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Volstruis

Petition against NetrunnerDB Cease & Desist

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the game will not be called netrunner and not use any of the personalities in their version of the license they have on "a game"

my game is going to be a cyber punk hacker vs corporation game, and they have zero patent on it. so the can kiss the tip....just the tip.

 

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/187385/clone_wars_the_five_most_.php

 

Times are changing. Two companies have successfully sued rivals for making clones of their games. With these precedents, companies can easily sue for copy game mechanics.

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Pick on the little guy...

 

www.netrunnerdb.com 564,206 global rank improved 561,854 positions versus previous 3months.  Rank 82,000 in Germany

Daily time on site 7:16 spent on site.  50 sites link in

 

www.cardgamedb.com 298,966 global rank declined 108,298 versus the previous three months. Rank 261,000 in USA

Daily time on site 5:21 spent on site. 199 sites link in

 

www.fantasyflightgames.com 39,044 global rank improved 3,498 positions.  Rank 19,000 in USA

Daily time on site 3:19 spent on site.  Game of thrones and Star Wars LCG brought 6x the number of visitors when compared to netrunner searches. 2,450 sites link in.

 

www.pornhub.com 72 global rank improved 6.  Rank 44 in USA. Rank 62 in Germany.

Daily time on site 7:22 spent on site. 10,300 sites link in.

 

Conclusion

Netrunnerdb users spent more time on netrunnerdb than users of cardgamedb where the majority of users are non-netrunner.

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Perfect comment from a poster on FFG's Facebook page.

 

Why should anyone produce content that promotes FFG properties if all that work may be nullified without "just" cause? The answer is that they shouldn't. 

 

 

Perfectly put. I refuse to blog about, discuss in a positive manner, or share with potential new players any information about an FFG game until this ridiculous debacle is cleared up and made right.

Edited by randomblink

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The FB comment you are referencing contains multiple misstatements. 

It's rather maddening seeing people getting themselves worked into a lather on false premises.

What exactly about this situation is "ridiculous?"

What exactly about a user setting up a platform for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material is there to be "made right?"

FFG has stated they're working on an Acceptable Use Policy. 

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I think that it's ridiculous that a site that is clearly working for the best interests of FFG and its community was closed down.  Sure, it had problems where IP is concerned, but FFG could have approached it in a more productive fashion.  A C&D before a layman-intelligible email is a strategy of intimidation, not of communication; destructive, not productive.  I think it's ridiculous that FFG saw the backlash and didn't feel the need to respond to their customers.  Though you say they did respond.  A link to wherever they said that about the acceptable use policy would be much appreciated.

 

I think I understand your perspective, and I too am maddened seeing opinions based on hearsay and hunches.  That said, if you don't think that a) the netrunnerdb shutdown, and b) the non-communicative nature of the company, are not negative things, then you and I (and virtually everyone else posting in this thread) are at an impasse and there's no reason to continue discussing it.  If you think that it was a reasonable action, but still a negative one, then we are in agreement.  I think you have contributed to the discussion in a valuable way, with reasoned and informed responses.  There is no reason not to take the same attitude and try to inform people of the real problems and possible solutions that there may be.  If your understandable frustration leaves you terse and negative, I feel your pain and recommend you post when you are in better condition for your own sake.

 

EDIT: I recognize that my opinions are also based on hearsay and hunches.  Nobody knows what's going on.  I guess I just meant that the rumors get sensational and it's better to form your opinions on guesses that are better grounded than those.

Edited by thopol

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If I'm going to take other people to task for inaccuracies, then I should be more precise myself--they haven't made any kind of announcement about an Acceptable Use policy (and I don't expect they will until it goes live) but they are known to be working on it and have given feedback to various fan sites out there.

http://www.reddit.com/r/Netrunner/comments/2h8i32/feedback_from_ffg_concerning_fair_use_in/

In addition to that, I happen to know that they had a working relationship with the creator of Cardgamedb since long before they bought his site for their own. So the notion that they want to have a chilling effect on the online community is not sustainable based on my observation.

