Anyone remember that old Disney MMO Club Penguin, and how fans have been trying to keep it alive on private servers? Well, it seems that dream is dying now. Especially with the shutdown of Club Penguin Rewritten. All thanks to Disney, of course.
Disney: “No More Club Penguin For You!”
TechCrunch recently reported that Disney has shut down Club Penguin Rewritten: a fan-made remake of the 2005 MMO game Club Penguin hosted on a private server. As of April 13, 2022; that game no longer exists. If you attempt to access the Club Penguin Rewritten website, all you get is a notice saying that:
“This site has been taken over by Operation Creative, Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU)”
According to TechCrunch, the City of London Police have shut down Club Penguin Rewritten due to a copyright complaint from Disney. In relation to this, they have also shut down the game’s official Discord server. If you try to access the server, all you get is a single message that states:
“CPRewritten is shutting down effective immediately due to a full request by Disney.
We have voluntarily given control over the website to the police for them to continue their copyright investigation.”
As a final touch to this tragedy, Detective Constable Daryl Fryatt from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police emailed a statement to TechCrunch explaining the situation, and why they have shut down Club Penguin Rewritten. The full contents of the email is as follows:
“Following a complaint under copyright law, PIPCU have seized a gaming website as part of an ongoing investigation into the site.
Three people were arrested on April 12 on suspicion of distributing materials infringing copyright and searches were carried out.
They have been released under investigation and to aid with the police investigation, they agreed to sign over the website to the control of PIPCU.”
Club Penguin: Details and Opinions
Club Penguin was a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) that New Horizon Interactive created back in 2005. In 2007 though, Disney acquired both the game and the parent company (now Disney Canada Inc.), making it into their own. However, on March 30, 2017; Disney finally shut the game down for low amounts of activity. Disney attempted a remake of the game called Club Penguin Island, but they shut that down too a year later.
However, Club Penguin had been active for 12 years. Simply shutting it down wouldn’t erase that fact. Especially since the game had attracted over 330 million players in over 190 countries, according to the Club Penguin Wiki. With that large a player base for so long, there’s bound to be some nostalgia for the game. It’s why fan-made remakes like Club Penguin Rewritten were so popular. Until Disney decided to shut them all down, starting in 2020 with the shutdown of Club Penguin Online. To be fair though, Disney shut that particular game down for numerous legitimate reasons, including obscene messages and suspicions of child pornography.
However, Club Penguin Rewritten is not an example of that. That’s just a case of copyright infringement. It seems to basically be another case of Disney not wanting anyone to profit off of one of their brands. Even when Disney themselves is not using that brand, and doesn’t appear to have any plans for it in the future. Sure, copyright infringement is copyright infringement. But just this once, couldn’t Disney have just let it go? Well, I guess not.