Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Attack on Titan Fan Game in Second Life Attacked by Attack on Titan Publisher?

Attack on Titan Second Life Discontinued

The popular fan game in Second Life based on the popular manga/anime series Attack on Titan seems to have come under attack itself by Kodansha Ltd., its Japanese publisher. This is definitely true in the case of an SL machinima depicting the Second Life Attack on Titan game, which was pulled from YouTube "due to a copyright claim by Kodansha Ltd." It is reportedly the case for the SL peripherals for the game, which are no longer for sale in Second Life. If you visit the site in SL (like I did last night), there's a sign saying the product has been discontinued. And according to a July 18 blog post by Moeka Kohime, the game's creator, "3D Maneuver Gear was discontinued due to various factors. Sorry for the inconvenience." Which is all she said about the matter.

NWN reader Pienaar believes it was pulled for copyright reasons, but I haven't received confirmation on that claim just yet:

Attack on Titan Second Life

I have been trying to contact Moeka Kohime through her SL account, and I even enlisted the help of NWN Japanese translator Sanny Yoshikawa, since Moeka Kohime seems to be Japanese, but so far, neither of us have received a reply. I will update this post when and if I do.

Whatever the case, the sim itself with the Attack on Titan game setting is still there, and when I visited, several SLers were still whizzing about, practicing their attacks on titans (albeit in the form of giant wooden targets). Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica fan communities in Second Life have managed to work out informal agreements with the companies who own those franchises, so they don't suddenly get sued or hit with a DMCA claim that forces them to close up shop.  So if a copyright claim is the problem here, I hope something can be worked out in this case too. After all, the Second Life fan community for Attack on Titan is gaining popularity, and getting people interested in the original source material it's based on, so it's free promotion for the original, official IP. I'd personally never heard of Attack on Titan before reading the Kotaku post on the SL game, and now I'm interested in checking out the series myself. And surely Kodansha isn't foolish enough to alienate their fanbase over a fan game only a few thousand people at most (but probably more like a few hundred) have played. Right?

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Metacam Oh

Never even heard of Attack on Titan before this. Some companies are just clueless on the benefits of fan marketing.

Madeline Blackbart

I can understand the need and want to protect your property since it is your living but sometimes you gotta let it go as well. It is a bit of a balancing act.

Ciaran Laval

Again it's a sticky issue. The holders of the IP need to protect that, but the free publicity the franchise gets from usage in Second Life is good for them. Hopefully something can be worked out.

I'm not sure Star Trek fans came to an agreement, BSG fans did, I can't remember what happened with Dune.

Hamlet Au

The Dune fans got totally hosed. CBS made a general statement that they had no intent to go after Star Trek fans in SL.

Ezra

Where are the lines drawn? Is fanfic of an IP still fanfic if those writings are packaged into a book and sold? Is cosplay of an IP still cosplay if the cosplayer starts selling costumes?

I believe things like fanfic and cosplay are harmless, and so are roleplay or game sims themed after an IP that aren't profit-motivated. But if someone is selling Attack on Titan 3D manuever gear, it's not just free marketing, it's someone profiting off of another's IP.

Leo

I really hope they will re-release the 3D Maneuver Gear again. Missed it the first time round. The sim looks like an awesome place to play from what I've seen so far on my visit there. They could just give the gears for free anyways if "profiting from Titan IP" is indeed a big problem. Edelweiss is already earning quite a bit from the its school/teen clothing line and accessories.

Leo

O wait, just noticed Takuma Kawashima's comment from another blog post. The equipments are in fact FREE so Edelweiss is not earning anything from it. This is just screwed up! Hope Kondansha will allow it. This is one of the best free marketing they will ever get other than Kotaku.com's articles.

Wolf Baginski

I can see there being a bit of "stop until we sort something out" happening. Japanese companies do vary but they seem less hostile to fan creativity than US companies.

Takuma Kawashima

@ Leo

Just to clarify that: the mesh uniform (female and male version) was always available for free, both in the store and on the marketplace. What you did have to pay for though was the attack gear aka that chainsaw-like blade thingie you need to play the game. In a way, Moeka only charged for the animations she made and the amazing scripting that went into the weapon.

Don't get me wrong, I don't support the violation of IP rights in either world but I think she was pretty fair in how she handled it considering that outside Japan hardly anyone knew of Attack on Titan before she brought it to SL. So I'm pretty much on the fence about the whole thing.

My wife and I both bought the complete gear when it was released cause it's really awesome. But we decided neither to blog it nor to post pictures on our flickr streams because of our concerns regarding copyright.

Pussycat Catnap

It should be more surprising when these things don't happen than when they do.

That said, US fandom has a long history of 'informal agreements' with the IP holders thanks to trekkies hammering a lot of the headway. I'm not sure if that same tradition exists in Japan - particularly when it comes to fans who are more international (I gather the SL sim was Japanese, but many users of it were from abroad).

Most IP holders will get aggressive, to avoid losing trademarks and other brand control. Others will enter feedback loops with fans that help develop the product (Trekkies). But despite how well known the Star Trek fandom is around the world - I suspect they are still the exception to the rule.

That said, SL is still full of fandom from a variety of other IPs:

Avatar, Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar, Dr. Who.
- All of these Sci Fi, all but one American.

Gor
- XXX fantasy fandom.

And I've seen what seemed to be anime knockoffs here and there, though I don't know my anime so well. In the furry community there are a LOT of places to get Pokemon avatars (though I've maybe only once ever seen anyone wearing one).

One benefit of SL being more obscure is that much of this IP remains under the radar...

There is also a growing amount of 'comic book fandom' avatars, and those companies are known to get very litigious... (LLs would be wise to pro-actively knock out this one sector of fandom, given lawsuits that have happened elsewhere).

What has surprised me is that, unless I just missed it, I have never seen any Hogwarts or Hunger Games fandom in SL.

Oh and lest I forget, we have seen at least one official IP enter SL with avatars and content for fans: Gossip Girl.
- No idea if there were others.

I do wonder if the sim in question being covered in this blog resulted in the company finding out.

CronoCloud Creeggan

Pussycat, there's a ton of Hogwarts fandom in SL. Just put Hogwarts into SL search.

But I did expect this to happen, especially after it got mentioned on NWN.

I do know of one Japanese company that at one time DID have official content in SL, that being Atlus.

Pienaar

I am late to the discussion, sorry. Here is another short post on the topic: http://sl-playinstinct.blogspot.be/2013/07/what-happened-to-attack-on-titan-fan.html

Attack on titan season 2

just noticed Takuma Kawashima's comment from another blog post. The equipments are in fact FREE so Edelweiss is not earning anything from it. This is just screwed up! btw did anyone know about season 2 ?

m still waiting for two and for all who r waiting Well there we rumors that Attack on titan season 2 will b out in june 2014 but they were wrong :’( as it was just attack on titan dubbed version but you know what ? there is good news too they will release two attack on titan movies too :D

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