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Nintendo Shuts Down Fan-Made Zelda Movie

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the lawyers-don't-make-any-sense-to-me dept.

Nintendo 222

Andorin writes "An independently filmed adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, called The Hero Of Time, has been taken offline by Nintendo as of the end of December. The film's producers write: 'We came to an agreement with Nintendo earlier this month to stop distributing the film... We understand Nintendo's right to protect its characters and trademarks and understand how in order to keep their property unspoiled by fan's interpretation of the franchise, Nintendo needs to protect itself — even from fan-works with good intentions.' Filming for the feature-length, non-profit film began in August 2004 and the movie was completed in 2008. It premiered in various theaters worldwide, including in New York and Los Angeles, and then became available online in the middle of December, before it was targeted by Nintendo's legal team. As both an avid Zelda fan and an appreciator of independent works, I was extremely disappointed in Nintendo's strong-arming of a noncommercial adaptation to the Game of the Year for 1999."

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Why the surprise? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614200)

We all know you wouldn't get anywhere with Micky Mouse, why should a game character be any different?

Re:Why the surprise? (4, Insightful)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614236)

I agree. What did they expect?

Having said that, it's about time that there was a standardised way for IP holders to grant a "fan art licence" for projects such as this.

Re:Why the surprise? (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614334)

Fan projects like this only help to keep the IP in people's minds, effectively generated free promotion.

Anyone recall the early days of the internet when Fox and Lucas were threatening to sue all the X-Files and Star Wars fan pages on the internet in order to protect their trademarks? At some point they decided it was too hard to fight, and that fan pages weren't a threat to their trademarks. So why are fan movies different?

Re:Why the surprise? (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614356)

Big business only likes "grass roots" when they can control it.

Re:Why the surprise? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614700)

Fan projects like this only help to keep the IP in people's minds, effectively generated free promotion.

It also takes it out of Nintendo's hands and reduces their control over their creation, and hence the ability to steer and sell it the way that they want.

For example, although a lot of (e.g.) fan-created Sonic the Hedgehog porn exists (no, really...) , I very much doubt that Sega would be too happy with this form of "free promotion". If it was to become more prominent and obvious, it could damage their ability to sell the character in family-friendly games and the like.

Re:Why the surprise? (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614806)

Perhaps it has something to do with the large number of games turning into movies, perhaps we should expect a Zelda movie in the near future.

Re:Why the surprise? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614812)

Most fan pages don't really have revenue other than ad revenue which probably isn't enough to pay for hosting most pages. A movie that was released in theaters is clearly out to make a profit.

If the movie was free to view by anyone, I would criticize Nintendo for this. I don't blame Nintendo for stopping others from profiting off their ideas, though.

Re:Why the surprise? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614848)

Guess I should have read the smaller print in bad font claiming they intended to turn no profit from it.... either way I think getting permission at the beginning probably would've been their best bet.

Re:Why the surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614862)

Uh huh. Are you applying the same rigor to Nintendo? Is 'The Legend of Zelda' completely 100% original, completely uninfluenced by other creative works? Jesus god, people, get a grip-- everyone profits from other people's ideas. You can't put a lock on creative thoughts and concepts, and that's what our brave new corporate overlords are trying to do.

Re:Why the surprise? (2, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615026)

I'm not one usually to reference YTNMD on /., but this [ytmnd.com] is appropriate.

However, if you look at the whole issue from a broader perspective, you begin to wonder if this sort of thing isn't deliberate, by which I mean people must understand the Streisand Effect by now and maybe people are trying to exploit it. The first thought of a lot of people on the internet when they hear 'x is being banned/censored/removed' is 'wow, I need to both satisfy my curiosity AND stick it to The Man!' Maybe some companies are pulling things like this not in a pure bid just to get them removed (since that doesn't work), but really to make them the center of a controversy such that their (albeit hijacked) IP reaches a broader audience that otherwise wouldn't hear about it without free press from places like /. getting upset about stuff being removed.

Or maybe I'm getting paranoid and seeing conspiracies...

Re:Why the surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614346)

We all know you wouldn't get anywhere with Micky Mouse

speak for yourself you jealous bitch

-Minnie

"Unspoiled by fan's interpretation's" (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614202)

Without these evil fans they have no sales. Pricks. And I'm not even a gamer.

