Nintendo takes on fan art with copyright lawsuits

Nintendo is sorting through fan creations. The Japanese studio is behind countless licenses and iconic video game characters, from Mario to Pokémon, including Link and Zelda. This rich and rich universe inspires artists around the world, who share their original creations on specialized sites, such as SteamGridDB.

But some of these illustrations displeased Nintendo, who filed DMCA requests with the site to have the images removed. In this series of requests, dating from last October 27, and viewed by Ars-TechnicaNintendo states that images of DBMS “display Nintendo’s trademarks and other intellectual property (including characters), which is likely to cause consumer confusion”.

Nintendo living up to its reputation

With such a broad justification, we then expected a hecatomb of censored images on the site. But Nintendo actually targeted some very specific games: pokemon scarlet and Pokemon Purple, Splatoon 3, super mario odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Xenoblade Chronicles 3. Images comprising the same characters or corresponding to the same licenses were not targeted. If the anonymous administrator who confided in Ars-Technica said he was not “not surprised at all” by Nintendo’s requests, it has on the other hand “no solid idea” the reason for these DMCA requests: “I don’t know what’s going on in their legal department. ”

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Even for the games concerned, only a certain type of images were censored, those which “used sprites and intellectual property resources [de Nintendo] ”, according to the site administrator. In some creations, artists have used specific elements taken directly from Nintendo creations, such as textures, objects, official illustrations… Entirely original creations made from scratch by other artists on the site are still in use. line. SGBD then sees scattered on its site empty images containing the text “this asset has been removed in response to a DMCA takedown request” (“This material has been removed in response to a DMCA takedown request”).

Nintendo doesn’t seem to be giving up on its quest for image control and extreme license that the studio has been practicing for many years: “In the realm of corporations that ruthlessly strive to control their own narrative at the expense of research and benchmarks, Nintendo ranks up there with Monsanto, the coal companies and the Mafia”the Internet Archive’s Jason Scott told Ars-Technica in 2018.

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