Game preservation be damned.
Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine

At least two fans of the long-dead MMO Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine are being sued by Atlus over copyright infringement. As first spotted by MarshSMT on Twitter, the fans that were trying to revive the MMO that Atlus shut down back in May 2016. A revived fan server first went live in late 2020 by people going by the online handles of Rekuiemu Games and COMP_Hack.

As part of their lawsuit, Atlus is claiming that the website used for the MMO's revival is a "blatant copy" of the original website for the Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine game. The suit says that the site, operated by Reukuiemu, "falsely added its own copyright information" next to Atlus, Sega, and Cave Interactive.

This lawsuit was first filed at the tail end of 2021. It is only now where the legal proceedings have reached the point where both Rekuiemu and COMP_Hack are being summoned to appear in court. Atlus says that the fan server of the MMO that was shut down six years prior have "caused and will continue to cause irreparable damage to Atlus unless restrained by this court."

Atlus is seeking damages "of up to $25,000 per violation of the DMCA." They are also seeking "monetary relief including damages sustained by Atlus in an amount not yet determined." It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. The MMO was shuttered over six years ago now, so the "damages sustained by Atlus" should, realistically, be nothing.

The fact that Atlus has decided to go straight for the lawsuit route has already made other fans and game preservationists more than a bit scared. Another fan revival of Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, called ReImagine, announced that they are ceasing operations of their own project. The people behind ReImagine said, "While ReImagine hasn't been served any sort of notice (that we know of), Atlus's decision to outright sue instead of issue a C&D has made us worry about the safety of the users who helped keep the game alive."