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Campaign Manager 2008» Forums » General

Subject: How the heck did they get the IP rights for this? rss

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Lacombe
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Surely Obama and McCain weren't actually contacted [well, their reps, at least], were they?

Are they just betting on a parody defense? Ignominity?

I mean, CBS, CNN, the AP, both campaigns, all of these certainly would have something to say.

Is there an explanation given anywhere of the process?
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They have their defense ready against CNN at least... (ZNN gives me Hollywood Blockbuster vibes).
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Lacombe
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selwyth wrote:
They have their defense ready against CNN at least... (ZNN gives me Hollywood Blockbuster vibes).


Do you mean to imply that they actually have a defense in mind, or just that there's a good chance they could apply a "parody" style defense if pressed / challenged by CNN?

It's pretty clear that they've at least thought about some of these issues. Take mock-ups of the box-front, which use actual logos, and actual box fronts, which use mock-up logos:



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Lacombe
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Just look at this card:



-CBS Corporation
-CBS Evening News
-Katie Couric
-Dave Letterman
-John McCain
-Sarah Palin

It seems any of those parties could launch at least a plausible IP attack against the game on the basis of that card alone.
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James Ridgway
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The game merely refers to public figures and public events. It doesn't seek to offer news under the guise of being any of the news agencies referenced. It doesn't imply that any of those involved endorse their product. They don't need permission to refer to public figures and events that occurred in the news any more than a historian writing about the campaign would need permission from the networks to discuss their coverage.
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Jonathan Morton
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Charles Schultz called, he's going after you for your avatar.
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Everybody, ssssshhhhhhh!!! They might hear you...




Off-topic P.S. - hey Aaxiom, shout-out to Willow Street! I grew up in West Lampeter and went to L-S.

Sorry for the interruption. Back to your regular programming.
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Lacombe
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Vetinari wrote:
The game merely refers to public figures and public events.


Not "merely refers".

The game profits off of public figures and public events.

The right of publicity certainly seems to grant the public figure the exclusive right to profit from the commercial [not media, mind you] use of their likeness, name, etc.

It is not clear at all, to me, that this doesn't infringe that.

Quote:
It doesn't seek to offer news under the guise of being any of the news agencies referenced.


No, certainly not. It does, however, profit from their images/names.

Quote:
It doesn't imply that any of those involved endorse their product.


No. It does leverage their likeness, etc for commercial gain.

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They don't need permission to refer to public figures and events that occurred in the news any more than a historian writing about the campaign would need permission from the networks to discuss their coverage.


This is not at all clear to me; certainly not carte blanche.

I would think that a historian would certainly need permission to use their video stills, to use AP shots of the candidates, etc.

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Lacombe
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Jonny5 wrote:
Charles Schultz called, he's going after you for your avatar.


The difference, of course, is that I'm not gaining commercially from Snoopy.

If I were to try to put out a game about Snoopy, you can bet he [his estate] would.
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Lacombe
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I don't know [not being a lawyer nor a student of right-to-publicity law] what the actual legal shake-out would be from a challenge, but things like the following certainly seem to imply that there is at least the threat of IP infringement to consider here.

http://bkgg.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/president-obama-ruler-o...

http://legalmatch.typepad.com/intellectualproperty/2010/01/j...

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Michael Kefauver
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I think that IP only applies to things created, crafted or made, and not historical events, and if you're a public figure you lose some of the rights to challenge as well (How else would any parodies or products of government officials be made?).

Also, they would have to WANT to challenge. It'd be an expensive thing to litigate, and this is a niche hobby. If this was showing up in wal-marts all over the US, they might, but a relatively small publication from a company no one outside the industry even knows exists? Ehhhh...

And almost all of the references are positive. Fannie May and Freddie Mack, for example, shows that just talking about the companies is enough to change the way an election swings. Now, if playing the card "Made the global economy fail and the McCain player lose the game"... Might be different.


The game is also fairly neutral. If the game heavily favored one side or the other, it might draw attention, but to make a mountain out of a molehill over a small, neutral game? It'd hurt public opinion a lot, get a lot of pro-first-amendment press, and generally not be worth it, even if they DID think the were somehow losing money from the fact that they're getting free publicity in a game.
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Lacombe
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Nessmk2 wrote:
I think that IP only applies to things created, crafted or made, and not historical events, and if you're a public figure you lose some of the rights to challenge as well (How else would any parodies or products of government officials be made?).


This is certainly not the case. Right to publicity is the obvious example.

The other issue is that there are infringements [at the very least parodies] of created IP in the game: trademarked names [CBS Evening News, CNN, etc], copyrighted photos [all the AP stock and video stills], logos [they obviously wanted to avoid direct trademark infringement, and went with stylized / parodied versions on the box-cover and cards], etc.

Parody is a special case, and certainly most of the bobblehead type items fit there.

Quote:
Also, they would have to WANT to challenge. It'd be an expensive thing to litigate, and this is a niche hobby. If this was showing up in wal-marts all over the US, they might, but a relatively small publication from a company no one outside the industry even knows exists? Ehhhh...


