IP Discussion in Nov 2010

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To Those Seeking a Change in Policy

I spent over 60 hours in, over two weeks, in late May and Early June, trying to get across two points that keeps being obfuscated in this discussion. First PDB has the sole right to determine how much risk it takes on. Second, PDB wants no legal risk at all, is not set up to deal with legal risk in any way, and does not want to be set up to deal with legal risk. PBD looked at all the angles at its foundation and looked at all of them again with the discussion in 2010 Spring. PDB's current adminstration is willing to discuss this topic for limited timeframes on a biannual basis and will continue to do so as long as I'm around. In perfect candor PDB is very unlikely to change dramatically but is still willing to field such requests at the appropriate time. Please remember that any request to change this policy is going to have to meet the 2nd criteria above, that is no legal risk at all. That said, some pointers for the next review that may help you make your point.

  • Discussion will open on November 2nd, Closing on November 11th, with the provision that PDB may choose to let discussion on possible prospects continue past the 11th.
  • Be Specific. If you are looking for an exception on a particular part of IP, then stay focused on it.
  • Offer solutions as well as complaints, this strategy helps everywhere in real life, and this creative outlet is no exception.
  • Read all the material that has gone before so you know what isn’t going to be helpful. [[1]]
  • Know the difference between a right and a defense. Fair Use is a great thing, but it is a legal defense and if something happens to get PDB to point of having to defend itself with Fair Use PDB has failed and the metahphorical lights are going to go out.
  • Respect PDB’s rights as owners, making demands on how we provide this free service to you is inevitably going to be seen as arrogant.
  • Keep it civil and remind yourself that the person responding to you only has so much time and gets understandably cranky when spending 10 hours at a crack in front of the computer responding to the public.

None of the information above is intended to be insulting, it is meant as guidance and nothing more. Thank You, in advance to all who all who participate in the Winter 2010 quality discussion.

Mangle Paw 09:31, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Oak

-This is my first and final thought on the matter. Intellectual Property Law under the Fair Use act expressedly and purposefully allows for the use of copyrighted material for education, parody, and non-profit fan use. Do you remember the time Deviantart was sued for having Marvel copyrighted characters drawn? No, you do not. Do you remember when Virtueverse was sued for having all that copyrighted material? No. You do not. Because it never happened. Unless you are making profit off of this web site, you are in no danger of legal trouble whatsoever. If you are making profit from this, shame on you. In short: Your fears are ridiculous and unfounded, and you have no right enforcing law you know nothing about on other people. That's my piece, and I'm done with this discussion. Good to be back after the time period where nobody was allowed to discuss this though. - Oak

  • All of this has been covered extensively elsewhere, particularly Marel's erratic legal behavior, but in summary Fair Use is not a right, it is a defense. To utilize a defense you need an attorney and the will to go court. PDB has neither. If it were to come to a day in court this site would simply cease to be. As to profit, it is not, and that should be obvious. That makes our fears sincere and well founded. While I am not an attorney, I have consulted the attorney that represents another group I belong to. She agrees that that within the given desire that it never come to legal proceedings, a proactive adherence to the law is the only course.Mangle Paw 04:30, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Mr. Bits

- Your misinterpretations and extreme paranoia concerning copyright infringement are only harming PDB on a whole and the only reason it is being tolerated is because there are no other active PDB moderators with the ability to remove you from a position of power, Mangle Paw. - MrBits

  • There have been no intentional misrepresentations regarding IP by PDB, and in discussion six months ago they were covered comprehensively. As to the extreme paranoia, I have agreed in the past that our stance is paranoid, pretty much by design. However, your last statement may be a little disingenuous, for the record U4Dandy is the owner of the site, he is still actively maintaining all the nuts and bolts behind the scenes and supports the stance on IP. Mangle Paw 04:31, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

LXD response to Oak and possibly, Mr. Bits

It seems to me your statements are based an anecdotal information rather than the actual law. I'd like to see where you find these things expressly laid out, because all the places I have looked up fair use, all say it is NOT clearly defined and can be challenged by the original copyright holder for any reason. And that is what the administrators or trying to avoid, being taken to court, for any reason. Sure, lots of websites get away with breaking copyright law but that doesn't make it legal. It's like saying it's ok to speed on the freeway because you've never been caught.--LXD 02:34, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

  • LXD, let me give you a public Kudo for all the help you have given the site in the past six months regarding spam attacks. You have made my job with that crud easier and for that Sir, I thank you.
  • The metaphor I have used is 'I'm coming over to your house, throwing a house party, and I'm not sticking around to clean in the morning'.

