Square Enix shuts down Final Fantasy VII web series

[UPDATE] Kickstarter project removed from platform due to intellectual property dispute; production team says it is reaching out to Square Enix in hopes of continuing the campaign.

by

[UPDATE] A statement on the project's Facebook page addresses the "legal interest" Square Enix has shown in the Kickstarter campaign.

"You will have noticed that the Square Enix legal team have taken an interest in our project," reads a line from the statement. "We're in the process of opening up discussions with the team regarding the ongoing status of our project and hopefully the continuation of our Kickstarter campaign."

The original story is below.

A live-action fan film called Final Fantasy VII: The Web Series has been taken off Kickstarter after Square Enix launched an intellectual property dispute, according to the campaign's page.

"Final Fantasy VII: The Web Series (Unofficial Fan Project) is the subject of an intellectual property dispute and is currently unavailable," reads an update to the page.

According to a takedown notice from Square Enix posted on Kickstarter, "the project itself is in infringement of our copyrights and should be removed in its entirety from Kickstarter."

Director Gionata Medeot previously told Kotaku that he was not worried about Square Enix's lawyers attempting to end the project and had even attained full music rights for the project.

The Final Fantasy VII: The Web Series Kickstarter campaign went live on July 22 asking for $400,000 to produce five to six episodes based on the role-playing game.

Discussion

648 comments
azule_gale
azule_gale

I honestly thought the Live action trailer was crap.... i mean, if it were an american blockbuster movie then HORRAY! but it was a foriegn amature-ish film so... yea >_> anybody who liked or had a shred of faith in it needs to be slapped. also to an extent SE is pushing over its fans, however only because the fans drove them to it. see, SE wants to produce NEW FRESH FANTASIES, not the same old FF7 OVER AND OVER you keep asking for ff7, the story has been tapped OUT literally, whats next FINAL FANTASY 7: The Princess Of Wu TAi?? Final Fantasy 7: The Story of Seto?? Let that shit die. god knows SE is trying to. as for lightning that was clearly to feed the fans that crack they seem to be addicted to. and when people were going to leave them, they tossed you a bone (Clouds outfit and sword for lightning when preorderd) and look at you, all complacent. Aye caramba!

aboki808
aboki808

from their facebook page:

Fans,

I am sorry to say that Square Enix has not responded to any of our attempts to contact them. While we continue to reach out to them in a professional way, we would love it if all 16,000 of you could write David Yang (dyang@square-en...ix.com), the public relations manager at Square Enix that specifically deals with Final Fantasy, an email. We want to show Square that there is a huge outpouring of support over this project, and force them to acknowledge that fan projects have a right to exist.

We ask you to be RESPECTFUL, CORDIAL, and PROFESSIONAL. Hate mail is not the goal! Help us garner a professional, serious reputation by reflecting that in your emails to David. We encourage you to post about this campaign on your blogs, on your social media - anywhere you can help us spread the word.

In addition, we've started an online petition which you can find and sign at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ff7thewebseries/ . We'd love it if you did this AND sent an email, but please engage Square at whatever level you feel comfortable.

91210user
91210user

Does anyone get it when SquareEnix and other companies order many fan series to shut down their content and production? It been going on for years and people are still making content only to get it shut down!

BradBurns
BradBurns

I understand that SE was legally in the right to have shut them down. It was pretty obvious that what was happening was illegal.

However, I feel that  Square needs to treat its fans with more care; they always seem to unceremoniously slap their dwindling fanbase across the face whenever they do anything like this. You could let them down with much more grace than that.

Sometimes SE is legally correct (which isn't to say that the laws themselves are just; I don't believe they are), and other times they have no grounds whatsoever yet still threaten their fans. 

I'm reminded of a certain incident when I was a kid where a group of fans were trying to make a Chrono Trigger 3D remake. SE had them shut down even though they weren't profiting from it in any capacity. That was neither legally nor morally just. 

But that was the old Square, the new SE should be grateful anyone is even showing up.


Justforvisit
Justforvisit

Heh, yeah, "FAN" project asking for money....

Me: "Hey, can I draw a Fan Map of Skyrim? I'll only need $1.000.000.000 for this"

Bethesda: "That's OUR Property, that should be OUR money"

Me: "WHY? :O"

pcty
pcty

Square is right, I f you want to make an fan movie go on but don't try to capitalise or ask money on Kickstarter.

lordshodan
lordshodan

cheap shot from Square.


Hideo Kojima did not hire lawyers for stopping the production of Metal Gear Solid Philantropy.  He even watched and enjoyed it.


Square are shooting themselves in the foot.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

Dumbasses.   Making an out-of-your-own-pocket fan series is one thing.  ASKING FOR MONEY FOR IT BRINGS THE LAWYERS.

