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Ultima IV — EA Takedowns Precede Official Reboot 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the textbook-evil-empire dept.
Kevin Fishburne writes "According to posts at the Ultima fan site Ultima Aiera, both the browser-based Ultima IV Sega Master System emulation at Master System 8 and the IBM-PC port at Phi Psi Software have received cease and desist letters from Electronic Arts, the current IP holder of the Ultima franchise. The post states that despite the widely held belief that Origin had allowed the Ultima Dragons to distribute Ultima IV freely in 1997, in fact that is no longer the case. It further suggests that the EA takedowns are preceding an upcoming browser-based Ultima IV reboot by Bioware Mythic. Has EA lost an eighth, or are they well within their rights by going DMCA on a 26-year-old game they had no hand in developing?"
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Ultima IV — EA Takedowns Precede Official Reboot

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  • by Derekloffin (741455) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @03:59AM (#35649802)
    As far as I know, doesn't matter that it is older, or that they didn't personally develop it. It is still copyrighted, and unless someone can show it was given to public domain, EA is within their rights to do this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It being within their rights certainly doesn't make it right, though.

      As for Mythic making an Ultima reboot, yeah, no.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @04:18AM (#35649896)

      Though one can ask if it is correct from a moral one, and also if it SHOULD be correct from a legal standpoint.

      My feeling is no. Copyright is far too long. The idea of a limited time copyright is to keep people creating new works. You make a work, you get to make money off of it, but only for a little while. After that it belongs to the public and you need to make new works if you wish to keep making money.

      Seems fair to me as that is how most professions work. If I fix a computer, I do not continue to receive pay for that computer so long as it is in use or functional. I am paid for doing the job. If I want more pay I need to keep working.

      Personally I'd do copyright something like this:

      You get 10 years, upon the creation of the work, no registration needed. That way everyone has a chance to profit from a creation of theirs that is valuable. Once the 10 years are up you've three choices:

      1) Do nothing and allow the work to fall in to the public domain. If you do this there are, as they say on the playground, "no taksies backsies." The work is public now and forevermore.

      2) Register and renew the work with an exclusive license for another 10 years. You get to dictate everything about its usage, just like the first 10, you've complete control. After that, it falls in to the public domain, no further extensions permitted.

      3) Register and renew the work with a mandatory license agreement for another 20 years. In this case you get to keep copyright longer, however part of the terms are that the government mandates a reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing of it. People can make derivatives and pay you a set fee for that and you cannot stop it. You can still profit from your work, but on fixed terms. After that, the work falls in to the public domain.

      This was people still have plenty of time to profit from their works, but they can't hold on to them forever and ever and just milk a single gravy train. Also, if someone abandons a work and doesn't bother to register, it falls in to the public domain quicker. After all, if you are still making money 10 years later, you can take the time to register. If you can't be bothered, obviously it isn't that valuable to you.

      So while under current law they are 100% in the right, I feel they are being dicks and I feel current copyright law should be changed. You shouldn't be allowed to just hold on to something forever. Many of our more modern favourite works are directly possible because of the use of public domain earlier works (like most of the famous Disney cartoons). That needs to continue.

      • Thats exactly how the first Copyright law in the United States worked(well the period was 14 years and another 14 years if the author was still alive and wanted it extended). Every other copyright law after that should be repealed.
        • by MPolo (129811)
          I could even see allowing additional extensions beyond the first, but the cost of these should increase exponentially. If Disney is convinced that derivatives of Steamboat Willie are going to drive them into the ground, they can pay an ever-increasing fee to protect it. Something like first renewal costs $10,000 (or more), second is $20,000, third is $40,000 and so on. At a certain point, even Disney would be moved to let things slip into the public domain... The reason for the high renewal fee is that if t
          • The renewal fee should be a percentage of the gross income from the protected work, not a flat fee. Otherwise it hurts the small copyright holder and is ineffectual against the large copyright holder.
            • by TheLink (130905)
              Gross income? Look up Hollywood accounting.

