Dreams player PieceOfCraft took to Twitter to talk about their creation getting pulled from the game, alleging their Super Mario model (which is available for other players to use in their own Dreams creations) was taken down.
Good news and bad news
We flew too close to the sun boys! A big video game company who i will keep nameless obviously didn’t read my “be cool” note in dreams
no worries though have a back up plan. But for now Mario projects in dreams are on hold until i put said plan into effect pic.twitter.com/ifGDM0jFZ3
— Piece of Craft (@Piece_of_Craft) March 20, 2020
PieceOfCraft also stated that they received an email from Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe that said Nintendo had issued a complaint about their intellectual property being used in a Sony game. PieceOfCraft’s Mario model can be seen being used in other user creations. It’s unclear if those creations have been impacted by Sony’s decision to remove it.
PieceOfCraft followed up again by saying that they can no longer edit the Mario creation as it’s been marked as “removed” due to copyright material.
“I can remix it but the original I can no longer edit and [others] will not find or be able to use. Not too sure what will happen to levels that used the Mario. [I guess] we’ll have to wait and see. Its [kind of] like a slap on the wrist.”
Business attorney Richard Hoeg (of Hoeg Law and Virtual Legality) notes that this isn’t an entirely unexpected development, given Media Molecule’s past with LittleBigPlanet, but the terms of service agreement appears to cover Sony on issues like this.
“Anyone that has played Dreams is well aware of the amount of content that is “inspired” by some of the most beloved games of all time,” Hoeg told IGN. “And anyone that played its predecessor, LittleBigPlanet knew that folks would be making all sorts of things owned by others….So what you see on the game is essentially people making what they love and (most) content creators looking the other way. This isn’t that unusual a state of affairs as much of the fan art, fan games, streaming scene could be argued to live on the same basis of IP Holder largesse.”
Hoeg adds that it’s equally expected to see Nintendo go after content like what PieceOfCraft created, given its lengthy history of copyright lawsuits. That includes a lawsuit against a ROM site that hosted emulations of older Nintendo games. That lawsuit resulted in Nintendo being awarded more than $12 million, although the couple who ran both sites later entered settlement negotiations, so the total penalty might have changed. Nintendo also previously won a legal battle against an unlicensed Mario Kart go-kart company in Tokyo.
Hoeg also adds that Media Molecule’s recent explorations of how Dreams creations could be used outside of Dreams could have spurred companies like Nintendo to start taking a harder look at protecting their property.
“Nintendo is well within its legal rights here, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a good business decision,” Hoeg said. “Different companies are going to have different tolerances for the use of their property by others (even if infringing) and I think many game companies have essentially decided that use of their IP in streams, art, and places like Dreams ultimately serves more as positive marketing than anything else. So I’m not sure how many we will see follow Nintendo’s path here.”
All that hasn’t stopped creators from using Dreams to keep making admittedly interesting homages or outright recreations of popular games and other IPs. You can check out all of those on our Dreams hub page, including the absolutely ridiculous Avatar: The Last Airbender fan game.
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