Nintendo Doesn't Want to Shut Down Fan Projects

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Nintendo Doesn't Want to Shut Down Fan Projects

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Even if it would have the right to do so as IP owner, Nintendo doesn't like killing projects from fans who just love its games.

At this point, people who grew up with the NES are in their mid-to-late twenties, which means that Nintendo's iconic characters are like family to them - and it shows. You have fan-made videos, Mario and Pokemon game hacks, and entire musical acts whose sole purpose is to play Metroid music. You even have epic, full-length serials based on Nintendo properties.

As these things become increasingly common, a Nintendo shareholder asked the company last month if it planned to take any action to protect its IP: "Recently, there are many fan magazines, original short movies, music bands, cosplay activities, websites, orchestras and so on, based on Nintendo's titles. If these activities threaten Nintendo's intellectual properties or licenses, will Nintendo crack down on them aggressively, or just view them as fan activities?"

Nintendo big boss Satoru Iwata admitted that it was hard to draw any definitive line on the issue, because there were no "clear-cut" criteria with which to judge. Still, was it fair to punish people who just did things because they loved Nintendo's games? "Of course, we cannot say that we can give tacit approval to any and all the activities which threaten our intellectual properties. But on the other hand, it would not be appropriate if we treated people who did something based on affection for Nintendo, as criminals."

If there was any sort of defining line, said Iwata, it was "whether the expression in question socially diminishes the dignity or value of our intellectual properties or not." In that case, Nintendo would have to take action - as it did in April when it killed a fan-developed Pokemon MMOG.

So as long as whatever you're doing doesn't "diminish the dignity or value" of Nintendo's properties, it looks like you're good to go, Mario and Zelda fans.

This seems like a very sensible stance to take. On the one hand, a company is obligated to defend its IP lest it become effectively worthless and out of its control. On the other hand, do you really want to slap the proverbial cuffs on someone who is going to a great deal of effort because they love the things you make?

(Nintendo Shareholder Meeting Transcript via Kotaku)

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Oh right, Nintendo just HATES killing fan projects, that's why they wait until THE DAY A YEARS-IN-THE-MAKING PROJECT IS COMPLETED TO TELL THEM THEY'RE SHUTTING IT DOWN!

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100104/0433407589.shtml

That's a very interesting stance to take now, considering how they viewed the fan made Zelda movie released late last year.

http://www.thesacredrealm.net/main.php?page=fanmovie.html

*edit GRRR. Got beat on the post!

"I love you baby, and I don't wanna hit you, but sometimes you don't give me no choice.", says Nintendo.

Now if your sonic team you want to make sure you always shut down fan projects because they might turn out better than your professionally funded projects.

Well...at least they are open to people paying hommage...better than some other firms who sue you at the scent of something like theres x.x

Screw Nintendo. I remember when they cancelled the entire effort for a Pokemon MMORPG after a year or so. That's just bull, seriously.

Well, at least they aren't on the complete Grinch side of the spectrum, since they're letting some go.

hyperdrachen:
Now if your[sic] sonic team you want to make sure you always shut down fan projects because they might turn out better than your professionally funded projects.

I was going to make a similar statement as an addendum to John's conclusion:

"So as long as whatever you're doing doesn't "diminish the dignity or value" of Nintendo's properties, it looks like you're good to go except if your fan project looks like it will be better or more popular than the original property."

danpascooch:
Oh right, Nintendo just HATES killing fan projects, that's why they wait until THE DAY A YEARS-IN-THE-MAKING PROJECT IS COMPLETED TO TELL THEM THEY'RE SHUTTING IT DOWN!

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100104/0433407589.shtml

This.

If Nintendo doesn't want to do that, then why won't they stop?

Yeah this doesn't change anything. Nintendo you ruined my dreams of a Chrono Trigger sequel by shutting down that fan made project that wasn't for profit at all. You can go to hell.

I wish Games Workshop would start taking the same stance, instead of shutting down websites just for using the name of their games in it's URL.

Then don't!!!

Assimilate them! Oh so often fans create such wonderful things! Don't let them go to waste, harness their power and create more awesomeness!

hyperdrachen:
Now if your sonic team you want to make sure you always shut down fan projects because they might turn out better than your professionally funded projects.

Like Sonic Megamix for Sega CD a crazy cool fan game that you can play, on your Sega CD.

SEGA can't make Sonic games anymore, they're awful. However the games that WERE made by other companies Sonic Advanced, Sonic Unleashed (day levels), Sonic 4 are all made by different companies and were actually quite good.

OT: Nintendo has shut down a lot of fan games, so I'd like to see the ones that haven't been shut down. You know besides the ones that were released on the net and they had no ability to do so.

I highly doubt anyone at nintendo actually plays or views these fan games to decide "Oh this one isn't what we would like consumers to see". I'm pretty sure it's, find a fangame,send a cease and desist, end of story.