Re:"Unspoiled by fan's interpretation's" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614212)

You're not a gamer but you are a gaymer.

LOLZ U GOT TEH GAYZ

Re:"Unspoiled by fan's interpretation's" (1)

PenisLands (930247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614362)

Heh heh! PENIS.

Re:"Unspoiled by fan's interpretation's" (5, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614370)

Yeah, Nintendo have to protect them? No, they could license it for free and it would not dilute their ownership of trademarks. It's bollocks - like when companies say "unfortunately we can't fix your product for free". It's not unfortunate - it's a result of their policy, which they could change whenever they felt like it.

Conversely (4, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614502)

Without these pricks, the fans would have no Zelda.

Re:Conversely (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614526)

And with the way things look, that wouldn't be a bad thing.

Re:Conversely (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614610)

Losing a handful of fan filmmakers wouldn't make much of a dent in Nintendo's sales. But I doubt that the fan film hurts Nintendo any either. The problem is that the fans put a lot of work into something which they don't have permission to use the trademarks.

So... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614204)

Got a link?

Took awhile? (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614208)

Surprised it took so long for them to take the thing down, what with it having been in theaters and all.

Re:Took awhile? (4, Insightful)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614622)

As with most slashdot articles, they say [big company] does something outrageous and evil to [little guy who's not even trying to profit or nothing!].

Then you find out that they're showing it in theaters (which tend to be for-profit ventures).

The Hero of Time still lives on... (4, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614218)

... on your favourite bittorrent search engine.

Re:The Hero of Time still lives on... (1)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614504)

Is it any good?

Re:The Hero of Time still lives on... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614760)

Here [thepiratebay.org] .

For those too lazy to google it. :)

Actually... (1, Interesting)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614220)

They took so long to enforce it as part of the agreement. If they don't enforce their trademarks, they lose them. Waiting to take it down was the best they could have done, honestly. Props for waiting.

Re:Actually... (4, Insightful)

Plunky (929104) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614264)

They took so long to enforce it as part of the agreement. If they don't enforce their trademarks, they lose them. Waiting to take it down was the best they could have done, honestly. Props for waiting.

No, it was not the best they could have done. That would have been saying "cool" and granting a free licence.

Re:Actually... (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614276)

Bullshit. You can enforce your trademarks and still allow fan works. For instance, CBS allows use of Star Trek [thefreelibrary.com] properties for non-profit use. Nintendo should be encouraging their most enthusiastic fans, not threatening them with legal action.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614318)

We are talking about sick puppies here, these people are nuts, it's like a religion to them. Much in a way like goths but more proactive, if you don't cut them down once in a while they'll grow in numbers and then dictate what form the product (game) should take, leaving the not-so-nuts-but-still-like-the-game people very unhappy.

Why do you think they killed Startrek Enterprise ?

Re:Actually... (2, Funny)

Mprx (82435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614692)

It's a serious threat. Think of what happened to the Sonic the Hedgehog series.

Re:Actually... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614984)

They killed Enterprise because the writers were so tapped for ideas that they were rehashing old Voyager scripts, that's why. Hell they would have been better off if they would have let the fans write the show. The fans couldn't have done worse, and I have read many a fan fic that was actually better than the crap the writers put out.

Re:Actually... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614398)

[quote]For instance, CBS allows use of Star Trek properties for non-profit use.[/quote]

Paramount (CBS) wasn't always like that, it took them a while to come around. There was one time where they tried to shut down all Star Trek fan sites, at least partly as a way to funnel fans to the official site, which I think was supposed to be a pay site.

I can see both sides of it, it looks to me to be a delicate balancing act.

Re:Actually... (4, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614428)

You have no right to rip off other people's work without permission. What is an homage to one person is a horrible butchering of something they've spent years of their lives working to another.

CBS are liberal with permissions to use Star Trek stuff. Good for them. Other creators do not wish the same things of their properties. Do not confuse one group's good will with something that should be expected from everyone.

I gave to a charity the other day. You should give to them too. It's outrageous that you have yet to donate to them! If I can donate, I see no reason why you shouldn't too!

Re:Actually... (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614728)

Do not confuse one group's good will with something that should be expected from everyone.

