Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
60 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: OOP copyrights--who owns? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: copyright [+] [View All]
United States
Vista
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am curious--who owns the copyrights to the SPI catalog?

I understand Decision Games owns many of them, but they don't release the original games. They release (generally inferior) redesigns. So what is the status of the original designs?

Anyone know?
3 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I believe it's Decision Games. My general understanding is SPI went belly up it's catalog went to TSR who SPI had an outstanding loan to. TSR then sold that catalog to Decision.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
daniel d
Australia
langwarrin
victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For the rights that Decision games own it doesn't matter if they release an updated version or no version at all. They own the rights to the original games and also any new versions they produce.

If I remember correctly not all SPI title rights went to TSR and then later to DG. Some had previously been sold to Avalon Hill by SPI to get a cash injection (Panzergruppe Guderian, Freedom in the Galaxy, france 40 etc) and these presumably then went on to Hasbro when AH disappeared.

Some of SPI titles I think reverted to their designers but which titles I couldn't say.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Arthur
Australia
New South Wales
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sounds like the proverbial can of worms...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucius Cornelius
United States
Rome
SPQR
flag msg tools
badge
Lord Protector of Nothing in Particular
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cut the lawyer talk; resort to honest arrrhing!
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles McLellan
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
The list of DG owned copyrights has been published several times. I will try posting the list here, but it is probably posted elsewhere on BGG. I am attempting to post on Decision Games (I) Image Files.

At least one of the games to which DG did not have rights was republished in S&T magazine; consequently, its status would be debatable.

VASSAL team's prohibition of posting specifies SPI. How this prohibition would apply to DG or earlier Poulton Press published games is unknown, but I suspect that VASSAL team would not permit posting.

Hexwars has a license from DG for use of DG/SPI material in on-line gaming. That is the conflict with the posting of SPI modules. As DG has indicated that they intend to support -- form of support undefined -- VASSAL modules in the future, Hexwars license may not be extended. However, only time will tell.

Posting of DG/SPI modules/gameboxes in formats other than VASSAL, like ZunTsu or Cyberboard, occurs from time to time and does not appear to be challenged.

DG has sold modules in ADC2 format. This format can be converted into VASSAL. Therefore, a player and an opponent could purchase ADC2 modules, convert them to VASSAL, and then play these on-line or by e-mail without copyright conflict.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dorosh
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
charles mclellan wrote:

Posting of DG/SPI modules/gameboxes in formats other than VASSAL, like ZunTsu or Cyberboard, occurs from time to time and does not appear to be challenged.


Just because there is no challenge, doesn't make something legal. The holder of a copyright doesn't have to contest it in order to claim it. It simply belongs to the owner regardless. It's not lost through inaction.

Quote:
DG has sold modules in ADC2 format. This format can be converted into VASSAL. Therefore, a player and an opponent could purchase ADC2 modules, convert them to VASSAL, and then play these on-line or by e-mail without copyright conflict.


This doesn't seem accurate either.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dr Caligari
United States
King of Prussia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
IANAL !! (now that that's out of the way)

It is my understanding that there is no copyright protection for games. Copyright does cover the artwork and the written rules however.

So if Decision Games owns some of SPI's designs, what do they own exactly?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles McLellan
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
Michael, I was not suggesting that modules made and distributed in Zun Tsu or Cyberboard were legal, I meant only to indicate that DG has taken no action that I know of to have them removed from distribution.

Further, it is not illegal to purchase a module from DG so if a player and his opponent where to buy an ADC2 module and play by e-mail that would not be illegal or a violation of copyright law. Can you agree with me on that? Then if each party converted their purchased ADC2 module to VASSAL, and played the module using that format, I cannot see how that could be determined as a violation of copyright law either.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles McLellan
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
Dr Caligari, in the USA games are copyrighted and can be registered. Most Avalon Hill games were registered. Copyright protection is provided to both registered and unregistered games, but the penalties are greater for registered games.

What must be kept in mind is that copyrights are established to protect the copyright holder's original work. If material such as a chart or map or text does not exhibit substantial work, then it cannot be copyrighted. A solid blue map with a hex outline or a historical weather chart or the word "the" cannot be copyrighted. These, of course, are extreme examples. The more complex examples would have to be left to the litigation process.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles McLellan
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
TC, I know of no patents or copyrights on the symbols or icons used, so he would be free to use those in any manner he chose.

However, if the symbol or icon were used as trademark and defended by the using corporation, then that would be a problem.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dorosh
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
charles mclellan wrote:
Michael, I was not suggesting that modules made and distributed in Zun Tsu or Cyberboard were legal, I meant only to indicate that DG has taken no action that I know of to have them removed from distribution.


And the point I was making, is that DG does not have to take any action in order to protect their claim. The claim is considered protected no matter what action they take, or don't.

Quote:
Further, it is not illegal to purchase a module from DG


The crux of legality actually does rest on commerce and the exchanging of money. Reproducing for "personal use", in which I do not stand to gain money - or rather, the original copyright holder does not stand to lose money - is permissible under the law. Other "fair use" is also permitted - i.e. for purposes of review, I can reproduce parts of the manual in order to discuss them in an article here on BGG.