Deadborder

As one of the orignal mods of PDB, I will admit that I was a big part of setting the orignal groundwork of the policy. I also admit that I was one of the first to start actively enforcing it, with requests to remove copyrighted images and, yes, removing them when the orignal users did not provide sourcing, fair use or evidence of owenrship. With that being said, I see no reason to change the policy as it stands. LXD makes a valid point; jsut becuse nobody has called the Wiki on it so far does not mean that it's okay to use copyrighted images or information, and certainly doesn't mean that there's no risk at all. I say better safe then sorry and keep the policy as it is. Screenshots from CO? Fine. Orginal artwork? As long as it's sourced and has reasonable evidence of ownership, fantastic. Anything else? Prove ownership or that the image isn't copyrighted, and it's fine.

Besides, the last thing I think anyone wants is a wiki full of generic celebrity photos. --Deadborder 08:04, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

  • BTW, it is good to see you back.

ChaosRed

1. My main concern is the volatile nature of this issue and how it has fractured the RP community in Champions. While I concede the administrators can (and in fact must) do whatever they can to minimize liability, I worry this contentious issue will eventually cause the site to be taken down (just out of sheer frustration). I have a lot of content here. If there is any chance this issue causes the admins to throw their hands up and say the project is no longer worth it, I'll understand, but I'd also like some time to move my content to my own private wiki.


  • This is also a concern I wonder over. I cannot speak for U4Dandy on his commitment, especially given the appearance of his limited involvement in actual CO play and his outward effort with PDB. But based on his responsiveness on technical concerns, my perception is that he very happy to be able to provide the tools we use here and maintain the technical end in lieu of actually having the time to play. I can't foresee that changing without something drastic happening. My involvement here is based in a love of Champions that goes all the way back to the grayscale Hero Games publication in the eighties, and a sincere belief that the evolutionary future of role playing games is not only being created in wiki's like these, but is also dependent on the same. So in the case of longevity, I'd say you are safe, but I'd also add that if anything does endanger the longevity of the site, I promise that I will do everything I can make sure that everyone is notified as soon as possible.


2. I have run websites since 1995. My first few sites were both official and unofficial web sites for various musicians - and the record companies are draconian in their protection of their copyright. So I have some experience in this matter.


I can tell you, that copyright law is harder to enforce than you probably realize. There's all kinds of things a company must do in order to enforce their ownership over an image or logo.


  • Agreed.


Also they will almost always inform the offending site with a letter to remove the offending image. If they fail to do so, they can forget about winning a court case. Usually in fact, you'll get a few letters before a company would ever consider suing. Most "fan" sites are left alone, because they fail to make profit and they are so prolific they are impossible to police. Indeed, if anything fan sites are co-opted by the entities they focus on. The developers of StarWars.com were the original stewards of TheForce.Net. The admin of the official KISS site, ran an unofficial fan site for years. There are numerous other examples, look at how a crappy fan site like "Ain't It Cool" has become adopted into mainstream. Your site promotes comics and video game company. It helps business more than it hurts.


So, this site, is very much in the category of "fan" site. Fan sites are badgered by companies once they start to spill negative PR, or spew unfounded rumors that hurt the company in question.


  • I agree with your assessment of the legal process and the voracious nature of the internet, but I doubt PDB is ever going to be bought out. We serve the Cryptic version of Champions, and as it stands, they get gain without investment.


If you put up an image of a Coca-Cola bottle, the Coca-Cola company isn't going to care. If you put up a diatribe about the evils of soda and their connection to the growing diabetes epidemic - and then put up Coca-Cola logos with the discussion, and if that article were to get any attention, then you'd get a cease and desist to remove the image.


So, with my experience, I'd say the policy is a little to dogmatic. Some images, (say a random image of a nuclear power plant that augmented someone's origin story), are of such a low-liability (next to zero), that I'd urge the admins to allow it, for the sake of keeping a thriving wiki.


  • I'd suggest you missed someone in the process with the coke bottle. The photographer. That said, a quick look at Google Images with the advanced search, labeled for reuse and modification yields images of all sorts of coke bottles and cans that could be used freely without infringing on the rights of others. The same could be said of any image that a user shoots with thier own camera. The same seach engine throws out a host of great images. All have actual zero liablility and to date I do not know of there having been any issues with such, beyond getting some sort of sourcing on them.