It makes me sad to kill you, I really don't want to OR Nothing personal, just business.

Those lines are always fun, blatant lies, but fun.

JordanMillward_1:
I wish Games Workshop would start taking the same stance, instead of shutting down websites just for using the name of their games in it's URL.

What about Damnatus? The German Warhammer 40K fanfilm? Games Workshop was all gung ho about it, but when the fans planned to change a few things from 40k fluff to their liking, they got hit with a lawsuit and were forced to take down the film.

Even though I love There Will Be Brawl and understand the desire behind these fan works, why not use the imspiration and obvious talent to create something original. I bet even Nintendo knows to, pardon the cliche, appreciate the fruits borne by the tree they planted. Plus, we would avoid this legal-or-not hassle.

danpascooch:
Oh right, Nintendo just HATES killing fan projects, that's why they wait until THE DAY A YEARS-IN-THE-MAKING PROJECT IS COMPLETED TO TELL THEM THEY'RE SHUTTING IT DOWN!

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100104/0433407589.shtml

That's horrible! Just imagine how annoyed you would be if you were one of the creators.
Harsh Nintendo. So much wasted time.

Nintendo isn't about to respond to those accusations with any kind of truthfulness. Of course they are spinning it like they are in the corner of bedroom fan-projects. But everyone knows they have their guard dog attorneys on definitive search and destroy.

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Yeah, that's pretty much the way it works. This is not a mindset exclusive to Nintendo, by any means. Certainly Lucasarts takes the gold medal for fan harassment via litigation. But yeah, this is just the nature of the beast. If they even smell their IPs on something, expect to be threatened with legal action.

Arisato-kun:
Yeah this doesn't change anything. Nintendo you ruined my dreams of a Chrono Trigger sequel by shutting down that fan made project that wasn't for profit at all. You can go to hell.

...Wouldn't that have been Square Enix, and not Nintendo.

Straying Bullet:
Screw Nintendo. I remember when they cancelled the entire effort for a Pokemon MMORPG after a year or so. That's just bull, seriously.

Yeah, you... you just don't attempt to make an MMO out of someone else's property. No offense, but that's just plain stupid.

Diligent:
"I love you baby, and I don't wanna hit you, but sometimes you don't give me no choice.", says Nintendo.

hahaha! Yeah, that's about how I read that too.

Don't want to shut any down...except that Zelda fan-film...and that Pokemon MMO. At least they haven't seen the fan-made Starfox 64 sequel yet.

http://www.shadowsoflylat.net/media.php

Diligent:
"I love you baby, and I don't wanna hit you, but sometimes you don't give me no choice.", says Nintendo.

This.

"I only hit you because I love you!"

Yeah. Go eat a bag of dicks Nintendo.

JediMB:

Arisato-kun:
Yeah this doesn't change anything. Nintendo you ruined my dreams of a Chrono Trigger sequel by shutting down that fan made project that wasn't for profit at all. You can go to hell.

...Wouldn't that have been Square Enix, and not Nintendo.

Yeah, that was SE. Nintendo doesn't hold any IP rights to Chrono Trigger.

danpascooch:
Oh right, Nintendo just HATES killing fan projects, that's why they wait until THE DAY A YEARS-IN-THE-MAKING PROJECT IS COMPLETED TO TELL THEM THEY'RE SHUTTING IT DOWN!

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100104/0433407589.shtml

From the article, I would guess it would have more to do with the fact (according to that article anyways) that they were playing it in theaters, which likely means they were charging for it. Legally Nintendo would be forced into having to either legally challenge them or officially license it to them in order to protect future copyright claims on the series. Not sure if that's the case here, I didn't really look too far into it besides what you linked.

Arisato-kun:
Yeah this doesn't change anything. Nintendo you ruined my dreams of a Chrono Trigger sequel by shutting down that fan made project that wasn't for profit at all. You can go to hell.

That was Square, not Nintendo...

In general I think Nintendo has followed this pretty well, there are plenty of derivative works of Nintendo franchises all over the net. I've seen plenty of video series, both animated and live action, some of it pretty high profile, that Nintendo never goes after. Not to mention webcomics. Also games, I haven't heard of them going after games such as Super Mario Bros. Crossover, Super Mario Bros. X, or Zelda Classic yet. And all three of those are blatant copyright infringement with graphics ripped directly from the old carts and not s bit of parody to hide behind. Awesome, yes, but certainly you can't argue that they're using Nintendo's property without permission. I personnel currently respect Nintendo's stance on this since it looks like their actions represent there statements.

As for the Pokenet thing, that's where "diminish the dignity or value" comes into play. Considering Nintendo is current releasing new Pokemon games regularly, and the game ripped all it's mechanics, monsters, and (apparently from the screens I've seen) graphics directly from the official games, it would have acted as direct competition to the official game series. I'm sure there are plenty of players who would never touch the single player game again if they were playing a MMO that kept up with the new monsters each year. And I'm also sure the big N has been rolling around the idea of a Pokemon MMO in R&D too, so they're watching that turf pretty good. It's just a question of when, where, and how for them.

