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Old 04-23-2006, 02:16 AM   #1
Shane
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We've all heard about Diku.  What I hear less about is the similarity between not just Diku, but about a jillion other muds to D&D, including, indeed, the entire concept of the "class based system" as we have come to refer to it.

I was inspired by a thread in the section for advertising for coders to look at the whole issue a little further, and came up with this web site.

Recent Changes to Copyright: Attacks Against the Public Interest

If you have meandered across the landscape of mudding for long, you have run into a few people whose zeal for copyright protection borders on the religious!  Some might be surprised to know that withing the span of the life of this nation, copyright has expanded from 14 years total to 75 years after the death of the author.  Obviously, the absolutism regarding the ethics concerned is misplaced.  Or at least, it's obvious to me.  It is quite plastic.  It just so happens that it has been trending one direction for quite some time.  Now it seems many people are coming to the conclusion that it has been expanded to the point where it is detrimental to the public good, and the right that the public gives can just as easily be taken back, after all.  There is a lot of room for debate here.  

It is even less obvious to me where the line between copyright infringement and fair use is in a game.  The whole point in a game is for you and your friends to get together and play it, and if the game is packaged with a story and a set of rules for you to basically expand on that story to your hearts content, how then does anyone cry copyright foul if you do that using computer code to do your dice rolling for you and save yourself several hundreds of dollars on totally unrelated expenses such as miniatures and paint?

I remember back in about '94 or '95 I wrote Steve Jackson games (GURPS, for any of you who ever heard of it) asking if they intended to come out with a mud, and if not, if I could work on one based on their rules system.  Steve himself replied (He seems a nice fellow! ) stating that they were looking into it and for me please not to do that.  Well, 12 years later and I am not aware of any GURPS based muds, but I wonder... what kept TSR from slamming both Diku and LP, as both of them seem to shamelessly canibalize D&D, and for that matter, why did Tolkien's family not rampage all over Gygax and the whole D&D crew from the beginning?  

Something is fishy here to me, and if anyone has any insight I would like to hear it.

If anyone knows anything about how computer code ended up being copyright related and not patent related, I would be interested in that as well.
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Old 04-23-2006, 05:58 AM   #2
KaVir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Shane @ April 23 2006,08:16)
what kept TSR from slamming both Diku and LP, as both of them seem to shamelessly canibalize D&D, and for that matter, why did Tolkien's family not rampage all over Gygax and the whole D&D crew from the beginning?  
Simple - copyright doesn't protect ideas. Diku and LP both took ideas from AberMUD, but ideas aren't protected by copyright and so there was no problem. On the other hand, Merc actually based itself on the Diku code, and is therefore a derivative work.

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Originally Posted by
If anyone knows anything about how computer code ended up being copyright related and not patent related, I would be interested in that as well.
Software can also be patented in some countries.
Wikipedia has some interesting information about the issue.
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