On the other hand, if people start posting Batman images (from the movie or comics) and starts to directly link their character/villain to Batman, that's an entirely different problem. There is some discretion you should use. None of us are lawyers, but I will say that idea that one fan can post an image and 2 hours later you are involved in a lawsuit isn't going to happen. Comics and other video games should be your chief area of concern. Marvel and DC aren't going to like their IPs linked to a Cryptic entity. Similarly people who post images they don't own from Warcraft or other games are dangerous - remove them.


  • Agreed whole heartedly, and yet the simple asking of one to be removed is what started this discussion in the first place.


Even if you missed these, I'd say the worst you'll ever get is a simple "Cease and Desist" from a comic book company who felt their brand/characters were being damaged. This is all I ever experienced as someone who has run web sites since 1995. The letters are simple and they give you time to address the situation. Even if you failed to act, usually the most you get is a second "Cease and Desist". There's no financial point to do more. The cost to take these things to court is enormous.


Even then, the law generally tends to favor expression. Copyright law is very, very hard to enforce. As the RIAA, Marvel or DC, the violation not only has to be blatant, it has to be extended and continued even after notification from the owning entity or it has to be proven that profit was made from the usage that the owners were not compensated for. In your case, since you make no money and you'd remove any image you were notified had a problem immediately, you are very safe indeed. There isn't a "gotcha" situation out there. Companies are most interested in those who are making unfair profit, or are posting unfair attacks with their own IP. They don't have time (or motive) to police fan sites like this.


Lawyers aren't out there trolling penniless, profitless fan sites looking to make a buck, like ambulance chasers. There are lawyers out there who defend digital properties from unfair profit from third parties and protect their brands from unfair damage.


  • Maybe we have to agree to disagree here. Part of my experience with IP includes having met with the 'Paramount Police' that exist to protect that other Cryptic license. This is a group of lawyers on retainer that have to do something in order to justify getting paid. From my point of view, the enormous costs are in some cases partially prepaid creating the worst type of shark in the water we all want to swim in.


I'd urge you to lighten up a little bit. Generic images that aren't directly related to a company or brand, should be allowed, but perhaps only allowed with a comment that the ownership of the image is unknown. You can then review these images to ensure they are not directly related to a movie, comic book, or fictional character. If it is just an image of a red barn in Iowa, where the author claims a secret lab is hidden, you have no real liability keeping that image.


  • Again a Google Pictures search yields several sevicable and interesting images. Generic Images are avaialble for free and all we are asking that individuals take on a little responsibity by either using images that have been released for use for free, or as part of a clip art package, or by shooting the image themselves. Off the top of my head, there have only been two images that are of this type that have been questioned, and the User chose to pull them before sorting through the issue.


I know your urge is to just defend your policy and point to the fact the little liability there is, will all be focused on you. But I see the policy creating a rift, I see it diminishing the quality of the site as a whole. If you've posted this discussion to seek compromise, then I applaud it. If this "discussion" is just a mechanism to continue to justify the current policy, I worry the future of PDB is limited. If the site doesn't reflect the majority of the RP community, then it ceases to serve its purpose.


  • As to my motivation. I am a man of my word and I said this would be revisited. That is a factor. But I also am interested in hearing new ideas that may ease the pressure we both see within the community. However it must be said that if the majority wants a change that is not within the founding scope of PDB regarding legal and ethical use of IP, than it is unlikely to make such a change. PDB was not founded to support the Creative Commons movement, but by coincidence its policies are supportive of it. The Creative Commons movement asks that people make their images available within a realistic reference of thier value (my words not CC's) and supporting that will in the long run will create a pool of images with astounding depth. If in your opinion that means I intend only to justify the current position, then I really do not know what else I can say.


Submitted here with great respect for the admins - and the knowledge of the hard work and commitment it takes to administrate such a project. I love this site, but lament the fact that so many keen contributors have gone elsewhere due to a policy that is more paranoia than practical.


  • Thanks for the kudo, I'm sure that U4Dandy feels the same. And while I also feel sorry for the loss of some exceptional users, I also recognize that on the individual scale, the ownership rights of creators is viewed through individual lenses, and those views need to coincide. Mangle Paw 04:29, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

AZSolii

OK, obviously there's a lot of debate about the whole IP policy thing. But, now I'm rather curious: where is the line to be drawn?

