Nintendo is bringing Mari Car to court over copyright infringement after the service used their Mario Kart IP for their rental service.
Nintendo is seeking 10 million yen in damages from the service (about RM405,301) for ripping off their IP. Mari Car in itself, is a service that allows people to rent themed go-karts and costumes and drive around downtown Tokyo ala Mario Kart. The costumes include Mario, Bowser, Luigi and Yoshi.
It really looks like fun though:
However, Mari Car says that they were working with another company to provide both the costumes and the go-karts, with the company itself only maintaining and providing said go-karts, so they cannot be part of the lawsuit. In other words, they are saying that they aren’t the ones selling the likeness of Mario and his companions and therefore cannot be sued for copyright infringement.
That statement generally refers to the system that allows pachinko to operate legally as a pseudo-gambling business. In a nutshell, the system lets you win stuff that can be traded for prizes (say, a limited edition mug) but there also happens to be a nearby business that buys said mugs for large wads of cash. Due to these being two separate businesses, there’s no actual gambling happening, and Mari Car is using the same logic, and as such cannot be held responsible if their customers wish to dress up in Mario costumes provided by another company.
Due to these being two separate businesses, there’s no actual gambling happening, and Mari Car is using the same logic, and as such cannot be held responsible if their customers wish to dress up in Mario costumes provided by another company.
This might very well be the first recorded case of “copyright laundering” in Japan. If Mari Car manages to evade the lawsuit then it might mean other companies might start doing the same to circumvent copyright. Not sure how this will bode for Mari car, but well be keeping our ear out for how this ends.