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That Time The Chinese Government STOLE Super Mario


Hi there! So if there’s one thing Nintendo treasure,
it’s their copyright. For years, now, they’ve been extremely, uh,
proactive when it comes to protecting their intellectual property. In fact, they’re sort of infamous for issuing
take down requests, which are legal demands to remove Nintendo’s copyrighted content from
a website or publication. But … What if an opponent came along that
Nintendo couldn’t take down? An opponent too huge, too powerful. Like a government. But wait – there’s more. What if it was something even more powerful
than a government. What’s more powerful than a government,
I hear you ask. Why, 2 governments, of course! Yes, today I’d like to share 2 stories of
Nintendo’s intellectual property being stolen by 2 different governments. We’re in for a wild ride today, folks. Let’s take a look! So first, the US government. Now, if you didn’t know, the US government
agency in charge of environmental matters is called the EPA or Environmental Protection
Agency. And, the EPA have had an active online presence
since the mid nineties. Check out this fossil of a bygone era! So, the way the site worked was that it was
split up into a number of different regions. And on Earth Day 1997, Region 9, which covered
Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and a bunch of pacific islands, this region came
up with an idea. They called it: Recycle City. Here’s what the homepage looked like all
the way back then. If we enter Recycle City, we can see it’s
an actual place we can look around. We can travel to each of the main areas, and
complete activities there. Now, the aim of this Recycle City site was
to show children what effect recycling can have on the environment. And the jewel in the crown that was Recycle
City, was this game: Dump Town. Here’s the description: “Welcome! You are Dumptown’s new City Manager! When you start to play, you’ll see Dumptown
at its worst — it’s littered, polluted, and nothing is being recycled or reused. There are many trash cans and dumpsters, but
no recycling bins. That means all of the trash is going right
into the landfill just outside town, where it isn’t doing anyone any good. In your new position, you can start programs
that encourage Dumptown’s citizens and businesses to recycle and reduce waste.” As you can see, this game is actually very
complex. Especially considering the game was released
in 1997, this is really impressive. Now, when Recycle City was brought to life
back then, it was truly cutting edge. However, as the years went by, it didn’t
really see a whole lot of updating, and began to look more and more dated. And so, at the end of 2011, the site got a
big fancy overhaul. It had snazzy graphics, maps, links to social
media. What a difference. And pride of place at the side here, is everyone’s
favourite Dumptown, haha! However, the EPA weren’t content with stopping
here, and so in January of 2017, they added a brand new game. It was called…The Recycle City Challenge! What was this game? Well, let’s take a look. So first, we’re greeted by this beautifully
designed title screen. Alright, let’s take the plunge, and click
that “let’s get started” button. And, oh, what’s that? You hear that music in the background? Does that sound a little familiar? Well, it’s actually a cover of a song from
Yoshi’s Island DS – the underground music, to be specific. Isn’t that weird! They’re not even subtle about it – in the
game’s files, the music is called “yoshidsunderground.mp3”! Here’s a comparison between the two songs. Here’s the original… And here’s the one from Recycle City. Again, here’s the original… And the Recycle City version. They’re almost identical! Isn’t that weird! Now, this lay undiscovered on Recycle City’s
site for just over 2 years, when it was discovered by Twitter account Forest of Illusion. From there, countless news stories were published
about this weird phenomenon, with headlines like “EPA Teaches Kids To Recycle By Using
Old Nintendo Music Illegally”, and “The EPA stole music from Yoshi’s Island DS for
a pro-recycling Flash game”. What was the EPA’s response? Well, they stated “The Recycle City Challenge
game was created for EPA by a contractor. We are looking into whether the contractor
received permission to use the music, to the extent permission was necessary in this instance.” Now, I think it’s pretty unlikely this contractor
did receive permission from Nintendo to put a song from one of their largest and most
important franchises into a weird US government recycling game. But, we’ll never truly know. However, this song mysteriously vanished from
the game only a day after the news broke, which sounds a little like an admission of
