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Project AM2R getting legally slammed by Nintendo; file hosts hit with DMCA notices

Jun 6, 2004
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So if I was to make a game which is like Metroid 2, but change the Character, Names and Sprites to resemble my own ideas...

...but keep the level design...would that be prone to Copyright Infringement?

I think the closet we came to something like this was The Great Giana Sisters and Nintendo warned them to stop selling it because it was copyright infringement, so they did. No lawsuit though afaik.
 

Bastardo

Member
Jan 23, 2014
130
0
0
By stretching the meaning and intent of fair use.
No, because I didn't say it's fair-use. I said there is no precedent, where this happened or was argued in front of a court; hence the legal situation is not as clear-cut as you make it out to be.

To sum it up:
-> AM2R is most certainly trademark infringing, because it carries Metroid in its name.
-> AM2R is most certainly a derivative work, because it is based on Metroid 2, so it is copyright infringing.

It would still be legal, if it falls under fair-use. Your point: It does not. My point: It might or it might not.

So let's review the complete fair use factors (not copy and pasted):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use#U.S._fair_use_factors

1.) Purpose and character of the use
[+] AM2R is transformative and non-commercial
2.) Nature of the copyrighted work
[-] AM2R is fictional.
3.) Amount and substantiality
[+] (To my knowledge) no art assets whatsoever, no data, no files directly from Nintendo were used. Everything was redone. Substantial amounts of content differ between original and remake. Designs are similar, just like fanart designs, which definitely constitute fair-use.
4.) Effect upon work's value
[+/-] AM2R has a very positive effect on the trademark Metroid and increases its value, as it keeps the name Metroid in media, when Nintendo more or less abandoned it. It will not have a negative effect on Metroid 2 GB sales (+), but you can argue that it is a direct substitute for the original work (-).

So yes, you can argue both ways. And that is entirely my point: It is not clear cut.
 

LordRaptor

Member
Aug 20, 2015
9,769
579
520
Like, with CT I'd be reluctant to call that a mechanic as such, because it's not really "how the game operates". It's a help, but you could play without it. Removing it wouldn't really change the game aside from making it harder. The fact that you drive people from destination to destination however is much more integral to how the game operates. I guess I'd consider that to be a mechanic.

I specifically picked the 3D arrow example because it is a game mechanic (well, more specifically a system), where something like 'minigames on loadscreens' is a much more abstract patent, or the other famous example Sega owns of 'tweening' between 3D cameras instead of snapping (what everyone else is now forced to use) is also a more abstract patent.

You can't patent 'concepts' (huge irrelevant disclaimer here) but you can patent implementations; Simpsons Road Rage was fought (and won) entirely on the grounds that they used the patented 3D arrow. If they'd gone with a GPS style system that every other open world game has basically been forced to adopt, they'd have got away clear.
 

Maedhros

Member
Apr 16, 2010
6,680
0
0
I feel a little better that he will actually continue to develop patches. At least for now... let's see if he gets a C&D.
 

Kyzer

Banned
Jan 7, 2009
11,985
1
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No they absolutely did go into this the wrong way and got nothing back.
You think that precedent counts for anything? Companies c&d fan projects left and right anyway and nobody is dumb enough to go to court with them.
They could have given the project the go-ahead as an official game and got part of the profits(hell even make it exclusive if they wanted to) or just legally shut the project down much earlier to save the developers the trouble.
There where so many ways for them to play it smarter and make a profit out of it(like Sega) but no they just let the middle managers in the legal department handle this.
Now the game is in the wild and they got a bunch of bad PR for it.
Way to go,you defended an IP you don't care about from a bunch of fans that didn't want to make a profit out of it.


If you are 13 and still feel bad when people trash talk you favorite game company, my apologies

He remade a game that they still sell on the eshop and gave it away for free.

This is not a remix album. Its not a piece of artwork. ITS THEIR GAME.

lol I dont understand how sending a cease and desist is anything less than awfully nice of them

you guys thinking anything else should have happened are doing a lot of wishful thinking, thats it. the bad PR comes from people not understanding that you shouldnt be able to recreate someone elses work and give it away for free lol

I feel a little better that he will actually continue to develop patches. At least for now... let's see if he gets a C&D.

Working on it privately for fun is and always was ok.

No, because I didn't say it's fair-use. I said there is no precedent, where this happened or was argued in front of a court; hence the legal situation is not as clear-cut as you make it out to be.

