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MADE Runs Into Legal Issues Restoring Offline Game Servers

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6 minutes ago, TanakaTheMoonFlame said:

This is my first time posting an article here, but this seemed cool. I for one am in full support of restoration, both for consumer and scholarly use. 

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/02/preservation-or-theft-historians-publishers-argue-over-dead-game-servers/

 

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When this came  up the last time round I said they might have trouble becasue they were using the wrong argument.  It's great to preserve old games, but they need to be asking for a way to run said servers without the game developers CR owners loosing all rights to that IP.    Just like fair use policy is a way for people to use CR for certrain activities without the CR owners losing rights to that material, This needs to follow a similar vein.


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Could someone TLDR the article for us? I'm lost as to what on earth is going on in there lol


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1 hour ago, iiNNeX said:

Could someone TLDR the article for us? I'm lost as to what on earth is going on in there lol

Basically a coalition of museums and preservationists have been trying to push for legislation to permit "dead" online games (those with no longer operating online servers) to be reverse engineered and resurrected.

 

Video game makers say that is is a form of stealing their IP and stealing their money. Somehow...? I really don't understand the argument, but apparently the court does.

 

Previously the courts have implemented an exemption allowing the bypassing of online activation servers (such as those for DRM protected content) at such a point as they go down, to preserve the rights of users who purchased that content. Offline DRM such as the disk-based DRMs SafeDisk and SecuROM aren't covered under this.

 

The court however would not go so far as allowing the reverse engineering of game servers. This is another push to have them allow that.

 

If successful it would allow the restoration of old shut-down online games like Tabula Rasa, PlanetSide 1, the Matrix Online, and others.

 

P.S. might be of note, but the InfiniteRasa project, a reversed engineered Tabula Rasa server, got taken down by DMCA claims three times under different names being developed by different people.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Sniperfox47 said:

Basically a coalition of museums and preservationists have been trying to push for legislation to permit "dead" online games (those with no longer operating online servers) to be reverse engineered and resurrected.

 

Video game makers say that is is a form of stealing their IP and stealing their money. Somehow...? I really don't understand the argument, but apparently the court does.

 

Previously the courts have implemented an exemption allowing the bypassing of online activation servers (such as those for DRM protected content) at such a point as they go down, to preserve the rights of users who purchased that content. Offline DRM such as the disk-based DRMs SafeDisk and SecuROM aren't covered under this.

 

The court however would not go so far as allowing the reverse engineering of game servers. This is another push to have them allow that.

 

If successful it would allow the restoration of old shut-down online games like Tabula Rasa, PlanetSide 1, the Matrix Online, and others.

 

P.S. might be of note, but the InfiniteRasa project, a reversed engineered Tabula Rasa server, got taken down by DMCA claims three times under different names being developed by different people.

 

 

Thank you, that makes sense now.


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It's not necessarily the DEVS of the games, but rather the PUBLISHERS of the games that are throwing this hissy fit about people possibly getting a route to bring dead online games back for study and are trying to shift the goalposts by saying "you're not doing this for research! You're just doing this so you can play games we no longer want to run and support!".


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it is beyond my comprehension skills how can one legally circumvent online DRM for the cases when the authentication is no longer possible by the servers shutdown by the publishers... and makes it illegal to create a server for multiplayer games that no longer have servers active.

Weird world we live in.


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How are publishers losing money when someone resurrects their dead game that isn't even for sale? They probably fear they might lose sales if they ever remake the game.


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2 minutes ago, matrix07012 said:

How are publishers losing money when someone resurrects their dead game that isn't even for sale? They probably fear they might lose sales if they ever remake the game.

In many cases the originals are superior to sequels and remakes after all.

 

compare Battlefront 2 vs Battlefront 2


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I deeply appreciate how the gaming vendors argument is "Well they have no evidence this is for scholarly work. If it was only for scholarly work then ...maybe... but the public damn well never again get to play the abandoned games we're no longer monotizing!" xD

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18 minutes ago, Valentyn said:

In many cases the originals are superior to sequels and remakes after all.

