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Earlier this year we told you about the return of Super Mario Bros. Z, a pixel-based animation project that blends Mario, Sonic and Dragon Ball Z influences together in one chaotic storyline. Its creator and animator Mark Haynes (AKA: Alvin-Earthworm), launched a Patreon page to support the venture.

That page proved popular, quickly amassing funds of over $5000 per episode, though in our original article we questioned how a "non-profit fan crossover movie project" could legitimately seek patronage. On top of that, of course, we have the old chestnut of copyright.

It seems Nintendo has stepped in and shut that page down, and Haynes took to Twitter to clarify that he's had to launch a new campaign; we've left out the one that simply says "Because **** Nintendo".

That original Patreon page was specifically tied to the Super Mario Bros. Z series, with lengthy descriptions including references to all of the key characters. The new page plays it straight, with no references to these characters; as it stands there's no way to tie its funding to copyrighted characters, and it's already gone past $900 in a small amount of time. It's evident that Haynes' eager followers have simply transferred their backing, though the plain page will find it much harder to attract any passing patrons on the site.

It's a tricky area of debate. Once a fan project actually makes a profit for the creator, it becomes legally difficult to justify using the IP of companies like Nintendo without seeking approval and paying for the privilege. At present there's nothing wrong with Haynes' new Patreon page, but the moment it gets tied to Super Mario Bros. Z (assuming that's the plan) it may get taken down again.

It'd be a shame if this series falls over on copyright infringement grounds, yet if it continues to seek unlicensed profit it seems inevitable.