To sum it up:
-> AM2R is most certainly trademark infringing, because it carries Metroid in its name.
-> AM2R is most certainly a derivative work, because it is based on Metroid 2, so it is copyright infringing.

It would still be legal, if it falls under fair-use. Your point: It does not. My point: It might or it might not.

So let's review the complete fair use factors (not copy and pasted):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use#U.S._fair_use_factors

1.) Purpose and character of the use
[+] AM2R is transformative and non-commercial
2.) Nature of the copyrighted work
[-] AM2R is fictional.
3.) Amount and substantiality
[+] (To my knowledge) no art assets whatsoever, no data, no files directly from Nintendo were used. Everything was redone. Substantial amounts of content differ between original and remake. Designs are similar, just like fanart designs, which definitely constitute fair-use.
4.) Effect upon work's value
[+/-] AM2R has a very positive effect on the trademark Metroid and increases its value, as it keeps the name Metroid in media, when Nintendo more or less abandoned it. It will not have a negative effect on Metroid 2 GB sales (+), but you can argue that it is a direct substitute for the original work (-).

So yes, you can argue both ways. And that is entirely my point: It is not clear cut.

Updating graphics is not considered transformative.

Samus and literally every character and item and original asset in Metroid is Nintendo's. Changing the design slightly and redoing the models yourself does not make it yours nor original. Replaying a song that already exists yourself with another instrument does not make the arrangement yours. Its a remake. The idea that substance would not be in favor of copyright infringement is unrealistic.

Not up for debate, impact is negative because its a product they sell being given away for free, not sure what ambiguity youre reading but when you bootleg a movie it doesnt count as potentially good for the franchise lol

You can argue both ways and you would lose hard.
 
May 15, 2013
11,355
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He shouldn't have openly said he would work on patches. If I were him, I'd make a dummy account somewhere and pretend to be a fan of the game releasing releasing a "mod" of AM2R.
 

MrBadger

Member
Dec 5, 2013
9,124
1
0
No, because I didn't say it's fair-use. I said there is no precedent, where this happened or was argued in front of a court; hence the legal situation is not as clear-cut as you make it out to be.

To sum it up:
-> AM2R is most certainly trademark infringing, because it carries Metroid in its name.
-> AM2R is most certainly a derivative work, because it is based on Metroid 2, so it is copyright infringing.

It would still be legal, if it falls under fair-use. Your point: It does not. My point: It might or it might not.

So let's review the complete fair use factors (not copy and pasted):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use#U.S._fair_use_factors

1.) Purpose and character of the use
[+] AM2R is transformative and non-commercial
2.) Nature of the copyrighted work
[-] AM2R is fictional.
3.) Amount and substantiality
[+] (To my knowledge) no art assets whatsoever, no data, no files directly from Nintendo were used. Everything was redone. Substantial amounts of content differ between original and remake. Designs are similar, just like fanart designs, which definitely constitute fair-use.
4.) Effect upon work's value
[+/-] AM2R has a very positive effect on the trademark Metroid and increases its value, as it keeps the name Metroid in media, when Nintendo more or less abandoned it. It will not have a negative effect on Metroid 2 GB sales (+), but you can argue that it is a direct substitute for the original work (-).

So yes, you can argue both ways. And that is entirely my point: It is not clear cut.

Come on, Nintendo are legally fine to do this, and there shouldn't be any debate there. The discussion should be about whether they should.
 

LordRaptor

Member
Aug 20, 2015
9,769
579
520
If somebody took your work, remade it, gave it away for free, you told them to stop

how are you the bad guy here

 

ShadowOwl

Member
Apr 8, 2011
616
3
685
Official statement by DoctorM64 (the dev):
The future of AM2R
As you may know already, AM2R received DMCA notices in all the download hosts, and some parts of this blog. So far, no C&D letter was received.

This project began a long time ago, while I was actually trying to learn the programming side of Game Maker. Instead of moving on with something else, when I learned a better way of doing something, I reiterated and improved the old code.
Eventually, I learned to program in C#. Now I'm making a living as a professional programmer thanks to what I learned developing a fan game.
Technically speaking, I'm satisfied.

Artists started offering help. First with the main enemies, then with sprites, enemies, bosses.
The forums started to come alive with fans making feature suggestions, and always being positive and optimistic about the project. I added new contents, trying to be respectful about the established lore. Demo after demo people liked the game. Then the game was out, and for a brief time, players enjoyed the game they were expecting for a long time.
Artistically speaking, I'm satisfied.

