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

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Christopher Dearlove
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Roliander wrote:
Did I get it right?


No.
 
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Psauberer wrote:
GreyLord wrote:
So overall, I'm a little confused.

Martin filed an application to trademark the phrase "Age of Steam" for use with train games.

If you think that is so crazy, just try using the word "Monopoly" or "Risk" for financial or war games and see how far it gets you, even if you use artwork nothing like that in the Hasbro games.


Or try publishing a magazine called "Time". That's a pretty old, unexceptional word--how could anyone trademark that?
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Kevin Maroney
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Golux13 wrote:
Without getting into the specifics of this dispute, here are some basic copyright points (U.S. copyright law only) to consider:

(snip)

4. The creator of the work is presumed to be the owner of copyright in the work. There are two main exceptions: (1) a work may be a "work made for hire" if it fits into certain defined categories and is created by an employee in the course of his/her employment; (2) a work may be assigned by the creator to any other person/entity, as long as that assignment is explicit and in writing. If a work is a "work made for hire," the employer is considered to be the creator of that work. If a work is not a "work made for hire," then the assignee of the work is merely that - the owner of rights by assignment.

5. To clarify, when someone creates something as a contractor, and not an employee, he/she continues to own the copyrights unless there is an actual written assignment of those rights. (Note: an exclusive license of all copyrights is considered an assignment.)


As far as I can tell, this is correct. Further, in the United States, copyright cannot be transferred without a written contract. So unless a written contract exists (one doesn't), the person who actually wrote the rules to Age of Steam owns the copyright on that rules-set. As far as I can tell, everyone agrees that person is John Boehrer, and no one disputes his ownership of the rulebook (which is not, not, NOT the same as "the rules").

Note that having the copyright on the rules-set says nothing about any other rights in the game, including copyright on the components (the right to reproduce the cover, counters, maps, etc.); trademark (the right to sell games under that name); or patent (I'm betting there isn't one for this game).

The artist of the original edition certainly still owns the copyright to his artwork; if that has been copied without his permission, he has grounds for a lawsuit.

A further consideration is, "Who designed the artwork for the actual game components?" Has he or she been compensated for the obviously identical components in the FRED edition of the game?
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Christopher Dearlove
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clearclaw wrote:
RDewsbery wrote:
Oh dear. I guess that all of the people I've prosecuted - in the criminal courts - for copyright violations were innocent after all, whatever the law of the land said.


Is this you?

Mr Richard Dewsbery

I don't see copyright or intellectual property law listed there. While legal records aren't the most public of things at best, I'm also having difficulty finding history of Chambers' work in copyright and IP (my search-fu may be weak).


It's difficult to fully respond to you without breaching BGG rules. Somehow when a statement is from what may be considered the Bohrer/FRED camps you find it possible to accept it without any evidence. When it's from the Wallace side you just can't accept anything without casting aspersions, and insisting on anything up to ridiculous levels of proof. Your statement above reads exactly as written by someone who is sailing as close as he can to calling Richard (who is a friend of mine, my cards are face up) a liar without quite daring to do so.

Furthermore you aren't very good at it. The key word in Richard's posting was "prosecuted". And in the profile you linked to there appear the words "Crime (prosecution and defence, with particular interest in ‘Internet and computer’ crime)". Now "prosecute" implies "crime" (not a civil action). And "particular interest" doesn't mean "only does". (And "Internet and computer", which is pretty clearly a term for a layman reader, might well include some IPR matters; that I don't know.) And if you understood the English legal system (and commenting on it without doing so is a bit stupid) you'd understand that barristers are generalists, and will turn their hand to most things that pay the mortgage. Incidentally, in case it appears odd, the authorities do not employ full-time prosecuting barristers, they uses the same self-employed independent ones as anyone might hire if someone sued or prosecuted them.
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J C Lawrence
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Dearlove wrote:
Somehow when a statement is from what may be considered the Bohrer/FRED camps you find it possible to accept it without any evidence.


Yeah, I've made mistakes there. My current view is to simply disbelieve everything that isn't substantiated, without any regard for the author. I'm too distant to make those suppositions. I've corrected the ones I know about. If there are more I've missed I welcome pointers.

Quote:
The key word in Richard's posting was "prosecuted". And in the profile you linked to there appear the words "Crime (prosecution and defence, with particular interest in ‘Internet and computer’ crime)". Now "prosecute" implies "crime" (not a civil action). And "particular interest" doesn't mean "only does". (And "Internet and computer", which is pretty clearly a term for a layman reader, might well include some IPR matters; that I don't know.) And if you understood the English legal system (and commenting on it without doing so is a bit stupid) you'd understand that barristers are generalists, and will turn their hand to most things that pay the mortgage.