Quote:
so if a player and his opponent where to buy an ADC2 module and play by e-mail that would not be illegal or a violation of copyright law. Can you agree with me on that? Then if each party converted their purchased ADC2 module to VASSAL, and played the module using that format, I cannot see how that could be determined as a violation of copyright law either.


Using copyrighted material for personal use is one thing, but sharing it - which is legally "distributing" - is another matter. If I give you something I've converted using material that is legally the property of someone else, that is "distributing" it, and it is illegal. My understanding is that it would cease to be "personal use" once I start sharing it with others.

So, no, I would not agree that sharing copyrighted material belonging to someone else is not a violation of copyright. In fact, you're not really betraying any great understanding of what copyright actually is, at least as I understand it.

Note that "derivative works" are also included in copyright law - and can include artwork, such as counters and maps, even if not identical to the originals.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles McLellan
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
Michael, who mentioned sharing?

I stated that EACH party purchased an ADC2 module from DG. Is that illegal? That is not distributing or sharing a module.

Further, each party converting their OWN ADC2 module to VASSAL is not distributing or sharing a module in any way. There are TWO, independently imported modules from the TWO purchased ADC2 modules from DG. How can you see ANY violation of copyright law there?

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles McLellan
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
The posted list of DG copyrights is at this URL:http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/1081791/decision-games-i?...

The list seems large, but quad games are listed both individually and collectively.
4 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Vista
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Fascinating. Many of the S&T games aren't in here. T-34 (of all games!), Borodino, Kampfpanzer, Revolt in the East, Road to Richmond, Stonewall: The Battle of Kernstown, March 23, 1862, Cassino, Ney vs. Wellington, Patton's 3rd Army: The Lorraine Campaign, Wilson's Creek: The West's First Fight, August 10, 1861, seem to be it (through June 1980, anyway). I'm confused, though--Battle for Germany isn't on this list, and I know DG made their own version of it.

Does anyone have the list of who the other titles belong to?

(it looks like Anzio Beachhead ended up with 3W--did those titles also end up at Decision?)

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dorosh
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
darthhugo wrote:
Good JC! Are you guys seriously discussing this shibit again? The horse has been vaporized into quarks... there is nothing left to whack.


New legislation was passed over the summer regarding a variety of mediums, and with new technologies being invented every few weeks to share games, books, magazines and other related "stuff" relevant to the hobby, the topic is more relevant now, than ever. Hiding heads in the sand won't make it go away.

Public education is obviously an essential component of the issue; no different than speeding or distracted driving.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dorosh
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
charles mclellan wrote:
Michael, who mentioned sharing?

I stated that EACH party purchased an ADC2 module from DG. Is that illegal? That is not distributing or sharing a module.

Further, each party converting their OWN ADC2 module to VASSAL is not distributing or sharing a module in any way.

There are TWO, independently imported modules from the TWO purchased ADC2 modules from DG. How can you see ANY violation of copyright law there?



Look up "derivative works" in the copyright law. I don't have a dog in the fight, but the original artist and publisher might. You asked, I answered.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Owsen
United States
Redmond
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey, you're innocent until proven guilty.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles McLellan
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
Michael, importing an ADC2 module into VASSAL for your own use has nothing to do with "derivative works." Derivative works are new works base upon the work of others. An example would be a new "Star Wars" book written using the existing characters and development. Unless licensed, this new work would be violating the "Star Wars" copyright.

As long as one does not distribute an imported VASSAL module that was legally obtained initially, there is no violation of copyright law.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles McLellan
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
No, you're presumed innocent until caught and proven guilty.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dorosh
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
charles mclellan wrote:
Michael, importing an ADC2 module into VASSAL for your own use has nothing to do with "derivative works." Derivative works are new works base upon the work of others.


And what do you think the artwork inside an ADC2 module would be?

Think outside the box.

Check out the legal decision already on the books in the matter of Multi-Man Publishing (or was it Avalon Hill?) versus Critical Hit.

I'm not positive I'm correct, but the reason much of this is a grey area is simply because no one has had the inclination to take it up before a judge - there's not enough at stake one way or another.

If you want to gamble that you're right, that's all you're doing - gambling. Gamble away, like I said, I have nothing riding on what you're gambling. But I'm not going to endorse your opinion, either.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucius Cornelius
United States
Rome
SPQR
flag msg tools
badge
Lord Protector of Nothing in Particular
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Shouldn't there be a law against holding the copyrights and keeping others from enjoying it?
At least lose the rights to the public after a certain period of time? arrrh
9 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dorosh
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sullafelix wrote:
Shouldn't there be a law against holding the copyrights and keeping others from enjoying it?
At least lose the rights to the public after a certain period of time? arrrh


Why would you publicly advocate for something that already exists?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucius Cornelius
United States
Rome
SPQR
flag msg tools
badge
Lord Protector of Nothing in Particular
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Michael Dorosh wrote:
Why would you publicly advocate for something that already exists?
Always one step behind! shake
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles McLellan
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
Michael, You have mentioned "fair use." Just how can any module that you legally own and do not distribute be violation of copyright?

Better read the case law for derivative works. I think the examples are clear in this case.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.