What about the future?
I'll continue improving and fixing AM2R privately.

How will updates will be released, if at all?
I'm still working on it.

My priority now is to fix the invisible gravity suit bug that's hindering many player's experience. If you experience that bug, please visit the forum, and I'll eventually provide a fix.

Please, don't hate Nintendo for all of this. It's their legal obligation to protect their IP.
Instead of sending hate mail, get the original M2 from the eShop. Show them that 2D adventure platformers are still a thing people want.

You're invited to share your thoughts at the Forum, or follow AM2R on Twitter for the latest updates.
https://metroid2remake.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-future-of-am2r.html

Pretty amazing that he will try to patch the game. Too bad we didn't get the Linux version (yet).
 

Bastardo

Member
Jan 23, 2014
130
0
0
Come on, Nintendo are legally fine to do this, and there shouldn't be any debate there. The discussion should be about whether they should.

It's absolutely legal for Nintendo to send a C&D, because their trademark and copyright were infringed. This could (but won't be) disputed by an answer of the author claiming fair-use.
 
Nov 1, 2015
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I specifically picked the 3D arrow example because it is a game mechanic (well, more specifically a system), where something like 'minigames on loadscreens' is a much more abstract patent, or the other famous example Sega owns of 'tweening' between 3D cameras instead of snapping (what everyone else is now forced to use) is also a more abstract patent.

You can't patent 'concepts' (huge irrelevant disclaimer here) but you can patent implementations; Simpsons Road Rage was fought (and won) entirely on the grounds that they used the patented 3D arrow. If they'd gone with a GPS style system that every other open world game has basically been forced to adopt, they'd have got away clear.

Yea, when I say "mechanics" I mean what you call "concepts", though maybe my definition is wrong. Totally agreed in regards to the ability to patent an implementation. It's code after all.
 
Nov 8, 2015
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He remade a game that they still sell on the eshop and gave it away for free.

This is not a remix album. Its not a piece of artwork. ITS THEIR GAME.
I said they could have game gone in and stamp it out much earlier if they really never wanted this not to happen.It would have saved them most of the bad PR and saved the developers the considerable effort required to remake the game.Now they came too late and caused a big noise ensuring most people don't get the eshop version.
lol I dont understand how sending a cease and desist is anything less than awfully nice of them

you guys thinking anything else should have happened are doing a lot of wishful thinking, thats it. the bad PR comes from people not understanding that you shouldnt be able to recreate someone elses work and give it away for free lol
.

"Oh they sent a cease and desist order and try to throw 7 years of work into the trash. How awfully nice of them."
You are really expecting people to side with the big company or the small fan team that gave away their work for free.
 

Green Mamba

Member
Dec 31, 2008
8,717
0
0
If somebody took your work, remade it, gave it away for free, you told them to stop

how are you the bad guy here
If you had the resources Nintendo does and you still get shown up by one guy in his spare time, you don't look bad, you look grossly incompetant.
 

CrichtonKicks

Member
Nov 6, 2004
4,354
0
1,130
Interesting that they aren't sending him a Cease and Desist. Almost makes it sound like "we won't stop you from developing anything but if we find the files anywhere we will have them taken down."
 

Kyzer

Banned
Jan 7, 2009
11,985
1
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I said they could have game gone in and stamp it out much earlier if they really never wanted this not to happen.It would have saved them most of the bad PR and saved the developers the considerable effort required to remake the game.Now they came too late and caused a big noise ensuring most people don't get the eshop version.


"Oh they sent a cease and desist order to try to throw 7 years of work into the trash. How awfully nice of them."
You are really expecting people to side with the big company or the small fan team that gave away their work for free.


So you support getting games for free? Because theyre big companies anyways? Slippery slope...I could direct you to more sites where fans are giving away companies games for free, but I would probably get banned...weird right?

He worked on something that would never be able to be released publically for 7 years, what does that have to do with anything? People ruined it by heavily advertising it all over the internet. Expecting Nintendo to let it slide cuz its awesome is wishful thinking. They arent being evil, people are being entitled and misinformed.

