Tecmo US has issued a legal writ against a bunch of hobbyist coders for undressing the curvy female forms of the Dead or Alive girls, it was revealed yesterday.
The mastermind pair, amusingly and embarrassingly named by the Ninja Gaiden company as Mike Greiling of Eden Prairie, Minnesota and Will Glynn from Davie, Florida, for alleged violations of U.S. copyright law and the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The move comes following a private investigation into Ninjahacker.net, the web’s leading portal of undressed videogame ladies.
According to Tecmo, skins for characters from various games had been generated and distributed, often depicting them as being totally naked. And of course Tecmo, a staunch defender of women’s equal rights, found this exploitation unacceptable.
"We believe it is our duty to uphold the integrity of our work," said John Inada, general manager for Tecmo, in a statement. "Hacking of this kind will not be tolerated and we intend to take all necessary measures to protect our intellectual property!"
Tecmo also shows that it’s taking one for the team too, not just throwing its toys out of its pram and gifting a lawyer a new Ferrari. And as Tecmo spokesperson Melody Pfeiffer explains, there's a principle at stake. "Hackers, if they're allowed to do this kind of thing, will be allowed to hack into any game, anywhere. 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."
Well actually, it might be illegal, though it probably isn’t. Jason Schultz, an attorney with the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation points out a few key facts. "This complaint is absurd. The law allows for fair use of other people's copyrighted works without any permission needed, and one of the key things that you're allowed to do is make copies in order to reverse engineer and understand how they work. If they'd offered a competing video game with Tecmo's code in it, it's a legal issue. But here, they have simply offered a way for legitimate game owners to modify how the game looks on their screen. Its like a home customization kit. It's not competing in any way with Tecmo's product. In fact, you have to own Tecmo's product to use this stuff."
And you have to feel sorry for defendant Will Glynn. “Basically, I was hosting this website," he says. "I don't own an Xbox and I wasn't into modding or skinning things.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Tecmo has reacted angrily to DOA hackers.
Though if the company will insist on releasing a humping pillow of all things,
it can only be expected.
As to whether Tecmo’s justice team will prevail in ridding the world of this filth remains to be seen. We’ll keep you updated.