I think you're being a little bit harsh but raise a good point all the same. It would be really easy to tweak the story line and character names to come up with an original story. At least then you'd have a small but non-zero chance of being able to sell your final product.

I've seen the same thing in Star Wars fan films. Some of them are really quite good and required a huge amount of effort. Had they put that effort into an original story in a vaguely similar universe, they'd own it.

A Zelda fan might enjoy a Zelda-like story line nearly as much. You just have to invest in the back story, which you can skip in a fan film. But if you use a similar setting and environment, the history can be pretty short. A narrator can read it in if you really want to go cheap. The fans will get it. If it's too similar you could still get sued, but then it's a big corporation beating up on a bunch of poor kids. Not a bunch of poor kids encroaching on a big company's copyright.

Re:Actually... (0, Troll)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614792)

Do not confuse one group's good will with something that should be expected from everyone.

Good will should be expected from everyone. Without it, you're a dick, by definition. And when you give good will, you get it back.

Re:Actually... (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614448)

As I recall from knowing a couple of people in the Star Trek fanzine community back in the '80s, Star Trek is a special case as far as fanfics go. It seems that Desilu didn't register the copyrights properly for the first season, so fanfics without Chekov are fair game. Or at least that's how they explained it to me.

Of course what you have linked to includes Chekov, so they couldn't use that excuse.

Re:Actually... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614510)

They most likely forgot that the people who made them run since the beginning still exist. All they care about now are grandmas and soccer moms playing Wii Fit...

I seriously hope their utter lack of respect for their fans comes and bites them in the ass.

Pick and choose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614222)

I don't get it... Nintendo let the (completed) and arguably much better Light of Courage [youtube.com] Zelda series stay up. Why would they take this one down?

Re:Pick and choose? (2, Insightful)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614330)

This probably isn't the best time to bring attention to another of your liked series. Just a thought.

Nintendo sucks (1, Flamebait)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614228)

We understand Nintendo's right to protect its characters and trademarks and understand how in order to keep their property unspoiled by fan's interpretation of the franchise, Nintendo needs to protect itself -- even from fan-works with good intentions.

It's bad enough Nintendo shut them down. Forcing them to put out a "mea culpa" statement like this (no doubt with hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars of lawsuits promised if they did not) is absolutely disgusting. Even if they did manage to put a little edge in it.

Re:Nintendo sucks (2, Insightful)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614304)

Proof, please. Imagining the worst possible motives and threats when you don't know what really went on is absolutely disgusting.

Re:Nintendo sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614406)

I don't find this disgusting at all, just realistic. Corporations do not ever deserve the benefit of the doubt, because they will always disappoint. Sorry if you think otherwise.

Re:Nintendo sucks (0, Troll)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614434)

Proof, please. Imagining the worst possible motives and threats when you don't know what really went on is absolutely disgusting.

Absolute proof isn't a luxury often available, certainly not in this case. Which do you believe? That Nintendo convinced these people that making their film was actually harmful to Nintendo, and that they truly regretted it, or that Nintendo forced them to say so despite their belief otherwise?

I don't see any evidence at all for the former proposition aside from the bare statement itself. There's plenty of circumstantial evidence for the latter proposition, however, including Nintendo's known litigious nature and the existence of such high penalties in copyright law.

Re:Nintendo sucks (2, Insightful)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614538)

I didn't see anything about regret. All I saw was "Yeah, they have a legal or financial need to protect their brand, so they had to take us down". Why would you even think that their statement was coerced? Sure, they were forced to take it down to avoid big lawsuits, but that's not what you said. You said "Forcing them to put out a "mea culpa" statement like this (no doubt with hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars of lawsuits promised if they did not) is absolutely disgusting." Again, what exactly makes you think it's coerced?

Re:Nintendo sucks (1)

superslacker87 (998043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614662)

Proof, please. Imagining the worst possible motives and threats when you don't know what really went on is absolutely disgusting.

Proof is nonexistent, and probably always will be. You want proof? Next time someone gets sued by (insert big evil corporation here), make sure they have the funds to go to court. Settling prevents anything from becoming public record.

Re:Nintendo sucks (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614722)

While it's always possible it was something else, I think it's by far the most reasonable explanation for the given text. Why else would they write in legalese repeating what looks like what would be the Nintendo party line?

