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Thursday, January 29, 2015

An OBJECTION! To NeoGAF's Racketeering

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The nerve of breaking the law using a law-based franchise!

Apparently, people walk around with the NeoGAF logo on their shirt. They buy such shirts from places like here with designs like this:

Look familiar? OBJECTION!
According to Spreadshirt's copyright section,
"These users agree when they create these designs that they have all necessary legal rights to do so. In order to be scalable, a majority of this process must be done automatically. This means that Spreadshirt cannot ensure that 100% of shop owners actually have these legal rights."
We wanted to let the real copyright holders over at Capcom know what was going on.

We sent the following to legal@capcom.com on August 21, 2014:
Subject: Ace Attorney Intellectual Property Infringement
Message:
Dear Capcom Legal Department,
We believe the following t-shirts on sale found here,

http://neogaf.spreadshirt.com/-I11745576
infringe on Capcom's intellectual property. Specifically the "OBJECTION!" bubble seen in the popular Capcom Ace Attorney series.
We do not think that NeoGAF has the necessary legal rights to use Capcom's designs to make a profit selling t-shirts. If we are wrong in this, we apologize.
Sincerely,

KoopaTV
And we never got a response. Why? Most likely because at the same time, Capcom sent a lawsuit of over $9 million in damages over to Koei Tecmo concerning, um, some sort of patent infringement. Apparently Samurai Warriors: Xtreme Legends (and other games) infringes on an expansion pack method that Capcom patented in 2002.

It's not my place to ask if Capcom could've gone after other companies or not. What matters is that Capcom apparently finds multi-millions in lawsuit money more important than what is probably a couple hundred from Ace Attorney intellectual property infringement from NeoGAF.

What does this really mean? Well, and I sort of hate to say this, but if Capcom doesn't find this sort of thing important, then the Ace Attorney series is really up for grabs for cashing in on. I think Capcom would still crack on, say, outright piracy, but using Ace Attorney logos for profit? No biggie! Go ahead!

This, of course, opens a world of potential in terms of KoopaTV projects. We haven't tried to sell anything to anyone yet. But with this knowledge, apparently, we can without getting in trouble for it. It's still not legal. Lack of enforcement is not equivalent to permission, so do not get that idea from reading this article. This article also isn't legal advice, but I will say this:

If you are trying to cash in on someone's intellectual property, you must ask them for permission first. For all we know, that's what NeoGAF did and Capcom agreed and their legal team just didn't want to tell us that. If you ask a rights holder and they say no, well, that's the end of the line for you. Go make something original.

That screenshot up above was taken when we sent that e-mail, and the prices and shirt selection remain exactly the same. This suggests that no one really cares enough to keep that page maintained, which also might suggest that it's not a source of revenue for NeoGAF. ...After all, who the hell would want to walk around with the word "NeoGAF" plastered on their chest?

You might as well walk around with this:

The equivalent to a NeoGAF shirt. This particular design is apparently not available if you wanted it.


KoopaTV doesn't have any T-shirts of its own to sell you. If you think that would be a good idea, comment below expressing that. KoopaTV thinks it would be a much better shirt than NeoGAF, anyway.


NeoGAF somehow makes its ways into the actual games we play, too.
KoopaTV finally has its own store to compete with NeoGAF's! Check it out here!

3 comments :

  1. Generally fonts aren't protected by copyright.

    http://www.copyrightcodex.com/copyright-basics-toc/4-non-copyrightable-subject-matter/fonts-and-typography-copyrigh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd argue the logo design is.
      "Designs that incorporate typographic decisions are clearly copyrightable." - your source (very last part)
      The red colour with the white background objection with that font is an expression of an idea that is used over and over throughout the Ace Attorney series and is associated with it.

      Delete

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