 

compare Battlefront 2 vs Battlefront 2

Or Guild Wars vs Guild Wars 2. One of my favorite complex strategy MMORPGs reduced to an oversimplified WoW.

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A lot of people seem to think this is about developers wanting to make money, but as others have already pointed out that doesn't really make any sense because the games are no longer sold to begin with.

I think this is about controlling people. By not allowing people to enjoy old games, games they might have bought and loved, developers/publishers are essentially putting themselves in the role of dictators over what people do for fun. 

 

George Lucas is a great example of this. Every time he released a new version of Star Wars the old version was discontinued. He didn't discontinue them because he wanted to make more money. Selling both versions would not have been a problem.

He did so because he did not enjoy things in the old version and didn't like that other people enjoyed them. So he tried to force people to align with his taste.

I'm sure there are lots of examples where artists are annoyed by the success of their old works outshining their new ones. If they could force people to directing their attention away from the old and onto the new then I am sure a lot of them would, even though the new things might not be as enjoyable as the old ones, and even though they might not gain anything monetary wise.

 

It reminds me a bit of Microsoft and Windows. Microsoft were very aggressive with forcing users to Windows 10. Since it was a free upgrade I doubt they had immediate profits in mind. Profits were certainly one of the things on their lists but there were probably other reasons too. They have since then slowly tried to force people over to Windows 10 by doing things like arbitrarily blocking update if you use certain processors, making it so that the exit button on prompts count as you agreeing to installing the update, and so on. if they had a convenient off button like game developers have (that doesn't result in a ton of lawsuits) then I am sure they would have used it by now.

That too is about gaining more control over your users, so that you can steer them in whatever direction you want. You might not even have a plan today on what to do, but you might in the future and when that day comes you will be glad you had that power.

 

Of course, there are some ways they can benefit monetarily by let's say forcing people to play the latest version of some game (Guild Wars vs Guild Wars 2, for example) but to me that seems a bit far fetched.

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there seems to be some misunderstanding as to the reason they do this. I read about this that the current copyright laws in order to defend an IP you own you must prove you made every effort to protected it, as not to be abandoned at the eyes of the law, that's why they are forced to do this as some games may be dead IP's but someday may be revived. It's more an obligation imposed by current laws.

It makes more sense than the alternative that they are just assholes, because there is no downside for them as they are no longer supporting or benefiting financially by the game.


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This is like with me and silkroad online... the official version is garbage and there's bots that make up 99.99% of the population of any server at any given time so it's not fun to play compared to 2005-2008. People that still play this game usually turn to private servers just so they have that human interactions or the community feel. Every time Joymax closes down one private server 20 more popup to fill that gap.


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1 hour ago, Sniperfox47 said:

Or Guild Wars vs Guild Wars 2. One of my favorite complex strategy MMORPGs reduced to an oversimplified WoW.

I still have such fond memories of Guild Wars!

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23 minutes ago, asus killer said:

I read about this that the current copyright laws in order to defend an IP you own you must prove you made every effort to protected it, as not to be abandoned at the eyes of the law, that's why they are forced to do this as some games may be dead IP's but someday may be revived.

I have heard this too but it's not entirely correct.

 

First of all, it's trademarks you can lose by not defending them. Copyright is yours until you die (even after you die you own it for an additional 70 years), or if you explicitly gives permission away using a license like creative commons.

 

And as for trademarks, there is a great deal of uncertainty because courts have ruled it in different ways.

Some have ruled that if you do not take measures to protect your trademark, for example letting everyone use it however they want, then it counts as the trademark being abandoned.

However, some have ruled that just because you don't pursue infringes doesn't mean you have abandoned it.

 

Most companies want to be on the safe side though.

