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Censorship Entertainment Games

Nintendo Apologizes to SuicideGirls 423

Posted by Zonk
from the doing-the-right-thing dept.
As a follow up to the unfortunate incident on Wednesday, thanks to emfra (and others) who pointed out that BoingBoing has Nintendo's Apology Letter to the SuicideGirls site up. They even went so far as to offer up a free game system and game to the site owner. So alls well that end's well...but not before Penny Arcade had a chance to comment.
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Nintendo Apologizes to SuicideGirls

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  • by Isca (550291) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:37AM (#10662407)
    Some of us are behind firewalls at work :)
    • I tried, but it's already /.ed.

      Man that was fast...
    • by marktaw.com (816752) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:41AM (#10662443) Homepage
      Hello,

      We would like to apologize to you and to those who frequent the suicidegirls.com website for inadvertently contacting you about a fan posting on the website.

      We know that many of our fans are old enough to make their own choice about what they want to view on the Internet. We value the support of our fans and we respect their decisions. The letter was sent as part of an ongoing Nintendo program to aggressively protect our younger consumers from the hundreds of sexually-explicit sites each year that use Nintendo properties to attract children. We are proud of our efforts in this area. Unfortunately, the site posting identified in our letter was targeted by mistake.

      As a gesture of goodwill, we would like to offer you (and RuneLateralus) a free Nintendo video game system and game of your choice. (...)

      In addition, we would appreciate it if you could provide us with contact information for RuneLateralus, or have him contact us directly, so that we may apologize to him. We would be glad to send him a game and system of his choice through you as well, since we do not have his contact information.

      Sincerely,
      Christie Hamilton
      Nintendo of America Inc.
      Consumer Service Department
      • by skyshock21 (764958) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:28AM (#10662810)
        "a free Nintendo video game system and game of your choice. (...)"
        Free system of your choice eh? She should ask them if she can have that Super Famicom CD ROM prototype I drooled about in Nintendo Power when I was 9.
      • by Randolpho (628485) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:39AM (#10662899) Homepage Journal
        Now that we have the whole story, I think we can cut Nintendo a little bit of slack. Note the following from the original C&D letter:
        It has come to our client's attention recently that you are using the Nintendo trademark(s)/works in the
        hidden text/visible text/meta tags and/or title and/or links of the above-referenced sexually explicit Web site.
        Note the bolded portions. Then note this quote from the apology letter:
        The letter was sent as part of an ongoing Nintendo program to aggressively protect our younger consumers from the hundreds of sexually-explicit sites each year that use Nintendo properties to attract children. We are proud of our efforts in this area. Unfortunately, the site posting identified in our letter was targeted by mistake.
        What Nintendo did was try to protect children from porn-site google-spoofing. I know every one of you has done an innocent search for, say, "dog food brands", and come up with hundreds of porn links, usually on the first page, often the first link! I think what Nintendo was trying to do is a good thing, not a bad thing; unfortunately, they targeted a legitimate porn site rather than a google-spoofer.

        It was a mistake, and they recognized it and fessed up. That in and of itself takes balls, and I salute Nintendo for it. I think the rest of us should calm down about it. I understand the desire to knee-jerk and think the man is out to get us, but I think the truth, in this case, is a little more mundane.
      • by Alzheimers (467217) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:45AM (#10662952)
        is imaginging poor Christie Hamilton, a member of the Consumer Service Department, specificly offering a free console to the online identity "RuneLateralus". She didn't even try to pretend it was a real name by putting a space between the two words!

        "Is that Rune or Ms. Lateralus? Ohh....ooook...."

        You almost get the feeling that if Christie had asked what level her half-elven ranger was, she wouldn't have to stop and think before answering...
      • by AvantLegion (595806) on Friday October 29, 2004 @10:14AM (#10663192) Journal
        P.S. - You may pick up your free game systems at Nintendo of America headquarters in Redmond, WA.

        Please bring the girls.

      • by spiritraveller (641174) on Friday October 29, 2004 @11:15AM (#10663808)
        Don't trust them Suicide Girls!

        It's just a ruse so that they can get RuneLateralus's home address and sue him directly...

        DON'T DO IT!

