News Article

Metroid Fan Film Fundraising Campaign Demolished After Claim From Nintendo

Posted by Orla Madden

It's now "the subject of an intellectual property dispute"

Two weeks ago we reported that a Kickstarter campaign emerged for a fan-made Metroid film titled Metroid: Enemies Within. Its goal was to reach $90,000 to bring the 10-minute Hollywood-style film to fruition, and had Christian Cardona on board, who has worked on shows such as Bones, Lost and 24.

There's always the issue, with these projects, of whether they have permission to utilise Nintendo IPs, so it doesn't come as a surprise to find out that the big N has whipped out its Power Beams and annihilated the project. The fundraising page has been taken down, and has been replaced with the following message:

Metroid: Enemies Within (A Metroid Fan Film) is the subject of an intellectual property dispute and is currently unavailable.

Nintendo's DMCA was submitted to the website, outlining exactly what it was that the Kickstarter project was infringing on:

Nintendo owns copyrights in all aspects of its Metroid video game franchise and related products, including but not limited to the characters, storylines, audiovisual, pictorial and graphic works from the following: U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0000356142, supp. by PA0000547461 (Metroid video game); U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0000720157 (Super Metroid video game); U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0001275461 (Metroid Prime video game); U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0001275460 (Metroid Prime 2: Echos video game); U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0001633666 (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption video game); and U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0001791606 (Metroid: Other M video game).

Description of infringing material: The "Metroid: Enemies Within" film, story boards, and related materials are unauthorized derivative works that infringe Nintendo's copyrights in its Metroid property.

So that is probably that.

[via kickstarter.com, gonintendo.com]

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User Comments (118)

Ricube

#3

Ricube said:

Right! Now Nintendo should fund them and collaborate to make a 90 min movie. Anyway, it's a fan film but they were trying to make money from something they don't own the rights of

Haxonberik

#8

Haxonberik said:

It was totally justified, I would have ordered the halt of the project if I was in Nintendo. You cant just ask for money to make a movie of a character you don't own with no permission. Its evident this wasn't just a Youtube fan video.

Kroisos

#9

Kroisos said:

@Mk_II

Precisely. Making money on someone else's property is theft, nothing less. Anyone claiming Nintendo should accept the free advertising, or that it is just fan work, is claiming Nintendo has the obligation to allow themselves to be stolen from.

Dinosaurs

#10

Dinosaurs said:

They commercialized it too much by broadcasting its creation and asking for funding. At that point it's at least a misrepresentation of the Metroid franchise with zero permissions or input from Nintendo. At most they border on issues of taking ownership of IP they are not licensed to. Predictable and fair outcome.

G-Money_Man

#14

G-Money_Man said:

I'm not sure what the difference is with people making cosplay costumes of IP's and selling them to people versus this? I also see other projects right now on kickstarter that are doing the exact same thing, like "living legeng - a super mario brothers fan film" and a more famous "Fallout:Nuka Break" season 2. They raised $130,000 off of an IP. So this isn't the first and won't be the last. This was really just a fund raiser for the fans to produce content they want to watch. As long as they are not charging people to watch it once it's produced then I don't see the problem. In terms of hurting the brand well that is why it clearly states Nintendo is not affiliated with this. But I doubt a ten minute fan film funded by fans for fans would have done more damage then "The Other M" has. Hopefully the reason they took this down is because they would like to do one on their own.

Memeboy3

#17

Memeboy3 said:

I agree with the Above comments, Even if it just a fan film..we don't want another SSB:the movie. Maybe if they try again with more power or work with Nintendo...they could try again with Studio 4c and make it a more interesting film, but respect the franchise, like the Kid icarus shorts.

KingBoo01

#18

KingBoo01 said:

This is kinda sad, but expected. Nintendo should to a feature length CGI animated Metroid movie, with tons of explosions and special effects. But, instead of tons of voice acting, they could make use of atmosphere and music to really set everything.

Memeboy3

#21

Memeboy3 said:

I want an Anime movie, not the kinda gimmicky (on light note) CG movies, since Nintendo is a japanese company, Anime is the best way to go, it would be cool for CGI to only be in the special effects and have FUNimation and other Anime companies be involved with it..i'd die of happiness!!!!

