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Old 01-06-2007, 06:06 PM   #1
Davion
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First off, let me say happy new years to everyone and hope you had a most magical Christmas time! I come to you once again to boast about another major update to www.MudBytes.net! Many many little quirks and bugs have been hunted down and squashed without prejudice. With this update comes many enhancements and a couple brand new modules to play with!

Articles- Those who have been following us since the beginning has known the articles link on MudBytes was simply a dead link. Well no more! Our articles section has been written from the ground up to act much like a Wiki in that, anyone with a MudBytes account can edit and create any article. We have two articles in there outlining how to add and create new articles, as well as navigate through the menus. As they are articles themselves, they can also be edited by you, should I typo, give ambiguous information, etc.

Files- This being our main focus, what would an update be without enhancements to the Code Repository. Our comment code has been totally redone to act like a mini forum. Complete with quick reply, editing of posts, and full bbcode support, this comment system will suit your every need for sharing your opinion. We now support optional bug tracking for all your snippets and codebases. Existing files in our Repository will need to be updated to support it, as by default it is off. You are now able to view 2 formats of archives; tar.gz and zip archives. It enables you to download the individual files, as well as view them in our pastebin. No more downloading entire archives just for one file! It's all there for your picking.

Pastebin- This has received a few updates since it's original appearance in August, but nothing like this!
We are using the powerful Geshi highlighter, supporting over 50 languages!

We have also revamped the site layout a bit to allow for more information to be on the front page without cluttering it up to much. Don't forget! We offer (and always will offer) FREE banner rotations for any and all MUDs as long as you uphold the licenses (that means commercial MUDs too! So far 25 MUDs have taken advantage of this offer. For image size and other details come check us out! www.MudBytes.net
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Old 01-06-2007, 10:05 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Davion @ Jan. 06 2007,5:06)
Don't forget! We offer (and always will offer) FREE banner rotations for any and all MUDs as long as you uphold the licenses (that means commercial MUDs too!
What do you mean by the licenses? The Dragonball license? Star Wars license? Diku license? GPL license?

-matt
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Old 01-06-2007, 10:08 PM   #3
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What ever license your codebase binds you too. So if you're using diku, then the diku license. If you're using one released under the GPL, then the GPL.
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Old 01-07-2007, 03:29 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by
]What ever license your codebase binds you too. So if you're using diku, then the diku license. If you're using one released under the GPL, then the GPL.
Right, but the license for a codebase that includes anyone else's intellectual property is unlicensed unless they have a license. It doesn't matter if that IP is expressed as code or fiction. A Midkemia MUD that isn't conforming to the requirements of the Midkemia license (ie isn't owned by IRE) is operating without a valid license just as much as a DIKU MUD operator is when he's operating without a valid license.

I'm not trying to take jabs at you incidentally. I just honestly don't understand the double standards in the text MUD world when it comes to intellectual property. I know a lot of people who use other people's IP don't think there's anything wrong with what they're doing, but turn around and attack people who don't follow the Diku license. I just don't get it.

--matt
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Old 01-07-2007, 10:52 AM   #5
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Should such a thing be brought to our attention and be proven to be violating a license then the offender will be removed. As of yet, we haven't had such a claim. If you find a MUD on our listing to be violating such a license, I'd hope you'd come forward and tell one of us (the mudbytes admins) about it, and it will be dealt with accordingly.
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Old 01-07-2007, 06:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Jan. 07 2007,08:29)
Right, but the license for a codebase that includes anyone else's intellectual property is unlicensed unless they have a license. It doesn't matter if that IP is expressed as code or fiction. A Midkemia MUD that isn't conforming to the requirements of the Midkemia license (ie isn't owned by IRE) is operating without a valid license just as much as a DIKU MUD operator is when he's operating without a valid license.
And myself and others have criticised muds in respect to both of those examples in the past. We were able to do so because both the Diku team and Feist have made their intent known.

In cases where that intent has not been made clear, however, I prefer not to get involved (other than perhaps to recommend against using intellectual propery without permission), and in my opinion it seems reasonable for mud sites such as MudBytes to take the same stance.

I personally consider it appropriate to defend the known wishes of the IP holder. I do not consider it appropriate to defend my own interpretation of their wishes, nor to try and guess who might have been given permission and who might not.

