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Old 06-04-2003, 05:19 AM   #61
KaVir
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Funny you'd say that since we're talking about a mud.
Tolkien wrote books, not muds.

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Can't say I've ever heard of any such thing as an implied license.
http://www.bitlaw.com/copyright/license.html#implied
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Old 06-04-2003, 06:03 AM   #62
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Matt:

1. Why do you feel such a burning need to convince people that you are right?

2. Why is it so unholy-offensive to you that people disagree with you, and so totally outside the bounds of reason that you might, just MIGHT, be wrong?

3. Why are you so singularly incapable of recognizing when you are beaten? Why are you so proud of pigheaded stubbornness, which normal people view as a serious character flaw?

4. What about "Traithe's already looking into it and is perfectly willing to shut down if they tell him no" has entirely eluded you? Are you aware that your phone call to T-Ent marks you as a genuine loony tune?

5. Would you mind terribly just SHUTTING UP? YOU HAVE NOT SAID A SINGLE NEW THING SINCE DAY ONE OF YOUR RAMPAGING OBSSESSION WITH TRAITHE; YOU ARE GETTING BORING.

I don't really want answers to these purely rhetorical questions, though I know you will answer anyway; this thread's become your second job, after all. Facts are, nothing you've said yet has convinced anybody you're right, so it's doubtful you'll manage it with any more words. But do feel free to entertain us further with your constant and repetitious accusations, character slurs, and obssessive, irrational behavior. Oh, and those ridiculous "analogies", aka "comedy gold", you love so much (trouble? I only have trouble with BAD analogies, and yours are almost as bad as my fundie ex-husband's; it's too bad that -you- have trouble with making proficient analogies).

It is not valiant or admirable to keep up the fight long after you've lost; it is only the most obvious sign of a priggish, egocentric, and controlling personality. Maybe someday you'll understand. Till then, keep reaching for those stars!

Caris, SciallaMud
PS: KaVir, it's good to see your name again. Missed you.
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Old 06-04-2003, 06:52 AM   #63
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Well, i have to agree that it is wrong to use the work before receiving the permission to use it, and thinking it is alright just because they haven't answered the request yet....

What if the letter got lost in the mail? Now, as i understood it SoL owner said that he was going to go down and visit them in person, that could be a good idea.

You could just close down the mud temporarily for a couple days, make that trip and get the permission to use it. Keep your players longing for the game for awhile.

Maybe you can even get an exclusive right to use the material for free MUDs if you make up some nice deal, being the only tolkien mud around wouldn't been bad (Probably not very easy to get though)...
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Old 06-04-2003, 09:04 AM   #64
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Just because you say someone has 'lost' Caris, doesn't make it so. I personally haven't seen the_logos say anything that was untrue. They are using Tolkien's IP without permission, that -is- theft. Whether or not you like the word. Now if you want to argue that there is some moral justification for that, have at it.

And by the way, your wierd insistance that the_logos is somehow a 'genuine looney' and basically a whole slew of insults that amount to him being unworthy of posting here, are way worse than -anything- I've seen him post. Just thought I'd let you know, that you'll never, ever, ever win an argument if you can't attack the idea rather than the poster. I hope you can grasp that concept and move on, because your posts have been riddled with needless insult. There's a topic being discussed here, not a person.

Isn't there a flames thread somewhere around here, so people who want to read rational discussion can do so without reading crap like this?
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Old 06-04-2003, 09:52 AM   #65
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If the copyright holder has demonstrated a tolerance for non-profit derivative works (such as the Tolkien estate and New Line Pictures seem to have done), then what we're arguing re: the specific MUD "Shadows of Isildur" is a moot point.

I believe the problem is that the ad hominem attacks started in the first post, calling Traithe a thief. He's not, in my opinion. It's not theft if the copyright holder doesn't mind and it's not for profit. It's borrowing. Just like Tolkien borrowed elves and trolls for his creation .