        (I'm joking, but if it were the RIAA or SCO instead of Nintendo, I wouldn't be.)
    • by Perdurabo26 (265403) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:41AM (#10662449)
      You can pick it up at MirrorDot [mirrordot.org].
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:05AM (#10662642)
      Someone really needs to write a HOWTO on getting around employer's firewalls and Internet monitoring, if they haven't already. Spoiler: run sshd and an HTTP proxy (apache or squid) on a spare box at home. Have sshd listen on port 443. SSH from work to home; forward a port from your desktop PC at work to your HTTP proxy at home. Configure your browser to use the proxy over the forwarded port. Benefits: your employer can't easily snoop your Internet traffic or control where you go. Hazards: suspicious traffic on port 443 may alert employer's network snoops. Obstacles: your ISP blocking incoming port 443, your employer's firewall blocking HTTPS access to your ISP. Difficulty: four out of five. Success rate: ? Unknown, but it works for me, and my employer is very paranoid.
  • Nintendo (Score:5, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:38AM (#10662413) Journal
    Sounds like Nintendo did the right thing after messing up. Time to forgive and forget.

    Oh wait.. this is Slashdot :)
    • Re:Nintendo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:54AM (#10662561) Journal
      *SIGH* This really wasn't meant to be funny. Or at least it was only meant as a funny way to make a serious point. I am a skeptical personal. But sometimes, you just have to take something at face value. Accepting apologies allows reconciliation. Not accepting apologies means we will always be at war with each other... see 99% of the world. Nintendo did something stupid. They apologized and made an attempt at correction and reconciliation. I have a lot of respect for that. Yet, it seems like it is human nature to be vindictive. And it also seems to be in the nature of Slashdot to be vindictive even when folks here were not personally involved in the original wrong.
      • Re:Nintendo (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You should stick to the jokes you get depressing when you get serious....
      • There is not much content to my post here. I was looking to say exactly what you said and rather than post redundant I will just say. Right on, 100%. Nintendo realized they were in err and Nintendo apologized (even issuing product as a goodwill gesture). By accepting the apology runelatus can show that he is a good upstanding moral person who believes in proper conduct in society. Thus he can cause a dent in the perception of SGs' audience.
      • Re:Nintendo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ubergrendle (531719) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:32AM (#10662831) Journal
        Paraphrashing Ganhdi, "if we rely upon eye-for-an-eye justice, the whole world will end up blind."

        Corporations are big, confusing entities. They're byzantine. Sometimes one individual, or team, or department, or DIVSION, exercise a strategy inconsistent or in competition with the corporation's main objective. How many times have you gone to work, looked at a project, and wondered "what the HELL are they doing?!?!?".

        In this case, cooler heads prevailed and the situation was rectified. I don't think that Nintendo should be penalised for correcting a mistake. They were even gracious about it.
        • Re:Nintendo (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dyolf Knip (165446)
          Indeed. And it looks like this apology wasn't a boilerplated item, either. Normally, when a big company backs down from a major IP snafu, their statementes are more of the "Well, you're still an naughty criminal, but out of sheer altruism we'll let you live for now" variety; basically insulting you under the guise of "We're sorry". So to see a real mea culpa and a request for additional contact info so they can do some _more_ apologizing is rare in the extreme. Kudos to Nintendo on this.
        • Re:Nintendo (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coed (8203)
          Paraphrashing Ganhdi, "if we rely upon eye-for-an-eye justice, the whole world will end up blind."

          The reason I hate that quote so much is that it makes no sense. An eye for an eye means that everyone who goes around poking eyes out will be blind. Not the whole world. Just the eye-pokers.

          • Re:Nintendo (Score:3, Funny)

            by fossa (212602)

            Let's assume that you need at least one eye to successfully poke the eye of another. After poking a single eye, the eye-poker is now one-eyed, having given an eye for justice, but can still poke. The eye-poker's eye won't be removed until he is caught. This is the key point, and it allows the one-eyed (or two-eyed) eye-poker to poke as many eyes as she can until someone stops her. So it is possible for a clever eye poker to poke many more eyes than her two eye quota that she would at first appear to be limi

    • Re:Nintendo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gamgee5273 (410326) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:21AM (#10662758) Homepage Journal
      I think what's important to note is that it was Nintendo's lawyers who contacted SG, not Nintendo. My guess is that someone from Nintendo of America has chewed out someone at the lawfirm royally by now...
  • by marktaw.com (816752) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:38AM (#10662419) Homepage
    This was a stealth marketing ploy on the part of Nintendo.