As far as Netrunnerdb goes, you basically seem angry that they didn't ask nicely first. It's a nice thought, but I don't think it's reasonable. When you find out that an outside party has taken copyrighted material and built a platform to make it easily available to anyone and everyone (the number of sites and apps impacted by the takedown illustrates the scale to which Alsciende was flouting copyright), copyrighted material you have a contractual obligation to protect...well, there are correct responses and incorrect responses from a legal point of view. Negotiating away strict enforcement is probably not correct. If WotC finds out FFG diluted its copyright protections without consulting them*, the blowback on FFG would be significant. One possible result is Android:Netrunner having to be pulled from the market.

When people like xsdogstar or randomblink and their ilk spout off without any recognition that the existence of the game is on the table, it makes me bang my head on my desk.

You also seem upset that they haven't issued any statement to the Netrunner fanbase. On this account, I can't exactly disagree, but I'm also not really surprised. FFG just doesn't do that. I can recall exactly two times FFG issued any kind of mea culpa, and both involved actual product defects. Last time there was a fanbase uproar, after the Plugged-In Tour was announced, they didn't bother trying to justify themselves. They just went ahead and announced that they also were going to do Chronos Protocol. (Scuttlebutt from FFG employees subsequent to that is that they're never going to do anything of the sort ever again because the trolls made it more trouble than it was worth. So, congratulations, haters.) Expecting them to comment on legal matters, particularly one which does not actually impact any of their own goods or services...if they touch on it at all, it will be packaged in with something that actually addresses the underlying problem.

*which I can only assume they're doing to craft the Acceptable Use Policy

Edited by Grimwalker

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Everyone... I have found the broken logic with the Grimwalkerinki argument...

 

 If WotC finds out FFG diluted its copyright protections without consulting them*, the blowback on FFG would be significant. One possible result is Android:Netrunner having to be pulled from the market.

When people like xsdogstar or randomblink and their ilk spout off without any recognition that the existence of the game is on the table, it makes me bang my head on my desk.

 

His ill logic is this - WotC finds out FFG diluted copyright then blowback on FFG

 

xsDogstar logic is this (and well ilk spouted)

 

WotC does allow sites (such as mtgvault and tappedout.net) to have deckbuilding using copyright material.

WotC does not C&D these sites.

WotC does C&D sites that try to play the game, acknowledging the table basis.

 

Therefore - WotC would not blowback on FFG for the same community reasons that they don't on mtg sites.

 

The FFG attempt at vertical integration of all things netrunner to include deckbuilding (through cardgamedb) may have been the sole motivation cause of the C&D.

 

I talked with two ANR players today at the gaming shop who were "table"playing ANR and said that the closure of netrunnerdb was bullsh*t.  And to try...Acoo.net

 

At acoo.net, they establish copyright and " want to thanks Netrunnerdb.com for its great API and Scans. All Android:Netrunner texts and images are © Fantasy Flight Games"

 

 

So will you also C&D acoo.net???????????????

 

Questions.  Comments.  Short debates.

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WOTC can do what it likes with its own IP, the key difference is not what "Company A" does with its own property, the difference is what "Company B" contract says it has to do while borrowing "company A"'s property.

They do "this thing", so it must be okay if I also do "this thing," that's the foolish assumption that got Alsciende into trouble in the first place.

Acoo is not providing a platform for distributing copyrighted material, they've been left alone. Same with Meteor.

AGOTCards has been operating for years and has been left alone.

Cardgamedb had a cordial working relationship with FFG for years as an independent fan site.

This is why your posts are nothing but ignorant spouting off: you make pronouncements based on false premises that don't take into account either IP law or actual facts about the fan support out there which is doing just fine. "Vertically integrated," what a crock.

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I think you're right across the board Grimwalker.  I won't argue any of your points.

