The lights are on
Kickstarter backers hoping for a copy of Bitmap Books' Nintendo Entertainment System visual compendium are in for some disappointment. The House of Mario has shut down the crowdfunding project.
Notice went out today, with less than a day left before the campaign’s successful close. Nintendo cites its copyright for a number of games, including Super Mario Bros., Punch-Out!!, The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong.
“This Kickstarter project makes unauthorized use of Nintendo's copyrights as noted above,” reads a digital millennium copyright act complaint filed by law firm Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP. “The description of the book states that it is ‘mainly visual’, and the campaign shows pages of the book which consist simply of large screenshots copied directly from Nintendo’s video games. This campaign also makes use of a mark that is confusingly similar to registered trademarks owned by Nintendo. Specifically, the project’s creator is using a modified version of Nintendo's ‘Official Nintendo Seal’ mark to promote this project. This use of Nintendo's intellectual property may confuse Kickstarter backers into thinking this project is sponsored or licensed by Nintendo, when in fact it is not.”
We’ve reached out to both Bitmap Books and Nintendo for comment. We’ll update as more information is available. You can see a number of sample pages in our previous coverage.
Update: Nintendo has responded to our request for comment. “Nintendo is an innovative company that values its intellectual property," a company representative told us via email. "We are aggressive in protecting our rights and will not permit third parties to use our creative works in an unauthorized manner.”
Our TakeWhether a fair use defense would win out in court is moot if Bitmap Books doesn’t have the wherewithal to fight back against a giant like Nintendo. We’ll have to see if the company opts to duke it out, or cuts its losses and moves on to other, more forgiving companies.