    "Hey, hot goth chicks like Nintendo games, how can we publicize this fact? I know, let's send them a nasty letter from our lawyers and 200,000 geeks will start to associate hot goth chicks with Nintendo."

    And you all fell for it.
    • by D-Cypell (446534) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:46AM (#10662491)
      Nintendo Marketing Guy #1: "Why dont we create an elaborate ploy to associate hot goth chicks with Nintendo?"

      Nintendo Marketing Guy #2: "GREAT IDEA!! Thats much better than Magic Mushroom munching italian plumbers.... get the lawyers on it"

      Seems fairly sensible to me!
    • by fatwreckfan (322865) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:52AM (#10662546)
      Except that the user that posted the names of those games was a guy [suicidegirls.com]. That doesn't meet my definition of a "hot goth chick."
    • I think it's a conspiracy. One assumes at least some of the 200k geeks will pay to see the hot goth chicks naked. They both benefit.
  • by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:39AM (#10662425)
    and checking out the suicide girls website...

    I'd like to know why Nintendo's Lawyers are looking at goth-porn. That would seem far more damaging than a goth-porn site mentioning they like Nintendo games.

    but what do I know.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:40AM (#10662440)
    I like to dress up as a woman in public and tip custard over my head. Then I come home and play Mario 64 for 3 hours, I really need some professional psychiatric help.

    Yours faithfully,

    A.Nutter

    Dear Nutter,

    Yes you do need help. Mario 64 is crap.

    Yours faithfully,

    Your shrink
  • by Phixxr (794883) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:41AM (#10662454)
    I'm glad that Nintentdo is attempting to protect their trademarked property from mis-use by porn sites. Obviously they don't want you googling zelda and getting farmsex.com.

    I think they've handled this in a most professional, and logical manner. Something that cannot be said for most large entertainment companies these days.

    -phixxr

    • Nintendo stepped way over the line and was utterly wrong. If someone mentions that X and Y are her favorite video games, that is not mis-use. I think in the end, it was a case of lawyers getting caught with their pants down in their zealotry.
    • by jdreed1024 (443938) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:57AM (#10662583)
      I think they've handled this in a most professional, and logical manner. Something that cannot be said for most large entertainment companies these days.

      Seriously. They didn't even blame it on an intern, or outsourcing, or anything. They didn't try to pull the "Well, we know we were right, but we're going to do you a favor and back down anyway" thing. And in offering one of their products, they're letting the person choose what they want. As opposed to the RIAA, which dumps poorly selling albums in inner-city schools and calls it good.

    • by Lisandro (799651) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:58AM (#10662592)
      Just what i thought. They did something perfectly understandable, fucked up in the process, realized it *and* apologized promptly. And make up for the hassle with a game system, which you might think (or not) that it's cheap, but again, no one forced them.

      Kudos to Nintendo.
      • While I agree that Nintendo took appropriate action, I think that they realized that they needed to dispose of the situation very quickly once it started hitting the major news sites. And Penny Arcade. :)
  • Penny Arcade Comment (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:42AM (#10662463)
    Hoochie Coochie Man

    Fri, October 29 2004 - 4:30 AM
    by: Tycho

    I'd say it's better than even odds you've seen the story, either at VE or Slashdot. The long and short of it is that someone said they liked a couple Nintendo games in their SuicideGirls profile - and, in a parody of the reasonable universe, lawyers bared their teeth. I have a hunch we're talking about some kind of perverted spider application, an automated process with a bottomless appetite for filth, but it's funny to think tracking down meaningless infractions like this is some guy's fucking job.

    I guess I should say a few things in advance of this discussion. SuicideGirls is a site where, among other things, girls take off their clothes. I'm not saying you should go there or not go there. They've asked to advertise here before, and while I don't have any great qualm with titillating media I didn't know if it was the best match for the site. It may be that my scheme for rating pornography has been damaged by the Internet, but the site is actually pretty tasteful compared to other sites I have subscribed to, many of which are filmed in barns.

