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Tuesday, February 08, 2011


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Ciaran Laval

It will be interesting to see how this pans out, whether they are still allowed to create content (the letter is a little ambiguous) and what sort of roleplay and promotions this entails.

This could be a could benchmark for all sorts of roleplay and promotions within SL, that could open up new markets and opportunities in the longer term, I'd still like to see the corps offering licenses for sold content within SL.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

My understanding of Fair Use permissions in academe means "free, non-commercial use."

I'd hope the BSG RPers can build and use free items, as the letter indicates but not sell them. That is not permitted under Fair-Use provisions of Copyright Law, at least as universities apply the principle.

Arcadia Codesmith

The fact of the matter is that if a media conglomerate decides to take action against a fan community, even if the community is operating entirely within Fair Use provisions, the fans often have few resources to fight back.

I hope to see more recognition among media companies that fan communities enhance the value of franchises rather than detract from it.

And it would be very encouraging to see a model licensing system for small-scale virtual "commercial" creation and sale of IP. For RP sims, this can help defray costs; for other creators, fair license terms with an official seal of approval from the IP owner would likely be a boon to their businesses.

It might take new tech on the back end to ensure that the IP holder can collect royalties automatically (in real money). But I think that would be a prudent investment.


hmm "free use" WON?..lol

all is as it was. and those making money off others IP without permission are still liable.

Rin Tae

It is great that this agreement could have been reached. I have seen the RP sim they have build before and I am looking forward to see them doing it again (of course also to play there since I enjoy RP a lot).

But anyway .. this is a great development for all fan-communites. It takes away some of the pressure and uncertinity about if it is allowed or now. Both Star Wars and especially Star Trek have a long history of embracing creations of fans and allowing their communites to grow and develop. But the case of 'Dune' and all the drama around 'Avatar' in the past months have risen fears again that the companies holding the rights will demand for all this to be taken down.

So at the moment there is hope! and maybe for once things that have happened once wont happen again or that if they happen again the outcome will be as positive as this seem to be.


This sort of thing is not uncommon. I think of the trials and tribulations "The Silver Lining" - a free fan-made sequel to the King's Quest series. The project was shut down twice after receiving cease and desist letters.

The game was revived the first time after discussion with the copyright holder. The rights were sold to another company who then sent its own cease and desist letter. More discussions...and now the game is available.

I think everyone would be better served if companies had a less knee-jerk reaction to any appearance of intellectual property.

Laetizia Coronet

I wrote a letter to NWN but they won't allow me to give away Hamlet Au avatars for roleplay ;)


long history?
TREK websites were beraged by C+D letter from paramount in the mid 90s/...

The convention scene was also changed and made "clean" decades ago...

no history no future... kids.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Cube, it would be fun, but let's not bore these fine kids with our old-folks tales of Franz Joseph, Lou Zocchi, and Paramount. But point take re: ST.

I do think that Paramount provided commercial firms like Task Force Games limited permissions for some ST properties. I doubt that their fees were all that much.

They certainly did not come down as hard as Frank Herbert's estate.

Hamlet Au

It would also be a serious mistake to assume that large media corporations have not grasped the importance of social media and user-generated content since the 90s, which were after all, nearly 2 decades ago. These companies are well aware of how social media drives brand awareness and fan passion, and it's in their interest to work with their fans, not against them, and look the other way when the time calls for it. Those who are stuck by the past's assumptions are doomed to repeat them. Over and over again, sometimes, often bitterly.

Ann Otoole InSL

Well Hamlet I recommend you try to sell that to corporate legal departments whose sole existence depends on their productivity in obtaining monetary damages via litigation.

I would love to see LL come out with a blog post on this topic.

Hamlet Au

Ann, I just did a search on YouTube for "battlestar galactica fan video" and returned over 1000 hits -- lots of animated shorts and even real time tribute videos based on Galactica or using footage directly lifted from the series -- that have in total easily several million views. Most of them have been up on YouTube for years. If Universal lawyers are as stupidly aggressive as you think they are, why are they still up there when a basic DMCA could take them down?

Arcadia Codesmith

In a broader context, we seriously need to revisit the "Disney Massive Cashcow Act" and insure that the interests of the Public Domain and Fair Use are better represented in the process.

As first implemented by the United States, copyright was for a fixed period of 14 years, with the option to extend for an additional 14 if the author was still alive.

Like a patent, the law was designed to encourage innovation by writers and other creators by giving them exclusive use of their creations for a limited time before they became available to everybody.

It's that limited period of exclusivity that's been made less and less limited, to the point that today it might be nearly two centuries before some works pass into the public domain (plenty of time for media conglomorates to agitate for further extensions... maybe a nice round millenium).

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