Top Mud Sites Forum Return to TopMudSites.com
Go Back   Top Mud Sites Forum > Mud Development and Administration > Legal Issues
Click here to Register

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-09-2004, 04:54 AM   #21
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,299
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ July 09 2004,03:09)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Threshold @ July 09 2004,08:16)
The "pay" was access to the server, bandwidth, codebase, and player base. Those are all assets that the admins/owners of the game provided.
Not sufficient.
Actually, it is sufficient. He's not going to sue, so the law doesn't come into play. Sure, you can say, "Ooh, it's illegal!" but so is jaywalking. *shrug*

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2004, 07:06 AM   #22
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ July 09 2004,10:54)
Actually, it is sufficient.
No, it is not, and I've already provided the links explaining why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
He's not going to sue, so the law doesn't come into play.
In case you've forgotten, this is the Legal Issues forum. The fact fact that the original poster isn't going to sue has no bearing on the legality of the situation.

Furthermore, the issue currently being discussed (ownership) goes beyond the situation described by the original poster (the mud he works for wasn't claiming ownership), and is one which crops up from time to time.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2004, 08:22 AM   #23
Jazuela
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: New England
Posts: 843
Jazuela will become famous soon enoughJazuela will become famous soon enough
I refer y'all to a comment someone else said I think back on the first page:

If a builder comes onto my property at my request and per his agreement to do so - whether he volunteers (as in Habitat for Humanity) or is a paid contractor..

and the builder builds a house on my property, and for some reason he ceases to continue building it after he's laid down the foundation...

He is -not- entitled to remove whatever he built and take it with him, nor am I obligated to have whatever he built removed from my property by other means.

You come to my property and change the property, you cannot UNchange it without my permission. You could add a temporary structure (such as a tool shed) or some other moveable object (such as a vacuum cleaner) and have it repossessed if I refuse to pay you...

But you cannot place a permanent object (such as a building foundation, or in the case of a MUD, code) and expect me to give it back to you and remove it from my property when things don't work out.

That's just the way it is.
Jazuela is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2004, 08:48 AM   #24
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
It's not always that simple, Jazuela - it really depends on the individual situation, and what the arrangement was between the admin and the builder/coder.  In most cases, where the coder or builder has obviously created their work for the purposes of contributing towards the mud, then (as I said before) the mud owner would have good grounds for claiming an implied licence.

But in other cases it's not so clear.  What if the builder had only created the area on the test port?  What if they had emailed it to the mud staff to see if the mud owner was interested in negotiating for its usage?  What if the code that was used was something the coder had been developing in a separate directory, which just happened to be done via the same shell account?

If I were to offer you hosting space, and you agreed, would that give me permission to use your source code to create my own mud, just because you'd uploaded it to my property?  Does my ISP have permission to copy any of my work that I place on my website, on the basis that they own the hosting space?  Note that in both cases there would be very good grounds for claiming an implied licence to copy for the purposes of backups - but no more.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2004, 05:35 PM   #25
Dulan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 354
Dulan is on a distinguished road
Send a message via ICQ to Dulan
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Threshold @ July 09 2004,02:16)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Dulan @ July 07 2004,14:29)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
(Threshold) In turn, you produced some code that they were able to use for the betterment of the game. Furthermore, by taking the "job" at the game you were agreeing that your work would be for the benefit of that game.
You aren't accepting a "job" as some people have likened it to. And this is a slippery slope argument - Don't use it unless you want to pay all staff members A) A salary and work under contract, or B) At least minimum wage.
The "pay" was access to the server, bandwidth, codebase, and player base. Those are all assets that the admins/owners of the game provided.

Furthermore, just because a job is a volunteer job doesn't change the fact that there was most certainly an agreement, either implied or formally stated, that any code written for that mud was property of that mud.

Obviously, a smart admin makes sure every builder/coder agrees to this explicitly in advance. But even those who did not require such an agreement are not hosed.

Furthermore, I don't think this is rising to the level of a legal matter. This is really a discussion of ethics. It is certainly ethical for a mud owner to be able to keep code that was written on and for his/her game, regardless of the changing whims of the people who wrote it.
Wrong.

You can argue that untill the cows come home, but that's not "pay" legally. Unless you are arguing that by going to work for a software development company, they are paying me by giving me access to resources I need to develop code for them? Same thing, Threshold. Those are just requirements to do the job - those are not pay.