              The Corporations will just structure it so that the copyright holder earns nothing.
          • by malkavian (9512)

            0.5-1% of the cumulative gross of the work would be more like it. Cumulative being the vital thing (otherwise, if something just doesn't sell after the 'big hit few years', then you effectively get the extension almost free as a big studio. Steamboat Willie not selling much? Well that renewal is $50 for the year; go for it!). This won't affect the small time authors much either; will cost a pittance for a work that doesn't sell much, but at some point, they'll just not care enough to keep it going, es

        • Fourteen years is still far too long in today's world (and twenty-eight years is beyond an eternity).

          According to typical sales records, maybe two or, at most, five years is more than enough protection.

          • Why would you buy any form of entertainment new if you knew you would be able to get it legally for free in 2 years?

            I sure wouldn't. Any book, movie, video game, tv show etc, can wait. I'll just watch/read whatever was the big deal in 2009 while I wait.

            Popular culture moves quickly, but not as quickly as you think.

            • by delinear (991444)
              For the same reason people pay a premium to see a movie in the first run at the cinema instead of waiting for the DVD, or that they buy the DVD at release price instead of waiting 18 months and picking it up in a bargain bin? People like to see the latest movies, play the latest games, read the latest books, just because a few people are willing to wait to save money doesn't mean the majority won't continue to pay a premium to experience it early.
              • Unless you're a multi-millionare and have a real "Movie room" in your mansion, chances are good that going to a real theatre is something that you simply can't replicate at home 2 years later. That I understand. it's an "experience" thing.

                What I'm saying is whether I read stephan king's new ebook for my nook on release day, or 2 years later, it will be the same experience. Whether I play mass effect 3 on release day or 2 years later, it will be the same experience (probably better 2 years later as my comput

                • by Rakarra (112805)

                  You don't need to be a multi-millionaire to have a real 'movie room' in your house, especially if you only want to equal or surpass the iffy quality of the standard multiplex. If you want to equal the quality of a very good theater though things get very expensive very quickly.

                  $10,000 or so will buy you a decent projector (The Epson Home Cinema series is quite bright and HD quality) and screen, a PS3 (still one of the better consumer Blu-Ray players on the market), a receiver, decent (but not spectacular) s

            • by Cederic (9623)

              I don't mind paying for content.

              I'm already 18 months behind the curve on (most) computer games. I'm buying them at a quarter of the price on Steam instead of paying the 'brand new game' premium.

              Some games (online ones and FM2011) need immediate purchase, but a lot don't - last week I put 43 hours in Dragon Age, while on steam my friends are playing Dragon Age II. I'm playing the Ultimate Edition of the original, with all the DLC and expansions, which I paid a lot less for than they've paid for less of a ga

              • Try Arx Fatalis or Amnesia : The Dark Decent. The first one is older and cheap, the second one is a must play and is cheap (indie).
                • by Cederic (9623)

                  Hmm, Steam tells me Amnesia: The Dark Descent is Action, Adventure, Indie.

                  The Indie bit works for me, Action games can be fun but I've never had the patience for Adventure games. (Action Adventure games are even worse, but to be fair that doesn't look like one to me).

                  The reviews are exceedingly positive and I doubt for a moment that it's a superb game. I just don't think I'll get on with it. There's a demo available, I'll give that a go, see how it goes..

                  Arx Fatalis for £2.99 on Steam is downlo

                  • I can't even play Amnesia for very long without getting too flustered. You are alone in a haunted castle, no weapons (ever), and something is following you. Arx is an incredible game, easily a top RPG of the decade. The magic system is sort of hard to use, so you may want to look up the runes to get a feel for what they actually mean (like the "Create" rune + "Fire" rune lights torches, but you don't know the actual english names for the runes). Be ready to search long and hard without hints for things. Jus
            • by Darinbob (1142669)

              I wait at least two years now. I'm not bothering with movie theater prices, and sometimes I'm not going to deal with pay-per-view fees, so I'm often waiting until a movie shows up on TV. Music needs a lot of time before I know it's worth spending money on. Books usually need to be in paperback form and that's often well over a year from first publishing and two years before I even hear of them, and another couple of years before I get around to reading it anyway.

