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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 215 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: what to do if you suspect someone used your material?  (Read 1830 times)
sean2099
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« on: September 04, 2006, 06:31:12 PM »

Hi all,

I wasn't sure where to post this question.  I know there have been several questions about copyrights but I have a question of a different bend.  I admit to possibly over-reacting and paranoia but I have ran across a couple of places on the net that have possibly used my material to create their own stuff. 

On the one hand, I feel a bit flattered that they thought highly enough of my stuff to make derivatives but on the other hand, the license states no derivatives (CC version 2.0 or 2.5 license).  I put a note on my website about what the license means and left an email address if someone is interested in using my material.

My question is how far to push this...I know this is turning into a poll thread...so please pm here instead of posting.

Thanks,

Sean
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TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2006, 06:42:38 PM »

I have ran across a couple of places on the net that have possibly used my material to create their own stuff.

"Possibly"?  That sounds ... a lot vaguer than I'd like to put to a court of law.

Have you tried the old stand-by of saying "Hey, it looks to me like you're deriving stuff from my work, and I think you oughta cut that out"?
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sean2099
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2006, 08:08:26 PM »

Hey TonyLB,

1.  Just trying to stay polite and dipolmatic at this point...hence the term possibly.
2.  As mentioned above, I asked people to stop on the website but if I can contact them, I will.
3.  I had asked for a Private Message, but I will let it go this time. :)

Sean
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2006, 04:23:59 AM »

Hello,

This thread offers some interesting complications for moderation. Please read through to the end.

Sean, by posting here, you're calling for a discussion. That's what the Forge forums are for, except for Connections.

However, I think you may have a point in not wanting specific advice to be posted. So folks, don't say to Sean, "do this and do that," or "I think you should do this or that," or similar, in the thread. I'll explain the discussion topic in a minute.

I should warn everyone now - Sean is asking for legal advice, and this is not a legal-advice forum. Therefore I do not recommend that anyone actually give him any, by PM or here. I can't control whether you do or don't, but this is a bad place to ask for it, and an even worse place to give it.

Finally, how can this discussion topic be made useful to Sean and to others? By actually pointing out one thing which is not a legal issue, but a basic understanding which is often missed.

It is: Nothing you can post or include with your material - copyright, trademark, patent, whatever - protects it from being used by others against your desires. The word protect only creates expectations which will not be satisfied.

Before a person gets excited about being ripped off or about what they can do for reparations, he or she needs to understand whether anything has been violated in the first place. To find out whether "They used my idea!" really means they did anything wrong, the person needs to get a lot more educated about this stuff than the typical internet yip-yap.

But it's not just one simple set of rules. To understand what copyright and all other aspects of property mean, you need to learn a given nation's laws and traditions and so you need to do the actual research. I know what I would do if, say, someone posted "a new game!!!" at his website and it had lifted whole sections from Sorcerer. I also know what I'd do if an RPG were published which uses the identical dice system. (one of these involves legal action; one of them doesn't)

But that's because I know where I stand relative to the book's publishing and commercial history, and relative to the laws of my country and state. You can't just find out what I'd do and then do that.

So everyone, to help Sean, the first thing you must do is restrain your eager little fingers from tippytapping away in this thread, reflecting whatever electrical fields fired off in your brains, and probably not much else. Don't post, yet.

Instead, find some links. Find a good website which actually leads a person to the right places to understand these things, particularly the question of "did this guy rip me off to the point of harm?" (in other words, he may indeed have ripped you off, but the question is whether it's any problem of yours) Post those links here.

There are lots of RPG sites in which you can sound off about your own notions of property and legalism. Let's not have this site be one of them, but instead keep it a resource that really directs people to the information they need.

Best, Ron
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