The creator himself knew about this. He hasnt even gotten a C&D himself and hes just being a cool guy because he knows damn well what he was doing. He knows much better than the people defending him and bashing nintendo lol


Interesting that they aren't sending him a Cease and Desist. Almost makes it sound like "we won't stop you from developing anything but if we find the files anywhere we will have them taken down."


sshhh nintendo is a bully and hates the little guy
 

Bastardo

Member
Jan 23, 2014
130
0
0
Interesting that they aren't sending him a Cease and Desist. Almost makes it sound like "we won't stop you from developing anything but if we find the files anywhere we will have them taken down."

Doesn't even have to be so bad.
There could even be a scenario, where they wanted it taken down for the moment to contact the author and release it in a controlled and endorsed way. I doubt it, but miracles happen sometimes.
 
Aug 17, 2006
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There needs to be a bigger backlash from their fans on this or theyll continue with their archaic practices.

Otherwise they'll continue to look like the good guy in cases like these.
 

LordRaptor

Member
Aug 20, 2015
9,769
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You are really expecting people to side with the big company or the small fan team that gave away their work for free.

I expect people to understand why there is a societal understanding that the creator of a work has fundamental rights of ownership to that work by default.

Literally anyone who has ever created anything is glad that they are afforded those protections.
 

Branduil

Member
Sep 20, 2006
64,604
2
0
Excellent Eriador
If somebody took your work, remade it, gave it away for free, you told them to stop

how are you the bad guy here

If someone took something I made over 20 years ago and remade it I would

A- Be thrilled I created something that longlasting.

B- If it's good, look into hiring that person and selling it together.

But that's just me.
 

Kyzer

Banned
Jan 7, 2009
11,985
1
0
There needs to be a bigger backlash from their fans on this or theyll continue with their archaic practices.

Otherwise they'll continue to look like the good guy in cases like these.

literally no one thinks nintendo looks like the good guy and the creator himself wants people to stop the backlash because he fully understood the situation before it even happened
 

Athreous

Member
Jun 2, 2013
2,028
179
675
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Somewhere only we know =D
He remade a game that they still sell on the eshop and gave it away for free.

This is not a remix album. Its not a piece of artwork. ITS THEIR GAME.

lol I dont understand how sending a cease and desist is anything less than awfully nice of them

you guys thinking anything else should have happened are doing a lot of wishful thinking, thats it. the bad PR comes from people not understanding that you shouldnt be able to recreate someone elses work and give it away for free lol



Working on it privately for fun is and always was ok.



Updating graphics is not considered transformative.

Samus and literally every character and item and original asset in Metroid is Nintendo's. Changing the design slightly and redoing the models yourself does not make it yours nor original. Replaying a song that already exists yourself with another instrument does not make the arrangement yours. Its a remake. The idea that substance would not be in favor of copyright infringement is unrealistic.

Not up for debate, impact is negative because its a product they sell being given away for free, not sure what ambiguity youre reading but when you bootleg a movie it doesnt count as potentially good for the franchise lol

You can argue both ways and you would lose hard.

What did I just read? o_O Are you Michael Pachter? :p

You make it sound like, F#$ you fans, business is business :p
 

Kyzer

Banned
Jan 7, 2009
11,985
1
0
What did I just read? o_O Are you Michael Pachter? :p

You make it sound like, F#$ you fans, business is business :p

as an artist and business owner I support protecting copyrights and intellectual property.

I dont just view things as napster era consumer lol

Its not necessarily that business is business and fuck fans, its that I understand why things are the way they are
 

Jaymageck

Member
Jan 1, 2015
491
1
0
Toronto
Regardless of what's happening now, I am just really glad they waited for the game to be finished before this happened. It's like someone had a heart and knew it was the 30th anniversary and that all the fans were getting from Nintendo was Federation Force, so they waited.
 

axisofweevils

Holy crap! Today's real megaton is that more than two people can have the same first name.
Sep 12, 2011
7,370
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There needs to be a bigger backlash from their fans on this or theyll continue with their archaic practices.

Otherwise they'll continue to look like the good guy in cases like these.

I know of very few companies that would allow an unofficial free remake of a game they're selling to go unchallenged.
 

TheBryanJZX90

Member
May 4, 2012
5,506
2
435
This is such an obvious and weak hypothetical. Of course something like a super adult and violent Mario GTA fan troll game would not be acceptable, that doesn't apply to a tastefully and very professionally done fan remake of a game like AM2R.

I'm not arguing that AM2R is not tasteful or professionally done. I just wanted to get an acknowledgement that allowing every single fan game no matter what as long as it isn't being sold for a profit isn't a good idea. So you agree with that.

