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MegaSilver

Artificiery.com Cease & Desist and Online Events

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For those who dont play Destiny, Artificery.com runs online Destiny tournaments and leagues. Today they just got a cease and desist order from Asmodee. Will this have any bearing on Xwing and our online events? Not sure, but Asmodee knows about TTS and Vassal. An interview done a while ago on a Destiny podcast had the Euro organizers mention both several times as practice tools. 

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1 hour ago, MegaSilver said:

For those who dont play Destiny, Artificery.com runs online Destiny tournaments and leagues. Today they just got a cease and desist order from Asmodee. Will this have any bearing on Xwing and our online events? Not sure, but Asmodee knows about TTS and Vassal. An interview done a while ago on a Destiny podcast had the Euro organizers mention both several times as practice tools. 

My bigger concern had always been that Fly Casual would bring Disney's attention to X-Wing online play, given it copies the entire game from art and cards to ships and templates.  And once Disney (and their licensees) starts handing out C&D orders, that VASSAL/etc are just as much in violation* would likely result in their end, too.

* So far, VASSAL has lived largely by being as incomplete/inoffensive as possible.  "Our operation is small enough not to be noticed, which is advantageous for everybody since our customers are anxious to avoid attracting attention to themselves."  But that doesn't mean it isn't still technically in violation - the art on the cards replicated in VASSAL is just as much copyrighted as the text on them, not to mention pilot and ship names (IE., "Luke Skywalker" "Darth Vader" "X-Wing") being trademarked and/or copyrighted, so also not able to be re-used without permission.  'But no money changes hands' is not a defense.  'You can't actually play the game with just these parts' also not a valid defense.  You either have direct, written, permission from the copyright holder(s) (in this case, FFG, Asmodee, and Disney)...which defines the terms and conditions around your re-use of identified portions of the material...or you don't.

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19 minutes ago, tortugatron said:

I don’t see vassal affecting sales at all. 

Interesting little factoid you may have missed: nobody cares.  Sales impact is literally irrelevant to discussion of usage around copyrighted art, text, or trademarked phrases or brands.  As in - there is absolutely no relationship at all, it's completely immaterial.

What matters is merely...

  • Is a copyrighted piece of text, drawing or rendering, or musical arrangement used
  • ...with specific written approval of all parties that hold rights to that original material
  • ...within the specific criteria and conditions previously approved for that usage

If not, you are breaking the law.

Amusingly that last point is why there are so few X-Wing related avatars on the FFG forums.  See, even within granting of rights to a copyrighted piece of material (as FFG has), there are strict guidelines.  So FFG can use images their artists create of TIE Fighters and X-Wings and such that have been approved for usage by Disney...in a tabletop miniature game, roleplaying game, or card game, ONLY.  Specifically NOT in digital channels.  However, a number of pieces of the early X-Wing art were pre-approved for 'marketing/advertising' purposes, which included web usage, and...that's how there are any X-Wing or RPG avatars at all.  Apparently, to the parties involved, users taking these images as forum avatars is consistent with the idea of usage of the copyrighted art for 'marketing or advertising' and so is allowed - but art that has been done since that first wave has not been granted similar consideration by Disney, so is not usable in the same context.

Copyright is weird, and very, VERY specific on usage criteria.

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Replacing the card art on vassal completely with ugly generic stuff has become very much easier with 8.0.0+, if that was ever a problem.

The text, on the other hand, is much more annoying. Still, it can now come from external sources (the same that feed the online squadron builders everywhere) and not at all be from the vassal module. Not a trivial task to remove all the locally kept references, but not an insurmountable one.

 

 

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3 hours ago, xanderf said:

You either have direct, written, permission from the copyright holder(s) (in this case, FFG, Asmodee, and Disney)...which defines the terms and conditions around your re-use of identified portions of the material...or you don't.

Catch 21 is that I'm pretty sure that asking for that exactly will not ever trigger a response from them.

 

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3 hours ago, Mu0n729 said:

Catch 21 is that I'm pretty sure that asking for that exactly will not ever trigger a response from them.

I'd seen someone mention they asked FFG about the VASSAL module, over on BoardGameGeek, and FFG started gesturing vaguely towards other departments and referencing Disney and they dropped their line of inquiry.