Despite the personal attacks, this *is* a fascinating issue that's worth discussing. It's just a shame it started with bullying and insults, getting it off to a less-than-logical first step.
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Old 06-04-2003, 10:17 AM   #66
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ June 04 2003)
What he's doing is immoral in my opinion. And what he's doing is most certainly rude if nothing else. His entire argument seems to be based on some sort of sense of entitlement: I DESERVE to be using the Tolkien IP, and #### it, if they don't reply to my letter requesting a license, why I'll just go ahead and use it anyway.
Your argument is entirely dependant on the exclusive entitlement of IP, which is certainly not based on a moral standard as we see it today. It is a contract between the individual and society. Just because the law dictates your ethical standard with regards to IP does not mean that all of us are so blind that we do not see the purpose behind it. And if the general consensus is any indication, Traithe has been rather ethical in following this purpose.

You should really learn that Intellectual Property is not like other property. It is directly founded upon society with the individual "owner"'s contribution making only a small edifice on top. It is not unreasonable to allow someone to specifically admire this creation without the creator's express approval. IMO, Traithe is well within the boundaries of ethical behavior.
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Old 06-04-2003, 01:11 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ June 04 2003,04:19)
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Can't say I've ever heard of any such thing as an implied license.
http://www.bitlaw.com/copyright/license.html#implied
I stand corrected. Having said that, nothing on that page seems to even hint that the situation with all the thiefy muds would fall under implied licenses.

--matt
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Old 06-04-2003, 01:19 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by
1. Why do you feel such a burning need to convince people that you are right?
I don't. I feel a burning need to be right though. If being right means changing my opinion, I'm happy to do so. Haven't seen a reason to do so so far though. Remember that Traithe KNOWS he's stolen the IP under the law and has admitted it on this board.

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Originally Posted by
2. Why is it so unholy-offensive to you that people disagree with you, and so totally outside the bounds of reason that you might, just MIGHT, be wrong?
Haven't seen any evidence so far that I'm wrong.

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Originally Posted by
4. What about "Traithe's already looking into it and is perfectly willing to shut down if they tell him no" has entirely eluded you? Are you aware that your phone call to T-Ent marks you as a genuine loony tune?
What part of "Obtain permission first." don't you understand? My phone call to Tolkien Enterprises marks me no more a loony than Kavir's hobby of attacking Medievia does. He even maintains a web page on it. And good for him too as IP thieves deserve attacking.


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It is not valiant or admirable to keep up the fight long after you've lost; it is only the most obvious sign of a priggish, egocentric, and controlling personality. Maybe someday you'll understand. Till then, keep reaching for those stars!
Lost? How odd. I'm sorry if you find my dedication to concepts like etiquette and IP law disturbing. Well, no, I'm not actually.

It's really very simple: If Traithe wishes to be on the right side of things, he gets permission -first-. Failing that, he's not got the iicense.

--matt
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Old 06-04-2003, 01:24 PM   #69
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If the copyright holder has demonstrated a tolerance for non-profit derivative works (such as the Tolkien estate and New Line Pictures seem to have done), then what we're arguing re: the specific MUD "Shadows of Isildur" is a moot point.
Just a point: New Line has nothing to do with this as they have license only to the movie version of Lord of the Rings.

Vivendi Universal got the rights to the online games and they have most assuredly NOT shown a willingness to allow people to intrude on their property. I don't know if the rights Vivendi has are exclusive or not.

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Originally Posted by

I believe the problem is that the ad hominem attacks started in the first post, calling Traithe a thief. He's not, in my opinion. It's not theft if the copyright holder doesn't mind and it's not for profit. It's borrowing. Just like Tolkien borrowed elves and trolls for his creation .
*shrug* I was just following Topmudsites community etiquette. I see people use ad hominem attacks against other IP thieves like Vryce all the time, going so far as to use the word "Midthievia" in reference to them. If I"ve violated some community norm by referring to an IP thief as such, sorry.

And Tolkien did not borrow elves from anyone who had claim to elvish IP.