I've used this site for over a year and have not had any sort of problem outside of the random deletion of my page or a slight shift in tags (which was nicely restored and done by Deadborder). Granted, I know the reason why: I'm just as if not more paranoid than you are. Plagiarism is the one thing that has always grinded my gears. It did in High School. It does in college. And it also does whenever I write my own material. To that end, I tend to be very careful about what I reference, source, or otherwise use on Darius Phen's entry, because I don't steal other folks' stuff.

Now, am I saying the images you have taken down in the past were because people were stealing? Uh...no. They were edited,defined, sourced. While I may not personally use edited photos or pictures on my end, I will reference literature and poetry Dari's page, the two notable examples being Stephen Mitchel's translation of the Tao Te Ching which can be found here and an excerpt of Octavio Paz's poem Agua Nocturna translated by Muriel Rukeyser. Am I to have to remove these references due to your IP Policy? Would this also mean I would have to remove references to other copyrighted characters when used as a joke (Sonic the Hedgehog, Zeratul, Jon Talbain--take your pick. I slam my character mercilessly)? I'd like some clarification here.

  • I’d like to suggest we tread carefully here. The use of text and images in copyright matters differs greatly if only due to a larger history of the use of text. Clearinghouses exist for the sole purpose of one off sales of images. While the same can be said for text, this is less common. In both cases the item is sold as complete, that it a complete image or article.
  • Tao Te Ching and Agua Nocturna would not be a problem, though my preference would be that they were properly cited, because they are segments of larger works and have no relavant IP conflict. Technically Agua Nocturna may be a bit sketchy due to its more recent publishing date but there is no obvious intent to mix IP here so by my standards it would pass. I would pass these on the basis of long standing tradition and precedent within scholarship. Technically, by PDB standards it should be off limits. Note the ‘by my standards’ bit, I will go to detail later in a heading I start titled Discretion.
  • Humor carries a whole set of problems of its own. Context and content are going to have a lot of sway. Elements from gaming / comics draw a lot more concern than something out of a sitcom or soap opera. The extent of detail is also relevant, relabeling everyone your character knows to a DC equivalent is a great humorous shtick, but the more it covers the more concern it would draw. Fo the permanent record this example has in the past been submitted and the author asked by me to have it pulled. Mangle Paw 20:34, 4 November 2010 (UTC)


Feedback from @ChaosRed

I'd side with PDB on the use of Sonic. Because this site is related to a video game and comic books these are two areas the admins should use more caution. You could alter the text to make generic reference to Sonic, as "a rascal rodent from a popular video game that travels very fast" or mention Nintendo as a "well known Japanese video game company".

I'd side with Azoli on posting poetry. This is certainly acceptable in academic fields. You should however, whenever possible post references to the original source, or at least credit the original author. There are reference tags to do this. The "gotcha" on posting quotations, poems and other snippets of literary work is to always reference and credit the original source. Don't pretend a Robert Frost poem is your own. You can however, gladly post the first stanza of King Ozymandius and then highlight and reference the original author. In fact, given what super heroes are, I'd say that poem is an excellent way to begin any character page.

  • While I agree with you here, there is an inherent problem. What standard is the right standard for a CREATIVE wiki. Technically when a fiction is written, and relevant textual art is used, it is not only credited, but it is used with permission. My personal stance is that it would pass (see above), PDB however is written to be more careful than I when dealing with writing the rules the site lives by. Again, see my heading Discretion below. Mangle Paw 20:34, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

This is what I mean though about showing some prudence to the policy. You should be careful with posting images and content from other comics and video games. Champions is a direct competitor to both and this will neither please Cryptic nor the offended owner of the IP. Also do not post content which is obviously for sale on another site. Don't like to a free MP3 of a song the Beatles are currently selling on iTunes.

  • On a personal level I agree with you about MP3’s, but policy wise it is legit, because it carries the reader to someone else’s domain. That said, I wouldn’t even ask someone who did so alter it. Linking to other spaces is allowed provided it’s not to suck bandwidth. Within those provisions it fine within the context of PDB’s rules Mangle Paw 20:34, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

But the posting of a teddy bear image found on Google, to highlight your character is so neurotic it sleeps with its Teddy, is fair game.

I fear if we don't loosen the reigns a little, the site won't last.

