Full Screen Mario Taken Down by Nintendo
Following a DMCA takedown notice by Nintendo, college student Josh Goldberg’s HTML 5 remake of Super Mario Bros. has been shut down.
Named Full Screen Mario, the free remake included the game’s original 32 levels, randomly generated new levels, and a level editor. The software was also open source, allowing others to add features. As it gained popularity, the game also attracted the attention of Nintendo — and its lawyers.
“Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of other companies, and in turn expects others to respect ours as well,” Nintendo said in an e-mailed statement to the Washington Post in mid-October. “Nintendo is seeking the removal of the content, as we vigorously protect against infringement of our intellectual property rights.”
It would appear that Nintendo succeeded in this “vigorous” protection of its IP. Visiting the Full Screen Mario website now reveals the game’s time of death: Nov. 2. The DMCA notice reads:
“Nintendo’s copyrighted characters and video game images in connection with an unauthorized version of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. video game (U.S. Copyright Reg PA0000273028, supp by PA0000547457, which is playable through the website in violation of Nintendo’s exclusive rights.”
When it first came to his attention that Nintendo’s eye had fallen upon his work, Goldberg didn’t know what to do. He acknowledges the copyright infringement, but wasn’t concerned about the matter when he first began work on the website last year because he “didn’t think it would be a big project.” But after it exploded in popularity, he said to the Washington Post, “I honestly don’t know what to do in this situation.”
In a statement on his website, Goldberg wrote:
FullScreenMario.com has been found in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and on Friday, November 1st was taken down by an official DMCA complaint from Nintendo. The website allowed players to play an open source HTML5 remake of Nintendo’s 1985 Super Mario Bros, containing the original 32 levels, a random map generator, and level editor. This was in violation of Nintendo’s copyrights and trademarks.
Full Screen Mario was enjoyed by nearly 2.7 million unique visitors during almost a month of popularity, across 6 continents and dozens of languages. I’m glad so many people got to enjoy the game, and look forward to working on new and exciting (and legal) projects.
It’s difficult to get angry with Nintendo when this was so clearly a copyright violation, but I can’t help but feel sorry for Goldberg. Sure, his own naivety was his downfall, but there goes a year of work down the drain. Down the big, green, drainpipe.