of Snowser?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    missingxtension, 18 Jan 2021 @ 8:25pm

    don't take it personally

    It's just the Japanese way of doing business. They are probably going to target all the instagram artist or cosplay next.
    The anime scene is full of this, you can't even make a video on youtube without being put through the wringer. People review anime with absolutely no anime content whatsoever. People can't even use official trailers. I stopped supporting all anime, no more shirts, DVDs, nothing.
    I still have access to all of it. If it's available on prime or netflix, I refuse to watch it on my subscriptions. I'll just continue to pirate where I won't be counted. I have been watching anime since vhs, but they are no longer going to get my support.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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