Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-01-06 12:18 (JST)
Translated by. Ari Clark
On January 6, Koei Tecmo announced that the Kanagawa Prefectural Police had filed charges against a vendor who had been copying in-game footage from the Dead or Alive series to DVDs and selling them without permission (PDF linked here). They also announced that they were seeking damages based on copyright infringement through a civil suit, separate from the criminal case against the vendor.
Dead or Alive is a series of fighting games managed by Koei Tecmo. In addition to the original hand-to-hand fighting game Dead or Alive 6, a beach volleyball spinoff which introduces social features, called Dead or Alive: Xtreme Venus Vacation, has also been developed. The franchise has earned its popularity in part by featuring high-quality renders of beautiful women, but some vendors have evidently seen an opportunity to exploit that aspect of the game.
The vendor being charged had recorded in-game video from Dead or Alive: Xtreme Venus Vacation, added changes to the content such as erasing the clothing from the characters, and recorded the resulting footage to DVDs. They were apparently selling these DVDs on auction sites. Although the Dead or Alive series is mainly popular in the console market, it has also been developed for PC, and mods have been released that make adjustments to the characters and their costumes. Some of these add sexual elements, depending on the mod. According to a statement from Koei Tecmo, the vendor “added changes to the content such as erasing the clothing from the characters” which most likely means the vendor used aforementioned adjustment-mods.
In some cases, rather than simply circulating the mods, game footage that implements such mods has been distributed on video sites. The primary issue in the present situation is presumably the copying of this sort of illegal footage to DVD and selling it on auction sites. According to a statement from Koei Tecmo, “The reproduction, distribution, and/or transmission of works belonging to our company without our permission (including modified portions thereof) is an act which violates the rights of the copyright holder, and as such, it is illegal. Our company intends to take conclusive measures regarding these acts.” They will presumably continue to deal just as firmly with similar acts from now on.
The Dead or Alive series already provides its fans with plenty of fun risqué content to enjoy, without resorting to illegal additions of their own. A new Venus, called “Lobelia” and voiced by Aoi Koga, was also added to Dead or Alive: Xtreme Venus Vacation at the end of December 2020.