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Subject: Martin Wallace accuses Winsome/FRED of copyright infraction rss

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Eugene
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Granting this matter its own thread.

Martin Wallace wrote:
Now it gets even better. Not only does John find a company stupid enough to reprint Age of Steam but he also convinces them that he paid for the original artwork. Please note that the title boilerplate is from the original version. The copyright for this artwork lies with Warfrog, since they paid for the artist to do the work. FRED were told last October by another person that the artwork was copyright Warfrog but they ignored the warning. They did not even bother to email me to ask who the rights belonged to. Winsome has never paid for artwork - notice the use of covers that are in the public domain. I will be taking this matter further as copyright law is much more straightforward than trademark law.


The Age of Steam logo banners in question:



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brian
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Here we go again....
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Tim Harrison
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Adam Alleman
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Did someone make popcorn?
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Might as well replicate Martin's entire post, as he talks about more things than just the alleged copyright infraction:

Martin Wallace wrote:
I regard the new edition of Age of Steam as stolen property. There was never a 'real' license from Winsome to Warfrog. The 'licensed from... ' was favour to John to help big up Winsome, in the same way that John published Prairie Rails with my name on even though I never designed it. The game was never submitted to Winsome for publication, it was always designed to be a Warfrog game. John was paid to develop it, that is all.

Even if Winsome did own the license then there should also be a contract between Winsome and the designer. There is no such contract. Even if there was one the fact that Winsome have paid me no royalties for the design would mean they were in breach of contract. I'm sure John is never tired of telling people in private about the money I owe him but that's all in his head. After AoS was released Warfrog and John made an agreement to share the profits on Winsome designed maps. John later reneged on this deal and demanded 1 Euro per map printed, as well as more money for the second printing of AoS. As a third of each of the maps are still unsold that meant Warfrog losing money on them. However, we agreed a sum and I paid him all monies owed. He then came back the following year demanding more money - hence why we have fallen out. Please note that the original deal was witnessed. For some reason John cannot remember it.

Winsome has never had to risk money publising AoS yet wishes to claim it as its own design. Warfrog took the risk to publish it and yet is not regarded as the legitimate owner.

Now it gets even better. Not only does John find a company stupid enough to reprint Age of Steam but he also convinces them that he paid for the original artwork. Please note that the title boilerplate is from the original version. The copyright for this artwork lies with Warfrog, since they paid for the artist to do the work. FRED were told last October by another person that the artwork was copyright Warfrog but they ignored the warning. They did not even bother to email me to ask who the rights belonged to. Winsome has never paid for artwork - notice the use of covers that are in the public domain. I will be taking this matter further as copyright law is much more straightforward than trademark law.

As far as the trademark issue goes that's simply as case of not having enough money to see justice done. As John receives free legal advice he is always going to win on the grounds that the opponent does not have enough money to fight him. That does not mean he is the legal owner of the trade mark.

FRED are in receipt of stolen property. There has been enough discussion of the ownership of the game to warn them of the issues surrounding it. Instead of contacting me about this they chose to publish it without my knowledge, even though we have been in regular contact about other matters. You'd think a simple, 'hey, we're printing AoS' would not have been too difficult.

As far as I am concerned I want nothing more to do with FRED or Funagain, they being the same company, and am doing my best to terminate the existing contracts I have with them.

Sorry for ranting but I'm a bit brassed off about the situation. It used to be that companies did not behave in this manner, as the public reaction would bankrupt them, (see Hexagames as an example). Today it seems that some companies believe that it's OK to rip designers off.

Martin Wallace
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JP LaChance
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You go Martin!
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Adam Alleman
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Where did he write this?
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Corin A. Friesen
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I believe Martin.
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Adam Alleman
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He wrote on himself?
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Daddys_Home wrote:
Where did he write this?

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/384743/page/1

About midway down the page.
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Mik Svellov
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lamplite wrote:
I thought trade marks covered names such as the title, and copyright covered text and artwork?