guilt to me. It’s a bit of a shame though – it would’ve
been extremely entertaining to see Nintendo sue the US government. Now, that’s not the only time something
like this has happened. The Chinese government has done a very similar
thing, albeit a lot more brazenly. Yes, on the 30th of January, 2019, China’s
Supreme People’s Court uploaded this video to their official Weibo account – that’s
basically Chinese Twitter. And, I mean look at it. What even is this! Now, the game’s purpose was to promote all
the successful prosecutions the court had in the previous year: all the corruption stopped,
all the criminals caught, and all the innocent prisoners freed. Now, I think that the Chinese government and
I probably have some differing opinions about what counts as justice served, but let’s
check out this video then, shall we! So the game appears to be called “super
Mario Mr.Judge 2018” and it features Mario – well, kind of Mario. Something went a little wrong here with Mario’s
appearance. At any rate, I think it’s safe to assume
this is meant to be Mario, in one form or another. Now, Mario begins his adventure through the
Mushroom Kingdom, but this ain’t no regular Mushroom kingdom. It starts out fairly regularly, albeit featuring
some pretty jerky animation. However, instead of collecting coins, Mario
collects these colored squares, which have legal related words on them. The bootleg weirdness continues though, with
Mario exclaiming “Wow, cool” in the voice of Bart Simpson. …I-Interesting… Next, mario jumps up these umbrellas which
say “Protect Equality”. Protect equality huh…? Now, continuing his travels, mario encounters
a tiger. A tiger, you say? Well, in China, tigers represent large powerful
and corrupt officials. After the tiger come the flies, which yeah,
that also represents something, in this case, the lower level, government employees. And, alright! That’s level 1 completed! I’m not gonna go through everything because
this video is surprisingly long, but here’s some weird moments to come: firstly, there’s
this encounter with these …I’m not even sure. Samurai, maybe…? After that there’s this pretty gruesome
scene featuring a man in a bandana running over an, I think, killing a bunch of children. Yeesh. Luckily, the police soon arrive arresting
him and bringing him to court. And with that, level; 2 is complete. From there, the art takes a pretty sharp downward
turn… Not sure what happened there. And all these trees are being all creepy. I don’t like the way they’re looking at
me. Mario jumps off screen, and a giant foot stomps
down, revealing that the tree people were actually criminals. How could they!? Mario goes on to get rid of illegal fishing,
returning peace to the fish populations, plus he frees are these toads encased in ice, which
I’m guessing represents wrongfully convicted criminals. Oh, this next part is pretty hilarious. Mario collects all these coins with the words
“copyright infringement” on them. I think the irony should be pretty immediately
apparent, there. And finally, Mario reaches the last flagpole
on his bootleg, chinese criminal catching journey. So, how did that go down with viewers? Well, like a ton of bricks… Japanese internet users responded, “Did
they actually get permission for this?”, “Just what were they thinking?”, plus
“Examine yourself first before making stuff like these.” So yeah, not a great reaction. Now, China’s court didn’t give a formal
response to this reaction – or at least, I can’t seem to find one. However, the very same day the outrage emerged,
this promotional video mysteriously vanished from the high court social media page. Isn’t that interesting… Again, it’s a little bit of a shame. It would’ve been even more entertaining
to watch Nintendo sue the Chinese government. Now, what conclusion can we draw from both
of these incidents? What moral is there to the story? Hmm, I’m not sure there’s one, really. It is pretty entertaining, though. I guess it just goes to show that basically
everyone has violated a copyright or two at some point in their lives, powerful governments
notwithstanding. Whether only a little bit of a violation,
like the recycle game, or blatant, brazen infringement like with the China High Court,
copyright is broken by everyone across the world. Maybe that’s a sign that copyright law is
broken. Uh oh, I think Mickey over here might have
something to say about that. Gotta run! Hi there! Thanks for watching to the end! I hope you found that interesting! If you want to hear another story of Nintendo
brushing with copyright, though this time, they’re on the other side of the table – check
out my video about Zelda, and the copyright incident. Otherwise, I’ll see you next week. Bye!

