Blizzard has taken down a browser-based version of the classic game StarCraft, citing multiple copyright infringements. The game and dozens of forks were hosted on GitHub for less than a month. The developer said he created the HTML5 game because he loves Blizzard and StarCraft, but the feeling clearly isn't mutual.
Browser-based copies of popular games, both new and old, have become quite popular over the years.
The problem is that the use of trademarked names and copyrighted images generally isn’t accepted by large game companies such as Nintendo and Blizzard, who see it as direct competition.
Developer “Ryuta” has just learned this the hard way after his HTML5 version of StarCraft was pulled offline. Ryuta hosted the game on GitHub and actively promoted it on Hacker News last month.
While his work was praised, several commenters pointed out that its success would be short-lived because of the apparent copyright issues.
“The Blizzard legal team will come knocking on your door very soon. If I were you and if you’re serious about continuing working on this, I would take this down immediately..,” one warned.
“I recommend you to remove all proprietary Blizzard graphics from GitHub and possibly just recreate the repository without it,” said another.
The warnings were not in vain. A few days ago Blizzard’s copyright protection partner Irdeto urged GitHub to remove the repository, as well as the 50 forks that were created from it.
“This repository is a blatant, direct, literal copy of the StarCraft software and is disturbing [sic] source code and artwork assets owned by Blizzard without permission,” they write.
Fast forward and Blizzard indeed managed to take down the repository.
The developer doesn’t think he’ll be able to get the files back on GitHub, but he is not giving up on the game just yet.
“It will be difficult to get my files back on GitHub, but I plan to continue developing the project and host it on my own site,” he explains.
Ryuta has no plans to monetize the browser game. He’s just a fan and simply created it because he loves Blizzard and StarCraft, and wanted to play it in the browser.
For now, however, play time has ended until the project is revived somewhere else.