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Author Topic: PDF Ethics Gray Zone?  (Read 9325 times)

kogi.kaishakunin

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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2008, 10:50:42 am »
Quote from: Nicephorus;272831
True.  But the discussion was more about ethics than law.  

I agree that copyright terms have gotten too long.  A flat 20-30 years, not tied to author death would be fine.  As it stands, the time limits serve mainly to make sure that the grand kids of famous authors never have to work.


First I will address this off topic subject cause its strikes very close to my heart.

   You say copyright terms are too long. Lets take a quick look at Disney animated movies. How many of their "Products" were a part of Public Domain. Um Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, These are all clearly franchise animations. They are simply the foundation which created the Disney Empire. These legends and folk tales were all apart of Public Domain Information.
   Now fast forward to today. You are a writer/artist you created a little known product and due to your shamefully low budget it got little notice. Disney would then be in it rights to swoop in, snatch up your little homespun project, and make millions on it. All the while you still live in your trailer and plug away at your shitty 50 hr a week factory job.
  Is this extreme? Sure. But it could be Real? Our government is currently trying to change copy wright laws (thanks to lobbyists) to benefit the big guys. This would in no way encourage innovation. It would most assuredly stagnate the creative process. I would be terrified to take my Eisner winning graphic novel and self publish it only to have Marvel snatch it up in a half baked rehash. (there was no way I would win any awards)

Down from one soapbox and onto another.

Piracy is bad?

The ethics involved or at least the discussion of the ethics of piracy does one thing. The conversation separates humans from animals. I am a Pirate. I make no qualms about being one. I downloaded the New 4th ed books. I downloaded the recent release of Warhammer 40k rpg. I do what many do with those files. I looked at them. I read some or all of the pages. I then made a decision for myself as to whether or not I would purchase those books. I have since bought 40k and I will likely buy 4th ed. The art is AWESOME!! This is my usual method of operation. I download then decide. Money is very short supply. Even before the global recession and all. I don't have 100's of dollars to throw at crappy media. But when I find stuff I like I buy it.

I think I would like to change the term PIRACY to a proliferation of media. It is very easy to get exposed to all different kinds of media. Does some of the methods acquiring the media bend or break ethical boundaries? Quite Possible. Frankly, most media outlets would disapprove of my personal practices. I watch movies, listen to music, and peruse gamebooks on pdf long before I could possibly get a paper cut. All of the industries should look at that trend (cause I am not alone) and market accordingly. Here is the easy formula for success in our mass media world.

Give the consumer a taste of your product and then a reason to buy it at the store.

As far as OOP media goes. Well you have to look yourself in the mirror and justify your actions. For each of us, that will remain a personal decision. I for one will download. Maybe I can spread the knowledge of this once great game system to enough people that they clamor for a re-release. DEADLANDS.... OG style!

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dindenver

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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2008, 11:08:12 am »
Cat,
  Yeah, if we restrict our discussion to OOP games, the ethics of the matter is, in fact, gray. Sure, there is still a copyright holder, but they don't get money, even if I find and buy the game.
  So, its not like I am stealing food from a publisher or author's dinner table.
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2008, 12:06:08 pm »
Quote from: kogi.kaishakunin;272930
Now fast forward to today. You are a writer/artist you created a little known product and due to your shamefully low budget it got little notice. Disney would then be in it rights to swoop in, snatch up your little homespun project, and make millions on it. All the while you still live in your trailer and plug away at your shitty 50 hr a week factory job.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but couldn't they do that with enough lawyers anyways? I mean it seems to me, and maybe I'm wrong-because I'm certainly no lawyer, and I've definitely never copyrighted anything-but if Disney wants your shit, your number is up.

I pretty much think you've hit the nail on the head, but I don't see much remedy for the "small guys" coming anytime soon. (I think the pendulum swings to and fro, and currently we're on the far side of a swing.)

