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Go ahead and copy, it's natural.

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#1 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:23 PM

I knew it! The current laws for patents and copyrights are a result of greed and lack of "The common good."


So, I was browsing the forums over at mapcore.org and someone posted a very interesting link to a series of videos called: 





It is a very informative.


Copying is natural, and everyone does it. It is called "learning." So why do we feel the need to "protect our creations" when chances are "our" creations come from others' creations?


The original intent of the patent and copyright system had a good purpose. I am glad to have seen that the purpose was originally with good intent. 


Yes, AAA companies copy more than anyone. If you want to be successful in the gaming industry, COPY (and get some good attorneys while you are at it, cause you will be sued.)


Question, why do you feel you need to copyright your stuff?







They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#2 Hodgman   Moderators   


Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:33 PM

Question, why do you feel you need to copyright your stuff?

Unask that question. Most of us don't "copyright out stuff".
Whenever you create any creative work, it's automatically covered by copyright law. Whether or not you consent to this system, it's automatically there in the background, dictating the rules for how your new creation can be used.
If you want your work to be free, then after creating it, you've actually got to draft a legal contract that specifies that you, the author, gives the user unlimited rights to use the creation in any way.
Depending on the country, it can sometimes actually be legally impossible to completely remove this automatic copyright from your works and cast them out as being completely free and unattached into the "public domain"...



More on point though: our modern economy is based around trading goods for money. Art / creations don't fit well into this model to begin with. Digital art / creations don't fit into this model at all, unless we make up the idea that "copying is wrong", so that we can play along as if digital goods are the same as physical goods. 

People need money to survive, and we've created a world where makers need to sell goods to make that money. Digital makers then are in the stupid position of pretending to sell goods, while actually just granting permission to copy creations. If you want to fit into this economy, then that's the standard way to do it.

There are of course others approaches, such as asking for public donations to fund the artist (pay-what-you-want schemes), or sponsorships, or only working on pieces that are specially commissioned by people with large wallets... but these are less popular for a reason.


If we lived in a society where I was required to perform some amount of communal labor, but then received free rent, food and utilities without having to worry about engaging in capitalism... then yes, by all means I'd use my remaining time to make games, and I wouldn't have to think about stupid "monetization strategies" and licenses and copyright... but that's not the world I live in. Gotta make bread somehow.

#3 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:39 PM

Whenever you create any creative work, it's automatically covered by copyright law.


That sounds blurry though to say that whenever I create a creative work, that is is covered by copyright law, and what type of promise do you have that your "creative work" is secured by an automatic coverage. 


I mean, what makes a creative work "your" creative work. That is the issue displayed in the video series. 


But I guess I should rephrase the question:


Do you feel you need a copyright for your stuff? Haha

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#4 Hodgman   Moderators   


Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:50 PM

I mean, what makes a creative work "your" creative work. That is the issue displayed in the video series.

I'm not saying that this is natural or is some higher truth... just that that's the way the law works. I draw a picture, bam, legal use of that image is now dictated by law (bit of a tautology there...).

It doesn't matter if I don't want it to be covered by copyright, it is covered by copyright automatically, no matter what I feel.

If I want to allow people to use it freely, I've got to turn the law against itself and write up an open license and paperclip it onto my picture...

Do you feel you need a copyright for your stuff? Haha

I'm in the business of "selling games" (which, as mentioned earlier, doesn't truely make any sense). Despite it being a nonsense concept that's only possible due to made-up laws, I need money to live...

So yes, it's a sad state of affairs, but I go along with the copyright system out of necessity.
I'd never patent any of my algorithms though -- IMHO that's just immoral -- and I freely share a lot of the knowledge/ideas that go into my code, just not the final, product-ized code itself.

Note that if I pass around knwoledge/ideas, these things are not actually covered by the copyright system.

e.g. I cannot hold a seminar that teaches you 'stippled translucency rendering' and then attack you through the legal system for remixing my idea. However, if you take my code that implements 'stippled translucency rendering' and remix it into your game, then I can take you to court over it.

Copyright law protects implementations, not ideas -- in your video, it's really got nothing to do with copyright. They're talking about the sharing/copying of ideas, not copying of any actual implementation of those ideas.

