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JackKieser

]Syntax Error[ Gets Shut Down By Nintendo C&D

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Story Here.

So, here's what happened. A while back, a guy on Smash Boards named Pharrox figured out where on the Brawl disc character textures were located and, being the genius he is, found a way to replace those textures with files he made in Photoshop. The first Brawl texture hack was made. Since then, numerous people have learned his techniques and expanded upon them. Three such people made up the hack team ]Syntax Error[, or ]EE[ for short.

The guys at ]EE[ spent the greater part of a year creating a custom patch for Brawl that would have been the equivalent of a total conversion mod for textures. These three guys, with help from the Stack Smash team (linked above), paved the way for hackers in Brawl, eventually being able to hack everything from textures, to stages, to character selection portraits (think what you click on when selecting one of the Pokemon, for instance)...

On the eve of the release of their patch, Nintendo shut them down.

This has outraged much of the fan community that knew about the project. Other sites are standing up to Nintendo, vowing to release what they can in honor of ]EE[.

The fans of the ]EE[ project want to get the story out there. Nintendo, instead of going after the creators of the Homebrew Channel, the Twilight Hack, or countless ROM distribution sites, chose to shut down a fanart project, one that took countless measures AGAINST piracy, attempting to do everything as by-the-book as a texture patch could have done.

In Nintendo's defense:

-- Hack required a Brawl .ISO, which could promote piracy.

-- Hack required HBC/Twilight hack/other homebrew, something Nintendo takes an active stance against.

-- Hack added textures of copyrighted characters, such as Megaman, Ridley, Fierce Deity Link, and more.

-- Patch could be considered a 'derivative work', which is protected under US copyright law.

Why This Concerns People: (EDITED FOR FENRIR :P)

-- There are way worse people to be going after than texture hackers.

-- This is in the same vein as the "Chrono Resurrection" C&D.

-- The ]EE[ people stated on their site (and others) their intentions (not to promote piracy, going as far as to actively ban users who talked about it, and to promote Nintendo games and products) and their wishes to be as by-the-book as possible.

-- Nintendo targeted the few people with good intentions instead of going after active (and advertised) pirates.

-- The implications here are that you cannot edit or otherwise change for explicit personal use something that you own because you don't really "own" the things you buy.

Let it be known that no one is suggesting that Nintendo was outside their legal authority... but legal authority is hardly a reason to target good people who put their love and hard work into such a project, as opposed to true pirates. Please help get the story out and help us voice our disappointment at Nintendo for targeting loyal and loving fans, as opposed to true pirates.

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Sounds like a very poor argument for getting on Nintendo's case - if they want to retain their copyright, they have to defend it. This is exactly why (unfortunately) Chrono Resurrection got shut down.

This is a weak cause.

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The point is that fan artists =/= mainstream pirates. Not even close. The worst ]EE[ did was break copyrights by making art of copyrighted characters, but then, this site is doing the same thing. I'm sure you all would be VERY upset if all the sudden gaming companies collected on their copyrights here instead of spending that time and money chasing legitimate pirates. Sure, legally they CAN, but is it necessary?

That's what is getting people upset. This shouldn't be an issue... but it is.

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The point is that fan artists =/= mainstream pirates. Not even close. The worst ]EE[ did was break copyrights by making art of copyrighted characters, but then, this site is doing the same thing. I'm sure you all would be VERY upset if all the sudden gaming companies collected on their copyrights here instead of spending that time and money chasing legitimate pirates. Sure, legally they CAN, but is it necessary?

That's what is getting people upset. This shouldn't be an issue... but it is.

But I can easily see why Nintendo wouldn't want this, because it's bad for their business. Let's say they want to release Super Smash Bros Brawl 2 with new characters including Megaman, Ridley, etc... The novelty will be greatly reduced because of the mod, and their game will appear less attractive to people, especially since (and correct me if I'm wrong, I haven't played this game) some characters are clones or at least share a very similar moveset.

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That's not true at all. These are texture hacks, not model hacks. We can make Charizard look like Ridley, but we can't actually have Ridley in Smash (yet). No one in their right mind who would actually go through the effort to get this patch would refrain from buying SSB4 because of texture hacks.

"Oh, I don't think I need this FF7 remake from Square; OCR has plenty of "One-Winged Angel" remixes already."

