Outpost Universe Forums

Off Topic => General Interest => Game Discussion General => Topic started by: Angellus Mortis on October 04, 2018, 10:11:14 AM

Title: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: Angellus Mortis on October 04, 2018, 10:11:14 AM
https://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/9lbrq8/3_days_after_releasing_soldier_of_fortune_on_gog/

It looks like Activision republished an older game, Soldier of Fortune (2001) on GOG and then a couple of days later sent a takedown require to the guy who was maintaining a mod that allowed the game to be played on modern systems.
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: Hooman on October 04, 2018, 10:24:25 AM
Hmm, concerning.

I suppose all the more reason we need White Claw to build those new graphics for OPHD  :)
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: leeor_net on October 04, 2018, 06:42:09 PM
Ech. Activision is horrible. They're almost as bad as EA. It's an ancient game and I'm not really sure they can use a DMCA for a software patch. But eh, /me shrugs. I don't have lots of money and really good lawyers. 0.0
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: White Claw on October 04, 2018, 09:11:04 PM
Well that doesn't sound like it's headed on a good path.

OPHD seems it's close enough to having alternate resources that it might escape the IP issue. But what about OP2?
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: lordpalandus on October 05, 2018, 10:12:38 AM
Generally you only have to worry about IPs if you intend to make money off the product.

They DMCA'd the patch because it infringed on their ability to make money off the product on GOG; if you can just download a patch to make a game work on a modern system, why would you need to buy the game off GOG, where Activision gets a cut.

I'm also not sure the Digital Millenium Copyright Act fits with what they are doing either. It would be appropriately used for the USA government applying it to the Chinese who have blatantly stolen IPs and then slightly modified them to call them their own.

Generally big companies don't care what you do with their stuff as long as it doesn't affect their bottom line. If what you are offering is free and doesn't hurt them when they try to make a buck off their old products, then you are generally safe.

Well, as long as it isn't a Disney or Star Wars product that is...
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: leeor_net on October 05, 2018, 11:21:02 AM
Generally you only have to worry about IPs if you intend to make money off the product.

Uh... no? Like not at all. The IP rights holder of any IP can enforce copyrights whenever they feel like and under any circumstances. If someone is distributing copies of a an IP, said holder can DMCA you and/or send a CnD and is entirely within their right to open a lawsuit.

Note the word copyright. It gives the owner of said copyright the rights to determine who can make copies, who can distribute copies and under what conditions said copies can be distributed. I really don't know why we have to have this discussion -- plain and simple, copyrighted materials are the property of the IP holder and the IP holder is within their right to demand complete control over who can make copies and under what conditions.

Side note -- first sale clause of copyright law allows persons who have legitimate copies of a work to resell said copies. E.g., if I buy a game from a store, I can now sell that game to someone else. Note that this applies to physical, tangible goods only. Digital goods are a different story..


They DMCA'd the patch because it infringed on their ability to make money off the product on GOG; if you can just download a patch to make a game work on a modern system, why would you need to buy the game off GOG, where Activision gets a cut.

This is a dubious claim.

I'm also not sure the Digital Millenium Copyright Act fits with what they are doing either. It would be appropriately used for the USA government applying it to the Chinese who have blatantly stolen IPs and then slightly modified them to call them their own.

Actually it does. DMCA protects IP holders rights to digital intellectual property. Software binary code falls within the jurisdiction of the DMCA.


Generally big companies don't care what you do with their stuff as long as it doesn't affect their bottom line. If what you are offering is free and doesn't hurt them when they try to make a buck off their old products, then you are generally safe.

Uhm... that's a sure fire way of getting a CnD. Big companies generally don't care when they are unaware of IP copyright infringements or if they own an IP that they don't know they have.

Nintendo and SquareEnix are notorious examples of litigious anti consumer companies that take down literally anything that uses their IP whether it's monetized or not.

Just because some companies let it slide is no defense, an IP copyright holder is free to enforce their copyright in anyway they are legally entitled to.

Suffice it to say that if Activision learns that they are the IP holders for Outpost IP and they give enough of a damn about it, we will absolutely see a DMCA/CnD letter from them. It ultimately just means we need to take down the downloads of OP1 and OP2 but everything else would be protected under fair use.
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: lordpalandus on October 05, 2018, 12:16:53 PM
If you know all of this Leeor, then why are you purposefully using the Outpost name? Some people could give the excuse that they didn't know and were not intentionally picking a fight with a company... but you clearly do know so you can't give that excuse.

