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Subject: Is Project Mars a retheme of "Cavemen: The Quest for Fire"? rss

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Charlie Theel
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I don't think this is a legal matter so much as an ethical one.
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Brad Crosslin
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In this case, I think you are right, and the dude works for freaking JPL. I mean cmon. Can you imagine if he developed work for JPL and it was all plagiarized?

I don't think he would have a job there very long. Yet somehow in this case, I guess he assumes plagiarism is ok.
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Steve Crane
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Well, no. There is a difference between a massive corporation and a small board game designer. The latter likely won't have the money to take it to court. Feel free to try it and see how long Hasbro takes to strike you down with a copyright infringement

The tumbleweed that is PM's designer pretty much says it all, appears he has his wife posting on his Kickstarter, and not giving a very good argument either. I wonder if she has given the game a 10 on BGG too...

Would anyone care to collaborate on a small board game called Project Mars Caveman? Some proceeds would go to Dan Cassar. Maybe he could help design it and get paid for the work he did!
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Chris Tumbarello
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The kickstarter looks like it lost a few bucks/backers since last I checked.
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Peter S.
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This is... pretty damning.
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Level 3 Tunt
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I don't really know much about Kickstarter. Is plagiarism prohibited? It doesn't look like it from the few rules I can find:

https://www.kickstarter.com/rules?ref=bggforums
https://www.kickstarter.com/rules/prohibited?ref=bggforums

Especially since this particular prohibited item almost allows exactly what Brian has done - taken a thing that already exists and added something new:

X Projects that share things that already exist, or repackage a previously-created product, without adding anything new or aiming to iterate on the idea in any way.

But in searching for the Kickstarter rules I wonder if there's any sensitivity after recent things like this article describes:

https://kotaku.com/board-game-kickstarter-cancelled-after-pl...

No matter whether the project gets pulled from Kickstarter or not, like I mentioned before the only way to really decide this is with our money.
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Steve Crane
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*This person has canceled their pledge* for me and another at the bottom of the comments board now... that can't look great for a campaign!
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Chris Tumbarello
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So the campaign is over and 68 people put in 3221 dollars

But on the comments section everyone that comment canceled their pledge

And the 61 backers (assuming no one added extra money to their pledge) only pledged 1,794, leaving 7 backers to graciously offer 1,427 with no incentive (obtaining product)

Interesting.
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Steve Crane
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Very interesting indeed!!! One "could" assume that either Brian's Californian friends came to the rescue, or a few family members lost their 10% KS fee to "fund" this game

Either way I'll now never buy nor support anything from this "creator", I've backed over 300 Kickstarters and this has been THE worst
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Brad Crosslin
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I noticed earlier with 66 backers they were at 2500 or so. So the last 2 backers added approx 700. How convenient. Somehow I knew it would succeed. What a cheeseball. Hope the real backers enjoy this piece of junk.
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Level 3 Tunt
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Hey guys, let's move on. There are so many better and more original ideas for games out there to focus on. For instance, I'm just about to launch a Kickstarter for a unique game called "Firemen: The Quest For Caves". If you like Cavemen I think you'll feel right at home playing my game. Back now!
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Brad Crosslin
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You aren't copying my idea "Spelunker: the Quest for Caves" are you?
 
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Neal Sofge
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tumby1974 wrote:
Interesting. So basically, I could take the Monopoly board game and re-skin as something else, but use the same mechanics, and be in the clear?
Yes. But if you call it something-opoly without permission, then you'll get hit with trademark infringement, and you'll deserve it. To summarize US IP law as I understand it:

Game mechanics are protected by patents, which are expensive and last only 20 years before becoming public domain. I'm aware of only two successful patented tabletop games in the history of the form, because it's usually not worth it.

Artwork, visual design and prose (like stories in RPG books) are protected by copyright, which is cheap and lasts essentially forever now that Hollywood behemoths keep extending the term.

Logos, names and other identifying elements are protected by trademark law, which come in two levels (trademarks and registered trademarks) and are the primary way big companies protect their games. They too last forever, but the registered versions (which is where real power lies) are expensive, and you have to keep lawyers on retainer because you're required to defend any infringement or risk it going public domain.

