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Subject: What's wrong with this cover? rss

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Guenter Cornett
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"Starfan" posted "2nd Russian edition, from Zvezda (front of box)":

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/1095738/hey-thats-my-fish

Have a look on it's cover. Do you see what's wrong?


- no spoiler -


The cover contains a shark and another designer's name: Sergey Dachiuk.

This version is not authorized by Alvydas Jakeliunas and me.

Why did Zvezda published it?


At http://diced.ru/?control=pages&action=view_page&n=200 a statement is quaoted:

Я со своей стороны тоже интересовался данным вопросом, и ответ был от Татьяны (тогда ещё ПР-менеджера Звезды) такой:

"Игра очень востребована среди наших покупателей и в связи с прекращением действия контракта с Фалангс на эту игру мы оказались перед невыполнением договорных обязательств по отгрузке этой игры перед нашими покупателями. Тогда мы заказали разработку игры этой тематики новому автору Сергею Дьячуку ( автор игры тачки). Игру заказывали под этим же названием, но с кардинальными изменениями. В игре появились кубик, акула, поле. Так что на сегодняшний день это другая игра и мы будем ее продавать в России, с юридической точки зрения вопрос абсолютно прозрачный и о плагиате здесь речь не идет."

Google translation:
For my part, was interested in the issue, and the answer was from Tatiana (then the PR-manager of Stars) is as follows:

"The game is very popular among our customers and in connection with the termination of the contract with Falangs for this game, we were faced with the failure of contractual obligations on shipments of the game in front of our customers. Then we ordered the development of a new game on this subject the author Sergei Dyachuk (by playing the wheelbarrow). Game ordered under the same name, but with radical changes. The game appeared cube shark field. So far it's a different game and we'll sell it to Russia, from a legal perspective, the question is absolutely clear about plagiarism and here we are not goes. "


What is the 'radical change'?

Zvezda reduced the number of penguins from 16 to 13, so that in two and three player game the colors cannot be choosed as in 'first edition'.
Zvezda placed a board below the tiles.
In the center there is a shark.
By dice roll the shark moves x steps in one direction.
If the Zvezda-shark meets a penguin the player loose one fish tile.

A 'radical change'?


It's not radical enough that Zvezda noticed the difference at it's site:
http://www.zvezda.org.ru/?cat=15&p=2&art=72

Edit: At 21st Sep.2011 they removed it. Here's an image of the saved version:



They publish a review of our game and place the cover of the shark version on it. In this way they advertise for the shark version with awards our game got years before shark version was published:


Настольная игра «Эй! Это МОЯ рыба!» («Hey! That’s My Fish!») была впервые издана в 2003 году и с тех пор была издана во многих странах. Эта настольная игра номинировалась на две престижные игровые награды и имеет высокий рейтинг на http://www.boardgamegeek.com («главный» сайт, посвящённый настольным играм), кроме того в 2006 году глубоко уважаемый нами Бруно Фаидутти (известный автор настольных игр) выбрал эту игру своей «Игрой года». Впрочем, довольно статистики!Игра «Эй! Это МОЯ рыба!» – это настольная игра, которая по-настоящему удалась и авторам и издателю. Весёлые пингвины привлекают глаз, простые и понятные правила позволяют сразу начать играть, а сама игра, стремительно промелькнув, заставляет вас сыграть ещё одну партию, а потом ещё и ещё... Автор этого обзора впервые столкнулся с «Hey! That’s My Fish!» на германской выставке настольных игр Spiel’07 в 2007 году и был немедленно ею очарован. После пары партий на стенде американского издателя игра была немедленно куплена и, по возвращении домой, порадовала многих друзей.

google translation:

Board game, "Hey! It's my fish! »(« Hey! That's My Fish! ») Was first published in 2003 and has since been published in many countries. This board game was nominated for two prestigious awards game and has a high rating on http://www.boardgamegeek.com («main" website dedicated to board games), also in 2006, a deeply respected by us Faidutti Bruno (famous author of board games) chose this game its "Game of the Year". Enough statistics! Game, "Hey! It's my fish! "- A board game, which truly a success and the authors and the publisher. Funny penguins attract the eye, plain and simple rules make it possible to start playing right away, but the game itself, is rapidly promelknuv makes you play even one game, and then another and another ...


And not enough: Zvezda's German lawyer threatens me with lawsuit and law enforcement, if I publish my reproaches.


In Russia there is - following an interview with me - a big discussion at http://www.boardgamer.ru/intervyu-s-nemeckim-razrabotchikom-...

More than 5000 views and 400 posts (including troll posts) within 5 days.