              Two years is almost nothing if you're over

          • You say in "today's world" 14 years is too long; but you don't explain why; nor do you explain the source for "typical sales records".

            This can be easily abused by those who make their living profiting off of others' work. For example, studios would gain a huge advantage in terms of book-to-movie deals. It can take months to proceed to the point of getting an offer; with a two year limit the seller is now forced to take the first offer for fear of losing all rights while trying to negotiate. Even bette

          • by tbannist (230135)

            That, of course, depends on how you define reasonable. According to Rufus Pollock [arstechnica.com], he determined that about 14 years is the optimal balance point for copyright. I think at that point the author has earned about 97% of the copyright rents that can be earned from most works.

        • by nomadic (141991)
          In other words, U4 would still be protected even under the first copyright laws.
      • ...but then the government needs to police and prosecute like friggin' Elliot Ness on steroids the torrent seeders and other violators. Root 'em out and hang 'em up to dry. Every kid, every grandma, every wise-ass college nerd pleading poverty: shut 'em down and cleanse their hard drives clean of any content they did not pay for that is not in the public domain. Everyone needs to understand that they have three choices for possessing entertainment content:

        1. Pay Now and Get It Now
        2. Wait 10 years and Get

        • by delinear (991444)
          The problem is they seem to be working on steps one and three and ignoring step two. It's like the chicken and egg situation with public transport (in the UK) - the government want more people to use public transport instead of cars, but instead of investing in good public transport, they focus on punishing car drivers. The car drivers have no real alternative so they continue to use their cars while fostering resentment. Give us sensible copyright laws first and then focus on punishing those who break them
          • Give us sensible copyright laws first and then focus on punishing those who break them.

            No.

            Law enforcement cannot adequately police the torrents now. Songs are merely a dollar on iTunes -- less other places -- yet the latest pop music album is but a two-minute download via Vuze or some other client within a few days of its release. How will diminishing the copyright term -- which at least assures the artist of some revenue from reputable distributors and honest consumers -- increases the technical efficacy

            • by denobug (753200)

              Give us sensible copyright laws first and then focus on punishing those who break them.

              No.

              Law enforcement cannot adequately police the torrents now. Songs are merely a dollar on iTunes -- less other places -- yet the latest pop music album is but a two-minute download via Vuze or some other client within a few days of its release. How will diminishing the copyright term -- which at least assures the artist of some revenue from reputable distributors and honest consumers -- increases the technical efficacy of the forces policing copyright?

              Demonstrate how the consumer genie can be placed back in the bottle and then we can have a discussion about attenuating the creators' term of copyright.

              Buddy, you got this whole this up-side-down. Fix the structure where it becomes reasonable then most people will find it to be easier to be honest. More people uses iTune to acquire music legally now or using streaming music from legal sources than pirating music nowadays (at least in my circle of friends now). Majority of people will do what is right when they don't feel like being ripped-off on a transaction.

      • by asylumx (881307)

        Though one can ask if it is correct from a moral one, and also if it SHOULD be correct from a legal standpoint.

        That's all well and good, but unfortunately it doesn't change the facts or context of the case.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Good luck arguing that before Congress. My advice would be to bring a a LOT of generous campaign contributions with you when you come.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        10 years is far, far too long. Don't movies usually make 90% of their money in theaters like in the first 4-6 weeks after release and the same time period for DVD release?

        20 or even 10 years ago, I'd agree that 5 or 10 years makes sense. But now, the best tradeoff would probably be 1 or 2 years IMO.

      • by Tharsman (1364603)

        My feeling is no. Copyright is far too long. The idea of a limited time copyright is to keep people creating new works. You make a work, you get to make money off of it, but only for a little while. After that it belongs to the public and you need to make new works if you wish to keep making money.