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That's not true at all. These are texture hacks, not model hacks. We can make Charizard look like Ridley, but we can't actually have Ridley in Smash (yet). No one in their right mind who would actually go through the effort to get this patch would refrain from buying SSB4 because of texture hacks.

"Oh, I don't think I need this FF7 remake from Square; OCR has plenty of "One-Winged Angel" remixes already."

"Oh I don't need to buy Chrono Trigger DS, I can just play Chrono Trigger Ressurection on my PC for free."

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A ) I was showing the ridiculousness of the assertion.

B ) Chrono Resurrection was only to be 6-7 (IIRC) key moments in the game, not the whole thing.

C ) You still would have had to buy Brawl to use this patch, as you need to rip the .ISO from your Brawl disc. Not only were no links to currently circulated Brawl .ISO's to be posted on their site, but they even made sure (to the best of their ability) that people would not illegally download the .ISO (i.e., not rip it from their own disc; I know backups are always illegal in the US).

D ) The patch, in and of itself, is useless. At least CR was a stand-alone game. This patch is worthless without Brawl; it does literally nothing.

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Sounds like a very poor argument for getting on Nintendo's case - if they want to retain their copyright, they have to defend it. This is exactly why (unfortunately) Chrono Resurrection got shut down.

This is a weak cause.

This.

If you let something like this slide, you run the risk of losing the copyright. It sounds ridiculous, but it happens.

These guys might have the purest intentions in the world, but there is no way Nintendo could be 100% sure of this.

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I guess the real issue is, where do you draw the line between fandom and piracy. Unfortunately, in this day and age, people have to be ever vigilant against copyright theft. I for one would be horribly upset if one day I jumped on OCR and found it decimated by a C&D order say by the likes of EA or Nintendo or even Square-Enix. It would be horrible, really, but would it be legal? Unfortunately for us, yes.

Though in all honest, I think sometimes these companies take things too far, and try to do too much to a single person, or even a small group of 3 people. Its one thing to say "C&D order, shut down now or get sued", and another thing to say "we'd like you to stop production on your project, or we will be forced to issue a C&D order to you." There's a whole world of difference between each statements.

From what it sounds like, they just slapped them with the order without even a warning.

But don't think that I am for piracy, I'm not. But I think there are better ways to handle things other than resorting to lawyers right away. I could have seen it if they were complete asshats about the whole thing, then hammering them with a C&D order would've been perfectly fine. But out of the blue like that, without so much as a warning, that's not right, despite the fact they were protecting their copyright.

I guess what it boils down to is that you absolutely, positivily cannot get away with anything, because the glaring eye of big brother is always watching. Even if you have the best of intentions, intentions can't protect you from legalities, or big business. But how far does an industry have to go before it's too much?

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What's your point? Are you trying to get everyone here to be all indignant about it? It's not the same as what we do here at OCR. We don't use copyrighted media in our mixes. We frown on sampling and we promote the purchase of game soundtracks. We take a hardline stance against piracy here.

A texture mod inherently promotes piracy and/or infringement. You can't use the mod without getting an ISO of the game and you can't play an ISO of the game without modding your Wii; and let's be perfectly clear here: the majority of people out there that use a modified Wii run pirated software. The people who mod their Wiis for noble intentions are few and far between. Average joe sees this mod and says, "hey I wanna do that," so he does the research and figures out how to run ISOs on his Wii. Then he figures "hey i can run ISOs on my Wii, why bother buying any games anymore?" It's a no-brainer. You can say they did everything they could to discourage piracy, but what does that really entail? Just posting "Please don't pirate the game" on their website?

"DELETE THESE ROMS AFTER 24 HOURS."

Yeah, ok.

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When we sing arrangements of songs in choir, all of the sheet music we use specifically states that not only did the arranger ask for express written permission in making the arrangement, but he/she also paid a royalty/licensing fee to do so. So, I'm sorry, copyrighted music has been rearranged on this site without express written permission or licensing fees. This site is just as 'illegal' as ]EE[, from a purely legal standpoint. A judge wouldn't side with OCR by a long shot.

And that's just the music! What about the art in the upper-right hand corner of each web page? I'm pretty sure there isn't a copyright symbol on each of them, and I'm moderately certain that OCR doesn't have permission to use them. This site DOES sell things, too; even if it's not expressly FOR profit, money is gained in part because of the brand recognition of video game characters.

