36-Hour Lemmings Port Gets Cease-and-Desist From Sony

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36-Hour Lemmings Port Gets Cease-and-Desist From Sony

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A Lemmings fan who completed a live-blogged 36-hour port of his Palm OS-based version of the game to the iPhone and Palm Pre has had his moment of triumph cut short by a cease-and-desist letter from Sony.

On June 22, Aaron Ardiri of mobile games developer Mobile 1Up took a unique challenge upon himself: Porting the old Palm OS implementation of the Psygnosis classic Lemmings to the iPhone/iPod and Palm Pre in as short a time as possible, while live-blogging the entire process. The project was a success; in only 36 hours, Ardiri had the game fully compiled and waiting for approval on the App Store and the Palm App Catalog, and also had Windows and Mac versions freely available on his website.

Unfortunately, but perhaps predictably, everything came to a screeching halt when a cease-and-desist letter arrived from Sony, which purchased Psygnosis in 1993 and owns the rights to Lemmings. The letter gave Ardiri 48 hours to remove all his ports of Lemmings or face a lawsuit and damages for each copy of the game he distributed.

Despite the premature end to his Lemmings adventure, Ardiri seemed remarkably upbeat. "As much as we would love to have this title reach everyone, we have unfortunately been contacted and instructed by Sony's intellectual property and legal department to remove our Lemmings conversion from our websites and distribution channels," he wrote on his website. "While we did this as a tribute to the game - we can only hope that Sony actually does a conversion for platforms like iPhone and Palm Pre in the near future. We will open communication with Sony to explore the rights for these platforms!"

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Now THIS is a game for a phone app! Would think by now it would be public domain anyway.

Damn, now that's a pity.

That is an awesome achievement and I hope that his discussions with Sony are successful and he is allowed to market his port.

@samsonguy920: Copyright takes a minimum of fifty years to lapse. It's dumb but them's the rules.

Let me just say:

Boooooooo!

Okay, I hate to be the one to say this but... the giant faceless multinational corporation is right here. You can't just take someone elses game port it to a new medium, that's a textbook definition of copyright infringement. That'd be like taking a movie you bought on VHS transferring it to DVD and than trying to turn around and sell it. Then giving it to people.

*cease and desist*
*court orders turnover of all materials*
-6 hours later-
"Sony announces lemmings for iphone!"

You know it still must of been a good experience for the dude that coded it.
Sad someone had to go and snitch on him before he uploaded.

I mean, they had to see it coming. I can't just try to port Pokemon to iPhone and then start selling it.

....All together now:

Seriously, sony: Not cool.

Bro code 11: It's not cool to mess up another Bro game.

Once it's on the internet, it never leaves. Too bad for the assholes in Legal.

Cynical skeptic:
*cease and desist*
*court orders turnover of all materials*
-6 hours later-
"Sony announces lemmings for iphone!"

hahahaha, that's spot on.

Another example of someone sitting on something they "own" and never doing a damn thing with it. Just sitting on the copyright so that no one else can either.

Pfff, pricks. Guarantee they try to sell it now.

The guy's got a great attitude to all of this, and I really hope his negotiations with Sony go well.

I hope sony do reach an agreement with him I loved lemmings when I was younger and like to be able to play it on the go

Well what did he expect? You can't just do stuff like that. It doesn't say in the article it had to be handed over, so Sony might find it a bit tricky trying to sell his port.

ace_of_something:
Okay, I hate to be the one to say this but... the giant faceless multinational corporation is right here. You can't just take someone elses game port it to a new medium, that's a textbook definition of copyright infringement. That'd be like taking a movie you bought on VHS transferring it to DVD and than trying to turn around and sell it.

Damn friggin right.
How did he not see this coming from a mile away. Sony ownes the license, so don't sell their stuff.

People booing Sony: They have every right. How would you like it if someone took a game you made, ported it, then tried to sell it and cut out your profit margins?

samsonguy920:
Now THIS is a game for a phone app! Would think by now it would be public domain anyway.

A property does not go public domain until it's creator has been dead for 70 years (I think, it might be 50)

Wow, that didnt take them long...AT ALL! But...it would be an epic port to iPhone!

