Did you see my article about Nintendo Power and its historical significance to games media a few days ago? Well, I hope you did, because the archive of Nintendo Power's entire run that I linked to in the piece has now vanished. Why the sudden disappearance? If you answered "Because Nintendo," then you're absolutely correct.
Nintendo's legal team didn't just knock the Internet Archive's storehouse of Nintendo Power offline, however. It also took aim at the heavily anticipated fan remake of Metroid 2, which was timed to release on the franchise's 30th anniversary.
Friends: Nintendo has hit us (meaning, our website host) with a DMCA takedown notice. We can no longer host the AM2R file. Sorry!
— Metroid Database (@MetroidDatabase) August 7, 2016
Of course, people weren't happy about either development.
We contacted Nintendo about the situation, and this was the response we were given:
"Nintendo's broad library of characters, products, and brands are enjoyed by people around the world, and we appreciate the passion of our fans. But just as Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of others, we must also protect our own characters, trademarks and other content. The unapproved use of Nintendo's intellectual property can weaken our ability to protect and preserve it, or to possibly use it for new projects."
In other words: sorry, guys, but US copyright law means we have to aggressively pursue anyone using our characters. But why go after Nintendo Power, too? Well, maybe it has to do with some of the comics contained in those back issues getting reprinted.
This isn't the first time Nintendo's legal team has earned the ire of fans. Back in 2013, Nintendo legal informed the staff at EVO that they would not be allowed to stream their Super Smash Bros. Melee finals online—a move that garnered incredibly swift and harsh backlash. (Nintendo has since become a regular EVO sponsor.) They also stepped in to halt the planned Kickstarter for the publication of a book on Earthbound written by the game's original localizer.
What's most frustrating about all this is that Nintendo's actual enforcement of copyrights seems haphazard. You can see booths selling shirts featuring Nintendo-related motifs (usually meme parodies) at nerd conventions across the country. Some might point out that things like the popular translation patch for the Japan-only Nintendo release Mother 3 haven't been subjected to Nintendo's legal wrath yet. But fan translations are in a weird gray area: they exist merely as add-ons that you need to manually attach to a game ROM, so they're technically not infringing.
Of course, the AM2R program and the Nintendo Power magazine scans are still floating amongst the ether of the internet—you can never totally expunge anything that comes online, after all.