No-one has a trade mark!

Winsome licensed the game to Warfrog, who made their own graphic design using their 'house' designer, Peter Dennis.

Winsome also licensed the game Iron Road to Winning Moves, who then published it as TransAmerica. I would very surprised if another company later reused the graphics from that game without prior concent of the copyrightholders (whether they are Winning Moves or the original artist).

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James Hamilton
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OK, after a log time reading threads on this whole shambles I finally feel the need to comment.

As I was the owner of Warfrog at the time Age of Steam was published I can confirm that what Martin has said is correct.

John Bohrer was paid to develop Age of Steam, he was paid this money in cash at the Essen that the game was released before Warfrog had made a cent of profit from Age of Steam.

If Winsome ever published the game I have not seen a copy of their printing. Or put another way Winsome didn't publish any versions of Age of Steam.

There was indeed a meeting between John, Martin, myself and my partner where we discussed the financial terms for printing expansion maps for Age of Steam. At this meeting we agreed with John that he would get exactly the same terms for designing expansion maps that Martin did i.e. he got half the profit and Warfrog got half the profit. One year later when the games had been printed John changed his terms, demanded one euro per copy printed and a licence of 1 euro per copy of the first Age of Steam reprint. As at the time I was in the process of divesting myself of finanical interest in Warfrog and John's demand was for virtually the same amount of money as I would have paid anyway I just paid up as I couldn't be bothered with a row.

Since then John has treated Age of Steam as his own property. I am totally sure that is not the case. John as I said earlier was paid in cash for his development work. To then claim that the work he was paid to do means he owns the rights to the game is utterly wrong.

Just because he has access to some lawyers he doesn't have to pay does not make him right.

Personally I am still $20,000+ down on the age of steam reprint because I have never been paid for the 1000+ copies sold to Cafe Games. It seems that John is not unique among American games companies in being anything but honest.
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James Hamilton
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lamplite wrote:
I thought trade marks covered names such as the title, and copyright covered text and artwork? By no means am I taking sides, just observing and asking.


Correct they do.

The 'name' of the game on the box is a piece of 'artwork' it was painted by hand by Peter Dennis who was paid to do this work by Warfrog. Just like John Bohrer was paid by Warfrog for his development work on the game.

Martin tried to trademark the name "Age of Steam", John objected and because he has access to free legal support Martin did not succeed with his trade mark application or at least that is my understanding of some of the more recent sillyness.
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Günter D'Hoogh
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I will repeat what I wrote in the other thread covering this matter. When I read the name FRED in Martin's reasonable "accusation" I was immediately on red alert.

I never mix up in arguments like this, but let me tell you one thing guys. Again FRED is messed up in this matter and I really have no good feeling about them. Some weeks ago I ordered the "fix kit" for Through The Ages AND I also paid for the new board and the "upgrade kit" ... I still haven't seen anything at all. I got some personal mails tbh but that's it ... promises! And this though I already paid. On top of that I even had to pay $ 45,00 to send such a little package with priority mail, well I'm still waiting. And like I said all I got were promises.

As a comparison I also ordered - a while ago - "The War Game: World War II", the most heavy box in my collection. It also came from the US, it was here within 5 working days and the P&P was not more than what I had to pay for a board and some cards from FRED (which - I repeat because I'm pissed about it - I didn't even get yet).

So, I don't ever order with this publisher again. They are IMHO not totally trustworthy. And being an older man I value trust very much.

As to Mr. Wallace I must confess I'm a big fan of him (owning most of his fantastic games in my not so small collection), so do I believe him? You bet I do!
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Paul Lister
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lamplite wrote:
The following question is based purely on an observation and nothing else. Doesn't the back of the box say in addition to licensed to Warfrog "Age of Steam is copyright Winsome Games, 2001"

I thought trade marks covered names such as the title, and copyright covered text and artwork? By no means am I taking sides, just observing and asking.