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2 hours ago, asus killer said:

there seems to be some misunderstanding as to the reason they do this. I read about this that the current copyright laws in order to defend an IP you own you must prove you made every effort to protected it, as not to be abandoned at the eyes of the law, that's why they are forced to do this as some games may be dead IP's but someday may be revived. It's more an obligation imposed by current laws.

It makes more sense than the alternative that they are just assholes, because there is no downside for them as they are no longer supporting or benefiting financially by the game.

That's trademark, not copyright.

 


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3 hours ago, LAwLz said:

Of course, there are some ways they can benefit monetarily by let's say forcing people to play the latest version of some game (Guild Wars vs Guild Wars 2, for example) but to me that seems a bit far fetched.

I definitely agree with the rest of  your post, but I wanted to reply to this part.

 

With small game studios I definitely see the "embarassment of past success" (for lack of better words) playing a larger role. With large game studios I can see this idea of previous titles pulling audience away from new titles popping up though.

 

Look at the keywords all these leaks from studios are using. Reengagement, engagement, tie-in, reattach, etc. There is a strong correlation between how much time players spend in game and how much money they spend on microtransactions on average.

 

To that end, anything else that players might spend time on is the enemy. You want your players gaming as much as possible. You want them playing your latest monotized game as much as possible. And you want to manipulate/social engineer them into spending as much money as possible.

 

I could definitely see a board of directors upset at loss of monotization because players are playing older games, even if they've bought the new ones.

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3 hours ago, Sniperfox47 said:

 

With small game studios I definitely see the "embarassment of past success" (for lack of better words) playing a larger role. With large game studios I can see this idea of previous titles pulling audience away from new titles popping up though.

 

Look at the keywords all these leaks from studios are using. Reengagement, engagement, tie-in, reattach, etc. There is a strong correlation between how much time players spend in game and how much money they spend on microtransactions on average.

 

To that end, anything else that players might spend time on is the enemy. You want your players gaming as much as possible. You want them playing your latest monotized game as much as possible. And you want to manipulate/social engineer them into spending as much money as possible.

 

I could definitely see a board of directors upset at loss of monotization because players are playing older games, even if they've bought the new ones.

Agree with this.

 

Time is money - Publisher A wants players to spend their time on activities that will generate revenue (if you're playing Solitaire or BF1, you're not playing BF2 and buying lootboxes, for example). More specifically, activities that will generate the maximum possible revenue (that is to say, new games and games with more opportunities for the player to spend money) for Publisher A.

 

Wow game companies/publishers are businesses out to make money! Who would've ever seen that coming? xD

 

Market cannibalization is a not optimal. Direct the sheep to where they will be of most profit!

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5 hours ago, Sniperfox47 said:

I definitely agree with the rest of  your post, but I wanted to reply to this part.

 

With small game studios I definitely see the "embarassment of past success" (for lack of better words) playing a larger role. With large game studios I can see this idea of previous titles pulling audience away from new titles popping up though.

 

Look at the keywords all these leaks from studios are using. Reengagement, engagement, tie-in, reattach, etc. There is a strong correlation between how much time players spend in game and how much money they spend on microtransactions on average.

 

To that end, anything else that players might spend time on is the enemy. You want your players gaming as much as possible. You want them playing your latest monotized game as much as possible. And you want to manipulate/social engineer them into spending as much money as possible.

 

I could definitely see a board of directors upset at loss of monotization because players are playing older games, even if they've bought the new ones.

I agree but there are arguments to counter this tho.

If a new game is launched and meant to "replace" the old one, if the new one is really better people won't bother with the older version and the amount of "lost" revenue would be lost than to take it all to court and fight for it.

 

Also older games usually have communities around them, if they kill a game, they don't only kill a game but also a community, usually only a small group of people. If they just let the community bring the game back to life the community can stick together and keep on existing. People would be happy and it's not like it's dangerous or anything...

 

I think publishers are doing this not only because of money but also because their new games aren't that much better than what's already out there and know that not many people will bother about their new game if many people like the older one more.


