Nintendo is continuing to step up its growing legal control over its intellectual property (IP). Yesterday, freeware site GameJolt announced that it had received a takedown notice for a whopping 562 games, all of which included Nintendo characters and assets from series like Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon.
"We are required to act promptly on requests like this and remove any games included in the notice. When a DMCA takedown request comes in, we will 'lock' any of the games in the notice. This will result in the game page being accessible by the developer and no one else. Developers affected by takedown notices should never lose data. The games will still show in your dashboards for historical purposes," said GameJolt.
Nintendo has been slowly expanding its legal muscle when it comes to its IP. At the beginning of August, the company filed a DMCA takedown against AM2R: Another Metroid 2 Remake and Pokemon Uranium. Prior to that, Nintendo's legal team also hit a planned NES Compendium, Super Mario 64 HD, and the Nintendo Power Collection.
Part of this likely stems from a shift within the company mentioned by late president Satoru Iwata during a shareholders meeting in 2015.
"Nintendo's IP strategy is based on a long-term perspective where we continue to enhance our characters, worlds and settings for years," said Iwata at the time. "We have already announced that we would more actively utilize our IP, but not in the way that we increase the number of licensing partners as much as possible; instead we will proactively try anything that will enhance the value of our IP. We believe that it is not worth attempting initiatives that produce short-term profits at the expense of long-term detrimental effects on our IP. You might be unsatisfied with our pace of IP utilization, but we ask for your understanding."
That general focus has carried forward to the current regime, under new President Tatsumi Kimishima. Nintendo has slowly been expanding the use of its IP into other markets, with Shigeru Miyamoto at the head of the planning and production of such projects.
"Increasing corporate value will require action on many fronts. This includes our continually investigating projects that make use of our intellectual property (Nintendo IP) and developing products that improve the quality of life (QOL Project)," said Kimishima at this year's general shareholders meeting.
"Going forward, it is extremely important for Nintendo to move beyond the limits of game systems and make good use of its character resources in order for Nintendo not to be forgotten," added Miyamoto. "Nintendo has a variety of characters. That one company has all the rights to so many characters is something that is recognized as unprecedented."
"Besides video content, we have begun to provide Nintendo characters for theme park attractions through a basic agreement with Universal Parks & Resorts. By working on development with others outside of Nintendo, I am working actively to expand the number of Nintendo products. these projects will take time to bear fruit, but they are something to look forward to."
And part of working your IP is making sure that others aren't using it as well. Hence, the current run of legal takedowns. It's the other side of the coin from more official Nintendo shows and merchandise. I'd understand if people want Nintendo to be a bit nicer about it and perhaps let some of these freeware projects ride, but that's rarely how corporate governance works. Instead, these projects will have to hope they can fly under the radar or live on in Bittorrent.