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[Freeciv] Re: copyright infringement

[Freeciv] Re: copyright infringement

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To: "Brandon Van Every" <vanevery@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Freeciv General Mailing List" <freeciv@xxxxxxxxxxx>, "Freeciv Development Mailing List" <freeciv-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [Freeciv] Re: copyright infringement
From: "SamBC" <sambc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 01:26:12 +0100
Reply-to: <sambc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Brandon Van Every
> > 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

I quite firmly believe you are wrong. The money put in might matter when
there is a question, but here there is no question. However, you have to
actually get the court to notice the lack of question, get my drift?

> Someone else asked what nationality is Microprose.  It doesn't matter.
> Microprose is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Hasbro.
Fine, but given differences of law, I get the feeling the country of origin
could matter

<SNIP DoW bits>

> 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,

They own the word 'Civilization' as a title. Not the syllable 'civ'.
Changing the name would be a pointless exercise - anything with the syllable
'civ' in is outlawed by your reckoning, which is ludicrous.

> (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

Happening of it's own accord really...

> (3) removed all the stuff
> about cloning Civ
> from your website.  Sure, that's a lot of work.  But failure to
> do so is merely
> more damning evidence of willful intellectual property infringement.

This has some point... but only if we admit that concepts are copyrightable,
which THEY ARE NOT (excuse my shouting)

> 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.  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.

An interesting point. However, as someone else has since pointed out, Civ/II
wasn't so original itself, so it has to stop somewhere. The biggest threat
in my eyes is the tech-tree, as that is rather blatant in any situation,
ditto the units & improvements from it. But, that is still foggy...
> 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.

You don't play the game or read the 'dev' list, do you? I suggest you
should. It's being extended in many directions all the time. So know your
stuff before you shoot you mouth off. And it's not freeware, it's free
software. Read up on the difference.

I'm not cheap, I own both Civ games (two versions of CivI), intend to by
SMAC (but not CtP, the demo seemed cack). Same goes for *most* people
developing. And the time developers put into it is in many senses worth more
money than the games cost. All the developers (and I wish I could be counted
among them) gain is reputation - the ol' Homesteading the Noosphere...

In short, leave out the digs, but thanks for the legal input. I think it
would be hard to make a legal argument against freeciv myself, and I have
been reading up opensource law recently for my own reasons. If your view
were valid, then no two pieces of software could be similar, so look at the

GEM, TOS (Atari) +GEM desktop, MacOS, Windows, *NIX+X... need I go on?

Stop scaremongering and insulting, then we'll listen!

The Movement for simpleLinux
          site soon to be at

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