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10 hours ago, asus killer said:

it is beyond my comprehension skills how can one legally circumvent online DRM for the cases when the authentication is no longer possible by the servers shutdown by the publishers... and makes it illegal to create a server for multiplayer games that no longer have servers active.

Weird world we live in.

Because IP rights are not linked to active use.    There are three issues here, not being able to play decommissioned games is only one aspect and it doesn't technically relate to IP/CR law.

 

1. IP is the sole domain of the owner,  regardless of usage or age.  The publishers can argue that IP in decommissioned games is still relevant to current games, therefore they do not permit de-compiling or use. IP law protects this right.

 

2.IP law has no provision of fair use policy like CR does with artwork.  Game code is not art but an engineered product.   If a publisher allows games to be used undefended then they lessen their chance of protecting IP in future cases.  (this is why  we see stupid lawsuits between companies when contracts go wonky, like the cryengine/SC suit).

 

3. In this case the museums are arguing for the ability to preserve the games (there was another thread earlier where I addressed why this was the wrong approach), but what is need is change to the IP/CR laws to allow companies to retain full ownership of IP and control how a product is used while allowing it to come under some sort of public license.

 

The reason many companies will not give up IP (even when it's not in use) is because it tends to be a one way street and all IP represents an investment and future revenue stream. 


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37 minutes ago, samcool55 said:

I agree but there are arguments to counter this tho.

If a new game is launched and meant to "replace" the old one, if the new one is really better people won't bother with the older version and the amount of "lost" revenue would be lost than to take it all to court and fight for it.

 

Also older games usually have communities around them, if they kill a game, they don't only kill a game but also a community, usually only a small group of people. If they just let the community bring the game back to life the community can stick together and keep on existing. People would be happy and it's not like it's dangerous or anything...

 

I think publishers are doing this not only because of money but also because their new games aren't that much better than what's already out there and know that not many people will bother about their new game if many people like the older one more.

All I'm saying is from a corporate perspective that's dumb. The old game makes you no revenue. From a corporate perspective you want to migrate as much of the community as possible, kill the old game, and split up the stragglers to encourage them to move to the new platform that you can more heavily monetize.

 

And you're right. Making "better" games doesn't make financial sense. Selling popular games that you can heavily monetize makes financial sense. If they give you the option to stay with an existing option that's more fun, it cuts down on their ability to monetize the newer option.

 

I'm not saying it's a good thing. I'm just saying it makes sense.

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12 hours ago, mr moose said:

When this came  up the last time round I said they might have trouble becasue they were using the wrong argument.  It's great to preserve old games, but they need to be asking for a way to run said servers without the game developers CR owners loosing all rights to that IP.    Just like fair use policy is a way for people to use CR for certrain activities without the CR owners losing rights to that material, This needs to follow a similar vein.

Copyright was not initially intended to permanently grant exclusive rights to the holder. The media companies are getting lazy and want to keep rehashing old properties instead of developing new ones so they want to preclude this but at a certain point it should go against the spirit of the copyright law to say "Yeah nobody can't touch this classic game because we want to sit on the IP just in case"


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2 hours ago, Misanthrope said:

Copyright was not initially intended to permanently grant exclusive rights to the holder.

Not permanently but we can't compare/apply 16th century law which only pertained in reality to book publishers,  to business practices that compete in a wholly different environment today.    Copyright law is a long evolution that did not suddenly become one sided.

 

2 hours ago, Misanthrope said:

 but at a certain point it should go against the spirit of the copyright law to say "Yeah nobody can't touch this classic game because we want to sit on the IP just in case"

 

Except there is a lot more to it than "just in case", which is why I was very specific about IP and CR law needing to be addressed and not just assuming the spirit of reviving old games is enough.


QuicK and DirtY. Read the CoC it's like a guide on how not to be moron.  Also I don't have an issue with the VS series.

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