        Seems fair to me as that is how most professions work. If I fix a computer, I do not continue to receive pay for that computer so long as it is in use or functional. I am paid for doing the job. If I want more pay I need to keep working.

        If I build a house, it belongs to me until I sell it. By your logic, my house should become a public shelter and I should go out and build a new one if I want to keep the benefits of having built my home.

        Creating something, and servicing something are two very different things. A guy fixing a computer just serviced it. He MAY add new parts, but he actually sells them to me. Creating goods allow you to sell them or duplicates of them.

        You should be able to milk your creation for as long as anyone is willi

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        But the copyright duration isn't really the issue here. The problem is EA disagreeing that Ultima Dragons was given the right to distribute the game in the past. I suspect it's a lot like SCO in some ways, EA obtained some copyrights that they think are more valuable than they really are.

    • ...this kind of dick-ish move is the same sort of thing we've come to expect from EA. Remember the takedowns sent from Fox to Simpons fans in the 90's? This seems fairly similar.

      Being anal about the distribution rights of a 14 year old video game seems like it's an issue of screwing your most dedicated fans, the very people that the company should be catering to.

      • Being anal about the distribution rights of a 14 year old video game seems like it's an issue of screwing your most dedicated fans, the very people that the company should be catering to.

        Actually, the DOS version of the game is about 26 years old.

      • by Ltap (1572175)
        Personally, I would have released it on the same disc as the reboot and called it the "authorized emulation release" or something similar. Id re-releases its older games, and so does Bethesda. I even recall games like Bloodrayne being re-released on the same disc as their movie adaptation. The fact is that it is against EA's ideas of what business should be: they want gaming to exist like the world of 1984, with everything in the present and where the past can be erased or altered based on their whims. Afte
    • by tbannist (230135)

      It may be within their rights, but it's also a clear example of why copyrights on computer games shouldn't last for 26 years.

    • Why bother with a DMCA takedown if you still own the copyright? Are they saying they don't mind people distributing the content, just so long as nobody reverse engineers it?

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      They don't necessarily need to show that it was in "public domain" but that some parties were given the rights to copy and distribute it. Copyright holders do not have the ability to retroactively take back copies that had previously been allowed. If some earlier copyright holder once allowed another company to freely make and distribute copies this can't be undone. Of course there's the legal issue of having to prove what the actual circumstances were, what the evidence is, how many copies were allowed,

  • Who hold the copyright matters. And hate it or not, they are perfectly in right to remove a distribution right they have given before. That said, after having bought ultima 4 to 9, UW1 and UW2, and having felt the pain of playing thru ultima 9, I think I can imagine that any browser based U4 will be about : a very basic strategy / rpg game , with the possibility to buy for $$$ a few useful item. "buy 30 karma for 0.99 $ !". YURK.
    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>buy 30 karma for 0.99 $ !"

      Brings new meaning to the dungeons in Ultima IV:
      Deceit
      Despair
      Despise
      Wrong
      Covetous
      Shame ...all apply equally well to the developers of microtransaction, spam-based social games, and the players that play them.

      (Pedants: Yes, I'm ignoring Destard and Hythloth. Whatever.)

      • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @09:40AM (#35652120) Homepage Journal

        I seem to recall if you were stupid enough to attack a villager in a town, you'd not see that once, but about six times over. (I don't recall which few virtues you didn't lose)

        But EA probably is within their rights to do this. It does no good to get upset at them because they're playing by the rules. As we all know, it's the rules that are broken.