There were however some stupid patent fights over those ideas, e.g. where Apple held a patent on "slide to unlock", claiming that this idea of the digital latch was so revolutionary that they should be granted a monopoly on anyone's implementation of that idea. That's why patents are ridiculous!

Edited by Hodgman, 09 January 2014 - 10:06 PM.

#5 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:20 PM

It sorta seems like a win-loose situation. I have been trying to find the best way to do it. Like you said, you want to benefit from your work. I think we all do. Meanwhile we have to watch out for crooks. 


Now, the reason I say crooks is because there are cases when it is just plain stealing. For instance, I made a little demo and released it for free. Then someone took the same demo, changed the title, and said it was theirs. I'd feel entitled if they were to profit in that way from something I made. It was "my work." 


Now say they saw my game, liked the concept and made something "very similar" but they did all the work to make it "better," then I think they have a case. They copied me, but they didn't steal from me. 


I think patents (as portrayed in the video) worked the correct way in the past (even though i am sure trolls existed then also) but over time it has just become more complex by super trolls and loopholes in the legal system that are being exploited. 

Edited by Tutorial Doctor, 09 January 2014 - 11:21 PM.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#6 Servant of the Lord   Members   


Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:33 PM


I knew it! The current laws for patents and copyrights are a result of greed and lack of "The common good."


The current laws for patents and copyrights are abused.

Almost every law is abused in some way or another. Food stamps, for example. Food stamps aren't bad, and help a great deal. And are also abused a great deal.

A law being abused doesn't mean the law is bad (and a law not being abused doesn't mean it's good). Just because it's being abused doesn't mean it should be completely removed - you have to understand why it was written in the first place, and understand the ramifications of if it were removed.


The current laws for patents and copyrights do benefit "the common good", despite the abuse.

They allow artists to actually make money. Artists making money means that more art gets created. Not just more art, but better art, since they can work full-time on it as their job, instead of as a hobby. What's better? Assassin's Creed 3 or Random Flash Game #27? That's not to say that all AAA games are better than all hobbyist games... but the vast majority of AAA games (or commercial indie games) are more polished than the vast majority of hobbyist made-over-the-weekend games.

We're not talking innovation here, but polish and refinement. Finished products (whether by indies or AAA developers), not half-finished paintings.


The current laws for patents and copyrights are man-made non-natural creations.

They were created and grown only over the past 500 years. Cash - a standardized form of currency that represents value but has no value in itself - is also a man-made creation, created within the past 2500 years.

This is why it doesn't make sense to get into a moral outrage at China or Switzerland pirating everything, and to realize our trying to enforce copyrights in that nation is us trying to force a set of artificial and unnatural rules the West made up to solve a problem that was occurring 500 years ago (and that it just so happened to have worked well enough in our cultures that we decided keep it around since the time that we've created it).


The current laws for patents and copyrights were created to benefit the public.

Copyrights were created to allow artists to profit without publishers stealing their work and keeping the money for themselves, and copyrights were also created to keep corporations (and governments, originally) from holding monopolies on certain works that should (eventually) become the property of the public.

Because the duration of copyrights have been extended and extended and extended, the monopolies do exist, just de-facto instead of de-jure.


Patents were created to share innovation by publishing inventions and discoveries, instead of keeping them hidden as "trade secrets".

Patents provide a safe and legally-enforceable way to share your inventions with the world, while still letting you profit off your inventions for a fixed number of years.

The current problem with patents is that the United States Patent and Trademark Office doesn't (and isn't capable of) reviewing each patent anywhere near as thoroughly as they should, so they grant patents for things that have already been patented, and grant patents for obvious things, and grant patents for things everyone already knew about, and grant patents for things that should never be allowed to be patented (like design, look and feel, and things like that).


The current main problem with patents is that the government bodies awarding them just do a very exceptionally poor job.


Trademarks are also created to benefit the public. However, you don't have any complains were trademarks so I don't need to go into it.

Trademarks are the one of the three (Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks) that actually has been abused the least. It is directly intended for the consumer's benefit, but because it actually also benefits corporations, they're cool with it the way it is as well.