    Now, with the caveat out of the way, I am not without reason: I can understand why Nintendo as a corporate entity might not want their juggernaut brands associated with teen coochie. And indeed, if we were talking about photosets with explicit connections to their brands I would be less likely to ridicule them for it. I can even envision a scenario where a girl might have a Mario tattoo or something, and they might have something legitimate to say in that case, but honestly now I'm just indulging some kind of fantasy.

    At this point, I don't care if it was a spider or some asshole at a terminal somewhere. When we did our Strawberry Shortcake comic, I was able to come to terms with the fact that there was an interpretation of my country's laws that prohibited what we had done. I didn't like it, but I could connect the dots and we relented. This, on the other hand, is merely stupid and evil. For better or worse, their company is built on these ancient, perennial brands that sprout up again on each new system. The reason it works is only partially because they tend to make excellent games - they deal gently with those classics, modernizing what they need, and somehow manage to retain a sense of wonder. But Nintendo's success hinges on the fact that their characters have become cultural icons - and being cultural icons means that we as gamers take an ownership in those franchises. They're a part of our language and, if you're the sort of person who reads Penny arcade, your culture.

    It's not legal ownership, no - but we're heavily invested in those characters. Which I guess is a crime.

    Update: Or, maybe it's not. Someone at Nintendo figured out this was stupid - BoingBoing has the letter they sent out.

    (CW)TB out.
  • That's great -- my sister-in-law actually is a trademark attorney, and once spent her days doing nothing but writing C&D letters... I immediately sent the link to the PA strip to her.

  • The letter? (Score:4, Funny)

    by slimak (593319) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:48AM (#10662507)
    Does anyone else need to moderate the reposted letter? I can post it here again in case any of the many above posts have the moderation maxed out at +5. Normally I don't repost articles, but there seems to be large demand (or at least supply) for this one. Please advise.
  • I see . . . . . (Score:2, Interesting)

    I was wondering why Penny Arcade was running like crap. I figured I'd check the overnight Slashdot stories and come back later. Seeing the top story answered that question.

    Oh well, time to go help /. suicidegirls . . . . .
  • by Dracolytch (714699) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:50AM (#10662521) Homepage
    What, slashdotting wasn't enough, so now we're including their e-mail address so we can mailbomb them too? I mean, I know we're a secret socity trying to destroy the Internet one website at a time... But come ON! That's just EVIL.

    ~D
  • by koi88 (640490) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:54AM (#10662553)

    I hope Nintendo's apologies don't come too late.
    You know, these emotionally labile personalities (suicide girls) take these things to heart...

    Don't do it! Life is so beautiful!
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:54AM (#10662557) Homepage
    Whoa, a flash of corporate intelligence. That's so unusual anymore.

    It was a loser but at least give them credit for recognizing it and trying to make amends. Short term it's ugly either way, but this will limit the long term damage. There's no story now.

    Good job, Nintendo. Bite the bullet, apologize, move on.

  • Enough is enough.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Alci12 (698263)
    SCO or Microsoft is one thing but /.ing hot goth chick sites..man thats just low.
  • by minus_273 (174041) <aaaaa&SPAM,yahoo,com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:57AM (#10662589) Journal
    The nintendo apology link goes to a site that carries pornographic ads. WTF is wrong with the editors and the MORON who submitted the story! Put a warning there at least.
  • Kudos to Nintendo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by akheron01 (637033) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:58AM (#10662597) Homepage
    Nintendo just exhibited some real good form there. Corporate scruples are becoming a rarity these days, glad to see they still exist.
  • by dnaumov (453672) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:03AM (#10662629)
    ... all the traffic this little incident has caused? SuicideGirls has now been slashdotted TWICE within a week :)
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:03AM (#10662634) Homepage
    Today the State Bar Association moved to disbar Attorney Christie Hamilton for conduct unbecoming of an attorney.

