Atlus has filed a lawsuit against two groups connected with fan-run servers operating the officially-closed online RPG Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine (or SMT Imagine). The lawsuit alleges that the groups violated copyright law in “resurrecting” the game without permission, as well as deriving a profit off of the operation of the SMT Imagine fan server. [Thanks, @MarshSMT!]
Altus Co. originally filed the lawsuit in December 2021. The company then requested a summons to each of the two groups, going by the handles Rekuiemu and COMP_hack. These two were the website owners in August and September 2022. The complaint alleges that the owners violated US copyright law by creating and operating an “exact copy” of the original SMT Imagine website, distributing the game for free, and operating a private game server without permission.
Among the listed infringements, Atlus notes that the website for Rekuiemu: Imagine (the private server) “added copyright information” that falsely attributed the website to Rekuiemu. Specifically, the website listed “Copyright (C) REKUIEMU” along with the names of Atlus, Sega, and developer Cave. As such, Atlus alleges that the Imagine fan server “has caused and will continue to cause irreparable damage” to the company. Furthermore, Atlus is requesting the owners shut down the server, website, and GitHub, as well as provide monetary relief for damages. For its part, the group COMP_hack is accused of facilitating the creation of the private SMT Imagine fan server, as well as of profiting off the alleged copyright violation. The suit lists the accused as “John Doe”, meaning that the real identities of the individuals or groups targeted in the suit are unknown or hidden.
Another SMT Imagine fan server, ReImagine, was not named in the suit, though its website has been taken down at the time of this writing.
Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, also known as Megami Tensei Online: Imagine, was an MMORPG that released in 2007 in Japan. Two years later, the game released in the US. The game featured a real time combat system, while also combining the series’ iconic demon recruitment system. While the game had a significant following in Japan, the game’s US servers closed down in 2014, with Japan following soon after in 2016.
The SMT Imagine fan server started in December 2020, and was a wholly unmodified version of the original game. Registering for the game required no money, and both the website and launcher largely operated in the same way as the now-defunct official site and launcher.