Derivative Works (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614246)

The owner of the copyright has the *exclusive* right to make derivative works.

That includes everything, for-profit or not-for-profit.

If you want to make a derivative work of someone else's stuff, you have to ask for (and receive) permission first.

I realize the slashdot crowd doesn't agree with all that, but it is the existing law.

Re:Derivative Works (2, Insightful)

Plunky (929104) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614280)

The owner of the copyright has the *exclusive* right to make derivative works.

No, the owner of the copyright has the *exclusive* right to distribute, and the *exclusive* right to licence others to distribute.

The owner of the trademark has the *exclusive* right to make derivative works, and the *exclusive* right to licence other derivative works.

That they chose to deny approval to a derivative work is their choice even if it shows them up as asshats

Re:Derivative Works (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614420)

Trademark has absolutely nothing to do with this case, particularly considering that they avoided using any trademarks in the title.
The copyright holder, or more specifically the author, needs to grant permission for derivatives. Often they will do this liberally for fans, but if it's a huge corporation and an important franchise, they will be concerned about having a negative effect.

Re:Derivative Works (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614512)

Using a character from a series of works [fredlaw.com] is most certainly potential trademark infringement... Even if you don't register, there's an argument to be made in protecting it. But everyone and everything with a name in Nintendo's worlds is trademarked [nintendoeverything.com] .

Re:Derivative Works (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614752)

Using a character from a series infringes on copyright more than anything. By that however I mean more than just the name. The history, appearance and setting is more decisive than common christian names.
Using a trademarked name within a work doesn't necessarily infringe on the trademark.

Thus I could write a crime novel in which a character appears with the name Harry Potter, as it is a common name. If I make him the main character and start promoting it with that name, I would be progressively infringing on the trademark.
Of course JK Rowling and company will see it a little more agressively but that's for the courts to decide.

In this case they don't appear to have promoted the film with the trademarked Zelda and Link names, but they set the movie in the Hyrule Universe, copied the story from the game and used the characters. A clear copyright case.

Re:Derivative Works (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614596)

'Derivative work' is a term that applies entirely to copyright law. The closest analogue in trademark law is 'passing off', which is very different. Distributing a derivative work of a copyrighted work without permission from the copyright owner is copyright infringement.

You can argue that the protections of derivative works are too strong (and I would agree with you) but arguing that they don't exist is entirely wrong.

Re:Derivative Works (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614292)

The editor of Mad Magazine would like to have a word with you.

Parody is derived is it now?

Re:Derivative Works (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614350)

Serious fan-films like this aren't seen as parody though.

Re:Derivative Works (2)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614410)

Yes, thank you Captain Obvious. Is anyone claiming otherwise?

The issue isn't what the law is, it's what the law should be, as well as how companies should use the law. When there's a story about the use of the DMCA, do you go posting the text of the DMCA, saying "But that's the law!"? In yesterday's story [slashdot.org] , are you going to explain what the current copyright law is, and therefore those items won't be entering the public domain today?

Re:Derivative Works (5, Insightful)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614710)

The owner of the copyright has the *exclusive* right to make derivative works...I realize the slashdot crowd doesn't agree with all that, but it is the existing law.

Apart from the first statement being simply untrue (there are a number of uses permitted without the copyright holder's permisssion), it is also completely irrelevant - this case is not about copyright, it's about trademarks. I know the fudmongers want us all to be seduced into the "information is property" paradigm, but copyrights and trademarks (and for that matter, patents and trade secrets) are not the same thing at all, and blurring the distinctions between them does nobody any good. Before you go berating us all in your role as AC law expert you might want to get a better understanding of the law yourself.

Re:Derivative Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614798)

What law has to do with rights?

Re:Derivative Works (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614964)

Arguing what the law is is boring - the first one to Wikipedia wins. Slashdot arguments are about what the law should be.

Bummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614272)

Wow, after viewing the trailer, it's like we dodged a bullet there, the world is looking a lot brighter now. Thank you Nintendo!

Streisand effect! (5, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614282)

Now I'm curious and I'm going to have to hunt down a copy of that movie, that I would never have heard of had Nintendo just let it be.

