Author Topic: "no reason" and no rights  (Read 11354 times)

Sekoia

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"no reason" and no rights
« on: October 12, 2012, 02:55:22 PM »
I had noticed this phrase in the City of Heroes EULA a few weeks ago: "You have no fundamental right whatsoever to use the Game, and that You understand that NCsoft may in its sole and absolute discretion terminate Your ability to use of the Game for any reason or for no reason whatsoever". That's right, the EULA makes us agree that they can shut the game down for no reason whatsoever if they so wish. Today I got curious as to whether the other user agreements, past and present, have similar language. Given that they understandably seem to copy-and-paste their legalese, the answer is... yes.

Auto Assault User Agreement, section 10 (c)
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(c) NC Interactive has the right at any time for any reason or no reason to change and/or eliminate any aspect(s) of the Service as it sees fit in its sole discretion.

Tabula Rasa User Agreement, section 10 (c)
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(c) NC Interactive has the right at any time for any reason or no reason to change and/or eliminate any aspect(s) of the Service as it sees fit in its sole discretion.

Dungeon Runners User Agreement, section 10 (c)
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(c) NC Interactive has the right at any time for any reason or no reason to change and/or eliminate any aspect(s) of the Service as it sees fit in its sole discretion.

Exteel User Agreement, section 10 (c)
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(c) NC Interactive has the right at any time for any reason or no reason to change and/or eliminate any aspect(s) of the Service as it sees fit in its sole discretion.

City of Heroes User Agreement, section 11 (a) (i)
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(i)      You warrant and represent that You understand the Game sets forth a virtual world and not the real world, that You understand the distinction between a virtual world and the real world, that You understand that You have no fundamental right whatsoever to use the Game, and that You understand that NCsoft may in its sole and absolute discretion terminate Your ability to use of the Game for any reason or for no reason whatsoever;

Lineage 2 User Agreement, section 11 (a) (i)
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(i)   You warrant and represent that You understand the Game sets forth a virtual world and not the real world, that You understand the distinction between a virtual world and the real world, that You understand that You have no fundamental right whatsoever to use the Game, and that You understand that NCsoft may in its sole and absolute discretion terminate Your ability to use of the Game for any reason or for no reason whatsoever;

Aion User Agreement, section 11 (a) (i)
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(i) You warrant and represent that You understand the Game sets forth a virtual world and not the real world, that You understand the distinction between a virtual world and the real world, that You understand that You have no fundamental right whatsoever to use the Game, and that You understand that NCsoft may in its sole and absolute discretion terminate Your ability to access or use the Game for any reason or for no reason whatsoever;

Guild Wars User Agreement, section 10 (c)
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(c) NC Interactive has the right at any time for any reason or no reason to change and/or eliminate any aspect(s) of the Service as it sees fit in its sole discretion.

Guild Wars 2 User Agreement, section 11 (a) (i)
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(i) You warrant and represent that You understand the Game sets forth a virtual world and not the real world, that You understand the distinction between a virtual world and the real world, that You understand that You have no fundamental right whatsoever to use the Game, and that You understand that NCsoft may in its sole and absolute discretion terminate Your ability to access or use the Game for any reason or for no reason whatsoever;

I couldn't find a user agreement anywhere for Blade and Soul, but I expect it would match the above.

Now this isn't something specific to NCsoft. I found similar language in every other game I looked at:

World of Warcraft User Agreement, "Termination" section
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Blizzard may terminate this Agreement at any time for any reason or no reason. Upon termination for any reason, all licenses granted herein shall immediately terminate and you must immediately and permanently destroy all copies of the Game in your possession and control and remove the Game Client from your hard drive.

Star Wars: the Old Republic User Agreement, "Termination of Agreement" section
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We may also decide to terminate this EUALA in the event that we terminate the operation of the Game. [...] Promptly upon termination, you must cease all use of the Software and destroy all copies of the Software in your possession or control. You acknowledge and agree that the termination of this EUALA or permanent deletion of the Software may render your Account and any in-game attributes or Content unusable, for which you will not hold EA in any way responsible.

Everquest II User Agreement, section 6
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We may also terminate this Agreement if we decide, in our sole discretion, to discontinue offering the Game, in which case we may provide you with a prorated refund of any prepaid amounts.

The Secret World User Agreement, section 7
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Funcom may terminate this Agreement at any time, for any reason or no reason at all, without Your consent or any further notice to you. [...] In the event of a termination of this Agreement or Your rights and license granted hereunder, You must (i) cease to use the Software; (ii) immediately and permanently destroy all copies of the Game in Your possession or control; and (iii) permanently remove the Software from all of Your computers and game operating devices.

Perfect World's blanket EULA (covering all of its games including Champions Online), section 19
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PWE MAY SUSPEND, TERMINATE, MODIFY, BLOCK ACCESS TO OR DELETE THE SERVICE OR ANY ACCOUNT AT ANY TIME WITH OR WITHOUT REASON, WITH OR WITHOUT NOTICE. [...] In the event your Account is terminated or canceled for any reason, or for no reason, no refund will be granted, no online time or other credits (e.g., points in an online game) will be credited to you or converted to cash or other form of reimbursement, and you will have no further access to your Account.

DC Universe Online User Agreement, section 6
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We may also terminate this Agreement if we decide, in our sole discretion, to discontinue offering the Game, in which case we may provide you with a prorated refund of any prepaid amounts.

Rift User Agreement, section 18
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Trion reserves the right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to change, modify, add to, disable, supplement, suspend, remove or delete, at any time, any of the terms and conditions of this Agreement, any feature of the Site, Game(s) (including Game-related Virtual Items, if any), Game Client(s) and/or Service, hours of availability, content, data, feature, gameplay, item (including in a manner which makes virtual goods substantially more, or less, valuable, effective, functional, common or available), service, server software or equipment needed to access the Site, Game(s) (including Game-related Virtual Items, if any), Game Client(s) and/or the Service, effective with or without prior notice; provided, however, that material changes to this Terms of Use Agreement will not be applied retroactively.


This is clearly standard practice for EULAs. And in a way, I suppose it's understandable: thanks to the way our laws work, the companies have a fiduciary duty to maximize profit and to minimize losses; retaining the right to do whatever the heck they want ensures they will continue to have the ability to maximize profit and minimize losses no matter what the impact might be on the end user.

However, I would argue that such clauses are absolutely horrible from an ethical standpoint. These companies aren't just selling a game. They're fostering communities. And the communities they foster aren't just incidental and unintentional. They explicitly foster communities, because it's crucial for them making more money. Much of the value of an MMORPG comes not from the game itself but from the other players playing the game. If not for those other players, it would be a single-player game after all.

It is unconscionable that we are asked to invest ourselves so strongly in these games and their communities, and yet the only right we are allowed to retain is the right to leave.

NCsoft is establishing itself as a game killer, but they're not doing anything that every other company hasn't also reserved the right to do. It may be tempting to think that we're safer with other companies because they haven't established a reputation for this kind of thing, but that's a false sense of security. Any company could do this at any time, for any reason or for no reason whatsoever.

We don't even have the right to an explanation.

Segev

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 03:02:46 PM »
If they couldn't include such clauses, no company could afford to run an MMO. Ever. Because if they could be legally obligated to continue to run an unprofitable game based on some perceived duty to run it "for the sake of the community," they would be tying a noose around their necks and praying that nobody pushed them off the financial cliff.

And they need it to be "for any reason we choose," because our overly-litigious society would take any "under X circumstances" restrictions and SOMEBODY would sue to try and prove those circumstances weren't the case. Worse, if an unforeseen circumstance that made running the game a business disaster without it being one of the listed circumstances came up...well, kiss the whole company goodbye.

Sekoia

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 03:18:26 PM »
If they couldn't include such clauses, no company could afford to run an MMO. Ever. Because if they could be legally obligated to continue to run an unprofitable game based on some perceived duty to run it "for the sake of the community," they would be tying a noose around their necks and praying that nobody pushed them off the financial cliff.

There's a huge difference between reserving the right to terminate a game because it's unprofitable and reserving the right to terminate a game for any reason or no reason at all.

Nonetheless, how much money does it really cost to keep a game alive in maintenance mode? Comparing it to a noose that might push them over a financial cliff is quite an exaggeration.

And they need it to be "for any reason we choose," because our overly-litigious society would take any "under X circumstances" restrictions and SOMEBODY would sue to try and prove those circumstances weren't the case. Worse, if an unforeseen circumstance that made running the game a business disaster without it being one of the listed circumstances came up...well, kiss the whole company goodbye.

While there's certainly truth to what you said, the fact remains: Gamers have no rights. Gamers should have rights.

I do not accept that "the company keeps every single right possible and the gamers have none except to not play" is the only plausible solution.

Segev

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 03:28:44 PM »
Unfortunately, that's the only way to protect the developers enough that risking all the money they put into it is worth the risk. If, for instance, NCSoft had been legally obligated to maintain the servers for Auto Assault, they would have had to pay a staff to maintain them, to make sure that any glitches that caused the game to crash were resolved, and to continue to police the game for profanity and other things that could get them in trouble for allowing on something they legally own.

If they were legally required to release a "free player" version, they would have all sorts of issues with effectively releasing a broken product.

Worse, they would have to spend money developing that "single player" or "free player" version. Money effectively being spent on a legal obligation to an already-large money-sink. So basically, more lost money and customers who STILL are not happy because they're not getting a polished game.

"For any reason" is rife for abuse, but as I said, it's the only way to make it a viable risk to even TRY to develop the game and put it out there. Even a legal REQUIREMENT that they allow private servers is bad, because it means they can't put the genie back in the bottle if they ever want to give it another go. Shutting down private servers when they're "young" is doable. Shutting them down after they've had time to mature becasue you want to make a profit on it again?

We're mad NOW because we're having a community torn up. Imagine the fury if several communities were suddenly told, "Stop being your own group and pay us money if you want to start over again because we decided to make money on this now."

Segev

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 03:38:39 PM »
Geeze, your idea of maintenance mode is more costly than mine, and I still think mine is unreasonable to expect as a legal requirement for anybody who dares to make an MMO.

My conception is this: they keep paying for whatever it takes to keep the servers running (power, building space, whatever) and functional (HW and SW maintenance). They have a staff of one or two whose job it is to fix bugs that might make the game stop working (e.g. to fix it when you can't log in because the software that talks to the user accounts hit a glitch). This might just be some people who are on other projects with this as a side job. NO new content; that's not maintenance, that's development.

eabrace

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 03:49:45 PM »
Define Maintenance mode please. Each person has their own differing view of it.

For me, it would be closer to this:

* Publish beta to live servers.
* Either no further added content, or complete only the minor changes/additions that were already near completion - to be implemented by developers' moved to other projects in their spare time, off the clock.
* Possibly fixing any major functional bugs, but no plans of addressing any newly discovered exploits or tweaking for balance, etc.
* one community rep - part time
* a couple of part time moderators on the boards
possibly a consolidation of shards, though the way they have them set up, I'm fairly certain that they could actually reduce the hardware they're using without consolidating shards and we might not even notice if the overall population started to drop off.
* Either subscribers would continue to receive the monthly stipend of points for the store, or subscription fees would be reduced (perhaps $10/month). It would be up to players who feel that they no longer have a use for points to terminate their subscription.  The store still contains a lot of items that can be purchased over and over again (XP boosts, enhancements, unslotters, etc.) and not everyone has purchased all possible power sets and costume pieces.
* Keeping server transfers, character renames,  and character slots available for purchase.

I know I'd certainly stick around.  I haven't played every power set to 50 yet.  Some I still haven't played at all.  For instance, I've been playing for 8 years and only just created my first Illusion Control character a couple of weeks ago (and it's still level 1). I have at least a dozen builds planned out that I haven't started yet (I'd have to unlock more slots on Triumph), and haven't even begun looking at what I'd build using Water Blast or Nature Affinity.
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eabrace

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 04:03:59 PM »
And then you have the middle ground  (still with the server consolidation though... need to keep some servers at a critical mass of player population), which is basically everything in between.
I don't think you'd ever see them spend the extra money to consolidate servers.  (Discussed further here.)
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Sekoia

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 04:05:57 PM »
I view maintenance mode as being much as Segev described, as a minimal threshold. More is obviously better.

As to the questions of how many people would stick around and would it be worth it? Some people still play games from the original Atari. A game doesn't need active development to continue to be fun. In City's case, I suspect we'd lose a lot of people, but I suspect we'd also keep a lot of people. No doubt the numbers would dwindle with time.

