Steam announced its new user-interface in 2019, which changed the look of the platform and let users create custom art for the games – even Nintendo games.
A site to host all of this custom art was made, SteamGridDB, a database for all Steam games where users can post their own version of a game’s box art and banner, making the site thrive in creativity and original art.
This eventually led users to make some really humorous banners like this one, which I bet Hideki Kamiya saw and immediately blocked the person that made it on Twitter, while getting angry at himself for laughing:
Steam users greatly enjoyed this system and started using it for the games in their library, including the non-Steam ones.
For those unaware, Valve lets users add non-Steam games to their library, which includes games from other platforms — or emulated titles, the latter of which is what provoked Nintendo’s ire.
Nintendo saw the original box art for some of their games being used and issued a DMCA to the custom art site, prompting them to take down any artwork owned by the company.
The site’s creators did manage to leave the fan artwork untouched, at the behest from Nintendo, they seemingly did not care about original fan art.
This of course only lasted for a while and creators promptly went back to uploading copyrighted material, because Nintendo surely can’t sue everyone – I hope.
The reasoning behind the original takedowns was Nintendo thought it could lead to “customer confusion”, which is nonsensical, as the site never offered anything related to piracy or said that Steam was offering these games.
Something that has been observed over the years is that Nintendo is aggressive with copyright.
Earlier this year the company sued Comfort Food Video Games, a one-man endeavor in archiving old game magazines and manuals, like a Super Mario 64 strategy guide. The strategy guide in question was exclusive to Japan and hasn’t been sold commercially for decades.
Nintendo fans can now rest easy, as the likeness of Mario™ and Link© have been thoroughly protected from the hands of those miscreants making custom box art.