And that's not unexpected - the thing about copyrights is that FFG are themselves operating under strict restrictions (see comments above about the forum avatars).  They almost certainly do not have the rights, themselves, to grant anyone else permission to replicate parts of the game they've created in a VASSAL module.  I mean...art they've created for the game they can only use limited portions of outside of the tabletop for advertising - they surely don't have the ability to carte blanche give away rights for reproduction for a VASSAL module.

So you really would need approval from FFG, Asmodee, and Disney.  Which...I mean...yeah, that's...going to take some effort.  Without at the very least an eager sponsor within FFG, I just don't see that happening.  And so bringing it to Disney's attention otherwise...

2 hours ago, tortugatron said:

As in, I do t see any reason why Asmodee would me waste their time.

lando-calrissian_0921h15m25.png

1 hour ago, Stoneface said:

I wonder if streaming or posting games on line could be open to a C & D? 

Ask yourself this - if someone was attending the Superbowl, propped up their digital camera and started broadcast streaming the game on YouTube on their own...what do you think would happen?  And why would you think this is any different - from the pure perspective of copyrighted images and text, trademarked logos and names, etc?

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They tried to run an Online regional which totally goes against the rules set up to govern Regionals and other official events.  

Allowing people to compete in an “official” tournament without buying actual the product to play in the tournament, and giving them official prizes was always going to be an issue.  

I doubt this will affect vassal tournaments or the like. Just keep it for fun and not official in any way and you should be good.  

 

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53 minutes ago, xanderf said:

I'd seen someone mention they asked FFG about the VASSAL module, over on BoardGameGeek, and FFG started gesturing vaguely towards other departments and referencing Disney and they dropped their line of inquiry.

And that's not unexpected - the thing about copyrights is that FFG are themselves operating under strict restrictions (see comments above about the forum avatars).  They almost certainly do not have the rights, themselves, to grant anyone else permission to replicate parts of the game they've created in a VASSAL module.  I mean...art they've created for the game they can only use limited portions of outside of the tabletop for advertising - they surely don't have the ability to carte blanche give away rights for reproduction for a VASSAL module.

So you really would need approval from FFG, Asmodee, and Disney.  Which...I mean...yeah, that's...going to take some effort.  Without at the very least an eager sponsor within FFG, I just don't see that happening.  And so bringing it to Disney's attention otherwise...

lando-calrissian_0921h15m25.png

Ask yourself this - if someone was attending the Superbowl, propped up their digital camera and started broadcast streaming the game on YouTube on their own...what do you think would happen?  And why would you think this is any different - from the pure perspective of copyrighted images and text, trademarked logos and names, etc?

That was what I was thinking. That poses the question, does Asmodee, Lucas or Disney want the backlash from putting out C & Ds or should they sit back and enjoy the free publicity? My best guess is they'll enjoy the publicity. 

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6 hours ago, tortugatron said:

I don’t see vassal affecting sales at all. 

Honestly, if anything, it improves them, since people can test lists with stuff they don't own, and buy that stuff as a result.  I know I've done that several times.

(Plus, I'm about 90% sure that playtesting happens on vassal...)

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28 minutes ago, Stoneface said:

That was what I was thinking. That poses the question, does Asmodee, Lucas or Disney want the backlash from putting out C & Ds or should they sit back and enjoy the free publicity? My best guess is they'll enjoy the publicity. 

Don't over-extend your position.

If Disney could shut down the X-Wing VASSAL module completely, cause everyone's computer to explode who ever downloaded it, and every single one of those persons burning their entire X-Wing collection in protest...

...and in exchange they saw a 1% increase in sales?

They would GLADLY make that trade.  GW has done near that exact thing, and (by their estimation) profited handsomely from it.  Quite a number of game companies have a very militant approach to VASSAL modules - and almost all of those are the big guys.  Small companies sometimes benefit from the "free publicity" (which isn't, but no matter) of VASSAL - but any large company is usually better served financially by squashing it, if it becomes too popular/pervasive.

It's a touchy subject, 'Our operation is small enough not to be noticed' being the key consideration.  You really don't want VASSAL to be popular enough that Disney has to "consider it", because there is only one way they CAN evaluate it, and that's bad for us.

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5 minutes ago, xanderf said:

Don't over-extend your position.

If Disney could shut down the X-Wing VASSAL module completely, cause everyone's computer to explode who ever downloaded it, and every single one of those persons burning their entire X-Wing collection in protest...

...and in exchange they saw a 1% increase in sales?