The original Everquest is still alive. In fact, it still even has development. This is despite being more than 13 years old and despite having one sequel with another planned. If Everquest wasn't profitable, I can't imagine they'd continue developing it. They'd put it in a real maintenance mode at the very least.

I can accept that perhaps games that never got off the ground might not be profitable. But once a game is well established and has a strong community, I strongly suspect that mild profitability would continue for a long, long time even with minimal or no development to the game. While most people might move on, many popular games develop a smaller dedicated following that just won't go away. Everquest is an example of this, but it's not alone. Every generation of gaming has games that are still played. There are even people still playing text-based adventure games.

Regarding the legalese, I don't really expect that to change for many of the reasons given. However, there are ways the overall situation could improve. Game companies could make non-binding statements that grant us some semblance of rights. These companies could promise us that they'll do their best to keep our games alive. And they could then follow through in ways that wouldn't cost them much, or that might even continue to make them profits.

Even a legal REQUIREMENT that they allow private servers is bad, because it means they can't put the genie back in the bottle if they ever want to give it another go. Shutting down private servers when they're "young" is doable. Shutting them down after they've had time to mature becasue you want to make a profit on it again?

I disagree. I see no reason why they shouldn't be required to surrender their rights to the IP if they decide to terminate the game. Why should they get to sit on the IP just in case they have a future opportunity to make money on it? They've already made their profit or taken their losses, move on. If they want to maintain their right to the IP, then keep the game alive even if it's in maintenance mode.

Colette

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 04:22:02 PM »
Yeah, this is what I meant when I said it's time to renegotiate the contract.

To repeat myself, as a gamer I love playing classic games. I can dig up my old copies of Sid Meier's Civilization or Alpha Centauri, X-Com, Roller Coaster Tycoon or Master of Orion 2... heck, Microprose hasn't been in business for years (sad to say, because they made the best games of their era) but I can still enjoy them. Mods exist online that make 'em better than ever.

(A new X-Com is out, by the way! Yippee!)

I spent much more money on CoH than on all those games put together! Yet as soon as the game becomes somehow inconvenient for the source company, it vanishes forever. That's simply not equitable.

CoH was my first MMO, because I love superheroes and detest the sword-and-sorcery genre (or rather, I hate "Dungeons and Dragons." I love the source material, like Robert E. Howard.) CoH will be my last MMO until this unequitable system resolves itself, meaning until the customer base collectively wises up and says, "nope! Not buying it."

Really, the least they could do is release the program for some independent server to host. I did buy the original box back when it was like... fifty bucks. I feel that having the box in the game store alongside non-server based games is disingenuous and fraudulant. Heck, I can't even complain on their message boards! After five years total of supporting the game, the no-notice cutoff caught me un-subscribed.

But then, these are the same guys who forge letters, sell us updates days before a cutoff, throw their customers out like bouncers throw smelly old drunks out of bars, and sell Pedophilia, the MMO.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 04:34:15 PM by Colette »

Segev

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 04:28:41 PM »
I see no reason why they shouldn't be required to surrender their rights to the IP if they decide to terminate the game. Why should they get to sit on the IP just in case they have a future opportunity to make money on it? They've already made their profit or taken their losses, move on. If they want to maintain their right to the IP, then keep the game alive even if it's in maintenance mode.
Why shouldn't you be forced to give away your old clothes when you clearly don't fit in them anymore? Why should you get to sit on those lovely pants just in case you ever fit them again and have future opportunity to wear them? You've already worn them a few times and gotten your money's worth, move on. If you want to maintain your right to keep those pants then find a way to wear them even if they don't fit.

After all, other people thought they looked great, too, and want to see them again, so what right do you have to not give them away to somebody who will wear them?

Segev

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 04:32:32 PM »
I should note that I am not saying I think NCSoft is doing this correctly, is in the right, or is behaving well. All I am saying is that the clause mentioned in the OP is practically necessary for any company that is going to get into an endeavor like this, and expecting indefinite support and requiring by law that they give up rights is going to very, very bad places.

SHOULD they give up the IP? On many levels, absolutely. It seems only good business sense, from all I know (which admittedly is not nearly as much as, I would hope, Mr. Kim does...except that I'm not sure he's as in tune as a CEO needs to be). Should there be laws in place to FORCE them to? No. Absolutely not.

eabrace

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 04:51:03 PM »
I disagree. I see no reason why they shouldn't be required to surrender their rights to the IP if they decide to terminate the game. Why should they get to sit on the IP just in case they have a future opportunity to make money on it? They've already made their profit or taken their losses, move on. If they want to maintain their right to the IP, then keep the game alive even if it's in maintenance mode.
You know, it would be nice if this worked similarly to how the film rights for X-men or Spider-Man work: if the studios with the rights don't actually do anything with them every few years, they lose them.  Along that line, if NCsoft kept the servers up and running (regardless of level of support they provided), they'd still retain the IP.  Closing the servers down permanently and then publishing a sequel to the game would allow them to retain the rights.  Closing down permanently and not doing anything with the IP would allow it to transfer to public domain or allow another developer to pick up the IP for development after a specified amount of time.  Sure, it'd be like starting over, but if we get to plan Z, that's pretty much what we're looking at anyway.
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Segev

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 04:54:47 PM »
You know, it would be nice if this worked similarly to how the film rights for X-men or Spider-Man work: if the studios with the rights don't actually do anything with them every few years, they lose them.  Along that line, if NCsoft kept the servers up and running (regardless of level of support they provided), they'd still retain the IP.  Closing the servers down permanently and then publishing a sequel to the game would allow them to retain the rights.  Closing down permanently and not doing anything with the IP would allow it to transfer to public domain or allow another developer to pick up the IP for development after a specified amount of time.  Sure, it'd be like starting over, but if we get to plan Z, that's pretty much what we're looking at anyway.
The studios with those comic rights "lose" them because that's how the contracts were negotiated. Marvel and DC still OWN the IPs in question.

If Marvel decided to stop production of anything Spiderman-related tomorrow, nobody could force them to give up the IP. I think the copyrighted characters would become public domain in a few decades, but that's it.

Sekoia

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2012, 05:32:19 PM »
Why shouldn't you be forced to give away your old clothes when you clearly don't fit in them anymore? Why should you get to sit on those lovely pants just in case you ever fit them again and have future opportunity to wear them? You've already worn them a few times and gotten your money's worth, move on. If you want to maintain your right to keep those pants then find a way to wear them even if they don't fit.

After all, other people thought they looked great, too, and want to see them again, so what right do you have to not give them away to somebody who will wear them?

The company who owns an MMO actively fosters the direct involvement of third-parties to increase the value of the MMO. Those third-parties have invested both time and money, and that should give them some rights.

A person who owns clothes does not (usually) actively foster any substantial direct involvement from third parties. Third parties generally do not invest time or money in one's clothes.

I should note that I am not saying I think NCSoft is doing this correctly, is in the right, or is behaving well. All I am saying is that the clause mentioned in the OP is practically necessary for any company that is going to get into an endeavor like this, and expecting indefinite support and requiring by law that they give up rights is going to very, very bad places.

I'm not necessarily demanding a change in the laws (though I'm also not necessarily opposed to it). But I think something should be done, even if it's outside of the laws and EULAs.

Right now, the only recourse companies are generally giving us if we don't like something is "stop playing and go away". It would be nice if some companies stepped forward and committed to a higher standard, even if that commitment had no legal standing. And that, in turn, would hopefully increase pressure on other companies, such as NCsoft, to follow suit.

To be fair, development teams often do respond to players concerns. But are there any commitments to the players on a corporate level?

Segev

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 06:03:57 PM »
Yes, I agree, it would be nice if companies would hold themselves to a higher standard.

We have some diseased memetics roaming around high eschelons of power these days. I can't say they weren't there before, but they HAVE changed.

Best we can do is be as ethical as we can and reward those whose ethics we admire while shunning (as best we can) those whose we do not. Because people are NOT sheep, despite what many on all sides think. They just are usually too busy running their own lives. As things encroach upon them, they start to notice, and...well. You get movements like this one and [redacted to prevent political firestorm].

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2012, 06:08:31 PM »
I understand that for a virtual world to exist, it has to exist in the real world, and is therefore real.

Cogito ergo sum.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2012, 06:21:36 PM »
Thing is, we're all victims of an entirely new frontier of human experience here, right up there along with gene ethics. Bottom line is people are now experiencing things for which there is no precedent (legal or otherwise) and so for the moment, anything goes.

Like Sleepy just said, for a virtual world to exist, it presupposes the existence of a non-virtual world first, so by inference, the virtual world does have at least a degree of inherent existence...philosophically speaking.

And that's what it all boils down to - philosophy.

Whether it's debating if an embryo is more human than the sperm and egg that made it, or musing on the 'rights' denizens of a virtual world have to make a case against their digital 'landlord' if he tries to 'evict' them, it's all dealing with ways of thinking that are new and untested.

Sadly, at least for the time being, it's the suppliers/manufacturers/developers who are calling the shots rather than the consumers. There isn't a virtual citizen's equivalent of a Consumer Rights Act or the like.

Yet.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2012, 06:35:53 PM »
The studios with those comic rights "lose" them because that's how the contracts were negotiated. Marvel and DC still OWN the IPs in question.

If Marvel decided to stop production of anything Spiderman-related tomorrow, nobody could force them to give up the IP. I think the copyrighted characters would become public domain in a few decades, but that's it.
I realize.  That's why I started with "it would be interesting if...".  :)
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2012, 06:36:14 PM »
This kind of thing has been playing on my mind ever since SWG closed. I think we're playing on a new concept which needs to be developed and brought to the attention to the powers that be, in governments around the world. In lack of a better phrase, "Virtual Rights." The Digital Frontier Foundation for one example might be apt to aid us with this. It wouldn't be fast enough to save CoH, but it would help us work towards a better digital future.

The lines between what is or isn't a game and/or virtual world is beginning to blur, and has moved beyond the point at which it can be looked at as just a product. Just as citizens of a town can go to city hall and have a voice in things, so should it be in a virtual community. We are that community's citizens, and without us, that community does not exist.

The corporation is the governing body. The subscription is the tax. The gamers are the citizens.

Why shouldn't we have just as much say in what the town does as we do in the physical equivalent?

Why should the governing body be able to put unconstitutional laws into effect just because the community is virtual instead of physical?

Would you move into a town that seemed cool if, when you signed the lease on the house, you saw in the contract, that the town reserves the right to demolish it for any purpose, at any time, no questions asked? Granted, this has actually happened, or at least towns have tried. But at least in those cases, the people affected had the option to fight it.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2012, 06:47:04 PM »
Generally speaking, there ARE no constitutions without the consent of the governed.

More precisely, in the case of these virtual worlds maintained through IP belonging to corporate bodies, they're not civilizations nor communities that fall under the rights-based jurisdiction of any one nation. Or, to hold to your analogy, they're dictatorships and oligarchies.

I understand the grief and anger and irritation and frustration of having your community meeting site destroyed. It's awful. But it's nothing that dictators - modern and historical - couldn't or didn't do in the real world. It's far less atrocious in our case with our virtual world and its associated community: no sentient beings are being slain nor having their real-world lives uprooted in highly destructive ways. It still sucks, it still hurts, but it's not the end of their RL world.

And we have an ultimate freedom: we can keep the community together in another format, another meetingplace, if we value it enough to but do so.

If one wishes to forge a virtual world with a constitutional rule of law wherein the "governing body" is answerable to the players in the way the US government is theoretically answerable to the people, one must establish that world under that premise. "revolution" to take over virtual worlds run by dictatorships won't work, and wouldn't be ethical. Convincing them to turn it over, to sell it, to change their policies is fine...if you can. It's what we're trying to do with NCSoft. But let's not empower any real-world governments more than they already are by trying to give the GOVERNMENT say in how our virtual worlds will run.

If needs be, we can and should build our own - or at least try. Then we can establish whatever governing rules we deem wise.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2012, 06:47:23 PM »
Then I guess there are THREE guarantees in life:

1. Death
2. Taxes
3. EULAs will tell us there are no guarantees.

:D

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2012, 07:01:33 PM »
This kind of thing has been playing on my mind ever since SWG closed. I think we're playing on a new concept which needs to be developed and brought to the attention to the powers that be, in governments around the world. In lack of a better phrase, "Virtual Rights." The Digital Frontier Foundation for one example might be apt to aid us with this. It wouldn't be fast enough to save CoH, but it would help us work towards a better digital future.

