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Update: Nintendo has sent an email to the WSJ denying that it has made any complaint about the app’s similarity to Super Mario Bros.

Apple’n’Apps,  a relatively unknown site without much of a track record, is suggesting that Flappy Bird may have been pulled by Apple after Nintendo complained about copyright infringement regarding the graphics used in the game. Those pipes do look “Super Mario-esque”. The developer Dong Nguyen had claimed he was withdrawing it voluntarily, and that there were no legal issues. But there’s some gray area there we suppose.

A person familiar with the App Store review process tells Apple’N’Apps that Flappy Bird wasn’t removed voluntarily by Mr. Nguyen, as he claims. It turns out that Nintendo got in touch with Apple regarding the art assets in Flappy Bird claiming that they’re in direct violation of their copyrights. Apple contacted Mr. Nguyen regarding the copyright claim, and that’s why we saw the new updated version with graphic changes to the pipes [as well as fewer ads]. Nintendo already decided that they had seen enough, and Apple is the one who pushed Mr. Nguyen to remove Flappy Bird (with 24 hour notice).

We’ve asked Apple for a comment, and will update if we receive a response, though the version arguably makes more sense than a developer voluntarily forsaking around $50,000 a day in revenue due to the attention the game was receiving. Dong Nguyen’s two other games remain on the App Store, currently ranking #4 and #18.

Apple is know to err on the side of caution where copyright complaints are concerned.

The app has also been pulled from Google Play, which tells us nothing either way: if the claim is true then Nintendo would have approached Google also, but equally the developer would have voluntarily removed from both stores.

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11 Responses to “Unverified: Flappy Bird pulled by Apple after copyright complaint from Nintendo? [Updated: Not true]”

  1. ralph180 says:

    This makes sense…

  2. abdulwahab16 says:

    **** you Nintendo

    • Really? Was it impossible for the developer to just say: “Right then, let’s make everyone happy and replace these pipes with some tree trunks or something else”?
      Nintendo had the right. Everyone recognised those pipes as the same from Mario. Word of mouth got better for him because people could say “Have you played that game with the bird and the Mario pipes?” and that would make it immediately recognisable.

      I don’t completely buy into this report but I agree it makes more sense although I understand the reasons he presented.

    • Nintendo has all the right to protect their IP and making money by stealing somebody else’s designs is not OK if you ask me. Besides, there is zero reason why this game should look like Nintendo’s. It’s not THAT hard to come up with some actual original design, you know.

    • Tallest Skil says:

      Get over yourself, kiddo.

  3. adenlim says:

    What the hell your people believe that Nintendo pulled it off
    He already said that this is not legal issues

    It was that he can’t take it that people are angry of the game of how hard the game is
    And users sent him death threats

  4. Dan Uff says:

    If that’s the case, then change the design of the pipes and the color of the bird?

  5. Can you sell your phone with flappy birds installed or is it a copy rights I infringement unclear ?????