If any game company decided to drop the banhammer on this site, there wouldn't be a legal thing anyone could do about it. That, frankly, scares me.

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If any game company decided to drop the banhammer on this site, there wouldn't be a legal thing anyone could do about it. That, frankly, scares me.

this site doesn't run the risk of potentially running down a certain companies profits

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If any game company decided to drop the banhammer on this site, there wouldn't be a legal thing anyone could do about it. That, frankly, scares me.

It is scary when you think about it. Death comes suddenly and there is no notion of good or bad. It leaves, not a dramatic feeling but great emptiness. When you lose someone you loved very much you feel this big empty space and think, 'If I had known this was coming I would have done things differently.'

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What's your point? Are you trying to get everyone here to be all indignant about it? It's not the same as what we do here at OCR. We don't use copyrighted media in our mixes. We frown on sampling and we promote the purchase of game soundtracks. We take a hardline stance against piracy here.

A texture mod inherently promotes piracy and/or infringement. You can't use the mod without getting an ISO of the game and you can't play an ISO of the game without modding your Wii; and let's be perfectly clear here: the majority of people out there that use a modified Wii run pirated software. The people who mod their Wiis for noble intentions are few and far between. Average joe sees this mod and says, "hey I wanna do that," so he does the research and figures out how to run ISOs on his Wii. Then he figures "hey i can run ISOs on my Wii, why bother buying any games anymore?" It's a no-brainer. You can say they did everything they could to discourage piracy, but what does that really entail? Just posting "Please don't pirate the game" on their website?

Which is why a lot of fan-made projects are killed. Because everything involving something else already made is of course, piracy.

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When we sing arrangements of songs in choir, all of the sheet music we use specifically states that not only did the arranger ask for express written permission in making the arrangement, but he/she also paid a royalty/licensing fee to do so.

Because they're making profit by selling those arrangements.

So, I'm sorry, copyrighted music has been rearranged on this site without express written permission or licensing fees. This site is just as 'illegal' as ]EE[, from a purely legal standpoint. A judge wouldn't side with OCR by a long shot.

Of course not, but it's still different from what ]EE[ did, because--legality aside--they are using game textures and directly modifying the game; the only way the product they put out WORKS is by engaging in some kind of infringement/piracy and as such it promotes that. OCR doesn't require you to pirate anything to make or listen to remixes. Yes, it's still illegal, but it's also not the same as what ]EE[ does.

And that's just the music! What about the art in the upper-right hand corner of each web page? I'm pretty sure there isn't a copyright symbol on each of them, and I'm moderately certain that OCR doesn't have permission to use them. This site DOES sell things, too; even if it's not expressly FOR profit, money is gained in part because of the brand recognition of video game characters.

Art in the upper right is no worse than any other fansite anywhere else in on the internet and does nothing to dilute the trademark of any associated company. We're not putting out a product based on the direct modification of those images OCR is also a registered non-profit organization. We don't make any profit, express or not.

If any game company decided to drop the banhammer on this site, there wouldn't be a legal thing anyone could do about it. That, frankly, scares me.

No there wouldn't, but keep in mind the game industry does know about us. One of the biggest game developers out there just put out a game with a fully remixed soundtrack by us.

What it really boils down to is that what we do here at OCR is far more analogous to fan-art and fan-fiction than what ]EE[ has done.

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this site doesn't run the risk of potentially running down a certain companies profits

That's a pretty big assumption. Who says that OCR's songs aren't potentially taking money from a game company? We really don't know that. It's very possible that Capcom could have, instead of asking for OCR's help on SSF2THDR, said, "Ok, either pay us for BotA, or take any derivative Capcom work down!" just so they could put music along that vein in the game.

We're just lucky that they don't have Nintendo's legal team and they see the usefulness in fan made works.

@Darkesword: But even you had to admit that, regardless of any technicalities separating OCR's work from ]EE['s, it's all still, in the eyes of the law, illegal. That's all that matters. It's. Illegal. And the people against this C&D don't agree with that, or at bare minimum don't agree with how this all played out. I can understand the .ISO problem. They were, believe it or not, working on ways to Ocarina hack the textures in, which would have eventally circumvented the need for an .ISO (much better). But, the rest of it? The implications that a site like this is flat-out illegal just shows how far this can be taken, and that's WAY too far. There's protecting IP, but this is much worse than that.