The lines between what is or isn't a game and/or virtual world is beginning to blur, and has moved beyond the point at which it can be looked at as just a product. Just as citizens of a town can go to city hall and have a voice in things, so should it be in a virtual community. We are that community's citizens, and without us, that community does not exist.

The corporation is the governing body. The subscription is the tax. The gamers are the citizens.

Why shouldn't we have just as much say in what the town does as we do in the physical equivalent?

Why should the governing body be able to put unconstitutional laws into effect just because the community is virtual instead of physical?

Would you move into a town that seemed cool if, when you signed the lease on the house, you saw in the contract, that the town reserves the right to demolish it for any purpose, at any time, no questions asked? Granted, this has actually happened, or at least towns have tried. But at least in those cases, the people affected had the option to fight it.

Depends on who's constitution is a virtual world is to go by. In some countries, a landlord can legally knock on your door, say he's getting out the renting buisness and have you out by the next day and that would be the end of it.

I see the concept and I think eventually something like this will become more and more upfront. Yet, the main thing is one, there was no contract to sign in this virtual world. And the only agreement or some may call that a contract specificaly says that they can basically kick you out anytime and reason any moment and when you click ok, you agree to those terms. The other option would have been, just as if you came up to a landlord with that stipulation, is to keep walking and not sign.

One law that wont pass, especially here, where many people that make the laws are probably more buisness people than gamers/average consumers, is laws that will force a company to continue a product that they wish to terminate at the risk of losing money, profits, or a silk tie. While many would think it's odd that a company would give away and sit on a product that may be profitable, it is their right to do that just as much as it's an individual person's right to continue to hold on to a pair of jeans they have not worn in years, may not be planning on wearing, or may wear tomorrow or not. No one would liek to be forced to give up cloths in their closet that they paid for, just because the guy next door wants to wear those jeans.

A buisness's goal is to make money in any way that legal, even sometimes borderline legal. While some find ethics, and thinking about the consumer may increase profits, but I can gurantee that if ethics and caring about the customer didnt have any bearing on the profits or how much a product they sold, i.e they have a monopoly of producing a needful product, they wont give a hoot what the people say or think. 

While I think virtual world rights will come into play one day but it's a can of worms and a game company shutting down a game is merely a tip of the iceberg that must be considered to as far as comparing real world rights with virtual world rights. For example, in the public forum community (public place in real world) a person goes off and insults people, ranting and raving and lot of times nothing happens. Shouldnt a person have rights to protect them from that type of behavior if the virtual world rights were to mimic real world rights? Sure mods, sometimes do their job and remove the person but lot of times, especially on COH forum, the behavior continues and get worse and worse. In the real world that is called harassment and can land someone in jail and or with a fine. And if the police do not do their job, there are steps that can ber taken that can land the police in trouble and or be sued. That is just a mnor example of how deep virtual world rights would have to go to be implemented effectively and not to mention enforcement, who would enforce them, what would happen if these things are not enforced, or rules are broken and ect when it comes to human rights. As is, the enforcement have hard enough time keeping up with virtual world stuff that cause harm in real world situation like child molestation people.

Dont get me wrong I dont think your idea is bad at all, but might be a wonderful idea but I dont think it will be easy to put into practice, especially when trying to encroach on the rights of a property holder and the agreement is signed everytime a person logs in. Not saying it makes it right but that will be the first line of defense and in a lot of cases, when it comes to contracts, it's up to the person to read it and if they sign it, it's assuming they are legal age and sound mind, that they know what they are getting into and agree to what they signed.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2012, 07:28:26 PM »
And the only agreement or some may call that a contract specificaly says that they can basically kick you out anytime and reason any moment and when you click ok, you agree to those terms. The other option would have been, just as if you came up to a landlord with that stipulation, is to keep walking and not sign.

Other than the obvious lack of a signature (which isn't strictly required if goods have been delivered, but there are some limitations on that), there's one other important difference between a license agreement and a contract.

If I don't like the terms of a contract with a landlord, I can cross out a phrase and send it back, effectively making a counteroffer. Now the landlord may laugh in my face (and indeed some large companies effectively do that), but I have the option. In a lot of cases if they want to rent the space enough, they'll be willing to at least consider it.

With a license agreement, there's nobody to send it to. Even in the unlikely circumstance that I manage to track down their legal department, and even if I do get them to accept a counteroffer, the agreement on the screen will still display the original text. Does clicking 'I agree' undo my counteroffer? It's a completely one-sided agreement, which is something that contract law forbids.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2012, 08:21:40 PM »
Other than the obvious lack of a signature (which isn't strictly required if goods have been delivered, but there are some limitations on that), there's one other important difference between a license agreement and a contract.

If I don't like the terms of a contract with a landlord, I can cross out a phrase and send it back, effectively making a counteroffer. Now the landlord may laugh in my face (and indeed some large companies effectively do that), but I have the option. In a lot of cases if they want to rent the space enough, they'll be willing to at least consider it.

With a license agreement, there's nobody to send it to. Even in the unlikely circumstance that I manage to track down their legal department, and even if I do get them to accept a counteroffer, the agreement on the screen will still display the original text. Does clicking 'I agree' undo my counteroffer? It's a completely one-sided agreement, which is something that contract law forbids.

I would love to see blizzard processing 9M of counteroffers. Indeed you have an option that is to not play the game. It is not different when a store stays that all prices are final, so no haggling .

I know a lot of people like to have the master evil corporations that are reason of all wrongs of makind. Imagine that for the same reason it was state that Paragon staff could not quit their jobs because they need to keep the game up.

Same line of reason that would avoid companies from discontinuing old products. What it could agreeable is how long before closing the notice needs to be given, maybe 3 months sounds too short.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2012, 08:56:42 PM »
"I think the copyrighted characters would become public domain in a few decades, but that's it."

Seventy years under US law. For example, HP Lovecraft's work entered public domain in 2007.

Corporations, due to their status as imaginary people, can hold copyrights indefinitely provided they reset the clock through publication from time to time.

"..we're all victims of an entirely new frontier of human experience here...."

Essentially true. Mind, NCSoftcore is technically within the letter of their rights, though there's obvious bad faith and chicanery. What I'm advocating is that we as users just stop paying money for MMOs until we get more for our money. I know that's idealistic and impossible, but it's what I plan to do. Mind, I don't even like MMOs, with CoH being the one amazing exception.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2012, 09:03:14 PM »
I would love to see blizzard processing 9M of counteroffers. Indeed you have an option that is to not play the game. It is not different when a store stays that all prices are final, so no haggling .

I know a lot of people like to have the master evil corporations that are reason of all wrongs of makind. Imagine that for the same reason it was state that Paragon staff could not quit their jobs because they need to keep the game up.

Same line of reason that would avoid companies from discontinuing old products. What it could agreeable is how long before closing the notice needs to be given, maybe 3 months sounds too short.
The issue is that you already paid for the game, without access to the ELUA beforehand. And per copyright rules, you cannot return that game for money back should you disagree with the EULA.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2012, 09:06:56 PM »
What does copyright have to do with whether you can return the game or not?

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2012, 09:07:50 PM »
My point was that "playing a game" is not something that should be covered under contract law or having to agree to 20-page documents to do.

Litigious society or not, I don't have to sign a disclaimer every time I order a beefy burrito from Taco Bell. That's just a handy excuse for them to hide behind.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2012, 09:42:13 PM »
Not saying that this is what happens all the time, but AFAIK it has *never* been for "copyright rules" that games/software are unable to be returned for a refund.

Actually, I can say in the U.S. stores *do* refuse open box software returns due to copyright protection laws.

They will only exchange it for the exact same product if the software has been opened because of the ease in which people can copy the game disks.  It's to stop software piracy and has been around at *least* since 1994, which was when I went to work for the long defunct Computer City.  The return policy was like that when I started and companies have gotten more hardcore about returns. 

After what I've seen as a CSR, I can't exactly blame them.  How does a customer mistake a *brick* for a video card?

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2012, 10:09:15 PM »
I realize that I've usually been very vocally supportive of the variety of efforts, here, and keeping it varied as a means to keeping people engaged and interested, but Holy @#$% have you picked a big one, here.

Yes, the EFF would likely be interested in this, as a matter of some principle, but we would have to make a compelling case. I think this whole line of reasoning is good, and I agree with the major points (I would point out, though, that MOO3 was a steaming pile), but this probably not a fight we would win.  And, even if we did, Google "Windows tax" for how ineffective winning could still end up being.

I've always had a strong sense of this being a fight for what is right, not what we think we can win, but There are other people already fighting this kind of fight, and they've been doing it longer.  If we really want to do this, we need them involved. Otherwise, just by sheer scale, I see this one being a major tangent from the main efforts.  I think, if we had to pick between this and Plan Z, Plan Z would be the better option for community morale and cohesion.
I wouldn't use the word "replace," but there's no word for "take over for you and make everything better almost immediately," so we just say "replace."

JaguarX

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2012, 11:12:48 PM »
My point was that "playing a game" is not something that should be covered under contract law or having to agree to 20-page documents to do.

Litigious society or not, I don't have to sign a disclaimer every time I order a beefy burrito from Taco Bell. That's just a handy excuse for them to hide behind.

Ah now you see what I'm getting at.

Given that there is no contract means that they are not bound to keep a product going at all. If they decide to pull the plug at any moment, whether it's a day notice or ten year notice, and return money for unrendered service then they did what they were suppose to do legally. 

Now, if there is to be virtual rights when it comes to this, like how long should a product last and the steps it will take before a game should be shutdown, (as someone compared to be evicted) then a contract probably will be needed. The question is how can that contract be enforced and or even be actually signed in a virtual world?

So the million dollar question is if one was to go about changing the way that game suppliers(using it loosely) do buisness with shutdown of games and destroying online communities, then what angle approach would have to be taken given the nature of the difference between real life in person and virtual world where you can basically create whoever a person wants to be?

TimtheEnchanter

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2012, 11:15:49 PM »
This is probably going to end up being a lot longer than I'd prefer, but it's a lot of stuff to cover. And I'm guessing we're all cool with having political discussion in this thread, since it's not specifically geared towards a certain SaveCoH project, and I don't know how politics CAN'T come up when rights are being discussed. If not, or if everyone eventually ends up biting each other's heads off, then I'll just shut up about it.

Generally speaking, there ARE no constitutions without the consent of the governed.

More precisely, in the case of these virtual worlds maintained through IP belonging to corporate bodies, they're not civilizations nor communities that fall under the rights-based jurisdiction of any one nation. Or, to hold to your analogy, they're dictatorships and oligarchies.

I understand the grief and anger and irritation and frustration of having your community meeting site destroyed. It's awful. But it's nothing that dictators - modern and historical - couldn't or didn't do in the real world. It's far less atrocious in our case with our virtual world and its associated community: no sentient beings are being slain nor having their real-world lives uprooted in highly destructive ways. It still sucks, it still hurts, but it's not the end of their RL world.

I wouldn't suggest that something like this would be enforced on any current project, but that it be something that gradually needs to be worked towards.

International agreements are happening all the time though, particularly where business is concerned. Though usually when it happens, it's being done to push either consumers, or small businesses, further back into a corner. Even some nations that have wildly different opinions on human rights, have sometimes agreed to business-related laws in the past. I'm not suggesting that one could pass a law that governs the entire Earth on such matters, since it's certainly never happened with any other issue.

For what you said about consent, I'm not sure if you're referring to the fact that corporations would have to let such a bill go through, or the fact that our "constitution" is consented to by clicking the "I agree to the terms and conditions" checkbox, or both.

Quote
If one wishes to forge a virtual world with a constitutional rule of law wherein the "governing body" is answerable to the players in the way the US government is theoretically answerable to the people, one must establish that world under that premise. "revolution" to take over virtual worlds run by dictatorships won't work, and wouldn't be ethical. Convincing them to turn it over, to sell it, to change their policies is fine...if you can. It's what we're trying to do with NCSoft. But let's not empower any real-world governments more than they already are by trying to give the GOVERNMENT say in how our virtual worlds will run.