Polaris

#23

Polaris said:

@Mk_II I had no idea they were trying to make a profit off of it. They should have known they couldn't do that.

Locke_Highwind

#24

Locke_Highwind said:

They must be really stupid if they though they can make a movie of something they dont own... And ask money for it

WingedSnagret

#25

WingedSnagret said:

While you are at it Nintendo, can you bring out those Pikmin shorts you promised months ago? Just saying.

DiscoGentleman

#26

DiscoGentleman said:

I can't believe these fools went through with the project, thinking Nintendo might not involve themselves. It's frickin' copy-written!

Idiots.

Mk_II

#28

Mk_II said:

@Polaris you can't raise cash on something you don't own the rights to, simple as that. You can't mortgage your neighbours house.

G-Money_Man

#29

G-Money_Man said:

There is a difference between raising money and making money. Ask any charity. They were raising money.

G-Money_Man

#30

G-Money_Man said:

@Mk_II What do you think about cosplay then. There are plenty of people who make money creating costumes off of IP's and selling them.

jayclayx

#32

jayclayx said:

@DiscoGentleman There are tons of material made by fans from different franchises like sonic, halo, megaman, mario, zelda etc and companies wont bother with copyright bullpoopoodoodies, I think last year sega learnt a lesson with their own fans when they tried to ban sonic stuff made by fans on different media sources like youtube, these guys actually can made their fan film without ask money (asking or raising) for that, thats why the Nintendo's DMCA
Watch the profanity please — TBD

YT-SutibunDatsW

#33

YT-SutibunDatsW said:

Saw this coming, I think Nintendo is afraid of the internet. First No Cutscenes in Smash Bros, now this.... but
...
Mega man is blue so >.>

CrimsonMoonMist

#34

CrimsonMoonMist said:

@leon_x The keyword here, as many pointed out,
is money. You can't expect to ask for money for something related to an IP you don't actually own and assume the company who does own it won't take action.

Senario

#35

Senario said:

Well when you start asking for Kickstarter money for your movie instead of making it out of pocket and giving it out for free on youtube...it looks like you are trying to profit from somebody else's IP. So they should've expected this.

Morpheel

#36

Morpheel said:

Anyone really expected Nintendo to stand there a do nothing?

It may have been a fan works, but it was asking for money. Money that Nintendo would rather have themselves.

Mk_II

#37

Mk_II said:

@G-Money_Man they are skating on thin ice. im pretty sure nothing will happen to small-scale producers but in theory they could get served with a cease and desist letter at any moment. But as long as there are corporations that rip off Nintendo merchandise on an industrial scale - eBay is filled with knockoff figurines and awful plushies - i think their lawyers are pretty busy as it is.

HeroOfCybertron

#38

HeroOfCybertron said:

I knew this would happen from the start, I seem to remember Nintendo doing something similar to a fan made Zelda movie some time ago too.

Pod

#39

Pod said:

Of course they can't allow them to do this.

Nintendo is pretty darn large with fan projects in general, but it can come as a shock to no-one that literally selling a product using the name and likeness of a Nintendo owned IP is a no go.

Zombie_Barioth

#40

Zombie_Barioth said:

Not really surprising. Other companies might have let it slide, but Nintendo has always been really protective of their IP. Just look at what happened with Argonauts back in the day.

Can't really blame them too much though, pitching a fan-made movie on kickstarter without their permission wasn't very wise thats for sure. If they already had an ok Nintendo wouldn't have cared.

Neram

#41

Neram said:

Makes sense. IP's are protected for a reason. Besides, what's with people needing a movie form of Nintendo's video games? We should know by now that it just doesn't work. Nintendo's properties work best as video games, and I wouldn't want to see them as anything else. There just isn't enough to work with to make a full length movie, the stories in their games are designed to coincide with the gameplay.

retro_player_22

#42

retro_player_22 said:

They could had just pitch a trailer to Nintendo first and if interested and got permitted then they could legally start the project. This project would had turn up good if they only follow the legal way. They could still make this film if they desire, just change the Metroid theme to something else (ex: instead of Metroid: Enemies Within, just called it Enemies Within). The reason why fan made series and movies like Mortal Kombat Legacy was made was because the people involve actually did ask for permission first, heck even the creator (Ed Boon) himself makes an appearance in one of them. Is it so hard to just called Reggie of NOA and say, "We got a Metroid film we want to make, you agree or not?"

