Posts Tagged: ‘copyright’

Changes To Random Battle’s Copyright Notice

December 16, 2011 Posted by zachary

I made a HUGE mistake when I published my book on Smashwords. I was reading the preview of another book, Digilife written by a friend Timothy Geigner, and his copyright notice got me thinking about mine.  I put in no thought into the copyright notice that Smashwords requires in all books it publishes. I thought the requirement was a little annoying and so I just copy/pasted one of the example copyright notices. Then I got to thinking about it and how much it disagreed with my overall philosophy with copyright.

Here is the original copyright notice:

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

I think this is very bad for many reasons. Chief amongst these is the first sentence. I hate the idea of things we buy only being “licenses”. That is so limiting and frustrating for many reasons. I hate it. Too many businesses are moving in the direction of wanting to remove any kind of fair use and first sale rights that we still enjoy. I don’t want to be a part of that.

Second, I don’t mind you giving this book to other people. That is how word spreads. In fact, I feel so strongly about this that I made the whole book freely available on my website. So why would I care that you let your friend or family member borrow it.

Third, The idea that I am upset with the idea that you didn’t pay for it prior to reading it as implied in the second to last sentence is absolutely absurd. I am not upset in any way. I am happy that people have read my book.

With these thoughts in mind, I wrote a new copyright notice that reflects my thoughts on this matter, and even references the book itself. So here is the new copyright notice:

My thoughts on copyright are very flexible as can be seen when reading Chapters 2, 3 and 7 of this book. While I would love for you to pay for this book, I can understand why you might be reluctant to do so. If you do find that you like it and want me to write more, feel free to drop a buck on it.

So there you have it. Enjoy the book.

Copying Mechanics is Not Theft, Nor is it Infringement

August 17, 2011 Posted by zachary

I recently wrote this article on Gamasutra in response to a pair of articles which talked about the practice of copying game mechanics. The discussion has been interesting. So here it is for my own records.

I had never heard of Vlambeer or Gamenauts before yesterday. I had never heard of Radical Fishing or Ninja Fishing either. Yet in a single day, both companies and both games came crashing through my browser. Why?

To make a long story short, Vlambeer made a simple little flash game called Radical Fishing. They have a following of supportive and caring fans. They released this and made some money off of it.They decided they wanted to port the game to the iPhone but with improved graphics and gameplay. However they needed money now and made a couple more games browser.

While all this happened, Another game company, Gamenauts, saw a fun game that did not have an iPhone equivalent and decided to bring a game to that market that had those mechanics. This caused an uproar among fans of Vlambeer and their games.

That is the story in a nutshell. (more…)

Copyright is Out of Control

May 23, 2011 Posted by zachary

Google CensoredThis is a letter I sent to my US Congressman Tom Cole and my US Senators Tom Coburn and James Inhofe. Interestingly enough, Senator Coburn was the only one who had “Intellectual Property” as one the possible issues. Representative Cole was the only one with an editable subject line.

I am writing to you today about the “PROTECT IP” act and ACTA that is currently circulating the capital these days.This bill would grant sweeping power to the government and private interests to suppress speech and destroy innovation in the information technology sector. To this I must ask the following:

What benefit does the average person get from expanding upon the already bloated Copyright laws in this nation? What benefit does a small time musician, writer, independent film producer or independent game developer get from these expanded “protections”?

As an independent game developer and an independent writer, I see no benefit to being granted sweeping authority to suppress speech, especially when I do not have the resources to exercise the authority granted to me. As an independent creator, I do not even have the resources available to exercise the authority granted to me under the DMCA. So again I ask, what benefit do I get out of these expanded “rights”? (more…)

Of Betamax and Mod Chips

June 29, 2010 Posted by zachary

Throughout the games industry there is a big debate on the legality of Mod Chips, those nifty little circuit boards and cartridges that allow for people to do things with video game consoles that the manufacturers did not intend. We all know what they are capable of doing, pirating games being the most hotly debated. What we may not realize is that they have a lot in common with another device that has become a home staple, the VCR.

Back in the 70s, Sony introduced their entry in the home video cassette format war, Betamax. Betamax, much like VHS, allowed for the recording and playback of television broadcasts. Some companies in the entertainment business were not happy as they felt that the ability for home viewers to record shows and movies and play them back at later times constituted copyright infringement and that Sony should be held liable for providing the tools that made it so easy.

So what did these entertainment companies do? They sued Sony. This case went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and became known as Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. ( (more…)