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Volstruis

Petition against NetrunnerDB Cease & Desist

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This marks the end for me buying more datapacks. I really love the game, and I will continue playing it with the cards I have.

The original Netrunner from WotC is still playable despite not getting any more cards since the 90's - same will go for this version.

 

I have searched and found a replacement for my LCG buying needs - and it's name is Doomtown Reloaded. Seems to be a really great game.

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This cripples LittleChiba.com which I use regularly to build decks for the Netrunner of which I own 6 core sets and 2 copies of every data pack and deluxe expansion. If I can't deckbuild with images on LittleChiba.com I would lose all interest in this game.

 

Signed.  

Also signed here: https://www.change.org/p/fantasy-flight-games-please-allow-netrunnerdb-com-to-continue

Edited by KhalBrogo

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You said it Barber.  Every day that passes without a word from them brings me closer from my initially moderate stance to the hardliners who are condemning the company as one of the horrible bottom-line-and-screw-any-other-considerations things we are all so familiar with.

 

To put it another way, I'm starting to wonder if they splashed for closed accounts or if it's just in-faction (not that he was making any creds to begin with).

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signed. This is where capitalism ultimately leads, all the time. However good their intention might have been in the beginning, FFG has become the same monster that capitalism makes out of every company. They have to grow more forever all the time, and that is bound to destroy the things that makes sense for them in the start. Let's look for the next small company that does things with the heart and leave this one behind.

Edited by Raziel

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It's been a week with no word from FFG about this debacle.  I for one will post in this thread every day or two until they give us some explanation and I hope others will do the same.  I'm sure they think that it will just blow over and they will get away with this outrage without a scratch.  Until they give me a reason not to, I will stay angry and stay vocal and I encourage others to do the same.

 

 

signed. This is where capitalism ultimately leads, all the time. However good their intention might have been in the beginning, FFG has become the same monster that capitalism makes out of every company. They have to grow more forever all the time, and that is bound to destroy the things that makes sense for them in the start. Let's look for the next small company that does things with the heart and leave this one behind.

I honestly think capitalism, broadly, does not preclude the existence of responsible and accountable companies.  Before this ****show, I would have considered FFG to be among the ranks of such.

 

I understand what you're getting at, but if you think all big companies become bad and recommend everyone find a small company to support, doesn't that mean you're making the latter company into the former?  I think it's better to hold the first company accountable, to be angry loud and vicious, than to abandon ship and enable another company to become the same monster.

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I too am still very upset by the issue. It doesn't help that several other online communities have been stifling the conversation about this either. I will remain upset about this issue for some time to come and certainly count this all as a huge black mark against FFG. While I'm not quitting netrunner though as I've worked too hard and have built my own local community around the game I will certainly flinch every time I think about what they have done and it will CERTAINLY affect my buying patterns for many of their other products. I used to encourage others to buy FFG games as the quality and experience stood above the rest but that will no longer be the case or at least until I feel satisfied with their response to the community outrage they have birthed.

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Very unfortunate that FFG has taken this move. I would have hoped that they could have communicated what they didn't like about netrunnerdb.com and given the guy a chance to change the site first. 

 

SIGNED!

Just to remind you, not communicating their objections to NRDB doesn't only hurt that site.  If there are ambiguities in what differentiates a site they allow and a site they will close, people will be more reluctant to make new sites.  The whole community suffers.

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If they can't tell us why they they went about crushing a beloved community site, they should at least be able to tell us why they can't tell us why.  I would accept that.  I understand that we are dealing with both copyright and licensing here, so there could be any number of reasons why they felt the need to do this.  If they can't tell us why, because of how delicate those features of the property could be, at least tell us why they can't tell us.

 

I'm at the point now where I accept that NRDB has been closed and I just want FFG to preserve their community by talking about the closure.  I don't mind how abstracted from this incident they address it at, but I want them to address it.  It's frankly ludicrous that nobody from FFG has made any public statement about such a controversial action.

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Telling you why they can't tell you why is very hard to distinguish from just telling you why.

And anyway, it's pretty obvious why: NRDB was providing a platform for indiscriminate distribution of copyrighted material. You simply can't realistically expect to get away with that. It doesn't matter if they were available or accessible for free. You can't scrape every image off of, say, a Disney website and then put them all over your own site, let alone build a site to distribute those images. FFG is generally pretty lenient about the former, but as far as I know Alsciende is the first person to go so far as the latter.

 

Factor in also that Netrunner is not an FFG creation: it's a licensed product that is still wholly owned by WOTC. You think they've got one iota of leeway when it comes to enforcing copyrights? What happens when the business partner opens the license renewal discussion by saying "we hear you haven't been showing due diligence when enforcing our intellectual property rights"?

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Telling you why they can't tell you why is very hard to distinguish from just telling you why.

And anyway, it's pretty obvious why: NRDB was providing a platform for indiscriminate distribution of copyrighted material. You simply can't realistically expect to get away with that. It doesn't matter if they were available or accessible for free. You can't scrape every image off of, say, a Disney website and then put them all over your own site, let alone build a site to distribute those images. FFG is generally pretty lenient about the former, but as far as I know Alsciende is the first person to go so far as the latter.

 

Factor in also that Netrunner is not an FFG creation: it's a licensed product that is still wholly owned by WOTC. You think they've got one iota of leeway when it comes to enforcing copyrights? What happens when the business partner opens the license renewal discussion by saying "we hear you haven't been showing due diligence when enforcing our intellectual property rights"?