--matt
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Old 06-04-2003, 01:31 PM   #70
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Your argument is entirely dependant on the exclusive entitlement of IP, which is certainly not based on a moral standard as we see it today. It is a contract between the individual and society. Just because the law dictates your ethical standard with regards to IP does not mean that all of us are so blind that we do not see the purpose behind it. And if the general consensus is any indication, Traithe has been rather ethical in following this purpose.
Oh sure, I recognize that the moral element of IP law is up for discussion. If you go back and read the whole thread, you'll see I specifically brought that point up. As for the general consensus though, I can't say I care. If it matters to you at all, the law do esn't really care either else Napster probably wouldn't have been shut down.
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You should really learn that Intellectual Property is not like other property. It is directly founded upon society with the individual "owner"'s contribution making only a small edifice on top. It is not unreasonable to allow someone to specifically admire this creation without the creator's express approval. IMO, Traithe is well within the boundaries of ethical behavior.
Actually, intellectual property isn't particularly different from other kinds of property except insofar as it is easily duplicateable. The concept of physical property a lso only exists because of the legal structure that surrounds it. In other words, you own a piece of land -only- because there's a piece of paper in some office somewhere saying you do. Nothing stopping me from creating a piece of paper saying I own the property. It's just a question of whose point of view the guns of government are going to enforce. That's a red herring I'm not intending to lay out for pursuit, however. Just pointing out that IP isn't really any different insofar as its value and applicability is entirely determined by the legal structure it takes place in.

I mean, you could argue that taking someone's car without permission is fine. If your moral position doesn't recognize the validity of private property, it probably is fine. Similarly you can argue that taking someone's IP without permission is fine.

I choose to do neither. They're both wrong.

--matt
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Old 06-04-2003, 01:52 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ June 04 2003,12:31)
I mean, you could argue that taking someone's car without permission is fine. If your moral position doesn't recognize the validity of private property, it probably is fine. Similarly you can argue that taking someone's IP without permission is fine.

I choose to do neither. They're both wrong.
But why is using someone's IP without permission wrong?

Any bonehead can come up with a reason why taking someone's car is wrong: It deprives them of their car, which the "rightful" owner (presumably) wholly compensated society for. Stealing the car deprives without compensation, therefore it is wrong.

IP is, as I'm sure you know, orders of magnitude more complex than that. It is nearly impossible to measure the value to society with a piece of IP. You might say, "That's not important, it's only the the value to the individual creator that's important," but that's simply not true: The creator was not educated in a vacuum, and we all know that Tolkien blatantly used many things from various societal myths. Furthermore, due to the ease with which information can be duplicated, the only thing that a copyright holder has to sell, really, is exclusivity by restricting what society at large may do. Those are two very important benefits that society has given to the copyright holder, and society is thus owed benefits in return. The extent and form of those benefits is the great grey area of IP ethics.

So I'm looking for some concrete wrong here, and I'm just not seeing it with your emphatic statements of wrong without explanation. Given that these ethics are a great big grey area, you'd think that we deserve some explanation before someone starts making these sorts of claims.
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Old 06-04-2003, 01:52 PM   #72
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While I maintain that implication is a valid way to give permission, and thus a valid way to infer permission; I have to agree with the_logos in that the examples provided in the link about implied licenses don't seem to bolster such a defense very much in this specific case.

Now, the article did say that the extent of implied license is as of yet undecided. Nevertheless, the examples provided all seemed to be instances in which the owner of the copyright couldn't reasonably expect their original intentions to be followed without the violation of that copyright.

Thus, it would seem that Traithe needs evidence (though not absolute proof) that his project goes along with Tolkein's wishes (not merely their disapproving tolerance) in such a way that Tolkein Enterprises couldn't reasonably expect him to follow those intentions without violating the copyright. For this, Traithe would not need permission specifically about his own project, but he would need at least some type of broad, supportive statement about TE's intentions on the matter or a closely related matter.

Even if Tolkein Enterprises can be said to intend to have an extremely active fanbase, fanatics who talk about LoTR ceaselessly and name all their children and pets Frodo, I doubt it can be said that one cannot reasonably be expected to follow those intentions without violating the copyright. That would be different for, say, a mud which someone at Tolkein Enterprises specifically requested to be built.

