Budding programmers beware: Do not recreate Pac-Man or Namco will find you.

MIT developed the Scratch programming language to help young people create their own games, and to get them to think creatively while also learning mathematical and computational ideas. While Scratch user 124scratch was doing just that, he was served with a DMCA notice for creating his own version of Pac-Man, asking for it to be removed.

The notice says that the user’s game “infringes Namco’s rights by offering visitors the unauthorized use of infringing copies of the Pac-Man game product which is protected by copyright and trademark law.” It also reads: “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.”

Namco has every right to protect their intellectual property, but this seems extreme and pointless. 124scratch’s game has been taken down so I wasn’t able to play it, but I seriously doubt that Namco had anything to worry about from a programming student’s free version of Pac-Man hidden in the depths of the Scratch website. Is it possible that it was so accurate that Namco had to get a lawyer to shut it down?

Oddly enough, the same user has plenty of other projects that use art from Pac-Man, including sprites of ghosts and level layouts. Some of 124scratch’s later Pac-Man-inspired projects don’t seem to touch the real game, so I’m confused what made Namco go medieval on one specific project. I’m not going to say that Namco shouldn’t protect itself, I’m just not sure what they were protecting themselves from here. All I see was someone trying to learn.

Via: Reddit via TechDirt via Slashdot


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