EA takes down open source SimCity 2000 remake for using copyrighted assets

OpenSC2K, an open source version of the classic SimCity 2000 that was released earlier this year, has been taken offline following a DMCA takedown request filed by Electronic Arts. The request, posted to GitHub, points out the rather obvious problem that while OpenSC2K might be open source, SimCity 2000 and its assets are most definitely not. 

"Assets from the game SimCity 2000 are being infringed upon," the takedown states. "An authorized and legitimate copy of the game can be found available for purchase here." 

SimCity 2000 isn't one of EA's "frontline" games but five bucks is five bucks, and more to the point this remake is very obviously stepping on EA's turf. Developer Nicholas Ochoa acknowledged that fact, and the risk of a takedown request (or worse), in the OpenSC2K readme (via Hacker News).   

"These assets are NOT covered by the GNU General Public License used by this project and are copyright EA / Maxis," he wrote. "I'm including these assets in the hope that because the game has been made freely available at various points in time by EA, and because it's 24 years old as of publishing this project that no action will be taken. Long story short, please don't sue me!" 

Ochoa told TorrentFreak that he hadn't heard from EA about the takedown request, and only received notification from GitHub after OpenSC2K had been removed. He's now trying to get a non-infringing version of the game back online, replacing the copyrighted content with instructions explaining how to extract the assets directly from SimCity 2000—thereby, I assume, satisfying the letter of the law, if not exactly its spirit.

But the DMCA filing suggests that nothing short of all-new in-game assets will satisfy EA. "The current audio visual output of the repository creates content that infringes on Electronic Arts copyright," it states. "As long as that continues to happen, no other changes other than removal is sufficient to address the infringement." 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.