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Atari goes mental, attacks their own fans

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Do you love video games? Of course you do, its why you’re on a site that does news about them and the industry. And chances are, if you’re a dab hand at website design, or consider yourself a bit of a wordpress wizard, then you’re probably busy running a Toejam and Earl fan-site dedicated to your passion.

Fans are always great for business, and good word of mouth means great sales for the publishers, but what happens when a respected developer decides to go completely bonkers and start attacking their fans instead?

The Atari User blog has reported that several websites run by Atari enthusiasts have recently had to be shut down, after receiving letters from the company demanding that the domain name also be handed over.

Andrew Davie, who runs the fan-site Atari2600.org, recently closed his site, with the following message being posted on the homepage for visitors.

Following a ‘request’ from Atari Legal’s lawyer to hand them this domain, and to show my good faith and intentions with regard to their trademark and claims thereof… I have removed all content of this site.

I’m a bit of a retro-gaming nut. Over the 11 years I’ve ‘owned’ this domain, the site was used as a personal/hobbyist site for my interest in ‘2600 homebrew programming. It’s variously been used to promote my ‘2600 game Qb (2001-2003), my extensive tutorials on ‘2600 programming, as a domain for the ‘2600 programmers’ [stella] mailing list (2004-2010) and more recently linking to some of my videos and demos for the platform. The ‘2600 platform has been near and dear to my heart for a long time.

Atari also sent a letter this month to the hobby site Starsoft Berlin, with pretty much the same list of demands. While one can understand that a company wants to protect its trademark, attacking hardcore fan-sites who are only interested in spreading their love for the glory years of the Atari, is no way to do it.

Source: Gameinformer


Last Updated: August 26, 2011

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