Re:Streisand effect! (1)

yummy1991 (546737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614316)

Yep. Same here. Im also going to tell all of my friends to check it out.

Re:Streisand effect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614336)

There are two nearly identical torrents on both the Pirate Bay and BTJunkie which seem to be gathering seeds as I write this. A copy of this movie is already available at your favorite wretched hive of scum and villainy, and now that Nintendo's gotten all haughty about it and pissed everyone off, that situation is guaranteed not to change any time soon.

Way to go, guys.

Re:Streisand effect! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614404)

Easy as pie: http://thepiratebay.org/search/The%20Hero%20of%20Time/0/7/0

Re:Streisand effect! (1)

Velodra (1443121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614462)

Maybe this is Nintendo's way of helping them. Instead of ignoring them, they shut them down and gave them a lot of attention they wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

maybe it was exactly why those bastards did it ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614614)

the nintendo party i mean ? by creating a stampede which the net community wouldnt like, they had advertised the thing in a way they couldnt even if they have spent tens of millions of bucks

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614890)

I can see how it's mechanically like the Streisand Effect -- try to silence something, end up drawing more attention to it. But the reason for the suppression isn't that the thing being taken down is embarrassing or otherwise damaging to them, so the consequence seems... inconsequential.

I also doubt it's deliberate. They probably just don't care. More people downloading the movie from torrent sites is less important than them throwing their legal weight around. The only downside is how we feel about them for doing the take down. Which is the "corporations are jerk-asses" effect, not the Streisand Effect. :P

Maybe people should learn about IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614300)

Maybe people should learn that you simple have very little rights to do anything with other people's IP. Yes it does not seem fair but that's how it is.

Use and leverage things which allow you to exploit them, like open source software or creative commons licensed works.

Personally I want to see the copyright holders become more vigilant so that the world can realize the dangers of IP and maybe from that we can learn to have a more constructive society with more open-IP.

For the time being, don't take the IP others, leverage what is available in the community.

Why did they bother?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614344)

I understand that these people are fans, but I don't get why they put all their energy into creating a project that was going to shut down?!

Instead, why didn't they create a work influenced and inspired by Zelda and put that out instead? People might remark that it was derivative, but it would be far better than a project that was doomed to be forced underground.

I know some people will say that they wanted a Zelda movie, but Nintendo don't want to make one, but that's Nintendo's tough shit really, though - they'll not see any of their fan's money because of it!

Lessons Learned (5, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614360)

The fan spends four years in production. The film is screened in New York and L.A.

It never occurs to him at any point along the way to ask Nintendo for their permission and support. It comes as a surprise when the rights holder pulls the plug.

There is a way to get it right:

The Hunt for Gollum [thehuntforgollum.com]
   

Re:Lessons Learned (2, Insightful)

digitaltraveller (167469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614536)

It never occurs to him at any point along the way to ask Nintendo for their permission and support. It comes as a surprise when the rights holder pulls the plug.

I get what your saying but...c'mon. Artists shouldn't have to ask permission to do their work.

This happened because trademark law says companies are required to defend their TM or lose them.
The rise of the global DNS makes (word) trademark law obsolete however it will probably take at least another
century before governments figure this out.

In the meantime, the creators of this should rename their word to the Legend of Velda, to avoid the legal
hassles.

Re:Lessons Learned (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614654)

I get what your saying but...c'mon. Artists shouldn't have to ask permission to do their work.

That's a bit on the utopian side. They're making a derivative of someone else's "art". If it's really artistry, then it seems to me that they could have been more original than that.

Re:Lessons Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614802)

How then do you propose fanart take place, considering nothing from the 1920s will make it into the public domain?

Re:Lessons Learned (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614774)

I get what your saying but...c'mon. Artists shouldn't have to ask permission to do their work.

Unless their work is a derivative work of someone else's work, then they probably should. And I mean, it's not like we're talking about some light-gray area like a two second sample of a song, or a story that is clearly directly inspired (read: ripping off) another. It's a movie about the Legend of Zelda.

Maybe in my perfect world they wouldn't need permission, but also in that world it would be polite to ask. In this world, not asking is kinda, well, lacking in foresight. Unless the mentality was "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission". And maybe that was true; Nintendo might have said "no" from the get-go and the film never would have existed. But forgiveness would be even less likely, so this outcome is hardly surprising.