        BUT, the reason the rules are broken are because companies (like EA) have brib...er lobbied congress critters to write those laws. But again, that's still them playing within the rules, and again leads back to the rules being broken. It's a problem that's two levels deep, and in both cases comes down to a defective legislative system. Defective, not malfunctioning. It's working as designed, it's just designed wrong. Unfortunately certain aspects of its design (such as lobbying) make it a problem that's self-perpetuating to a large degree.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      When distribution rights are given there's usually a contract that says when, how, how many, etc. They can't just arbitrarily change the terms of the contract at their whim, they have to wait until the terms of the contract expire. The issue is whether or not Ultima Dragons were or were not legally given the rights to freely distribute. There does not appear to be a typical legal document to this effect, but rather a very informal email from someone who may or may not have been the copyright holder (ofte

  • I remember abandoning it for Might and Magic (I & II), and then returning to the series when I got a hold of Ultima V. Ultima V kicked serious butt!

    How come no one ever wants to remake/re-release/re-whatever that one?

    *goes in a corner and plays the stones song*

    • by Tapewolf (1639955) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @04:23AM (#35649920)
      You might want to look up Lazarus. It was a total conversion for Dungeon Siege - fan made, but very well done. I was one of those folks who couldn't really get into anything pre-Ultima 6, though I did play Ultima 4 end to end.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      there's many remakes of all ultimas before 6.

      6 is the bee's balls superduper though. the world in it is far bigger than in dragon age, or anything hand done. ultima7 feels like a kid's park compared to the size(ultima7 has no caves, for example, just those pseudo caves).

      also, ultima ix isn't half bad. no computer could run it when it came though.

      • by Culture20 (968837)
        And no computer can run ultima ix well now given its reliance on voodoo/glide instead of OpenGL.
        • by Rakarra (112805)

          I've used Voodoo library wrappers before to get Voodoo games running well.
          Diablo II, for instance, only "supported" (it was really a Voodoo trick) running at 1600x1200 if you used Voodoo instead of DirectX, and I installed a Voodoo to DirectX wrapper to make this work.

    • by aapold (753705)
      In the context of what came before, it was the first game I can recall where the ultimate victory was not based on killing a bad guy, but rather a personal quest. It was also the first time we got the world of Britania (Ultima ]I[ had been Sosaria, ][ was earth through time, and I... I dunno, something like Alkabeth I imagine, never played that one). It was the first time we got to journey with Iolo Fitzowen, Dupre, Shamino, et al.

      Yes it was over the top in its morality, and Ultima V was directly a r
    • by Avatar8 (748465)
      Story depth and complexity of the interwoven virtue "formula."

      Games used to be about story, plot and themes and not simply hack and slash. While I've enjoyed all of the Ultimas (even 8, /shudder), 5's combat system, while allowing plenty of control, took too long and slowed down the flow of the game. It was almost as cumbersome as the Times of Lore combat system where one battle of a group of 6 against 6 monsters took a good 20 minutes.

      I am, of course, talking about playing on the Apple/PC. Combat on cons

  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @04:12AM (#35649870) Journal

    If EA are sending out takedown notices, then they really had better have an official port in the pipeline. I'm going to leave aside the moral dimensions of copyright law for a moment and focus on something else - the fact that this is a game that needs preserving in an accessible form.

    Ultima IV is, to my mind, one of the most important games in the history of computer and video gaming as a medium. While the first three Ultima games (and Akalabeth) had been relatively straightforward "hack and slash" type RPGs, Ultima IV was revolutionary. It was a game based around morality, where the objective wasn't to defeat the big bad and save the world, but rather become a paragon of virtue. It was an early sign that the medium was capable of "growing up" and its influence over the years has been immense. While hack and slash still predominates, you can see the influence of Ultima IV underpinning pretty much every Bioware RPG, as well as a whole host of other games which attempt to tell more sophisticated stories or allow the player a degree of freedom in how to accomplish objectives.

    In terms of significance to the development of the RPG genre, I'd rank Ultima IV as sitting alongside the second installments in the Final Fantasy and Baldur's Gate series - the former for its development of what we now recognise as the standard model for Japanese RPG storytelling and the latter for re-popularising the genre in the West following a major period of decline in the mid-90s.

    It's a sad fact that because people at the time saw them as ephemeral, many of the significant early works in film and television have been lost forever. It would be nice - and no doubt welcomed by future generations - if we could actually preserve the most important early gaming titles in a readily playable form.

