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Custom Maps Change GUI Legal Question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Joshua, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. Joshua
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    Did not cross my mind until last night... Using the latest UOP client, if I edit the initial UO distribution in any way and distribute it, is there a chance I will get in legal trouble for changing the original installation? custom maps, custom GUI Etc. example would be using something from DarkShard
     
  2. Norman Lancaster
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    Norman Lancaster Well-Known Member

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    Distribution of the client files in any form is illegal in most jurisdictions. It most certainly is in the US. Modifying the client in any form is a violation of the EULA, but there's not really much legal teeth in that. Distribution of patches that transform the original files to incorporate your changes is the cleanest way to go about it. But honestly I'd go the same route as all the other free shards and distributed a full client that's been zipped up.

    Note: Not a lawyer, not legal advice.
     
  3. zerodowned
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    I may not be 100% accurate, but I believe the only time a freeshard has come under legal pressure was when they emulated Lord of the Rings ( maps, etc), and that was by Tolkien's estate, Not OSI/Broadsword.
     
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  4. Joshua
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    that shard would have been epic...
     
  5. gametec
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    gametec Active Member

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    Up to now Electronic Arts Inc., and even Broadsword Entertainment, has been nice to allow free servers, RunUO, and its derivative server emulator repositories to keep open without fear of legal reprisals. The majority of the artwork we use, the file types we edit, and the client.exe are all copyright by Electronic Arts Inc., Broadsword Entertainment, under the:
    Digital Millennium Copyright Act

    Furthermore Electronic Arts Inc. and Broadsword Entertainment can, and have the ability to, go after anyone who distributes the server emulator and anyone who runs an Ultima Online emulating server using the artwork we use, the file types we edit, and the client.exe; just because they haven't yet, don't mistake their kindness for weakness. They have more of a legal footing than we do and could very well move in the same direction as Sony Entertainment Online and Blizzard Entertainment and shut us down. The only emulators that have gotten away with breaking US and International copyright laws are those in countries that do not recognize International and US copyright laws like Russia.

    In the end no one on here really cares about copyright laws or we wouldn't be doing this. I know of one person we all benefited from who left the community because he was in jeopardy of potentially losing his job over the ambiguousness of the legalities that surround server emulators. As much fun as we're all having, this is a serious decision that could hit the majority of us in the pocket book if we push the issues. I have yet to understand why people argue this subject. It's been visited way too many times and people still don't get it. So read paragraph 5, section (d) of the Ultima Online Terms of Service Agreement...

    On that note whether you decide to make a server or not isn't going to affect your standing in the eyes of the law. We may not get caught or even be prosecuted, but I think we all should just acknowledge and accept the fact that if Electronic Arts Inc. and/ or Broadsword Entertainment wanted to they could put our hobby to sleep permanently; at least in those countries that enforce US and International copyright laws. I know some bumble head is going to refute this, so all I have to say is good luck to them because in the end it doesn't matter. This is what it is; accept it or cry when the powers that be haul us all into court and force us to decide between a fine or imprisonment or both. Love you all :)
     
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  6. zerodowned
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    I can't decide whether "yikes" or "zoinks" is more fitting.

    So I guess Garriotts open letter inviting the community to make emulators or whatever is no longer valid then, huh?
     
  7. gametec
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    gametec Active Member

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    Nope.. as soon as Garriott left EA and sold the rights to Ultima Online that letter became void. Garriott might still support what we're doing, but he has no legal grounds to enforce what he wrote. Promissory notes don't hold up in court unfortunately.
     
    #7 gametec, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  8. Fraz
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    Fraz Active Member

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  9. Fraz
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    Fraz Active Member

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    Like gametec said believe whatever you wish, I certainly don't wish to waste too much time debating this,, but

    Start with googling, Do promissory notes hold up in court..
    Also, an agreement made between parties cannot be made void by transfer of ownership..
    an agreement can only be made void when all parties involved give mutual consent to make such contract void..

    As far as my opinion on server emulators..
    As far as Broadsword or anyone else having legal rights over software 'server emulator' it would only apply if such emulator contained some form of copyrighted material within it.

    Unless you have a link to something I can read that sets a different legal precedent ruled by a court, its what I will continue to believe.
     
  10. Punkte
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    Punkte Shard Owner

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    Just wanna throw this in there.
    EA and Broadsword definitely have knowledge that there are freeshards out there and that there's thousands of people playing on these freeshards.

    I've even had email discussions with Messana (more pertaining toward them creating their own older era servers) and she acknowledged that there are "grey" shards as she called them.