 

I guess my frustration is that there are the two problems, shutdown and noncommunication.  I understand that it isn't their policy to interact with the community, but I think that's a bad policy for everyone.  I understand that they need to be responsible custodians of the netrunner IP, but I think they could have negotiated or shut down the site without compromising the IP or scaring someone with lawyerspeak.  You definitely get my viewpoint here.  The biggest issue though is that it's two problems.  If they didn't shut down the site, and didn't communicate, nobody would have a problem except FFG (and they could still try to handle the problems privately).  If they shut down the site and talked about it, I wouldn't have a problem.

 

I just wish they had sent something like I PMed to you.  It's well within their rights to shut down infringement and they don't have to explain anything to their fans if they don't want to, but I think they could have just done a little to smooth over the situation.  Call it naive, but I guess what it comes down to is that I don't want to be shown that a company that I go to for joy in our fairly niche hobby has that cold cutthroat market mentality.  I'm not disappointed that they have that attitude, but I'm disappointed that they reminded me that when it comes down to it, for them it's about business not play.

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I don't claim their closed-mouth policy is a good thing, for sure. From what I've heard in interviews with the designers and people like that. every communication that they make always goes to the marketing department and that's just their policy. So any statement they make would necessarily have to be marketing related (and probably has to be vetted against their entire portfolio of license agreements).

Something my manager told me yesterday is that no matter what any action you take, 15% of the people are going to be upset. They're just not going to like it because you can't please everybody all the time and especially you can't please people who are on the Internet. So maybe that's why they don't say anything, because they figure it's just a waste of time because they're going to annoy as many people as they going to satisfy. I don't agree but maybe that's it.

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Acoo is not providing a platform for distributing copyrighted material, they've been left alone. Same with Meteor.

AGOTCards has been operating for years and has been left alone.

Whats the point here? What is it in your eyes that NetrunnerDB was doing that these sites were not?

 

Actually I'd like to point out that Acoo is itself profiting from the service provided by providing an ad to Netrunner products on Amazon. They are providing the same copyrighted materials as NetrunnerDB was AND they are profiting from the service provided. NRDB had no ads, no tracking scripts and was making no money from their service which is one duplicated across many different sites across the internet.

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It's very simple: the issue is not the income or lack thereof. The fact that NRDB had no revenue doesn't make it okay. The fact that acoo has ads isn't a violation in and of itself.

The issue is that the licensing agreement with WOTC gives only FFG the right to distribute their copyrighted material. Distribution is a bigger deal from a contract-enforcement point of view than ad revenue. Come license renewal time, WOTC is going to look darkly upon FFG not exercising due diligence.

NRDB's cardinal sin was building API that provided content it had no right to provide to a baker's dozen other websites and apps.

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The API itself does nothing that a programmer cannot accomplish on their own and in fact strives to control what a programmer can and should get access to. Without the api I've built card scrapping programs that gathered card information from multiple websites including card images and text. NRDB putting an api in place and then urging people to use that api rather than scrape their data does nothing more than save them network resources and puts controls on how a developer accesses data and also what data may be provided. If it's as simple as the api then the resurrection of NRDB as some other site with that single component missing should not be cause for concern.

 

The presence of an API is NOT the difference in NRDB distributing whereas Acoo is not. They are both distributing plain and simple. If the information is available online, it can be programmatically accessed and used by a bakers dozen other websites and apps without the aid of an api.

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But API makes it easier. API means you've taken active steps to facilitate distribution of copyrighted material. Your assumption is the same as Alsciende's: he thought that because it was technically possible for others to do it without him, that made it okay to make it easier, and that because FFG was already making it viewable for free, there'd be no harm in him doing it if he wasn't charging anybody.

Both are simply false. 

And the fact of the matter is, all those other sites and apps were using NRDB's API, and so it's a fact that NRDB was operating as a tool to facilitate the unauthorized use of WotC's IP. Whether they had other options is irrelevant. FFG had to put a stop to it.