SunnySkyNL
SunnySkyNL

More and more fan projects are coming out these days, and a lot of those project are better than the Multi million dollar movies Hollywood makes. It shows that fan passion is far more powerful than millions of dollars and taking some iconic pieces from the Original material and screwing up the rest (like resident evil :@) I think that people who do everything they can to bring their favorite game or cartoon to life should get a shot, now I'm not talking about every single fan out there who puts on a plastic costume but take this for example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx-E9pzOFPM

Those people deserve a call to talk about maybe making a Multi million dollar movie. It would make a whole lot more money than that horrible movie from a couple of years ago that's for sure!

G4mBi7
G4mBi7

This has nothing to do with IP. you can't stop someone from drawing pikacu in class in class then showing everyone. It is called fan art for a reason. This will get settled and they will be back before you know it simply because it is fan art and it wasn't for profit. Now if they were making money off this; then Square would have a valid reason to claim infringement on their IP but since not a single dime was made by the creator, they didn't infringe on anything. I wish people would learn a little about the law before claiming IP bullshit. Square hasn't done anything with FF7 in ages so it is nice to see the fans keeping it alive; if anything square should be funding them :)

Sam-os_IMP
Sam-os_IMP

if only people could show the same passion they have as fans to make their own stories then we'd have more things to enjoy.

madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

Guys, please, stop using intellectual property you DON'T own, of course it's going to be shut down sooner or later, specially when it's a brand like Final Freaking Fantasy VII.

BloodyAura
BloodyAura

I've seen better Aerith's out there, but at least the cosplayer pictured isn't fat, I've seen fat Yuna's for example...

aboki808
aboki808

Guys, you must never go full fanboy. It's dangerous, leads to cheap cosplay outfits and asking for money to make a cheap fan film...

senjutsu
senjutsu

How people can still think they can use property without paying for them? We're in 2013, cases like this are in every day news.. come on...

david60639
david60639

Stupid decision, would only hype up their inevitable remake of FF7.

kohle36
kohle36

I was wondering when the hammer was going to fall on this one. If they wanted this made as a fan project, they would need to use their own monies and release the result for free.

(see Megaman Unlimited for reference)

saosebastiao
saosebastiao

Chrono Resurrection anyone? Thanks Square...

Hiddai
Hiddai

איזה חרטא...

Ovirew
Ovirew

It would probably suck anyway.

dominoodle
dominoodle

How did they think they could get away with this?

Or maybe it's all a part of the plan, try something that would obviously get shut down, then make a big deal out of it and make Square look like the bad guys while gaining attention and fan support for the project.

Either way it was never going to happen. If you wanna make a fan project you can't ask for money.

Arcturuss
Arcturuss

How on earth did they think this would be ok?


Of course you can't ask for money to make a show based on an IP someone else owns..

Hurvl
Hurvl

Are Square doing this out of spite or out of jealousy because some fans are doing their thing better than them? That's what some think, others think that this project could hurt the public's appreciation of the brand, because some people are too stupid/lazy to see that it's got nothing to do with Square Enix. That's another, imo, stupid answer of why Square Enix is doing this. Admittedly, everything you hear about a brand will consciously or subconsciously affect your opinion about it, but do we really want to label everyone as an idiot who can't tell fan-made from officially made stuff? 

The only reason, or reasons, are the amount of money involved in this project. Asking people to donate 400 000 dollars for a movie based on another's IP is one thing. Perhaps Square Enix thinks that if the backers like FF7 so much, they should spend it on official FF products instead. If they spend it on this kickstarter, there is less money left to spend it on the company's own products. Then there is the possibility that ad revenue from the film might provide money to the creators, which Square Enix can't profit from.

PHOENIXZERO
PHOENIXZERO

Yeah... You guys should have had that sorted out BEFOREHAND! Stevie Wonder could've saw this coming.

mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

I can see why Enix would be sore about this. I mean they spent like 12 months on a tech demo that would show off (according to them) their amazing graphics engine, then these youngsters come along and make a live action series with super realistic HD graphics (called real life) that would put their engine to shame. U mad Squeenix?

aboki808
aboki808

@BradBurns  i don't remember a time SE having no grounds.  They've done everything within their jurisdiction.  Chrono trigger remake is even worst than pirating the old snes game.  Same reason why sonic fan remake got cease and desist.  Just because they haven't done anything or made anything appealing doesn't entitle you to use it as you are doing the whole community a favor.  There's a difference between being a fan and being a full fanboy.

Andrew1073
Andrew1073

@BradBurns Similarly in the Board game world, Games Workshop destroys and slaps all fan-made content for their games.  They are only creating more quests or whatever so that people can play their games MORE.  Doesn't make sense because they don't plan on releasing anything for said games.

art_vertex007
art_vertex007

@G4mBi7 They are asking for $400,000 for their "fans" project and already started making various merchandises for the web series... This whole thing have every thing to do with IP.

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

@Sam-os_IMP I've been saying this since Chrono Resurrection was shut down. Why copy when you can just make an inspired game/movie? It worked for The Matrix and Shadow Complex.