    A spokesman for the Bar Association was quoted as saying, "Apologize?! If lawyers start giving apologies for simply doing their jobs, our entire legal system will collapse as everyone will simply get along rather than continue pointless and expensive litigation."

  • It's the sound of a million /.'ers uploading their porn collections to their websites and namechecking every Nintendo franchise ever.

    I can't think of a better way to get free consoles. Terabytes of pr0n is *way* better than any pyramid scheme :)
  • Response (Score:5, Funny)

    by LittleGuy (267282) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:09AM (#10662665)
    Dear Nintendo:

    This law offices represent SuicideGirls. Ever since your letter of apology, they have experience a dangerous swing of confidence and self-respect. As a result, they can no longer see themselves as 'SuicideGirls' and prefer the term 'MildlyDespondentWomen'.

    We are asking for a settlement of one billion dollars for emotional non-stress, lack of pain and suffering, and character assassination.

    And a pony. a Shetland Pony. /s/
    Dewey, Cheetham & Howe
  • by miyako (632510) <miyako&gmail,com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:11AM (#10662673) Homepage Journal
    Nintendo has always seemed sensible legally to me. I'm not saying they are alturistic or anything, but you just don't hear of them being evil, like one hears of Sony or Microsoft being evil.
    From the letter, I can understand why they did what they did, after all, didn't zelda.com used to be (still is?) a porn site? For most kids, Nintendo is their first introduction to games, and it wouldn't be good for a kid to google for "pikachu" only to find out that some porn site had managed to come up high on the results list.
    Somewhat off topic, but it seems to me that a lot of their newer games are targetting older gamers.
    The recent entries to the zelda and metroid series seem to have been targetted at older players, mostly by virtue of their difficulty.
  • classy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by minus_273 (174041) <aaaaa&SPAM,yahoo,com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:12AM (#10662678) Journal
    Reading the letter, i have to say that i like nintendo more as a company. Rarely do we see anyone thesedays admint a mistake apologize and then offer a jesture of goodwill to make amends. I think it was a really classy move on the part of Nintendo. I have alwasy liked their systems and games. It is nice to see that there are some reasonable people working there. I think nintnedo handeled this really well and in the end, people will either simply forget about it or bring it up when defneding nintendo instead of the other way around.
    Kudos.
  • Of course, the best thing would be to avoid situations like this in general, you would think people would pay more attention to what was going on when sending out C&D letters.

    But, they did the right thing and fessed up to their mistake, something companies rarely do anymore. Way to go Nintendo.
  • by Moloch666 (574889) <jeff-junk AT tds DOT net> on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:17AM (#10662724) Journal
    Just to really throw them off, I would ask for an original Nintendo system.
  • by MrNemesis (587188) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:53AM (#10663017) Homepage Journal
    ...namechecks of the Suicide Girls appeared all over Nintendo's global website. Nintendo are hoping SG will sue, and then retract and offer free samples of their products by way of condolence.
  • Just to summarize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phorm (591458) on Friday October 29, 2004 @10:15AM (#10663201) Journal
    Nintendo sends C&D nastygram to SG for use of various names of their games, where an SG member mentioned being a fan of said games

    Coverage on Slashdot, Penny-Arcade, etc on this debacle

    Nintendo goes "oh sh*t" at the negetive PR, fully owns up, and offers free (Nintendo brand) gaming system of choice to some of those involved at SG.

    SO basically, SG comes up with a whole crapload of attention, extra site traffic, and some free gaming systems. Now, since the site didn't get nuked I'm assuming that a full slashdotting didn't happen. If at least some of the visitors end up signing up - offsetting the bandwidth cost - they benefit not only from the free systems but also from the free publicity/extra signups.

    Heck, I sent me GF a link to this, she was looking up some girls' on SG and found their profiles rather cool, wanted to sign up herself. I'd say that I score this one:

    SG:+2 (traffic/signups/game systems)

    Nintendo+1: or 0 (no harm no fowl, but perhaps bonus points for owning up where few would)
    Idiot IP lawers:-1 (for doing the right job in the wrong place).
    • Heck, I sent me GF a link to this, she was looking up some girls' on SG and found their profiles rather cool, wanted to sign up herself.
      Dear Penthouse, I don't normally write letters like this, but...

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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