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Konami starts pulling Silent Hill licenses to protect the intellectual property

Konami starts pulling Silent Hill licenses to protect the intellectual property
Shaun M Jooste

Shaun M Jooste

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About two to three weeks ago, I had the unpleasant experience of having Konami withdraw the permission I had received in 2012 to write my own Silent Hill novels. Since I’d published one and was mid-way through the second, it came as quite a blow. However, the experience showed me just how much the publisher wants to protect its intellectual property going forward.

Here’s what happened, why Konami pulled the Silent Hill license, and what’s to come in the future. 

What happened to my Silent Hill novels?

I wrote a detailed article on my book publishing website about Konami removing the permission for my Silent Hill novels. While I don’t want to rewrite all those details, there are some chief points I want to highlight as an overview:

  • The Konami team incorrectly redirected me in 2012 to a local license distributor for the license, who gave me permission to write the Silent Hill novels, even though they didn’t have the authority to do so
  • I published my first Silent Hill: Betrayal novel in 2016, which was released worldwide, with a brand new story, character, and locations
  • I almost completed the second novel, Silent Hill: Obversion, two months ago
  • Konami UK approached me in November 2022, asking for evidence of the license, stating that they want to protect the intellectual property now that new products are being developed
  • After considering the evidence of communication I sent through, Konami Japan advised that the correct process wasn’t followed and retracted the so-called ‘permission’
  • I applied for a new license for ten years for all seven books in the Boatman Saga
  • Konami declined the application, stating that my story isn’t in line with its future plans for the franchise, but they’ll contact me if that ever changes
Konami officially removes permission for Shaun M Jooste’s Silent Hill novels 3

Protecting the intellectual property: why now suddenly?

What strikes me and so many of my followers as strange is that Konami now suddenly wants to protect its intellectual property. After I’d already published the first book and sold over a thousand copies, it now wants to deal with Silent Hill differently.

It left me wondering if they’re doing the same for other Silent Hill products and books. There are many fan-made comics and novels online for the I.P. Are they being fair, approaching them too and asking for proof of license approval?

One comment by Konami struck me as interesting. There was a hint that if a bigger name was behind the novel or publication, they might reconsider. This leaves me to believe that perhaps it’s more about how much money they can make from my novels rather than protecting the I.P. Of course, this is all conjecture, and we’ll have to go with defending the intellectual property of Silent Hill as the official response.

We’ve almost seen the same behavior with Dungeons and Dragons recently. Wizards of the Coast are revising the rules of the open license agreement. They initially drafted a statement whereby they could take royalties for the use of the property. As you’ll see in one of my recent articles, the community struck back and that section was removed.

Perhaps I should rally the Silent Hill community to do the same for me…

If only I didn’t like and respect Konami as much as I do.

Konami officially removes permission for Shaun M Jooste’s Silent Hill novels 3

There could have been a Silent Hill multiverse

Let’s go back to the comment by Konami that my stories aren’t in line with future plans for the series. I honestly am still struggling to see why this is an issue. Most of the stories have plots of their own. Silent Hill 1, 3, and Origins deal with Alessa, while Silent Hill 2 and 4 are only connected by Walter Sullivan, and it’s thin at best. Downpour and Homecoming were completely different stories, and Silent Hill F seems to have nothing to do with any of these.

That’s why I don’t really believe my Boatman Saga should be an issue. Silent Hill provides a different experience for anyone that enters. The least Konami could have done was be honest with me about why they don’t want to approve the license. I’m afraid I can’t buy this ‘reason’ they provided.

In a sense, all these stories could have led to a cool crossover, much like Marvel and DC’s multiverse notion. Imagine a game where they all appear, as do the different versions of Pyramid Head.

Konami officially removes permission for Shaun M Jooste’s Silent Hill novels 3

What will happen to my horror novels now?

While Konami continues with its plans for new Silent Hill games and movies, I need to continue with my novels. The game publisher did say that perhaps it will change its mind in the future, but I have no idea how long that will be, if ever. I have thousands of readers wanting to know what will happen in the second book. Holding on is not a viable option for me.

For now, I’m taking a small break from the horror series. On my author site, I’ve detailed all the novel projects I’m busy with, which are extensive. 

As for the Boatman Saga, I’m simply going to change the town’s name and all references to Silent Hill. My followers and I toyed with names like “Quiet Valley” or “Tormented Town”, but none of them resonate with me. I think I’ve narrowed down the name I want to go with that speaks to the essence of the haunted location, but I’ll make that announcement sometime in the future.

The story will go on…

Konami officially removes permission for Shaun M Jooste’s Silent Hill novels 3

Will I still be involved in Silent Hill projects?

In the last communication with Konami UK, it felt like they were still providing me with the hope that I can work on Silent Hill projects in the future. It was nothing cast in stone, though. I did say that, although I’m renaming my horror series, Konami are welcome to contact me at any time if they’d like me to write any books or content for games/movies in the future. 

I’m not holding my breath, but that would be fantastic.

Shaun M Jooste

Shaun M Jooste

I live in South Africa, Cape town, as a father of two children. I've been gaming almost all my life, with plenty of experience writing reviews and articles on the latest titles. With 15 years of experience in local government performing Facilities Management functions, I moved towards becoming CEO of my own company, Celenic Earth Publications, which serves to publish author's books, including my own. I'm a published author of horror and fantasy novels, while I also dabble in game and movie scriptwriting.

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