It's a bit hard but possible to follow the Russian discussian by google translation. But I guess it's worth to be discussed here, too.

best, Guenter





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Vlad Oldman
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Zvezda in Europe have another brand http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgamepublisher/4318/sirius-...
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Guenter Cornett
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In my opinion, the shark version is a - not well done - variant of our game and therefor a plagiat. But if we take the words of Zvezda-PR-Tatjana seriously, they fullfilled orders by sending a different game with same title. f.e.:

"The customer wants settlers"
"We don't have in stock"
"Then send them Through the desert with a sticker of settlers on the box"

So it's not only game designers and publisher have to fear, that in case of contract termination Zvezda publishes a game which is so similar to their game as 'Hey! That's my fish!' is to 'Hey! That's my fish'.

Shop owners have to look carefully in the box they got from Zvezda which game is inside.
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Maxim Istomin
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I my opinion this is one of the worst cases of poorly concealed plagiarizm. They did not even change the name or the subject matter of the game!

I am, frankly, very surprized that this happened because Zvezda licenses many different games from European companies. Are they not afraid of reputational damage? Who is going to work with them?



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Sven Nemet
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I will defenitlly boycott all Zvezda products, and I think everyone should do the same!
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Vlad Choporov
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2Maxim Istomin:
Ждем от вас новостей в этом топике. Знаю, что вы пытаетесь разобраться в правовой стороне вопроса.
Looking forward to your news in this topic. I know that you are trying to understand the legal aspect.
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zebracat wrote:
I will defenitlly boycott all Zvezda products, and I think everyone should do the same!

In my very large game collection I have not one game by Zvezda products, and now intend to keep it that way. I am sorry Guenter is going through such turmoil.
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Eugene van der Pijll
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Unfortunately, legal action against game plagiarism is very difficult. Game mechanics probably can't be copyrighted. If your game has been copied, you can't do much about it.

That is, unless the publisher was stupid enough to use the original title, to use the original graphics (or something very similar that can probably be proved derivative), to use the original game in their advertising, or to have their PR people tell that their copy was based on the original...

Quote:
And not enough: Zvezda's German lawyer threatens me with lawsuit and law enforcement, if I publish my reproaches.

I understand you're not happy about this, but that lawsuit would be interesting to watch...
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Guenter Cornett
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I agree that legal action is difficult, but (at least in continental Europe) there is creators right on games as on books. A special protection, f.e. patent, isn't demanded and not possible (in most cases).

The problem is to decide: Is it

#1 the same game
#2 a variation of the game

#3 an inspiration by a game
#4 something totally different

The first two points need permission by creator the second two points not. It needs a detailed view on the game if it's #2 or #3.

In this case I guess it's obvious that's #2 (after playing with shark).
Moreover the Zvezda-PR-statement and other public information at Zvezda's site makes it even more clear.

Title/Trademark is different. In my personal opinion the title is abused, because the customers shall take it for our game. But title and trademark rights are more difficult to understand than creators rights. There are many companies involved, so it's not so easy. Therefor I don't discuss this point intensively but focus on creators rights.

Quote:
I understand you're not happy about this, but that lawsuit would be interesting to watch...


Yes, this will be very interesting.




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Byron
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An apt title for this thread should be "Hey! That's my game!"
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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There's no die roll in Hey, That's My Fish!, so this new game is not the same.
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Shayne Gray
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That sucks.
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Guenter Cornett
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For me it's clearly a - minor - variation of our game (#2).

The shark - moved by the die - has very less influence on game play.
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Berthold Nüchter
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What do you mean by "creators right"? Usually there are two things to consider: copyright and trademark. Usually the idea and even the exact rules of a game are not protected. The wording of rules, images, miniatures etc. are usually protected by copyright law, the name of a game by trademark law.
It must also be considered which law is applicable, russian law, some kind of international law?

Anyway this behaviour is pretty bold and may damage their relation to other companies, even if it should be legal.
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Guenter Cornett
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copyright is US-law
There is no 'copyright' in Germany.
In Germany (and afaik in continental Europe) we talk about creators right (Urheberrecht - author, causer, originator, ...).

There is a big difference. You can sell or loose copyright, but never loose beeing creator (Urheberschaft).

F.e. in Germany you cannot sell your rights, just giving licenses. And if you sell licences for a cup of tea and your creation becomes lucrative, you can demand extra payment and a few other rights. There is no way to loose it - with exception you make it public domain.

In german language:

German Urheberrechtsgesetz: http://transpatent.com/gesetze/urhg.html

About New Russian Urheberrechtsgesetz:
http://www.uni-muenster.de/Jura.itm/hoeren/INHALTE/publikati...

Different languages:
http://archiv.jura.uni-saarland.de/russian/jurips/re/interne...


Quote:
Anyway this behaviour is pretty bold and may damage their relation to other companies, even if it should be legal.


Moreover: if it's seen as legal, it generally damages the relation between Russian companies and companies of other countries.

