Namco Shuts Down Student's Pac-Man Project

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Namco Shuts Down Student's Pac-Man Project

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Budding programmers beware: Do not recreate Pac-Man or Namco will find you.

MIT developed the Scratch programming language to help young people create their own games, and to get them to think creatively while also learning mathematical and computational ideas. While Scratch user 124scratch was doing just that, he was served with a DMCA notice for creating his own version of Pac-Man, asking for it to be removed.

The notice says that the user's game "infringes Namco's rights by offering visitors the unauthorized use of infringing copies of the Pac-Man game product which is protected by copyright and trademark law." It also reads: "While we appreciate the educational nature of your enterprise and look forward to the contributions of the future programmers you are training, part of their education should include concern for the intellectual property of others."

Namco has every right to protect their intellectual property, but this seems extreme and pointless. 124scratch's game has been taken down so I wasn't able to play it, but I seriously doubt that Namco had anything to worry about from a programming student's free version of Pac-Man hidden in the depths of the Scratch website. Is it possible that it was so accurate that Namco had to get a lawyer to shut it down?

Oddly enough, the same user has plenty of other projects that use art from Pac-Man, including sprites of ghosts and level layouts. Some of 124scratch's later Pac-Man-inspired projects don't seem to touch the real game, so I'm confused what made Namco go medieval on one specific project. I'm not going to say that Namco shouldn't protect itself, I'm just not sure what they were protecting themselves from here. All I see was someone trying to learn.

Via: Reddit via TechDirt via Slashdot

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It is perfectly legal under fair use to use copyrighted materials as a student for educational use.

However you can't distribute it for non-educational use.

Perfect example of just how fucked-up copyright law is.

Perfect example of how hypocrisy, no matter how vague terms, can be displayed. Seriously now? Copyright is so 90's man.

Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

As much as everyone is supposed to hate on big companies, if it was my company, no matter how big it got, I would do the same thing. Hell, I'd go stop the plagiarism myself!

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

yeah, but didn't they re publish the game in there shitty compilation of shitty games that are only fun at the arcade? i think that would make the copyright, umm, renew, right?

i guess namco is pulling a page from the jacksons estate play book?

companies hate when you honor famous classic idols

Im not really much into US legal system... but wouldn't project like this fall into the Fair Use part of the copyright law?
Not really smart move from Namco PR wise really. It's not like it threatened the very core of their existence.

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Wait, wut?

So....my collection of Atari 2600 roms is....LEGAL!?

Oh god, I feel so dirty....dealing in legal software....I need to go dirty my hands in something more recent. Someone give me a cracked Starcraft II!!!!!!!!

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Roms are actually pretty illegal.
http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#roms

Considering there are ton of pac man clones out there already this hardly seems fair to pick on a non-profit educational project when they don't go after all the other clones out there.

ahlycks:

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

yeah, but didn't they re publish the game in there shitty compilation of shitty games that are only fun at the arcade? i think that would make the copyright, umm, renew, right?

No the compilation game would be covered, not the individual games.

ShadowKatt:

Wait, wut?

So....my collection of Atari 2600 roms is....LEGAL!?

Oh god, I feel so dirty....dealing in legal software....I need to go dirty my hands in something more recent. Someone give me a cracked Starcraft II!!!!!!!!

Yes, they are, I'm honestly shocked at how people act towards pirates, in five years what's it really gonna matter that a few thousand people downloaded pokemon platinum? In another five or ten it'll be legal to pirate it anyway.

I expect they're just making it absolutely clear that they don't like IP infringement. Otherwise they might have to get down to some messy line-drawing later.

ShadowKatt:

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Wait, wut?

So....my collection of Atari 2600 roms is....LEGAL!?

Oh god, I feel so dirty....dealing in legal software....I need to go dirty my hands in something more recent. Someone give me a cracked Starcraft II!!!!!!!!

Actually the law is either 90 years from its creation or 120 years from its publication, what ever is shorter.

Your breaking the law Blakfayt, don't worry.

Blue Horn:

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Roms are actually pretty illegal.
http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#roms

Well that just shows how stupid copyright laws are, and that it still doesn't matter cause I'll pirate till the cops come and then I'll die cause there ain't no way in hell I'm going to jail for metaphysical stealing. Honestly hating pirates is stupid and people need to just kinda get over it.

Pac-Man is one of the most often re-created games. Strange that Namco would put the kibosh on this particular project.

Not G. Ivingname:

ShadowKatt:

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Wait, wut?

So....my collection of Atari 2600 roms is....LEGAL!?

Oh god, I feel so dirty....dealing in legal software....I need to go dirty my hands in something more recent. Someone give me a cracked Starcraft II!!!!!!!!

Actually the law is either 90 years from its creation or 120 years from its publication, what ever is shorter.

Your breaking the law Blakfayt, don't worry.

Oh thank god. I wouldn't want to put a clean spot on my tarnished record. I have my pride to think of.

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Actually I believe they last like 70 or 80 years.

ShadowKatt:

Not G. Ivingname:

ShadowKatt:

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Wait, wut?

So....my collection of Atari 2600 roms is....LEGAL!?

Oh god, I feel so dirty....dealing in legal software....I need to go dirty my hands in something more recent. Someone give me a cracked Starcraft II!!!!!!!!

Actually the law is either 90 years from its creation or 120 years from its publication, what ever is shorter.

Your breaking the law Blakfayt, don't worry.

Oh thank god. I wouldn't want to put a clean spot on my tarnished record. I have my pride to think of.

Don't worry, your terrible reputation has remained such :P

Of course now you have admitted your crimes in a public place.