This is the third time I've had to answer this question of yours. Are you likely to ask it again? If so, I'll bookmark the page.
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Old 01-07-2007, 07:36 PM   #7
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There's also the underlying issue of plagiarism with the MUD in question.  

I applaud community sites like MudBytes helping along the lines of licenses and other ethical concerns.  MUDs represent immense creative effort by their authors, and peer enforcement is a great way to discourage the uncredited use of the work of others.
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Old 01-08-2007, 03:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 07 2007,5:25)
And myself and others have criticised muds in respect to both of those examples in the past. We were able to do so because both the Diku team and Feist have made their intent known.
As you are fond of pointing out, without a license, you have no license to use the IP. If Medievia has no license to use Diku, for instance, because it allegedly doesn't conform to the available license requirements, then pick-a-Dragonball-Z mud also doesn't have a license, since there is no license available.

Ethically, I believe it's completely on the shoulders of the entity using the IP to gain explicit permission before doing so. Anything less is both prosecutable under the laws of virtually all western countries, and disrespectful of the IP owner to boot.

--matt
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Old 01-08-2007, 05:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Jan. 08 2007,08:59)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 07 2007,5:25)
And myself and others have criticised muds in respect to both of those examples in the past.  We were able to do so because both the Diku team and Feist have made their intent known.
As you are fond of pointing out, without a license, you have no license to use the IP. If Medievia has no license to use Diku, for instance, because it allegedly doesn't conform to the available license requirements, then pick-a-Dragonball-Z mud also doesn't have a license, since there is no license available.
In the case of Feist it is clear that there is no public licence available, because Feist has made that clear. In the case of other authors, it is not at all clear - for example I recall you once attacking a Wheel of Time mud for being based on Robert Jordan's work, until it was pointed out that Robert Jordan has explicitly given permission for people to create muds based on his work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Ethically, I believe it's completely on the shoulders of the entity using the IP to gain explicit permission before doing so. Anything less is both prosecutable under the laws of virtually all western countries, and disrespectful of the IP owner to boot.
I agree, but we're not talking about the entity using the IP - we're talking about third parties. You seem to take the stance that everyone using IP should be treated like a thief until they can prove that they have permission to use it, while I prefer to assume they obtained permission unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.
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Old 01-08-2007, 05:38 AM   #10
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the_logos
Jan. 08 2007,02:59
Quote:
Originally Posted by
If Medievia has no license to use Diku, for instance, because it allegedly doesn't conform to the available license requirements, then pick-a-Dragonball-Z mud also doesn't have a license, since there is no license available.
Jan. 07 2007,02:29
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I'm not trying to take jabs at you incidentally. I just honestly don't understand the double standards in the text MUD world when it comes to intellectual property. I know a lot of people who use other people's IP don't think there's anything wrong with what they're doing, but turn around and attack people who don't follow the Diku license. I just don't get it.
The difference is that in the Medievia case a licence does exist, and Medieveia is knowingly breaking it, by making money from a Diku/MERC derivate, which is explicitly forbidden in the licence. They also use (and make money from) the Diku team's work without giving credit to the original authors, wich again is breaking the licence as well as plagiarism.

I am not aware that there any 'Dragonball-Z Licence' even exists. I haven't checked whether the original DBZ team allows the use of their IP for fan-fiction, but perhaps someone else could enlighten us there.

What I do know however is that in the case of Starwars, (which is another example that you repeatedly bring up), the Lucas Team actually have publicly declared that they have no problem with their IP being used for fan fiction, as long as no money is made from it. There has even been a link provided in a similar thread on TMC about it some month ago.
There are well over 40 muds listed here and on TMC that are based on the Star Wars theme, and use settings and characters from the movies and books. As long as they all credit the original authors, and don't make any money from their muds, you seem to be just about the only one in the Mud community who has a problem with this (including TMC, TMS and all other sites that list them). What these Muds are doing is basically to provide the Star Wars estate with some free advertisement.

To follow up your Medievia analogy; would you have liked it better if they had called their Mud Star Battles, renamed the characters Lukas Skystalker and Furbacca, removed the credits to the original authors and claimed that they had written the whole story themselves?

