Ender Wiggins
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Wow, I can hardly believe this. I just stumbled across www.boardgamesource.com. This site is illegally copying BGG's database, images, and more on a massive scale.

Representative images? Stolen from BGG. See examples here:
http://www.boardgamesource.com/browse/family/traditional-car...

Game descriptions? Stolen from BGG. Compare this example:
http://www.boardgamesource.com/game/railways-of-the-world
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/17133/railways-of-the...

Images? Stolen from BGG. See for example the images here:
http://www.boardgamesource.com/game/dominion
http://www.boardgamesource.com/game/go
http://www.boardgamesource.com/game/bridge
http://www.boardgamesource.com/game/puerto-rico
Thousands of images have been copied directly from BGG. In fact all of the game photos on boardgamesource.com are shamelessly taken from BGG, without any attribution or authorization.

Comments? Stolen from BGG. Example:
http://www.boardgamesource.com/game/zetema
http://boardgamegeek.com/collection/items/boardgame/19912?co...

Browse the site and see for yourself. If you've ever posted half-decent photos at BGG, there's a good chance they've been reproduced at boardgamesource.com. I've had a quick look, and literally hundreds of my photos have been taken from BGG and reproduced without permission. Ratings and comments are also taken directly from BGG. The volume of material which has been taken from boardgamegeek is unbelievable. As far as I can tell, this is theft of intellectual property on a massive scale.

Can anyone from BGG comment on this, and confirm that boardgamesource.com has no association whatsoever with boardgamegeek.com? If I'm right that this is an unauthorized reproduction of material from BGG on a large scale, then it seems to me that some kind of action needs to be taken.
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Kent
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April Fools joke or not, there are a lot of good layout ideas there. Maybe could have been done as a mashup wrapper around the BGG domain as well.
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Ender Wiggins
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This is no April Fools joke. I wish it was only that.
 
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Kent
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EndersGame wrote:
This is no April Fools joke. I wish it was only that.


Too bad. Easy enough to issue a takedown, most likely, given the massive infringement.
 
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Ray Stantz
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They are displaying my nexus ops photo that I took and uploaded late last year. shake

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Scott Alden
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I've already asked the owner nicely to takedown the site and its content where he infringes on our terms of service and API license - looks like he doesn't care to play ball, so I'll be consulting with a lawyer now.
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I'm grateful to the forum moderator for directing me to this thread so that I can be part of the discussion.

The last I heard about this was when I replied to Scott Alden with some very specific questions that I hoped might enable me to continue developing this web site without incurring BGG's wrath.

That was on January 30th, and I've heard nothing more since. As my emails were quite comprehensive, I'll post the text in full below for anyone interested in the story so far.

The TL;DR version is:
- It's a hobby site, and clearly far from finished
- BGG makes the information I used available via a public API
- Many other sites use the same BGG data, and BGG appears to encourage this
- I asked specifically how I should attribute the content back to BGG
- I asked specifically if using affiliate links to contribute towards hosting costs made him consider the site to be "commercial" and offered to remove them if that was the problem
- I gave a walkthrough of the extra value that the site provides as a "mashup" application, showing that it's not simply a straight copy of BGG. (The reason, one would think, that a public API exists).

I'll gladly talk to contributors who have concerns over this as it was never my intention to upset anyone! But I would rather have a conversation with BGG to find out why this site in particular has caused such offense, and to see what I can do about that.
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January 28th:
-------------

Hello. I am the owner of BoardGameGeek.com, and recently I was
surprised and angered to discover that content from my site is being
used on boardgamesource.com. This use is without my permission and,
to the best of my knowledge, without the permission of the users whose
content you are using.

I am preparing to speak with an attorney about representing me in this
matter, however going through the legal system will make this whole
issue much more expensive and time-consuming for both of us. If
possible I’d like to resolve this matter directly with you.

Please remove all content from your site taken from BoardGameGeek.com
without permission, including (but not limited to) game descriptions,
game images, user ratings and user comments. If any content taken
from BoardGameGeek.com without permission is on your site after
February 4th, 2014, then I will be forced to pursue legal action.

Thank you in advance for your quick attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,
Scott Alden


January 28th:
-------------


Dear Scott

Thanks for your email, and for contacting me with your concern first. I agree that taking matters into the legal system is going to be unnecessary.

Firstly, I'm sorry to hear that discovering boardgamesource.com has angered you. It was absolutely not my intention to cause any distress with this web site.

As I'm sure you can tell, this is a hobby project which is far from complete, which is why I've made no efforts as yet to bring to to anyone's attention. I did not expect anyone to find it for quite some time!

However, I'm confused as to why this is the cause of such anger and I'm more than happy to have a conversation with you about it.

The web site I have produced uses the BGG API, which is documented here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/BGG_XML_API

APIs are generally designed to encourage re-distribution of data and, indeed, on this page are even links to other web sites that use the API to present BGG content in different ways.

