Gaming Hypocrisy

Tecmo, the company who makes such classics as “Dead Or Alive: Extreme Beach Volleyball“, a gameplay-free excuse to display hi-res moving images of scantily-clad women, has sued a modding community for messing with its games.

“Most of the skins posted on the Message Board by defendants show Tecmo Characters with appearances that are different from the original Tecmo designs,” the complaint notes. “Several… are designed to make Tecmo Characters appear naked.”

Oh, the horror! How could evil hackers do such a thing to a family company like Tecmo?

“Hackers, if they’re allowed to do this kind of thing, will be allowed to hack into any game, anywhere,” [a spokeswoman] warns. “We spent millions of dollars to develop these games, and people are coming in and changing the code to their liking, and that’s illegal.”

Absolutely. If gamers start changing games so they like them more, where would it all end? I mean, you might end up with software that anyone could change for any purpose, without asking anyone’s permission! What sort of world would that be?

Some further research reveals some unintentionally hilarious message board posts from around the time of the game’s release. Feel the indignation!

Hollywood Video actually lists this as an adult game because of the supposed nudity, so I rented it and I couldn’t wait to see the girls topless. I was totally looking forward to the “nudity” that was described on the box. After playing for about 2 hours straight I realized that there was none!

“…I want my money back!”

All I know is that in Xbox Mag (XXXbox issue) they stated that you would be able to “win” or “buy” topless mode. And just to be fair…I paid fifty bucks, so I deserve me some ***s!

(Censorship his, not mine.)

Yes your right EGM has a DOA XBV nude cheat.. but its the APRIL MAG!!!… as in APRIL FOOLs… as in that is just what we are.. fools… Dang i wanted it 2 be true.. have not tried it yet.. but … i will not get my hopes up… sniff sniff… let it be true…


9 thoughts on “Gaming Hypocrisy

  1. Hypocrisy? Well, there’s two ways that it might not be.

    The first would be that the hackers are stealing their thunder. A nude mode detracts from the value of future games in the series that feature the possibility of a developer-approved nude mode…that would never exist. Ever-more scantilly clad characters are also less of a draw.

    The second (less likely) possibility would be that the developers draw a moral line in the sand in an interesting place, and that a nude mode crosses it. An example of this would be the Miss America pagent which forbids its contestents from appearing in porn shoots. “Swimsuit competition is fine, but anything beyond that? Shocking!”

  2. The way language is used in these cases is truely frightening: If I understood correctly the suit is actually for copyright infringement. So the real question is whether mods may contain Tecmo skins under Fair Use, right?

    But check out what the spokeswoman says: “people are […] changing the code […], and that’s illegal.”

  3. Well, If it is against the license then they are doing something criminal. And that should be punished.

    Just as would go after people who misused the mozilla license/trademarks and made a firefox with spyware or a competing product.

  4. Gerv, I want to encourage you to start writing posts in all CAPS. It would make the Owen Meany parallels complete.

    Seriously, I hope you have read “A Prayer For Owen Meany” by John Irving. I think you would love it.

  5. rjw: when I accidentally kill my best friend’s mother with a baseball, then I’ll accept your parallel-drawing :-)

    If you see moral outrage in this blog posting, you are reading it wrong…

  6. OK, so the warranty is void. I bought it and opened it and changed it. I voided the warranty. Ohh well… not that there was much of a warranty to begin with since all software is as is without any claims to function.

  7. Henrik, copyrights and trademark rights are not absolute. They confer only very specific and limited control over certain uses of the product.

    Trademark, for example, applies only insomuch as the potential violation could reasonably be construed to dilute the market or confuse consumers into thinking it was authorized by the trademark owner. The Mozilla Foundation could only go after the makers of “Firefox + spyware” if the branding of their product could confuse end-users into thinking it was the real Firefox or some other authorized MF product.

    Things are similar with copyright: end-users are allowed to modify and in some cases redistribute copyrighted works as long as they fall within the “fair use” exemption. Again, the process for determining this has a lot to do with potential confusion in the marketplace and potential economic harm to the original rights holder.

    This Tecmo case is extraordinarily clearcut on these issues: there is no way anyone could impute these nudie skins as coming from Tecmo or being officially sanctioned by Tecmo, and if anything they only increase the marketplace value of Tecmo’s products. Presumably that’s why Tecmo is choosing to go after them under the DMCA instead of traditional copyright and trademark infringement. But it’s not at all clear that there was an adequate access control to be circumvented here, and even the DMCA has to balance itself against clearly fair uses as in this case.

  8. This isn’t the first time Tecmo’s done this. They won a previous lawsuit dealing with nude patches. Personally, I wish these people wouldn’t do this type of thing in the first place. If they want to hack a game, they should grab the Half-life 2 SDK and make something fun, not perverted. (In DoA:XVB’s defense, there actually is a game there, and the women are actually resistant to wearing the scantily-clad outfits.)

    As for the lawsuit itself, well, Tecmo’s games are closed-source. They’re within their rights.

  9. Tecmo’s games are closed-source. They’re within their rights.

    Does one really imply the other? Is there no right in law to do whatever one wants with software one has rightfully acquired?

    Maybe the US is different to the UK…