Some of Nintendo’s big legal victories over the years


Nintendo has come a long way since the production of playing cards over a century ago. Nowadays, Nintendo is essentially the Walt Disney of video games, not because it bought countless franchises and companies, but because its impact on the medium equals the classic Disney impact on animation.

Nintendo’s major innovations since the 1980s have cemented its place in history and pop culture. Despite its overall success since being credited with saving the video game industry, Nintendo has not been the luckiest company in the legal department. From lawsuits to modern-day issues like the Joy-Con Drift, the legal history of the iconic video game company has some huge points.

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Donkey Kong vs. King Kong



Comparison image of King Kong Donkey Kong

The character Donkey Kong in his arcade iteration should be immediately familiar to anyone familiar with classic American movies. His status as an anthropomorphic gorilla named Kong who kidnaps an attractive woman and climbs urban structures is reminiscent of the titular star of King Kong. Donkey kong put Nintendo on the map and was the start of their gaming empire, but Universal Studios has always sued Nintendo, claiming the arcade game was a blatant imitation of King Kong and one of its tracking media.

Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. in 1982 sued Nintendo because Universal demanded all of its profits made from Donkey Kong, and the closing of all arcade machines. Nintendo reps have proven Universal wrong not only by playing market research analyst Jerry Momoda Donkey kong and its sequel, Donkey Kong Jr., to show the differences between Nintendo games and Universal films, but also providing proof that Universal was not the sole owner of King Kong.

Looking at the development of the game, it’s hard to be skeptical of Miyamoto’s claims of originality. Not only was Donkey kong originally a licensed game based on Popeye, the titular ape is a gorilla rather than a member of a fictitious ape-like species. Pauline’s kidnapping is not an act of fascination, but of retaliation against Mario (Jumpman at the time), who was her abusive owner. Additionally, the name “Donkey Kong” is a product of Miyamoto’s Limited English. “Kong” sounded more like a slang term related to primates, rather than a specific reference to King Kong himself.


Nintendo Hits Blockbuster Rentals



Blockbuster localization image

Any millennial can probably remember growing up with rental stores that offered games alongside movies. Before the centralization of distribution and the ubiquity of the Internet, rental was an integral part of video game culture. Blockbusters and similar stores were the best way to try out a new or unfamiliar game without paying $ 50 to $ 100. From the mid-1980s to the late 2000s, game rentals were a regular and even expected experience, and it was especially useful for those with low incomes.

Although Nintendo has always been a major player in the industry, it was dominant in the late 80s and early 90s. The advent of competitors like Sega Genesis and Sony PlayStation caused the game to lose momentum. company, but its virtual monopoly on games before these consoles came along was probably one of the factors that led the company to target the idea of ​​rentals, and even try to ban them altogether.


In 1989, Nintendo sued the now nearly defunct Blockbuster for photocopying Nintendo-approved video game manuals. This lawsuit, Nintendo of America, Inc. against Blockbuster LLC., Took advantage of the emergence of the Computer Software Rental Amendments Act, which sought to prohibit rental of computer software due to alleged concerns about piracy. Nintendo tried to get the act to include video games. Although he failed, his lawsuit against Blockbuster was successful. Arguing that photocopies of video game manuals violated North American copyright laws, she convinced Blockbuster to repackage rentals with custom manuals.


Targeting YouTube content



Nintendo Creators Program with Mario

Given its history with Donkey kong, Nintendo naturally protects its IP addresses. This led to one of the company’s most controversial lawsuits. Throughout the 2010s, legitimate and baseless YouTube copyright infringement strikes became more common. Nintendo began to use this practice as an opportunity to monopolize profits from its creations, no matter how popular monetized videos were.

It has become more difficult for YouTubers, even the most popular, to make video featuring games with Nintendo titles and expect to receive a salary. Nintendo’s domineering actions have been among the most infamous copyright strike cases, as even harmless videos featuring music from Nintendo games, especially Mario and Zelda, were targeted. YouTuber GilvaSunner, known for baiting people with high-quality video game song clips but presenting humorous remixes instead, was one of the biggest victims due to the way their gadget worked. This ultimately led to the “Nintendo Creator’s Program,” which left included creators a maximum of 20% of their labor income.


Nintendo has been on both sides of the courtroom throughout its history. He is particularly protective of his classics, such as Super mario 64, and his integrity following the pursuit of Donkey Kong. His case is similar to that of Walt Disney after losing his character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. After that he, and by extension Disney as a company, became more ruthless with copyright for fear of losing whatever leads to success.

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