AZSolii response to @ChaosRed

OK! So, would something like this be acceptable in the former regard?

  • "No, you’re probably talking about the OTHER blue speedster. He’s down in the Green Hills Zone on the right. If you’ve passed Station Square, you’ve gone too far."

Yet something like this..

  • Blue streak speeds by, Sonic the--no wait, false alarm.

Is not? Both of which are currently on the page, and I'll change as necessary, but it seems strange when I directly reference something in a comical setting, it's still unacceptable. It's like saying a polar bear character hates Coca-Cola.

    • Ouch, The rules as they stand would have the second one is an inference made oblique by incompleteness and would be passed without problem, the first with the completion of the phrase Green Hills Zone, would possibly be an issue. From where I’m sitting, I would ask that you excise ‘Zone’ from the statement. I can think of at least three Station Squares so that would be a non issue. Mangle Paw 20:34, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Likewise, my saying under Darius's rumors that Jon Talbain his is brother is more of a joke referring to one of my accidental inspirations in making the character. The same goes for Dr. McCoy AKA Beast, since all three characters have, for one reason or another, blue fur. As for the direct references to the poetry, I've fixed that, so that should not be a further issue.

    • Just as a communications check, I am wondering if you know that both statements would be allowed provided there on your User page? This is important because PDB is willing to risk information about the user’s creativity there as that page is about the User and POV of the users vision of the character and not the character’s POV. The reason for checking is that this is allowable by inference, but I don't at this writing there is a clearyly laid out plot that states it.
      • Actually, no. I was not aware of that. However, if that would be the case, there's something particularly important I need to address: I could just as easily copy and paste Darius's entire entry and plop it into my User page. Not that I'd do that, but that seems kind of silly if you allow that on a userpage, but not on a database page. The places where those comments lie within are captions for pictures taken in game, arbitrary comments on Darius's powers, or excerpts from the rumors section. All of these are by design made to be comical, and it should be very clear that their nature should not be taken seriously and not taken canon. Seriously, that's a huge bulk of information on the character. If someone is going to take the time to read it, they may as well get a few laughs out of it. Hell, if someone actually made those references that I made directly TO Darius in-game, I'd laugh OOCly, even if Darius wouldn't know what the hell they were talking about! It means people actually took their time to read my crap! AZSolii 23:10, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
  • the point above may have been unclear, posting all of a character on the user page would fall outside the provision of supplying information about the user, and be invalid. Additionally, the point is to make a clear line between the creative output, where mixing IP would be illegal, and creative motivation, where mixing IP is not.Mangle Paw 00:54, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
    • Ahh, OK. So, is my distinction on my end clear enough to meet your standards? AZSolii 01:40, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Understand that I'm flitting all over the place here, and because of the commentary above I'm focusing on the rumors section. That out, the two elements in rumors about the Beast, and the Darkstalker character would be outside the rules because they directly pull outside IP into Cryptic's IP, if they can be more obliquely noted they would be safe. For example something Darius made a load of cash by being a body model for a Street Fighting Arcade Game, would fly. Same could be said for something like, Darius was once shot by a Hatfield who swore a blood oath against him. Realize that I understand that this may dilute the humor intended, and I have no solution for that.Mangle Paw 03:57, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
    • No worries. Those references have been deleted. If you have anything else that's troublesome, give me a hollar. AZSolii 04:53, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Response to AZSolii

I'd say any reference to a video-game or comic book copyright, should be handled delicately. In your case I think it was. It should be the discretion of the admins as to what they deem fair-use, but in general allusions to comics and video game characters not directly in Champions should be avoided. I'd say any digital content that was easily judged as being available for commercial sale elsewhere should be immediately removed. This would include movies, film clips or any digital content currently available for commercial consumption.

I really think if you just watched those two things, the site would stay clean and hassle-free.

I think this policy could be written better than what I've done so it is clear. But banning even the most benign image, because it does not directly belong to you, restricts the site too much and I think it suffers as a result.

Do I make sense?

  • You make plenty of sense. But there are some issues in the heading below that are pertinent. And if people followed your primary statement “allusions to comics and video game characters not directly in Champions should be avoided” as a rule there would be a lot less issues. Mangle Paw 20:34, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
  • You mention benign images being banned. I would like to know what benign image has been banned or deleted. I personally am very cautious about taking that step, and only take it after trying to communicate to the User that there is an issue and work with them to find a solution. If you know of any, please bring them up because I’d like to look into this. If this statement is nothing more than a rough description that’s fine and I get it. But in that instance I’d ask you to describe a clear rule that gets the point across. Mangle Paw 20:34, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Thundrax

Thanks for opening this up for discussion, Mangle.

