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.

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10 Comments on Full Screen Mario Taken Down by Nintendo

SweetPea

On November 11, 2013 at 8:08 am

Ah, so Nintendo’s being a giant again, no big surprise.

Megalon

On November 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

Let’s not kid ourselves. Josh Golderberg was using this game to promote himself across several media outlets. He was featured on articles on the Washington Post and even penned an article at Gamasutra.

Its kinda hypocritical that people would get angry at Nintendo. When Mr. Goldberg knew exactly the appeal that Super Mario Bros. still had with people. If he can cash in on the popularity of the game, then its obvious that Nintendo, who actually owns the rights to the game, can do that too. And they do. The game is being sold on their eShop service.

SweetPea

On November 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

True, but the fact that they can do it doesn’t mean they should do it. If I remember correctly, Rockstar Games released GTA 2 for free, and that’s a waay nicer approach.

Weefreemen

On November 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Yeah but Sweetpea you have to remember that Nintendo are desperate for all money inlets compared to Rockstar who are making a toooooooooooooooooooooooooon more cash.

SweetPea

On November 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm

And how much do they make by selling Super Mario? 5$ a year?

Case5000

On November 11, 2013 at 3:34 pm

There’s been countless IP violation cases like this over the years, and I suspect there will be plenty more in the future. It always backfires and projects are shut down. Do your homework and save your time, create something original instead of stealing.

Dach

On November 11, 2013 at 7:50 pm

@Case500

Considering he had level editor and a random level generator as well as recreating it using HTML code instead of the game original code I would propose that this IS original content.

At the very least it is a very deep and extensive mod for the game and I don’t feel he should receive any real punishment for what occurred here.

As an aside if anyone should create something new and original it should be Nintendo.

Dach

On November 11, 2013 at 7:53 pm

D@MN IT!!!
I really wish there was an edit button on these comment threads.

Meant to say:

@Case500

Considering he added a level editor and a random level generator as well as recreating it using HTML code instead of the game’s original code I would propose that this IS original content.

At the very least it is a very deep and extensive mod for the game and I don’t feel he should receive any real punishment for what occurred here.

As an aside if anyone should create something new and original it should be Nintendo.

hmrmmm

On November 11, 2013 at 9:04 pm

weefreemen nintendo gave mario lots of time for free or as club reward on 3ds etc….and rockstar making more money than nintendo? keep dreaming

DMCA Solutions

On December 2, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Having bought something or being able to recreate something does not really give that person all rights to do whatever they want with those things.
In this situation, a person recreated an old favorite game and shared it over the internet for everybody to have access to. The DMCA takedown notice given was just and right.
Super Mario is a trademark game and deserves to get any percentage from its use or sell in one or two other ways.
The intention of the creator might have been just to let other people experience the fun of the original game but it was still stealing from the owner of the game.