In the case of Midkemia the situation is different. You have purchased a licence to develop a commercial Mud from their IP, and consequently nobody else can legally use it. So it is your (and their) right to pursue anybody who does. Nobody is disputing that right.

It is however harder to understand why you keep defending something that the rest of the Mud community see as unethical, and why you keep bringing it up at every given opportunity. What's in it for you?
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Old 01-08-2007, 10:04 AM   #11
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This is quite interesting.  Historically, there's definitely been more controversy over the violation of a software license than that of a content license.  I think there are a couple of main reasons...

1. There's a significant demographic in this community that write software, certainly more than write fiction, and so we're naturally more sensitive to that side of the licensing issue.

2. Content in a MUD is typically just one instance of unofficial support for a popular fiction.  Fan clubs, websites, and e-zines  are other examples.  It's rare, as far as I know, for the owner of the fiction to supress this unofficial expression.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's counter productive to do so.

The Midkemia example is puzzling in this regard, as here is a fiction that, as far as I can tell, is not widely known and could probably benefit from broader exposure.  Yet, the author supresses a portion of his fan base from doing so by imposing a MUD license.  Too bad for him I guess.

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Old 01-08-2007, 10:18 PM   #12
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1. There's a significant demographic in this community that write software, certainly more than write fiction, and so we're naturally more sensitive to that side of the licensing issue.
This is, in all regards, one of the major points that surrounds any work of IP. The problems so far being discussed are pigeon-holing the ideal into working examples. Trying to say the interpretation of user #1 is wrong, or, conversely, that user #2's opinion is correct, due to one (or even many) erroneous past judgments of user #1, is flawed.

I personally hold that the concept of "fair use" applies to any and all works of intellectual property, therefore if your usage of another's intellectual property exceeds that in 17 USC, sec. 107 you need to obtain permission. Perceived intent is not permission.

Does the whole point most make about preferring to assume that they have authorization to use it (for purpose) apply the same when it comes to MUD codebases? Why would it be different? I do see Matt's point, given this situation.

If someone hasn't made perfectly clear what their licensing is, it would be flawed, again, to just assume that it's free use. Merely because an online user was wrong about the open usage of one source of Intellectual Property doesn't mean that all other sources are therefore automatically presumed to be open for usage.

Or, (hypothetical) just because Tad Williams hasn't stated that he doesn't want people to write fan-fiction and has allowed one MUD to be started doesn't mean I can presume that it is allowable to start my own. This is akin to watching someone walk into a Quik-E-Mart, pick up a bottle of soda, wave to the clerk and walk out, then assume that it is fine to take soda for free.

A point familiar in software is licensing and dilution of market due to licensing. Intellectual Property, in the same regards, finds its basis in economic sources. A comment above stated a point, namely: since it benefits the holder of the IP why would they choose not to allow it? It's a fine question, but one that doesn't make it alright to assume that no-license = open license.

Regardless of whether there could be a benefit or a loss, that decisions falls upon the IP holder. The copyright holder may not agree with your assumption that the non-commercial usage of their property benefits the economic value of their property.

The exclusive right to create derivative works of a property fall to the owner of that intellectual property. In this medium, creating a work based on another work makes it a derivative work. The MUD (and coding) community is quick to hold the same true when it applies to source code, but not when it applies to another medium. The exclusive rights do not fall to anyone else, and the limitations on those rights are spelled out in law, most MUDS cannot claim these exemptions.

Regards,
Kaylus

p.s. Hi everyone Please note that as you read these threads, keep an open mind and think for yourself. If someone attacks one sentence of a users 20 sentence post, it doesn't mean the whole post is incorrect. Nor does disliking or liking someone make them correct, even if it makes them easier to relate to. Don't fall prey to debate tactics
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Old 01-09-2007, 05:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (kaylus1 @ Jan. 09 2007,03:18)
Or, (hypothetical) just because Tad Williams hasn't stated that he doesn't want people to write fan-fiction and has allowed one MUD to be started doesn't mean I can presume that it is allowable to start my own.
Agreed, but when talking about third parties (in particular, those such as myself who criticise licence violations) I don't think it's a "double standard" to assume other people have permission, unless there is evidence stating otherwise (such as Tad Williams, or the Diku team, stating their intent - and me being aware of that intent).

