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[Freeciv] Re: copyright infringement

[Freeciv] Re: copyright infringement

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To: Brandon Van Every <vanevery@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: freeciv@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [Freeciv] Re: copyright infringement
From: Tomasz Wegrzanowski <maniek@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 23:32:36 +0200

On Wed, Jul 19, 2000 at 01:51:58PM -0700, Brandon Van Every wrote:
> > Okay, so the legal ground is shaky, and if Hasbro/Microprose pressed the
> > point then we would only win if we actively fought back, which costs. But if
> > we did fight, we would win. No doubts there.
> You're nuts.  Clearly you don't know anything about corporate law, or what 
> size
> of $$$$$$$ war chests are involved here, or Hasbro's history of predatory
> behavior regarding the Monopoly trademark.  You haven't got a rat's chance in
> hell at beating Hasbro in an intellectual property dispute regardless of 
> whether
> you think your case is winnable on legal grounds or not.

We shall see :-)

> Check out
> if you want to learn what a 10 year legal war feels like.
> And the thing is, Civ wasn't invented by Quakers.

If someone sued freeciv, I'm sure some FreeSoftware/OpenSourceSoftware
corporation would give us some lawyers.

This lawsuit would affect them because :
a) they distributed freeciv, so they would be contributory infringer
   if Hasbro would won
b) it would create a very dangerous precedence

So it is in their best interest to protect us.

> Someone else asked what nationality is Microprose.  It doesn't matter.
> Microprose is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Hasbro.

It does if patents were concerned.
You can't patent something in US if it was used a few years before in EU.

> Someone else asked about Dogs Of War and shamelessly copying the artwork from
> Axis & Allies, whether this was critical to the case.  It never made it to
> court.  Under legal threat the company making shareware profit on Dogs Of War
> disbanded.  I don't know if any money changed hands for the settlement, I 
> don't
> think it's a matter of public record.

And Linux should stop ...

> You'd be in a much better legal position if you

> (1) stopped calling this thing
> Freeciv, gave it a completely different name, and changed your domain name
> accordingly,

Stop using *n*x name.

> (2) expanded and engine-ified the game so that it didn't have
> cloning all the Civ games as the dominant priority, leaving Civ as just a
> happenstancical compatibility mode,

expanded and engine-ified the OS so that it didn't have
cloning all the UNIX syscalls as the dominant priority, leaving UNIX as just a
happenstancical compatibility mode,

> (3) removed all the stuff about cloning Civ
> from your website.

removed all the stuff about cloning UNIX
from their website.

> Sure, that's a lot of work.  But failure to do so is merely
> more damning evidence of willful intellectual property infringement.
> As for the legal hairs you might like to split over whether you guys are
> infringing, I'd suggest taking it up in  I think the
> 10,000 miles up answer is you're just plain wrong about rules of games not 
> being
> covered by copyright.

1) Copyright law states that something is copyrighted implicitly or
   not copyrighted at all.
2) Many thousands almost-clones and clones exists
3) If one of them (freeciv) was affected by clonee's copyright,
   all would be
4) Linux would be affected by AT&T copyright
5) etc.

> Bruce Hayden gave a good response about what sorts of
> legal tests the lawyers would apply, and it's not as simplistic as "yes the
> rules are protected" or "no they are not protected."  It depends upon
> abstractions of software functionality.  Since your entire intent was to
> directly clone Civ II, my layman's guess is there isn't any level of 
> abstraction
> of functionality whatsoever, you guys are simply ripping Civ II off and are
> therefore liable.

We are not more ripping CivII that Linux is ripping UNIX.

> Anyways, I've brought this all to your attention because (1) having done the
> freeware project thing before, I respect that you guys believe in freeware and
> so forth, (2) being a game developer, I think you need to stop biting off 
> other
> people's stuff and quit being so cheap that you can't cough up $10..$20 for 
> the
> legitimate work of other game developers.  Sheesh, I bought Civ II: TOT for 
> $20
> at full retail!  If you're going to flatter by imitation, you should at least
> have the integrity to diverge.  *Improve* the Civ genre, don't sit around just
> cloning.

FreeCIv is much *Improve*d over payciv.
Look at AI.

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