    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      The game is in no danger of being lost to time. And a copyright violation notice has nothing to do with whether or not it will be lost to time.

      The game was based around wandering around a fantasy kingdom killing monsters. That made up approximately 100% of gameplay. They mentioned morality in the parts nobody cared about. It's no more deep than the cut scenes in Mario, where the Princess is in another castle.

      The morality system of Bioware games is so incredibly trite, who cares what its inspirations wer

      • It may not be "deep" now, but in the context of when it was released, Ultima IV was groundbeaking. This half-assed attempt by EA to quash the game outside of its own walled garden is nothing more than a revenue grab. It's typical of a company like EA, of course.

        And who cares if Bioware's implementation didn't advance the morality system further in the mid 90's... Ultima IV did a great job on computers that had less memory than your wristwatch.

        Stop trying to wrap today's game ecosystem around Ultima IV. If y

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Don't worry, Ultima IV will always be readily available on the internet. I can assure you that.

    • if we could actually preserve the most important early gaming titles in a readily playable form.

      Oddly enough I think that software pirates are already doing this. There is also Gog.com.

  • by deniable (76198) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @04:18AM (#35649898)
    Um, what?
    • It's an 'in-joke' (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tigger's Pet (130655) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @04:21AM (#35649912) Homepage

      Quote from http://everything2.com/title/Thou+hast+lost+an+eighth%2521 [everything2.com] - to stop me wasting my time re-wording;-

      A warning that first appeared in Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar. Earning all eight pieces of the ankh is a major part of the aforementioned quest. You have to act in harmony with all eight virtues in order to earn each piece. If you act unvirtuously, by cheating a blind herb-seller, attacking a peaceful citizen, etc., you will lose that virtue. If you've earned that virtue's piece of the ankh, you will also lose that eighth.
      On the Ultima-related newsgroups, "Thou hast lost an eighth!" is used as a rebuke when someone asks a stupid question.
      "Thou hast lost an eighth" also appears in Doom II -- when you want to quit the game, the confirmation dialog occasionally warns you that "Thou hast lost an eighth" for wanting to quit!

    • by Avatar8 (748465)
      I'll expound Tigger's Pet's excellent explanation.

      In U4 you gained "skill" in each of the eight virtues. Once you "ascended" in each virtue you gained an eighth of an ankh. If you took any action counter to that ascended virtue, you lost it and had to again work through regaining it. Even if you were fully ascended (all eight pieces of the ankh) and did something that went against honesty and the other three virtues based upon the axiom of Truth, you might see...

      "Thou hast lost an eighth!!!"
      "Thou hast l

  • by alephnull42 (202254) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @05:23AM (#35650158) Homepage Journal
    EA fails on Humility, Honor and Compassion at least.... off to the dungeons!
    • by Avatar8 (748465)
      Not to mention Honesty, Justice, Sacrifice, Sprituality...

      I guess they have Valor because they never seem to stop or back down from anything especially where money is involved.

      Aw hell, I'm quite certain EA as a whole *is* The Guardian, Mr. Muppet himself.

      • Naw, you don't get Valor for attacking non-evil creatures. You of all people, Mr. Avatar (if that is your real name), should know this.

        Also, it was well established [ultimaaiera.com] in the events of Ultima VII that the Guardian is in fact behind EA (which is to say Elizabeth and Abraham).

  • "Has EA lost an eighth, or are they well within their rights by going DMCA on a 26-year-old game they had no hand in developing?"

    Asking this on Slashdot... I wonder what the answer's going to be? ;-)

    • by HiThere (15173)

      Both, except that it would have been 4/8ths, except that they'd previously lost the other three.

      I.e., if rights are determined legally, then they are within their rights. If rights are determined morally, then they are immoral.

      If you believe "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights", the the usage is clearly moral. But if you're a lawyer, then it's the other way around.

