Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Nintendo Removes 13 Years of Nintendo Power from Internet Archive


Jack Gardner

NOPEIANintendoPower-970.jpg

 

Nearly 150 issues of Nintendo Power were pulled from the Internet Archive after Nintendo issued a DMCA notice. The issues, which included comics, walkthroughs, tips, cheats, and more, were uploaded seemingly without the company's knowledge by digital archivist Jason Scott and have since been removed. Though a common practice for old, out of print magazines, the Nintendo felt that allowing the archive to remain in operation would hinder its ability to protect its copyright.  

 

Nintendo's official statement reads:

Nintendo’s broad library of characters, products, and brands are enjoyed by people around the world, and we appreciate the passion of our fans. But just as Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of others, we must also protect our own characters, trademarks and other content. The unapproved use of Nintendo’s intellectual property can weaken our ability to protect and preserve it, or to possibly use it for new projects.

While taking down this piece of inaccessible gaming history might seem like a dirty move on Nintendo's part, the fact is that copyright law in the United States is largely incomprehensible and insane. Intellectual property doesn't enter the public domain for 70-120 years after the death of the original creator (in fact, the work of novelists who died in 1945 are only now entering public domain!). If Nintendo did allow the archive to remain up, it could open a crack in their defenses if they need to protect their copyright from profiteers in the future. 

 

For those truly sad about the archive being pulled, don't worry too much. There are over 21,000 issues of computer and gaming magazines available on the Internet Archive. 

  • Like 1
Sign in to follow this  


User Feedback

Recommended Comments

Between this and the Metroid 2 kerfuffle, it "looks" like Nintendo is an evil overlord. But really, they have the right to protect their IP, just like anyone else. 

 

I am still sad that I did not keep my issues of Nintendo Power. 

  • Like 2

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think, more than anything, it is a sign of how messed up copyright laws have become over the past century. There really needs to be reform so that Nintendo can both allow out of print archival stuff to go on AND protect its copyright. That allowing archival or free fan-made games weakens their legal rights is pretty absurd to me.  

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I am a waffle on this topic. 

 

I can agree that at this point we all know who and what Ninny is. I suppose the Nintendo Power archive and Metroid fan made game would not have actually degraded their branding in any significant manner. 

 

Yup, copyright laws seem to be be culprit. 

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
On ‎8‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 4:47 PM, Jack Gardner said:

I think, more than anything, it is a sign of how messed up copyright laws have become over the past century. There really needs to be reform so that Nintendo can both allow out of print archival stuff to go on AND protect its copyright. That allowing archival or free fan-made games weakens their legal rights is pretty absurd to me.  

The two issues you bring up are very different in scope.   The archival material and it's intended use could be treated as just another library.  If Nintendo wanted to, they would protect any remaining rights (fair use rights increase as the availability of such material in its original format decreases) simply by issuing a license for a nominal sum ($1 even) on the condition that said material cannot be sold. This would garner goodwill - something Big N certainly could use.

Fan-made games, however, even if free, are another story.  Here, the images were not generated by Nintendo, however their design (landscapes, characters, etc) were.  This falls under a confluence of IP, copyright, and trademark laws, of which the gist is, if the copyright/trademark is not actively defended, the rights may be lost (see Abraham v. Alpha Chi Omega).  Even items given freely can diminish the holder's rights - it's unlikely that Disney is going to go after you for painting a Mickey Mouse to give to your niece, but if you make dozens or hundreds of paintings, even if you give them away, it weakens Disney's rights to go after someone who makes dozens and sells them.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's why there needs to be copyright law reform. It's crazy that free fan games can weaken future litigation against competing products that are actually profiting off of Nintendo's IP. Defending copyright this way is what leads to patent trolls and ridiculous cycles of lawsuits in gaming. Remember when Bethesda sued Mojang because Mojang had a game called Scrolls and Bethesda needed to defend its copyright on The Elder Scrolls series? Or when King sued Stoic Games because they needed to protect their copyright on Candy Crush Saga and The Banner Saga had the word Saga in it? All of that seems ridiculous to me and it stems from how copyright law was set up - it's just not suited to a digital age, even with the outdated DMCA. 