So then you have two options. Either Nintendo can (1) actually investigate every fan game that looks like it may release and decide whether or not it is "tasteful" and "professional" enough to let proceed, or whether it needs to be taken down; or (2) take down everything that looks like it might actually release.

Option 1 requires Nintendo spend more time and effort. Time and effort that could be spent making or promoting their own games. And once you send the message to fans that "your game won't get taken down as long as it is professional and tasteful" you're going to get a lot more people interested in making fan games.

To me a blanket ban is a much more workable rule.
 

dark10x

Digital Foundry pixel pusher
Jun 9, 2004
51,621
2,197
2,035
www.eurogamer.net
Both Sega and Nintendo have a history of both letting certain projects slide, and of C&Ding certain projects, so you can't be selective in your whataboutism because ultimately it's the IP owners decision of how their IP is used.

I will tell you for an absolute fact that Sonic Mania wasn't made with no input or conversation with Sega and then released onto the web in a very public manner forcing the issue upon Sega to deal with.
...but Sonic Mania was born from one guy creating his own engine and straight up lifting Sonic CD into that engine. He was hired by Sega to port that game to various platforms as a result.

As I said, it is indeed up to the IP owner, but I'm arguing that Nintendo's course of action is negative.
 

Kyzer

Banned
Jan 7, 2009
11,985
1
0
Yet you still have stuff like this go completely unchallenged.

http://ourrobocopremake.com/trailer.html

really scraping at the bottom of the barrel there lol

...but Sonic Mania was born from one guy creating his own engine and straight up lifting Sonic CD into that engine. He was hired by Sega to port that game to various platforms as a result.

As I said, it is indeed up to the IP owner, but I'm arguing that Nintendo's course of action is negative.


out of curiosity, is that game he made still available? also, we dont know anything about whats going on between the creator of AM2R and Nintendo other than , actually, they havent even sent him a cease and desist personally yet, so...people really are just jumping at nintendos throats for something that has no legal grounds to support other than "I would love to have this"
 

collige

Banned
Nov 12, 2012
4,897
0
445
I'm not arguing that AM2R is not tasteful or professionally done. I just wanted to get an acknowledgement that allowing every single fan game no matter what as long as it isn't being sold for a profit isn't a good idea. So you agree with that.

So then you have two options. Either Nintendo can (1) actually investigate every fan game that looks like it may release and decide whether or not it is "tasteful" and "professional" enough to let proceed, or whether it needs to be taken down; or (2) take down everything that looks like it might actually release.

Option 1 requires Nintendo spend more time and effort. Time and effort that could be spent making or promoting their own games. And once you send the message to fans that "your game won't get taken down as long as it is professional and tasteful" you're going to get a lot more people interested in making fan games.

To me a blanket ban is a much more workable rule.
They generally lean towards option 1 though. In Iwata's own words:
As the principle, please understand that the question is regarding a rather delicate issue to which no one can perhaps identify a clear-cut criterion. 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. It is true that some expressions are detrimental enough to diminish the dignity of our intellectual properties, and others destroy our intellectual properties' world-views by connecting them with something not based on fact. We think one of the criteria for deciding how to respond is whether the expression in question socially diminishes the dignity or value of our intellectual properties or not. Of course, it is very hard to have a blanket standard as this problem involves many complex elements that are very difficult to judge.

In these meanings, we cannot say OK to any and all such activities and, at the same time, it is not feasible for us to immediately respond to each small issue of this nature every time. However, these days an individual can easily transmit information through the Internet. Hearing your question today, as we cannot find these problems only by ourselves, we feel that a kind of contact window should be set up so that people can somehow report to us any inappropriate uses of Nintendo's intellectual properties which diminish their dignities or values, so that we can respond appropriately.

So the question is really whether AM2R "dimishes the dignity or value" or Metroid 2 or the Metroid franchise. Obviously, its dignity is perfectly fine and I would argue that there's not really any harm to Metroid's value either. None of Nintendo's current or future known offerings compete with AM2R and I would argue that the original Metroid 2 had little to no value in its original form as of last weekend when the remake released.
 

LordRaptor

Member
Aug 20, 2015
9,769
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As I said, it is indeed up to the IP owner, but I'm arguing that Nintendo's course of action is negative.

I don't see any way they could have handled this any other way; they weren't approached for permission, they had no prior communication, and they were effectively ambushed into taking an immediate stance by the release.