The current laws for patents and copyrights need to be revamped and re-balanced, but shouldn't be removed.

Artists need to get paid for their work. No, people online don't "deserve" to have something "for free" just because they feel like it.

No, I don't want to beg for donations. No, I don't want to have to be patronized. Yes, I want to eat. Yes, I want to make artistic creations for a living.



(Just slapped this together - pardon the sloppiness of it. I just thought it was easier to illustrate as a triangle)


By the by, you should read Free Culture - it's a long read (and freely downloaded), but it's fairly well written. Warning: It's also biased, being written by one of the strongest "Hippie" advocates - the person who founded the Creative Commons. I don't want to feed you more propaganda on a side you're already leaning towards, but there is enough factual information in the book to make the risk worth-while. Just be balanced in your reasoning, and hear all sides before you take up arms.


There's alot of other people in various positions on that triangle ("gotta catch 'em all" torrent collectors, for example; open source developers who don't feel the need to ram virality down people's throat for another example, and companies and artists that are out to make a living but not to burn down villages on their way to riches), but almost everyone is slanted to one of the three extreme points - and the foundational slanting of each of those three points is based on selfishness - just not always for money.

Edited by Servant of the Lord, 09 January 2014 - 11:50 PM.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' or 'SotL' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.
All glory be to the Man at the right hand... On David's throne the King will reign, and the Government will rest upon His shoulders. All the earth will see the salvation of God.
Of Stranger Flames - [indie turn-based rpg set in a para-historical French colony] | Indie RPG development journal | [Fly with me on Twitter]

#7 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 10 January 2014 - 12:09 AM

Because the duration of copyrights have been extended and extended and extended, the monopolies do exist, just de-facto instead of de-jure.


Yeah that is a major part of it. 


However, I do think that trying to determine what ideas are whose is another big issue. 


Do I really think anyone should own a patent on the wheel? A wheel is more of a geometrical shape that had been used in a certain way. And if two people should use it in the same way, then they should have no right to claim ownership to the wheel. One could make a more advanced wheel and then sell it, fine. 


There are certain things that should not ever be patentable. This whole issue with intellectual property is strange too. You are suing someone else for something you thought of "first" when you probably weren't the first to think of it anyhow. I mean, it really does get messy when you think of it. 


My thinking is way more broad and perhaps a bit more "limited" as some people would say. 


I go way way back in my reasoning thinking, "Who owns the earth?"


And when did one person feel he has a right to a piece of a planet he did not create? When did one person feel it was right to charge another person a fee for living on a plot of land that he did not create? Will men tax each other for air? Who decided that one man should be indebted to another?


So in the issue of "ownership" I'd say there is not much we really own and that there is "nothing new under the sun." 


However, this is still not fully correct. Because there are laws that were needed to make such broad thinking have some order. For instance. Is not my wife my own? Are not my children my own? To some extent yes, yet they are their own also. Is not the house I built with my own hands my own? And should I give right to a thief to come take my possessions that I worked for? Absolutely not. 


So yes, there has to be ownership. And where you have ownership you have thieves also. 


But things like the air you shouldn't own. 


Like you said, just because people choose to abuse laws doesn't make them bad. And it doesn't make a law good just because it is not abused. It is the obstruction and manipulation of the law that makes things complicated. 


Yet, the law is the one thing that makes it so hard to determine how to release "my work". 

Edited by Tutorial Doctor, 10 January 2014 - 12:11 AM.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#8 ActiveUnique   Members   


Posted 12 January 2014 - 02:40 PM

Question, why do you feel you need to copyright your stuff?

The Bern Convention does it automatically. But if it didn't I would still be too paranoid someone's going to copy my entire nonexistant website, my memoirs, the draft for an email I wrote, a stupid custom logo on my t-shirt, the photos of my kids, a remix for jingle bells that I made, the way I talk, etc.


It's easier to think of it as identity protection, you are the only person with the right to sell yourself. Countries that don't enforce this... you get the idea now I hope.

I've read about the idea guy. It's a serious misnomer. You really want to avoid the lazy team.

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