Fanfic authors do their stuff without asking permission, but they're generally aware that this means they're on thin ice and are basically counting on being too insignificant a target for anyone to care about. As soon as you start thinking of adapting your fanfic to the big screen, then some alarm bells should be going off.

In the meantime, the creators of this should rename their word to the Legend of Velda, to avoid the legal
hassles.

Sure. Blinken can search for the Thigh-Master Sword to rescue Drama Queen Velda from the evil but eccentrically effeminate Sha-mon.

Would a Zelda parody be as popular? Maybe. Would a homemade sword-and-sorcery movie unrelated to Zelda at all be as popular? Probably not. Which is why I don't think "Artists shouldn't have to ask permission to do their work" shows the proper understanding and respect for the debt they owe to the creators of the source material they're working from.

Re:Lessons Learned (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614558)


The fan spends four years in production. The film is screened in New York and L.A.

Sounds like they did it about exactly right. They finished the film, had it shown in at least two major cities, had it up for online distribution for a month, and now there's a story about it in one of the best places to advertise.

So you REALLY think they should have tried to approach a company as large as Nintendo and alert them to the fact they're trying to make a movie that would make Nintendo essentially zero dollars and Nintendo would have zero input on? It might have worked, but I wouldn't bet on it. It would be tough enough to just get an ANSWER from them. The most likely scenario is you'd get a letter from legal telling you how they'll sue you if you release the movie. Why bait the sharks?

Re:Lessons Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614590)

Asking for permission can be a thorny issue.

Sometimes, there is a tacit understanding that you can do certain things and get away with it, as long as you don't force someone to state whether what you're doing is OK or not. One example might be people sharing live recordings of independent musicians - chances are most musicians won't come down on you if you do it, but if you explicitely ask if you're allowed to do so, they'll say no, simply because they cannot say yes.

Maybe these guys thought the same would be true: that while Nintendo couldn't say yes, they wouldn't say no.

Re:Lessons Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614716)

It never occurs to him at any point along the way to ask Nintendo for their permission and support. It comes as a surprise when the rights holder pulls the plug.

"Contrition is better than permission."

If they had asked Nintendo, it's a near certainty that Nintendo would have said "no!" and that would be that. This way, they got to make their movie, screen it, and it's now on the Intarwebz.

Re:Lessons Learned (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614972)

Just because the fan could have handled this better doesn't make this takedown any less an evil act.

Kinda shocked (2, Interesting)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614366)

I'm not sure why Nintendo would want to do this - it's only a negative for them, spreading all this ill will. Look at Star Trek and Star Wars. Lucasfilm and Paramount generally don't "crack down" on fan films or most other fan works, as long as they're nonprofit ventures. And fan films are more comparable to Lucasfilm and Paramount products. Nintendo primarily sells interactive products, so a noninteractive fan film would not be in direct competition with well, anything they sell. That is, unless they decide to develop a full length Zelda film. Remember how well Super Mario Bros. [wikipedia.org] turned out?

Reminds me of... (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614394)

Reminds me of when Sqeenix decided to shut down that Chrono Trigger [destructoid.com] fan game.

The next game will be... (1)

adosch (1397357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614402)

The Hero of Time will probably be the next Zelda story-line game Nintendo releases... it was a pretty good story line IMHO. It would not surprise me that Nintendo compensated them for the story (I'm sure not much for it being infringement) and will mangle it for their own liking. Any takers?

Seriously? (0, Flamebait)

drej (1663541) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614424)

"...to keep their property unspoiled by fan's interpretation of the franchise..." Are they serious? Nintendo doesn't even have a consistent timeline for the Zelda games, plus they're currently running the franchise into the ground (Link as an engineer, anyone?). So what the hell are they complaining about? They should be thankful they still have such loyal fans willing to put so much effort into something out of love for the franchise, even though Nintendo has done almost everything to alienate both hardcore gamers in general and their fanbase alike. Nintendo, you used to be cool. Get your shit together.

Nintendo Needs zelda (0, Troll)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614446)

Seriously- what does nintendo have besides zelda? Mario- thats it!