Speaking as someone who's worked with IP, had people phone me up out of the blue and threaten me with lawyers (over file footage that my company had already paid to use), the paranoia's futile. Companies sue when they want to make a point, regardless of whether or not it's justified. I can cite cases if you wish, but generally speaking, if a company wants to sue you, regardless of whether you've done anything wrong or not, they will. From a practical standpoint, as it stands, the IP policy does nothing to help achieve what you want it to do and it's damaging to the RP community and to Champions Online in general -- because the sorts of arguments that have taken place around it corrode interest in the game.

I'm no fan of IP infringement and I can understand not wanting to attract notice from the big companies. I would urge you, however, to make one big exception to your current policy. Please loosen those restrictions on CoX crossovers. I'm not one of the people who crossed their characters over from Paragon -- heck, I've got more reason than anyone else here to see the Champs IP utilized more thoroughly -- however, those creators who've continued their character's stories from CoX do have an emotional investment in their backstories that should be respected. As they come out of a collective storytelling experience, they aren't as egregiously uncreative as a lot of other IP insertions and in some cases it seriously undermines the characterization not to spell out where they came from. NCSoft, to my knowledge, has no history of coming down on fan sites: exposure to CoX's lore, even on a site dedicated to CO, is good for their business and they know it.

Moreover, if NCSoft or Paragon Studios were seen to be picking on a fan site over a few references (especially if those references don't directly copy and paste information that people would pay for elsewhere), they'll take a hit to their reputation. Gamers don't like IP bullies. Therefore It's not in their interests to go after you. Furthermore, if they have an interest in suing you, you'll get a cease and desist order first. You'll have warning before you go through the headache of needing to talk with a lawyer.

I appreciate the hard work you put onto the site. When you have to deal with crap like viagra ads or idiots like me who've posed .jpgs that go well beyond the maximum allowed specs, I feel for you. And if the objections in the IP policy are primarily principle-driven, then I can't really argue against them. If, however, they're due solely to insecurities about lawyers -- do not delude yourself into thinking this current policy is *any* protection whatsoever. There is no such thing as zero risk.

  • I appreciate that there is no such thing as zero risk. Any attorney can jump up and start the strangest of proceedings. When I write about zero risk, I am writing about PDB’s goal of doing everything that can be done to dis-incentivize any party from going legal on PDB. Sadly the wild hair type of case you describe above is only covered by the pseudo nonprofit status PDB as it makes no money for the service it offers. In cases where more protection is offered by having a set of rules to follow, rules have been created. Do those rules prevent all legal proceedings, no, but they provide coverage from some forms of erratic legal process by limiting occurrences that could cause them. That is the spirit that PDB was created out of. Personally, I suspect I’m very like AZSolli. It’s my belief that people who create and their creations should be protected to the extent that they want to be protected. That’s why PDB supports the Creative Commons markup protocol. Not only does it help everyone find imagery that is free to use, it allows artists who publish here the ability to try and retain control over their own work.
  • The effective policy as it stands for crossovers is in two parts. Material is that surface trivia regarding COX, or DCO or any other game can be stated in the User section. Additionally the User may link their Character page without direct reference into other IP. The only real limitation is that once a character is on ‘Planet Cryptic’, the character must remain within the IP owned by Crpytic, and the Hero cannon (as much as that can be defined) with additional creative elements that are of the player’s creation. You mention COX directly, so in this case the character entry could look like this: SuperMegaMammal’s origin story early career took place in another city and details about those stories are chronicled here (link to Virtueverse). All that said, what else needs be allowed and how can it be set in rule form? Mangle Paw 20:36, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Gila

Everyone before me has pretty much said what I planned to, from the futility of wasting money on shutting down a fan site, the probability of getting a cease and desist order first and the rift in the community it creates, I think what bugs me the most is this particular part of the above

"Please remember that any request to change this policy is going to have to meet the 2nd criteria above, that is no legal risk at all."

Basically we are arguing to lighten up on this policy, that references to names and places in other IP has little risk, there IS risk, always will be; there is even now given the champions IP we're using. So if any suggestions or arguments will fall on deaf ears because they will never meet that requirement, why even open discussion?


