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Kickstarter game funding canceled following art theft allegations
Kickstarter game funding canceled following art theft allegations
May 1, 2012 | By Mike Rose

May 1, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

The funding campaign for a video game project on Kickstarter has been canceled after claims that assets displayed on the game's website and Kickstarter page were stolen from other studios.

Little Monster Productions, the studio behind Mythic: The Story Of Gods And Men, had raised several thousand dollars when Kickstarter commenters began to question the validity of the project.

The funding campaign was canceled by creator Little Monster as the total pledge reached $4,739 of its target $80,000, according to the Kickstarter page.

The concept art for the game was allegedly stolen from a number of different sources, as spotted by a Kickstarter commenter. However, a representative for Little Monster responded, denying the allegations.

"A few members of our team worked at Burton Design Group last year beforeother [sic] found out the owner was being shady with funds," it said. "They left and joined our team shortly after. As for the concept art, it seems we have been subjected to false claims of ownership right to our concepts. The game itself is well in progress and is not a scam of any kind."

The description for the team claimed that nine of its 12 members previously worked at Activision Blizzard on World of Warcraft, Diablo II and the original Starcraft.

Gamasutra has contacted both Kickstarter and Little Monster co-founder Seth Westphal regarding the matter.

This alleged scam comes as Double Fine's record-breaking Kickstarter campaign caused a massive boost in funding for game-related projects across the entire site.

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Kenneth Blaney
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Well, that's one "Springtime for Hitler" averted. I'm glad this was caught before it did any real damage.

Ali Afshari
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I knew it was a matter of time for a story like this to break after all the recent success for game projects...regardless of the validity of the allegations, Kickstarter will definitely need some sort of internal department to monitor new projects to avoid funding scams.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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I was thinking that too, but I also wonder if this isn't a good sign. When you're putting your project out to the public for funding, there are more eyes to catch shenanigans like this. An internal monitoring board could be a good use of Kickstarter's finances, as long as it doesn't become yet another gatekeeper censorship tool like what you have with Apple. Still, it could also be argued that as Kickstarter becomes more popular and people in general become more educated, we can self-police instances of blatant IP abuse.

Christopher Enderle
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There has to be monetary incentive to self police. Do you think Youtube would be on top of copyright infringement as much as it currently is if the alternative wasn't losing billion dollar lawsuites?

Maybe after enough people donate to failed projects a lawyer will smell a potential class action, unless kickstarter makes you sign away your rights to a class action when you sign up with them.

E Zachary Knight
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I don't think Kickstarter would have any liability though. The complaint would and should lie with the person/entity who ran the campaign and failed to deliver. I really don't see any reason for Kickstarter to be involved in such a suit.

Bryan Ferris
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Even if they don't have liability, it would make people a lot less likely to contribute money (which is how they make money), so they have incentive to do so.

Ron Dippold
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I hadn't seen the page before the game was cancelled, but this thing has fraud or at least stupidly optimistic overpromising written all over it.

It also appears they've attempted to scrub every one of their websites from the internet. Based on that I'm guessing the $2500 backer is a plant to get the initial totals up and look like there are backers.

E Zachary Knight
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Yeah, I noticed that too. I wanted to check out the website, but it is no longer available so there is no verifying anything outside the actual Kickstarter page.