So once again an awesome fan made game is crushed by a studio that refuses to release any more games in one of their series. Over at Chrono Compendium they have been working on a fan mod of the original Chrono Trigger called Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes. After getting to 98+% completion a C&D letter was sent. (Copy of the C & D letter found Here).

I’m sick of two things with this.

1) To Square-Enix. Either make more games in the god damn series or allow your fucking Intellectual Imaginary Property to be used by the fan base.  There is obviously a market here.  Or better yet, why don’t you buy out the Chrono Compendium Team and sell the game as WII ware or as a DS Lite download.  All the hard work has been done.  After watching the previews for this game I would gladly give you $50 for this.  Take my money please.

2)To the Chrono Compendium Team and any one else making a fan game of any title.  Why did you not learn from Chrono Resurrection. They advertised that they were making the game and got shut down by the IP lawyers. Keep your work a secret until it is completed then post to all the file sharing sites you can find. This is going to be the only way that fan made games are going to be able to exist. Why put years into making a game if you get to show nothing for it in the end.

Wikipedia has a nice article about the legality of such Fan-made Works. It’s quite amazing how varied the opinions are on the subject. Some authors like Anne Rice sue you out the ass for fan fics and J.K Rowling encourages the writing (even if she doesn’t like the subject matter, such as the Gay relationship of Harry and Weasley).

Hope may be on the horizon though. There are organizations popping up now to help the fan side of the Issue. The Organization for Transformative Works is a non-profit working to make fan-fics and other transformative works that are done as not-for profit fall under Fair Use.

From their FAQ:

“Fair use is the right to make some use of copyrighted material without getting permission or paying. It is a basic limit on copyright law that protects free expression. “Fair use” is an American phrase, although all copyright laws have some limits that keep copyright from being private censorship.

Fair use favors uses that (1) are noncommercial and not sold for a profit; (2) are transformative, adding new meaning and messages to the original; (3) are limited, not copying the entirety of the original; and (4) do not substitute for the original work. None of these factors is absolutely necessary for fair use, but they all help, and we believe that fanworks like those in the archive easily qualify as fair uses based on all these factors.”

This particular use of the Chrono Trigger series seems to me to fall under fair-use. It would be very easy to add disclaimers at the beginning clearly stating that this is not an official work of S-E. But unfortunately if you don’t have the money for a lawyer it doesn’t matter. I hope that the OTW succeeds in gaining an official precedent set on the issue.

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