Sure, but from Z-Man's perspective, banking on insignificance seems a strange business plan.

That, and the "expensive to litigate" works against Z-Man, not for them. They'd have to concede.

If Obama or McCain or CBS or CNN or anyone else came knocking and said "Hey, we don't like this," that'd be it.

There's no way Z-Man would tempt fate by heading to a costly litigation. They'd capitulate, and PDQ, I think.

Quote:
And almost all of the references are positive.


So was the reference in the "jacketgate" scandal I linked to, but Obama still threatened suit.

Quote:
Fannie May and Freddie Mack, for example, shows that just talking about the companies is enough to change the way an election swings. Now, if playing the card "Made the global economy fail and the McCain player lose the game"... Might be different.


May be different in terms of the ire it would draw, but seems irrelevant in terms of protected status.

Quote:
The game is also fairly neutral. If the game heavily favored one side or the other, it might draw attention, but to make a mountain out of a molehill over a small, neutral game? It'd hurt public opinion a lot, get a lot of pro-first-amendment press, and generally not be worth it, even if they DID think the were somehow losing money from the fact that they're getting free publicity in a game.


It is rarely for the actual loss of money that a person or company sues for IP infringement / violation.

It is usually a principled thing: If you don't defend your IP, you can actually lose it in some cases.

Add to that the fact that property right suits seem to be as much about control as they are about damages, and it doesn't seem to add up well.

If, in the case of physical property, someone stole your car, drove it around on some errands, and returned it unharmed, what would you do?

YOU'D SUE THE PANTS OFF THEM, if you had any sense. They violated your property, even if they didn't damage it.

Otherwise, you're just granting permission foranyone else to do the same. IP seems to work in much the same way.
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Lacombe
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Try this:

Go and make a game about the Masters Golf Tournament and use actual video footage stills, actual images of players, actual names, actual scores, actual events, and see how far that gets you.

I can't imagine they wouldn't come knocking on your door with a C&D letter as soon as they found out. Unless you're blatantly making a parody [which this game doesn't], I don't see your "out".
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Fred Beukema
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I agree with the general response here. I wondered myself about the campaign logos until I realized that the final release featured "look-alikes" of them.

They're very clear about all the photos being fairly used or creative commons licenses (see the bottom of the instructions' back page), so that covers that portion.

Beyond that, with respect to the people and organizations, as public figures heavily involved in public events, they do forfeit some likeness/name rights. I don't think this is any different than someone profiting off of writing a book about the 2008 election that talks about CNN, AIPAC, the AFL-CIO, Oprah, Palin, etc.

Surely we've got an IP lawyer up in here to answer some of these questions. Or, you know, the game's designers... I doubt Z-MAN would've let them get away with releasing this without all their stuff in order.
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James Ridgway
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An author that writes about Hillary Clinton or George Bush and how she/he was treated my the media is absolutely trying to profit from reference to public figures and news coverage. It doesn't mean that it isn't fair use. It's only a problem if the user is trying to confuse the audience about their relationship with the source.
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Lacombe
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fbeukema wrote:


They're very clear about all the photos being fairly used or creative commons licenses (see the bottom of the instructions' back page), so that covers that portion.


Aha.

That definitely covers what, to me, was the stickiest bit.
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Matias D
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tl;dr

Internet Law Debates are stupid.
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Lacombe
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residue wrote:
tl;dr

Internet Law Debates are stupid.


I didn't really mean to make a debate.

Mostly, I just wanted to find out what Z-Man's perspective was in making the game.

Obviously they changed the logos somewhere between the concept and production art.

But, they didn't bother to change other things: names, photos, slogans, nicknames, etc.

It's obvious that there were some kind of intellectual property legalities to be aware of here.

I was less concerned with what they specifically were than with how Z-Man approached them.