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Naming conventions are one thing, using assets or ideas is something entirely else.  First and foremost, Bethesda sued Mojang because they attempted to trademark the word "Scrolls", not to prevent the release, but rather to prevent Mojang from making claims against their own trademarked name "Elder Scrolls"  Interestingly, the Swedish court denied Bethesda's request for an injunction of the name, and in the end, Mojang was allowed to use the name, but not trademark it - in large part because common words cannot, as a rule, be trademarked excepting in certain circumstances.  In neither case did Bethesda or King believe that Mojang/Stoic was engaging in an attempt to deceive customers into believing that the defendant's product was, in fact, the litigant's.  However, if these aren't defended, then there is no way to defend against a company that advertises "Candy Crunch Saga" and has a similar looking board (the general play mechanics of the game are common, and not able to be copyrighted), and the potential for monetary loss is great.

 

Which brings us to the concept of "free games."  As an example, let us assume you spend 2 1/2 years creating the innovative new platformer "Jack's Grand Adventure."  Within 48 hours, I or someone like me buys the game, cracks it, make some small changes to the artwork and perhaps switch some levels around - enough that it's not exactly the same.  That game is then released for free.  After 6 months, you've sold 850,000 copies, and 150,000 copies of "Jacks Super Adventure" have been downloaded for free.  And the only thing it cost you was another 18% in sales.  Free sounds good and fine, until it's your ox being gored.  To say that the developers of "free games" that use assets or IP created by other individuals is nothing more than the theft of their work - even if the only thing they receive for that work is the resume credit.  After all, I can't use your review work, put it under my own name after changing the title even if I don't charge a cent - the work isn't mine - and without your permission I have no rights to it.  Otherwise, your rights (and credit, and compensation) are reduced.

 

The ability to give the rights for someone else to use/display/create does exist under copyright law, and is used all the time.  When you buy a Mickey Mouse cake pan, part of the price includes a very limited license to create cakes with the likeness of Mickey Mouse (for example, you can't mass produce and sell them).  Nintendo, if they so choose, can provide a limited license to the Internet Archive, to allow display (probably with an embedded watermark), for archival purposes, of their magazine.  But to suggest that copyright/trademark laws need to be changed is walking on thin ice indeed.  The end result will be less innovation, not more.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your example is a great case where copyright is totally justified, even against a freely distributed game. I understand needing to be able to protect copyright, especially against asset flips that directly compete with the original products. But what if instead of a 48 hour asset flip, it is a decade-long development process that uses an entirely different engine, assets, original music, etc., and directly gives credit to the original creators of the IP? I understand wanting to maximize sales, but at the same time, the games are already out. If Nintendo was truly worried they were losing profits to these fan games, to this theft as you put it, they would be pursuing monetary compensation from the fan devs who released their games that are insidiously stealing sales from actual Nintendo games. After all, those fan games can still be downloaded if you look in the right places, regardless of DMCA take down. However, Nintendo is not worries about that, at least not from these fan games. The use of DMCA in these recent cases represents hollow threats of litigation to enable Nintendo to protect their copyright from hypothetical threats down the line that they feel might profit from their IP or present a legitimate threat to sales. I'm just saying skip the step of empty legal threats. Let these fans distribute their game themselves.

And yes, copyright law does need to be updated. It hasn't been changed in almost two decades. When the DMCA passed, YouTube wouldn't be a thing for another seven years. People were legitimately worried that computers couldn't handle a shift from 1999 to 2000. The average high-end internet connection when DMCA passed was 12 Kbps and it is well over 1000x faster today. Technology changes and laws need to reflect that, that's why the DMCA was needed in the first place. Currently, we have laws that place these fan games in the same category as people releasing asset flips and I don't think that's right.

 

Clearly you believe differently, but the need for updated copyright remains. Clarify the legal status of Let's Plays, guarantee protection for those who legitimately use copyrighted material under fair use on major content platforms like YouTube, allow exceptions for archival of entirely digital works that don't have physical releases to preserve, the list of things that could be done to update copyright in positive ways that benefits both IP holders and the general public is extensive. I don't at all believe that updating laws for the times leads to less innovation, but, again, we disagree.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...