For example: http://louspot.com/mbgg/
This web site reproduces game descriptions, game images, user ratings and user comments! It's not only linked from a page on boardgamegeek.com, it also uses the "BGG" mark in its name!

I'm sure you'll understand my confusion over why you feel this information is used without permission on boardgamesource.com, when a public API is provided, and existing examples use it for just this purpose.

Indeed, the API also links to a guide on data mining, which appears to further encourage use of the data. It even ends with the phrase "Go ahead and mine away!"

I hope I am right in suspecting that the issue here is one of attribution, in that (as yet) I have not linked back to the source of the content, apart from the link to BGG marketplace.

This is easily resolved if you can tell me exactly how you would like content to be attributed. Who is the copyright owner (you, or the user submitting the content) and is there any other text that should be included in such a notice?

I do hope we can resolve this quickly. Although I don't have much time to devote to this project at present, I do feel it's a great little discovery tool for board games and I'd really like to develop it further in future.



January 30th:
-------------

I appreciate the prompt response.

Here are the relevant sections from our Terms of Service:

5D: "You shall not use the Website for any commercial purposes without
the prior written authorization of Geekdo."

5E: "You shall not engage in the use, copying, or distribution of any
of the User Submissions"

You can find the full text here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/terms

The existence of an API does not imply permission for the use of
content in a way that violates 5D and 5E. The "mine away" quote you
have cited comes from a BGG Wiki page that was created by a normal
user. We have removed that quote from the BGG Wiki page.

To repeat, I need you to remove any content from boardgamesource.com
that has been taken from BoardGameGeek.com without permission.

Thank you.



January 30th
------------

Hi Scott

Thanks for getting back to me.

It seems that the easiest way to proceed would be for me to seek your express permission to use this content on my web site. Rather than dwell on implied permission, can we open that conversation please?

If the API is not to be used without express permission, I urge you to please put a message to this effect along with the API documentation. This is extremely unusual for public APIs. Usually, if a content provider wishes to be selective about how an API is used, a developer must register and propose their application in order to obtain access to a private API. At the very least, because of the level of access APIs allow beyond that of a web browser, ToS specific to the API are almost always documented.

So far a lot of work has gone into this project, so I'm keen to do whatever it takes to make sure others can use it!

If the issue is simply that of "commercial purposes", I'll gladly remove the affiliate links if that's why you consider it to be commercial. As I said before, this is a hobby project that I want to share - I just hoped a little affiliate revenue would contribute to the running costs. You'll notice that there's (intentionally) no other advertising on the site.

I am unsure whether you've looked at the site in depth, so here's how it's supposed to work.

Let's say I enjoy playing Agricola, I'll begin here:
http://www.boardgamesource.com/game/agricola

It shows me a number of tags about this game, and I realise what I enjoy most is the worker placement mechanic, so I click that tag to see more worker placement games. I end up here:

http://www.boardgamesource.com/browse/mechanic/worker-placem...

Then, if I want I can further reduce the list by adding new tags or using the filters. Let's say I want to find a game that plays with my family: I select 4 players, 10+ and max time of one hour. The top result is Stone Age, which is a pretty good recommendation!

When you view Stone Age, you get "just the facts": the tags for this game, pictures, number of players, age recommendation and playing time. If a video review is available on YouTube, it's right there. Jump to the "You Might Also Like" section and you'll see that it suggests more games based on my own special recipe. You can quickly dig around and discover new board games, with recommendations based on ones you already enjoy.

Let me reiterate, I did not intend to cause any harm to BGG. I built an application using the data made available by your open API, as have many others, and as the information and examples on your web site appeared to encourage me to do.

A good "mashup" application aims to make existing data more useful through combination, visualization and aggregation - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mashup_(web_application_hybrid) .

I believe my web site is a great example of this because it will add unique and sophisticated functionality to an already impressive database. Therefore it will be an asset to the board game community, which is surely aligned with the intention of BGG providing access to this data in the first place!

I sincerely hope that we can work this out.

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Netherlands
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boardgamesource wrote:
- I asked specifically how I should attribute the content back to BGG

At least for photos and comments, that is not something BGG can determine. The copyright for all of these lies with the individual posters who created them. We're freely contributing them to BGG, because we feel we have a good understanding what that entails and how BGG profits from them. But for you to use them on another website, you'd need to contact each of us individually to gain permission for that.
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a_traveler wrote:
At least for photos and comments, that is not something BGG can determine. The copyright for all of these lies with the individual posters who created them. We're freely contributing them to BGG, because we feel we have a good understanding what that entails and how BGG profits from them. But for you to use them on another website, you'd need to contact each of us individually to gain permission for that.


When you post, you give BGG a "perpetual, sublicenseable, and transferable license".

