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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Morbid Topic  (Read 2536 times)
Walt Freitag
Member

Posts: 1039


« on: April 05, 2004, 09:59:17 PM »

Happy Birthday -- Uggh! -- Happy Birthday -- Uggh!
Doom and gloom and deep despair
People dying everywhere
Happy Birthdday -- Ughh! -- Happy Birthday -- Uggh!
When you reach the age you are
Your demise cannot be far
Happy Birthdday -- Ughh! -- Happy Birthday -- Uggh!

-- popular birthday dirge sung by SCAdians and I'm sure many others

Well, birthdays aren't only about cake and presents, right? There's also the acknowledgement, however flippant, of inevitable mortality. Perhaps that explains all the alcohol?

That all of us Forgefolk are of mortal flesh, while regrettable, is not my concern here. And the ephemeral nature of all things Web, while closer to the mark, is likewise not the issue. There will come a time when the Forge, for one of many imaginable reasons or one of the far larger number of unimaginable ones, will no longer exist in its present active form. So be it. No sense worrying about it now.

But... when a composer dies, the music, as they say, lives on. When a historical society disbands, its journals of research papers cease to be issued but the publications already issued do not evaporate from libraries (at least, not at a pace too terribly more rapid than the evaporation of the material's usefulness). Only in certain genres of fanciful fiction do great edifices tumble to the ground upon the demise of their architects.

Web sites, though, are of a different nature, not unlike the heavenly spheres and the flight of sparrows which (as was once commonly believed, and is still believed by some today) require the continuous loving attention of the mind of God to continue in their courses. A Web site of a million pages can disappear from a million desktops with the flip of a single switch.

It's not the cyberspace equivalent of natural disasters -- equipment failures, software errors, vandalism -- that I fear. I have complete confidence that the administrators perform the necessary counterspells (backups, etc.) with the same unmatched competence with which they attend to all other aspects of running the Forge. But suppose the mind of God, as it were, should falter, or turn, driven perhaps by some unforeseeable necessity, to other matters? While the loss of the Forge as an active community would be tragic, the additional loss of the Forge as a published body of text would make it doubly so. I, for one, don't possess copies of even my own several hundred posts (save for a few handfuls of drafts of varying roughness), let alone any records of the myriads of other articles that comprise by far the most important and useful text on role playing game design in existence.

This motivates me to inquire: what arrangements exist, or might be made, for the preservation of that corpus in the event that its motivating spirit should be called away? It would appear that the Forge's own copyright statement might preclude the general distribution of copies of the database, though I'm no IP lawyer and I could be wrong about that. Is there a plan, a designated line of succession, a living will of sorts?

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

-- Dirge Without Music, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

- Walt
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Wandering in the diasporosphere
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2004, 04:32:50 AM »

Walt,

Great question.

On that copyright statement: if I had to do it all over again, you'd have to acknowledge that all posts you make are licensed under a Creative Commons license when you sign up for the Forge. Since I didn't, we're in murky waters here.

As I see it - and I'm no copyright lawyer - by posting here, you give the administrators the de facto right to preserve your post in its current form. I take this rather strictly: I mean we may keep the Forge, including its look and feel, up containing your post as long as we like, but cannot reproduce it in any way.

There are no plans for making sure the Forge always stays in its current form. There should be, and I have ideas who the designated heirs would be. I've had to think about that a lot over the last few months. In case people haven't noticed, I've been incredibly busy with my own life - I've had a major promotion - and haven't had the time for the Forge that I wish I did.

My end point is this: your thought is well taken, and I'm glad you've brought it up. Three years is a long time for a website to remain active, in my opinion, and it's time to think about the day that Ron or Clinton aren't here any more, even though that day won't happen for a long time.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Walt Freitag
Member

Posts: 1039


« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2004, 09:06:47 AM »

Thanks, Clinton, for pondering the question. I hope it remains hypothetical for a long time.

I have nothing more to ask or to suggest about the issue. I might, however, make a habit of repeating the question on future Forge birthdays.

- Walt
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Wandering in the diasporosphere
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2004, 09:18:25 AM »

Would it be possible to make the database downloadable? The one could query out what they wanted and make their own extracts.

Mike
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-Get your indie game fix online.
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2004, 10:11:28 AM »

Mike,

See above. My real answer: I wish, but I don't have the rights to, as I understand it.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2004, 10:54:06 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
Mike,

See above. My real answer: I wish, but I don't have the rights to, as I understand it.

I don't get that. I mean, I can copy/paste it all for free whenever I want. You'd just be making that more convenient (I'm assuming free, here). How can that be a violation of copywrite?

Mike
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ethan_greer
Member

Posts: 869


WWW
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2004, 11:07:36 AM »

My understanding:

Since the individual poster owns the copyright to his or her posted content, only the individual poster can authorize an alternative method of distribution of said content. In order for Clinton to make the database downloadable, he would be legally obligated to contact each poster and obtain their permission.

I think copying and pasting is also illegal if you distribute the fruits of said labor.

Again, this is all based on my understanding, I'm no lawyer, etc.
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Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2004, 11:10:02 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

I don't get that. I mean, I can copy/paste it all for free whenever I want. You'd just be making that more convenient (I'm assuming free, here). How can that be a violation of copywrite?


I'll go on record as saying I think copyright is broken as it stands, so a lot of what I'm saying is nonsense, because modern copyright laws are nonsensical. Yes, Mike, you can copy and paste from the Forge all you like. What you can't do is copy something and distribute it, which is why I can't make a downloadable database here.

I want to make sure everyone realizes I don't have a clue what I'm talking about legally here. I'm just going by my best understanding.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2004, 11:35:47 AM »

Here's what I'm saying. The Forge is a database. Right? We download small portions of it via the service software to view. This isn't considered a problem. My suggestion is that you merely make the same database available via another method of transmission. A more efficient one in terms of rate of transfer.

Basically, it's like you have the right to distribute some book by snail mail, but you're telling me that you can't use Fed Ex to get it to me, because that would be a different form of transmission. Transmission methods are not "form."

Course, I'm no lawyer as everyone knows. Can someone who is a lawyer tell me if what I'm saying is kosher or not? MJ?

Mike
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-Get your indie game fix online.
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