Volunteers are required to sign a legal document if they want to donate their time. Doesn't matter if it was implied when they sign up RL - law REQUIRES their signature RL, kiddo. I'll repeat it again. REQUIRES their signature. Otherwise, be prepared to pay minimum wage.
Dulan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2004, 05:51 PM   #26
Jazuela
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: New England
Posts: 843
Jazuela will become famous soon enoughJazuela will become famous soon enough
Dulan claims:

Volunteers are required to sign a legal document if they want to donate their time. Doesn't matter if it was implied when they sign up RL - law REQUIRES their signature RL, kiddo. I'll repeat it again. REQUIRES their signature. Otherwise, be prepared to pay minimum wage.


I say - cite please. Refer me to the law that requires this. Because - I've spent countless hours volunteering for various non-profit organizations, and have worked as an employee for a few non-prof organizations with volunteer helpers. The only time it was -required- was when they needed signatures for insurance purposes. But that was the policy of the insurance company, not a law.

And no it wasn't just "helping my dad mow the lawn." I worked for the American Cancer Society as both an employee and an unpaid volunteer over the course of the past few decades, I worked for a synagogue that had several volunteer charity groups, and I've done volunteer work for the American Lung Association - in addition to a myriad of animal shelters in the area. I had to sign a release form with a bicycle run for the Lung Association, and another release form holding them harmless in case I got bit by dogs or cats for the animal shelters.

But no - it wasn't required by law. So - I'd like to see the law, please. Thanks.
Jazuela is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2004, 06:14 PM   #27
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,299
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ July 09 2004,07:06)
In case you've forgotten, this is the Legal Issues forum.  
You're right. Carry on with the pointlessness!

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2004, 08:09 PM   #28
Dulan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 354
Dulan is on a distinguished road
Send a message via ICQ to Dulan
Jazuela -

That's in reference to intellectual property, what we are talking about here. What you are talking about is irrelevant to the discussion - grunt work is entirely different legally, and is a whole lot less...convulated.

You'd have to sign over an area that you built for the ACS, for example, in writing. Or they'd have to pay you at least minimum wage for it. Otherwise, you'd have full control over it, and there's a whole crapload of stuff associated with that.

-D
Dulan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2004, 01:34 AM   #29
Gemini
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 97
Gemini is on a distinguished road
Send a message via AIM to Gemini
this conversation intrested me, so im gonna put in my view. All of you seem to be acting like experts, but i want to point out in no way that i am, and i doubt many of you are.

Anyways, I dont think the admin need to remove the code. First of all, there is a help file or whatever that says the code is theirs. End of story.

And even if they didnt have such a policy, im gonna refer to the argument that has been made about the building a shack on someone elses land. The MUD is the property of the owner, and that code is part of the MUD. Also, i dont see why you wanna make such a big deal about it. If everyone that left a game with bad blood, then alot of games wouldnt even exist. Just let the people enjoy your work.

And, although this prolly isnt relevant since it is in "legal issues", think about how much it would hurt the game as whole. forget the people you dont like, just think of the game. You worked your butt off for it, it sounds like. Guilds, areas, and unless im mistaken, you also said a bit of MUDlib. So you clearly had a passion for the game. Think about how much that would hurt the game if you removed it. Think about how you would feel if you were a player, and suddenly a huge chunk of the mud was gone because some coder didnt like some other people.

On a side note, i dont think its cool that they messed with your stuff, but can you blame them in the part of the guild? you were inactive, and no one wanted to play the guild. leting it sit and rot is pointless, but im sur eit had pontential, and the admin prolly wanted it to be a contributing part of the mud.

So yeah, thats my post. feel free to shoot me down and poke holes in my arguements till they look like swiss cheese. I wouldnt expect anything less

All your code are belongs to them. Resistance is futile.

-GT of AoD
Gemini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2004, 08:22 AM   #30
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Jazuela wrote:
I say - cite please. Refer me to the law that requires this. Because - I've spent countless hours volunteering for various non-profit organizations, and have worked as an employee for a few non-prof organizations with volunteer helpers.
Volunteers may of course donate their time freely - what requires a signature is when the organisation they are working for wants ownership of the intellectual property they produce.

So for example you could do "volunteer work" for mud X as a general admin, running quests and helping with player issues, and there would be no problem.  But if you produced code or areas and the mud wished to claim ownership of them, it would require either a transfer of copyright, or a work for hire agreement.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#toc

"Any or all of the copyright owner's exclusive rights or any subdivision of those rights may be transferred, but the transfer of exclusive rights is not valid unless that transfer is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner's duly authorized agent."

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wccc

"Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.

In the case of works made for hire, the employer and not the employee is considered to be the author."