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It's not an assumption that making it 'easier' is ok nor makes it acceptable to do and I didn't say such. I said that your own statement was false claiming that acoo, meteor, agotcards and other deckbuilders are "not providing a platform for distributing copyrighted material, they've been left alone" .

 

All of these sites ARE providing copyrighted materials as was NRDB.

 

But the point was, asking you what you felt NRDB did that justified its own takedown. The API is what you point to. So then the NRDB clones that are popping up such as netrunnerdb.ca should have no problem right? They don't have the api enabled.

Edited by Pixel

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Netrunnerdb.ca is an exact clone of Netrunnerdb and the API is still there. http://netrunnerdb.ca/en/apidoc

 

But honestly it doesn't really matter, the API is just a way to fetch card data more easily. Since the card data and images are publicly available on other websites, it's not that difficult to write a script to scrape card data and image from web page.

 

Going after netrunnerdb "because of the API" but not shutting down acoo.net, netrunner.meteor.com, cardgamedb.com or other data provider is just ridiculous.

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By the way, providing an API is a good thing. It encourages developers to create applications on your platform. Some of the most successful companies and products are successful partly because of their API (eg. Twitter, Facebook, Apple App Store, Google Maps, YouTube, etc...). 

 

In this case a good programmer just built that for FFG for free. Other programmers wrote missing software such as tournament pairings software based on that API for free. If FFG would develop all that them self it would be quite costly and the end result might sucks.

 

Given all this, shutting down netrunnerdb "because of the API" is even more ridiculous.

Edited by mtgred

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NRDB didn't have the right to provide API. There's a difference between Acoo, meteor, or any other site taking it upon themselves to scrape the images versus turning around and putting in the mechanism to actively promote and enhance their availability to others. The issue is not possession, the issue is distribution. From a copyright perspective, one is a venal sin, the other is a mortal sin.

 

While it may be useful or helpful or beneficial to the community is unfortunately irrelevant and doesn't address the core problem:

FFG is contractually bound to rigorously enforce copyrights belonging to their business partner. This is a standard clause of licensing agreements. If they don't, Wizards is within its rights to charge more for the license upon renewal or terminate the agreement. 

 

And since we're not talking about just setting or characters, the entire game is a copyrighted product, Netrunner is a different animal when it comes to what FFG can turn a blind eye to. If that weren't the case, I'm sure that NRDB would have been just fine because with the exception of NRDB, FFG has never taken down any deckbuilding or fan site. Seriously. Cardgamedb operated for years and had a positive relationship with FFG: they were as appreciative to Darksbane as AEG is to Alsciende. AGOTcards, Acoo, and meteor continue to operate unmolested. No other theory explains these facts.

 

NRDB.ca is a relatively new instance of the original site and if they are providing API, I would expect they're living on borrowed time. Legal proceedings aren't fast.

Edited by Grimwalker

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But honestly it doesn't really matter, the API is just a way to fetch card data more easily. Since the card data and images are publicly available on other websites, it's not that difficult to write a script to scrape card data and image from web page.

Torrents are just an easier way to get files someone ripped from a DVD. Anyone can rip the file and remove the DRM, but some people choose to then distribute the rip so that other people don't have to do it themselves.

Guess which one lands you in more trouble from a copyright perspective.

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The content of a DVD is not publicly available. You have to pay to view its content.

 

The card images and text from FFG games are publicly available on cardgamedb. FFG doesn't charge people to view card images or text on cardgamedb.

Edited by mtgred

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And and thus you missed the point of the analogy: possession of copyrighted material is a minor concern. Distribution of copyrighted material is a much greater breach. Remember when the RIAA was suing teenagers for file sharing a few years back? They didn't go after the ones downloading songs, they went after the ones uploading songs.

 

What FFG was or was not charging for the material is immaterial, and no analogy is perfect. In this instance, the harm is from FFG not defending WotC's copyrights and placing itself in breach of contract.

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You are missing the point: the information is publicly available.

 

Do you want to cease and desist Wikipedia or Boardgamegeek because they publish data and pictures of the game?

Edited by mtgred

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