If mud X starts using codebase Y or snippet Z, I don't simply accuse them of theft until they can prove otherwise - I assume they are using it with permission unless evidence suggests otherwise. Equally, if someone is running a mud based on a novel, my stance is exactly the same. It's only in the case of codebases, snippets and authors where their intent has been made clear that I will criticise their use of IP.

Obviously, because of my background, I am more familiar with the intent of mud authors than novel authors - and perhaps because of the attitude of many authors towards fan fiction (as opposed to licenced software) it can often be difficult to determine the intent or wishes of an individual author (often because, while they perhaps don't mind fan fiction, for legal reasons they don't want to give any official permission). However I have criticised both types of copyright infringement in the past, when the intent was known.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
This is akin to watching someone walk into a Quik-E-Mart, pick up a bottle of soda, wave to the clerk and walk out, then assume that it is fine to take soda for free.
Which obviously I wouldn't do - but neither would I shout "STOP! THIEF!" and phone the police. If the clerk had seen the person wave and walk out with the soda, I would likely assume that they had had permission to take it (or perhaps had some sort of tab set up). And if I had doubts, I would ask the clerk.



As an aside, my personal stance in regard to my mud own is that other people can't download my codebase and create derivatives of it, but they are welcome to create fan fiction (write stories, etc). So far only one staff member has written a short story based on it, but a couple of players have expressed an interest in doing the same, and I'm all for it - I've no personal interest in writing a story (let alone a novel), but it could provide some good publicity for the mud!
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Old 01-09-2007, 02:41 PM   #14
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Kavir wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
In the case of Feist it is clear that there is no public licence available, because Feist has made that clear. In the case of other authors, it is not at all clear - for example I recall you once attacking a Wheel of Time mud for being based on Robert Jordan's work, until it was pointed out that Robert Jordan has explicitly given permission for people to create muds based on his work.
In the case of Dragonball, for instance, there is no public license available either. A public license isn't available in absentia of a statement by the IP owner. A public license is available only after a positive granting of rights by the IP owner. I was wrong about the Robert Jordan issue, obviously, but that really has nothing to do with the principle at stake here. In that case, I simply wasn't aware that he had opened his IP to MUDs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I agree, but we're not talking about the entity using the IP - we're talking about third parties. You seem to take the stance that everyone using IP should be treated like a thief until they can prove that they have permission to use it, while I prefer to assume they obtained permission unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.
I'm not sure I follow you. I am talking about the entity using the IP: the person/company using the IP in their MUD. I prefer to take the stance that anyone with legitimate permission to use IP will have zero problem trivially demonstrating it.

--matt
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Old 01-09-2007, 02:57 PM   #15
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Emil wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by

The difference is that in the Medievia case a licence does exist, and Medieveia is knowingly breaking it, by making money from a Diku/MERC derivate, which is explicitly forbidden in the licence.
If Medievia is breaking the DIKU license, then it is operating without a valid license. That is its crime, if it is guilty of it.

Similarly, anyone using anyone else's IP without a license is committing precisely the same crime. It's not breaking the license that is a crime. It's operating without one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I haven't checked whether the original DBZ team allows the use of their IP for fan-fiction, but perhaps someone else could enlighten us there.
It's not up to the original DBZ team. It's up to whoever owns the DBZ IP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
What I do know however is that in the case of Starwars, (which is another example that you repeatedly bring up), the Lucas Team actually have publicly declared that they have no problem with their IP being used for fan fiction, as long as no money is made from it.
I'm not sure if there is a single document within which to find a "Star Wars" license, but here's a quote from the Terms of Service on starwars.com:
All trademarks, service marks, and trade names are proprietary to Lucasfilm Ltd. or its affiliates and/or third-party licensors. STAR WARS, STARWARS.COM; STAR WARS: EPISODE ITHE PHANTOM MENACE; STAR WARS: EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES; STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH; STAR WARS: EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE; STAR WARS: EPISODE V THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK; STAR WARS: EPISODE VI RETURN OF THE JEDI; and all logos, characters, artwork, stories, information, names, and other elements associated thereto are the sole and exclusive property of Lucas. Any use of any of the materials on this Site other than for private, non-commercial viewing purposes is strictly prohibited. The sale, auction, lease, loan, gift, trade or barter, or use of any of the text, graphics, photographs, audio and/or video material or stills from audiovisual material or any other materials contained herein, for any other purpose, in any form, media or technology now known or hereafter developed, including the use of any of the aforementioned materials on any other Web site or networked computer environment, without a prior written consent from Lucas, is expressly prohibited.

That's awfully clear, isn't it? "Any use of the materials on this Site other than for private, non-commercial viewing purposes is strictly prohibited." If your MUD is open to the public, you're violating their IP rights just as much as if you broadcast Star Wars on the side of an outdoor building and invite half the town to come watch for free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
To follow up your Medievia analogy; would you have liked it better if they had called their Mud Star Battles, renamed the characters Lukas Skystalker and Furbacca, removed the credits to the original authors and claimed that they had written the whole story themselves?
I think you're missing the point here. This has nothing to do with crediting authors. It's to do with using IP without permission.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
In the case of Midkemia the situation is different. You have purchased a licence to develop a commercial Mud from their IP, and consequently nobody else can legally use it. So it is your (and their) right to pursue anybody who does. Nobody is disputing that right.
Actually, nobody else can use it because we purchased an exclusive license. Without the exclusivity, he'd be free to license it to others as well. Whether he had offered us that license or not wouldn't prejudice his ability, at all, to prosecute those who use his IP without a license.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
It is however harder to understand why you keep defending something that the rest of the Mud community see as unethical, and why you keep bringing it up at every given opportunity. What's in it for you?
Pardon? I'm not defending anything. I'm pointing out that I think it's highly unethical to use other people's IP without obtaining explicit permission. I'm not going to apologize for holding what I view as a completely reasonable stance that also happens to be in general concordance with IP law in virtually all of the industrialized world.

--matt
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Old 01-09-2007, 03:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 09 2007,04:51)
As an aside, my personal stance in regard to my mud own is that other people can't download my codebase and create derivatives of it, but they are welcome to create fan fiction (write stories, etc). So far only one staff member has written a short story based on it, but a couple of players have expressed an interest in doing the same, and I'm all for it - I've no personal interest in writing a story (let alone a novel), but it could provide some good publicity for the mud!
I want to point out that as far as my personal stance goes, I'm all for fan fiction when it comes to my IP, provided people do me the courtesy of asking permission first. Players regularly email asking if it's ok to write stories based on Achaea and I've never said no. It is, however, certainly my right to say no, and my right to go after someone if he/she haven't obtained permission first (though it's hard to imagine why I would, minus another MUD copying our content).

--matt
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Old 01-09-2007, 03:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Jan. 09 2007,7:41)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I agree, but we're not talking about the entity using the IP - we're talking about third parties.  You seem to take the stance that everyone using IP should be treated like a thief until they can prove that they have permission to use it, while I prefer to assume they obtained permission unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.
I'm not sure I follow you. I am talking about the entity using the IP: the person/company using the IP in their MUD.
This is a promotional thread for MudBytes, and your original question concerned their policy of listing "any and all MUDs as long as you uphold the licenses". MudBytes are not the entity using the IP, only the listing site for such muds.
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:39 AM   #18
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Wow. Quite the little controversy we seem to have started. Or, no, we didn't start it. But whatever.

The policy as stated covers the codebase. And we're not going to get into the habit of policing any of it, but we will act on complaints if they are brought up.

What we won't do is act against complaints about the content, because we have no way of knowing if the mud operators have made arrangements behind the scenes for that or not. And it isn't our job to investigate that. Settling disputes over the content is between the IP owners and the mud operators.

As for George Lucas, he has been quoted before as saying he has no problem with fan fiction being created from his works. He's even gone so far as to hold award ceremonies and such for some of the more elaborate things people have done. I had a link to an article where he had been interviewed about it sometime back in 2000 or 2001, but I can't find it right now. The jist of it was though that as long as you weren't doing it for commercial gain, or doing something which defiled the image of his work, he was fine with it. So that would more or less protect any of the SWR based muds from harm.
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