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Atari Attacks The Few Remaining Retro Fans It Has Left

by Matt Bertz on Aug 25, 2011 at 08:22 AM

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 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 long time."

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.