Cops Raid Square Enix Over SNK Manga Parody

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Police have raided the offices of Square Enix over a complaint by SNK that popular Square Enix published manga Highscore Girl infringed its copyrights by including characters from its various games without the proper blood oaths.

Officers from the Osaka police’s economic crimes department conducted searches on Square Enix’s head office as well as those of subsidiary companies after characters from such SNK properties as King of Fighters and Samurai Spirits appeared in Highscore Girl, a romantic comedy set in the nineties and featuring a protagonist obsessed with the fighting games of the era.

Ominously, they plan to use the material to “determine the culpability of creators and staff responsible,” suggesting even mangaka Rensuke Oshikiri may face charges.

The manga is unambiguous in its (named) inclusion of characters from various fighting games in the main story, though it would appear Capcom has already settled the matter, and includes a cheery acknowledgement of all copyrights used on the endpage:

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Square Enix has “voluntarily” withdrawn all copies of the manga (including earlier volumes) and completely suspended its digital distribution (although it generously maintains “owners” of digital editions will still be able to read them), but insists it has done nothing wrong:

“This incident occurred during ongoing discussions with SNK Playmore. We do not acknowledge the alleged copyright infringement, but with the ongoing trouble we have issued a voluntary recall.”

The manga’s serialisation will be unaffected, as will its upcoming anime adaptation, they say.

Both the conduct of SNK and Square Enix have been subject to criticism
– SNK’s involvement of police and spurning of free publicity in an apparently disproportionate escalation, and Square Enix’s egregious blunder in not obtaining permission and apparently keeping SNK waiting over a year as negotiations over the matter dragged out.


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    Avatar of Palmtop Twintails
    Comment by Palmtop Twintails
    07:22 07/08/2014 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    So a copyright claim, which is a civil matter, warrants a raid by police?

    Good to see the Japanese police diligently going after those dangerous criminals.

    Avatar of Dark Mage
    Comment by Dark Mage
    09:24 07/08/2014 # ! Good (+0.4)

    The Japanese police apparently have very little to do.
    But yes this should not have involved the police except for a single officer to deliver a court summons.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:42 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe the men in Osaka are avoiding women like the plague so that they don't get arrested on totally-not-trumped-up sexual harassment charges, all the motorists are obeying all the traffic laws and not going so much as 0.1m/hr faster than the speed limit, and all the local bathhouses (which are not brothels because vaginal sex in not among the services they provide) are paying their "insurance" on time and in full; and as a result of the citizens' obedience of the letter of the law, the Kansai region is in a state of Inverted Wild West where there are too many cops and too few criminals.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:40 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Even that should not have involved the police. Might be different in Japan, but in America court summons delivery is done by lawyers, not the police.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:37 08/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    The police is just there as a messenger i believe. Since in Japan, there's hardly any incident for the police.

    Or maybe it's just another exaggerated title, which is a lot more likely.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:31 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yakuza Task Force STRONG

    Avatar of Conduit
    Comment by Conduit
    05:18 08/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Comparing the Japanese Police to the Yakuza is an insult to mafias everywhere.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:45 08/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Comparing yakuza to the mafia is an insult to organized crime.

    Avatar of Stormwatch
    Comment by Stormwatch
    10:13 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Remove sushi.

    Avatar of caiooa
    Comment by caiooa
    08:41 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Quoting "Professor", of Mad man's caffe

    "Copyright infringement can fall into both civil and criminal law in Japan. Note that the police can't go arresting or raiding on their own-- they can take action only when the victim or its representative files a suit."

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:56 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not like the U.S. then, where it sounds like cops go "civilian dog hunting" almost every day.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:49 07/08/2014 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Who does not like POSITIVE FREE PUBLICITY?!?! Korean owned SNK, that's who.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:39 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not sure if stupid or... yeah, probably stupid.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:24 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Clearly, the only one stupid around here is YOU. A manga featuring intellectual properties like Fatal Fury actually helps to revive interest in it. You dumb fuck.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:53 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    A manga featuring intellectual properties WITH THE PROPER PERMISSIONS like Fatal Fury actually helps to revive interest in it.

    If you must, at least make a mock-version of it so it's reminiscent of the original.

    Comment by Anonymous

    @09:07
    you're aware that you're a fucking faggot, right? touchscreen games don't create interest in old IPs.

    Avatar of caiooa
    Comment by caiooa

    ...you are aware the cellphone/android games snk launched this year using those characters was top in world sales, right? It's not like they need to "revive interest" in global scale.

    Comment by Anonymous

    This wouldn't be a problem if SE or the artist shot a quick note to SNK asking for permission.

    Don't be a weeaboo and blame Korea for this. It doesn't matter who owns what; any company and its lawyers would have reacted exactly the same way in this situation.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:44 08/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    >gook sympathizer
    Bet you even got yellow fever, you sick fuck. How are those ugly filipino whores? Loser.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:18 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Time to sue SNK for behaving like Team Rocket! That's copyright infringment to Nintendo!

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:40 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hahahahaha, have you ever thought about doing stand-up? Hurrdurr.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:43 09/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    what's the deal with airplane food?

    Comment by Anonymous

    hahaha~, have you ever thought about getting a life? Loser.

    Avatar of Noodlestein
    Comment by Noodlestein
    14:11 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Anon@11:45, Interesting how you know exactly what country the other Anon is from, or are you just blindly pointing your finger.
    Honestly it only make you look a tad handicapped.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:41 08/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    @14:11
    cheeseburguh,
    cheeseburguh,
    u mad, amerifat piggu?

