Bitmap Books’ NES/Famicom Kickstarter Relaunches Despite Nintendo Copyright Block

Bitmap Books 1

Despite Nintendo issuing a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) again Bitmap Books over its Kickstarter-funding NES Famicom Book, the initiative was able to relaunch and successfully secured over $265,000 USD.

Bitmap Books 3Earlier this month, the gaming giant announced the DMCA notice, which stated the copyrighted materials in the book include images and fictional characters from Nintendo’s video games. It last listed the U.S. Copyright register numbers that were involved, these include PA0000273028, supp. by PA0000547457 (Super Mario Bros.); PA0000427614, supp. by PA0000547456 (Super Mario Bros. 2); PA0000563454 (Super Mario Bros. 3); PA0000356140 (The Legend of Zelda); PA0000427613 (Zelda II – Adventure of Link); PA0000254906 (VS. Excitebike); PA0000260315 (VS. Hogan’s Alley); PA0000583907 (Yoshi(NES)); PA0000254151 (VS. Duck Hunt); PA0000366687 (Ice Hockey); PA0000356141 (Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!); PA0000564771 (Punch-Out!!); PA0000356142 (Metroid); and PA0000115040 (Donkey Kong).

The infringement’s description read:

Nintendo“This Kickstarter project makes unauthorized use of Nintendo’s copyrights as noted above. The description of the book states that it is ‘mainly visual,’ and the campaign shows pages of the book which consist simply of large screenshots copied directly from Nintendo’s video games. This campaign also makes use of a mark that is confusingly similar to registered trademarks owned by Nintendo. Specifically, the project’s creator is using a modified version of Nintendo’s ‘Official Nintendo Seal’ mark (protected by U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 3114368 (Class 16), 3117154(Class 28), 3173562(Class 9), and 1570911(Classes 16 and 28)) and Nintendo’s ‘Original Seal of Quality’ mark (protected by EU Trademark Regisration No. 3475977 (Classes 9, 16, 28) to promote this project. This use of Nintendo’s intellectual property may confuse Kickstarter backers into thinking this project is sponsored or licensed by Nintendo, when in fact it is not.”

Bitmap Books’ founder and the campaign’s organizer, Sam Dyer, reportedly sent out a message to backers:

Bitmap Books 2Nintendo have filed a copyright claim against the campaign. I have taken lots of legal advice prior to launching the campaign plus I also spoke to Nintendo UK. The use of game imagery is completely legal under FAIR USE’ law. I have now made some little tweaks to the campaign to make it even more watertight but I wholeheartedly believe that the book is 100% above board. Don’t panic! The campaign is under review whilst I talk to Nintendo. Your pledge is safe and in the unlikely case I’m unsuccessful, it will go right back to you as it would with any stopped campaign. There’s no need to panic and cancel your funding as your money is not at risk.”

On Thursday, the campaign returned and is set to close at 2 p.m. EST. Dyer wrote in an update:

If you haven’t received a message from Kickstarter, the good news is that WE’RE LIVE AGAIN!I’ve had some very productive conversations with Nintendo about the book and I’m so pleased that it can continue.”

Dyer also noted there has been a few changes with the book, including changing the cover to add the “Unofficial” to the book’s title, the amount of text has been doubled to game pages, the mock Nintendo seal has been removed from the campaign, and the delivery has been changed to February 2017. Luckily, nothing has changed with the stretch goals.


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