Poll: Should IP Owners Allow Fan Projects?

Game development team and My Little Pony fans Mane6 were working on a pretty cool looking fighting game based on Hasbro's license.  The only problem?  It's Hasbro's license and Hasbro said "no."

Same thing happened last December to an unauthorized My Little Pony MMO.

You see this a lot.  Uber fans express their love of a particular property by making a video game (or comic, or animation) based on it.  They dump a ton of time into these projects only to be slapped with a cease and desist from the copyright holder.

It's a damn shame because many of these projects look like they could be pretty cool.  Which begs the question: Should IP owners allow fan projects like the My Little Pony fighting game?  Should the Hasbros of the world just sit back and enjoy the free advertising?  Maybe you think such projects should be permissible under certain restrictions such as being not-for-profit and clearly labeled as unofficial?

Or maybe you think fans should just create their own characters.

Vote in the poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments or in an email to SuperPACpodcast@gmail.com.  EZK and I will discuss this topic and reveal the results of the poll on next week's podcast.

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen is not a brony but that's probably only because he's never seen the show.

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  1. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "I guess my phrasing could have been better but all three options are "up to the IP owner."  The response options are not meant to imply policy or law, just how you think IP owners should handle such fan projects.

    I considered a "case-by-case basis" response option but that doesn't tell us much in the form of a poll so I left it off in the hope that readers would detail such opinions in the comments or email.


    Andrew Eisen

  2. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Where's the 'it's all up to the IP owner' option?

    The poll options suggest the IP owner shouldn't have a say in how their property is used.

  3. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Its all added value, you should be allowed to generate some revenue to pay for making the project(web space,bandwidth,ect,ect) but for the most part if you do not want to get sued then do not take donations or anything.


    We need laws to protect fan projects and make it easier for I owners to take said projects and resale them.

  4. 0
    GrimCW says:

    IIRC though didn't they attack other fan projects some years ago for "Zelda like clones" and end up losing, hence they've been quiet about anything since?

  5. 0
    Kincyr says:

    there shouldn't necessarily be a concrete rule regarding this. IP owners should be allowed to set some restrictions if they choose. there are plenty of IP owners who don't mind fanworks for non-profit.

    for example, Nintendo officially does not care about fan projects, as long as they are not for profit. they are more than aware of the fangame Zelda Classic since it has been around for years and was even featured on TechTV's The ScreenSavers and EGM magazine

    another example: Valve regularly accepts weapon designs for Team Fortress 2. furthermore, since they even sell them through microtransactions, they share the profits with the designers.

    I even know of a group of fansubbers who could have been shut down by the owners of most foreign shows they translate. they were contacted by said owners asking them to remove only one or two movies because they licensed them out for official release in the same region. (yes, they complied) they said absolutely nothing about the other shows (most likely because they were merchandise-driven series, and the unofficial fansubs were leading to more sales)

  6. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    As long as they have no power to stop a project other than saying tis making a profit thus suing  under those vague terms.


    Also their is no such thing as hurting an IP, well other than selling a crappy piece of media for 60$ and that tends to be all on the IP owner.

  7. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I can recall years ago being part of a discussion attempting to acquire some old Midway IP and what there various values were.

    Selling or licensing existing IP can be big bucks for a studio, and its value is based off public perception of the material.  Fan projects can help or hurt depending on how things go, so it makes sense that they would want to keep some control over what other people are doing with it since, eventually, other people playing with their IP might impact their economic fortunes  down the line.

  8. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Bascily its a no profit project, some revenue is not bad but for the most part no profit and the IP is owned by the IP owner to resale as they see fit. We need better law, better GNU that allows the project to be made and the members are listed and credit is given. They have no say in the resale of the project as whatever work they did on it was all free time and given freely.

  9. 0
    GrimCW says:

    Someone never told his lawyers that then.

    Several mods were shut down with C&D's back in '02'ish around the same time Fuckimation assaulted DBZ fan projects and art sites.

  10. 0
    Imautobot says:

    It's my understanding that George Lucas never had any problem with people using Star Wars IP so long as they weren't profiting from it.  This seems like a logical course for pleasing your fans and not allowing yourself to get screwed in the process.  Of course, now that Disney owns the Star Wars IP, who knows what'll happen with that?

  11. 0
    GrimCW says:

    With restrictions obviously since they do need to maintain their rights.

    But going all out on fan projects is practically an assault on the fans themselves, and makes the company out to be straight up money grubbing.

    I don't see how the fighting is magic game was to be of any harm given the show has just as much in the way of cartoon "violence" as the game had (unless i missed something). So as long as they used all original art/sounds why should they have had a problem?

    But then again Hasbro is the company that banned the only mentally handicapped character the show had rather than use it as a learning tool for children.. so tbh no surprise they'd ban harmless fan projects too all in all.


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