Instructive prose and descriptions of play are not protected by anything at all, except that there's some copyright defense if someone exactly duplicates them. More info here: https://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.pdf

So if you come up with clever game mechanics and don't patent them, then you're vulnerable to someone swiping them under a different name. As the comments in the Gamasutra article point out, this is probably for the best or the state of the art would never advance. Imagine how tabletop games would have evolved if none of us could use a user-constructed deck of cards, or custom dice, or mapboards you can rearrange into different configurations -- just off the top of my head. Looking back even earlier, what if hit points had been patented? Half the computer games industry wouldn't even exist now.

None of this should be construed as venturing an opinion on this particular thread, by the way. I just saw an opportunity to share my experience with these somewhat counter-intuitive laws.
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Brad Crosslin
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sofge wrote:
tumby1974 wrote:
Interesting. So basically, I could take the Monopoly board game and re-skin as something else, but use the same mechanics, and be in the clear?
Yes. But if you call it something-opoly without permission, then you'll get hit with trademark infringement, and you'll deserve it. To summarize US IP law as I understand it:

Game mechanics are protected by patents, which are expensive and last only 20 years before becoming public domain. I'm aware of only two successful patented tabletop games in the history of the form, because it's usually not worth it.

Artwork, visual design and prose (like stories in RPG books) are protected by copyright, which is cheap and lasts essentially forever now that Hollywood behemoths keep extending the term.

Logos, names and other identifying elements are protected by trademark law, which come in two levels (trademarks and registered trademarks) and are the primary way big companies protect their games. They too last forever, but the registered versions (which is where real power lies) are expensive, and you have to keep lawyers on retainer because you're required to defend any infringement or risk it going public domain.

Instructive prose and descriptions of play are not protected by anything at all, except that there's some copyright defense if someone exactly duplicates them. More info here: https://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.pdf

So if you come up with clever game mechanics and don't patent them, then you're vulnerable to someone swiping them under a different name. As the comments in the Gamasutra article point out, this is probably for the best or the state of the art would never advance. Imagine how tabletop games would have evolved if none of us could use a user-constructed deck of cards, or custom dice, or mapboards you can rearrange into different configurations -- just off the top of my head. Looking back even earlier, what if hit points had been patented? Half the computer games industry wouldn't even exist now.

None of this should be construed as venturing an opinion on this particular thread, by the way. I just saw an opportunity to share my experience with these somewhat counter-intuitive laws.
I think that is a really good background from a legal standpoint. I think there are 2 sides to this, the legal and the ethical. Legally Brian may be in the clear, ethically I don't think he is at all, and I truly believe he knows it. He had more than one opportunity to address very valid honest questions and concerns and chose not to do so.

I think this is just another example of where society is headed today. I know I have talked to many people that feel it is ok to pirate movies, or songs and have for years.

I think Brian being a Plagiarist (Note: I didn't say copyright violator or patent violator) is just another example of a lack of ethics that seems to be growing. I have a lot of hope that someday it will turn the other direction as I do still run into many people who are very ethical.

Ok my rant for today is done.
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Jonathan Challis
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This game is completely legal, plagiarism is only an offence in academic circles. Ethical though? no...

It would have only taken an attribution...
 
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Brad Crosslin
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Kelanen wrote:
This game is completely legal, plagiarism is only an offence in academic circles. Ethical though? no...

It would have only taken an attribution...
Totally agree.

Although, I think plagiarism or the idea of stealing someone else's ideas and touting them as your own goes far beyond academia.

One simple attribution in the rule book and the original designer might have actually said this is great that there are two games with his original design.

But Brian takes the Low Low Low road. Sad.
 
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Jeroen Doumen
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I wish I had checked and seen this thread before supporting the expansion KS .
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Level 3 Tunt
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It may not be your fault it funded. From the single thread on the expansion page:

tumby1974 wrote:
So the campaign is over and 68 people put in 3221 dollars

But on the comments section everyone that comment canceled their pledge

And the 61 backers (assuming no one added extra money to their pledge) only pledged 1,794, leaving 7 backers to graciously offer 1,427 with no incentive (obtaining product)

Interesting.
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