<.<

>.>

LeonLethality:

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Actually I believe they last like 70 or 80 years.

And that's just stupid, I demand a fix for that, twenty or twenty five sounds more reasonable, I mean come on, how many copies of the unreasonably popular Earthbound are there left in the whole world? Let alone in a language you speak, Nintendo, Sega, all entertainment companies and their insane copyrights, hell music is worse though, they go for 75 years after the writer dies, so a full life time, then another life time, I mean come on, that bull.

Wonder if they sued google for that logo not long ago. Probably not. Copyright nazis like to pick on the little guy too much...

twm1709:
Wonder if they sued google for that logo not long ago. Probably not. Copyright nazis like to pick on the little guy too much...

I doubt Google just went ahead and did it, I'm sure there was a great deal of money exchanging hands for rights/contract signing/etc.

But perhaps this is a good lesson for the student: if you're given tools to create your OWN game, don't just make someone elses.

Nimbus:
Perfect example of just how fucked-up copyright law is.

I have to disagree. While I don't necessarily approve of what Namco did in this specific situation, they must be able to do it if they so choose in order for copyright laws to work at all. Someone created an intentional copy of their intellectual property and placed it on the internet where it could be accessed by anyone. It may have been for educational purposes, but they have to be able to protect themselves from things like that.

Tom Goldman:
... so I'm confused what made Namco go medieval on one specific project.

I'll say. There have been Pac-Man clones and rip-offs for decades. I find it hard to believe that all those shareware games paid some sort of royalty or something.

BlindMessiah94:
Considering there are ton of pac man clones out there already this hardly seems fair to pick on a non-profit educational project when they don't go after all the other clones out there.

Exactly. I can do a very quick Google search for "Pac Man flash game" and bring up dozens upon dozens of pages with replications of the game, some of them exceptionally faithful with identical sounds, stage setups, etc. Why hasn't Namco pulled anything on them?

Another good idea bites the dust

I'm not going to rag on Namco, but it does seem rather funny that they'd pick on this when there are literally dozens of free flash versions of Pac-Man all over the net.

blakfayt:

Blue Horn:

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Roms are actually pretty illegal.
http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#roms

Well that just shows how stupid copyright laws are, and that it still doesn't matter cause I'll pirate till the cops come and then I'll die cause there ain't no way in hell I'm going to jail for metaphysical stealing. Honestly hating pirates is stupid and people need to just kinda get over it.

Try making a game before coming out with crap like that. Pirates are all scum. Every. One.

OT - I'm gonna have to echo other posters - why this one and not the thousands of others?

blakfayt:

Blue Horn:

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Roms are actually pretty illegal.
http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#roms

Well that just shows how stupid copyright laws are, and that it still doesn't matter cause I'll pirate till the cops come and then I'll die cause there ain't no way in hell I'm going to jail for metaphysical stealing. Honestly hating pirates is stupid and people need to just kinda get over it.

Damn straight.
I whole heartedly support our right to benefit from the hard work of others whilst providing them with zero compensation.

Now if you're just talking about old games/out of print games/unsupported games then I'd agree that they should be legal to download until/unless they are re-released. However it seems like you're implying that we shouldn't look down upon people who think its okay to have all their games/movies/music/software for free simply because of their digital nature. Needless to say, I disagree.

Nimbus:
Perfect example of just how fucked-up copyright law is.

Yup, I recreated space invaders using C# language in my grade 11 programming class. Good thing I didn't distribute it :P

I was reading a letter to Norman Rockwell from Campbell Soup co. about the famous panting of his. It was a letter full of praise for the man, and promise of a thoughtful gift of tomato soup to him after he expressed a fondness for it.

There was a joke in the comments about how in this day the letter would have been a cease and desist order. I had a laugh and didn't think much of it. Reading this reminded me and I have to wonder exactly how much of that statement was a joke, and how much was truth.

fletch_talon:

blakfayt:

Blue Horn:

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Roms are actually pretty illegal.
http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#roms

Well that just shows how stupid copyright laws are, and that it still doesn't matter cause I'll pirate till the cops come and then I'll die cause there ain't no way in hell I'm going to jail for metaphysical stealing. Honestly hating pirates is stupid and people need to just kinda get over it.

Damn straight.
I whole heartedly support our right to benefit from the hard work of others whilst providing them with zero compensation.

Now if you're just talking about old games/out of print games/unsupported games then I'd agree that they should be legal to download until/unless they are re-released. However it seems like you're implying that we shouldn't look down upon people who think its okay to have all their games/movies/music/software for free simply because of their digital nature. Needless to say, I disagree.

I'm saying that copyrights should be a little more lax, I mean 75 years before I can legally play Super Mario World on my computer is stupid and shit, twenty or twenty five is more reasonable.

Copyright laws are a bitch, eh?

kinda makes you want to embrace the whole communist vibe...

blakfayt:

Blue Horn:

blakfayt:
Ummm, wouldn't the copyright have ran out by now? I'm just saying most SNES games can be legally pirated because copyright only covers like twenty years or something, then it's free as long as someone has a copy of it.

Roms are actually pretty illegal.
http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#roms

Well that just shows how stupid copyright laws are, and that it still doesn't matter cause I'll pirate till the cops come and then I'll die cause there ain't no way in hell I'm going to jail for metaphysical stealing. Honestly hating pirates is stupid and people need to just kinda get over it.

Yeah, pretty much.

When Namco is losing money quicker than a gambling addict at the craps table of the Bellagio, I can't really say I blame them for targeting every little little piss-ant pirate. This guy's game probably takes away something like half their remaining profits.

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