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Avadon Developer Diary #1


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The problem isn't credit, it's copyright. Anyone who is creating has to be careful not to end up either stealing or "stealing" someone else's ideas, accidentally or intentionally.

 

—Alorael, who could see a public idea drop-box with a forfeiture of rights working. Nobody likes legalese, though, so no box.

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I can tell you that writing comes from everywhere, as do bits of imagery and music. People who worry too much about copyrights produce nothing.

 

Mark the box: "If you have an idea you would like to see in the game, drop it here. In the unlikely event that it is used, your sole reward will be to see your contribution immortalized in game form."

 

Do you suppose someone will go to court? The useful ideas are short and modified to fit the need, the damages are trivial; the box is clearly marked, the work bore no copyright, gimme a break. It's a mistake to be unduly concerned about lawsuits when your business is honest and low-dollar.

 

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Originally Posted By: blackwight

Mark the box: "If you have an idea you would like to see in the game, drop it here. In the unlikely event that it is used, your sole reward will be to see your contribution immortalized in game form."


The problem is that if there's no consideration, there's no contract, which means there was never a proper release of copyright. A lawsuit probably still wouldn't hold up in court, but why in God's name would Jeff want to take a risk like that for the sake of making somebody else's ideas, when he has enough of his own?

Listening to fans is the start of a slippery slope towards pandering to fans, and a dropbox for ideas would be a step too far down that slope for my liking. I wouldn't be surprised if Jeff is less worried about copyright than about having to sift through the flood of absolute crap he'd get sent if he invited ideas from the great unwashed.
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If you read Jeff's blog, he has one for game designers where he recommends getting a lawyer to help avoid all the legal pitfalls that can happen from using material without clear legal usage to the material.

 

His example was a cool sword sound effect donated by a player that was taken from another company's game. The cease and desist letter from that company wasn't the thing he ever wants to repeat.

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Really there's too much paranoia. My lawyer is afraid to tell me the things he's afraid of.

 

Quote:
His example was a cool sword sound effect donated by a player that was taken from another company's game. The cease and desist letter from that company wasn't the thing he ever wants to repeat.

 

From a commercial game?? How can you compare this and that?

 

Scott Adams (Dilbert) had a drop box for years, I put something in it once. Scott Adams is a dozen times more sue-able than Spiderweb.

 

You cannot live in fear of litigation when you're doing nothing wrong. It will constipate your business! Common sense and a little erring on the side of caution will serve a small business better than living in a contract-clad castle.

 

Quote:
Listening to fans is the start of a slippery slope towards pandering to fans, and a dropbox for ideas would be a step too far down that slope for my liking.

 

I can't agree with that. Certainly there would be a lot of crap, but that's the way it goes. The central plot is easy, it's the gritty details that kick it up a notch; and junk piles are a good place to look for them.

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Who knows how many fans would pitch ideas—good ideas—lifted accidentally or intentionally from other sources? Scott Adams might be suable, but he also has the money to retain the necessary legal counsel.

 

—Alorael, who could see Jeff setting up such a box and then deliberately never looking at its virtual contents. It would assuage fans without requiring any work at all!

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Originally Posted By: blackwight
Quote:
His example was a cool sword sound effect donated by a player that was taken from another company's game. The cease and desist letter from that company wasn't the thing he ever wants to repeat.


From a commercial game?? How can you compare this and that?
That's a very good example for the traps waiting for you, if you rely on extraneous ideas. You can end up with a lot if trouble for nothing.

Originally Posted By: blackwight

Quote:
Listening to fans is the start of a slippery slope towards pandering to fans, and a dropbox for ideas would be a step too far down that slope for my liking.


I can't agree with that. Certainly there would be a lot of crap, but that's the way it goes. The central plot is easy, it's the gritty details that kick it up a notch; and junk piles are a good place to look for them.
Speaking of constipation, that's just the way how to get it. Certainly there are a lot of good ideas and inspirations floating around all the time. Never mind if it's in a forum or 'just' your friends, some weird off-the-side-inspiration of your own, that you pick up during a walk, or wherever. If you're creative, you pick up ideas from everywhere and anywhere. You don't need a dropbox. Archives always need an archivist. And IF there is a group of people who are NOT regarded as the figureheads of creativity it's librarians and tax collectors - the librarian of UU exempt. I don't have to elaborate further.