Point 1: I think it is reasonable to assume that you could have a site like NetrunnerDB. As many people have already pointed out, there are tons of sites like NDB for Magic, and there haven't been any cease-and-desist requests from Wizards of the Coast. Magic is a much, much bigger game than Netrunner, and Wizards is a much, much bigger company than FFG; therefore, it's reasonable to assume that a similar Netrunner site would be tolerated. It's not like NDB is the only site with these images.

 

Point 2: If Wizards doesn't care about unofficial Magic deck-builders, I have no idea why they would care about unofficial Netrunner deck-builders. But what grounds would they have to object, anyway? FFG owns the card art and text. R. Talsorian owns the trademark for "Netrunner". What does Wizards own?

In fact, I'm not even sure that the license from Wizards is even legally necessary. It seems like FFG obtained it to avoid the possibility of any legal shenanigans in the future. Once you take out art, text, and trademarks, all you have left is "game mechanics", but those can't be copyrighted or trademarked. You could try to patent them, I guess, like Wizards did with Magic, but that has never been tested in court. So, it's not clear what Wizards owns here, or even if they own anything at all...much less whether or not they care some third-party website is "infringing" on that ownership.

Edited by skwizzle

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Telling you why they can't tell you why is very hard to distinguish from just telling you why.

And anyway, it's pretty obvious why: NRDB was providing a platform for indiscriminate distribution of copyrighted material. You simply can't realistically expect to get away with that. It doesn't matter if they were available or accessible for free. You can't scrape every image off of, say, a Disney website and then put them all over your own site, let alone build a site to distribute those images. FFG is generally pretty lenient about the former, but as far as I know Alsciende is the first person to go so far as the latter.

 

Factor in also that Netrunner is not an FFG creation: it's a licensed product that is still wholly owned by WOTC. You think they've got one iota of leeway when it comes to enforcing copyrights? What happens when the business partner opens the license renewal discussion by saying "we hear you haven't been showing due diligence when enforcing our intellectual property rights"?

I only raise the telling us why they can't tell us why question because they are unwilling to communicate and virtually anything from them would fix that problem.  If they say "we can't talk about A because of B", that is still communication and it shows that, whether or not their hands are tied, they have some respect for their players in that we're demanding information and they respond.  As it is now, they don't seem to care at all about our demands for transparency and assume the hubbub will blow over.  I for one don't like being treated like that.

 

I agree that the copyright and licensing points that you raise are probably behind this, but if that's the case, their treatment of community sites seems inconsistent.  What I'd like is something that one can reference when considering a netrunner fan-endeavor and see whether it will be acceptable to FFG or not.  Their interests, however reasonable they are, shouldn't preclude some such communication.

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I agree that the copyright and licensing points that you raise are probably behind this, but if that's the case, their treatment of community sites seems inconsistent. What I'd like is something that one can reference when considering a netrunner fan-endeavor and see whether it will be acceptable to FFG or not. Their interests, however reasonable they are, shouldn't preclude some such communication.

That very inconsistency is one data point in my calculation: Sites that aren't providing a platform for redistribution have been left alone. Sure, it'd be nice if they would set out some guidelines, but FFG is a notoriously closed-mouthed company. My personal theory about *that* again goes back to their business model of licensed properties. It might be difficult for them to craft a set of community guidelines that satisfies every different contract--the easiest way for them to not step on business partners' toes is to say nothing.

Point 1: I think it is reasonable to assume that you could have a site like NetrunnerDB. As many people have already pointed out, there are tons of sites like NDB for Magic, and there haven't been any cease-and-desist requests from Wizards of the Coast. Magic is a much, much bigger game than Netrunner, and Wizards is a much, much bigger company than FFG; therefore, it's reasonable to assume that a similar Netrunner site would be tolerated. It's not like NDB is the only site with these images.

Except that Wizards doesn't have a third-party license agreement to satisfy. What Wizards does with its own IP and what requirements it imposes on its licensees need not be the same thing. If Wizards comes to FFG and says "you're not defending our copyrights, we're not renewing the license," FFG won't have a leg to stand on by calling them hypocritical.

Point 2: If Wizards doesn't care about unofficial Magic deck-builders, I have no idea why they would care about unofficial Netrunner deck-builders.

I never said they did. I think it's much more that there are clauses in the contract which require FFG a priori to diligently defend Wizards' copyrights.

But what grounds would they have to object, anyway? FFG owns the card art and text. R. Talsorian owns the trademark for "Netrunner". What does Wizards own? In fact, I'm not even sure that the license from Wizards is even legally necessary. It seems like FFG obtained it to avoid the possibility of any legal shenanigans in the future. Once you take out art, text, and trademarks, all you have left is "game mechanics", but those can't be copyrighted or trademarked. You could try to patent them, I guess, like Wizards did with Magic, but that has never been tested in court. So, it's not clear what Wizards owns here, or even if they own anything at all...much less whether or not they care some third-party website is "infringing" on that ownership.

Every single Netrunner card says "{C} Wizards of the Coast LLC." So, that's who I assume their contract is with. If you're going to argue that Wizards doesn't actually own Netrunner, or that FFG should waste time and money fighting a company whose parent company is Hasbro in court over what rights they do or don't have, just so one fan site doesn't have to get shut down...I'm sorry, you're just no longer arguing from a perspective based in reality.

It would be both ruiniously expensive and probably fruitless. That would be unutterably stupid of FFG to pursue. To say nothing of what FFG's *other* license partners would do once they get word that FFG doesn't believe in intellectual property rights. No, the much, much, much smarter thing to do, the thing to do that lets everybody make money and continue to exist as an operating entity is to have respectable license agreements, diligently defend those agreements, and if some fan site loses out because they made wrong assumptions about what they could get away with, it beats the alternative.

Edited by Grimwalker

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