Don’t make games based on Nintendo’s stuff, kids.
Nintendo has issued a takedown notice to freeware hosting site GameJolt, requesting that 562 games hosted on the site by made inaccessible to the public. These games were made by fans, but infringed on copyrights and patents owned by Nintendo. The games were distributed for free, but as the takedown notice states, GameJolt “generates revenue from advertising banners displayed on the site and advertisements played while users wait for the games to load”.
The games mentioned in the notice were specifically infringing on three Nintendo properties: Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Pokemon. A search on GameJolt’s website reveals, however, that games infringing on other Nintendo properties, such as Metroid and Fire Emblem, are also present on the site. The focus on Mario, Zelda and Pokemon might have to do with the three franchises receiving new entries in the near future, namely Mario Maker for the 3DS, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Pokemon Sun and Moon.
In their post on the issue, GameJolt has explained what will happen next. The games listed in the takedown notice will be locked, causing them to be inaccessible to the general public. Developers can still access the games they have created, however, as according to GameJolt, “Developers affected by takedown notices should never lose data. The games will still show in your dashboards for historical purposes”. GameJolt has also announced that all DMCA takedown notices it receives will be made public “in the spirit of transparency”.
In the recent past, Nintendo also issued a takedown notice for Pokemon Uranium, another fan-made game distributed for free. Although the developers of the game were not personally contacted by Nintendo, they complied to Nintendo’s wishes and took down the game’s official download links.