Even if the author did want to build a working relationship with them, those are not the actions to engender such an agreement.

e:
And I know some people believe that Nintendo have been actively following the development of this game for years, and they just waited until it started hitting major news sites headlines because reasons, but I find that to be pretty unlikely given the alternative being they found out about it on release when it made headlines and had to act accordingly.
 

Kyzer

Banned
Jan 7, 2009
11,985
1
0
They generally lean towards option 1 though. In Iwata's own words:


So the question is really whether AM2R "dimishes the dignity or value" or Metroid 2 or the Metroid franchise. Obviously, its dignity is perfectly fine and I would argue that there's not really any harm to Metroid's value either. None of Nintendo's current or future known offerings compete with AM2R and I would argue that the original Metroid 2 had little to no value in its original form as of last weekend when the remake released.

damn Iwata answered that like a boss

you gotta understand though someone offering something that you sell in stores for free (a better version , at that), is by definition devaluing your product. doesnt really matter on your feelings about metroid 2's perceived value
 

collige

Banned
Nov 12, 2012
4,897
0
445
damn Iwata answered that like a boss

you gotta understand though offering something that you sell in stores for free (a better version , at that), is by definition devaluing your product

Hence my last sentence of "I would argue that the original Metroid 2 had little to no value in its original form as of last weekend when the remake released".
 

Sir TapTap

Member
Jun 17, 2014
19,093
0
425
USA
sirtaptap.com
I'm sick of all the ignorance and/or lies about "needing" to aggressively enforce copyright or you lose it, so I wrote a brief article here.

Most concerning is that Nintendo themselves are basically lying about the whole "weaken our ability to protect and preserve (our intellectual property)". As I've stated before in this thread, that only pertains to trademark not copyright, the DMCA notice they sent pertains to copyright not trademark, so their words do not back their actions one iota. They're lying to mislead people because, as this thread shows, most people don't know a god damn thing about copyright and just assume companies are always right.

He remade a game that they still sell on the eshop and gave it away for free.

This is not a remix album. Its not a piece of artwork. ITS THEIR GAME.

Why do you think this is even an argument? Are games somehow immune to remixing? A remake of a game is extremely comparable to a remix of music or derivative artwork. Games are media just like music, art, movies. They are not magically immune to all forms of reason, fair use etc.
 

plagiarize

Banned
May 24, 2006
41,133
1
0
really scraping at the bottom of the barrel there lol

And this http://www.starwarsuncut.com/newhope

Both of those projects are free scene for scene remakes that take the original design and in many cases the dialogue.

The Robocop one lifts actual footage from the movie. Their copyrights are just fine.

My point is, that Nintendo had a choice. So we can criticize their choice, even if they legally had the right to make the decision they made. If Disney of all people can let Star Wars remakes and fan films etc etc use what is unquestionably their IP why isn't it fair to think Nintendo could do the same thing without losing their copyright and losing money etc etc.

There is precedent for letting this stuff slide that doesn't cause the company owning the IP any harm at all. That's all we need to think what Nintendo did here was the wrong move.
 
Sep 1, 2013
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Come on, Nintendo are legally fine to do this, and there shouldn't be any debate there. The discussion should be about whether they should.

This, I personally think they could have handled this differently, maybe do what Capcom did with Megaman vs Street Fighter
 

MrBadger

Member
Dec 5, 2013
9,124
1
0
...but Sonic Mania was born from one guy creating his own engine and straight up lifting Sonic CD into that engine. He was hired by Sega to port that game to various platforms as a result.

As I said, it is indeed up to the IP owner, but I'm arguing that Nintendo's course of action is negative.

Other people involved in Mania include someone who created an enhanced hack of the first Sonic, and people who created a HD remaster of the first stage from Sonic 2.

I don't think that just endorsing all fan projects is any standard to go by, and I think people are ridiculous for calling Nintendo "idiots" for not selling AM2R, but Mania certainly shows the value of taking on new talent to create a new game from a fan perspective. Especially if it's a much-demanded game that the company themselves have no desire to make. Which is something a classic side-scrolling Metroid appears to be.

It's absolutely legal for Nintendo to send a C&D, because their trademark and copyright were infringed. This could (but won't be) disputed by an answer of the author claiming fair-use.

They shouldn't even try to dispute it. They know full well that they're making a fan-made version of a Nintendo game, and therefore Nintendo get the final say on whether it's allowed to exist or not. Like it or not that's the situation.