Stephen Childs

100 Comments

  1. What did we learn? Never steal from Nintendo. There will always be someone who will notice sooner or later.

  2. So Chinese Supreme Court is OK with Copyright Infringement. No wonder we rarely see original stuff from China nowadays, although they have one of the biggest library of intellectual property from past.

  3. China and US: commits copyright infringement

    Nintendo: SIX DAYS OF FIRE, ONE DAY OF REST/JUNE 2019/TAUGHT THEM RESPECT/CONTROL COPYRIGHT!!

  4. Moral of the story- Nintendo is so dangerous that even the U.S. & Chinese governments are afraid of it. 😅😂

  5. Why the fuck does China steal so much stuff? Now they're even stealing citizens from their home country.

  6. Peta did some horrifying stuff with popular nintendo franchises and got off Scott free

  7. There's an automated car wash near my house and its computer interface plays Zelda's lullaby

  8. They protecc
    They sue
    But most importantly

    They Copyright my damn videos of super Mario 64 ds

  9. The only thing I like about China is the food and people but what I really hate is the bootlegs and the ripoff's

  10. 5:55 ARGH LOOK AT THAT BAD ANIMATING SKILLZ EVEN MY ANIMATIONS ARE BETTER

  11. If Nintendo goes to war with China. Remember that the Chinese government has nukes

  12. before the video started I got a badass Yu Gi Oh Deul links Ad with live actors XD it was insane! back to the video…

  13. dat flash movie with mario looks like the shit you could find in newgrounds in the 2000s xD

  14. A couple points.

    1. Nintendo could not (profitably) sue the EPA. I don't know how civil suits work in in the UK, but in the US the way they determine the amount rewarded in an outcome is by measuring damages. So…… what damage was caused by a song from Yoshi's Island DS appearing very briefly in a flash game?

    2. At the end, you question whether or not copyright law is broken because "everyone's done it". This is frankly, ridiculous. People do things all the time that they, hypothetically, can be sued for. You accidentally bump into someone and they fall down. You cut them off while driving. You fire them from a job. If you do anything at all that has the capacity to negatively effect someone, they can sue you for it. The reason why we aren't tied up in endless litigation is because just because something is technically actionable doesn't mean action actually gets taken. In order for you to make your point, you need to attack court outcomes. Not things that hypothetically could be brought to court, but aren't.

  15. Generally speaking in china there's this idea that you can't own an idea so I'm not surprised. Tho I can imagine a youtuber claiming it was fair use under parody.

  16. Guys, the EPA didn't steal the music from Yoshi's Island…

    They were recycling it.

  17. The EPA didn't do anything illegal. The use of the theme falls under fair use, as it was used for education purposes. I bet they took it down when a bunch of Nintendo fan boys decided to make it their problem and started harassing them.

  18. YouTuber: uses nintendo music
    Nintendo: OK

    Flash Game: uses nintendo music
    Nintendo: NOW THIS IS AN AVENGERS LEVEL THREAT

  19. my school stole the LOZLTTP dungeon theme music for their office waiting theme music

  20. the mario court thing seems like a parody so it would probably fall under fair use. if they have that in china

  21. You know it’s a good video when you have to make sure it wasn’t published on April 1st.

  22. 7:05 That doesn't say protect equality. That says "Umbrella" which is a chinese term meaning the "Umbrella" on top of corrupt officers.

  23. if you use wayback its still there (i think) so nintendo can still sue this, same for china

  24. 6:21 is this meant to be Mario.
    The title is Super Mario Mr Judge.
    It is a copyright mario

  25. No wonder I can’t find the software I used to make Pokémon Fuck Edition

  26. Recycling has exactly ZERO effect on the environment.

    Climate Change is a Libtard hoax!

  27. Beginning of the video, "Oh what if Nintendo was upbagainst a power they can't take down"

    Both stories the content was taken down day after they were caught

    Down vote for bating

  28. Hippy hoppy this is now my property china Mario what EPA song what's this it good Nintendo no no no

  29. It’s funny how they talk about how much C they stopped even they are doing it 😂 (Chinese government)

  30. I’ve watched all your videos several times and I can confirm that they are all the best videos I’ve ever seen so thank you

  31. 7:05 I wonder if these umbrellas are a reference to Hong Kong umbrella protestors from 2014??

  32. "What if a company sued someone too powerful, like a government?"
    laughs in Google

  33. Your intelligence really shines in your videos. So entertaining and informative. Thank you Thomas!

  34. US : Just the music, ok?
    China: Find some random Mario images in their outdated image gallery and put it together using some crappy video editor they made and claim it's theirs

  35. Why are these Chinese people like copying so much? They even copied Japanese! A whole COUNTRY!

  36. It's more like the government are more afraid of Nintendo if caught criminally and pushed to court.

  37. Not sure how good Nintendo might have looked to the public if they had sued the US at least, considering profit wasn’t being made from the game, and the game was made to encourage people to recycle.

  38. China: steals Super Mario Bros.

    Japan: THIS IS WHY MOM DOESN'T FUCKING LOVE YOU!

  39. I think the moral of the story here is to not infringe on anyone's copyrighted material, unless you want to face the consequences.

  40. Me: sees thumbnail showing Mario being stolen by China

    Also me: "GRANDAD! FLINSTONES!?!?"

  41. So the moral to me is:
    You can steal Nintendo's content, as long as you make sure that you remove that content before having justice issues :p

  42. I remember when I first heard about this one the justification was the yoshi committed tax fraud so the government repossessed his music

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