They do,however having searched US and UK patent offices records (yes , i know too much time on my hands) there appears to be no record of a Winsome copyright.
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James Hamilton
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The rules were written by John Bohrer and are therefore copyright Winsome. The artwork which includes the age of steam banner is most definitly not.
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Christian Marcussen
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Winsome will without a doubt loose a lawsuit over copyright infringment of the artwork. If Warfrog owns the artwork (logo) that is now on the Winsome version, then there is no hope for them. Unless I'm missing something...

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Paul Lister
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Is that correct? Why would the rules copyright not be retained by the person/company commissioning the work, and not the developer?
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Sorp222 wrote:
Is that correct? Why would the rules copyright not be retained by the person/company commissioning the work, and not the developer?


At best, it's not black and white. I know in the US, there are times when the copyright of a commissioned work is owned by the person who commissioned it, and there are other times when it is retained by the original author or artist. It depends on their agreement.
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Andy Daglish
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I spoke to Martin a few hours ago.

The problem with trademark actions in America is that there's no money after winning. You merely get the rights. The discovery period is very long and lawyers must be paid throughout this time, and clearly there are additional costs thereafter. Even though documentary evidence exists that proves that Bohrer doesn't own AoS, as mentioned above by James Hamilton, providing it to an American court is not worth the cost involved.

The logo issue counts as copyright infringement, now that FRED has published and sold it without permission. There's no question that Martin bought the copyright in the artwork from the creator [and that no one else has been involved since]. Here there is money, and hopefully also an American judge will acknowledge the financial situation and compensate Martin fully.
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Günter D'Hoogh
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aforandy wrote:
I spoke to Martin a few hours ago.

The problem with trademark actions in America is that there's no money after winning. You merely get the rights. The discovery period is very long and lawyers must be paid throughout this time, and clearly there are additional costs thereafter. Even though documentary evidence exists that proves that Bohrer doesn't own AoS, as mentioned above by James Hamilton, providing it to an American court is not worth the cost involved.

The logo issue counts as copyright infringement, now that FRED has published and sold it without permission. There's no question that Martin bought the copyright in the artwork from the creator [and that no one else has been involved since]. Here there is money, and hopefully also an American judge will acknowledge the financial situation and compensate Martin fully.


I sincerely hope you are right, Andy. It's scandalous that FRED publishing would be able to do such a thing and walk away with it!
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Tim Harrison
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aforandy wrote:
The logo issue counts as copyright infringement, now that FRED has published and sold it without permission. There's no question that Martin bought the copyright in the artwork from the creator [and that no one else has been involved since]. Here there is money, and hopefully also an American judge will acknowledge the financial situation and compensate Martin fully.


I have to think that punitive damages could be huge.
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Sorp222 wrote:
lamplite wrote:
The following question is based purely on an observation and nothing else. Doesn't the back of the box say in addition to licensed to Warfrog "Age of Steam is copyright Winsome Games, 2001"

I thought trade marks covered names such as the title, and copyright covered text and artwork? By no means am I taking sides, just observing and asking.


They do,however having searched US and UK patent offices records (yes , i know too much time on my hands) there appears to be no record of a Winsome copyright.


Since the 1988 Berne Convention (which nearly every country in the world is signatory to), there does not need to be a copyright registration to own copyright to a title. In the US, if the work was created in the US, in order to collect damages for infringement there needs to be a copyright registration in the US Copyright Office, not in the US Patent and Trademark Offices, so you wouldn't find any copyright registrations there.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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aforandy wrote:
... now that FRED has published and sold it without permission.

One wonders what caused this situation... Obviously that's a costly error to make.

Then again, curiosity killed the cat.
 
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Andy Daglish
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GamesOnTheBrain wrote:
I have to think that punitive damages could be huge.


they'll probably offer half, as is so common!

Martin did more than necessary to apprise everyone of the situation, and yet FRED published anyway, which seems strange. Maybe FRED couldn't afford on-going legal help either.
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