The Nobel Foundation Says No to PeaceMaker

Well, not every day you receive a formal letter from the Nobel Foundation. Excited, we opened the large envelope from Sweden thinking that our efforts were positively acknowledged by the institute. Long ago we chose to include the Nobel Peace Prize and what it stands for as the ultimate award for a true PeaceMaker. We couldn’t think of a better ending to our peace game than standing on that honorable stage with world leaders and past peacemakers. To be honest, there was also controversy. We got numerous angry emails from Jewish and Israelis that lost their faith in that institution after Arafat has received the prize in 1994. In their eyes he was actually the cause for the failure of the peace process.

Well, back to the envelope. Unfortunately, the letter was not such an acknowledgment. In fact it was a “warning/cease and desist letter” for using the Nobel medal as part of our game. As it turns out – the Nobel foundation owns trademark registrations and the letter claims that we “take unfair advantage of their intellectual property rights, in a way that is detrimental to the distinctive and repute of this trademark”. Although there was no infringement on our side, and we had nothing but pure intentions, as a small business we couldn’t afford a legal battle. We also thought that our energies should be invested in other places. Sadly, we’ve decided to remove all mentions of the prize (textual and visual) from our site, the game and all other materials. Starting from version 1.06 of PeaceMaker players will no longer receive the Nobel Prize. Would the Nobel guys feel the same if this was a book or a movie, I wonder. Still, in the world of Internet transparency, global free speech and blurry borders between public domain and IP it seems somewhat out of place and disappointing.

10 thoughts on “The Nobel Foundation Says No to PeaceMaker

  1. Although I understand the issue of copyright (after all I live in the piracy capital of the world!), I think the Nobel committee missed the point of your game. Not having seen or used it, I cannot comment on its efficacy. Still, I don’t know why they could not allow you to use their logo with a “permission granted” codicil. I see this in other media. Could it be the topic? As fair as the committee might seem on the surface, could there be a bias against anything Israeli? I wonder. Talking peace and living peace are two different things.

    Don’t give up on getting their endorsement. Meanwhile, try working with the Anti-Defamation League and perhaps the Museum on the Seam in Jerusalem. Also the American Friends Committee might support your efforts too.

    Shalom, salaam, paz, pax, shanti.

    Judyth Lessee
    MS/HS Librarian
    American International School/Dhaka

  2. I wonder if anybody in the Nobel Foundation ever played PeaceMaker. This is just a wild guess, but probably they heard Computer Game and Nobel Prize in the same sentence and added up 2 + 2, without bothering to go into detail, and actually researching about it.

    This letter gives me the impression, that they are a bunch of old people who don’t fully understand what the new medias are. It’s very sad that they don’t see this great opportunity for them to actually reach younger people, and not only the 50+ generation that seems to be their target audience at the moment.

    Let’s hope that somewhen in the near future someone in the FOundation accidentally starts a game of PeaceMaker and actually understands the difference between a GTA-style computer game and this one.


  3. Pingback: Inside The Game Mechanics Of Peacemaker | Video Games

  4. Dont worry guys, heads up! You’ve created something great here, and who knows how large the ripples are going to be from this, and how many hearts it leads to change.

    The true prize for any PeaceMaker player (or any peace maker) is always going to be the realisation that one has helped make lasting peace and understanding.

    Thats always going to be a bigger buzz than any medal, Nobel or otherwise.

  5. I hope you guys don’t mind, I’ve requested an explanation from The Nobel Foundation because I think their actions are borne out of a lack of understanding.

    I’ve also blogged a post which I’ll update depending on the timeliness and content of their response.

    Thanks for creating such a valuable experience, Impact.

  6. When they offer you the nobel prize for your great effort with this game, tell them to shove it.

  7. Oh dear, if I had only known …
    I confess that I still use the – now kinda illegal – Version 1.01 and this rests heavy on my conscience.
    Oh, the guilt! Oh, the shame!

    Honestly … what a bunch of technocratic farts.

  8. Simple solution:

    Tell the winners they’ve won the “NOBLE Prize”, thus skirting any copyright problems!