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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>
Subject: [Freeciv] Re: copyright infringement
From: "SamBC" <sambc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 01:26:27 +0100
Reply-to: <sambc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

God this gets tiresome...

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Brandon Van Every
> > If someone sued freeciv, I'm sure some FreeSoftware/OpenSourceSoftware
> > corporation would give us some lawyers.
> Provided that they believed you hadn't willfully infringed Hasbro's
> intellectual property.  Let's be clear: they're not going to sue you
> over the source code or the GUI.  You guys wrote all of that.  They're
> going to sue you over the rules, for having cloned the game, and
> possibly also the Civilization trademark.  I don't know trademark law, I
> don't know what kinds of tests substantiate trademark infringement.
Excuse me, but where do we use the word 'Civilization' in any trademarkabl
way? In the motto it is part of a phrase - no prob. The name uses three
little letters, and if any legal system calls that copyright infringement we
all (and that means all sensible people) may as well queue up for the cliffs
to jump off...

> > This lawsuit would affect them because :
> > a) they distributed freeciv, so they would be contributory infringer
> >    if Hasbro would won
> Who is "they," that did the distribution?

At least half the major Linux distro makers, to start with... then major
mirror sites, ftp archives, etc etc. The UKMS would have something to lose.
So would TUCOWs (Linuxberg). Redhat, as well, wouldn't like to be party, and
they sure have clout.

> > b) it would create a very dangerous precedence
> You're assuming, possibly incorrectly, that all the intellectual
> property precedents necessary for adjudicating the case haven't already
> been set.  I think you're under the mistaken assumption that your
> entertainment product is somehow "special."  But IANAL.

If they've been set, cite them  or get someone else to. Stop postulating
yourself silly!

> > So it is in their best interest to protect us.
> Again, you don't have your legal paddles in the water if you think
> people will automatically come charging to your aid.  Aside from all
> other ethical, moral, and legal considerations, there are financial
> realities of prosecuting such cases.  It's not a certainty that it's
> worth someone else's time to defend you when you have a weak case,
> especially if you could fix your own problems easily enough by a conduct
> remedy.  I mean, *how hard* is it for you guys to not clone Civ anymore?

Imagine people like UKMS, TUCOWS & Redhat *sharing* costs, with a high
likelihood of recovering them

> > > 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.
> Regardless, they'll nail you on copyright and possibly trademark.

I am still confused where Trademark comes in

> > > (1) stopped calling this thing
> > > Freeciv, gave it a completely different name, and changed your
> domain name
> > > accordingly,
> >
> > Stop using *n*x name.
> I don't know trademark law.  But considering all the IRIX, Xenix, Minix,
> Multics, etc. out there I'd be surprised if anyone can defend a
> trademark on the basis of a string matching pattern.  But, there are a
> lot of tests for trademark infringement, it's not some single simple
> rule.  You'd need to take it up in

And the word 'civili(s/z)ation' is a common word. Go figure.

> > > (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,
> Reverse engineering an operating system or a piece of machinery is not
> the same as reverse engineering a game.  Any more than you can reverse
> engineer a screenplay or a book.
Why not? Besides, who reverse engineered?? If we could load Civ/II
savegames, that'd be a cause for concern. No reverse engineering here!

> > We are not more ripping CivII that Linux is ripping UNIX.
> But the law says you can reverse engineer machinery with "clean room"
> techniques.  It does not say you can copy works of authorship, which is
> what a game is.  I don't know if the legal concept of plagarism is
> equivalent to "cloning" in a software context, but that's the kind of
> waters you're in.

> > FreeCIv is much *Improve*d over payciv.
> > Look at AI.
> Improve the rules.
Or make them flexible - look at our ruleset support, you ninny! (mild
insult, sorry...)


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