Bitmap Books cancels The unofficial MD/GEN: a visual compendium, no thanks to SEGA

Bitmap Books has been hard at work on their next visual compendium book, this time centering on the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis, but today they have announced the project is cancelled. Past visual compendium books have been a mix of official and unofficial releases.

SEGA fans might remember years back Bitmap Books covered the Master System, in fact we newsed, interviewed, backed and reviewed Bitmap’s endeavor. While the Master System book was officially licensed, their now cancelled Mega Drive book was unlicensed. According to Bitmap, they attempted to obtain the license, SEGA declined and they then attempted to go the unlicensed route.

Unfortunately, SEGA threatened legal action and now the project is cancelled. Given Bitmap Books is in the UK, I have to wonder if this is another case of SEGA Europe being jerks to well intentioned publishers. Some years back, The Dreamcast Junkyard attempted an unofficial book acting as a checklist for every Dreamcast release. SEGA Europe told them to take it down or suffer legal action.

You can read more here, and hey if you work for SEGA and are reading this: rethink this. It is a shitty way to treat publishers covering video game history.

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6 responses to “Bitmap Books cancels The unofficial MD/GEN: a visual compendium, no thanks to SEGA

  1. ricerictwice says:

    Agreed, I wish they could just be granted the license. I was looking forward to and waiting to preorder this today after previous delays just to refresh the page and have it 404, then received the email a couple hours later explaining the cancelation.

    • Defender says:

      As someone unfamiliar with their work, it feels like there is a lot of information missing here. What were they using that would be copyright infringement? Was this more or different from a journalistic endeavor?

    • Barry the Nomad says:

      Content-wise, their books feature games with write ups from guest writers. The write ups usually go into the history, gameplay or graphics. They use BIG page filling screens to contain the content and showcase the pixel art. I’d say it most closely compares to HG101 books, but less in depth. Still, it meets the criteria for being educational and thus able to use licensed materials freely to support the written content. They also appear to tick the boxes in not using copywritten words on the cover and noting they are unlicensed.

      I think what worked against them is that SEGA licensed to them in the past, declined this time and now will sue them because they are on SEGA’s radar. Personally I think SEGA is in the wrong here, and Bitmap is right to point out that others are able to do this all the time without C&D’s. I suspect it is the same bad apples that went after the DCJY some years back. SEGA Europe can be shitty about this.

  2. Mac User says:

    It’s probably because it’s either not by them or it has a bunch of art that they think is breaking some kind of copyright law. Not like anyone else is bothering to archive this stuff. There’s third party stuff in here too. It’s not like Sega can profit off of that either. They should just leave it alone as unofficial. It’s like those old strategy guides they used to write back then. Then again these books aren’t cheap and they sell out quick. Sega probably figures it’s their money. WELL THEY SHOULD MAKE THEIR OWN BOOKS THEN! SELL THEM ON THEIR WEBSITE!

  3. Incogninos says:

    I thought Sega knew how their bread was buttered?

  4. Caledonian SP says:

    To be honest I’m not too bothered about this, I suspected it would be something to do with SEGA’s direct involment with ROM (Read Only Memory), which already was given official licence not once but twice to produce a high class Mega Drive (or Genesis in the US) book, ROM also did a fine Dreamcast one as well.

    To be honest, I’d rather have a Sega Saturn one focussed on just now, as this is the only main universal key Sega home hardware that still has not recieved the same treatment by either Bitmap or ROM.

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