I know we've talked over this in PM (and sorry for taking so long to respond last time, been pretty burned out the past few days and haven't felt capable of deep convo till today), here's my viewpoint on why I fear that governments are needed to enforce rules more often than not. Though I don't think it's the same kind of regulation that you're probably thinking of. I'm mostly concerned about the relationships between business and customer. We've come a very long way from how trade used to work. Haggling was the common practice, and we've gone from that to, "Take it or leave it", which to me is a great power imbalance. While one can argue, "That's not true, because other businesses try different strategies in order to be competitive", how often does that happen? How many food chains will haggle a price with a customer? How many hotdog bun companies are selling packs of 8? How many businesses aren't profiting from your personal info (after requiring you to give it to them for free as part of a contract)? We very rarely have the freedom to say, "Well if you're going to run your business that way, then I'll go to one that doesn't", because they're all run the same way, circumstantially forcing us into unsatisfactory dealings. It's like having one big megacorporation, but since there's no partnerships and no money actually changing hands, there's no legal reason for ringing the anti-trust alarm. It simply "is."

It all seems to boil down to this. if we leave everything to, "Which way is more profitable?" then nothing will ever change. Alternatively, the apathetic portion of the population would have to become the minority, which I don't realistically see ever happening. That leaves the smarter mutant sheep to try and accomplish things entirely on their own. The amount of shaking we we've been able to accomplish with SaveCoH is almost an anomaly, but it also makes too much sense, given that we have the hero mentality. In the classic sense, that's exactly what Heroes are, the ones who rise above the masses to do what others are either unable or unwilling to do. But when it comes to affecting legal change, it rarely matters, because the masses are always too busy running the other way, chasing whatever carrot that is being dangled in front of them; demonstrated quite effectively by this video that is poking fun at EA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-LE0ycgkBQ

Based on all we've been over, the options for improving the business/customer relationship are:

1. Find a non-forceful way to get businesses to think more ethically (there is no incentive for them to think more ethnically because the entire foundation of modern business is to maximize profit by any means necessary)

2. Better educate people to be smarter so they can think more critically and collectively (this is sort of a paradox to me, because if people were good enough to handle things like this on their own, we probably wouldn't need governments at all - and when it comes to society in general, I don't have as much faith in humans as Jor-El)

3. Impose government restrictions against ****ing the consumer (apparently that always translates into socialism, which is somehow evil red commie of the modern age. but how many people out there would say price gouging is bad? If they say yes, then whether they like it or not, they're thinking like a socialist)

Quote
If needs be, we can and should build our own - or at least try. Then we can establish whatever governing rules we deem wise.

It would be a very interesting business experiment, to run an MMO more like a government than a business, giving the players real power over what directions the game takes, maybe even to the point of budget decisions (or suggestions anyway). Such as "What do you want to see most? Worlds? Power sets? Costumes? Community tools?" and let the voting process dictate how it goes. And not limited to forums either so that only the minority of players ever discuss it. Bring the experience into the game, notify the players via the interface. Invite them to talk and let them know their input is desired. Heck, you could have some real fun with it and use the in-game city hall for actual meetings.

While I think virtual world rights will come into play one day but it's a can of worms and a game company shutting down a game is merely a tip of the iceberg that must be considered to as far as comparing real world rights with virtual world rights. For example, in the public forum community (public place in real world) a person goes off and insults people, ranting and raving and lot of times nothing happens. Shouldnt a person have rights to protect them from that type of behavior if the virtual world rights were to mimic real world rights? Sure mods, sometimes do their job and remove the person but lot of times, especially on COH forum, the behavior continues and get worse and worse. In the real world that is called harassment and can land someone in jail and or with a fine. And if the police do not do their job, there are steps that can ber taken that can land the police in trouble and or be sued. That is just a mnor example of how deep virtual world rights would have to go to be implemented effectively and not to mention enforcement, who would enforce them, what would happen if these things are not enforced, or rules are broken and ect when it comes to human rights. As is, the enforcement have hard enough time keeping up with virtual world stuff that cause harm in real world situation like child molestation people.

You just brought up an example of how business is already too powerful. Take a look at how Facebook is not only ignoring, but admittedly harboring bullying. They allow bullies and even bully groups to run rampant, and it's next to impossible for authorities to step in and accomplish something no matter how bad it gets. (it's also an example of the choicelessness I mentioned above, because teens are stuck with the choice of either using Facebook or having no social life, which means they have to open themselves up to constant bullying). But in some parts of Europe, trolling and E-bullying is now punishable by law.

Whether or not it is the responsibility of businesses to crack down on this themselves is anyone's guess. But in those cases, it's not the business that's doing the bullying, so I don't think it really implies to the kind of control I was suggesting. Though there are some cases where businesses ARE doing the bullying. The hiring of professional trolls is becoming a part of marketing. They go to random forums and solicit products, and/or derail negative discussions about those products until they get locked or removed by admins. That's pretty frigging sick. Yet one more thing that is out of control. There is no limit to how much lying a business can do to make their product look better than it is, even to the point of creating fake people to praise it or bully those who don't.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2012, 11:18:09 PM »
Actually, I can say in the U.S. stores *do* refuse open box software returns due to copyright protection laws.

They will only exchange it for the exact same product if the software has been opened because of the ease in which people can copy the game disks.  It's to stop software piracy and has been around at *least* since 1994, which was when I went to work for the long defunct Computer City.  The return policy was like that when I started and companies have gotten more hardcore about returns. 

After what I've seen as a CSR, I can't exactly blame them.  How does a customer mistake a *brick* for a video card?

That is true now in days especially at Walmart, CompUSA and various other places. If it's been open, they wont take it back. If a person is lucky they may be able to talk them into getting store credit but in the end that money is gone one way or another and the seller (walmart and etc) still will lose not a cent in the deal.

Even thought a tad off subject, what exactly is being purchased when one buys an MMO from the store? Of course one month free sub. comes with purchase but given that it's free that is not what is being purchased. This stems fro mthe point with buying a game prior to seeing the EULA. My guess is that the software to access the game and program that are needed to be stored on the cmputer is what a person is actually purchasing. And even if the game shutdowns, then basically that remains, although useless at that time, the purchase of the owner. While with the subscription is where a person is purchasing the actual service to play the game. I might be wrong about it, feel free to add proper information.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2012, 11:27:36 PM »


You just brought up an example of how business is already too powerful. Take a look at how Facebook is not only ignoring, but admittedly harboring bullying. They allow bullies and even bully groups to run rampant, and it's next to impossible for authorities to step in and accomplish something no matter how bad it gets. (it's also an example of the choicelessness I mentioned above, because teens are stuck with the choice of either using Facebook or having no social life, which means they have to open themselves up to constant bullying). But in some parts of Europe, trolling and E-bullying is now punishable by law.

Whether or not it is the responsibility of businesses to crack down on this themselves is anyone's guess. But in those cases, it's not the business that's doing the bullying, so I don't think it really implies to the kind of control I was suggesting. Though there are some cases where businesses ARE doing the bullying. The hiring of professional unicorns is becoming a part of marketing. They go to random forums and solicit products, and/or derail negative discussions about those products until they get locked or removed by admins. That's pretty frigging sick. Yet one more thing that is out of control. There is no limit to how much lying a business can do to make their product look better than it is, even to the point of creating fake people to praise it or bully those who don't.

Percisely.

It's gotten to a point where many teens feel or are made to feel that there is no way t have a social life without social media. If you put two i na room together face to face, they probably stare at each other awkwardly. In my day, after a hot minute, a conversations starts and topics probably will start with wtf are we doing here and eventually end up talking about cars or something.

About that trolling law, they threw around that idea for Stateside, some would say due to facebook, maybe not, but facebook was used in many examples during the talks. The hump is who and what would decide on what is trolling and not and what to do and and how to prove trolling that is not textbook over the top and more subliminal. Not to mention freedom of speech. My personal feel is to trat like it would be treated in real life. If someone is "trolling" in real life and carrying on, it's called disturbing the peace.  Then also as you mentioned, another bump is who responsiblility is it? I see it will take a few more people killing themselves and someone being successful in a multimillion dollar lawsuit before you get those jokers to get on it. Ever had those moments where you wished you had a cattle prod?

And with power, you can bet on any mother's grave that they are not exactly itching to give up that power that they obtained.


oh by the way sorry for the spelling errors as I'm typing on this blasted German keyboard and some keys are in different places than what I'm used to. Bloody Elainia and her German keyboard.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 11:34:00 PM by JaguarX »

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2012, 11:42:23 PM »
i agree that EULAs are there to provide all that legal coverage for them, however, i dont think that the "no reason" portion should ever come in to play

when a game is shut down there is ALWAYS a reason, most of the time that reason is due to being unprofitable


how i see it right now, is that currently based on what we know about coh at the time of the announcement leads to believe that the shutdown reason was nothing more than a whim by ncsoft since "realignment of company focus" is definitely just a publicity stunt to make it seem like they are not the bad guys

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2012, 11:43:28 PM »
It would be a very interesting business experiment, to run an MMO more like a government than a business, giving the players real power over what directions the game takes, maybe even to the point of budget decisions (or suggestions anyway). Such as "What do you want to see most? Worlds? Power sets? Costumes? Community tools?" and let the voting process dictate how it goes. And not limited to forums either so that only the minority of players ever discuss it. Bring the experience into the game, notify the players via the interface. Invite them to talk and let them know their input is desired. Heck, you could have some real fun with it and use the in-game city hall for actual meetings.

We've been discussing something similar regarding disabilities over in the Sunset forums, actually. I like this idea, personally - Player feedback is really important for a game to run well, and the best games I've played have had active, involved development and community teams. I've already suggested that we implement an "Able Gamer" test program, so that people with disabilities can give us direct feedback on how to make the game easier for them during late development. (And if we have a problem like the early-version Sonic Res, we invite the people with the problems into the testing environment to actively work with us on fixing it. That way we don't have to go through 4 iterations of a power and *still* don't get the problem fixed!)
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2012, 11:45:58 PM »
While I do think that some legislation is warranted for child protection issues, I think the closure of games like City of Heroes harms and limits this form of entertainment more than any legislation ever could.

Tell me.  What would have happened if those first online games in the late 90s closed up shop early and ran?  We'd be in a totally different place today.  We wouldn't have a WoW or CoH.  But the fact is that those early online games are still with us, proving to everybody that this medium is stable.  But is it stable enough?

The fact of the matter is that the longevity issue has been a sticky point with many, many potential consumers of online games.  Just asking around with my circle of friends, about a little over half of them said to me, "What if the game doesn't make any money?  Then I pay all this for nothing."  And, you know, I really have no way to respond to that question anymore.

And I think, at this time, the issue is getting worse, not better.  I heard that one game, I think it was APB, closed in 80 days...80 days.  And if an entertainment product like City of Heroes can be taken away, frankly, any entertainment product like this can be taken away.

I can tell you this much, for a game like this to work, and for a person to invest in it, you have to put a player's mind at ease.  It's hard to do that when you are always thinking in the back of your mind, "What if this all disappears tomorrow?"  There was a time that I never had to seriously ask that question before.  But thanks to games like Star Wars Galaxies and, now, City of Heroes, I can't help but ask that question whenever I think about getting into another online game.

And perhaps that's good.  Perhaps that's wise.  At least my friends who declined to play, the ones who asked "What if the game doesn't make any money?" aren't upset, like I am with NCSoft.  :(

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2012, 12:06:35 AM »
I can tell you this much, for a game like this to work, and for a person to invest in it, you have to put a player's mind at ease.  It's hard to do that when you are always thinking in the back of your mind, "What if this all disappears tomorrow?"  There was a time that I never had to seriously ask that question before.  But thanks to games like Star Wars Galaxies and, now, City of Heroes, I can't help but ask that question whenever I think about getting into another online game.

In the case of SWG, SOE was forced to close it. They didn't want to. So it's sort of like what happened to PS, though it was for a vastly different reason.

It's even worse if you look at SWTOR. That game had infinite resources to develop it, somewhere upward of 500mil, and Bioware was so convinced that it was bragging about having 500 worlds in the year 2025. 6 months in and the game was already in trouble.

These MMO's are starting to feel like the stereotypical person hanging out in a bar who is looking for a cheap 1-night stand while making empty promises of loving you forever.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2012, 01:05:06 AM »
i agree that EULAs are there to provide all that legal coverage for them, however, i dont think that the "no reason" portion should ever come in to play

when a game is shut down there is ALWAYS a reason, most of the time that reason is due to being unprofitable


how i see it right now, is that currently based on what we know about coh at the time of the announcement leads to believe that the shutdown reason was nothing more than a whim by ncsoft since "realignment of company focus" is definitely just a publicity stunt to make it seem like they are not the bad guys

The "no reason" covers them in case of shit happening that they can't tell people about. It's unlikely, and AFAIK aside from CoH there has never been an actual use of the 'no reason' clause. TECHNICALLY, there was a reason given with CoH even- a BS reason maybe, but a reason.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2012, 01:20:01 AM »
I wish there was more ethical thought put into the preservation of human culture and effort behind decisions like NC's. To them, this might be another purely business decision but to me it's another sign that we don't have a safety net here for digital culture. Our culture has embraced the abilities of the internet but we haven't really considered how to -preserve- our efforts and the control wielded by corporate entities is overwhelming.

