Nintendo has shut down a Kickstarter for a project which was making a compendium book of NES/Famicom-era art as reported by Game Informer.
The Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom: a visual compendium Kickstarter page was initially created by Bitmap Books. It has been replaced with a DMCA notification stating that the project is “the subject of an intellectual property dispute”. The complaint (which can be viewed here) details the specific infringing content. The project was shut down with less than one day remaining in its campaign.
According to Nintendo’s complaint, the compendium book made use of “images and fictional character depictions” from Donkey Kong, Duck Hunt, Excitebike, Hogan’s Alley, Ice Hockey, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, Punch-Out!!, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Yoshi, and Zelda II – Adventure of Link. The complaint states that book contains images from these titles and that publication of the book would further infringe on Nintendo’s copyrights.
Additionally, Nintendo’s complaint takes issue with an image similar to their classic Official Nintendo Seal of Quality which was used in images for the Kickstarter. Nintendo holds Trademarks for the seal in both the United States and the European Union. Trademarks typically have to be vigorously defended or else the trademark holder risks losing them.
The original Kickstarter campaign is available at The Wayback Machine. The compendium included a mix of photographs, stylized blueprints of the NES/Famicom, and imagery from the above-mentioned games with text overlaid on them. Notably, the Risks and Challenges section of the campaign contains the following statement:
Risks and challenges
I have sought professional legal advice regarding the book. I have a strict set of rules to adhere to but these will not effect the overall design of the book.
Bitmap Books’ official store is currently closed at the time of writing, but an archive of the page is available at The Wayback Machine. The company’s other projects included Artcade – The Book of Classic Arcade Game Art, Commodore 64: a visual compendium, and Super Famicom: The Box Art Collection.
What do you think of Nintendo shutting down the Kickstarter for a visual compendium of NES/Famicom-era art? Was it a reasonable defense of their intellectual property or were they being too overzealous in this case? Let us know in the comments below!