Nintendo Appears To Be Using A Fan-Made Drawing Of Mario Without Artist's Permission Or Credit

from the real-nice-guys dept

Nintendo, of course, has an impressively long history of being IP protectionist in the extreme. But if there is one thing that Nintendo really cannot stand, it's when its own fans choose to express their fandom with art and creativity. Cool ways to use Animal Crossing? Nintendo shut it down. Dedicated gamers porting an antique Mario title to the PC? Nintendo shut it down. Fan game, after fan game, after fan game? Nintendo shut those down too. In other words, the impression you're left with is that fan creations using anything remotely close to Nintendo IP is the devil's work in the eyes of the company.

Except, perhaps, when the company would like to use some of that work without permission or giving credit to the artist, it seems.

A new website for Nintendo’s upcoming Japanese theme park Super Nintendo World went live yesterday. It featured new details and a virtual tour of the video game wonderland ahead of its February 4 opening. It also used an image of Mario for its loading screen that appears to have been created not by Nintendo, but one of its fans.

“I love how Nintendo used MY old ass Mario render in their official Nintendo World website,” Twitter user and Mario fan artist ujiidow tweeted earlier today. Their image of Mario was created roughly three years ago using the open source animation software Blender, and was shared on Reddit at the time. The Mario model used for the render wasn’t one of Nintendo’s, but instead belonged to 3D artist RafaKnight, who shared it for download on their Patreon in 2017.

Nintendo hasn't bothered to comment on any of this, but it's a funny thing how those that scream about respecting artists and creators can't seem to find it in themselves to treat others the way they want to be treated. Now, some will point out that Nintendo controls the Mario Bros. IP, as though it gave them the right to simply use any 3rd party artwork as though it were their own. That almost certainly isn't true, though, and is sort of besides the point. Nintendo goes way beyond just following the law in its intellectual property enforcement and treats it like some sort of ethos that aggressive protection is the right way to go.

So why, then, not seek permission from the artist to use what he created? Why not credit the artist in some way? It's not like said artist wouldn't have been amendable to any of this.

Ujiidow isn’t necessarily complaining though. “I’m so used to my Mario renders getting very little attention,” they told Kotaku in an email. “I’m being told to take action on the matter but I find it very nice to finally have some recognition on it.”

Holy shit, imagine if Nintendo had the same gentle attitude towards its fans that its fans have toward Nintendo? What a wonderful world that would be.

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Filed Under: copyright, fan art
Companies: nintendo


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jan 2021 @ 6:59am

    I'm just waiting for Nintendo to start issuing DMCA takedowns of the creator's works and websites, thus claiming the creator is stealing from himself and violating his IP rights.

    Copyright was meant to be a short term guarantee that the creator "could" profit from their works. The short term portion was the incentive to continue to create new works. Now the duration is something like Life + 70 years, or something stupid. The argument is now being made (typically by the heirs), "what incentive does their deceased relative have to create new works, without 10+ generations of descendants being able to do absolutely nothing to contribute to society but still make millions?" Talk about giving new definition to Ghost Writing.


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