Nintendo of America is threatening sites that wrote about College Humor’s Mario and Princess sex tape spoof on the grounds of trademark infringement.
In a letter sent to The Inquisitr from Nintendo representatives Cyveillance, the firm states that they were writing to ask us to “stop using the Nintendo properties in the hidden text/visible text/meta tags and/or title and/or links of the above-referenced sexually explicit Web site.” The firm goes on to state that “Nintendo’s customers include many children and their parents. Unauthorized use of Nintendo trademark(s)/work(s) is harmful to those customers and will tarnish Nintendo’s reputation.”
First and foremost, the video from College Humor was clearly satire and heavily branded by College Humor itself, so the idea that it may damage Nintendo’s reputation is bizarre to say the least. But satire, and the reporting of news by others (which is what we did when we wrote about the video) is protected free speech in both the United States and Australia. Part of my response as follows:
We read your interest your claims that the reporting of a satirical item on the College Humor website in any way infringes Nintendo’s trademarks. The post in question details the factual matter of a “spoof” video created by and posted by the site College Humor, and we do not see how reporting the item is in any shape or form infringing on Nintendo’s trademarks in any way differently to any other Nintendo news or related news we write about.
As you would be aware, the reporting of news, including news that may not be favorable speech is protected speech in both the United States and Australia. We have a legal right to write about such matters, and it is a right as a small media startup we exercise many, many times each day. That you don’t like what we write is irrelevant to the subject: unless it is defamatory, or unless we are claiming your trademarks as our own, it is legal speech.
Now I’m a loyal Nintendo customer, and we own so many Wii titles that we could have used the money spent on them to bankroll a small country. But to open your inbox and to find a claim from Nintendo that their trademarks extend over our reporting of matters related to them directly or indirectly not only ignores established law, it’s down right offensive.
What next: we have to scrub our coverage of every Wii release that comes out? I wonder how many other sites, many of who are contacted directly and work with Nintendo PR received one of these as well?