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#101

"A “work made for hire” is —

(1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or

(2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire..."

http://www.bitlaw.com/copyright/ownership.html#works

"The determination of whether an individual is an employee for the purposes of the work made for hire doctrine is determined under "the common law of agency." What this means is that courts will look at various factors to determine whether the individual is an employee, such as:

* the control exerted by the employer over the employee (i.e., the employee's schedule and the hiring of the employee's assistants);
* the control exerted by the employer over how and where the work is done;
* the supplying of equipment for the employee's use; and
* the payment of benefits and the withholding of taxes."

Quote:
Originally Posted by
the_logos wrote:
You're right. Carry on with the pointlessness!
I fail to see anything "pointless" about informing mud owners and developers about their legal rights.  From the thread so far it seems obvious that many people are ill-informed about some of the details of intellectual property ownership and transfer, which IMO is evidence enough that this thread is not "pointless".  And those who are already familiar with the facts can simply ignore it.  In fact the only people who would lose out from this thread are those mud owners who falsely try to claim ownership of their staffs work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Gemini wrote:
First of all, there is a help file or whatever that says the code is theirs.
They can write whatever they like, however the "the transfer of exclusive rights is not valid unless that transfer is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed".  Saying that your contributions belong to them is no more legally binding that saying your firstborn belongs to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Gemini wrote:
The MUD is the property of the owner, and that code is part of the MUD.
However the "Copyright in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the author of the contribution".  In addition to which, "Mere ownership of a book, manuscript, painting, or any other copy or phonorecord does not give the possessor the copyright. The law provides that transfer of ownership of any material object that embodies a protected work does not of itself convey any rights in the copyright".

The mud can claim the nonexclusive right to use the contributions for whatever purposes they like - no problem there.  What they cannot easily do is claim ownership of the actual copyright.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2004, 09:42 AM   #31
John
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 252
John is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ July 10 2004,08:22)
The mud can claim the nonexclusive right to use the contributions for whatever purposes they like - no problem there. What they cannot easily do is claim ownership of the actual copyright.
Has anyone said they're claiming exclusive right to the contributions? The first time I read it was in a reply to my post (and I didn't mention it anywhere in my post nor did I mean to imply it).
John is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2004, 11:36 AM   #32
Angie
Member
 
Angie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Prague
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 134
Angie is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by
What they cannot easily do is claim ownership of the actual copyright.
I've done some more reading on copyrights, and it would seem they can claim copyright to the area as part of the mud but not otherwise. That is, they are not allowed to move it to another mud, publish the code as snippets or anything in that sense - they can, however, keep the area open and revise it if needed. Once any part of a mud is opened, it is "published" as part of a collective work:

Under the present copyright statute, the copyright in a separate contribution to a published collective work such as a periodical is distinct from the copyright in the collective work as a whole. In the absence of an express transfer from the author of the individual article, the copyright owner in the collective work is presumed to have acquired only the privilege of using the contribution in the collective work and in subsequent revisions and later editions of the collective work.

Thus, there are two distinct copyrights. You can take your area and do anything you want with it (use it on another mud, for example), but you cannot take it out of the mud, because there it falls under the group copyright of the mud as a whole.
Angie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2004, 01:40 PM   #33
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by
John wrote:
Has anyone said they're claiming exclusive right to the contributions?
Several people have suggested that contributed code and areas become the property of the mud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Angie wrote:
I've done some more reading on copyrights, and it would seem they can claim copyright to the area as part of the mud but not otherwise.
That's called a compilation copyright, and the important part to remember is that it doesn't give any ownership over the existing code.  What it does do is give you a copyright of the organisation of those parts, much like someone who has assembled a collection of short stories - they have no rights to the individual stories (nor can they use those stories without permission from the copyright holders of those individual stories).

U.S. Copyright Statute §103 (b):

http://www.bitlaw.com/source/17usc/103.html

"The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material."

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Angie wrote:
You can take your area and do anything you want with it (use it on another mud, for example), but you cannot take it out of the mud, because there it falls under the group copyright of the mud as a whole.
Not so - the compilation copyright protects your particular combination of areas and code, but it doesn't give you permission to use them.  That permission has to come from the copyright holders of the parts.

Take Diku as an example.  You can create a Diku derivative by agreeing to the licence.  Your new diku derivative is now copyrighted to you, but your copyright doesn't extend to any of the pre-existing material.  This means that you must continue follow the conditions of the Diku licence.