Emblem

#44

Emblem said:

Idiots, when i first saw this kickstarter i assumed they had already got the okay from Nintendo. All they had to do was send a brief to Nintendo outlining that if any money was made Nintendo would see royalties.

I hope they manage to salvage this but they really should have planned ahead.

Sceptic

#49

Sceptic said:

Too much exposure is just a bad thing. With Nintendo currently just completely annihilating the rest of the market with their classic IP I can understand they don't want their formidable efforts watered down by some losers.

Kirk

#51

Kirk said:

Just remember...

It was Nintendo of America that put a stop to this fan film (intended to be used as a pitch to make a full Metroid movie).

It was Nintendo of America that tried to stop the Smash Bros Evo event.

It was Nintendo of America that thought releasing the Last Story, Pandora's Tower and Xenoblade Chronicles in the west wasn't worth it (until the fans started Project Rainfall).

It was Nintendo of America that stopped people from monetizing Let's Play videos on YouTube for a while.

See a trend here...

unrandomsam

#52

unrandomsam said:

@Kirk Yep. Nintendo of Japan has not to my knowledge done anything against the Japanese indie stuff that uses their IP however it likes. (They don't really want to even knowledge it exists).

Ren

#53

Ren said:

Ha! pretty funny, though. I wonder what they thought would happen. They couldn't haven't NOT known that this would happen, maybe they just hoped Nintendo would be impressed or something.
It's weird though. If they wanted to tell that story that bad it wouldn't be hard to change the names and tweek the designs, it's not really all THAT original in ther first place, it's a person in a space suit shooting infectious aliens, ooh never been done before!
why would someone insist on it being based on a Nintendo game? Cause that always works out great for movies.

Dexter2015

#55

Dexter2015 said:

Kickstarter needs to make sure people own the copyright of what they trying to kickstart first!!

WinterWarm

#57

WinterWarm said:

So, basically fans did what Nintendo was too lazy to do in the last 30 years. Then Nintendo thought it made them look bad and they decided to be idiots. Gotcha. I'm proud to have given Nintendo hundreds of dollars for their lawyers. Morons.

Tasuki

#58

Tasuki said:

Maybe if they didn't put it up on Kickstart they may have got away with it. But the moment they asked for money that's where it became copyright infringement.

Tornado

#59

Tornado said:

Sigh This is why copyright law needs to change. As a nearly 30-year-old IP, Metroid should just about be public domain by now, IMO.

the_shpydar

#60

the_shpydar said:

Dear Stupid Peoples,

If you're going to make a fan-film, don't look for money to fund it.

Sincerely,
Common Sense

Lawyered

@Tornado
You are wrong on several levels — there's a HUGE difference between a 30 year old IP and an IP that's been in constant use over the past 30 years. There are problematic issues with copyright law (primarily because of Disney), no doubt, but that's a seriously ridiculous point of view.

Memeboy3

#61

Memeboy3 said:

@WinterWarm
I think the Reason why Nintendo is not doing movies is due to the SSB:the movie ruining the road for VGs hoing in the movie medium, i think Nintendo made the right move, Remember the movies of Double dragon or Mortal Kombat? Also, they makers of The fan film dod not ask for copyright.

SanderEvers

#62

SanderEvers said:

Looking at my last response here.. Not many people with any form of intelligence on Nintendolife

Now, that's a shame.

And really look at 99,9% of the game based movies and you know WHY there NEVER will be a Metroid movie.

Jampie

#63

Jampie said:

@WinterWarm "... what Nintendo was too lazy to do in the last 30 years"? Nintendo is a game company, not a movie/film company... I don't understand how Nintendo are the morons for this. It is Nintendo's IP and this was supposed to be a fan-made film, but they're asking for money to make it yet Nintendo is the one that is stupid for stopping this? What? :|

WaLzgiStaff

#64

WaLzgi said:

@Tornado So anything that someone made 30 years should be public domain? Do you realize how ridiculous that statement is? If I came up with an idea that I've been using (keyword of course being "using"), I don't want the law to tell me that it's no longer mine to use.