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Nicephorus

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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2008, 01:58:41 pm »
Quote from: kogi.kaishakunin;272930
Now fast forward to today. You are a writer/artist you created a little known product and due to your shamefully low budget it got little notice. Disney would then be in it rights to swoop in, snatch up your little homespun project, and make millions on it. All the while you still live in your trailer and plug away at your shitty 50 hr a week factory job.

This is why, unlike some people on the internet, I'm not against copyright laws.  Modern copyright laws originated to protect individuals and small publishers from larger companies who could copy something and make more than the original author due to a larger marketing and distribution system.  
 
There are already a ton of stories of Hollywood producers getting a script from an unknown author, turning it down, and making a very similar movie a couple of years later.  Without copyright, they wouldn't even have to change the names

Cranewings

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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2008, 02:11:52 pm »
When it comes to gaming material, I don't see why anyone has to steal it. 90% of it is shit, and if you have been gaming long enough, you could probably write something better. Then, you don't have any ethical problem at all.

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« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2008, 02:24:15 pm »
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;272832
Because film company executives, being stupid and uncreative people, cannot imagine how anyone could create any new content in a mere 30 years.


Some may be uncreative, but certainly not stupid.   When you dump hundreds of millions into developing and promoting an IP, you want to ensure long term profits.  

Think of it this way.   You buy the plans for an awesome resort from an architect.  You then build the resort and people come there because the layout is so cool.   You will want ownership of that unique resort for as long as possible and you don't want those architectual plans to ever fly out of your hands.


Quote from: Nicephorus;273005
There are already a ton of stories of Hollywood producers getting a script from an unknown author, turning it down, and making a very similar movie a couple of years later.


And they are almost always full of shit.

I live in LA and my toes are in the film world.   I have heard the cries and squeals for decades and the number of real incidents can be counted on one hand.  

There is some reality to weird creative trends where lots of people jump on a similiar idea at the same time.   I wrote a very Stargate like script the year Stargate went into production.   I got notice around town and I know of two other Futurististic Egyptian projects that were bouncing around right at the same time and I know that I wrote mine with zero knowledge of the others.  

When Stargate came out, I had people tell me that I was ripped off.  I wasn't.  There was just something in the air in that two year span where several authors were riffing off a similiar beat completely in isolation from each other.  It happens.

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« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2008, 02:29:55 pm »
Quote from: Spinachcat;273025
 
There is some reality to weird creative trends where lots of people jump on a similiar idea at the same time.   I wrote a very Stargate like script the year Stargate went into production.   I got notice around town and I know of two other Futurististic Egyptian projects that were bouncing around right at the same time and I know that I wrote mine with zero knowledge of the others.  

When Stargate came out, I had people tell me that I was ripped off.  I wasn't.  There was just something in the air in that two year span where several authors were riffing off a similiar beat completely in isolation from each other.  It happens.


I noticed this synchronicity as well, and I am not involved in the film industry.  It seems to be a function of the human creative process.  Maybe people are tapping into some kind of creative specie consciousness?

stu2000

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« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2008, 07:39:43 pm »
The ideas exist independently of the artists. This is a real hippie idea, but I insist it's true. I've had a rash of old college friends calling me suggesting I've been ripped off for things that are coming out now. That's been twenty years. But ideas just kind of hang out there in space until someone tunes in to them somehow. They don't go away. It's weird. Someone else will tune in later. Or earlier. Time isn't linear, either. It's all weird.
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« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2008, 09:26:31 pm »
For me, if its in print I will buy it legally.  If it is no longer in print I may try to get a used copy.  (Which if most companies had their way wouldn't exist.  Its why everyone is going gaga over broadband Internet.  Virtual ones and zeroes that need to be rebought when your media hardware dies or goes OOP..)

If that fails and I can find a download of it, I certainly might take a look.

Especially as a classic videogamer.  Konami's Aliens and GI Joe arcade games are unlikely to ever get any form of home port due to them being semi obscure arcade games and ones attached to licenses they no longer have.

So I shouldn't be allowed to enjoy them outside of finding the machines in some hole in the wall pizza joint or fight with other ebay retards who think RARE means "Worth 10x-100x whatever the original price was"?

