Kickstarter has become a well-known avenue for video game creators, but there are also a multitude of other types of projects that utilize the crowdfunding platform. A recent one to gather attention was for an “NES/Famicom: A Visual Compendium” book, which aimed to compile artwork, interviews, and some exclusive content all focused around the original Nintendo Entertainment System. However, the Kickstarter has now been shut down by Nintendo, who issued a copyright takedown of the project yesterday.

The notification from Nintendo asserts that the book “makes unauthorized use of Nintendo’s copyrights,” as many of the example pages shown off in the Kickstarter campaign “consist simply of large screenshots copied directly from Nintendo’s video games.” The cover of the book is also planned to use a modified version of Nintendo’s classic Seal of Approval, and the company states that this is “confusingly similar to registered trademarks owned by Nintendo.”

Despite Nintendo’s takedown, the organizer of the Kickstarter, Sam Dyer, has sent out a message to all current backers assuring them that the Kickstarter is “legal” and “100% above board.” Dyer is currently talking with Nintendo to try and get the takedown removed, which will hopefully happen soon.

“Nintendo have filed a copyright claim against the campaign. I have taken lots of legal advice prior to launching the campaign plus I also spoke to Nintendo UK. The use of game imagery is completely legal under FAIR USE’ law.

“I have now made some little tweaks to the campaign to make it even more watertight but I wholeheartedly believe that the book is 100% above board.

“Don’t panic! The campaign is under review whilst I talk to Nintendo. Your pledge is safe and in the unlikely case I’m unsuccessful, it will go right back to you as it would with any stopped campaign. There’s no need to panic and cancel your funding as your money is not at risk.

“The campaign is essentially ‘frozen’ as is the timer. So fingers crossed when we’re live again, the clock will start from with 24 hours left and we can complete the campaign.

“The whole thing is frustrating but please stick with me. I’ve invested a lot of time and energy ensuring that this is legal and above board.”
— Sam Dyer

Dyer and his company,
Bitmap Books, have previously created similar books focused on the Commodore 64, Amiga, and even the SNES, so I have a feeling that they will indeed get through this little rough patch with Nintendo. We’ll update you with any further news on this Kickstarter if and when it arises.

In the meantime, what do you think of all this? Is Nintendo right to claim copyright infringement on this book, or are they overstepping their bounds this time? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Kickstarter (via IGN)

Our Verdict

Tyler Meehan
Tyler is verbose. He apologizes for that. Tyler "Alpha" Meehan's first experiences with gaming came from his cousins' NES and the Mario games that went with it. They were fun, but merely brief distractions while on the road (yes, they had an NES in their car. It was awesome, and he was jealous). Still, nothing compared to his Star Wars books. OR SO HE THOUGHT. His love of gaming truly began when he and a friend came together to beat the Nintendo 64's Mission: Impossible, a challenge so intense that Tyler bought his own console to facilitate its defeat. Upon being introduced to Ocarina of Time (an introduction that included, among other spoilers, the freakin' final boss fight. GEEZ, PHILIP), his lot in life as a Nintendo fanboy was sealed in stone. His ability to recall absolutely useless video game information served him well during the Pokémon craze, and helped him aid numerous friends in their own endeavors to defeat games like Majora's Mask and Kingdom Hearts. Those were good days. Good days... The Zelda series soon became his primary obsession fascination, but additionally he was soon introduced to text-based RPGs by one of his schoolmates. Discovering that he had a knack for the English language and a strong love of telling stories, he started putting effort into writing his own storylines. That all got put onto the backburner, though, when he discovered the Zelda online community, particularly The Desert Colossus's Hyrule Adventures 2, an online text RPG based in the Zelda world. He joined under the pseudonym of "Alpha" and soon became one of their lead writers, going so far as to join the moderator staff and, in a year's time, become the head administrator of the RPG. During this time, Twilight Princess was released, and he joined several other TDCers in posting their thoughts on the game - his "Twilight Impression Posts" lasted for several months and were well received by the community. Staying on even after the webmaster was forced to retire, he continued to provide occasional news posts and articles for the site, until it became clear that the site was dying. He turned his focus back to Hyrule Adventures 2 and his college studies, until the latter forced him to stop work on the former. Tyler graduated a few years ago from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelors in Computer Science, and now serves as a software engineer for a rather large company that he doesn't feel like telling you all about (he's a jerk like that sometimes). His love of gaming and writing still strong, he joined the Zelda Informer staff in early 2013 to write a walkthrough for The Wind Waker, but later began using his English skills to become ZI and Gamnesia's first dedicated Copy Editor. When not trying to get Brian to shut up in Gamnesia's group chat, he spends his time writing Zelda fanfiction, planning some original fantasy stories that he may or may not try to publish some day, and playing games on his Wii, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo 3DS. He intends to get a WiiU sooner or later, probably around when Pikmin 3 comes out, but has little interest in the other consoles currently. Also, he can't stand writing bios in first-person. Talking about yourself like that is just...weird.


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