They would GLADLY make that trade.  GW has done near that exact thing, and (by their estimation) profited handsomely from it.  Quite a number of game companies have a very militant approach to VASSAL modules - and almost all of those are the big guys.  Small companies sometimes benefit from the "free publicity" (which isn't, but no matter) of VASSAL - but any large company is usually better served financially by squashing it, if it becomes too popular/pervasive.

It's a touchy subject, 'Our operation is small enough not to be noticed' being the key consideration.  You really don't want VASSAL to be popular enough that Disney has to "consider it", because there is only one way they CAN evaluate it, and that's bad for us.

I was referring to streams and vids posted on YouTube and Twitch not play on line services. 

I think their bottom line is better served by the guys that stream and post than by squashing them.

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2 minutes ago, Stoneface said:

I was referring to streams and vids posted on YouTube and Twitch not play on line services. 

I think their bottom line is better served by the guys that stream and post than by squashing them.

The response would be little different.  There is some wiggle room for reviews/parodies/etc which make very limited use of small portions of original material, in context of other work, that can potentially cover things like 'recaps' of matches falling into a 'fair use' umbrella (which is a LOT more limited than most seem to believe on the internet).  Either way, though - a full broadcast of the match from start to finish?  Ehhhh...

Unless you have clear, written, specific permission from all copyright and trademark holders granting you reproduction rights for their materials, in context of your usage, then it does still remain technically a violation.

So, again - seriously - just don't over-extend your position.   They may be fine.  They may not be.  Technically what they are doing is a problem and can see lawsuits and fines involved.  Is it often enforced?  Well, no, but...still.  Your call.

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4 minutes ago, xanderf said:

So, again - seriously - just don't over-extend your position.   They may be fine.  They may not be.  Technically what they are doing is a problem and can see lawsuits and fines involved.  Is it often enforced?  Well, no, but...still.  Your call.

Indeed.  It's probably worth checking out Auralnaut's story to see where this kind of thing can lead - https://www.wired.com/story/the-star-wars-video-that-baffled-youtubes-copyright-cops/

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2 minutes ago, thespaceinvader said:

God IP law is awful.

Honestly, it's the only reason this game exists - or, heck, any of the movies past the first one.

I mean, seriously - consider how much any of that costs to do.  Paying actors, composers, special effects teams, directors and model builders, etc.  And then on the game side - development time, testing, production, distribution...it's cost, cost, cost, everywhere.  SO many people involved bringing SO many talents to the table to get things to a quality we want to have on our tables and TVs.

Would anyone risk that much time and money, if they knew that seconds later everything they did would be freely available to anyone with no compensation to themselves, and all of that effort wasted?

Copyright/trademark/patent/etc laws - there are certainly issues, here.  On the whole, though, I'd really rather we have what we have, than nothing at all.  Without some protection and guarantee that an artist's work will provide some kind of return for themselves - some possibility of a living, given enough time and effort - then nobody would ever bother, and we'd never have seen anything like this franchise.  We've benefitted - at least in this specific case - more from IP laws than we've lost.

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Yeah, why would anyone make anything for free except the entire internet?

Like, the entire internet runs on software that is free-as-in-speech and free-as-in-beer.  It wouldn't function if that software wasn't free.

Also, public media exist.  Youtube is free, and it's honestly trivial to copy content from it and distribute it freely.  But people still make high quality youtube content.  Freely accessible webcomics and web serial fiction exist, but people still make livings off them.

Not to mention that public domain media still make money, even though it's trivial to get them for free.  Not for the original creator, sure, but the original creators of everything that is in the public domain by default (as opposed to having been put into it by waiver of copyright somehow) has been dead for a century.  What do they care?  Further, it's not like people don't use those public domain media to make their own original reproductions of them.  How many versions of Romeo and Juliet have there been?  How many of them made lots and lots of money?  Hundreds, thousands, possibly even millions, and several, respectively.

Nonetheless, I'm not in favour of complete abolition of IP law or rights - I'm much more in favour of a distinct loosening of the restrictions around derivative works, and a DRAMATIC shortening of the time of absolute copyright protection, to a level much more akin to patents, on the order of 10 to 20 years after initial publication, with much wder freedoms of use and reproduction thereafter.

70 years after the death of the author is ludicrous, and that's the *minimum* length of copyright, as is the ability to dump on harmless derivative works like fanart and fanfiction.

But that's probably a matter for a different thread in a different forum.

Edited by thespaceinvader

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