Hell no!  

Make it available legitimately and they get my cash money, especially if the price is fair.

Steve Jackson Games wants to pretend Car Wars Compendium era no longer exists?  Fine, I get it from Ebay with a lucky bid.

How much money did SJG get off me?  Zero dollars.

If Joe Schmoe was to photocopy his pal's Compendium how much money did SJG get from it?  Again, Zero dollars.

In our modern digital age there is no real reason any form of digital media (video, game, music, or book) should ever really go totally out of print.

And intentional low print rarity?  That's douchebag Magic the Gathering kind of crap.

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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2008, 09:54:37 pm »
Quote from: stu2000;273109
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« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2008, 04:10:16 am »
The 1709 Statute of Anne copyright law is the one legitimate term (registered copyright, 14 year term renewable a further 14 years).  All else is tyranny - French inspired tyranny, at that.

So, a good guide is whether an OOP work is more than 14 years old, 28 years for popular works that were in publication for more than 14 years.
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Ian Absentia

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« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2008, 03:57:28 pm »
"Why does a 14-year-old girl have a statue?"

I swear to God that's what I got out of that at first read. :o

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« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2008, 04:27:16 pm »
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;272819
Again, copyright in itself has nothing to do with money. It's the right to control who makes what kind of copies of your work. A copyright violation is a copyright violation, whether the copyrighter gains, loses or breaks even money-wise as a result.

It's a bit like someone setting up a tent and passing out cooked sausages on my front lawn. It's trespass. Whether he's making money from it, or offers me some sausages or cash, doesn't matter - he's making use of my property without my permission.


Umm, isn't it more like someone using your famous Sausage recipe after you're dead? Or using your old sausage grill after you've thrown it out?

Quote

I believe copyright should expire, too - and life of authour plus 75 years is too long a period. Something like 15 years, as with patents in many countries, that ought to be enough. This is long enough that the original creator gets to make a profit from it if they want to, but short enough to encourage them to keep creating more stuff.


Absolutely: I would classify this under "Unjust law", and the whole process of propaganda about this is devious bullshit concocted by people with a sinister agenda: to keep profiting forever from other people's works.
In many cases, its not about some innocent author getting his livelihood taken away because of wicked "Pirates" who are engaging in "THEFT", its about some asshole in a suit making millions of dollars off of material where all of the original creators of said material have been dead for DECADES, and said suit is not even related to them by blood or marriage in any way.

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« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2008, 03:23:12 am »
If the book is OOP where on earth could there possibly be a problem?

If it subsequently gets printed due to a project later, too bad. Doesn't make it any less OK imo (unless you can see the future of course).

In many cases 'piracy' (a laughably quaint term) is the only way people get to see what a product is like, and decide to buy the full thing later. In other cases, it's impossible to get the proper product. Who really gets hurt?
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« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2008, 06:36:56 am »
Quote from: Ghost Whistler;273336
If the book is OOP where on earth could there possibly be a problem?

If it subsequently gets printed due to a project later, too bad. Doesn't make it any less OK imo (unless you can see the future of course).

In many cases 'piracy' (a laughably quaint term) is the only way people get to see what a product is like, and decide to buy the full thing later. In other cases, it's impossible to get the proper product. Who really gets hurt?

A lot of good books don't sell many copies. Palladium's Beyond the Supernatural only sold like 10,000 copies, and I got three of them. Two first edition, one second.

If it goes out of print, I'm glad I got to enjoy it while I could, and I hope I don't lose the book. If people like me illegally acquire too many copies, and the marketing guy at Palladium figures it out, then it won't come back into print. Maybe the author wants to wait a while, let some enthusiasm build up, and then print it to make some cash. Ripping it off guts his effort.

When a person writes a book, it is their RIGHT to decide when and who can buy it, and for how much. If you don't like it, you should write your own.

RP isn't like the movie industry or music or video games. It is small press, coming out of groups not unlike your own. Fucking with their money and ideas is basically fratricide.