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Quote:
These photos are used under the Creative Commons license 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/): “¡Si Se Puede!” (Brian), “AFL-CIO” (AFL-CIO), Stock Market Hits New Low” (Artemuestra),
“Record Turnout In Early Voting” (Average Jane), “Yes We Can” (Blaise T Nutter), “DHS Warns Of New Terror Threat” (Caveman 92223), “Middle-Class Tax Cut” (Center For American Progress Action), “Drill, Baby, Drill!”
(Chesi – Fotos CC), “States See Leap In New Voters” (Crownjewel82), “Ahmadinejad Rattle Sabre At UN” (Daniella Zalcman), “I Know How To Do That, My Friends” (Dsb Nola), “Unemployment On The Rise”, (Ed Yourdon),
“Running A Clean Campaign” (Elizabeth Cromwell), “Joe Lieberman” (Emmet Hume), “The Washington Post” (Fimoculous), “The Right To Life” (Iowapolitics.Com), “Voter Vault” (Izzymunchted), “Change We Can Believe
In” (Jake Honig), “Special Access” (Je Maurone), “Straight Talk Express” (Kevin Rodal), “We Don’t Have Time For On-The-Job Training” “Raising Taxes Isn’t Patriotic “ (Marc Nozell), “Crank And Bank” (Matt Michrina),
“Let’s Not Raise Anybody’s Taxes” “The Change We Need” “Neighborhood Team Leaders” Social Networking” “Mybarackobama.Com” (Matthew Reichbach), “Start Knocking On Doors” (nancyscola), “Hillary Clinton”
(Nathan Forget), “Home Foreclosures Skyrocket” (respres), “Joe The Plumber” (Rona Proudfoot), “Divided We Fail” (Ryan Glenn), “Colin Powell” (scriptingnews), “Direct Mailing” (silas216), “Mend Fences With FOX”
(Spud @ Inside Cable News), “The Original Mavericks” (sskennel), “Online Fundraising” (Steve Jurvetson), “The Audacity Of Hope” (Steve Rhodes), “Main Street vs Wall Street” (SyalAntilles), “We Are The Change That
We Seek” (TonyTheTiger), “Lehman Brothers Bankrupt” (tshein), “Stay The Course” “Private Fundraiser” “Vote For Change” “Staying On Message” “Are Palin Rallies Out Of Control?” (twinkletoez), “Oprah-palooza”
(vargas2040), “McCain: Out Of Touch, Out Of Ideas” (Will White), “¡Viva McCain!” (William Beutler), “Campaign Sparks Protests” (zenobia_joy) These photos are used under the GNU Free Documentation License
1.3 http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html: “Without Preconditions?” “Country First” (Jenn Grover) Use of these photos is believed to fall under Fair Use: “AARP” (AARP), “This Week” (ABC News), “The View”
(ABC TV), “Face The Nation” “CBS Evening News” “Poll: Is America On The Wrong Track?” “Is Palin Ready For Prime Time?” (CBS News), “Reverend Wright Resurfaces” (FOX News), “Join Our Team”, “Olympics Ad Buy”,
“Obama: Is He Ready To Lead?” “An Enduring Peace” “Reform. Prosperity. Peace.” (McCain Campaign Ad), “The Fundamentals Of Our Economy” (MSNBC), “Meet The Press” (NBC News), “Weekend Ad Blitz” “Welfare To
Work” “Bomb, Bomb Iran” “Health Care For Wounded Troops” (Obama Campaign Ad) This photo is used with permission: “National Association of Evangelicals” (courtest Ronald Reagan Library) All photos not
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Gabriel Manasan
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If you make a game about WWII, do you need to contact Churchill, Stalin, and Hitler's estates for permission to use their likenesses?
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Fred Beukema
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Stormcow wrote:
If you make a game about WWII, do you need to contact Churchill, Stalin, and Hitler's estates for permission to use their likenesses?


True, since the American war effort (TM) was made in the US after 1923, it's not yet in the public domain. Every time you play Memoir 44, the estates of Henry Stimson and Dwight D. Eisenhower are supposed to get $0.17 each.

NateStraight, thanks for asking the question. It'd be great if Christian or Jason had the opportunity to fill in some of the background.
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Is this a joke?

The right do create such a game is in your fucking constitution.

-

When a newspaper prints a photograph of a politician, they pay the photographer but not the politician.
 
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Lacombe
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Simon Mueller wrote:
Is this a joke?

The right do create such a game is in your fucking constitution.

-

When a newspaper prints a photograph of a politician, they pay the photographer but not the politician.


But when EA Sports puts a picture of Drew Brees on the cover of Madden 2011, they pay him for that right.
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Lacombe
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Stormcow wrote:
If you make a game about WWII, do you need to contact Churchill, Stalin, and Hitler's estates for permission to use their likenesses?


I doubt that this particular IP right extends beyond national borders.

That is, I doubt there is a Berne Convention for the right to publicity.

That, and I don't think most jurisdictions extend the right past death.

fbeukema wrote:
Stormcow wrote:
If you make a game about WWII, do you need to contact Churchill, Stalin, and Hitler's estates for permission to use their likenesses?


True, since the American war effort (TM) was made in the US after 1923, it's not yet in the public domain. Every time you play Memoir 44, the estates of Henry Stimson and Dwight D. Eisenhower are supposed to get $0.17 each.


1923 is the date for copyright. I don't know how long publicity rights would last.

Quote:

NateStraight, thanks for asking the question. It'd be great if Christian or Jason had the opportunity to fill in some of the background.


There are other questions I'd love to see answered concerning the IP issues of the game:

- Did they consider that using the candidates' names on the cover might cause trouble?
[I think they'd be in a heap if they had used photos of the candidates facing off, for instance]

- Did they even consider the publicity rights on top of the copyright rights to the photographs?
[permission from the photographer--CC, fair use, etc--doesn't entail publicity permission from the subject]

Or maybe, once again, I'm just being an ignorant ass. Certainly seems to be my modus operandi on here anymore. *sigh*

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Chakroun Karim
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maybe : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_release ?
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