I grok those things and agree. I'm very aware that the UK's barrister/solicitor divide is different than America's system. (I lived in England for ~10 years) I'm also aware that I don't understand the entire nature of the difference, just the fact that there is a large difference. In this particular case my interest is partly personal as I'm currently interviewing with a British-based company that is operating in somewhat murky IP territory some of which relate to patents I hold. I spent some time searching British IPO suit histories for my own education as well as looking for any sort of thread back toward Chambers (it is always good to have a contact on the inside, though the company I'm talking to is based in Bristol rather than Birmingham). I'm not familiar with the public record system in the UK in that area and it is likely I was looking in the wrong placed for the wrong terms.

I would be ecstatic (I'm an excitable fellow) with a simple reply along the lines of, Yep, that's me. I don't don't do a whole lot of copyright and IP work as that's not where I've focused my career, but I've done a few cases as part of XYZ broad area and it comes up now and then when there's a need..

Quote:
Incidentally, in case it appears odd, the authorities do not employ full-time prosecuting barristers, they uses the same self-employed independent ones as anyone might hire if someone sued or prosecuted them.


Nod. Thanks. There's a lot to like about that system.
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Richard Dewsbery
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clearclaw wrote:

I don't see copyright or intellectual property law listed there. While legal records aren't the most public of things at best, I'm also having difficulty finding history of Chambers' work in copyright and IP (my search-fu may be weak).


It's not your "search fu" that's at fault (though frankly I expected you to google for my bio a while back), but your understanding of some of the terminology.

The webpage bio is a few years' out of date - I no longer practice any employment law, for example, and can't remember any "sex establishment" cases in the last ten years. And the modern tendancy is to describe the sort of local authority prosecutions I conduct as "regulatory work". But where I list "Trading Standards/Consumer Protection" *all* of my clients would understand it to include prosecutions for trade mark and copyright infringement. Chambers as a whole doesn't have anyone who specialises in civil intellectual property law (though I and a couple of others have done a bit from time to time), but we have a solid group who regularly prosecute copyright infringements where they are properly classed as criminal. It's not the tiny subset of matters that Bruce would paint it as, either.

FWIW, my main practice area these days is social housing (probably 50-60% of my case load) - dealing with neighbours from hell, evicting them mainly. I got into that line of work almost ten years through the same group of solicitors that send me the trading standards work (as there was a new bit of enforcement legislation on the scene that I rapidly became known as something of an expert on). But I still do a fair amount of prosecution work - probably about 25-30% of my court time - including fairly regular copyright and trademark cases. The nature of Chambers outside of London is that most of us will cover more than one narrow discipline, and are generally aware of what's happening in other fields of practice. But ask me to handle a personal injury claim or a boundary dispute and I'll cheerfully acknowledge it's not my area of expertise at all.
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Richard Dewsbery
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clearclaw wrote:

Quote:
Incidentally, in case it appears odd, the authorities do not employ full-time prosecuting barristers, they uses the same self-employed independent ones as anyone might hire if someone sued or prosecuted them.


Nod. Thanks. There's a lot to like about that system.


Don't worry. We're doing our best to move away from that, towards the American model of underpaid defence lawyers and overzealous employed prosecution ones. Chris's information is about 2 years out of date - the central prosecution authority now employs rather a lot of barristers, thinking that they are cheaper than the self-employed independent ones. Give us another 5 years and we'll have managed to royally bugger up what was once one of the best systems in the world.
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Bruce Murphy
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womzilla wrote:

A further consideration is, "Who designed the artwork for the actual game components?" Has he or she been compensated for the obviously identical components in the FRED edition of the game?

That's right because the map and track tiles are completely identical. Oh, wait... You've got a pretty low standard for either obviously or identical or both.

B>
 
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J C Lawrence
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RDewsbery wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
I don't see copyright or intellectual property law listed there. While legal records aren't the most public of things at best, I'm also having difficulty finding history of Chambers' work in copyright and IP (my search-fu may be weak).


It's not your "search fu" that's at fault (though frankly I expected you to google for my bio a while back)...


In truth I did, years ago, I just forgot to ask about it. I google most of the people I converse with frequently.

Quote:
...but your understanding of some of the terminology.


Ahh so.

Quote:
It's not the tiny subset of matters that Bruce would paint it as, either.


Thanks.

