The lights are on
In an era where most publishers are embracing their communities, Atari lawyers are inexplicably targeting non-commercial retro fan sites for shutdown.
The Atari User blog reports that several sites created by Atari enthusiasts have received letters from the company demanding that they shut their sites down and hand over the domain names. The latest victim is Andrew Davie, who has run the Atari2600.org site since 2000. If you try to visit the site now you will see the following message:
"Following a 'request' from Atari Legal's lawyer to hand them this
domain, and to show my good faith and intentions with regard to their
trademark and claims thereof... I have removed all content of this site.
I'm a bit of a retro-gaming nut. Over the 11 years I've 'owned' this
domain, the site was used as a personal/hobbyist site for my interest in
'2600 homebrew programming. It's variously been used to promote my
'2600 game Qb (2001-2003), my extensive tutorials on '2600 programming,
as a domain for the '2600 programmers' [stella] mailing list (2004-2010)
and more recently linking to some of my videos and demos for the
platform. The '2600 platform has been near and dear to my heart for a
Earlier this month, Atari sent a similar demand to the hobbyist site Starsoft Berlin. Considering how long these sites have been in operation, it's strange that Atari is going after the domains now. With so little cachet left in the gaming world right now, it's also dumbfounding that the company would try to alienate the hardcore fans who still appreciate and celebrate the company's early consoles for seemingly little or no benefit.
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Wouldn't you rather have the support of the underground community boosting your IPs (albeit most of them ancient now) instead of trashing them? Someone is not thinking clearly.
What could Atari possiby hope to gain from this?
Atari is well within it's rights to protect it's I.P.s, but this appears rather heavy-handed. Palladium Books did something similar, going after websites that had fan written material for their Role-Playing Games, and it didn't gain them any new friends. It would have been better to go to all the fan sites and and work with them. Put out some guidelines on what is appropriate and what isn't, maybe even have a special banner for fansites.
Either there's new management, or Atari is getting ready to be purchased (which could amount to the same thing), which is my guess.
Though you (Atari) may have once been great, you are now a mere grain of sand amongst the gaming giants of today.
What a way to treat your fans, Atari.
Let's face it, Atari: nearly everything you've made in the past ten years has been crap. You basically have nothing to bank on except nostalgic memories of your olden days. SO DON'T ALIENATE THE TWO HUNDRED OR SO FANS YOU STILL HAVE, 'KAY?
Seems like a rather stupid move on their part.
It's sad to see the 2600.org site striped down to that plain message :/ Poor guy... hope he at least got a decent payoff.
Really? What in the world are they trying to do?