Recently, we brought you news of the #Nindies Summer Game Jam, which Nintendo is running on their e-shop in order to promote independent (or “indie”) games. However, this promotion seems to run contrary to what the gaming giant recently did to other indie creators.
Game Jolt, the indie game hosting site which has been responsible for publicizing many of the best indie games over the past few years, has recently had to remove 562 fan-made games after receiving legal notices from Nintendo. According to Kotaku.com, Nintendo invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in order to request the removal of the games from Game Jolt, which they said “infringes copyrights owned by Nintendo.” The statement shows that Nintendo sought to protect their copyright over such IPs as Pokémon, Super Mario, and Legend of Zelda. This move also seems to continue Nintendo’s history of litigious behavior.
In response to this, and in an effort to maintain transparency, Game Jolt has begun posting all of the DMCA takedown notices on github.com. In their communication to the site’s users, Gamejolt also stated, “We believe the public should know what content is being removed from Game Jolt and why.” The website has also offered indie creators the ability to make their games private – essentially hiding them from not only Nintendo, but the rest of the public at large. Unfortunately, this means that none of the tribute games, on which these creators worked so diligently, can be played on the site or downloaded in any official capacity.
Nintendo does have the right to protect their trademarked material in order for the brands to not become “diluted.” There is no question about that. However, with the work that these creators have put into these tribute games, it would certainly be nice if those homages to well-loved characters & IPs were able to be shared with the rest of the world.