Nintendo cracks fan-made custom Steam icons with DMCA takedowns

Zoom in / Archived page showing some custom Steam images removed by Nintendo’s DMCA requests.

Nintendo issued a number of DMCA requests against it SteamGridDB (SGDB), a site that hosts custom fan-made icons and images used to represent games on the Steam front-end.

Since 2015, the SGDB collection has grown to include hundreds of thousands of images representing tens of thousands of titles. This includes custom images for many standard Steam games and emulated ROMs for games, which can also be It was added to Steam as “External Games. “

To be clear, SteamGridDB does not host the type of ROM files that contain Other sites have had legal issues with Nintendo, or even the emulators used to run these games. “We do not support piracy in any way,” an SGDB official (on condition of anonymity) told Ars. “The website is just a free repository where people can share options to customize their game players.”

But in a series of DMCA submissions seen by Ars Technica dated Oct. 27, Nintendo says some of the images on SGDB “display Nintendo’s trademarks and other intellectual property (including characters) that may cause confusion among consumers.” So dozens of SGDB images were replaced with a blank image containing the text “This asset was removed in response to a DMCA takedown request” (You can see some specific images that have been removed at This Internet Archive snapshot From april and compare with What does the list look like now?).

That’s just what Nintendoes are

The SGDB director said he was “not at all surprised” by Nintendo’s DMCA requests and added that he had “obtained some in the past from other publishers and complied with them as a result.” However, when pressed, the admin can only think of a few of the DMCA requests the site has received since its inception in 2015.

Nintendo’s DMCA submissions so far focus on images of five Switch games listed on the SGDB: Scarlet Pokemon & purpleAnd the Splatoon 3And the Super Mario OdysseyAnd the The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildAnd the Xenoblade Chronicles 3. Other Switch games listed on the site (some Exactly the same characters) were not affected, as well as pictures Many old Nintendo titles.

The SGDB director told Ars he had “no clear idea” why Nintendo’s requests would be targeted. “I don’t know what’s going on in their legal department.”

The SteamGridDB page shows how DMCA images now look (plus a re-uploaded image with a cheeky transparent message overlaid on top).
Zoom in / The SteamGridDB page shows how DMCA images now look (plus a re-uploaded image with a cheeky transparent message overlaid on top).

Even for the Switch games in question, DMCA applications have focused on images that “use living creatures and assets from [Nintendo’s] IP,” according to an SGDB official. So far, Nintendo’s requests appear to have ignored “completely original designs” and “pure fan art,” even when that art includes designs of original Nintendo characters.

It is unclear whether these types of images would fall under a different legal standard in this case. “If the owner of the intellectual property requests the removal of the original creations, I will figure out the best way to handle that when it happens,” the official said. “The site is primarily just fan art, and we are open for editors to reach out and discuss any issues they may have. [The] The best way to come up with a good course of action is to discuss the options.”

Nintendo’s SGDB recalls come months after the company used similar claims against YouTube videos Explain how to install Switch emulators on the Steam Deck. Before that, the company used DMCA requests for everything from fan games to me Modern game and watch hack videos to me Mario themed Maine Craft videos.

“In a world of corporations that work ruthlessly to control their narrative at the expense of research and reference, Nintendo ranks up there with Monsanto, the coal companies and the crowd,” said Jason Scott of the Internet Archive. Ars says in 2018. “You expect emotion when people talk about old video games, but fear shouldn’t be one of them.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *