PDA

View Full Version : Hackers sued for tinkering with Xbox games


Tocpe
02-10-2005, 04:31 PM
In the first case of its kind, a California video game maker is suing an entire community of software tinkerers for reverse engineering and modifying Xbox games that they legally purchased.

Tecmo, Inc., a subsidiary of a Japanese company, announced a federal lawsuit Wednesday against Mike Greiling of Eden Prairie, Minn., and Will Glynn from Davie, Fla, for alleged violations of U.S. copyright law and the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

According to the complaint, Greiling and Glynn were webmasters of ninjahacker.net, an online forum dedicated to creating custom content and modifications for certain video games. Also included in the suit, filed January 21st in Illinois, are up to 100 anonymous users of the site, whose identities the company vowed to unmask.
>>Link to article (http://www.securityfocus.com/news/10466?ref=rss)<<

Lyr
02-10-2005, 04:34 PM
Legally purchased a license to play, not own. Huge difference.

PaulGanguly
02-10-2005, 04:40 PM
That excerpt bears no indication that they either distributed, or copied the original information.

I know that this discussion came up in the 80's, with vhs recordings, but the question remains, when you buy either a game, a DVD, or anything, are you buying the information, or licensing the product for use on your computer. Either way, are you in any way allowed to modify that information for your own use?

This article would indicate that you do not have such buyers rights.

Similarly, if I drive a ford, am I not allowed to modify the look and/or performance of the vehicle?

This would suggest also that if I buy a dell, am I unable to upgrade the computer, solely because the case bears a dell seal, and that upon modification, the product is no longer what it once was, and as a result I have broken the law?

I dunno, but to me, that's what this situation is like.

mummey
02-10-2005, 04:43 PM
Legally purchased a license to play, not own. Huge difference.

...as long as this fact is clearly understood. If Tecmo did not clearly state that place before purchase, then their case has been greatly reduced.

SpiralFace
02-10-2005, 04:48 PM
I personaly beleave that if you buy the game, then you have the right to do whatever you want to the game with your own personal time. But I can see where the line begins to get very grey when they begin to distribute ways of modifying the game to the global public. I'm sure Tecmo is just doing this to prevent parents from seeing Big jim and Little Timmy playing with naked girls on the screen and thinking its the developers fault and not their own. I do beleave that as far as getting a brand out there that a developer has to hold onto some integraty, but to look at the reality, Modding sells games in some respects. Counterstrike sold how many Half life games when it first came out? granted no one was naked and they did'nt have a very "realistice Bounce and jiggle physics," but the reality is that being able to modify the game once you pick it up is becomming a big market now. And although I do beleave that Tecmo should be able to preserve and not degrade the image of their licenced characters any more then some of us already veiw them (Seriously, anyone who's played beach vollyball knows that to get them to look naked does'nt take all that much concidering half the time they practicaly are naked anyways.)

Iether way it should be interesting to see how this turns out.

Lyr
02-10-2005, 04:52 PM
...as long as this fact is clearly understood. If Tecmo did not clearly state that place before purchase, then their case has been greatly reduced.

It's typically in the manuals for the game, titled License agreement.

Lyr
02-10-2005, 04:54 PM
Similarly, if I drive a ford, am I not allowed to modify the look and/or performance of the vehicle?



Sure, as long as they aren't illegal modifications that endanger other people and thier property. You'll have to check your local laws though as it varies from city to city by quite a bit.

pgp_protector
02-10-2005, 04:57 PM
It's typically in the manuals for the game, titled License agreement.

True, but you cant read that tell AFTER you buy the game.

PaulGanguly
02-10-2005, 05:18 PM
Sure, as long as they aren't illegal modifications that endanger other people and thier property. You'll have to check your local laws though as it varies from city to city by quite a bit.No, I didn't mean modifications that extend into the realm of making the car illegal for street use, I meant is it illegal to change the apearance of a car, bearing a specific companies logo, if that was not the appearance under which the company sold the car?

Of course, logic would say of course not, it's your car, you bought it, why not change something?

To me, this is no different with a game.

So long as the original code was not distributed illegally, such that illegal copes could not be made for people who did not purchase it.

Gentle Fury
02-10-2005, 05:24 PM
So basically, modders that wanted to enhance their gaming experience by making new what they already purchased are being sued.....so basically this means that game companies would rather you get bored with your game so you have to buy the newest version of it rather than change what you already had.....this is insanity! I could understand if they used the source code to make their own game to sell and make a profit, but these are mods! Made for fun! Damn greedy ass game companies!!!

Long live open source!! If all companys were like this they would all be EA.....pumping out the same crap every year with new names....oooo and a new scrimage line!!! YAY!

bentllama
02-10-2005, 05:41 PM
:applause: :applause: :applause: hear hear.

Recursive
02-10-2005, 05:45 PM
The right of ownership really should be made to include more rights in the US imo. Such as for example reverse engineering anything that you have bought. You may not have bought the actuall game but you did buy the plastic discs they came on and you should be allowed to do anything you want to those discs. Here in sweden this would be fully legal but it scares me that it isnt in the US since these laws have a tendancy to get exported.

bentllama
02-10-2005, 05:49 PM
True, but you cant read that tell AFTER you buy the game.

end user agreement.

the second you press play on a game, you are signing off to the end user agreement.

if you dont like, then don't play it.

bentllama
02-10-2005, 05:52 PM
The right of ownership really should be made to include more rights in the US imo. Such as for example reverse engineering anything that you have bought. You may not have bought the actuall game but you did buy the plastic discs they came on and you should be allowed to do anything you want to those discs. Here in sweden this would be fully legal but it scares me that it isnt in the US since these laws have a tendancy to get exported.

you own the physical materials [cd, manual, packaging] you do not own the software...you simply buy the right to USE the software on thier terms.

Gentle Fury
02-10-2005, 05:53 PM
wonder if microsoft will take note and sue companies like Stardock (http://www.stardock.com/) for their window blinds software. As what this lawsuit essentially is saying is that you don't have the right to change how you experience your games.....it is entirely up to the developer to determine what your experience should be...well technically doesn't window blinds alter your windows operating system experience, thus making it liable to these types of frivolous lawsuits?

Gentle Fury
02-10-2005, 05:55 PM
you own the physical materials [cd, manual, packaging] you do not own the software...you simply buy the right to USE the software on thier terms.

This is true, yes....that's where they get ya. You have the right to disect the cd all you want.....but the data is not yours. This is the way it has always been. NOW, if you can figure a way to physically alter the ones and zeros on the original disc thus altering the game you would be fully within your legal right ;)

pgp_protector
02-10-2005, 05:58 PM
end user agreement.

the second you press play on a game, you are signing off to the end user agreement.

if you dont like, then don't play it.

The thing is you cant READ the EULA untell you buy & open & try to install / run the game, and after that time, you are now Unable to return the game because it has been opened.

poly-phobic
02-10-2005, 06:02 PM
you own the physical materials [cd, manual, packaging] you do not own the software...you simply buy the right to USE the software on thier terms.
i could go into details on how asinine this sounds, but i wont.
you think about it.


:
Just to clarify, not the statement itself is silly, just the the politics of it all.

you purchase a game, u can do to it as you wish.

not just modding it or changing the contents,

although, i dont like the term "hacked"

theres a diference between a hacker and a modder.

Recursive
02-10-2005, 06:13 PM
you own the physical materials [cd, manual, packaging] you do not own the software...you simply buy the right to USE the software on thier terms.

I am sorry if I didnt make myself clear, english is not my first language. I will try to say the same thing again.

The current laws make it illegal to reverse engineer software in most cases in the US. In other countries such as Sweden it is legal because the law specificly says that you have a right todo so. And this right applies nomatter what the eula says. This is what I would like the US to implement.

It is true that you do not own the software in most cases when you buy it. but you own the individual parts of the disc that are hole free, I would say that you own the holes aswell, but I dont think its possible to own a hole.

So you see, I want to change what the companies can restrict you to do with the physical objects you buy, to give more rights to the consumer. I fully understand if you dont want this, I wouldnt expect everyone too.

poly-phobic
02-10-2005, 06:15 PM
It is true that you do not own the software in most cases when you buy it. but you own the individual parts of the disc that are hole free, I would say that you own the holes aswell, but I dont think its possible to own a hole.

.

yes indeed, well put.

L.Rawlins
02-10-2005, 06:18 PM
The XBox is a glorified PC. It was only a matter of time before it started to have its games modded.

Legally or otherwise.

This is no surprise. What it means for the future development of XBox titles however, intrigues me.

Signal2Noise
02-10-2005, 06:27 PM
...The harm isn't just to the wholesome values of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball...


"Wholesome values". Hehe! That's just too funny! DOAXVB is just screaming for a pr0n port! ;)

version
02-10-2005, 07:28 PM
end user agreement.

the second you press play on a game, you are signing off to the end user agreement.

if you dont like, then don't play it.

Thankfully, in Europe, EULAs are about as much use as a kick to the head, so the EU is about to decide whether to scrap them, utterly change them, or make them understandable by mere mortals.

As to this lawsuit, what a joke.

t-man152
02-10-2005, 07:41 PM
The thing is you cant READ the EULA untell you buy & open & try to install / run the game, and after that time, you are now Unable to return the game because it has been opened.

I thought it was on the outside of the box. it was on my dreamcast box I think.

pgp_protector
02-10-2005, 07:45 PM
I thought it was on the outside of the box. it was on my dreamcast box I think.

Mabie a simple intro to it, but most EULAs are several pages long. And of all the software I've bought over the last few years, None have had any EULAs on the outside of the box, just the system requirments, warnings, price, description, and such.

Some of the most recent software didnt even come with any writen documation, only what was on the CD, I.E. the "by breaking this seal you agree with the EULA that you cant read untill you break the seal"

Supervlieg
02-10-2005, 08:24 PM
Its funny to see the spike in pageviews on ninjahacker.net since this thread started.

I dont think the court can be bothered with letting Tecmo win. Its not like they are losing money on it. And the next step could be developers seuing end users because they dont play the game in the way it is intended.

Its my game, I payed quite a large amount of money to use the game. If I want to use it as a coaster or mod the living daylights out of it, that should be my choice. The developers/publishers should be glad another copy is sold to another happy customer.

pgp_protector
02-10-2005, 08:44 PM
... snip...

And the next step could be developers seuing end users because they dont play the game in the way it is intended.


LOL Ever play WOW ?

There have been a lot of changes becuse they found players doing quest "Not the way we intended", and have even suspended accounts for some players "Gaming style"

I.E. Sending in a stealth character to "Tag" the boss monster, whild avoinding the rest, and having the rest of the team summon(Teleport) him back to the front of the instance(cave/maze), and the boss monster will then run to the front by itself, and the team can attack without being swamped. Blizzard didnt like this (It's not the way we intended it to be played) and then changed the rules

Pixarman
02-10-2005, 08:48 PM
If this goes thru and Tecmo gets a win, then this is real bad news for the gaming industry. Look at how many PC games get modded. Even the ones that don't come with modding materials eventually get modded. So now those companies could sue too.

Doesn't Tecmo see that this makes people want more of their product. It get's gamers excited and adds to future sells. Bungie just posted, info on their site, a mod for Halo PC that essentially turns it into Halo 2. How awesome is that. Applaud these modders for their talent. They are not hurting any sells whatsoever, infact I think it may add to sells. I bought Battlefield just for the "Desert Combat" mod. I heard those guys even got a job from making that mod.

If the companies can sue us for making mods to their games can we not sue them for making sucky/buggy games? Isn't that in the EULA that they have to provide a fully finished and entertaining game. There are plenty of games that were advertised as the next revolution in gaming and turned out to be piles of poo. They didn't live up to their promise and once I hit the play button it became a legal bonding...I should be able to sue. It goes both ways.

zappenduster
02-10-2005, 11:22 PM
If this goes thru and Tecmo gets a win, then this is real bad news for the gaming industry. Look at how many PC games get modded. Even the ones that don't come with modding materials eventually get modded. So now those companies could sue too.

Doesn't Tecmo see that this makes people want more of their product. It get's gamers excited and adds to future sells. Bungie just posted, info on their site, a mod for Halo PC that essentially turns it into Halo 2. How awesome is that. Applaud these modders for their talent. They are not hurting any sells whatsoever, infact I think it may add to sells. I bought Battlefield just for the "Desert Combat" mod. I heard those guys even got a job from making that mod.


uhm you get something wrong here, games like half life or the doom series where aproved by the developers to get modifications
the developers created a software development kit for the normal enduser, that could with the sdk change most of the gamecontent and behavior

in the case of tecmo no such permission was given, so they got a case their

i see 2 problems in the whole way of thinking from tecmo (leaving out that copyright violations in this range more humorous then dangerous):

if you buy a game and the eula (end user license agreement) is in the package (not printed on the box) and you dont agree to the eula you cant in 99% of the cases give the game/software back cause shops only take sealed boxes back...

if i buy a game the medium like cd, dvd or manual are mine but iam not alowed to change the software via reverse engineering but what is if i change the medium itself
for example i change the binary information on the cd physicaly by changing the bits (with a microsope and some other tools not problem these days) is that also a violation ?

Gentle Fury
02-11-2005, 01:37 AM
If this goes thru and Tecmo gets a win, then this is real bad news for the gaming industry. Look at how many PC games get modded. Even the ones that don't come with modding materials eventually get modded. So now those companies could sue too.

Doesn't Tecmo see that this makes people want more of their product. It get's gamers excited and adds to future sells. Bungie just posted, info on their site, a mod for Halo PC that essentially turns it into Halo 2. How awesome is that. Applaud these modders for their talent. They are not hurting any sells whatsoever, infact I think it may add to sells. I bought Battlefield just for the "Desert Combat" mod. I heard those guys even got a job from making that mod.

If the companies can sue us for making mods to their games can we not sue them for making sucky/buggy games? Isn't that in the EULA that they have to provide a fully finished and entertaining game. There are plenty of games that were advertised as the next revolution in gaming and turned out to be piles of poo. They didn't live up to their promise and once I hit the play button it became a legal bonding...I should be able to sue. It goes both ways.

hell yeah....do you know how much money these modders will probably make Bungie??? If a mod group can make Halo 2 out of Halo then that means people will go out and buy Halo just to mod it into halo 2.....then when the official PC port of Halo 2 comes out they will buy that too to get the cut scenes! Twice the money, half the effort....I applaud any company that encourages creativity in their game.....hell look at counter strike....that started as just a mod of Half-Life, and became one of the biggest on-line games ever!

Sometimes users come up with ways to use a game engine that the original company never even thought of, and by leaving games open to be altered it just makes it so creative people can come up with new ideas and further grease the wheels of progress. Those that stand behind copyright laws to monopolize an industry only hinder technology, and that should be ILLEGAL!!!

Gentle Fury
02-11-2005, 01:39 AM
uhm you get something wrong here, games like half life or the doom series where aproved by the developers to get modifications
the developers created a software development kit for the normal enduser, that could with the sdk change most of the gamecontent and behavior

in the case of tecmo no such permission was given, so they got a case their

i see 2 problems in the whole way of thinking from tecmo (leaving out that copyright violations in this range more humorous then dangerous):

if you buy a game and the eula (end user license agreement) is in the package (not printed on the box) and you dont agree to the eula you cant in 99% of the cases give the game/software back cause shops only take sealed boxes back...

if i buy a game the medium like cd, dvd or manual are mine but iam not alowed to change the software via reverse engineering but what is if i change the medium itself
for example i change the binary information on the cd physicaly by changing the bits (with a microsope and some other tools not problem these days) is that also a violation ?

Thats what I was refering to earlier...if you could find a way to alter the data on the cd without the use of a computer technically nothing could be done....lol

PureFire
02-11-2005, 02:23 AM
this is insane....the judge should throw this case out. These guys have coughed up the cash to buy the game and now the people who receive this money are sueing them?...The developers should be hiring these guys.

vfx
02-11-2005, 08:28 AM
U can buy a famous painting....its ur property.. u could burn the thing if you wanted...(unless its stated protected before purchase). The same goes for games...its ur money you've spent buying a code that someone has been working away at. Stupid...damn right stupid - does this show democracy in the US?

If this case was successful what on the earth would happen to all the mod sites?? Could you imagine?

t-man152
02-11-2005, 11:52 AM
I guess the console games companies are kind of slow I mean the PC game industry realized years ago that modding increases lifespan of the game and increase sales. I mean look at the facts:

-Half Life 1 kept on selling until Half life 2 came out not for the game but for the mods

-Unreal tournament 2k3/2k4 chat rooms activity is rising although the game is getting older and older.

-I and many other people I know think of how long we will play this game before throwing it in the closet. games with mods usually last alot longer.

Gentle Fury
02-11-2005, 02:49 PM
U can buy a famous painting....its ur property.. u could burn the thing if you wanted...(unless its stated protected before purchase). The same goes for games...its ur money you've spent buying a code that someone has been working away at. Stupid...damn right stupid - does this show democracy in the US?

If this case was successful what on the earth would happen to all the mod sites?? Could you imagine?

Your onto a good point there.....but wouldn't this be more like buying a print of a painting and drawing a mustache on it and hanging it on your wall. Is anyone going to sue you for this? They may think your a little strange, but I seriously doubt lawsuits would incure.

slaughters
02-11-2005, 03:03 PM
The thing is you cant READ the EULA untell you buy & open & try to install / run the game, and after that time, you are now Unable to return the game because it has been opened.Oh please be real. You know that is what they say. You've read one game EULA you've pretty much read them all.

This is not whether someone did or did not know that they were breaking the licesense agreement. It's about them disagreeing with it and deciding to take their chances anyway.

I personally think like Gentle Fury is right when he says that nothing extends the life cycle of a game better than fan generated mods. In the end most software companies benefit from that (see Half-Life for a great example of this). BUT it is Tecmo's right to enforce the licesense agreement that was agreed to.

richcz3
02-11-2005, 03:36 PM
U can buy a famous painting....its ur property.. u could burn the thing if you wanted...(unless its stated protected before purchase). The same goes for games...its ur money you've spent buying a code that someone has been working away at. Stupid...damn right stupid - does this show democracy in the US?

If this case was successful what on the earth would happen to all the mod sites?? Could you imagine?
I do not agree with this lawsuit.
That being written software is not a physical item like a car or a framed painting. It's a digital medium which requires little effort to reproduce and distribute. You can't download a ford truck or other physical object and reproduce and distribute them.

I do think EULAs are flawed and lately are starting to take usage rights away from paying customers. I'm using Valve's Steam EULA as the most current example. If EULA's continue to broaden user limitations then the software companies should be forced to charge at rental prices.

percydaman
02-11-2005, 03:46 PM
Oh please be real. You know that is what they say. You've read one game EULA you've pretty much read them all.

This is not whether someone did or did not know that they were breaking the licesense agreement. It's about them disagreeing with it and deciding to take their chances anyway.

I personally think like Gentle Fury is right when he says that nothing extends the life cycle of a game better than fan generated mods. In the end most software companies benefit from that (see Half-Life for a great example of this). BUT it is Tecmo's right to enforce the licesense agreement that was agreed to.

Im sorry but you kind of contradict your own statement. You say that if you've read one EULA, you pretty much read them all.

"PRETTY MUCH" means that they all AREN'T the same, maybe 90% the same (for arguments sake)

Its that other 10% that can drastically change the game (no pun intended) If ALL EULA's really were completely identical, then yes, maybe an argument could be made that its not necessary to have to know the entire EULA before having the chance to read it. :) :deal:

Q_B
02-11-2005, 04:20 PM
"Its that other 10% that can drastically change the game (no pun intended) If ALL EULA's really were completely identical, then yes, maybe an argument could be made that its not necessary to have to know the entire EULA before having the chance to read it. :) :deal:"

Even in that case, legally, no one can force you to actually KNOW the agreement before opening the case. You know there's a first time for everything. When you buy your FIRST game you can't possibly know the agreement, even if they'r all the same.

And, note, this isn't being picky. It's reality. And law MUST anticipate and cover it.

Recursive
02-11-2005, 04:26 PM
Even in that case, legally, no one can force you to actually KNOW the agreement before opening the case. You know there's a first time for everything. When you buy your FIRST game you can't possibly know the agreement, even if they'r all the same.

And, note, this isn't being picky. It's reality. And law MUST anticipate and cover it.

No legal system is perfect. What you describe is the way it was intended to be. It is however not the way it works today. EULA's have been held up in courts of law in the US. This is another scary part of it all. You are signing on to a contract that you havent read. And if you disagree with it after you have read it you might not be able to do anything about it unless the store you bought the game from is very nice.

Q_B
02-11-2005, 05:11 PM
" No legal system is perfect."

That's not perfection, that's the basic of the basics. It's not a minor fault, it's the whole principle of agreements turned upside-down and thrown into trash. I don't know about the US law, but here it wouldn't stand a chance in court, i'm preety sure. Someone above mentioned the forecoming European directives about those dreaded EULA's... let's wait to see what comes out.

slaughters
02-11-2005, 06:16 PM
...Its that other 10% that can drastically change the game ...People who are smart enough to mod games (a) Have already opened the game anyway and (b) Are not total idiots.

They broke thier EULA because they did not approve of it or agree with it, not because they had no knowledge of it.

MGernot
02-12-2005, 06:29 AM
That's not perfection, that's the basic of the basics. It's not a minor fault, it's the whole principle of agreements turned upside-down and thrown into trash. I don't know about the US law, but here it wouldn't stand a chance in court, i'm preety sure. Someone above mentioned the forecoming European directives about those dreaded EULA's... let's wait to see what comes out.

It`s even questionable in the EU if you can agree with a EULA with the click of a button.

Ibah
02-12-2005, 02:37 PM
interesting do, with pc games , its all a lot easyer.. lot of quake , unreal and hl mods around, also distributed, but if they ask money for it thats something else, but still.. modding isnt illigal. they must state thats a mod.

dont see companys bashing up the max payn moders etc

Gentle Fury
02-12-2005, 03:20 PM
I think the whole debate of the EULA being in the box is because if you go to the store, buy an XBox game, take out the manual, read the EULA and decide it doesn't suit you, your only option is to toss the game in the trash, because a store won't refund your money. Therefore it is very shady on the developers part to say....well you read the licence agreement.

I still think it's ridiculous that in this country whe you buy a game or a movie you aren't buying anything but a piece of plastic and the right to use what is contained therein. This is why you can get in trouble for installing multiple instances of your software on mulitple computers! This to me is also insane! If you went out and spent $7000 on a software package and you own 3 computers that noone else is going to be using why should you not have the right to install said software on all 3 computers?? Didn't you purchase your individual right to use it? So, basically, you are paying for the right to install it....not use it. How far will this go?

cha0t1c1
02-13-2005, 02:53 PM
u r allowed by law to do whatever u want with a purchased item as long as the actions do not conflict with others' rights. therefore, a mod. acts as 3rd party extention writer. thus, the mod. is allowed to better the experience of the item within the limits of the law.Tecmo has no chance of winning. it's like a bank going after their own greyhat hackers.
my 2cents...

Recursive
02-13-2005, 02:56 PM
u r allowed by law to do whatever u want with a purchased item as long as the actions do not conflict with others' rights. therefore, a mod. acts as 3rd party extention writer. thus, the mod. is allowed to better the experience of the item within the limits of the law.Tecmo has no chance of winning. it's like a bank going after their own greyhat hackers.
my 2cents...

The difference here is that you dont purchase a copy of it. You purchuse the license to use a copy of it.

BillB
02-13-2005, 11:50 PM
People who are smart enough to mod games (a) Have already opened the game anyway and (b) Are not total idiots.

They broke thier EULA because they did not approve of it or agree with it, not because they had no knowledge of it.

To be fair, given how many games like UT and Halo encourage and permit modding, they could well have believed this EULA allowed it too. I'd be amazed if they actually bothered to read it. When was the last time you read one of those things!?

Let's face, were it not for the DMCA, we wouldn't be having this discussion...

BillB
02-14-2005, 12:03 AM
An important point to remember with anything like this - you can't contract out of the law. If the law allows this kind of modding of something you've purchased, then no amount of EULA lawyer schpiel can change that. That's what it will come down to - is this Fair Use or is it DMCA-prohibited reverse engineering?

The fact that you only buy a licence to use the game isn't necessarily relevant - I don't own the story that's printed in a book either, but if I want to pull the pages out and put them back in the wrong order, or rewrite the ending then nothing prevents that. If I distribute (just) that ending and tell people "pull out the last chapter in your book and replace it with my p0rn one!" that'd be legal too.

cha0t1c1
02-14-2005, 04:47 AM
The fact that you only buy a licence to use the game isn't necessarily relevant - I don't own the story that's printed in a book either, but if I want to pull the pages out and put them back in the wrong order, or rewrite the ending then nothing prevents that. If I distribute (just) that ending and tell people "pull out the last chapter in your book and replace it with my p0rn one!" that'd be legal too.

Fully agreed... :D

firestar3d
02-14-2005, 05:39 AM
uhm you get something wrong here, games like half life or the doom series where aproved by the developers to get modifications
the developers created a software development kit for the normal enduser, that could with the sdk change most of the gamecontent and behavior

in the case of tecmo no such permission was given...

At this point I would have to disagree...

Several points will hopefully explain what I'm trying to say here...
1) It's likely that these "hackers" (let's call 'em modders, that's what they are) didn't need to reverse-engineer anything... I suspect that installing a mod on an X-Box game is as easy as installing a mod on a PC game (after all, similar hardware, compatible CPU, and all X-Box consoles have a HD in them to store data). That being the case, if they didn't reverse-engineer code and distribute it, they haven't broken any copyright laws.
2) They may have reverse-engineered data, such as the models that are required for the game, in order to understand the format used, and then created replacement models in the same file format. Nonetheless, they're original materials developed by the modders.
3) Both points above mean that they would have distributed their own version of the files that allow the game to run. See my Linux comments below for some more info on why I think this is perfectly legal and why I don't believe this should stand up in court.
4) Homeworld was never designed to be modded but their developers never tried to sue anyone over it. In fact they were so grateful for the mod community extending their shelf life for Homeworld that they designed Homeworld2 to be easy to mod in order that people would then be able to extend the shelf life of that game further.
5) As a consequence of games modders (in the early days of modding), other developers began to implement modding capabilities into their games (Particle Systems released a patch to Independence War:EoC that allowed easier modding because of this, and TC's were made for it.

Tecmo are onto a losing case... Only so long as the defendants can find a lawyer with some intelligence and they're lucky enough to get a judge who's not a complete and total moron (like the one that tried the case of the two women who baked cookies for an entire street as a nice surprise, only to get sued by one of the residents for allegedly causing her a panic attack and a visit to the Emergency Room the following day).

Hopefully they'll get the same judge that sat on the case of a DA versus a 10 year old girl selling lemonade on a stand in the street, where as soon as he entered the courtroom he told the DA in no uncertain terms... "Get this **** of a case out of my courtroom. Dismissed!"

That case lasted 30 seconds!

Sure this one's more complicated than that, but someone sensible needs to be in on this one!

Now then, onto my points about the similarity between this case and SCO vs the Linux Community. That case is dragging on forever, but SCO's arguments changed from "IBM etcetc used Proprietary UNIX code in the Linux Kernel" to "The GPL is invalid" (The GNU General Public Licence is just as valid a legal document as a copyright notice on any product) because they saw they could lose their original argument in court. They want people to licence Linux, an Open Source OS, and pay them money for the privilege.

How does this apply? Well basically, this is also an example of legal madness. Linux is based on code that does exactly the same job as UNIX, yet was independently written by millions of developers worldwide, none of which are developers on SCO's version of UNIX. In a way this is similar to the modding community members that are being prosecuted through the courts right now... They developed their own version of the game they're modding using code they developed and using datasets they made themselves. The fact that they are applying this to a game that has an EULA that doesn't explicitly permit modding is irrelevant. They aren't stealing code and re-distributing it. They are modders. If they were distributing code that allows people to crack the game so others can copy it, or if they were writing their mod so that it ran alone (There's a B5 freespace mod that can run independently but the current status of Freespace 2, as declared by the publishers of Freespace 2, allows the modders who developed the mod to do this) then that would hold immense legal ramifications for them, but neither case is true. You would still need to buy the original game to use the mod that they have written.

And the mad thing here as well is that Tecmo are trying to find out who the anonymous parties are... Surely in that respect that could be termed an invasion of privacy, trying to find out the personal details of people who for whatever reason wish to remain anonymous? I'm not sure what truth there is in that question but from a fairness point of view I would think very badly of anyone trying to do so.

The judge better throw this out of court or I can see a massive protest happening... Personally if I had any influence I'd tell gamers to boycott all of Tecmo's products for the next 4 years and let them slowly sink into bankruptcy.

cha0t1c1
02-14-2005, 06:25 PM
woohoo. I agree

And the mad thing here as well is that Tecmo are trying to find out who the anonymous parties are... Surely in that respect that could be termed an invasion of privacy, trying to find out the personal details of people who for whatever reason wish to remain anonymous? I'm not sure what truth there is in that question but from a fairness point of view I would think very badly of anyone trying to do so.

The judge better throw this out of court or I can see a massive protest happening... Personally if I had any influence I'd tell gamers to boycott all of Tecmo's products for the next 4 years and let them slowly sink into bankruptcy.
:D

Revelation 23
02-16-2005, 09:42 AM
In regards to the IBM/Linux comments... Open Source does not mean it has to be free.

I'm one of those who still plays Half-Life, mostly for the mods that have been made available. Mods do extend the life of a game, plus it's a way for designers to get their hands around the engine and release something without having to licence the game's engine and make their own game from it. Mod makers aren't in it for the money (though it can lead them in that direction). They share their creations with others who want to keep their games fresh or want something more from them.

Now, with consoles, it gets a bit trickier to make modifications or use the game in different ways. But since items like the Pro Action Replay, Game Shark and Game Genie were allowed on the market and eventually the BleemCast, that's support for playing a console game in ways not intended. But now, the GameShark could be in jeopardy if this lawsuit in allowed to go on breathing. Or even telling others about a bug, glitch or exploit found in a game. How far can it go? After all, there could be some merit to the gag about the NFL suing someone for mentioning who won a football game because he didn't have written consent from the NFL to give any accounts of the game.

So what if someone makes new skins for a game and tells others how it can be done? Tecmo said it's concerned about Tecmo characters being in a form other than what they intended. Guess what Tecmo, put Dead Or Alive into a search engine and see what kinds of stuff you might find.

Apparently the EULA from the NTSC version of the game (I'm guessing this is about DOA:XBV) is that you may not post screenshots (captures) without permission from Tecmo. And it also appears that Tecmo is being pressured by one of the game creators who wants to protect "his" game from hackers and cheaters. Okay, whatever games the guy has made are his creations, sure, and he's allowed to call (some of) the shots. But they are not just "his" games. Just like the Resident Evil creator wasn't able to stop RE4 from being PS2 bound in the near future, despite his comments that the game would never appear on a console other than the Gamecube.

Oh, and Tecmo didn't seem too concerned when nude codes (Game Shark) for other games popped up before. And don't forget about the fact that some games today actually contain nudity (including Tecmo's) without the need for a GameShark code or patch for it.

Even before the Halo 2 mod, savvy users found a way to play Halo online, using a their computers and XBoxes networked together. Did Bungie care? Probably not. Does SquareEnix care about people using the PSF files (music) from the PSX version of FFVII in the PC version? Again, probably not. And what about the various tools available for console games - anything from file utilities to extract movies and music to the emulators, and everything else in between? That seems to be one of the issues in question here in regards to the DMCA.

Honestly, I'd be more concerned about people selling modified versions of games rather than telling people what can be done with the original games. The important thing is that you have to have the original game to use/make modifications. Just as there's no law saying you have to use an HD reciever on an HDTV, I don't think there's any reason to say that I can't play a game in a way that the developers didn't intend. Okay, not the best comparison, but it's the best I can think of at 5 AM.

Look to the sites that sell edited (family friendly) versions of DVD's and see what happens with that in the long run. Granted, it's not quite like this case here, but the outcome can have an impact nonetheless. What happens these companies/sites are allowed to continue selling edited DVD's? Will games be next? After all, music's already been picked apart - a growing number of albums have an edited alternate version also available.

firestar3d
02-16-2005, 10:08 AM
You're right... Open Source does not necessarily mean it has to be free, after all some people need to recover costs, but Open Source does not imply proprietary either...

Edit: In effect, there's a difference between charging money to receive a version of Linux distributed by a certain company, and paying money to receive the only version of Linux distributed by a company that wants to ban anyone else from selling it. Once again, SCO are trying to licence Open Source software. Open Source, by it's very nature, implies that the source code is open and available to anyone who wants to develop and modify the software involved. SCO wants to stop that and have people pay for the privilege of using their version of the software when there is no other alternative version out there because they've slapped licensing rules on it. It goes against the very nature of Open Source and the GPL in general.

jeffthomann
02-16-2005, 12:46 PM
To be fair, given how many games like UT and Halo encourage and permit modding, they could well have believed this EULA allowed it too. I'd be amazed if they actually bothered to read it. When was the last time you read one of those things!?



Just because you don't read the contracts that you sign, digitally or otherwise, doesn't mean that those contracts are not legally binding agreements between you and another party.

percydaman
02-16-2005, 01:24 PM
conversely, many a EULA or other "binding contract" have been deemed illegal in court even after many many people signed it...

Gentle Fury
02-16-2005, 02:23 PM
conversely, many a EULA or other "binding contract" have been deemed illegal in court even after many many people signed it...

Well, technically, if there is anything illegal in a contract you signed, you are not bound to it....as an illegal contract is not a legal contract, thus null and void

CGTalk Moderation
02-16-2006, 03:00 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.