How is this in any way coming across as Sony being the bad guy? This isn't Goliath ruining David's innocent fun, this is them asking the guy not to steal their game and pass it around himself. If I wrote a book, I sure as hell wouldn't want someone else giving it away without my name on it just because he put it on the iPad or whatever instead of paper.

TheRightToArmBears:
Well what did he expect? You can't just do stuff like that. It doesn't say in the article it had to be handed over, so Sony might find it a bit tricky trying to sell his port.

Decisions like that happen after a trial.

The lawyers of massive corporations get paid whether they work or not, so taking the guy to court wouldn't exactly cost.

General apologist response: I'm sorry, but the guy who smashes someone's sand castle is always the bad guy. It doesn't matter if the sand castle was built on the guy's beach chair and was a giant cock.

Lemmings, and psygnosis are names that haven't been active for over a decade. Their final pussy excretion was "lemmings x-mas" in '04, which is still six years past, and even that was just a compliation of three games from ten years prior. Sitting on copyrights you have no interest in touching is a dick move, period. The guy in question worked more on lemmings than anyone has in fifteen fucking years. Yes, sony are the bad guys in this situation. Fuck them.

Cynical skeptic:
Lemmings, and psygnosis are names that haven't been active for over a decade. Their final pussy excretion was "lemmings x-mas" in '04, which is still six years past, and even that was just a compliation of three ten year old games. Sitting on copyrights you have no interest in touching is a dick move, period. The guy in question worked more on lemmings than anyone has in fifteen fucking years. Yes, sony are the bad guys in this situation. Fuck them.

That's actually what I was thinking upon reading the article. But unfortunately Sony doth hath the righteth to be athholeth. Pleh. Sony's sitting on a lot of dormant properties that they seem more content to be materialistic over than do anything with.

dekkarax:

samsonguy920:
Now THIS is a game for a phone app! Would think by now it would be public domain anyway.

A property does not go public domain until it's creator has been dead for 70 years (I think, it might be 50)

Yeah. Is it wrong that that statement made me giggle a bit?

Too late. They said it was on the website for free. Once it's on the web, it never comes off.

Yeah, you can't just copy something, port it to a new platform, then release it, or the lawyers will come for you.

However, if Sony could have got him to sign a contract stating there was nothing offensive or litigious in the game, it wouldn't need checking by Sony's lawyers, and they could say, ok, pay us 10p out of every 69p sale on itunes and you can go ahead.

Let's face it , as above people said, Sony weren't exactly milking the Lemmings licence, and someone's put in the hard work to effectively print some more money for them, all they need to do is come to the table to deal instead of sue.

Dear Sony.

Bite me.

Seriously what a bunch of pricks.

Queue Sony releasing a Lemmings App for double price in 72 hours....

dekkarax:

samsonguy920:
Now THIS is a game for a phone app! Would think by now it would be public domain anyway.

A property does not go public domain until it's creator has been dead for 70 years (I think, it might be 50)

Not any more, the property clock reset everytime a new media form comes out; so theoretically everytime a new console is released, the Lemmings licence is set back 70 years.

Sony was in the right, sorry guys.

But I'm gonna boo them anyway just because I can:

Boo!

Insane_Foxx:
Another example of someone sitting on something they "own" and never doing a damn thing with it. Just sitting on the copyright so that no one else can either.

Just like the Chrono Trigger fan-game, which was a week away from full, free, release huh?
Except that one was rather unfortunate, considering a long-time member was responsible for it, by sending emails with false information to whoever he could reach at Square or whoever is sitting on the rights.

This one just sucks though, seriously the last real Lemmings game was when? I mean jeese, I have the game on Floppy disks installed on a computer that only uses menus. Pain in the ass to hook up and get working, but its worth it to play Lemmings...

samsonguy920:
Now THIS is a game for a phone app! Would think by now it would be public domain anyway.

Well from what I learned about Abandonware, it all comes down to whether or not someone maintains the liscence which costs money to do. If nobody retains the liscence, then the game becomes public domain, at least until someone pays to renew the liscence. It's probably more complicated than that, but that is how it's been explained to me.