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That's a pretty big assumption. Who says that OCR's songs aren't potentially taking money from a game company? We really don't know that.

has the site been shut down yet

no

well I guess that mystery is solved

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It's very possible that Capcom could have, instead of asking for OCR's help on SSF2THDR, said, "Ok, either pay us for BotA, or take any derivative Capcom work down!" just so they could put music along that vein in the game.

Except, you know, they didn't.

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has the site been shut down yet

no

well I guess that mystery is solved

Just because it hasn't doesn't mean that it couldn't. That applies to Darkesword's above comment, too. When some company actually takes advantage of their legal rights and does something drastic is too late to do anything about it. The point is that they could, and that should be enough to warrant protecting yourselves. That, in this case, means that we disagree with the way IP laws are currently set up. I mean, if you want to leave the door open for this to happen here, be my guest... but some people aren't willing to even leave it to chance, to even want the possibility to be there.

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You can say they did everything they could to discourage piracy, but what does that really entail? Just posting "Please don't pirate the game" on their website?

"DELETE THESE ROMS AFTER 24 HOURS."

Yeah, ok.

The ]EE[ people stated on their site (and others) their intentions (not to promote piracy, going as far as to actively ban users who talked about it, and to promote Nintendo games and products) and their wishes to be as by-the-book as possible.

Kind of overlooked something there bro.

the original soundtracks and source tunes which OverClocked ReMixes are based on are copyrighted material. We are not out to infringe on the copyright owner's rights by making money off of their content. We are a fan site, and all material on OC ReMix is freely available and contains information on the source tune's game origin and composer (if available). The ads and merchandise on this site go only to pay for bandwidth, hosting, and other administrative costs. We are a not-for-profit web site established to honor the video game industry, not detract from it. We at OC ReMix encourage users to buy professionally released video game music soundtracks to support game music.

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Just because it hasn't doesn't mean that it couldn't.

no I am pretty sure the fact that this site has been around probably four times longer than the other projects that get shut down is testament to how companies don't see OCRemix as a liability

OCR doesn't condone or encourage piracy, it doesn't pass off remixes as original material and it doesn't use any artwork that needs permission to be used - nobody would ask OCR to shut down because there isn't any reason to

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Doesn't matter. Have all the disclaimers you want, the songs on this site are still 'derivative works of copyrighted material', and legally any company holding copyrights from any arrangement on this site could come collecting any day now. Fair use states that non-profit or non-commercial helps the case for fair use, but simply being non-profit or non-commercial isn't enough.

@Bleck: You're missing my point. The fact that companies haven't called in on their copyrights doesn't mean that they don't have the right to. This site has just been lucky; hope that it doesn't overstay its usefulness, though.

@Doulifee: Technically, reverse engineering ISN'T illegal; selling something obtained by reverse engineering without it being substantially changed, however, is. Like, I could reverse engineer Coke to find the recipe, but I couldn't turn around and then sell Coke; I'd have to change the formula enough so that it was close, but not Coke. The ]EE[ patch used reverse engineering, but the textures were different enough so that they weren't anything that was originally on the Brawl disc. The real problem comes from the .ISO debate and homebrew.

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Doesn't matter.

no actually it does matter

yeah they CAN shut it down, but they WON'T because there is no REASON to

you're trying to compare a website that gives out free music to a website that possibly details how to pirate one of the wii's best selling games

difference here is that one of these websites doesn't step on any toes and the other just may cost nintendo a lot of money

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The implications that a site like this is flat-out illegal

I think the point was made that OCR has guidelines that mixes should be built from the ground up and comfortably invest their own style and to move away from the original work to a safe distance.

This EE group, however, was not building an engine, graphics, voice acting, licensing the music involved (or hey, coming here to obtain safer remixes). They were taking, and as you've repeatedly said, were hacking the base project and showing others how to mod and void their warranties. Someone interested in playing this mod may void their warranty, break their machine, and call Nintendo to complain (normal people actually make such calls, often).

Now where does OCR even come close to voiding people's warranties or teaching the average joe how to hack and modify existing IPs?

Apples and oranges here. Where the apple is a remix built from the ground up with artist interpretation, and the other are hackers modding parts of an existing IP and causing loads of havoc along the way.

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