Without projects like the Wayback Machine, our records would be gone. So many of them already are. There needs to be a realization that our history is important and should be maintained. The digital aspects of our culture should be preserved. Every time this happens, another hole is created in our record. If the MMO as a concept dies, what will be left of it to remember?

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2012, 01:26:31 AM »
It's realizations like that that lead to the development of things like the wayback machine. The losses are tragic, but independent efforts by those who DO value such things will go much, much further than attempts to force something on those who do not.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2012, 01:29:58 AM »
It's realizations like that that lead to the development of things like the wayback machine. The losses are tragic, but independent efforts by those who DO value such things will go much, much further than attempts to force something on those who do not.

Well, yes, but a paradigm shift in thought will hopefully start to occur as things start to settle more. Right now, this sort of culture is seen as "lesser" in a way. It's written off as "not as important" so preservation is not taking place on a wider scale. Over time, this absolutely can change.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2012, 02:53:26 AM »
I wish there was more ethical thought put into the preservation of human culture and effort behind decisions like NC's. To them, this might be another purely business decision but to me it's another sign that we don't have a safety net here for digital culture. Our culture has embraced the abilities of the internet but we haven't really considered how to -preserve- our efforts and the control wielded by corporate entities is overwhelming.

Without projects like the Wayback Machine, our records would be gone. So many of them already are. There needs to be a realization that our history is important and should be maintained. The digital aspects of our culture should be preserved. Every time this happens, another hole is created in our record. If the MMO as a concept dies, what will be left of it to remember?

Interesting way of looking at it. With the stroke of a pen, the amount of information that was contained in the Library of Alexandria possibly gets destroyed every month or so. Yet while one is considered one of the greatest tragedies ever dealt to the recording of human history, nobody things twice about the digital equivalent.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2012, 03:35:30 AM »
It's not really helpful to the overall movement, but what Aquashock alluded to is something that is a pet peeve of mine.

I wish there was more ethical thought put into the preservation of human culture and effort behind decisions like NC's. To them, this might be another purely business decision but to me it's another sign that we don't have a safety net here for digital culture. Our culture has embraced the abilities of the internet but we haven't really considered how to -preserve- our efforts and the control wielded by corporate entities is overwhelming.

<soapbox>

It's exactly because of this that I think copyright has gotten out of hand in general.

Its original intent was to provide temporary protection of ideas, in order to encourage artists, authors, musicians, etc. to create works. The idea was to grant them a temporary monopoly, even though those ideas could be mechanically copied. Once enough time had passed and the artist was compensated, the work became part of the public domain -- free to use, archive, and enrich the community as a whole. It was a tradeoff, a bargain, and both sides benefited. While I don't remember the exact original term, I'm fairly certain that it was considerably less than the artist's lifetime.

However, it's been twisted, perverted into something different. It was supposed to encourage the creation of ideas, not let corporations and individuals 'own' ideas and keep a stranglehold on them forever. Greed has corrupted it and turned it into a tool that's used to silence the public rather than enrich it.

That's why the term 'intellectual property' gets under my skin so much. It goes completely contrary to the natural order of things (if you can see it, you can copy it). This artificial construct was supposed be a mutually beneficial arrangement, but it's now almost completely dominated by one side. Even authors, the people who it was supposed to help, can easily get screwed by unscrupulous publishers who abuse the very concept that was supposed to benefit those authors.

Another way to look at it: Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars in R&D to produce a product that gets patent protection on the formula for at most 7-12 years. After the patent expires, everyone and their dog can make generic knockoffs using the same formula. They have to capitalize on it and make their money during that window before it expires.

If 7 years is good enough for a company that makes something as important as medicine, why do video games get 80+ years protection? What makes them more special?

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2012, 03:50:20 AM »
The "no reason" covers them in case of shit happening that they can't tell people about. It's unlikely, and AFAIK aside from CoH there has never been an actual use of the 'no reason' clause. TECHNICALLY, there was a reason given with CoH even- a BS reason maybe, but a reason.

I see the 'no reason' clause to be similar to the 'acts of god' wording in contracts. It gives them an out should something come up that they could not possibly have thought of at the time they opened the game. Of course, it also gives them a reason to shut the game down any time they like but, we were supposed to have read all of that before giving them our money.
 
 
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #45 on: October 13, 2012, 05:00:51 AM »
Codewalker, the Entertainment Industry has somehow always gotten away with more. Everyone from the individual artists with perpetual get-out-of-jail-free cards, to the corporations who are actually trying to rewrite laws to get more money (the current big move since the piracy wars is to make ALL media licensed to a specific individual, and have that license non-transferable, which means we can no longer resell CD's, movies, etc)

And then there's Disney's cute little trademark application that's going through the process right now, in attempt to make the name, "Snow White" a trademark, effectively making it illegal for anyone else to use the name, which has been in public domain for... how long?

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #46 on: October 13, 2012, 05:06:33 AM »
Don't forget the fact that the copyright term magically seem to always get extended right when Mickey is about to pass into public domain...

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #47 on: October 13, 2012, 05:32:10 AM »
I actually understand why Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny should remain protected properties of their respective companies; the companies are still actively using them and, particularly in Mickey's case, they're incredibly iconic. The harm that could be done to public confidence in Disney as a company if public domain use of Mickey Mouse were to start having him "endorse" the wrong sorts of things or have him become a logo on products NOT sanctioned by Disney could be horrific.

"Active use" should be a consideration, I think, in copyright law. Whether it is or not, I don't know. And really, it's academic to debate here. But it's late, so my two cents get thrown in rather than filtered. ^^;

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #48 on: October 13, 2012, 05:45:27 AM »
I actually understand why Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny should remain protected properties of their respective companies; the companies are still actively using them and, particularly in Mickey's case, they're incredibly iconic. The harm that could be done to public confidence in Disney as a company if public domain use of Mickey Mouse were to start having him "endorse" the wrong sorts of things or have him become a logo on products NOT sanctioned by Disney could be horrific.

"Active use" should be a consideration, I think, in copyright law. Whether it is or not, I don't know. And really, it's academic to debate here. But it's late, so my two cents get thrown in rather than filtered. ^^;

Mickey Mouse is also a trademark, not merely a character in copyrighted properties. Whether or not the copyright on "Steamboat Willie", Mickey's first appearance, ever passes into the public domain, "Mickey Mouse" and the distinctive likeness of the character remain trademarks of Disney for as long as they maintain them. Trademark and copyright are separate.


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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #49 on: October 13, 2012, 06:16:37 AM »
Litigious society or not, I don't have to sign a disclaimer every time I order a beefy burrito from Taco Bell.
Although, in that case you probably should have to sign a waiver.   ;D
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #50 on: October 13, 2012, 07:35:26 AM »
Stuff like this is why I'm a proponent of open source software. The philosophy of open source to me is no less than anthropological environmentalism. Archaic copyright laws and short-sighted commercial practices are obliterating a growing human subculture. 500 years from now, if humanity is still around then, it will in all likelihood understand less of 2012 than we do of 1512.

With the amount of digital information in the world, most of it is consigned to oblivion before it has a shot at permanence. What good is copyright doing when everyone is reinventing a square wheel behind close doors, and it won't even fit on any modern cart anymore by the time a tenth of the copyright term has passed? Never mind that most of the blueprints are permanently lost, so the likelihood of them enriching the public domain is nil. Digital culture -- by which I include software, video games, and all sorts of multimedia -- is ephemeral, and future humanity is going to regret that.

Copyright was supposed to provide incentive to creators, but who really is benefiting from it? Publishers, distributors, and companies hiring creators get disproportionate amounts of the profits. Arguments are made that those paying the money get to call the shots, but what about customers? Aren't they the ones who ultimately provide returns for the investment? It seems that users should by the same logic have as much claim to ownership as the companies. Setting aside what copyright laws actually say for now, if NCsoft's buying CoX warranted transfer of moral ownership, then the players who invested in the game should likewise have a similar claim.

With respect to meatspace analogies, renters and even squatters have (or used to have) more rights than users of digital culture.
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #51 on: October 13, 2012, 08:53:05 AM »
"...copyright has gotten out of hand in general... It was supposed to encourage the creation of ideas, not let corporations and individuals 'own' ideas and keep a stranglehold on them forever. Greed has corrupted it and turned it into a tool that's used to silence the public rather than enrich it."

"Archaic copyright laws and short-sighted commercial practices are obliterating a growing human subculture."

Oh hoo hoo! Y'all just stepped into my favorite arena.

Corporations like the ones that own the major studios act to prevent even innocent infringement, like preschools using the Disney characters without authorization. Yet they prey upon individual artists' work without shame. Let me unveil some of the most grievous examples.

Disney, The Lion King. Such a blatant ripoff of Kimba the White Lion that some scenes are shot-for-shot matchups. "Fang" is renamed "Scar," "Kimba" is renamed "Simba." This is the work of perhaps Japan's most revered artist of the twentieth century, Osamu Tezuki. Stolen and not credited.

"Oh, but that happened almost two decades ago. Things have changed, right?" Wrong! Koushun Takami, Battle Royale. Published as a novel, made into a movie. Stolen outright and released this year as The Hunger Games.

"Ah, but those are foreigners. They wouldn't steal from an American." Wrong again. Jack Kirby, veteran, patriot, and revered American comics creator, publishes The New Gods. The adventures of Mark Moonrider, armed only with his connection with The Source, and his struggles against Darkseid, black-helmeted ruler of the urbanized planetoid Apokolips. Stolen and retitled Star Wars.

Corporations guard their copyrights like junkyard dogs while stealing whatever catches their fancy from every other artist on the planet with impunity. And they preach to us homilies about burning illegal DvDs and try to push the SOPA and PIPA bills through congress.

Provided the 'net reaches its fullest potential, we will inevitably enter the post-copyright era, wherein the moment something is published, it enters the public domain.

But if we allow greed and ruthlessness to strangle that potential, well... as a wiser man than me wrote, "free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."
« Last Edit: October 13, 2012, 07:22:58 PM by Colette »

Zolgar

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #52 on: October 13, 2012, 09:17:19 AM »

Provided the 'net reaches its fullest potential, we will inevitably enter the post-copyright era, wherein the moment something is published, it enters the public domain.


Yes.. because.. artists should not be able to make any money off their works.
If this is the case, and copyright ceases to be.. all works are public domain..

An author releases a book, tries to sell it.. they sell a few copies.
Someone buys the ebook format for $10, and distributes it for $2/copy claiming it as their own... they've just stolen credit AND undercut the person who put the time and effort in to writing, editing, formatting etc. their work.
Same goes for everything, if all art is public domain.. then the only art that remains as more than just a hobby is live in person performance art.

Copyright is NEEDED, and any artist with any remote desire to make a living off their work will tell you that.
Copyright in it's modern form though, is kinda stupid. Life of creator+70 years? Ideal would be something like 20 years, plus renewable every 5.

DrakeGrimm

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #53 on: October 13, 2012, 09:43:01 AM »
Yes.. because.. artists should not be able to make any money off their works.
If this is the case, and copyright ceases to be.. all works are public domain..

An author releases a book, tries to sell it.. they sell a few copies.
Someone buys the ebook format for $10, and distributes it for $2/copy claiming it as their own... they've just stolen credit AND undercut the person who put the time and effort in to writing, editing, formatting etc. their work.
Same goes for everything, if all art is public domain.. then the only art that remains as more than just a hobby is live in person performance art.

Copyright is NEEDED, and any artist with any remote desire to make a living off their work will tell you that.
Copyright in it's modern form though, is kinda stupid. Life of creator+70 years? Ideal would be something like 20 years, plus renewable every 5.

As an aspiring author, yes, I'd like to keep the ability to make money off of it. Thanks. >.>;
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #54 on: October 13, 2012, 12:25:50 PM »
I'm a little taken aback at how civil this thread still is given the nature of the debates going on. Then again, another reason why this community rocks. There is some great thought provoking content in here.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #55 on: October 13, 2012, 12:29:13 PM »
...in Mickey's case, they're incredibly iconic.