***

On the other hand, even if it is technically illegal, it could still be moral, or at least not immoral. Just because a person didn't intend something doesn't mean they wouldn't wish it. Still, it would be advisable to seek more evidence that this is such a case. A secondary source's claim on something as ambiguous as "tolerance" really isn't all that much.
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Old 06-04-2003, 02:11 PM   #73
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Of particular concern in this instance of "intellectual property theft", as alleged, is that there has been no case law established in more than two decades of MUD history dealing with this sort of thing - and Shadows of Isildur (which I hope is enjoying all the benefits of the *free* advertising the_logos and the rest of us are providing ) is nowhere near the first game of its kind to borrow Tolkien's or anyone else's themes.

If you can *show* legal grounds for this sort of thing, then you can start calling someone a thief. But the fact that no case law seems to exist for ANY creator of these various worlds suing a free-to-the-public MUD suggests that there is an atmosphere of tolerance for such things.
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Old 06-04-2003, 02:21 PM   #74
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But why is using someone's IP without permission wrong?

Any bonehead can come up with a reason why taking someone's car is wrong: It deprives them of their car, which the "rightful" owner (presumably) wholly compensated society for. Stealing the car deprives without compensation, therefore it is wrong.
Exact same reason. Stealing IP without compensation has the potential to diminish the return the IP owner may achieve on his or her IP. For instance, Vivendi bought the rights to online Middle Earth games from the Tolkien Estate. I don't know the terms of the deal, but I'm sure they are paying millions of dollars and a huge percentage of gross royalties. If even ONE person doesn't pay them for MEO because of games like SoL, there's the harm right there.

Beyond even that though, I believe the IP owner has a fundamental right to determine how his or her IP will be used, so as to control the continuing development of or the diminishment of the value of that IP in the eyes of the public. What if a game like SoL decided that elves were sex-maniacs? At least SOME of the players are going to have their perception of Tolkien's work altered by that kind of premise and that deprives the IP holder of revenue just as surely as taking his car does.

Someone earlier quoted Raymond Feist on this issue. Mr. Feist said something to the following effect, "Pirating stories is no different than stealing my atm card and using it." His rationale is likely nearly identical to my own above.

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So I'm looking for some concrete wrong here, and I'm just not seeing it with your emphatic statements of wrong without explanation. Given that these ethics are a great big grey area, you'd think that we deserve some explanation before someone starts making these sorts of claims.
All ethics are grey areas. I'm not precluding the possibility of honest disagreement with me on the moral side of the issue. What I mainly sense, however, is a sense of self-righteous entitlement on the side of the people defending Traithe; an attitude that "Tolkien muds deserve to be made, so I don't need to get permission first."

Anyway, see above for my rationale. It boils down to robbing control over the disposition of the IP from the IP holder.

--matt
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Old 06-04-2003, 02:25 PM   #75
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If you can *show* legal grounds for this sort of thing, then you can start calling someone a thief. But the fact that no case law seems to exist for ANY creator of these various worlds suing a free-to-the-public MUD suggests that there is an atmosphere of tolerance for such things.
-I- don't need to show legal grounds as I'm not accused of doing anything wrong. Traithe does, and he's already admitted what he's doing is illegal in his view, even if he qualified it with "technically illegal."

--matt
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Old 06-04-2003, 02:28 PM   #76
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the_logos said: defenders of Traithe say
Quote:
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"Tolkien muds deserve to be made, so I don't need to get permission first."
Talk about taking things out of context . No one is really saying that. I can't speak for anyone else, but for myself, I say this: Tolkien-derived MUDs *have* been made for more than two decades. Surely you're not the first person on the planet to have discovered this phenomenon. If the Tolkien estate and anyone else had problems with it in the past two decades, one would think they would have rallied the lawyers to shut down all those other games by now. Traithe started his free-to-the-public Tolkien game in good faith, after MANY OTHER TOLKIEN GAMES had been online. He has done nothing to deserve your wrath, no matter how noble your intent to defend the integrity of someone else's intellectual property.
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Old 06-04-2003, 02:40 PM   #77
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But why is using someone's IP without permission wrong?

Any bonehead can come up with a reason why taking someone's car is wrong: It deprives them of their car, which the "rightful" owner (presumably) wholly compensated society for. Stealing the car deprives without compensation, therefore it is wrong.

