Nintendo might be the bright, bouncy and fun company responsible for creating great memories with their range of games from Super Mario Bros. to The Legend of Zelda and more, but they can be quite aggressive when it comes to defending their intellectual property. YouTubers have been complaining about Nintendo’s restrictive policies for years now, with videos disappearing regularly thanks to using footage from Nintendo games. It has proven to be a stark contrast to the image that they project.
The latest news of Nintendo’s aggressive copyright policies comes to us by way of EuroGamer, with Nintendo taking umbrage with a Kickstarter project that used images from their games. Kickstarter campaigns have taken a turn for the unpopular after many high-profile projects like the recent Mighty No. 9 failed to deliver on big promises, but this Kickstarter appears to have failed due to last-minute intervention by Nintendo. The project — NES/Famicom: A Visual Compendium — was a book by Bitmap Books that contained images and art from classic Nintendo titles on the Nintendo Entertainment System just one day away from reaching their goal.
The Kickstarter campaign itself is now just a link to a copyright claim from Nintendo as well as a brief statement as to why the project has disappeared. Backers are able to log in and withdraw their pledge or wait and see if things can be ironed out between Bitmap Books and Nintendo.
The claim itself is posted in full on Kickstarter and Nintendo makes claims that the use of their intellectual property could be “confusing” to consumers since it is not an actual, licensed product.
This Kickstarter project makes unauthorized use of Nintendo’s copyrights as noted above. The description of the book states that it is “mainly visual”, and the campaign shows pages of the book which consist simply of large screenshots copied directly from Nintendo’s video games. This campaign also makes use of a mark that is confusingly similar to registered trademarks owned by Nintendo. Specifically, the project’s creator is using a modified version of Nintendo’s “Official Nintendo Seal” mark (protected by U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 3114368 (Class 16), 3117154(Class 28), 3173562(Class 9), and 1570911(Classes 16 and 28)) and Nintendo’s “Original Seal of Quality” mark (protected by EU Trademark Regisration No. 3475977 (Classes 9, 16, 28) to promote this project. This use of Nintendo’s intellectual property may confuse Kickstarter backers into thinking this project is sponsored or licensed by Nintendo, when in fact it is not.
Nintendo did reply to a query from GameInformer in regards to this takedown, but it’s along the same lines as the statement above just without the legalese.
“Nintendo is an innovative company that values its intellectual property. We are aggressive in protecting our rights and will not permit third parties to use our creative works in an unauthorized manner.”
This is right in line with Nintendo’s restrictive policies on YouTube and on streaming services like Twitch and many others. For now, it looks like what was a promising coffee table book will not come to fruition and for once a Kickstarter not delivering on its promises is for a very transparent reason.