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!