Re:Nintendo Needs zelda (4, Informative)

LuminousSpecter (1711314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614632)

Donkey Kong, Metroid, F-Zero, Fire Emblem, Golden Sun, Kirby, Starfy, Star Fox, Punch-Out!!, Pokemon, Kid Icarus

Re:Nintendo Needs zelda (0, Offtopic)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614694)

Can I borrow your time machine?

Re:Nintendo Needs zelda (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614914)

No but you can borrow my collection of GBA games from those series, almost all of which have open ended plotlines for future expansions of the series.

Re:Nintendo Needs zelda (1)

panthroman (1415081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614998)

[Zelda], [Mario], Donkey Kong, Metroid, F-Zero, Fire Emblem, Golden Sun, Kirby, Starfy, Star Fox, Punch-Out!!, Pokemon, Kid Icarus

Shigeru Miyamoto [wikipedia.org] made Nintendo what it is.

Well not a shocker... (1)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614466)

The acting was so bad I couldn't get through the first 15 min of it... No wonder it got canned!

So Rerelease It (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614468)

Rename it to Legend of Grizelda, parody the character names and rerelease it as a parody.
Joke em if they cant take a F**k! The gall! Screw with your fanbase and lose your old friends like Metallica.
I bet they woulda ate poo if the takedown lawyers told em to. Damn, question authority even if it is as silly and insignificant as a video game company.
If no one gets feisty, this will get as bad as the stinkin NFL and their fans art. At least they can always watch hockey instead of pansy pad football.

Re:So Rerelease It (1)

superslacker87 (998043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614684)

Rename it to Legend of Grizelda,

So it's going to star The Monkee's aunt? [wikipedia.org] I'd think she'd be dead by now.

Nothing new here. (0, Troll)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614492)

Just another example of how companies shoot themselves in the foot, strangle interest and circumvent a prime method of promoting their product; all in the name of that false idea of "protecting themselves". Had some one in their executive management pulled their head out of their ass, they could have capitalized on this to no end. Not that I care one way or another how this played out. It just seems one of the major problems companies have is the; not invented here syndrome.

Preparing in advance (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614574)

Whether Nintendo is right or wrong, all of the heartbreak could have been prevented in advance of all that work if the makers of the movie had done one simple thing first...ask permission. Of course, I'm also smart enough to know why they didn't do that...they knew they probably wouldn't get it.

p2p to the rescue (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614592)

thats why it is there. and, fuck nintendos strong arming legal team. if anything, they made the company lose much more in value in PR than they made save in zelda's image.

Here's a shocking theory (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614706)

Just because you are a fan doesn't inherently give you rights to the work. If you have the talent do something original. If you don't then you are feeding off some one else's work. Just because you love an artist's work doesn't make it your own personal property. Stephen King wrote a book about this, it was called Misery. It wasn't about a fan based work but a fan demanding an author submit to their creative control.

The Film Can be Found Here: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614708)

For those interested, there are several links to download the film on this thread:

http://www.legendofzeldaseries.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=10488&sid=18caba8996498f0b9de3aa34d9d2718d [legendofzeldaseries.com]

There are torrent and Mega Upload links. Thank you, Nintendo, for generating the press to alert me to this work which I never would've otherwise found about.

in other news today... (1)

ewrong (1053160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614736)

...torrent traffic sees huge spike for previously unheard of movie.

Great advertisement ;-) (1)

DeBaas (470886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614740)

I for one never heard of this film and now just started the torrent.

I even named my cat Zelda, so I want to see this film ;-)

Streisand... (1)

lq_x_pl (822011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614762)

Like others have pointed out, I was totally unaware of the movie (and hadn't thought of Zelda for months) until this story came out. I have to wonder if maybe Nintendo is smarter than we're giving them credit for being.

I am certainly going to hunt down a rogue copy of this forbidden film, and dust off my old Zelda games. When is Nintendo releasing the next Zelda game?

Re:Streisand... (1)

ewrong (1053160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614844)

Zelda Spirit Tracks only just came out for the DS.

Uh... (1)

boxfetish (903697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30614892)

...I had never even heard of this movie/project until I read this story. I am now happily downloading the torrent for viewing. Several orders of magnitude more people will now see this movie than otherwise would have. Way to protect your IP, Nintendo!!

To keep this from happening again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30614996)

... next time, make a movie of Ys.

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