IP is, as I'm sure you know, orders of magnitude more complex than that. It is nearly impossible to measure the value to society with a piece of IP. You might say, "That's not important, it's only the the value to the individual creator that's important," but that's simply not true: The creator was not educated in a vacuum, and we all know that Tolkien blatantly used many things from various societal myths.
People don't earn cars in a vaccuum either. Nobody compensates society for their cars. We compensate only the people who previously claimed to own exclusive right to those cars. In any case, how would you go about compensating society for the money with which you are using to compensate society?

Moreover, assuming that everyone owns equal parts in society and that society owns equal parts in each piece of IP (due to the difficulty of predicting actual value added by society), then there is still the fact that the most obvious creator of the IP has more claim to that IP than anyone else in society, because they own their equal societal part plus however much value they added personally. As a communal norm, we do not recognize something as protectable IP until and unless, by communal norm, the creator is seen to have added a sufficient amount of value so as to overwhelm the value added by the rest of society. You would be pretty hard pressed to convince most people here that Tolkein didn't add overwhelmingly more value to his work than did the rest of society.

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Furthermore, due to the ease with which information can be duplicated, the only thing that a copyright holder has to sell, really, is exclusivity by restricting what society at large may do. Those are two very important benefits that society has given to the copyright holder, and society is thus owed benefits in return. The extent and form of those benefits is the great grey area of IP ethics.
Unless you have evidence to the contrary, we can assume that society gave the copyright holder no more benefits than the copyright holder gave every other individual of society in return simply by being a part of that society. Thus, the benefits added by society seem to be irrelevant to the discussion.

The ease with which information may be duplicated is not the same as the ease with which information may be created. Sure, any fool can duplicate Tolkein's work. The ease with which something can be duplicated is merely the ease with which IP can be taken away. Surely the fact that something is easy to steal doesn't by itself make it okay to steal. By taking it away, you aren't necessarily taking the means of duplicating it, but you are taking away the benefits of having been the IP's creator, leaving the creator stuck with an unfair portion of the costs of the creation.
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Old 06-04-2003, 02:46 PM   #78
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These are all very interesting, very fascinating arguments that probably would make much more sense if this was the year 1980 rather than 2003. In fact, I'm curious enough that I'll start poking around to do some research to see if this very debate did come up way back when (I suspect it did).

But, the fact is: The horse is out of the barn, folks. Closing the door *now* is rather pointless. And attacking *one guy* who has probably gone further than most other Tolkien game operators to get a by-your-leave from the creator's estate is just rude and pointless.

So, here's where we stand:

Some people think it's wrong to use established themes for MUDs, and consider it thievery.
Some people think it's fine to borrow established themes for MUDs, as long as it's not for profit.
No specific case law exists to say either side is right or wrong when it comes to MUDs and intellectual property.

Now, can we please stop beating the dead horse now that it's out of the barn? Thanks!
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Old 06-04-2003, 02:57 PM   #79
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Unifex:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
But why is using someone's IP without permission wrong?
(snip)
So I'm looking for some concrete wrong here, and I'm just not seeing it with your emphatic statements of wrong without explanation.  Given that these ethics are a great big grey area, you'd think that we deserve some explanation before someone starts making these sorts of claims.
Discussion about details of IP is impossible if people respond with questions like that.  It's like trying to have a discussion about the scope of the 5th amendment and having someone walk up and say "But do we need police and courts at all?".

Attacking a basic premise of law in most Western countries belongs in at least another thread, probably another forum.

Actual damages in this case would probably be much easier to substantiate than damages for violating the terms of a free codebase: unlike DIKU code, several companies have paid significant sums of money for the rights to make games based on Tolkien IP.

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Old 06-04-2003, 03:01 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Brody @ June 04 2003,13:28)
Traithe started his free-to-the-public Tolkien game in good faith, after MANY OTHER TOLKIEN GAMES had been online. He has done nothing to deserve your wrath, no matter how noble your intent to defend the integrity of someone else's intellectual property.
If he did it in good faith he'd have obtained permission to do so. Instead, he sent a letter, didn't receive a response, and then just assumed "What the ####, I'll do it anyway."

--matt
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