Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

August 23, 2011 -

According to two reports - one on Atari User and another on 8-Bit Rocket, lawyers representing Atari are taking aim at the retro Atari community. The most recent actions on Atari's part include sending a cease and desist letter to atari2600.org, a website that has been registered by Andrew Davie since 2000. For more than a decade Davie has used his site to highlight his non-commercial programming efforts for the classic Atari 2600 console.

Davie Told Atari User that he received a cease and desist letter signed by Atari's SVP & General Counsel, Kristen Keller. The letter demanded that Davie begin making arrangements to hand over his web site - atari2600.org - to them, claiming that the because the domain name contains the Atari brand ("Atari"), in its entirety, they have a legal right to it.

Davie says that he is "disappointed" with Atari's approach to the situation and is considering his position. Clearly, if Davie has owned and operated his web site for over ten years, Atari may have a hard time taking possession of it.

Atari also recently went after Starsoft Berlin, another hobbyist site that creates and promotes demos for the Atari platform.

While the Atari 8-bit enthusiast community doesn't know what Atari is up to with all these lawsuits, some are suggesting that the company is simply cleaning out the barn before bringing many of its classic franchises to new platforms such as mobile devices and social networks.

Thanks to Uncharted NES for the tip.


Comments

Re: Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

I hope he doesn't give in and really sticks it to these bastards

Re: Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

Once again we see that clueless executives and lawyers lashing out at their fans because they do not understand them.

This isn't about protecting a trademark or copyright. This is about a bunch of ignorant lawyers sending C&Ds to anyone who is using their marks without actually doing any research on them.

Of course, what can you really expect from a group of suits who have no clue about the history of the name they have branded themselves with. They do not know the history and are doomed to repeat the failures of previous suits who controlled the name.

Re: Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

That's what i'm thinking, some suit lawyer sees this as a cash grab. It's Nintendo V. Universal all over again.

Re: Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

First: No problem. Second: Anyone else find this ironic seeing how back then ANYONE could make a game for the 2600 community and sell it? Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to treat Atari to a giant shovel to help them with that hole they are digging foir themselves...

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Re: Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

Not really seeing how this works since the 2600 is no longer being manufactured.

Re: Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

Atari In Name Only is not well liked by the 2600 community and this certainly won't help the company's reputation.  This move isn't likely animosity on Atari's part though.   The people running Atari probably don't know anything about the 2600 community.  Heck, the average fan of the Atari 2600 probably knows more about the history of the company than the people running it do.

It is a pity though.  These sites that have been targetted are run by folks outside the US who don't have the resources or capability to defend their (valid) claims so now the 2600 community loses a great resource like atari2600.org and Atari the company gains nothing except more hatred from the retro-gamers who should be their core fanbase. 

Re: Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

I can only describe this as a dick move. I'm not trying to be vulgar or anything of the sort, but it seems my vocabulary does not contain a better expression for Atari's actions.

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I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

Re: Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

Companies are required to protect their trademarks, but you can see a clear problem here - there's no threat at all and the sites are _promoting_ Atari (at least their legacy software) more than anything.

Re: Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

Exactly, I don't get why, when you have such a small niche of retro gamers who want to promote your products, you would decide to go after them ten years later with a letter that says "you better hand over the keys to your site we've been receiving positive advertising from, or else we'll smack you with a legal stick"

 

I just don't get it.

-Austin from Oregon

Feel free to check out my blog.

Re: Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

I don't think the "protecting your trademark" argument could work here. The site existed since 2000 giving Atari plenty of time to take it down. It's not like it just cropped up recently.

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