Quote:
But ask me to handle a personal injury claim or a boundary dispute and I'll cheerfully acknowledge it's not my area of expertise at all.


Ha! An old Leher quote:

"Vunz the rockets are up, who cares v'ere dey come down? That's not my department!" says Wernher von Braun!

I am not a UI guy. I'm really not. However I know enough about UI design, about flow, about attention-order tracking, about eye movement paths, about control boundaries and even (shockingly enough) about colour theory to be dangerous...and to get people asking me to consult on UI design. Then suddenly I'm backpeddling as fast as I can. Ohhh no, that's not my department, you really don't want me in there....
 
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Bruce Murphy
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RDewsbery wrote:
It's not the tiny subset of matters that Bruce would paint it as, either.

You keep saying this, but when I asked you to clarify you responded with 'sue me or shut up'. Hell, why don't you go the whole hog and include barratry and a few other things in your claims of closely related legal matters too?

B>
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Ryan Kruse
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Who is Martin Wallace? devil
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David Wickes
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I'm learning a lot from reading this thread:

1) Always get it in writing. Whatever it is. Always.
2) And preferably some sound recording too, if you can.
3) Board gamers can be really quite partisan and belligerent.
4) Both of which attributes increase in proportion to that of ignorance.
5) I know nothing about copyright law.
6) The phrase "I know nothing about copyright law, but..." is not the best opening line in an argument about copyright law.
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Here are my favorite quotes by John Bohrer and Martin Wallace.

John Bohrer wrote:
On my third day of wandering around this huge place (kind of like 10 GenCons) I heard some people speaking English to each other. I was exhausted and asked them if I could sit down and relax in their booth for a bit. They were very nice people, gave me a comfy chair, some pizza and some beer. We talked and talked; they were another tiny firm whose first game had also had rave reviews in the German board game mags. They were Brits, charming and funny, and were interested in exhibiting at GenCon and Origins. Winsome had done both Cons, so I invited them to share Winsome's booth at the next Origins and GenCon, gratis. They offered to let Winsome share their Warfrog booth at the next Essen. We have been helping each other ever since.


Martin Wallace wrote:
Essen was also the place where I met John Bohrer, which is a completely different story. Suffice to say that if I had not met John I would never have designed a railway game.
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Bruce Murphy
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rayito2702 wrote:
Here are my favorite quotes by John Bohrer and Martin Wallace.

I'd be ever so grateful if you'd make a point of posting these whenever one of these flame spirals looks like it's starting up.

B>
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Roland Wood
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Dearlove wrote:
Roliander wrote:
Did I get it right?


No.


You're kidding me! As of now I've gotten 8 thumbs for that post! How can I be wrong with 8 thumbs and counting?!!?!?!

Damn if I don't at least sound right...
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Bruce Murphy
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Roliander wrote:

You're kidding me! As of now I've gotten 8 thumbs for that post! How can I be wrong with 8 thumbs and counting?!!?!?!

In threads on this topic, thumbs come naturally from any pro-Wallace-camp statements. I guess some folks automatically think that this is 'right', though.

B>
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Drew1365 wrote:
There is no "work for hire" law. "Work for hire" is a form of contract and is going to vary depending on the wording agreement the parties come to.


As I pointed out previously, U.S. copyright law specifically defines "work made for hire," and only part of that definition requires a contract. People often call an agreement to create something in exchange for money a "work for hire contract," but this just confuses things.

A "work made for hire" is either (i) a work created by an employee in the course of performing the job he was hired to perform, or (ii) a work specially commissioned in one of nine categories, if the parties agree in writing that it is a work made for hire. Note that just because a contract says it is a "work for hire" contract, that does not necessarily mean that the work created will be a work made for hire under the law - the work must be a contribution to one of the nine categories specified in the Copyright Act to qualify. (However, anything created by an employee as part of his job will be a "work made for hire.")

This is why it is crucial for anybody paying a non-employee to create something for them to get a written agreement. Typically, in U.S. contracts of this nature, the hiring party will say something like "Your work product under this agreement is a 'work made for hire' under the Copyright Act, but to the extent it isn't, you hereby assign all your rights to me." (Usually somewhat wordier, but it doesn't need to be very much so.) Covers all the bases - if the law considers it a work made for hire, it is, and I am legally the author of the work; and if not, you have assigned it to me, and I am the owner of the work by assignment. (This latter distinction is potentially important years in the future, because U.S. copyright law permits the author or his heirs to negate any transfer or assignment of his copyright in a work after 35 years. With a "work made for hire," I am considered the "author," so you can't come back in 35 years and demand your rights back.)