Indeed, he's become so much a part of our culture that our culture should "own" him, not a business interest (imho).  Many examples around to think about: Batman, Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Star Trek, War Of The Worlds, Sherlock Holmes... all originally created for commercial reasons, but ended up speaking to us in special ways and were allowed to become cultural touchstones.  When should they legally become part of the culture at large and not just property?  Because they already have become a part of it a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away...).
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #56 on: October 13, 2012, 12:56:54 PM »
Lot of good sparky brains at work here - I like :)

I think the heart of the modern copyright protection v exploitation issue centres on time and scale. When the concept of copyright was first solidly drafted into law, the world was a much slower and (in terms of information flow) smaller place. The rules of the day protected artists at a time when anyone wanting to rip off their work would be involved in a long term venture of physical copying and distribution.

The digital world is a different place entirely though. It's quite common to see musicians at places like Myspace directly selling homeburned copies of their work on CD. No record companies, no managers, no logistic involvement at all, just straight from the artist to the customer. And a lot of folk like that personal element and are happy to buy CDs that way.

Such artists are effectively outside the system though, because they're small scale in an almost retro way. If such an artist became incredibly popular overnight, there's no way they could burn a gazillion CDs without sacrificing time they'd much rather be spending creating new music. So they'd have to employ someone, and have infrastructure...yada yada...and voila, you've crossed the scale line from small and friendly to large and ever more impersonal. And once such a system gets large enough, it becomes instead concerned with maintaining its own existence (because without it, the artist couldn't be the icon they've become), so it has to protect the golden goose that's laying its eggs...even if it means locking them away in a barn.

That's when protection slips over that line into exploitation. And the digital world makes that process happen much faster than it ever did before. And, like gravity, the bigger the coroporation, the more pull it has.

Like the JK Rowling corporate machine. For years she's been under a huge cloud of accusations of plagiarism, but is always more than ready to have her legal crew slap "cease and desist" orders on anyone she feels may be using her work without permission. No such protection for the people she's accused of exploiting, and her legal machine is now large enough to crush anything that comes her way now, no matter how valid.

I don't believe copyright in its current form can persist much longer tbh - it's got so twisted and introspective that it's become not just a minefield, but a minefield in 3 dimensions. With inverted gravity and signposts written in an alien language. And the mines are invisible.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #57 on: October 13, 2012, 01:58:52 PM »
It's funny how two examples given in this thread of "big corporate powers stealing from innocent artists" are J. K. Rowling and Star Wars.

Before Star Wars, George Lucas was a nobody. He was not a corporate power capable of trivially stealing credit from little guys. In fact, if that "New Gods" did come out in the hands of a revered comic creator before Star Wars was ever published, Mr. Kirby would represent a significantly greater corporate power than Mr. Lucas at the time.

(Side note: "Apokalips" and "Darkseid" should sound very familiar to fans of Superman...a comic series for which Jack Kirby wrote extensively.)

Before Harry Potter, Rowling was likewise a nobody. She wrote her manuscripts with pencil and paper in local coffee shops and was not exactly rolling in the dough. If she truly plagiarized people, they could have hit her for it the moment her first book hit the shelves, and her publisher would have dropped her like a bad habit before she ever became the superstar she is now. No publisher wants to take up a court case on an untried author whose first works are under accusations of that most heinous of literary crimes.


I can't really comment on The Hunger Games, because I've seen the movie only once and never read the book(s). I've also never seen Kimba, the White Lion. I have heard the accusation regarding The Lion King before, though. One of these days, I'll seek out Kimba to compare it, myself.

Does copyright law get abused? Heavens yes. But utopian visions of a copyright-less future or of "cultural ownership" of icons because, um, well, we don't want the heirs of their creators who still use them as trademarks to make money on them...they're begging for disaster. Check out the origins and meaning of the word "Utopia." It's not flattering to utopian ideals.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #58 on: October 13, 2012, 03:53:58 PM »
It's funny how two examples given in this thread of "big corporate powers stealing from innocent artists" are J. K. Rowling and Star Wars.

Before Star Wars, George Lucas was a nobody. He was not a corporate power capable of trivially stealing credit from little guys. In fact, if that "New Gods" did come out in the hands of a revered comic creator before Star Wars was ever published, Mr. Kirby would represent a significantly greater corporate power than Mr. Lucas at the time.

(Side note: "Apokalips" and "Darkseid" should sound very familiar to fans of Superman...a comic series for which Jack Kirby wrote extensively.)

Before Harry Potter, Rowling was likewise a nobody. She wrote her manuscripts with pencil and paper in local coffee shops and was not exactly rolling in the dough. If she truly plagiarized people, they could have hit her for it the moment her first book hit the shelves, and her publisher would have dropped her like a bad habit before she ever became the superstar she is now. No publisher wants to take up a court case on an untried author whose first works are under accusations of that most heinous of literary crimes.


I can't really comment on The Hunger Games, because I've seen the movie only once and never read the book(s). I've also never seen Kimba, the White Lion. I have heard the accusation regarding The Lion King before, though. One of these days, I'll seek out Kimba to compare it, myself.

Does copyright law get abused? Heavens yes. But utopian visions of a copyright-less future or of "cultural ownership" of icons because, um, well, we don't want the heirs of their creators who still use them as trademarks to make money on them...they're begging for disaster. Check out the origins and meaning of the word "Utopia." It's not flattering to utopian ideals.

It's even funnier when you go back and read a little bit of the mythology...The dark-helmeted/masked/hooded evil power was NOT invented by Jack Kirby. It predates him by, oh, a couple thousand years or so. :) You might want to check up on Joseph Campbell's collected works, especially "Hero With A Thousand Faces". (Which is largely cited by Lucas as one of his inspirations for Star Wars, and has been since the movie came out. And was published a few years before Darkseid. (Volume 1 came out in 1962, volume 4 came out in 1968, Darkseid's first appearance was 1970.) It'll be a lot easier than me trying to cite all of the assorted myths in that vein. :)
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TimtheEnchanter

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #59 on: October 13, 2012, 04:46:55 PM »
Before Harry Potter, Rowling was likewise a nobody. She wrote her manuscripts with pencil and paper in local coffee shops and was not exactly rolling in the dough. If she truly plagiarized people, they could have hit her for it the moment her first book hit the shelves, and her publisher would have dropped her like a bad habit before she ever became the superstar she is now. No publisher wants to take up a court case on an untried author whose first works are under accusations of that most heinous of literary crimes.

I'm starting to have serious doubts about whether or not plagiarism even exists these days. 50 Shades of Grey has all but made me give up on writing. There's a story that actually ADMITTED to being a Twilight story. So much so that when the book was originally written, it featured Twilight characters. Then, after the story had already developed a cult following of fanfic readers, the author said, "Hey, you know what, I'm going to change the character names and sell it as a standalone piece."

And now the book, which is actually written WORSE than Twilight, and has a plot 1/10th as good, is an NYT bestseller. Now, where the heck is the lawsuit for that one? I'm not even suggesting a lawsuit for stealing material from Twilight. Writers are inspired by other works all the time and there's nothing wrong with that. But how in the world do you legally start something as a free fanfic to draw in your audience, and then once you have them hooked, sell them a different product? That's illegally using someone else's trademarks for promotional purposes, and Twilight is one of the biggest IP's in the world (though probably waning now). Yet somehow, that book is still being sold.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #60 on: October 13, 2012, 04:55:52 PM »
You can actually still find the original fanfic (Masters of the Universe ... I'm not kidding) floating on the internet. /tangent

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #61 on: October 13, 2012, 06:19:27 PM »
Good stuff, all.

...utopian visions of a copyright-less future or of "cultural ownership" of icons because, um, well, we don't want the heirs of their creators who still use them as trademarks to make money on them...they're begging for disaster."

"Yes.. because.. artists should not be able to make any money off their works."

"As an aspiring author, yes, I'd like to keep the ability to make money off of it. Thanks."

Well naturally you do. But be careful not to fall into the straw-man fallacy of false attribution. I stated that we need to move into a post-copyright world. It does not necessarily follow that a creator will not be rewarded for his or her hard work in this environment, so please do not attribute any such sentiment to me, or imply that I believe the Ideal would require that. I believe the 'net immediately makes every published idea de facto public domain. Our challenge is to ensure proper repayment within this new environment.

"Copyright in it's modern form though, is kinda stupid."

I prefer outdated, but yes.

"Before Star Wars, George Lucas was a nobody."

In this case, I'm referring to 20th Century Fox (although Lucas earns no points from me for failing to cite his influence.) At the time Lucas was writing ('75-'76), DC aka National Periodicals was being acquired by Warner Bros., but was not yet a part of the Time-Warner juggernaut.

"You might want to check up on Joseph Campbell's collected works, especially Hero With A Thousand Faces. "

Yup yup! Right here on my shelf alongside Power of Myth, both well worn. Highly recommended.

"50 Shades of Grey has all but made me give up on writing."

Don't. There's an enormous dfference between successful writing and good writing. Success is great, but if you're writing for "success," you're honestly in it for the wrong reasons. Don't measure your work against 50, Twilight, Left Behind, or any number of penny-dreadfuls that win commercial success today, and are forgotten or paraded as camp a decade from now.

"When should they legally become part of the culture at large and not just property? Because they already have become a part of it a long time ago...?"

See, now that is an excellent question. You get it. Allow me to try to craft a better one...

We live in an age where the message (a song, cinema, a story, a picture, a computer game) has escaped from the media (CD, film, book, canvas or cartridge) and exists as infinitely reproducible pure information. This has led to theft (piracy) on the audience's part, and a misguided belief that all entertainment should be free. (Emphasis to rebut the false attribution.)

On the producer's side, we have big, powerful corporations that steal (rip-off) artists' work with relative impunity. They even steal from each other.

The small, independent artist, who in my opinion is the real creative vitality, is caught between these titanic forces, relatively powerless against infringement.

Is this the culture we want? What kind of culture do we want? What kind of copyright laws will best cultivate the culture we want?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2012, 07:27:41 PM by Colette »

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #62 on: October 13, 2012, 06:35:08 PM »
A quick additional thought.

Last night I watched Joss Whedon's The Cabin in the Woods. I don't want to spoil it for you, but let me simply say he infringes mightily upon copyright, yet he does not plagiarize. How is this possible? He has a literal horde of expies of beloved, easily identified creations, but he never pretends to have created them! He renders affectionate, even touching salutes to others' creations (primarily Sam Raimi and HP Lovecraft) while bringing plenty of his own ideas to the party. He knows the line between homage and plagiarism and never crosses it.

His film is, I think, very relevant to our discussion.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2012, 07:16:07 PM by Colette »

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #63 on: October 13, 2012, 07:29:15 PM »
"50 Shades of Grey has all but made me give up on writing."

Don't. There's an enormous dfference between successful writing and good writing. Success is great, but if you're writing for "success," you're honestly in it for the wrong reasons.

It's more of a case of what is actually attractive now at all. Believe me, except in rare cases, I'm typically someone who tries to tell a story that people need to hear, even if it isn't one they want to hear. I very strongly agree with the quote from V, that "Artists use lies to tell the truth." The big problem I'm running into now, is that we seem to be approaching a point where things that are getting lots of attention, will not even be classifiable as stories ;)

Quote
We live in an age where the message (a song, cinema, a story, a picture, a computer game) has escaped from the media (CD, film, book, canvas or cartridge) and exists as infinitely reproducible pure information. This has led to theft (piracy) on the audience's part, and a misguided belief that all entertainment should be free. (Emphasis to rebut the false attribution.)

I think the piracy issue is not really an issue. Corporations have made it an issue, only because they see it as an opportunity to make more money. The fact of the matter is, most people who pirate media, do not have the money to pay for it anyway. And since files on a HD have no production cost, (compared to a physical object that can be stolen) there is no money being lost. Really they just want to cash in on the lawsuits. They know very well they're not really losing money. If anything they're probably gaining it as a result. I can't tell you how many times I've discovered artists though one of their songs being bootlegged through an amateur music video on youtube.

P.S. since Star Wars was brought up in the topic of, "How long before something becomes public domain: I feel that Star Wars should be public domain now, moreso on principle rather than legality. Because it's clear to me now that Lucas Ltd no longer cares about the IP, beyond the money it brings in. They've sent it to Hell in a handbasket. We'd be seeing higher quality SW media now from the general public, than we do from the official IP holder. In fact, we already do in some cases, just from the non-profit projects.