Also: Ideas as such are not trademarked to begin with. You have to make them a trademark first. Only the bodily output of an idea is regarded as a product to be put under copyrightlaw. A piece of music, that is recorded or written down, falls under copyright law. Same with pictures, puppets, merchandise, games, cars, you name it. The idea as such can not be protected. (There are so many examples in the history of invention which are proof of this.) To apply for a trademark you also have to present a physical representation of it.
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It's true, that trademarks and copyright are not the same. It's a bit hard for me to find the precise terms in English here.

 

Anyway, it's a fact, that in all arts, that are concerned with ideas, you can't go and sue someone for an infringement of copyright as long as you don't have any proof, that you DID have the idea first.

Common practise in this case is, to ask bodily proof of that.(How else could it be proven?)

 

I'm not talking about something I came up with by common sense, but by a topic I'm concerned with day by day, as I work in the graphic trade.

 

Should Europe and the US differ so much in this regard?

Can't imagine it.

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Langdell

for example, consider this dude. he makes a living out of filing nuisance trademark lawsuits against video game companies and hoping it's easier for them to settle than to fight him in court
Well, yeah, there are these people.
They spoil everything. Fortunately they are still a minority. There'll always be some kid who spoils it all…
But that's not the level, we should use as measurement for our attitude towards creative work or life in general. If we do, they win.
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Copyright automatically applies to any written text, music, or other media whether you apply for copyright or not. You will need proof of the date when it was done if you want to challenge someone over their using it. Also copyright applies to the exact form so if someone writes a book with a similar idea then you have to prove that the idea came from you.

 

Trademark requires registration of the material and usage.

 

Patent requires submission of the idea for consideration to a patent office. A working model is not needed.

 

Example - US Patent # 6,960,975 to Boris Volfson for the warp drive. Actually this should have be never allowed because the concept was in the public domain prior to patent application when it was mention on Star Trek. There are several discussion groups that also explain why the math is wrong.

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer

Example - US Patent # 6,960,975 to Boris Volfson for the warp drive. Actually this should have be never allowed because the concept was in the public domain prior to patent application when it was mention on Star Trek. There are several discussion groups that also explain why the math is wrong.


i'm not familiar with that particular patent but if someone made a detailed and unique patent application for a warp drive, whether or not it would actually work, it should be patentable. star trek only counts as prior art if you try to patent a warp drive that works exactly like the one on star trek
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You can patent it regardless of whether it actually could work, but you have to provide a mechanism by which it works (or doesn't). You can't patent "exceeding the speed of light," "exceeding the speed of light with many white streaks," or any unintelligible technobabble justifying either of the two.

 

—Alorael, who isn't sure patent offices know how patent law works, at least when applied to surprising new things. The internet and genetics are the great reserved rights frontiers.

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It's not even just lifeforms, although that has plenty of issues. It's individual genes that have become problems. Even genetic research is occasionally hampered by the fact that someone has gone ahead and patented a fistful of essentially random genes because they characterized them and, hey, someone might want them some day.

 

—Alorael, who is at least encouraged that most of the fillings still need review and that the reviews have not just been cheerful rubber stampings.

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One of the very bad things about patenting life is that the food industry is using it to get much more money, and they are basically gaining control over nearly all of America's farmers. If the farmers try to do anything with the altered food product that the company doesn't like, the farmers will be sued.

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Originally Posted By: Master1
When they start discovering/decoding the genes for specific functions and organs, will we have to pay royalties for having/using such functions and organs?


Maybe. There have been lawsuits over the use of genetic information where the person(s) having the specific genetic pattern disputes that the organization that decodes the key genetic information has exclusive rights to that person(s)' genome and products related to it.
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Only vaguely apropos:

"Surely every human being ought to attain to the dignity of the unit. Surely it is worth while to be one, and to feel that the census of the universe would be incomplete without counting you. Surely there is grandeur in knowing that in the realm of thought you are without a chain; that you have the right to explore all heights and all depths; that there are no walls or fences, or prohibited places, or sacred corners in all the vast expanse of thought; that your intellect owes no allegiance to any being, human or divine; that you hold all in fee, and upon no condition, and by no tenure, whatsoever; that in the world of mind you are relieved from all personal dictation, and from the ignorant tyranny of majorities. Surely it is worth something to feel that there are no priests, no popes, no parties, no governments, no kings, no gods, to whom your intellect can be compelled to pay a reluctant homage. Surely it is a joy to know that all the cruel ingenuity of bigotry can devise no prison, no dungeon, no cell in which for one instant to confine a thought; that ideas cannot be dislocated by racks, nor crushed in iron boots, nor burned with fire. Surely it is sublime to think that the brain is a castle, and that within its curious bastions and winding halls the soul, in spite of all worlds and all beings, is the supreme sovereign of itself."

- Robert Ingersoll

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