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Copyright and the Games Industry 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-super-mario-toilet-paper-is-probably-illegal dept.
A recent post at the Press Start To Drink blog examined the relationship the games industry has with copyright laws. More so than in some other creative industries, the reactions of game companies to derivative works are widely varied and often unpredictable, ranging anywhere from active support to situations like the Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes debacle. Quoting: "... even within the gaming industry, there is a tension between IP holders and fan producers/poachers. Some companies, such as Epic and Square Enix, remain incredibly protective of their Intellectual Property, threatening those that use their creations, even for non-profit, cultural reasons, with legal suits. Other companies, like Valve, seem to, if not embrace, at least tolerate, and perhaps even tacitly encourage this kind of fan engagement with their work. Lessig suggests, 'The opportunity to create and transform becomes weakened in a world in which creation requires permission and creativity must check with a lawyer.' Indeed, the more developers and publishers that take up Valve's position, the more creativity and innovation will emerge out of video game fan communities, already known for their intense fandom and desire to add to, alter, and re-imagine their favorite gaming universes."
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Copyright and the Games Industry

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  • No such thing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by deprecated (86120) on Friday December 04, 2009 @04:03AM (#30321750) Homepage Journal

    Intellectual property is a bankrupt and indefensible notion. Scratch a weasel word, find a thief.

  • by DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) on Friday December 04, 2009 @04:35AM (#30321858)

    I'm getting fed up with these two concepts. There is only one kind of Plagarism... cheating. If you didn't do the work on your paper, then you're cheating. If you didn't provide sources, you better have research. If you don't have research, your paper is baseless and should be given a failing grade.

    Copyright is the idea that you control the copies of your creation. Obviously, nobody wants to spend thousands of hours creating something then letting someone else (a corporation) sell it without royalties. Or letting people download it for free off the internet. (Hey Pirates, you think you aren't stealing? Well why don't you download a random assortment of bits. Oh that's right, because you want somebody else's *work*).

    However, Copyright has turned into this idea where as soon as you make a "Dark cloaked figure who kills people for a living" you can go bully anyone else for doing something like it. No, it lets you own your words. Not something like your words, your words only.

    Trademarks protect against people making Harry Potter books or Mickey Mouse movies. There is no need and purpose for copyright to cover that issue.

    IP is not a failed idea. Our system is what's broken (or more likely, those who are in charge of the system).

  • Re:No such thing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Friday December 04, 2009 @04:48AM (#30321904)

    IP /exists/ by virtue of artificial scarcity. Supply and demand. When supply is infinite...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @05:33AM (#30322092)

    IP is only 3 centuries old in the anglosaxon world, 2 for the rest of Europe and 1 for the rest of the world, and in that time it has become a cesspit of creation murdering nonsense that has been slowly making sure creativity in this world is killed because your ideas might make vague use of common tropes someone else with the money wants to sue you about, making sure most of the artistic creation of the last 10 millenia could get sued the fuck off if it was made today. The ideals of feeding the public domain while removing the need for the patronage system were very worthy, but they just created an even more oppressive system of patronage because from a social class standpoint, artists have to be either wildly successfully distributed or will not be able to distribute full time anyway, making things moot. Clinging on the idea of IP as implemented is thinking you can make the Titanic float by repainting the grand staircase.

  • by selven (1556643) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:16AM (#30322384)

    Obviously, nobody wants to spend thousands of hours creating something then letting someone else (a corporation) sell it without royalties. Or letting people download it for free off the internet.

    Linux.
    Firefox.
    MySQL.
    Apache.
    Gnome.
    KDE.

    And if you're going to redefine your original statement so that GPL counts as payment, I give you:

    Chromium (browser and OS) [google.com]
    Open BSD [openbsd.org]
    Free BSD [freebsd.org]

    Hey Pirates, you think you aren't stealing?

    Do we HAVE to go over this again?

  • by PriyanPhoenix (900509) on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:53AM (#30322678) Homepage
    I think two things affected the modding community: one is, as you said, definitely the tightening reins in an attempt to monetise additional content post-release. The other, which I think had begun to take effect well before the propagation of paid-for DLC, is simply the spirally complexity and cost of game development. The chief time expenditure for any major mod has always been asset creation (while I fully admit what separates good mods from bad is still overall game design). In the past, a couple of talented individuals could roll out a mod in a couple of months that looked as polished as the original game. Now as engines allow for far more detailed graphics, high quality asset creation takes significantly longer. Thus the dev cycle for mods has increased just as for the original game. For a handful of bedroom coders, putting together larger teams has generally been found impractical so the result is that the best-looking and most promising mods still have smallish teams and end up in limbo for years, during which many falter and disappear. The alternative is a cheap-looking mod which is unlikely to garner significant interest.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday December 04, 2009 @09:38AM (#30322974) Homepage Journal

    I'm getting fed up with these two concepts. There is only one kind of Plagarism...

    ...misspelled.

    cheating. If you didn't do the work on your paper, then you're cheating.

    plagiarism [reference.com] /pledrzm, -dirz-/
    -noun
    1. the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.

    English? YOU FAIL IT!

    Copyright is the idea that you control the copies of your creation. Obviously, nobody wants to spend thousands of hours creating something then letting someone else (a corporation) sell it without royalties.

    I've spent hundreds of hours developing articles for Everything2. I shudder to think at the hours which have gone into Wikipedia. Human Emotion? YOU FAIL IT!

    However, Copyright has turned into this idea where as soon as you make a "Dark cloaked figure who kills people for a living" you can go bully anyone else for doing something like it.

    The courts let you do that. They also provide a mechanism for recovering the costs of frivolous lawsuits. Understanding Jurisprudence? YOU FAIL IT!

    IP is not a failed idea. Our system is what's broken (or more likely, those who are in charge of the system).

    you are the government
    you are jurisprudence
    you are the volition
    you are jurisdiction
    and I make a difference too [sing365.com]

  • Re:No such thing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Useful Wheat (1488675) on Friday December 04, 2009 @12:02PM (#30324536)

    The best example of using Valve's assets in a community creation would be Gang Garrison. Gang Garrison is a sprite version of Team Fortress 2 made in a parody style. Instead of the pyro you have the firebug. Instead of the heavy you have the overweight. Instead of eating a sandvich (spelled with a "v", I swear) you eat a manwich.

    Although the gameplay is interesting by itself, the faithful 8-bit midi renditions of all the Team Fortress music is pretty much worth downloading the free game. Its not the best game I've ever played, but I'd be sad if it never existed because Valve screamed foul over IP rights.

  • by selven (1556643) on Friday December 04, 2009 @12:15PM (#30324704)

    First of all, no I don't know those money booths where you can get cash for free.

    Second, that's a completely flawed analogy. The purpose of copyright is to encourage people to create music/video/software. If people are doing those things without the copyright incentive, that means that we don't need copyright after all.

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