So, if it's a reasonable assumption that this is how BGG is permitted to re-publish your content via an API, permission from individual contributors should not be necessary.

I would expect that attribution in the form of "submitted by a_traveler via boargamegeek.com" would be appropriate, but I had hoped for clarification.
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Matthew M
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Quote:
To repeat, I need you to remove any content from boardgamesource.com
that has been taken from BoardGameGeek.com without permission.


This seems clear to me. I don't know what further response you needed.
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boardgamesource wrote:
When you post, you give BGG a "perpetual, sublicenseable, and transferable license".

Keep reading that sentence:
Quote:
...in connection with the Website, website extensions, and the business of Geekdo and its successors and affiliates, including without limitation for promoting the Website in any media formats and through any media channels.

You are not the website, nor a website extension, nor the business of geekdo. You are not a successor or affiliate. BGG does not have the right to sublicense my content to anyone, other than for the above enumerated purposes. Moreover, you did not obtain such a sublicense, which makes regular copyright apply. You are violating that.
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Octavian wrote:
This seems clear to me. I don't know what further response you needed.


Far from clear. The very question is what permission is needed.
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a_traveler wrote:
You are not the website, nor a website extension, nor the business of geekdo...


My interpretation of this was that the API was part of the "business of Geekdo", fell under "any media formats" and was indeed a way of "promoting the Website".

Otherwise, the entire API is illegal and any site or app that uses it is also illegal, no?
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Matthew M
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boardgamesource wrote:
Octavian wrote:
This seems clear to me. I don't know what further response you needed.


Far from clear. The very question is what permission is needed.


Have you received permission from anyone? Because it's clear you don't have Aldie's, and I see no indication that you received permission from any one else either.
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Ender Wiggins
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My concern is specifically with regard to more than one hundred of my photos which have been reproduced on your website. As a user submitting content, I am the copyright owner of these images, and you do need my permission as individual contributor to reproduce them. You haven't asked me for that permission, nor have I granted it.

As noted by others already, BGG's license to reproduce user content is very restricted. Scott Alden's correspondence with you explicitly states that BoardGameGeek hasn't authorized you to reproduce user submissions, and requests you to remove them. As owner of some of that content, I'm making the same request.
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Octavian wrote:
Have you received permission from anyone? Because it's clear you don't have Aldie's, and I see no indication that you received permission from any one else either.


I have not, but there is no indication that express permission is required for this type of usage. Indeed in the API terms it states:

Quote:
BGG grants you a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce and display the data available through the BGG XML API, including User Submissions, solely for strictly non-commercial purposes and solely as permitted by the XML API provided by BGG


Why does this not apply in my case?
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EndersGame wrote:
My concern is specifically with regard to more than one hundred of my photos which have been reproduced on your website.


I appreciate this and thank you for being specific.

The way images are pulled through to the site is meant to check for a creative commons license, but this functionality is clearly not correct yet.

Can we wait a short while and see what the outcome is before addressing this? If the site is able to keep running, I will work with you to make sure your photos are removed.
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Steve B
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I will gladly support suing boardgamesource to put the guy behind it out of business and protect the property of BGG.
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bradelli wrote:
I will gladly support suing boardgamesource to put the guy behind it out of business and protect the property of BGG.


It's not a business.
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Steve B
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boardgamesource wrote:
bradelli wrote:
I will gladly support suing boardgamesource to put the guy behind it out of business and protect the property of BGG.


It's not a business.


" I just hoped a little affiliate revenue would contribute to the running costs. "

Yup, a business making money stealing the content from BGG.
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Louise McCully
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I am not happy to find my comments showing up on this website.

Comments on BGG are used for different things by different users. Some use them as their own mini review, others as a way to know where they got the game, taking our comments and putting them on another website as if they were mini-reviews is just ethically wrong even without the legalise.
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bradelli wrote:
Yup, a business making money stealing the content from BGG.


As you can see above, I already asked whether this was deemed "commercial" and if so offered to remove the affiliate links.
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Dear Boardgamesource guy, I think the design of your sight is excellent and give you permission to use any of the images or material that I have uploaded to this site. I hope this does not violate any BGG small print and bring down the nerd wrath of aldie and octavian. Good luck!
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Michael Dorosh
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boardgamesource wrote:
Octavian wrote:
Have you received permission from anyone? Because it's clear you don't have Aldie's, and I see no indication that you received permission from any one else either.


I have not, but there is no indication that express permission is required for this type of usage. Indeed in the API terms it states:

Quote:
BGG grants you a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce and display the data available through the BGG XML API, including User Submissions, solely for strictly non-commercial purposes and solely as permitted by the XML API provided by BGG


Why does this not apply in my case?


Why aren't you identifying yourself with a name? What are you afraid of? If your enterprise was above aboard, why the need to hide?

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