Nintendo had every legal AND ethical right to stomp this down. They were asking for money for a project they did not have permission to do. Regardless of whether they were raising or making money, it's still copyright infringement.

Einherjar

#66

Einherjar said:

The same happened to countless Zelda fan films, so its no surprise whatsoever. Nintendo is very very careful when it comes to stuff like that. And than you have companies like capcom, who gives their fans complete freedom in doing what they want with their franchises, as long as it is a non profit thing. Thats one of the only things i still very appriciate from capcom.

WaLzgiStaff

#67

WaLzgi said:

@Kirk Yes I see a trend. They are stopping other people from profiting from their properties and they hesitated to release some niche games in the west. Your point?

Jampie

#68

Jampie said:

@WinterWarm It's very complex? I don't think so. It is obvious what would have happened and who is at fault. Nintendo are not the idiots for stopping people from asking for money to make a film off of their IP without permission. Ever heard of copyright infringement? But whatever, think what you will.

ajcismo

#69

ajcismo said:

I'm a member of ASCAP and totally understand why Big N pulled the plug on this. Even in good faith and doing fan films out of love for a franchise, copyright infringement is a serious thing. Those of you who think its no big deal, or Nintendo is wrong, try copyrighting an original piece of music or art or game and tell me how you feel when somebody uses it without permission and you don't see a dime for it.

Tornado

#70

Tornado said:

@ScroogeMcLz @the_shpydar Your argument against my position seems to be that my position is "ridiculous." That's not a particularly clear nor strong argument.

In the U.S., the 1790 Copyright Act established the term of copyright at 14 years. Maybe that's too short, but it's closer to what I think the term of copyright should be. Shorter copyright terms not only give the people some real degree of ownership over their own culture, but also foster greater innovation and competition in the artistic marketplace. Of course, I respect your right to have a different opinion, and many folks do.

torotoid64

#74

torotoid64 said:

I'm upset mainly because that 10 minute film could had probably been 5x's better than the whole 12 hours I wasted playing other m

unrandomsam

#76

unrandomsam said:

@ScroogeMcLz But they don't do the same in Japan. (Most things are more reasonable there. Most broken in the UK / America and a little bit better in Europe).

unrandomsam

#77

unrandomsam said:

@Tornado That is pretty close to what I think. (Current situation is totally stagnated and I cannot see it improving whilst whenever Mickey Mouse might have gone out of copyright it gets extended by 50 years).

unrandomsam

#78

unrandomsam said:

@ScroogeMcLz If you were to make a drug or a proper invention then you would get 15 years (By a patent). Artistic stuff is far less valuable so perhaps it should get even less protection.
In no way was the latter half of your comment warranted. Please stop with the insults — TBD

unrandomsam

#79

unrandomsam said:

And that is why at some point within the next 50 years China will be the worlds biggest superpower doing whatever they like and doing the same thing to American IP that they did to British IP when they founded America. (At the moment they at least say they won't whilst completely ignoring it.)

WaLzgiStaff

#80

WaLzgi said:

@Tornado @unrandomsam Unfortunately you two overlooked another part of the law. The holders can apply for another term to hold the copyright. The 14 years does not apply to this situtation.

3Daniel

#81

3Daniel said:

Videogame reunion is still on youtube and ud think theyd shut that down. Turning peach into a drunk, bowser into a dealer and kid ikarus into a weird french guy. My all time fav web series oh and megaman is a gay popstar and zelda a b. Guess it flew under the radar unlike kickstarter.

bahooney

#82

bahooney said:

How about next time, you ask for 90,000 to create... oh, I dunno... something that's actually yours and original? Totally expected (and hoped) this would happen.

retro_player_22

#83

retro_player_22 said:

@WinterWarm
Imagine if you made an IP that goes on to become very popular, so popular that fans everywhere understand its concept, its appeal, and its gameplay. Then one day you come online and you found out that some other people are funding to make a movie off of your IP without your permission and with you not receiving any of the royalty off of that project. What would you do?

A - Let them do what they want
B - Don't care cause you earn more than them anyways
C - Let them do it and then sue them after
D - Proceed to take them down before they ruin your IP

I'm pretty sure you would agree with C or D.