However if someone were to steal a copy of your mud and modify it, they would also be creating a derivative work.  But because they didn't have permission to create that work, you would be perfectly within your rights to legally prevent them from using their new mud.

Equally if I were to make some changes to your mud (at your request) I would effectively be creating a derivative work which was copyrighted to me - however my copyright would not extend to any of the pre-existing work, and so I wouldn't legally be able to take a copy of the entire codebase with me if I left.  However the nature of our relationship (the fact that I was creating work specifically for your mud) would give you very good grounds for claiming an implied licence to use my derivative, while preventing me from claiming the same.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2004, 02:31 PM   #34
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,299
the_logos will become famous soon enough
I realize you've edited your replies and deleted mine Kavir. Apparently you don't like having it pointed out that all you're doing is masquerading as an authority.

Here's a piece of advice to everyone else: If you're serious about knowing what the law is, consult an expert. Please do not depend on what is posted here as much of what is posted here by self-proclaimed legal experts is potentially wrong (we have no way of knowing as we're not IP experts).  The ability to post some web links does not give one much knowledge of how the law actually works. Case history, interpretation, and so on are at least as important as how the laws in question actually read. After all, if all we had to do to understand the law was read a website, there's a lot of people I know who have wasted their time going to law school and gaining actual experience.

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2004, 02:38 PM   #35
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I realize you've edited your replies and deleted mine Kavir.
I removed your posts because they basically amounted to "ignore the law - nobody will do anything anyway".  That is not a constructive opinion.  I edited my posts to remove the questions directed at you, so that you wouldn't be incited to respond to them again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Here's a piece of advice to everyone else: If you're serious about knowing what the law is, consult an expert.
Absolutely - and even then nothing is final until decided in court (both sides will have legal experts, but only one can win) and will vary from case to case.

However you can get a very good idea of some things (such as ownership) simpy by reading the appropriate laws.  That is why I answer with links as much as possible - because those links go to the sites of experts.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2004, 02:50 PM   #36
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,299
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I removed your posts because they basically amounted to "ignore the law - nobody will do anything anyway". That is not a constructive opinion. I edited my posts to remove the questions directed at you, so that you wouldn't be incited to respond to them again.
No, what I said was that the law in this instance is irrelevant, because nobody is going to do anything that involves the law. In the case of something worth suing over, nobody with half a brain is going to base their actions on the postings of random mud forum inhabitants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Absolutely - and even then nothing is final until decided in court (both sides will have legal experts, but only one can win) and will vary from case to case.
Now that's a sensible response.

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2004, 03:08 PM   #37
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by
In the case of something worth suing over, nobody with half a brain is going to base their actions on the postings of random mud forum inhabitants.
Yet unless they have lots of money to blow, they would at least do a little research before paying for a lawyer. The links cited may not cover specific cases, but will at least give the reader a good idea of general situations - for example (as per this thread) that if the mud owner seriously wants to claim ownership over the work of their contributors, they should speak to a lawyer about drawing up a work-for-hire agreement (or something similar). And that even if they don't, they would do well to arrange some sort of agreement for nonexclusive rights before integrating the work of others.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2004, 12:29 PM   #38
Iluvatar
Member
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mississippi USA
Posts: 142
Iluvatar is on a distinguished road
Considering the last few posts, I just had to add in my two cents and it relates to the overall value of these types of discussions.

There is obviously a lack of case history and other clear legal precedence covering the types of situations that people producing a free Mu* encounter. PTP types typically are governed by business law and have legal gurus to dream up and administer contracts but the people who produce a world out of love for the game and a world vision can't usually afford that.

Most of the people here don't have law degrees and I seriously doubt anyone could be considered a legal expert without the precedences to cite. What we DO have are experienced veterans who can offer opinion, cite experiences, and provide references which contributes to the general creation and acceptance of a community standard.

In the end, if any of this ever does wind up in a court some day, which though unlikely, is possible then what WE as a community embrace will have great consideration in actually establishing that elusive case history.
Iluvatar is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


they refuse to remove my code - Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
um..how do I code? Asalyt MUD Coding 12 05-26-2004 05:03 AM
Gun Code Shadow MUD Coding 1 07-10-2002 05:17 PM
You remove an object and BOOM! caspertheimp MUD Coding 1 07-09-2002 10:03 PM
I would like to code! Zellius Advertising for Staff 1 07-03-2002 08:59 AM
Should Synozeer, remove the stars? Xanferious Tavern of the Blue Hand 9 05-17-2002 11:39 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:06 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Style based on a design by Essilor
Copyright Top Mud Sites.com 2014