On July 13th, 2017, development on Persona 5 through the open-source PlayStation 3 emulator on PC, “RPCS3,” came to a head when the game was said to be “playable from start to finish, with good graphics and stability.”
Now, Atlus USA has issued a DMCA takedown notice—the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which represents copyright holder rights—on the development team responsible, originally reported on September 25th. Today, a full statement by a member of the team was issued, describing how Atlus USA originally contacted the subscription content service Patreon instead of RPCS3 directly.
RPCS3 Team Statement
As quite a few observant people have already noticed, every single mention of “Persona 5” has been deleted from all pages on rpcs3.net including the game’s name from the compatibility database. The morning of September 23rd we woke up to a calling card. Here is exactly what happened:
Atlus U.S.A. filed a DMCA takedown request directly to Patreon requesting the removal of Nekotekina & kd-11’s Patreon page for RPCS3 development. The reason given is as follows:
“The PS3 emulator itself is not infringing on our copyrights and trademarks; however, no version of the P5 game should be playable on this platform; and [the RPCS3] developers are infringing on our IP by making such games playable”
Patreon responded to this request by stating they do not believe that removing the Patreon page entirely to be reasonable, given that the page itself does not specifically infringe on Atlus’s IP, and that they believe the emulator itself falls under fair use. After Patreon declined to remove the Patreon page, Atlus retorted by alleging:
“We kindly ask that you remove both for this reason – to make Persona 5 work on the emulator, the user has to circumvent our DRM protections. The following blog post provides specific instructions for “dumping the disc or PSN download” and discusses how Patreon finding [sic] contributed to this breakthrough: [link since removed].”
The RPCS3 team notes:
Making personal copies of legally purchased games is legal where the RPCS3 web services are hosted and where main RPCS3 developers live.
Actions taken and comments
In discussion with the very helpful people over at Patreon we have decided to proceed with caution. Per the request of Patreon, we removed every single reference to Persona 5 on the Patreon page itself and rpcs3.net. This seems to have resolved the situation.
Atlus USA Statement
Subsequently, Atlus has put out their own official statement, confirming the above and explaining the motivation behind their course of action:
You might have heard earlier today that we issued a DMCA takedown notice involving emulation developer group RPCS3 and their Patreon page. Yes, it’s true. We settled upon this action for two reasons:
- We believe that our fans best experience our titles (like Persona 5) on the actual platforms for which they are developed. We don’t want their first experiences to be framerate drops, or crashes, or other issues that can crop up in emulation that we have not personally overseen. We understand that many Persona fans would love to see a PC version. And while we don’t have anything to announce today, we are listening! For now, the best way to experience Persona 5 is on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.
- We appreciate the awareness generated by the emulation community for Persona 5 and know that it is a fantastic example of how much people are loving our game. We want to keep bringing you titles like Persona 5. Unfortunately, when our content is illegally circumvented and potentially made available for free, in a format we do not think delivers the experience and quality we intend, it undermines our ability to do so by diverting potential support from new audiences.
We want to continue having a dialogue about where and how you would like to play our games. Please let us know what you think.
A previous controversial statement and decision Atlus had made concerning Persona 5 was the Sharing and live streaming restrictions put in place for the game in April 2017.