Why not just rename the entire game to something else, without the Outpost name in it? The people here on OPU would know that it is a spiritual success to Outpost, so why are you purposefully doing something you know is illegal?
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: leeor_net on October 05, 2018, 01:41:46 PM
Because names can't be copyrighted, only trademarked, and the Outpost trademark expired many years ago.

Also, copyright and trademark laws do not apply to ideas. This is why you can have games and movies that are almost clones of each other and not have lawsuits involved.
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: Arklon on October 05, 2018, 03:47:32 PM
The difference is Soldier of Fortune was a pretty successful and well-known IP for its time, whereas Outpost 1/2 were total failures that Sierra almost certainly lost money on, especially considering they got sued by a retailer named Outpost over the trademark at one point and had to spend $$$ fighting that. For years, Vivendi didn't even acknowledge the existence of OP2 in any capacity.
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: Vagabond on October 05, 2018, 04:32:05 PM
Take down notices are tough to generalize about. Each company has different ideas/policies on when they issue them. I've notices companies that embrace modification of their products from the community and companies that issue takedowns for what seems to be based on shaky legal grounds at best. Even if the takedown is illegitimate, if the issue is pressed hard enough, most individuals do not have the time or money to really fight back.

There is nothing saying that one has to comply with a takedown notice. The issuing company may or may not decide to pursue legal action. They may just be bluffing since oftentimes takedown notices are simply complied with instead of fought.

Oftentimes, the takedown notice will be issued in a way that notifies some sort of responsible company. For example, Etsy will automatically remove products from people's handmade store if a takedown notice is applied. There is an appeals process in where Etsy will restore the product and then leave it up to the individual and the company to take the matter to some sort of court or arbitration. The number of people willing to appeal is low though so simply issuing the takedown often achieves the objection of removing the item from the marketplace. I'm not sure, but I assume such a message could be sent to a website provider to remove an 'offending' website.

I guess one could research how GitHub handles takedown requests and what the appeals process is (if it exists at all?). But the other side of this is that perhaps nothing like this ever happens for Outpost 1/2.

-Brett
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: leeor_net on October 05, 2018, 06:09:17 PM
GitHub will remove repositories that are DMCA'd -- there was a SimCity 2000 clone that had SC2K assets in the repository which is what got it taken down. The code was original and nothing EA could do anything about but they had a valid point with the assets. It's also why we spent as much time as we did scrubbing OP1/OP2 assets from all of the repositories that we migrated to GitHub.
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: Hooman on October 05, 2018, 11:43:48 PM
Leeor, I'm impressed by how much you've read into this. It's good we have someone here who can make some sense of the issue.

And yes, we pay careful attention about what gets pushed to GitHub. We want original code up there. We do not want any game assets added to any GitHub repository, not even as test data.
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: leeor_net on October 06, 2018, 08:31:45 AM
For more details about the SC2K remake that was taken down due to asset violations:

https://github.com/rage8885/OpenSC2K

https://www.pcgamer.com/ea-takes-down-open-source-simcity-2000-remake-for-using-copyrighted-assets/

Note that EA was clear about why they filed a DMCA, that it was because of copyrighted assets that were being shared, not because it was a remake or because of the code.

Side note: I only really have any clue about copyright law because I've looked into how it works for my own IP, how to enforce it, what it covers and what fair use is. It's still flustering to see how often people are so ignorant about copyright law and yet speak with such authority about it when a simple google search can alleviate the ignorance. Google fu is weak with the current generation.

Side side note: I'm super cranky these last few days, more so than usual, probably due to seasonal changes so take apparent shittiness with a grain of salt. ;)
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: Hooman on October 06, 2018, 01:37:35 PM
Interesting, they have a copy of the DMCA form that was filled out and sent in, with personally identifiable information removed. Looks like a reasonably simple, though rather formal process. Also interesting how some of the questions really make the complainant think about what is required by the law.
Title: Re: Activision sent DMCA after publishing game on GOG
Post by: leeor_net on October 06, 2018, 03:28:47 PM
To be fair the language they used of "The current audio visual output of the repository creates content that infringes on Electronic Arts copyright" is overly broad suggesting that even if the repository only included source code and that the end user would have to obtain the original assets that EA would still push a DMCA claiming copyright infringement which a clone program like that absolutely would not constitute a copyright infringement.

GitHub apparantly keeps all of their processed DMCA requests open with personal information redacted. I appreciate that process. They also publish the counter-claims in the same way. All can be viewed here: https://github.com/github/dmca

I was browsing some of them and found it interesting and a little disheartening that a number of the claims were against obvious and flagrant file sharing with some repositories being source code for closed-source proprietary code that was leaked by internal developers or stolen and then published. It's somewhat aggravating to see an open-source hub like GitHub be abused in such a fashion.