In May, Tecmo Koei sued popular cracking-group 3DM Game in China for copyright violation. This month, Tecmo Koei announced it had won the lawsuit.
Kotaku reported last year that 3DM’s leader Bird Sister posted on her personal blog, “We just had an internal meeting. Starting at the Chinese New Year, 3DM will not crack any single-player games.” Oddly, she added that the group would revisit this decision in 2017—a year that has ended disastrously.
In early 2017, Tecmo Koei’s lawyers sent 3DM a takedown warning, demanding the group delete the downloadable content uploaded on its forums and make a public apology for copyright infringement. Hao Gamers reports that Bird Sister apparently cut off cracked versions of Tecmo Koei’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13, but didn’t exactly seem keen to say sorry.
At that time, she wrote (via Hao Gamers), “...why does a Japanese company, Koei have the copyright of this game when the game is obviously a derivation from the book Romance of the Three Kingdoms written by Chen Shou. I think Chinese gaming companies should try taking back the copyright.”
Well, Chen Shou lived between 233-297, and those stories are now in the public domain. Creating a video game based on them, however, is something that can be and is copyrighted.
According to Tecmo Koei’s press release about the suit (via 4Gamer), the Japanese game maker filed a lawsuit this May to have 3DM cease distributing pirated versions of Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13, Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence, Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence - Ascension, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires and Samurai Warriors 4-II.
The Chinese courts ruled completely in Tecmo Koei’s favor, awarding the equivalent of $245,000 dollars in damages.
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