Unfortunately, there's another one going on; which the C&D papers will be served in a matter of time...

aboki808
aboki808

@madsnakehhh but i'm a big fan, so I have to right to make whatever I want and give it to the community for free while taking away your profit for new developments!

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

@david60639 Which has been said that they won't do until a newer Final Fantasy game outsells Final Fantasy VII. Then again, it could still happen despite those words. Who knows?

G4mBi7
G4mBi7

@dominoodle Gamespot is biased and doesn't have all the information. You are only getting part of the story. No one was getting paid. They were asking for donation for development of the mini series. Which was given out for free. They were asking for funding from the FF7 community so that the mini series had a budget.  This wasn't a bunch of fanatics running around the forest dressed up. There was no infringement since this falls under the category of fan art and as the us supreme court already ruled against this in the nintendo case years ago this will get settled quickly within a year or two.

SnappySnake
SnappySnake

@Hurvl Lemme ask you something. If you were the creator of one of the most popular IP of all time, and somebody decided to do a fan project based on your IP, and decided to organize a crowd funding actvity to start his project, how would you feel about it?

Slash_out
Slash_out

@PHOENIXZERO They actually contacted SE before the KS project and they were fine with it.

The only thing that would make sense is either SE did a 180° or they didn't contact the legal team but the talent team or something.

art_vertex007
art_vertex007

@mav_destroyer Watched the trailer for the web series already. I'm NOT impressed. Original Playstation 1 graphics engine is even better...

G4mBi7
G4mBi7

@art_vertex007 @G4mBi7 It was done in a legitimate manner, if you donate some money, you get something for free as a reward. A lot of start ups do this. All of the money would go towards development and not towards paying any of the members. That is what makes it not for profit. Since it is NOT for profit; it doesn't infringe on any form of IP and can be classified as fan art. Worst case scenario they just rename it to FFF7 web series and instead of Cloud; the main character is called Floud. No issues now. Legal system is fucked especially with IPs.

aboki808
aboki808

@GameBeaten @david60639  it's gonna be  tough to break. The market has really shifted towards instant gratification games.  Grinding is consider a task now, while in the past it was an excitement to get to that next level and new abilties. I don't see any JRPGs breaking the FF7 record anytime soon.

nathangray
nathangray

@SnappySnake @Hurvl I wouldn't allow it, I don't know why anyone would. You create a famous IP, something that YOU put your soul into to make as incredible as it clearly is, and some net nubs decide to leech off your IP rather than make their own? And you're supposed to be okay with that? No. If Square wanted an FF7 movie, they'd make it themselves, and they are completely in their right to tear these guys a new hole. If you have the ability to draw people to donate almost half a mill for a movie, make your own, don't cop out and try to leech off someone else's success just to cement your own. I have no pity for these guys.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@SnappySnake@HurvlI would probably allow it, after I had made sure that it's a non-profit thing, but that's besides the point. I was commenting on the stupid suggestions that people were coming up with as the "real" reason behind this shutdown. It doesn't matter what I would do, an unemployed young man who has never been part of a company, but rather why Square Enix would do this. 

Also, it's not the end of the world or the FF franchise or even close to harming it, if this project went live. FFVII will still be as good a game as it ever has been no matter what other atrocities (officially sanctioned or not) it may suffer. People need to get over that "Fan-made thingy will ruin the franchise and my memories and eeeevverrything" mentality.

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

@Slash_out @PHOENIXZERO 

I read that the creator/lead designer/whatever was contacted and gave permission, not the actual company of Square Enix.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

@G4mBi7 @art_vertex007 LOL... No.  

You cannot go and ask folks to give you money for others'  IP, period/ever.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@G4mBi7@art_vertex007Profit is irrelevant. What they were going to do with the money is irrelevant.

There is no gray area here, that says it's okay if X and Y = Z. It's as black and white as the keys on a piano.

They were asking for money, using characters, names, and other trademarks that do not belong to them.

GamerGeek87
GamerGeek87

@G4mBi7 @art_vertex007 They were selling FF7 merchandise, it does not matter if they say all money goes toward production. They were making profit off of an established IP. The kickstarter is a little more of a grey are imo. 

"if you donate some money, you get something for free as a reward"

This imo does not count as a donation if the reward is agreed upon before the donation, then its a purchase.

aboki808
aboki808

@G4mBi7 interesting, vgchartz didn't mention anything about international.  But would it matter as X had an international version too? I don't count a re-release as a total to the original game. In the end, the charts shows FF7 is still the best selling series to date.

G4mBi7
G4mBi7

@aboki808 FFX will pretty soon considering. FF7 sold roughly 10 million copies total back in it's ps1 days, pc, and digital remakes. FF10 sold 8 million and with the hd remake coming, will surpass the 10million mark easily. But if you want to compare just PS1 FF7 sales to PS2 FF10 sales, then i suggest that you go to the wiki page or vgchartz because FF10 outsold the PS1 release. It is the re-releases that increased international sales of FF7.