  • I'm sorry that the no risk requirement makes you feel that way. But the fact remains that there is a way to limit the risk, and that is to maintain a policy that prohibits the usage of conflicting IP, and require images with a verifiable right to use.

From Mangle Paw on Discretion and Stuff

A word that scares the hell out of me in connection to admining this site has been used. That word is discretion. It scares me for two reasons. One, it requires a level of trust with the staff that even after a six month hiatus from this discussion has not in my opinion achieved. Two it creates a vacuum in the definition of what is allowed.

Discretion is not a power I want to see fully invested to any Admin or Bureaucrat be it myself or another. I’ll be the first to admit that I have used it in the past, and am likely to have to use it again. It should be available to the Admins in a pinch. But I’ll also state that I believe that the conflict between the Users and Admins was caused by a disagreement in how discretion should be used and an inconsistent application of the same. To me this screams that PDB will run better if the rules are clear. For those participating, I’d ask that you show me how you would write the rule that makes the proviso for the change you are seeking.

I suspect that somebody will try and take the shortcut of suggesting that we use the same rules Virtueverse (now Union Universe) uses. Surprisingly UU’s stated rules are similar enough to be virtually the same. See http://union.virtueverse.net/wiki/Handbook_of_the_Union_Universe:Terms_of_Use UnionVerse Content heading annotation four. I can’t speak on how VV and now UU handle things on a day to day level. But on the basis of that I’d guess that the intention of the two sites is the same. The key difference I think is that PDB chooses to be proactive and evaluate images and new sites in particular in as immediate a time frame as they can. UU on the other hand (this is conjecture on my part) chooses to sit back and wait for notification.

The reason that we are trying to be proactive is due to what I call the Daisy Chain Effect. Any time an Admin (which right now is 'me') contacts a User it’s a coin flip on wether or not the User is going to allow us to help them to help themselves or dredge the site for defensive proof that the item X that they want an exemption for is exactly the same situation as Items Y and Z. Now the Admin has just had his/her required effort tripled. And the Users responsible for Y and Z are just as likely as User X to do the same. Falling back to the similarities and differences between UU and PDB, UU can afford this time sink because it has a significantly larger pool of active Admins.Mangle Paw 20:38, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Last Bit

I appreciate the feed back and am looking for more, but I ask that each of you try and remember to sign your entries. This can be done very simply within the wiki format by placing a string of four tilde characters in a row with no spaces. Thanks Mangle Paw 20:38, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

From LXD

If you caught my first edition I blanked it because I did not fully read MP last entry where he kinda covered what I was suggesting. I am going to repost some of it because it seems to me that if a major corporation can take this attitude of wait till some one tells us to change it, it seems like it would work for PDB also.


In my research I checked out NC Softs own terms of use and and found that they pretty much cover all the bases as far as user submitted content. You can find it here [2] what I find particularly applicable is where they state "NCsoft does not permit copyright infringing activities and infringement of Intellectual Property Rights on its Sites, and NCsoft will remove all User Submissions and/or Feedback if properly notified that such User Submission and/or Feedback infringes on another's Intellectual Property Rights. NCsoft reserves the right to remove User Submissions and/or Feedback without prior notice."


Now my question is, would an exhaustive User license agreement that all users must agree to, indemnify PDB against all but the most egregious infractions? And force the original IP holders to contact the administrators to remove said content prior to legal action?


I had written all that before I finished reading MP's last post. But I think my last question is still valid. Essentially it would put the onus on the original IP owners and lay the responsibility for legal action on the individual user? --LXD 22:16, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

  • Well, heres the rub. Factually at this moment within the TOS these provisions already exist ( I think, I'm not a lawyer). BTW A big thank you is owed to VV (now UU) for already having blazed a great trail that we have followed on. That said, if we move to a reactive policy, who sets it, and what happens when a user inevitably disagrees with a judgement made.Mangle Paw 01:19, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Closure for this Round

The year end biannual discussion on IP is now closed. There has been interesting input, for that U4Dandy and I thank you. That input has caused some behind the scenes discussion on how to implement a more scholastic oriented I.P. policy. This change is going take some time to set up so please bear with us. I would ask that the users of PDB please continue using the policy as written until we get our ducks in a row.

We will see you again in the Spring.

Mangle Paw 19:39, 15 November 2010 (UTC)