Though I can't rag on Uncle George too much, since he did go out of his way to get Fox let all of us play in his galactic sandbox as much as we want, as long as we don't try to sell anything we make.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #64 on: October 13, 2012, 07:38:17 PM »
Nothing in the world is truly original. Every creative work builds on the body of work that came before, regardless of whether that's in the public domain. The human brain is a biological pattern-matching machine, so it can hardly produce or perceive anything that has no known pattern. The only originality is randomness, which the brain is nevertheless inclined to interpret as symbolic. Does Work A take inspiration from Work B? Maybe not directly or consciously, and maybe both works take inspiration from overlapping earlier works. In any case, that won't stop people from seeing repeating patterns where none might have been intended.

Further, human consciousness is finite. When creative works turn out to be sufficiently resonant with the prevailing mode of consciousness, they enter memory through being grafted to pattern-matched prior knowledge, i.e. association. If enough people find the new idea more relevant, its leaf in the association tree branch grows more salient. Given a finite space to grow (memory constraints) and finite nutrients (asymptotic limits on consciousness), one leaf's growth is another leaf's dwarfing. The brain has a harder time retrieving information from a nutrient-starved leaf without interference from nearby leaves. This process does not respect any societal notion of IP, so that model is a mismatch of reality from the ground up.

At a higher level, IP law becomes an unrealistic attempt at thought control. If we take for granted that a new work, while never original, still has enough merit to warrant a moral right to an enforced monopoly, how does it entail that this right should last beyond the work's likely lifetime of relevance? Why should works merit protection long after they've become passé; in what way does it enrich the public domain to add stale ideas to it? Moreover, the public domain is impoverished each time an idea or work is regurgitated, as that reinterpretation is barred to other creators who may have independently arrived at a similar conclusion. In science, there is also something called Stigler's Law.

Finally, by what logic is IP transferrable and inheritable? J. R. R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit 75 years ago and The Lord of the Rings 57-59 years ago. His son and grandson still run his estate today, owned by the family, and they are still receiving royalties. On the other hand, the movies alone made near three billions in USD, with no royalties to the family other than a settlement in a lawsuit for £80m.

Corporate IP ownership is particularly nefarious. The standard work-for-hire clause in contract/copyright law means companies own whatever creators make while in their employ, with no obligation to pay them anything other than the normal salary/wage. In the video game industry, developers frequently lose rights to their own creations and have to resort to unauthorized 'spiritual successors'. In music, mainstream record labels offer contracts that have artists sign their rights away. In all these cases, IP ownership gravitates toward those corporations already with the largest portfolios. Meanwhile, the disconnect between what's in the public consciousness and what's in the impoverished public domain continues to widen.

How have we come to this perverted neo-feudalism?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2012, 11:20:13 PM by ROBOKiTTY »
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #65 on: October 13, 2012, 07:50:21 PM »
Robokitty, you just hit on something that I've always wondered about regarding another similar institution, in that almost everything is based on something else. Example: simple machines.

Just imagine what life would be like if somehow the patent system had been developed before technology was.

Can you imagine? Needing a license to build a fire or a pulley? Had the system existed in the beginning, that's exactly where we would be, and our technological advances wouldn't be a 100th of where they are, because every single advancement in tech somehow requires the incorporation of these primitive tools, much in the same way that all modern stories utilize major plot devices of ancient ones.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #66 on: October 13, 2012, 08:04:17 PM »
Colette, I'll just say that before we can have the copyrightless future you desire, we have to reprogram at least 80% of the 'technologically advanced' population >.>

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #67 on: October 13, 2012, 08:19:19 PM »
...most people who pirate media, do not have the money to pay for it anyway."

A point worth considering.

"I very strongly agree with the quote from V for Vendetta, that 'artists use lies to tell the truth.' The big problem I'm running into now, is that we seem to be approaching a point where things that are getting lots of attention, will not even be classifiable as stories."

Let me answer with another Moore quote. "We do not do this thing because we are allowed. We do it because we are compelled."

I feel that Star Wars should be public domain now, moreso on principle rather than legality. Because it's clear to me now that Lucasfilm Ltd no longer cares about the IP, beyond the money it brings in."

Culturally, I agree (and submit my cherished copy of Abywan's Star Wars Revisited as exhibit A.) Financially I do not. Therein lies the crux: do we as a people value money more than culture?

"Every creative work builds on the body of work that came before."

Indeed! Our world would not be richer had the Danish author of Amleth maintained his copyright against Shakespeare, or if Tolkien had not had access to Wagner's Ring Cycle, or if William Hearst had successfully blocked Orson Welles from fashioning a myth from his very life story, or if Madam Stoker had successfully burned every copy of Nosferatu.

"Can you imagine? Needing a license to build a fire or a pulley?"

Quite right.

"I'll just say that before we can have the copyrightless future you desire..."

Not what I desire, the 'net has already brought it into being. Copyright is de facto obsolete. I'm simply pointing out the elephant in the living room.

"...we have to reprogram at least 80% of the 'technologically advanced' population."

Really? Howso? Looks to me they're already ahead of the curve. Please expand upon this.

"How have we come to this perverted neo-feudalism?"

A fine and useful question. More importantly, how do we find our way out of it?

Let us begin by admitting we as a people are unhappy with copyright law as it exists. Further, let us recall that ideas are bulletproof (Moore again!) and may only be defeated by superior ideas (my addition.) Let us endeavour to envision a superior culture, one fully in harmony with the new fluidity of ideas, and attempt to enunciate the laws that would bring that superior culture into being.

I'm delighted to see so many open and vibrant minds attracted by the possibilities.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #68 on: October 13, 2012, 08:38:57 PM »
There are far too many people who just plain don't care, and worse plenty who are more than willing to completely rip people off.

Look at how much of the population is more than happy to st- sorry 'pirate' copyrighted works when it's illegal? The only reason it's illegal is copyright, because it's unauthorized distribution. Take away the copyright and transferring of digital copies of a work is 100% legal. If you can legally get something free.. why would you pay for it? There's a small fraction of us who would prefer to pay the original creator of the works.. but we're unfortunately in an ever shrinking minority.

Furthermore, no copyright also means that plagiarism is also no longer a legal issue. There is no legal recourse anymore, so plagiarism isn't restricted to being careful or having the money to back it.. It's open to anyone who wants to.. Get someone who's got certain connections, they take a book but a nobody author and change the name on the cover, with their network of connections people will quickly believe that they were the original author.. so those people who prefer giving the creators money will be giving the wrong person the money.

Copyright protects the artist's investment in to their work- without it art stops becoming financially viable, at least until we change how people think.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #69 on: October 13, 2012, 08:55:25 PM »
Hmm...

Zolgar, I remember a scene from a film. I don't recall the name, but this scene stood out as worth remembering. (If anyone can help...?)

An aristocrat of the monarchy and an advocate of the republic are riding in a carriage. The aristocrat gestures to the grubby, homely peasants laboring in the streets and says something like, "can you imagine the consequences if your dreams were ever put into practice, if any of those unlettered louts was allowed any voice in government at all?"

I'm not accusing you of being an elitist. But I do believe, when offered a fair system of trade, and good work by artists they admire and respect, that our 'technologically advanced population' just might pleasantly surprise you.

But then, perhaps I'm naive. I have no evidence either way.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #70 on: October 13, 2012, 08:59:49 PM »
They might surprise me.. but to be honest nothing I have seen so far indicates they would. Then again, I have a rather dim view of humanity as a whole. >.>

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #71 on: October 13, 2012, 09:02:17 PM »
Who was it that released a "free" album in the past couple years as an experiment? I want to say it was Green Day, but I didn't find any reference to it. Basically they released it at no charge, and gave the people the option to pay however much they wanted. The results were posted, and they didn't paint a pretty picture. I feel like it was somewhere around 25% who actually paid something, and a finite number who paid anything close to the normal price of a CD.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #72 on: October 13, 2012, 09:15:46 PM »
Radiohead did the first, I think.  Not sure of any statistics on it.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #73 on: October 13, 2012, 09:25:32 PM »
Radiohead did the first, I think.  Not sure of any statistics on it.
In Rainbows
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #74 on: October 13, 2012, 09:42:16 PM »
I daresay that we have at least one person who can speak with a little authority on what happens when you let your books go into free libraries...

Baen does QUITE a bit of that. Several of Mercedes Lackey's books are in their free library, or included on their (DRM-free) e-book CDs in other books. :)
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #75 on: October 13, 2012, 09:54:17 PM »
Reading more about the "In Rainbows" album... couldn't find the chart I saw so long ago, but while there was a very high rate of 'theft' of the album, it still managed to outsell their previous ones.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #76 on: October 14, 2012, 01:03:29 AM »

You just brought up an example of how business is already too powerful. Take a look at how Facebook is not only ignoring, but admittedly harboring bullying. They allow bullies and even bully groups to run rampant, and it's next to impossible for authorities to step in and accomplish something no matter how bad it gets. (it's also an example of the choicelessness I mentioned above, because teens are stuck with the choice of either using Facebook or having no social life, which means they have to open themselves up to constant bullying). But in some parts of Europe, trolling and E-bullying is now punishable by law.


Umm...I know I'm probably too far beyond my teen years, but teens do NOT need facebook to have a thriving social life. All they need is a decent personality. I'm sure a cell phone with unlimited texting plan is helpful, but they don't need that either.
They can talk in class, pass notes and between classes and before and after school the same way we did in the old days.

Silly Facebook. So intrusive, passing my communications to every vendor in the world for profit. They're even worse than Google, Bing and Yahoo.
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #77 on: October 14, 2012, 01:59:25 AM »
Umm...I know I'm probably too far beyond my teen years, but teens do NOT need facebook to have a thriving social life. All they need is a decent personality. I'm sure a cell phone with unlimited texting plan is helpful, but they don't need that either.

Having a decent personality in teenhood without social networking is akin to having a decent product with no marketing plan.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #78 on: October 14, 2012, 02:00:29 AM »
"don't applaud, just throw money"

Speaking a someone who must make a living from her intellectual property, obviously I don't want copyright ended.  But it seriously needs to be modified.  I really do not think that any for-profit corporation should be allowed to continue to hold a copyright ad infinitum.  (Note that I did say for-profit.  I think there is a good case for allowing indefinite holding of a copyright by certain non profit corporations.  The copyright for Peter Pan is held for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, and I don't think anyone would object to them continuing to get money from the work.)  I think that copyright protection should end on the death of the copyright holder's immediate heirs. 

I think there ought to be legal provision for not-for-profit derivative work under Creative Commons.  Frankly I am not at all threatened by the existence of fanfiction, and I think any writer who is probably ought to talk to a professional about self-worth issues.

But I do need some protection.  The more e-readers there are out there, the more pirated e-books threaten my ability to make a living.  I don't think it's reasonable to charge a crapton of money for older books; I think people ought to price those things reasonably enough that people can pick them up as impulse purchases.  I am not at all happy that Amazon, as the 900 lb gorilla, is essentially dictating to the industry that they can't do that.  Right now Amazon has bots that search the net looking for e-books you have listed with them that are at a lower price-point than theirs, and forcing you to pull the books from their rival or they will pull your books from Amazon, and that's just wrong.
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #79 on: October 14, 2012, 04:00:27 AM »
"I don't want copyright ended.  But it seriously needs to be modified."

Thank'ya for the professional's view, VV. As you can see, I've put a lot of thought into this subject.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #80 on: October 14, 2012, 07:56:15 AM »
It should be noted that copyright is not necessary to prevent plagiarism. Academia and journalism maintain fairly high standards without help from legislation. Copyright only concerns the form an idea takes, rather than the idea itself, so it's a much lower standard than the broader notion of plagiarism. In reality, the copyright industry and academic integrity are sometimes at odds, because copyright only cares about who owns a particular manner of presentation (rather than who came up with it), while copying a work out of copyright (or even a work you created/own) is still plagiarism.

At my university, there was a year-long copyright dispute between textbook publishers and the school, where the publishers wanted to raise fees, and the school refused. The deadlock led to periods of textbook shortage, and a few of the faculty on the sly resorted to making photocopies and lending out their own free copies from the publishers. Both of those activities were technically illegal, because Canada didn't recognize education as a valid case of fair dealing. Most professors, being law-abiding citizens, had to find ways of coping without breaking the law. Schedules got shifted; students got shafted.