Hyperstar96

#85

Hyperstar96 said:

If Nintendo doesn't want to have to deal with people making unofficial works based off Metroid, maybe they should just make another Metroid.

Obito_Tennyson

#86

Obito_Tennyson said:

You show them Nintendo, get rid of any fake movies that would ruin your reputation! They're too precious and shiny to be made by noobs who aren't you guys or even hired by you!

CrabGats

#88

CrabGats said:

Plenty of beautiful fan videos on Youtube that never asked for money. It's a shame, yes, it probably would've been awesome, but what they did is also fair.

mikeyman64

#89

mikeyman64 said:

I'm still surprised they thought they could get away with it... Could it have been a kickstarter scam?

Tornado

#90

Tornado said:

@Taskui I understand that @the_Shpydar is an attorney. I am a professor of social media. It would seem to me that we both probably know a fair amount about copyright law.

But my claim is not one of the law, but rather of public policy. Regarding the law, there is no question--this fan project constitutes copyright infringement, and Nintendo is well within its rights, under current law, to defend their IP. I don't blame them for doing so.

But whether current law is best for society is a different question altogether.

On the whole, I favor a system that doesn't afford a small number of large corporations strong and perpetual control over our cultural resources. The Founders of the United States believed as such, too; that's why they established a 14-year copyright term in the Copyright Act of 1790 (with possibility for one, and only one, 14-year renewal). Of course, there are those who think otherwise, and I respect their right to come to differing, well-reasoned conclusions.

HappyHappy

#91

HappyHappy said:

I'm pretty sure this was done mainly because they were asking for money. If the movie was self-funded Nintendo couldn't do anything about it.

ToastyYogurt

#93

ToastyYogurt said:

I do understand that Nintendo wants to protect its intellectual properties, but I don't really see harm in the film besides that. Some of you are missing the point; the makers of this movie were not making money off of this film; I'm sure all the fund-raised money was to go to making the movie, which would probably be put on Youtube or somewhere else on the internet to be watched for free. If they were to put this on iTunes and charge $3 for it then yeah, I would see that as theft, but if any money they take from average joes goes to making a better movie and nothing more, then I call that dedicated, hardcore fandom that needs a bit of a push to reach potential.

andrea987

#94

andrea987 said:

@Tornado A society that doesn't protect an individual rights has no reason to exist. And one of those rights is having what you've created/worked hard for protected against stealing and or profiting by others.
On the 'fanmade' film, I don't think it would've hurt Nintendo much, to be honest. But, as professionals were on board of the project, I'm questioning whether we know enough about their real intentions.

Marshi

#95

Marshi said:

@G-Money_Man Cosplay is completely diferent dude. I could dress as mario and spend my life as him no problem,because its free publicity,however if I wished to do anything official like make a movie that will be seen by millions of people then id EXPECT nintendo to step in as no matter how loyal and inocent my intentions I may do something with the character nintendo dosnt like...that does raise the question as to why nintendo didnt sue the people who made the super mario bros movie though ;-)

CC13

#96

CC13 said:

@retro_player_22: Super Secret Special Option E) Offer them a chance to become an official licensee

@Tornado: There's really no question, at least in my mind, that making IP law less restrictive across the board would be vastly better for society. That much power over the culture in one small group's hands almost never works out well for anyone except the few people at the top. The real key, though, is getting rid of the notion of "sleeping on your rights", which made sense in the world before the Internet, but is utterly unworkable today.

Squid

#98

Squid said:

As they should have done. I don't know what 10-minute movie would take $90,000, anyways.

DarkNinja9

#100

DarkNinja9 said:

all i got to say is "Yey" cuz i didnt like the look of it but at the same time i know it sucks for them but it was a matter of time before it happened

the_shpydar

#101

the_shpydar said:

@Tornado
I can understand your view — copyright lengths in the U.S. have become drastically over-inflated (again, this is primarily or substantially due to lobbying dollars from Disney and others), with some copyright protection extending over a century from the date a work is created (and for works created since the late 70s, it's the Life of the Creator + 70 years).

