Meme Run, an endless running game by indie developer Ninja Pig Studios, was pulled from the Wii U eShop on Tuesday (March 3) morning. While the studio has declined to comment on the title’s disappearance, the reasoning behind the removal has been made clear by the party who had it taken down: the owner of the copyright to the “Trollface” image, which is used in Meme Run as the head of the player character.
The Trollface creator, who goes by Whynne, explains the situation:
“To keep it brief, I own the copyright to the Trollface image, and seeing as the image was the ‘star’ of Meme Run, I sent a DMCA takedown notice to Nintendo and want to try and settle the matter amicably. I don’t really intend to have a discussion on fair use or explain my motivations beyond the fact that my business with other parties compels me to make sure that instances of copyright infringement are addressed and resolved. Typically the result in these matters is simply having the use of the image be credited, recovering some kind of monetary compensation, or simply have it removed from the work.
“To that end, takedown notices are a necessary first step to quickly open a direct line of communication with the offending party and work on remedying the situation.”
Whynne further clarifies that cooperation with Ninja Pig Studios has been a priority for a while now:
“I did try to reach out to the creator earlier this year and obtain the information I needed, but he claimed that he was not at liberty to speak about his relationship with Nintendo or any of the particulars regarding the game’s sales data. My lawyer had been busy working on another case (which I am actually not at liberty to talk about lest I void the terms of our agreement) and I prefer to let him handle the matter of my legal representation, so I sort of dragged my feet on actually setting this in motion so he could wrap up our current case.
“So, whatever you may have thought of Meme Run, its absence might only be temporary. For those of you who were hoping to pick it up and missed their opportunity, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.”