Talk about copyright law being harmful.

As much as US copyright law gets (deservedly) slammed, it did two things better than Canada.

1) Anything produced by the US federal government is automatically public domain. Compare with crown copyright in Commonwealth countries. So rife for abuse that Australia indeed abuses it to cover up information. Canada just tells you, "Nope, couldn't find it."

2) Fair use. Fair dealing has recently become less of a joke in Canada, but the passing of Bill C-11 this year means Canada and the US are now in sync on DRM legislation. Digital millennium indeed.
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #81 on: October 14, 2012, 06:36:41 PM »
One thing to remember about "fair price" for goods and "fair compensation" for services is that there is no such thing. Okay, that's not quite true, but I need to set the stage for my point. There's no agency, no organization, no review board or collective of experts that can truly say "this is the definitive value of that thing."

The "fair price" for something is, when not lied to nor deceived about what it is they're getting, whatever a person will pay for it. That is the fairest measure of something's worth: how much of a measure of their past work's worth others gave them they are willing to part with for it.

I bring this up because it is crucial to some of the "copyright should be changed, and writers get fair pay for their work and all" discussions. I'm not saying anybody was advocating price controls or the like, but I want to be sure that, in any model one considers, one remembers that truth: a writer's work is worth exactly as much as somebody will pay for the privilege of reading it.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #82 on: October 14, 2012, 06:44:39 PM »
The "fair price" for something is, when not lied to nor deceived about what it is they're getting, whatever a person will pay for it. That is the fairest measure of something's worth: how much of a measure of their past work's worth others gave them they are willing to part with for it.

The trouble with this is, particularly, when you're dealing with a commodity that people can't live without, the most obvious one being food. (and yeah I know there's a LOT there, including shelter or heat or electricity, but I mean 'reasonably' live without). When companies know they have something people absolutely need, things get ugly, prices become outrageously higher than what the products are actually worth, and you have companies that are essentially holding people hostage. And that moves things even beyond the "Take it or leave it" business mentality I mentioned before, to "Pay me what I want, or die." And despite that it has been often believed that this would make things BETTER for consumers, competitive pricing has done NOTHING to quell the prices of the essentials. Though maybe that's more of a global problem then a local one, because on a global scale, the price of goods sits on a ridiculously vast spectrum. I can't imagine what it must be like to be in a 3rd world country, where people can afford to live on 5 cents per day, and be able to sell to the 1st world where 5 cents can't even buy you a stick of gum.

If that playing field ever gets leveled, maybe this problem would go away, or at least be less extreme. But I doubt that will ever happen. There's too many powerful people who have everything to lose if they sit idly by and let that happen.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #83 on: October 14, 2012, 06:53:37 PM »
Define "what they're actually worth."

Note that food is not exorbitant, generally. (Gas prices currently are driving it up, and yet people still can afford it even if not as well as before.)

The reason is that there IS so much of it. In fact, a justification for certain government money-giveaway programs is to discourage farmers from making more because there are arguments that food costs too little. (I happen to think such arguments are utter nonsense, but the fact anybody even makes them is support for my point.) If something is crucial to life, and in short supply, it will be astronomical in cost as those who have, over the past time, been deemed of "most worth" to their fellows (by virtue of those fellows giving them money for their goods and services) will offer sufficient that they get first dibs.

Mercifully, this is not quite the case. Food and shelter have market rates that fluctuate but generally are more affordable now than at any time in the past. Medicine is also more plentiful and affordable - not less expensive necessarily, but more affordable and available - than ever before. Because companies that do come up with life-saving drugs can charge an arm and a leg for them to recoup their losses on dead end research and the like, making it worth their while to DO the research. And eventually, those patents do wear out, and "generics" become available.

So, yes. A thing still is worth only what somebody will pay to get it.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #84 on: October 14, 2012, 07:22:08 PM »
I deem, what the product is actually worth, by the labor and the cost of the materials. Anything above which is profit, which everyone is permitted to have of course. But there has to be such a thing as "reasonable" profit, and a way to avoid the shiny dog turd phenomenon. In short, NOBODY should ever be getting paid gold prices for lead bricks, no matter what the demand for lead is.

And while yes, the more prestigious can take advantage of their infinite pockets to buy things that are in short supply, usually, those consumers aren't the ones who are causing fluctuations. Sadly, that falls into the hands of the fools and the suckers. The people who shell out tons of cash because they don't know they're being ripped off. And it is a very sad society that can actually say it's the fools who get to dictate things like this. They're ultimately the ones who give power to the "elite" who are sucking us dry. Same goes for politics.

While yes, the people who are making unfair changes to the world, politically or economically, are responsible; the ones who let them have that power in the first place, are the fools.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #85 on: October 14, 2012, 08:30:55 PM »
So, if I take a gold statue crafted by an ancient sculptor in the likeness of a cultural icon that was dug up in India, melt it down using a standing-bike-powered furnace that stores electricity until I build up enough to power the smelter long enough to perform the melting, mix in lead, and then pour it onto a beach in Hawaii, that beach's value has improved by the value of the gold, plus the lead, plus the hours and hours of labor I put into pumping that bicycle?

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #86 on: October 14, 2012, 08:44:32 PM »
I guess that all depends on whether or not playing on a gold beach is worth getting lead poisoning. Or are you classifying that as part of the "price" of the beach, as a way of getting me to accidentally say demand is more important than literal value? Or maybe I'm trying to see a metaphor that isn't even supposed to be there.


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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #87 on: October 14, 2012, 09:20:04 PM »
No metaphor. My point is that there is no literal value. If people did not value gold for its rarity and aesthetics, it would have been a nearly worthless material until we discovered electricity. But rarity and aesthetic preference made for scarcity and desirability, making it valuable.

There is no literal value. The labor you put in adds to what you consider the worth of the work to be, but it matters not a whit to the person who buys the result from you; he only cares about the result. This push and pull between whether you're willing to put in the labor in exchange for what he's offering, and whether he's willing to offer what you ask in exchange for the product of your labor, is the only value your labor has.

In fact, most of what people count as "profit" is actually the labor. It's the part that is "above" the "material cost." And the material cost is yet defined as "what it cost the manufacturer to acquire the materials." This price, too, fluctuates based on scarcity of the material and the amount of labor the material-acquisition service was willing to put forth for X amount of profit above THEIR material/overhead costs (whatever those may be).

Demand is all that matters. Not "demand for the product" alone, mind, but demand for the product vs. demand for the currency. Remember that "money" is just a fungible abstract representation of goods and services bartered back and forth. It has no intrinsic value other than whatever material it's made of, and even that is inconstant because...well, let's say that we had "gold standard" currency for a moment: if $1 bought .01 oz of gold because it was literally a receipt saying you owned .01 oz of gold, and suddenly somebody found a way to produce gold out of thin air with practically no effort nor material input at all, the value of the currency would plummet instantly as everybody could get gold trivially.

Supply and Demand are the only things that determine value. Supply by dictating how much there is to go around, and demand by dictating how much somebody would part with in order to get part of the supply. This includes labor. Labor is something that is in supply and in demand. How badly it is in demand vs. how much of it is in supply determines how much somebody will pay for it and how much somebody will TAKE for it.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #88 on: October 14, 2012, 11:18:10 PM »
Just to chime in on DRM however...

I am and always will be anti-DRM.  I strongly object to being treated like a thief, and being restricted from doing what I want (short of "reasonable" illegality) with the property I have bought and paid for.
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #89 on: October 15, 2012, 03:50:47 AM »
Given that, while the number of pirated things is higher with non-DRM enforced games, the actual profits don't seem to be generally impacted, I think DRM has proven itself to be a waste of time and money.

And yes, it IS offensive to force people who pay for a ticket to the movie to go through TSA while the back door to the theater is unlocked and everybody can grab the 3D glasses for free from the back alley.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #90 on: October 15, 2012, 05:42:47 AM »
There are several aspects to the paying-farmers-not-to-produce issue, which is a bit more complicated. In the US, it's a holdover from post-Depression subsidies. The explosion in agricultural production from mechanization is generally regarded as one of the causes of the Great Depression. Falling food prices forced farmers off their land, and contributed to a chain of events leading to, in the end, people being unable to afford food.

The world today is a great deal more globalized than the early 20th century, so flooding world markets with cheap first-world exports can threaten to bankrupt small farmers in developing countries. On the other hand, when independent farmers go out of business, multinational megacorporations are going to step in and grab their land.

Much of the world uses farming subsidies to encourage overproduction, e.g. in Europe and Africa (and also in the US, oddly enough). This also has environmental ramifications, namely soil erosion and desertification.
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #91 on: October 15, 2012, 06:05:35 AM »


How much would it cost to run? Probably about 1/10th of what it does right now, BUT how many people will stick around? Would it be worthwhile? For the players yes, but how many would actually stay around and pay every single month? How long could the game stick around in that state?

We'll since the game was making way more money from the paragon market than it was from subscriptions it wouldn't matter. They could simply leave the paragon market running and still continue to make money from that without adding anything new to it. Because you know more and more people over the next few years would continue to try the game out and buy items from the store. The market had tons and tons of items. If someone spends 5$ a week at the store that normally wouldn't pay a subscription fee to begin with that's extra money. And that's what they hope for when they do free to play. Get that one person that won't buy a subscription but will occasionally throw money at them.

I was both a subcriber and buyer on the paragon market. I had 3 paid accounts one was tier9 vip with over 90 reward tokens from the amount of points I had purchased  and the other 2 had between 15 and 20 tokens from both purchases and earned. My brother had a subscription account with 20+ tokens. That alot of cash coming from just 2 people.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #92 on: October 15, 2012, 05:15:08 PM »
Supply and Demand are the only things that determine value. Supply by dictating how much there is to go around, and demand by dictating how much somebody would part with in order to get part of the supply. This includes labor. Labor is something that is in supply and in demand. How badly it is in demand vs. how much of it is in supply determines how much somebody will pay for it and how much somebody will TAKE for it.

Heh, well I know it happens, but it's just stupid, and I can't say that any other way. It's simply a bad way to run a society, since it guarantees poverty by its very nature. And that includes the value of labor. For example, I always found it fascinating that when I was doing heavy labor jobs, I got paid in peanuts, but clerical jobs paid twice or three times as much. While it was logical because my labor jobs required the mental capacity of a chimpanzee to do, it also seemed backwards, because my cost of living was HIGHER when I was doing the labor jobs. Why? Because I had to eat healthier and more often to keep up with the labor job.

The other problem with supply/demand is that it's so easily manipulated. It's a common phenomenon, that systems work best in our world before we understand how the systems work. Once we figure it out, we start hacking it, and the system begins to fail. Take college degrees, for instance. I firmly believe, that the push to encourage EVERYONE to go to college was never for the benefit of the workers. Quite the opposite. I think it's being done to eliminate the value of the degree, and remove from the job market what was once a bargaining chip for the little guy. Even society's nearly zealous obsession with having families may exist for the same reason. Exponentially adding to the workforce to reduce the value of individual workers.

It's just bad. Bad enough that there are some people who are in positions where they can name any price they want for a service or a product, but even worse that we live in a world where there are jobs that don't pay enough to keep the thriftiest person alive.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #93 on: October 15, 2012, 05:29:42 PM »
It is more that getting educated to the point to do clerical work well cost those people - or somebody - significant sums. Greater than it cost to get you to the point of being able to do manual labor. Thus, there are fewer people capable of doing the clerical work. Shorter supply.

If they never offered anybody enough to cover their CoL on labor jobs, then labor would truly die off and there would be nobody to do them. Thus, supply would go down, demand remain constant, and wages for labor jobs would rise. Right now, for instance, plumbers in the US can make six figures because so few people go to vocational schools anymore. Constant or increasing demand, diminishing supply of the labor force.

Supply and demand do NOT create poverty by definition. In fact, allowing people to put their own worth on the goods and services they provide and acquire is the only way to encourage wealth-creation. The old adage of a rising tide elevating all boats is true. The US conception of "poverty" typically includes 3 square meals a day and cable HDTV and internet, these days. And we've only started losing that as the higher quality-of-lifestyle types have been hammered at to "bring them down" to fairness levels. All a "regulated" economy, taht tries to find "fair" prices and enforce them based on some governing body's whim, can ever do is hammer down the nails that rise too high; it can't actually pull up the ones that are lower. That happens when the rising nails find they need to pull up more in order to get more support to rise even higher.