Now, the question here is of course whether or not Sony was bluffing, or actually holds these rights. I say this because Psygnosis [SP] was an old Amiga developer that brought a lot of their stuff over to the PC. While Sony bought their library at one time, I'm pretty sure they haven't been maintaining the liscences on all of those properties. This because I'm pretty sure I've seen a decent number of their titles on various Abandonware sites, and ones I know are pretty careful about keeping up with that kind of thing and removing downloads if such a thing can be proven.

At any rate, I was never a major "Lemmings" fan and truthfully I was always kind of wondering why they never got sued by whomever had the rights to Fraggle Rock back when the games were big.

ace_of_something:
Okay, I hate to be the one to say this but... the giant faceless multinational corporation is right here. You can't just take someone elses game port it to a new medium, that's a textbook definition of copyright infringement. That'd be like taking a movie you bought on VHS transferring it to DVD and than trying to turn around and sell it.

Timbydude:
I mean, they had to see it coming. I can't just try to port Pokemon to iPhone and then start selling it.

Frank_Sinatra_:

ace_of_something:
Okay, I hate to be the one to say this but... the giant faceless multinational corporation is right here. You can't just take someone elses game port it to a new medium, that's a textbook definition of copyright infringement. That'd be like taking a movie you bought on VHS transferring it to DVD and than trying to turn around and sell it.

Damn friggin right.
How did he not see this coming from a mile away. Sony ownes the license, so don't sell their stuff.

People booing Sony: They have every right. How would you like it if someone took a game you made, ported it, then tried to sell it and cut out your profit margins?

*Sigh* -_-

HE WASN'T SELLING IT YOU MORONS!!

Also, being in the legal right doesn't put one in the right. After-all, legally OJ Simpson didn't murder his wife. Did he actually? Maybe, maybe not, but just because "the law" says he didn't doesn't mean he isn't in the wrong. Sony might "have the rights" to stomp on this product, but that doesn't put them "in the right". I mean, after-all, Tim Langdell "has the right" when he sues companies for using the word "edge" in their games. Does that mean he isn't the "bad guy" in those cases? Should we not slander him for being a douche bag? Of course not!

Sony is no better than Tim in this case. They have no interest in Lemmings outside of the fact that they happen to own it right now. Rather than just letting fans of the game series re-live the classics they love, instead they're stomping a loving tribute to a game that they aren't even considering a sequel for. Neither Sony, nor their profit margin, is in any way threatened by this iPhone port, yet they still made it a point to swoop-in and stomp it down.

(( Not that it'll matter because you know this program is gonna be all over torrents by now. ))

WhiteTigerShiro:
*Sigh* -_-

HE WASN'T SELLING IT YOU MORONS!!

Also, being in the legal right doesn't put one in the right. After-all, legally OJ Simpson didn't murder his wife. Did he actually? Maybe, maybe not, but just because "the law" says he didn't doesn't mean he isn't in the wrong. Sony might "have the rights" to stomp on this product, but that doesn't put them "in the right". I mean, after-all, Tim Langdell "has the right" when he sues companies for using the word "edge" in their games. Does that mean he isn't the "bad guy" in those cases? Should we not slander him for being a douche bag? Of course not!

Sony is no better than Tim in this case. They have no interest in Lemmings outside of the fact that they happen to own it right now. Rather than just letting fans of the game series re-live the classics they love, instead they're stomping a loving tribute to a game that they aren't even considering a sequel for. Neither Sony, nor their profit margin, is in any way threatened by this iPhone port, yet they still made it a point to swoop-in and stomp it down.

Tim did it to sue for money off larger corporations. I doubt Sony really want the pennies this guy was going to give them. Fact is they don't want it to seem like they are forgiving for what is undoubtedly copyright infringement, in the potential case that someone takes on a project with more serious implications, thinking "Sony probably won't care". It's a big company thing that isn't just down to Sony.

I'm sure the 2 billion dollars Sony saved by this move was totally worth the positive PR they get from doing this.

If they were smart, they'd use this as a business opportunity instead of arbitrarily slapping him with a C&D.
I mean, the guy had already done the work and Sony would be entitled to the earnings.
It's free money!

Why would you be playing Lemmings on an Iphone anyways..

Are you really THAT bored?

I assume you are reading this on a PC (or most sane people are) so you likely have a slightly better gaming device right in front of you.

But I guess you just have to show off on the bus or something? Help the muggers target you, and keep yourself distracted while they do.

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