    If they were to do something, they would have done it during Ultima Online's prime. I cannot foresee for any reason why the company would go after freeshards now that the official UO is dying out.

    Do they have legal grounds to shut a server down if they want to?

    Probably.
     
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  11. Fraz
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    Fraz Active Member

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    Yes I'm quite sure they could. In most cases I would assume a letter of cease and desist would be all it would take, I doubt there are many free shards that would take the matter into a civil proceeding.. (or find a lawyer that would take the case, lol)

    My comment only applied to the production or distribution of software or a 'server emulator' that doesn't contain copyrighted material and is a new 'work'.

    Some interesting facts..
    Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works.

    The Copyright Act expressly permits copies of a work to be made in some circumstances, even without the authorization of the copyright holder. In particular, "owners of copies" may make additional copies for archival purposes, "as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program", or for maintenance purposes.[3] Furthermore, "owners of copies" have the right to resell their copies, under the first sale doctrine and 17 U.S.C. ยง 109

    In 1998, The United States Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which criminalizes evasion of copy protection (with certain exceptions)

    In Galoob v. Nintendo, the 9th Circuit held that modification of copyright software for personal use was fair.
     
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  12. gametec
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    gametec Active Member

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    ... *yawns*
    another topic burned to the ground... *wonders when people will just face facts...*
    have a great week :)
     
  13. Fraz
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    Fraz Active Member

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    Sorry , I was just disputing the facts that were incorrect.
     
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  14. gametec
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    gametec Active Member

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    Correct - not correct, the bottom line is it's illegal and the law is black and white; especially in the United States; oh and in Florida, where I am from promissory notes are like employment contracts - garbage. lol
     
  15. Hank
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    Hank Active Member

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    We are lucky that they allow us to function in the gray area that we do.
    Good thing this isn't an Activision Blizzard game. :rolleyes:

    Daybreak the current name holder of everquest have even graced a emu server with positive official words. They are also in a very similar gray area that uo emu's are in.

    There are definitely a lot more factors in this then just money. Image of the product is just one other big factor. Lots of legal reasonings...

    This video is about WoW but Markee Dragon talks about some UO in it.
    youtube.com/watch?v=2T6qlCp1SZc&t=4m35s
    Do any of you know what servers/clients he is talking about? Replacing the artwork? Anyone?
    I can make a lot of educated guesses but I'd like to know specifics if anyone knows based on what little information he gives.
    I've been meaning to ask about this.
     
    #15 Hank, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  16. Fraz
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    Fraz Active Member

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    @Hank, my guess would be Sphere, if I remember right.. didn't they make their own game from the Sphere project?

    @gametec, I am doing nothing illegal, I can only suggest from my perspective, if you feel you are, you should stop doing that.
     
  17. zerodowned
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    I don't recall the name of it, or if it was even using the UO client....but there was a shard/game that was based on UO beta? I recall the player mobile animation had a visible back pack.
    Anyway, it didn't look like modern or even Second Age UO. My guess is they would have had to completely wipe the existing art/animation/etc and replace it with the old stuff
     
  18. gametec
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    gametec Active Member

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    I don't care if what I'm doing is considered gray area or not. Neither does anyone else here. I'm just pointing out my 2 cents on the obvious which is printed in black and white in the quote I added above and the links I provided. You also pointed out some links which would conclude the same thing. I think it's important people understand what they may be getting themselves into because there is a misconception among this community that it's perfectly okay to monopolize and make money off this game; ... and it's not.

    The only way you can profit without possible legal issues is by changing the file extensions, creating a new client.exe that reads those file types, and recreating every single graphic in the game to something which isn't copyright; they fall under the same law which says any picture you take with a personal camera is the intellectual property of the camera owner; which means it's automatically copyright. In our case the graphics fall under that copyright and the games copyright if you want to get technical.

    That said, I'm done... read what is written here in this thread, take in the differing thoughts, facts, and opinions, and come up with your own. This is a silly discussion because in the end whether we care or not, people are delusional if they think we aren't violating a copyright.
     
  19. Fraz
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    Fraz Active Member

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    When did I say to monopolize or make money or profit is ok?
    Lol, silly sure is the word for this debate.

    From illegal to gray area .. from distributing an emu is illegal, to replacing graphics is illegal.
    I can't even follow what you are trying to say anyways.
     
  20. gametec
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    gametec Active Member

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    Agree to disagree :p rofl... if you can't figure out what I'm trying to convey perhaps you should use a Magnifier program to make the words bigger. You might be able to read them more effectively :)

    Sorry Fraz couldn't resist. I don't know you, I like your scripts, but I think you're slightly off skewed; but we all are. Anyway have a great week :p
     
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