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Eugene van der Pijll
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Morganza wrote:
There's no die roll in Hey, That's My Fish!, so this new game is not the same.

As BoardGameGeek defines games, it's a new game, and it should get a separate entry in the database. (With 2 authors 3 authors?)

At the same time, I agree that there is not much "new" in the game, and basically everything from the old game is still there (except for the board layout, which is hexagonal instead of rectangular).

The difference between the two games/versions seems to be about the same as that between Diamant and Diamant.


Edit: I meant 3 authors of course; the original game has 2 authors already.
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Guenter Cornett
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For entry at bgg: Does it matter, if it's legal or not?
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Berthold Nüchter
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Thank you for the interesting links, Günter.

Nevertheless I think that the word "Urheberrecht" is usually translated as "copyright". But it's true that this right is treated differently in german law and in common law.

In this case to me the problem seems to be what is protected by the law, not if the right can be transfered.

This game is obviously just a variant of your game. But it is possible that this fact alone does not matter in regard of the applicable law.
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Unfortunately this sort of thing happens now and then. It used to be one or two companies in Brazil that seemed to pull this sort of stunt. Also seen at least one from Poland. Often these were flat out copies with the only change being the art.

In this case it looks like the Russian company is using a repeat excuse to cover their design theft. You might also want to look into wether or not they are deliberately over-ordering the games they copy in order to set up the excuse that they "must" copy the game to fill orders.

The changes are mostly cosmetic in this case aside from the shark really.

Unfortunately it is difficult to say just what can be done about this. The publishers need to seriously take notice and take action. Unfortunately it will likely take many more thefts before someone takes notice.

Keep an eye on this company and warn anyone else they may start copying.
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Eugene van der Pijll
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Guenter.Cornett wrote:
For entry at bgg: Does it matter, if it's legal or not?

If you want a definitive answer, you'd have to ask an admin. My assumption is that BGG strives for completeness, and that an entry in the database is not a claim of legality. This is based on the inclusion of a number of other dubious games (although I don't know another case involving plagiarism).

Adding this unauthorized edition as a separate game in the database has the advantage that there can be a big red banner in the game's description, saying that it's illegal.
 
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Guenter Cornett
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@Berthold:
Yes, it's usual translated. And sometimes I use 'copyright' in this way.
But in international forum the difference is important. So I started to force myself to write 'creator's right' if I talk about continental Europe 'copyright'.

It would be a help if the Americans can tell, if it's understandable. Or is there a better term: author's right?

At my site http://www.spieleautorenseite.de/ you'll find an article of mine about judgements:


7. Mai. 08 Urheberrecht von Spielen: 3 Gerichtsurteile
"Es gibt wohl nicht viele Urteile zum Urheberrecht an Spielen. Dennoch ist die Frage nach dem Schutz von Spielen, die uns Spieleautoren immer wieder verunsichert, schon vor Jahrzehnten Gegenstand von Gerichtsurteilen gewesen."

In diesem Artikel beschäftige ich mich mit den Urteilen des OLG München (1993), des OLG Frankfurt (1995) und des BGH (1961).

And I framed an article of Lawyer Gregor Theado: "Recht kompliziert" about creator's right of games (direct link: http://zuspieler.de/recht-kompliziert/ )

Moreover I write about Reiner Knizias lawsuit against Humboldt and collected links of discussion about Reinhard Staupes open letter ('kunterbunt'). Of course I tell my opinion and I am not a lawyer, but these sources may help you to find an own view.



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Steve Bachman
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Morganza wrote:
There's no die roll in Hey, That's My Fish!, so this new game is not the same.

Perhaps you just glossed over the original post, but there was more to it. There was no claim that the games are identical.
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Eric Flood
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Ward wrote:
Morganza wrote:
There's no die roll in Hey, That's My Fish!, so this new game is not the same.

Perhaps you just glossed over the original post, but there was more to it. There was no claim that the games are identical.


Actually, there was a translation referring to awards the original title received..

Quote:
google translation:

Board game, "Hey! It's my fish! »(« Hey! That's My Fish! ») Was first published in 2003 and has since been published in many countries. This board game was nominated for two prestigious awards game and has a high rating on http://www.boardgamegeek.com («main" website dedicated to board games), also in 2006, a deeply respected by us Faidutti Bruno (famous author of board games) chose this game its "Game of the Year". Enough statistics! Game, "Hey! It's my fish! "- A board game, which truly a success and the authors and the publisher. Funny penguins attract the eye, plain and simple rules make it possible to start playing right away, but the game itself, is rapidly promelknuv makes you play even one game, and then another and another ...
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So the publisher changed the game enough to avoid copyright infringement, and then advertises the modified game with references to the original? Ewww. Icky. Certainly not something I'd try in any jurisdiction with IP-protection laws.
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