It's a somewhat sensible stance to take; it's similar to how western developers go about it at times when it comes to their IP's when one factors mods, video shorts, etc.

It also works as a good marketing strategy.

Brok3n Halo:

danpascooch:
Oh right, Nintendo just HATES killing fan projects, that's why they wait until THE DAY A YEARS-IN-THE-MAKING PROJECT IS COMPLETED TO TELL THEM THEY'RE SHUTTING IT DOWN!

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100104/0433407589.shtml

From the article, I would guess it would have more to do with the fact (according to that article anyways) that they were playing it in theaters, which likely means they were charging for it. Legally Nintendo would be forced into having to either legally challenge them or officially license it to them in order to protect future copyright claims on the series. Not sure if that's the case here, I didn't really look too far into it besides what you linked.

Arisato-kun:
Yeah this doesn't change anything. Nintendo you ruined my dreams of a Chrono Trigger sequel by shutting down that fan made project that wasn't for profit at all. You can go to hell.

That was Square, not Nintendo...

In general I think Nintendo has followed this pretty well, there are plenty of derivative works of Nintendo franchises all over the net. I've seen plenty of video series, both animated and live action, some of it pretty high profile, that Nintendo never goes after. Not to mention webcomics. Also games, I haven't heard of them going after games such as Super Mario Bros. Crossover, Super Mario Bros. X, or Zelda Classic yet. And all three of those are blatant copyright infringement with graphics ripped directly from the old carts and not s bit of parody to hide behind. Awesome, yes, but certainly you can't argue that they're using Nintendo's property without permission. I personnel currently respect Nintendo's stance on this since it looks like their actions represent there statements.

As for the Pokenet thing, that's where "diminish the dignity or value" comes into play. Considering Nintendo is current releasing new Pokemon games regularly, and the game ripped all it's mechanics, monsters, and (apparently from the screens I've seen) graphics directly from the official games, it would have acted as direct competition to the official game series. I'm sure there are plenty of players who would never touch the single player game again if they were playing a MMO that kept up with the new monsters each year. And I'm also sure the big N has been rolling around the idea of a Pokemon MMO in R&D too, so they're watching that turf pretty good. It's just a question of when, where, and how for them.

It was 100% free

Straying Bullet:
Screw Nintendo. I remember when they cancelled the entire effort for a Pokemon MMORPG after a year or so. That's just bull, seriously.

yeah i was waiting on the edge of my seat for that one and they just let him do almost everything until smacking his hands away.

OT: i think that they do enjoy crushing peoples work. I have nothing to prove this but i just sense it every time they break apart a fan made work.

danpascooch:

It was 100% free

That's probably part of the problem. People are selling off Pokemon clones for free, which could diminish the value of their official games.

Who knows maybe they have a Pokemon MMO in the works too, it has potential.

Personally I think Nintendo's stance on this issue makes perfect sense. I've often said that fans are the worst thing for a franchise (while being well aware of the irony of that). You want to let your fans know you appreciate them and shutting down fan made homages and whatever certainly isn't going to send that message. But on the other hand, if you let them run wild, the fans can destroy the franchise too, taking some of the worst written fan fictions as an example.
Also Nintendo seems to be pretty good at practising what they preach too. For every fan project they've shut down (all 2 of them that I know of), there must be at least 200 or so that they've ignored.

Arisato-kun:
Yeah this doesn't change anything. Nintendo you ruined my dreams of a Chrono Trigger sequel by shutting down that fan made project that wasn't for profit at all. You can go to hell.

That was Square-Enix, not Nintendo. Get your facts straight before venting your rage, so you don't wind up looking like an idiot.

Cowabungaa:

Then don't!!!

Assimilate them! Oh so often fans create such wonderful things! Don't let them go to waste, harness their power and create more awesomeness!

Alas, not all game companies can be Valve...

If Nintendo did this and got back Rare, they would be unstoppable.

Dignity? Are they serious? They made the Wii and their talking about dignity? Ha! Hahahahahahaha

Oh that's rich

You don't want to?

THEN STOP DOING IT.

Nice to see that Nintendo is thinking about copyright more than just doing the "What?! They used our character?! Sue their asses!" method of dealing with problems of that nature. Oh, and a few responses to a few of the user comments:

The Zelda Movie: As Brok3n Halo has already stated, the filmmakers were actually making money off of that film. It makes logical sense why Nintendo would shut it down. And besides, the movie was utter rubbish.

The Pokemon MMO Game: This is almost the exact opposite of The Zelda movie situation. Nintendo is making money off of the series while other people were basically handing out the same game for free. Of course Nintendo is going to shut down people basically handing out their game for free over the internet.

The Chrono Trigger Remake: Nintendo had nothing to do with it, that was Square Enix. Get your facts right.

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