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:21 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Kid?" Somebody's fedora's on a little too tight.

    Comment by Anonymous

    go drink some maple syrup you fat Canadian pig.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Please, do us all a favor and off yourself kid. No one will miss you, I promise you that.

    Comment by Anonymous

    go eat a cheeseburger, you fat american pig

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:50 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    It's worth noting that last year SNK threatened to sue the official authorized licenced distributor of their own Neo Geo console, a remade version of which had many pack games per cartridge, and supported original Neo Geo accessories. Maybe toss in a bit about that here in the story, SNK maybe is looking a little trigger happy with the big shoes and lawyers.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:42 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    You do realize the reason they sued the Neo Geo X makers is because they were contractually obligated to STOP making and selling it, yet they kept doing it anyway, right?

    Plus the Neo Geo X was a terrible console, anyway. You'd expect at least a remade Neo Geo to be AS GOOD as the original, but that thing was considerably worse.

    Avatar of Dark Mage
    Comment by Dark Mage
    09:33 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    It seems SNK has become a trademark troll who's business case is to sue anyone even remotely suspected of infringing on trademarks they own.

    Avatar of TsuKuYoMi
    Comment by TsuKuYoMi
    07:21 07/08/2014 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Was gonna skip the anime...

    NOT ANYMORE!

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    05:23 07/08/2014 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Copyright is pretty evil.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:52 07/08/2014 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    It's become one of free speech's biggest enemies.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Here we go, people just throwing around the phrase "free speech" when they don't know anything about it.
    Free speech is voicing your own opinion about something without the fear of persecution from the government or others.

    And this case? Using intellectual property without asking the legal owners is just theft; it's not serious theft, but it's still theft.
    This has nothing to do with free speech.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:37 07/08/2014 # ! Good (+0.8)

    I dont think the name drops of capcom characters equates to stealing those characters. If it did, then the same could be said for a ton of literature referencing other literature, music and movies. A creative work can bring up other creative works so long as it is not actually passing them off as its own or directly using content from them.

    A good example is music used in video media. If the name of a song or someones opion of it is brought up in a videa without permision, I dont think this should be considered intellectual property violation. If said song is actually played without permission, then it would be.

    This is not the case here, the characters are brought up as jokes. The art and story is original.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:51 08/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Did you read what I was saying in my music example? I said the actual playing of the song would equate to copyright infringement. Naturally singing it counts as well. What I was trying to say is discussing said song should always be entirely legal. I consider the street fighter content in this manga to be a form of visual discussion..

    I realize manga gets a bit stickier because it has a visual component but it isn’t like the artist is tracing capcom artwork. The gameplay footage here is drawn entirely by him making it different from an actual video containing gameplay footage. Additionally, the author is not making an original street fighter manga without copyright permission. He is merely referencing aspects of its gameplay within his original setting.

    Cammy doesn’t show up as a character in his story but as a character within the streetfighter game his characters sometimes talk about and play.

    I realize lots of companies sue over things like this and that there are legal grounds (as much as I disagree with them). Disney is a classic example. Anyone explicitly depicting Mickey is going to get in trouble even when he appears as a parody. And there are instances where depiction of copyright characters is used to sell cheap knock-offs. This is when such things should be enforced. Sometimes fan projects also go large scale and copyrights squish them out. This is their right, as unfortunate as it may be, because the projects themselves are entirely build on and around the creative worlds that are trademarked.

    Here, however, the work is not built on such worlds and characters. It merely depicts them in some of its gags in the same way a book might reference another book or describe how its characters reacted to and experienced a specific movie without asking the owners for permission to do so.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Square Enix and the artist are making money from another company's copyrighted material (regardless of what it is) without proper permission. That's grounds enough to take legal action. I'm not saying it's moral, because it's not, but that's just how the legal system works.

    As for music, there's a reason The Birthday Song isn't sung will-nilly in shows and movies. If it is, then it means they got the rights to do so by the owners.
    In terms of user videos? There's so many videos going up at once that there's no efficient or reliable way to enforce that rule without looking like indiscriminate Nazis.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:53 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    MEANWHILE IN THE USA
    http://blog.twitch.tv/2014/08/3136/

    Avatar of Dark Mage
    Comment by Dark Mage
    09:36 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Originally copyright was made to protect authors but it's long since been highjacked by corporate interests and serves them.

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    21:05 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    @Char

    You've got that wrong. Originally copyright was made to take rights away from authors and give it to big publishing companies so they could minimize the profits from authors while maximizing their own.

    Still does a pretty good job at that even with all those new media, like music and movies.

    Comment by Anonymous

    If you've ever created anything worth of any value and it's paying YOUR bills, you wouldn't be saying anything.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:58 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    kek kek kek

    What wrong, mad no one buys your shit indie games?

    Comment by Anonymous

    >confirmed for buttmad indie dev

    kill urself fag

    Comment by Anonymous

    Wow, you're pretty dumb
    No one's saying anything about indie games spaz

    Comment by Anonymous

    "kek kek kek"?

    Go dive with concrete shoes dude.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:46 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    If I could get money for something I've done 25 years ago, I wouldn't complain either.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:33 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I'm actually with Chen-04 on this.

    I'm not against people being like "Hey, I made this." however.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:26 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Now I just want to read this! It's like the Streisand Effect

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:48 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    marketing successful.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:52 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Don't forget to watch Pupipo too.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:46 07/08/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    yes! someone actually noticed or at least mentioned it.





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