Once again, not making any comment about the specifics of the Age of Steam dispute, blah blah blah, especially since that dispute may or may not have anything to do with U.S. copyright law.
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thepackrat wrote:
Roliander wrote:

You're kidding me! As of now I've gotten 8 thumbs for that post! How can I be wrong with 8 thumbs and counting?!!?!?!

In threads on this topic, thumbs come naturally from any pro-Wallace-camp statements. I guess some folks automatically think that this is 'right', though.

B>


Heh..heh... So now we have the same point delivered twice.

Mine for those who enjoy subtle irony, and
Bruce's for those who need it spelled out directly.

Thanks Bruce..
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Dimitri Gia
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thepackrat wrote:

In threads on this topic, thumbs come naturally from any pro-Wallace-camp statements. I guess some folks automatically think that this is 'right', though.

B>


It is?

I kissed Martin Wallace last night!!!
There, I've said it... I'm already shaking in sheer anticipation for the millions of thumbs this posting will gather!

And some small words as a side dish: although I find this story fascinating (let's face it guys, this is like a modern-day soap, cut and served especially for us geeks, with a matter that "interests" us all - it may not be very pretty to stand on the sideline and oogle along but it's only human after all), I do find all sneering to each other rather 'disturbing'. Why in heaven's name? I thought the dispute was between Bohrer and Wallace? Let them fight it out instead of bashing each other verbally...

Pity... Such a pity...
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Bruce Murphy
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echdareez wrote:
thepackrat wrote:

In threads on this topic, thumbs come naturally from any pro-Wallace-camp statements. I guess some folks automatically think that this is 'right', though.

B>


It is?

I kissed Martin Wallace last night!!!
There, I've said it... I'm already shaking in sheer anticipation for the millions of thumbs this posting will gather!


Four already. See?

B>
 
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
Here we go again....


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clearclaw wrote:
I google most of the people I converse with frequently.

gulp Scary...
If you google 100 per cent Blade you come up with Sean Bean. I assure you that is not me (although like most Blades I've had a few drinks with him before a game)
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Golux13 wrote:
[
You appear to have a misunderstanding about trademarks. Does Apple not get a trademark for computers because the word "apple" has been around for centuries? No, of course not. On the other hand, can Apple, with its trademark, prevent you from selling apples (or rubber bands or monkeys) under the brand "Apple"? Also of course not.



My inner geek compels me to chip in here. There is in fact a long-lived and lucrative (for the lawyers anyway), trademark dispute between Apple (as in Macs) and Apple (as in The Beatles), which appeared to have been resolved decades ago on the basis that nobody was going to confuse a computer firm with a music company.

... oops ...
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PeterCard wrote:
Golux13 wrote:
[
You appear to have a misunderstanding about trademarks. Does Apple not get a trademark for computers because the word "apple" has been around for centuries? No, of course not. On the other hand, can Apple, with its trademark, prevent you from selling apples (or rubber bands or monkeys) under the brand "Apple"? Also of course not.



My inner geek compels me to chip in here. There is in fact a long-lived and lucrative (for the lawyers anyway), trademark dispute between Apple (as in Macs) and Apple (as in The Beatles), which appeared to have been resolved decades ago on the basis that nobody was going to confuse a computer firm with a music company.

... oops ...


Except that now Apple sells music -- iTunes.
 
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GamesOnTheBrain wrote:
PeterCard wrote:
Golux13 wrote:
[
You appear to have a misunderstanding about trademarks. Does Apple not get a trademark for computers because the word "apple" has been around for centuries? No, of course not. On the other hand, can Apple, with its trademark, prevent you from selling apples (or rubber bands or monkeys) under the brand "Apple"? Also of course not.



My inner geek compels me to chip in here. There is in fact a long-lived and lucrative (for the lawyers anyway), trademark dispute between Apple (as in Macs) and Apple (as in The Beatles), which appeared to have been resolved decades ago on the basis that nobody was going to confuse a computer firm with a music company.

... oops ...


Except that now Apple sells music -- iTunes.


Exactly, which caused considerable friction when iTunes (and iPods) first hit the market.

The original dispute between Apple (computer) and Apple (music) was actually resolved quite some time ago on the basis that Apple (computer) was in the computer business and not the music business. When Apple (computer) catapulted itself into the music industry, Apple (music) was somewhat peeved, and the dispute was resurrected. I believe it's all been resolved (again) relatively amicably. I'm sure money was exchanged, some of it going to lawyers.
 
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