But the 14 year provision was established at a time when the nature of media was very, very different. Digital media and the proliferation of how easy such media is available to basically everyone at once, not to mention the nature of media existing in the public marketplace (for sale and consumption) for much longer, necessarily requires stronger protection than what existed in the past. 14 years just isn't realistic in the modern world.

Obviously, the issue always comes down to the core of what copyright law (and all IP law) is meant to protect and encourage — protection of a creator's work and IP in order to encourage creation. There's always room for a debate of the pros and cons of each side of the argument, but given the intricacies of the issue, this probably isn't the best place for it. :)

WaLzgiStaff

#102

WaLzgi said:

@Tornado It's like shpydar said. The world has changed since our founding fathers founded this country. We simply cannot use them as a reason to support/decline a law anymore. Disney created Mickey Mouse and he's rightfully theirs. How do they not have the right to solely create media on their own mascot? Why should we get the right to take Mickey Mouse from them after 14 years?

Araknie

#103

Araknie said:

@G-Money_Man The point is that you can't ask money with copyrighted material, whatever the use is personal or 100% into the project.

It's just the law, and it's there for a good reason.

If Nintendo let them get away with that would make a legal issue for any kind of thing like that in that future.
Imagine just that anybody could ask money to make a movie/feature film about a copyrighted gaming character, not only Nintendo ones because the anwer to any kind of anger from developers outside Nintendo would have been: "But Nintendo let them raise money for the Metroid movie!"

Not a good thing at all.

Tornado

#104

Tornado said:

@the_shpydar I'd obviously quibble with the word "necessarily" in your claim--I'd contend that the nature of digital media renders current copyright terms out of step with technological reality--but you may be right that this kind of forum is not the best place for this sort of conversation. In any case, I appreciate your reasoned consideration of alternative viewpoints.

Back to the topic at hand, it just shocks me that Nintendo seems so loathe to leverage their IP these days. For films, I get the sense that they still feel burned from the SMB movie way-back-when and don't want to go that route again.

LavaTwilight

#106

LavaTwilight said:

Unfortunately I'm with Nintendo on this. It's great to see fan-art and Nintendo-inspired work out there, etc - after all Nintendo have allowed us free reign of their IP when it comes to MiiVerse, they do appreciate it, but when it comes to making money, unfortunately they still have a business to run. If they let one little thing slide however, they'd have all big business stealing their property.
Still, I hope they see it for what it is, that this isn't some faceless corporation trying to make money from Nintendo's property, but they were just fans wanting to promote what they love and therefore go easy on them.

Dr_Corndog

#107

Dr_Corndog said:

Nintendo should have brought down the same hammer when they saw Sakamoto's script for Other M.

Shane904

#111

Shane904 said:

@Mk_II "you can't raise cash on something you don't own the rights to, simple as that. You can't mortgage your neighbours house."

Wait... you can't? Oops...

tanookisuit

#112

tanookisuit said:

That's what you get for screwing with someones active intellectual property. Anyone angry or even confused over this really doesn't get it.

G-Money_Man

#114

G-Money_Man said:

@Araknie I get that nintendo has the right to do this, but 90K and 10 minutes is really not going to make nintendo investors pissed, and the fact is other companies let their fans do this, Check out the fallout kickstarter on youtube. or the elf quest one on indie a go-go. It would have been cool to see this one. Nintendo has a right to do it for sure, it just would have been cool if they didn't.

G-Money_Man

#116

G-Money_Man said:

@Marshi I wasn't talking about people wearing cosplay, I'm saying there is an entire industry of people who make money making costumes and accept commissions to create things from IP's all the time, and many of them are not sanctioned or have the permission of the IP holders. It's probably because it close to impossible to police that, but I do think it is in the same spirit as a fan film.

retro_player_22

#117

retro_player_22 said:

@WinterWarm So you would let them do what they want with your IP even if it means you are not receiving any money from the project and they get all the credits and cash? So if you allow them to do it and if another team of fans want to do a project on your other IPs too with their own budget, would you also allow them as well? What if every fans of your IPs do projects on your IPs without ever giving you money, wouldn't that hurt sales of your IPs as well? You know if you let one team handle your IP without your permission, a lot of others will want to do the same too and they'll point it back at your first decision, something like "Hey you let them do it without permission, so why not us?"

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