  • by no known priors (1948918) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @06:39AM (#35650594)

    You can still download the Ultima IV legally [thatfleminggent.com]. Or, at least, according to both that page and the first article linked to from the summary. And, from that page there is a link to a Usenet post with the permission:

    >I've been the recipient of a forward from Edward Franks (Fortran)
    >regarding the distribution of Ultima IV and I'm mighty confused..

    sorry for the confusion... let's see if I can clarify

    1. the U4 distribution in the magazine was intended to be an 'exclusive'
    for the mag.
    2. Once the mag distribution was over, it was felt nothing much could be
    done to stop redistribution of U4 after that
    3. KickAss was offering U4 for d/l, but the Dragons couldn't (per a
    previous 'restriction' by Origin?)
    4. I said, that's not fair to the Dragons... They've been honest about
    this. Why not let them offer it as well.. Answer: Your absolutely right..
    5. Ergo: email to Fortran Dragon 'OK'ing' the ability to offer U4 for free
    d/l by Dragons

    So, I just went and downloaded the game. Go me!

    As far as I can tell, EA is only going after those who didn't have permission in the first place. Which, is perfectly legal, and not even that dickish when considered from that perspective. (From another perspective, that copyright is shit, and/or that copyright for a 26 year old game is shit, it is dickish. Whatever.)

    But yeah, to bad nobody reads the article around here hey. Too bad the summary didn't mention this little point about the game still being available from some places.

    • by delinear (991444)
      It's not even that the summary doesn't mention this - the summary does mention the Dragons' distribution rights explicitly - it says EA claims they're revoked. So either the page you linked to can expect a letter soon or the summary is just plain wrong or some spokes person for EA spoke out of terms.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      Where does that "26 year old" come from?
      2011 - 1997 = 14, no?

  • Why do people keep spending money on EA Games? They treat the gaming community like utter crap at every opportunity, yet people continue to keep eating it up constantly. I refuse to spend a dime on any EA product, and I have no doubt many /.'ers share my sentiments.
    • by westlake (615356)

      Why do people keep spending money on EA Games?

      EA publishes the games they want to play.

      Dragon Age
      The Sims
      Madden NFL
      Medal of Honor
      Crysis

  • COMPression
    HUMIdity
    SACRilege
    HONEy
    SPIRals
    VALOrem
    HONOlulu
    JUSTico (these days you could use JUSTintimberlake or JUSTinbieber... but I did not know who the former was back then and the latter did not exist back then).

    (the Ultima IV language parser only read the first four letters of any word) you could pass all the challenges where they asked you questions about the virtues by answering with thse...)
    • by Avatar8 (748465)
      Hahaha! I knew of the parser limitation, but I never considered you could enter other words.

      Of course, the purist that I am, I cursed my friend for using my U7 save game and killing Lord British with the Blacksword. :-)

  • More than an eighth. They've USEd the Skull of Mondain (losing an eighth in every category).
  • I'm sure someone with more time to research than I will come up with this answer, but what is the limitation of IP? When does software become "abandonware" as so many products out there are? An Ultima 4 port to Windows was given away with a magazine in the mid- late 90s.

    Just because EA plans to re-release (and likely ruin) a title, does that mean they have the right to stop all the independent, original and to the best of my knowledge *non-profit" work? If people were making money off of it, I could unders

  • So if my character name, "Phaltran Pogammon," is on a gravestone in Skara Brae in Ultima VII, does that mean EA now owns my character name and I no longer have the right to use it?

    Guess I'll get the GMs in WoW to change it to "Phuquea" (phuq you EA)

    • by JSBiff (87824)

      What are you talking about? No one cares about your character name, unless it also happens to be the name of an NPC character in the game, or in someone else's book, movie, tv show, or game, etc which you ripped off.

      There's nothing in the linked article about character names, so I don't even understand why you bothered posting this?

  • Owning the IP to something has nothing to do with if you actively developed it or not. There are companies that do nothing but buy/sell/manage IP without actually developing anything.

Is a person who blows up banks an econoclast?

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