Whether you are a lone wolf dev or you work with a team to create fan projects, there seems to be a fear of being DMCA’d by a company who made/owns the game that you are either modding or expanding. However, is there actually a fear? Super Mario 64 Online creator Kaze Emanuar gives his insight on the situation.
A lot of people usually tell journalists and video content creators to stop promoting fan-made mods, expansions and other things that alter well or lesser known IPs. Why you may ask? Well, it’s so that a project a person or team is working on won’t be taken down by a big or small publisher or developer.
One should ask, though, does that even hold any weight? Peering deeper into the modding and expansion scene, it seems that another story says otherwise.
You know Kaze Emanuar, right? The guy who pretty much single-handedly made Super Mario 64 Online by himself around two weeks time? Well, he recently faced a strike by Nintendo that forced him to take down the download video on his YouTube channel.
Do you think that that move by Nintendo hurt Emanuar’s project, let’s find out. According to publication site NintendoLife, which compressed an interview between redbull.com and Emanuar to a bite-sized read, we learn from its article that describes the modder not fearing the act of a DMCA strike. Emanuar’s response sits below:
“This whole ‘DMCA meme’ needs to stop. Even if they did, there are already thousands of alternate download links. Some people get irrationally mad at other people for sharing Nintendo fan games, because they think they’re going to get DMCA’d due to the publicity. There’s nothing that can stop this fan project now, though.”
Emanuar also addresses the act of not fearing a DMCA strike in a video titled “Release date for SM64O, Q&A, the DMCA meme” as seen below (starts at 1:55):
In other words, Emanuar is saying that if developers try to shut you down mid-production of a fan-made project you can continue without them ever knowing. And if the mod or expansion is up, then it will never die. Emanuar, who spoke with other devs, noted that what kills mods like Super Mario 64 Online is the lack of exposure — websites not covering it, video content creators ignoring it and so on.
In addition to the above, Emanuar explains the act of a company doing the whole DMCA thing actually brings more traction to a fan made project, thus prompting the likelihood of someone downloading it and then making it immortalized since they can easily upload it back to the web.
To summarize it all, a company that DMCAs a project will only bring attention to it given that it sometimes make good content to report on, to some of course. People find alternate download links and re-upload the mod to the web for others to download, which creates more momentum than before. What kills projects according to Emanuar is the lack of exposure.