A hilarious article in the New York Times seeks to claim Nintendo is advocating music piracy, with the comments of the Animal Crossing's notorious trouble causer and wandering vagabond, KK Slider causing intellectual property uproar.
The New York Times' Tom Zeller Jr wrote, “...the music industry - another purveyor of digital goods - could not have been very happy when bloggers last week began sharing screen grabs from a popular new Nintendo game, which includes, among its many characters, a guitar-toting puppy who seems to extol the virtues of file-sharing.”
The offending phrase? Slider comments, “Those industry fat cats try to put a price on my music, but it wants to be free.” Immediately this was jumped upon as evidence that Nintendo is an advocate of peer-to-peer file sharing, a disrespctor of IP.
“People can read a lot into a little," explained NoA head of communications Perrin Kaplan, "but musician K.K. Slider - a guitar-playing cartoon dog - is saying only that he's a free spirit who cannot be bought and sold for any amount of money,” going on to explain “...that K.K. wanted his music to be free in the sense of being "freed from his guitar, free from any constraints. As a dog, it's understandable that he would not want to deal with any 'fat cats.' "
And herein lies the point. Anyone who's played Animal Crossing will be well aware that the game is riddled with terrible puns. From bug-catching to fishing and every piece of interaction experienced, some character at some point is making a bad pun.
Though of course, Nintendo's response is a little disingenuous. Of course the character is referring to the MP3 file-sharing scene, though in a tongue-in-cheek way enabling his pun. Simply, it wasn't very well thought out, but then you try coming up with a pun for a musical dog after spending the last year of your life writing puns about other animals... However, the assertion that Nintendo is actively advocating file-sharing is, without question, ridiculous.
Indeed, any watcher of the games industry will be aware that Nintendo has always been at the forefront of IP protection, often safeguarding the property of other companies in its efforts. In fact, Nintendo's litigious bent has often gone too far, with some highly-publicised cases seeing pre-teen Pokemon fansite owners under the cost of illegal usage of Nintendo imagery.