Tuesday, April 17, 2012

the distortion is way too clear

Holy gods, there's some good stores on the Nightstalker hunt list. I admit, I am actually excited for a grid-wide hunt. Plus, many of the same designers are going to show up for the later World Goth Day events, so May's looking very, very good.

Meanwhile, in Sharkhead Isle...

NPC] Enraged Miner: 31 accidents a day is too high!

Now, see, for once, I am wholly in agreement! That
is too many "accidents" per day! Someone needs to stop them!

Unfortunately for the miners, I'm almost never on their side as a villain. They're typical NPC punching bags; I just always feel guilty doing it.

Friend of mine sent me this bitter little rant, and it literally made my jaw drop open. The sheer stupidity of this man's cause...well, I'll let his own words convict in this case:
Back in december of 2011, I set up a fansite dedicated to Fallout and Fallout art. Specifically, it contained several high-resolution Fallout-style posters, clearly inspired by the in-game posters of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas.
Now, this is not necessarily the issue. Making fan art happens with large media things, from games to shows to music groups. And there are thousands of fan sites out there devoted to whatever the property is. This is understood, and, to a certain degree, expected.
That being said, I bought the domain name Fallout-posters.com and uploaded the high-resolution Fallout-posters to the page – offering them free to download for the Fallout-community.
This is what people, day after day, week after week, year after year fail to understand--what matters in any copyright case is not whether you charge or not--it's how you're presenting it. For instance, had he created an account on deviantArt--as HackSigns, altair4444, stman, and DaKaktus did (among many others)--there would have been no issue. Artistic expression--even artistic expression of copyrighted properties--is generally allowed under fair use provisions.

But what he did that was actionable was buying up the domain name. The name Fallout-posters.com specifically traded on what he was creating, which was posters related to the Fallout and Fallout. By doing that, he was deliberately inferring that he was an artistic arm of Bethesda. They HAD to act.
Now, the original post got quite a bit of attention on Reddit, Stumbleupon and similar sites, and during the first few days, I got more than 100.000 unique visitors to the site. My host actually mailed me personally and forced me to move the site to a bigger server (which I paid had to pay extra for).
Not Bethesda's problem, and frankly, he just comes off as a whining child for bringing it up--Waaa, I had to pay extra when the link got thrown on Reddit, because hundreds and thousands of people came to the site...Yeah. So not interested. And not the point of the letter, anyway.

From the letter he received:
Please note that your use of the term FALLOUT, or any term confusingly similar to the FALLOUT Marks, could subject you to substantial liability to Bethesda as such use constitutes trademark infringement, as well as passing off and/or unfair competition....You are now certainly on notice of our client's prior rights in the FALLOUT Marks and continued use of any confusingly similar designation could be considered willful infringement and could subject you to additional liability.
Now, I should state for the record, I am a fan. I've written stories based on established properties, poems based around songs, I've dressed up as characters for conventions. I've browsed many merchant rooms and bought a significant number of fan-made items. None of this is, specifically, actionable.

Where it becomes actionable is if I try to trade--for personal gain or for no gain--on specific established trademarks. If I wrote a book called Doctor Who & the Denver Dilemma, for instance. Or if I purchased a domain name that featured "Game of Thrones" as part of its URL. It doesn't matter what I sell on deviantArt, or Etsy, even--because profit is not the point. Any time I step forward and dilute the established trademark, I am treading on very uneasy ground.
What pisses me off isn’t the fact that they’re looking out for their trademark – as they have every right to do so. What I’m pissed about are large companies abusing their monetary power, hiring global law firms to go after a fan online, immediately threating with a lawsuit.
In the same paragraph he both lauds Bethesda for protecting their trademark, and blasts them for going after him, personally, because he violated that trademark. He can't have it both ways.
Had they had the slighest bit of PR-savyness, they would have shot me a quick personal mail asking me to remove the (supposed) infringing content – and preferrably sent me some nice Fallout-swag as a nice gesture (yes, I am that corrupt).
At least he admits it. But while we're on the topic, why in any world does he think Bethesda owes him anything? "Hey, thanks, guy, for trading on our established marks and diluting our brand name--have a couple of t-shirts and a signed copy of the game. Love your work!"

Did he seriously, even for half a second, think that was realistically going to happen?!?

And his "reply" is just as full of inaccuracies and errors as his preceding rant.

Just for the amusement factor, I went to fallout-posters.com. The site's still up--but all the posters have been removed. Guess you weren't in the right after all, sir.

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