Reported on 8bitrocket.com
In recent years the name Atari hasn’t been at the forefront of video games development, but Atari the company seem to be trying to turn that around, albeit with updates and re-releases of some of its classic titles such as the recent Greatest Hits volumes on the Nintendo DS.
In attempting to reinvigorate its brand, Atari have also decided to take action that leaves a bad taste in our mouths: targeting retro Atari development websites and demanding they hand over their domain names.
One relatively high-profile take down has been that of Atari2600.org. It was a fan site and hobby development hub for Andrews Davey who has owned the domain for 11 years. It used to contain his own 2600 games, extensive tutorials of programming the 2600 hardware, as well as promoting the 2600 as a historical piece of hardware.
Unfortunately, all that content has now disappeared due to Atari’s demands that Davey is using its trademark and has to remove his content as well as handing over ownership of the domain. Remember, this is a non-commercial site that was promoting Atari’s hardware, but that doesn’t seem to matter.
The question is, why is Atari doing this now? The most obvious answer is Atari has a number of new releases planned from its existing catalogue of retro games on new platforms. It has therefore instructed lawyers to clean up the web of any Atari domain names it doesn’t own in anticipation. A similar targeting of sites offering emulators and game ROMs is also underway, but that’s more understandable from a copyright infringement viewpoint.
Hopefully someone high up at Atari will review this action and realize the only thing it is achieving is to take some of the brand’s biggest fans offline. These are die-hard Atari geeks, and they are having years of work taken away by a threat from a brand they have supported through the most lean of times. There’s just something not right about that.
My suggestion would be for Atari to instead work with these sites. Set them up as official Atari domains, keep all the content, and let the enthusiastic owners continue to promote what they love: Atari.
My Two Cents
This right here pisses me off to no end. How can they target websites that are run by avid Atari fans? This is not something that will sit right way any retro gaming fan and frankly it’s unnecessary for the company to go to these drastic measures. Hopefully Davey has backed up his website like me so that all he has to do is get another domain and the content will live on.