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 11-16-2011, 06:52 PM   #1
SISNAEK
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Home MUD: Shattered Isles
Posts: 20
SISNAEK is on a distinguished road
Security Issues

I've reached the point where I need to take some steps to properly secure my game legally. I'm not quite sure where to turn for things like a proper Non-disclosure agreement, terms of service, or a privacy statement. I'm not building the next money maker, but I do want to protect my original work. These are things I'd like to handle myself rather than going through a lawyer. It's a free-to-play MUD after all. I prefer to keep the yearly costs to a minimum.

Any suggestions on where to turn for these kinds of things?
SISNAEK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2011, 07:22 PM   #2
SnowTroll
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 183
SnowTroll will become famous soon enough
Re: Security Issues

You can register a copyright for any code you've written pretty easily (checkout the copyright office at copyright.gov), and your website materials (including any images you've made), manuals, or whatever else you've written, and add copyright notifications to all of your materials, but that just prevents people from directly copying your text, code, and images (provided they respect the copyright at all). The general concepts you've come up with, however original, are still ripe for pilfering. You can't copyright an idea or concept. At the end of the day, if some 15 year old steals your code and makes a copycat game, you'll still need to pay a lawyer to write an official cease and desist letter, and you probably can't afford to sue just get an injunction against a kid so your free game remains the only one just like it. Copyright registraions run about 50 dollars per.

If you think you're getting some kind of brand recogition for your game name or logo, legalzoom has some basic forms for filing trademark applications, but you almost want a lawyer for those. They're right on the line for things that have a few too many nuances for the common man to do on his own, and run about 500 dollars in filing fees, depending on a few factors.
SnowTroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2011, 08:17 PM   #3
SISNAEK
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Home MUD: Shattered Isles
Posts: 20
SISNAEK is on a distinguished road
Re: Security Issues

Thanks. That's good info that I'll need for sure, but I am looking more to guard my content than the code itself. History, lore, room descriptions, etc. I want to protect what has been contributed and make sure it all always belongs to the game, even if someone involved in that creation leaves.
SISNAEK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2011, 08:46 AM   #4
SnowTroll
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 183
SnowTroll will become famous soon enough
Re: Security Issues

Same deal. Any original text, be it a room desc, your in game or website info on lore and history, or anything else you have written can be protected by a registered copyright. But that just protects you from literal copying, and to an extent, derivative works. There really isn't a way to broadly protect your overarching creative concepts, just your works of authorship relating to them.
SnowTroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2011, 04:03 PM   #5
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
Re: Security Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by SISNAEK View Post
I want to protect what has been contributed and make sure it all always belongs to the game, even if someone involved in that creation leaves.
Your mud isn't a legal entity. If you want to prevent people from removing their copyrighted work from your mud, you need to persuade them to grant you a non-revokable licence to use their work.

If you also wish to control how they use their work elsewhere, you'd need to get them to sign over their rights, or grant you an exclusive licence. However this also means that if your mud dies, it takes their work with it, so you may find that many experienced builders are unwilling to agree to such terms - particularly if they've been burnt before.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2011, 12:46 AM   #6
Erisine
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 21
Erisine is on a distinguished road
Re: Security Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
Your mud isn't a legal entity. If you want to prevent people from removing their copyrighted work from your mud, you need to persuade them to grant you a non-revokable licence to use their work.

If you also wish to control how they use their work elsewhere, you'd need to get them to sign over their rights, or grant you an exclusive licence. However this also means that if your mud dies, it takes their work with it, so you may find that many experienced builders are unwilling to agree to such terms - particularly if they've been burnt before.

I've actually seen this done before, but I'm not certain if it was done in a legally binding way. For example, it came in the form of an on-game notice that basically said something like, "By creating here, you acknowledge that... bla bla bla." However, I don't feel that that is adequate because it's more or less something you end up reading like a random helpfile.

What do you think would be the best way for a MUD to approach this, short of making would-be wizards fax in signed forms?
Erisine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2011, 12:03 PM   #7
Ide
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 361
Ide will become famous soon enoughIde will become famous soon enough
Re: Security Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erisine View Post
What do you think would be the best way for a MUD to approach this, short of making would-be wizards fax in signed forms?
The best way short of that is for the imm to be an honest, upstanding person and for that to never change .

Other than that, signed agreements are your best bet. Another possibility off the top of my head is to require a particular license (like CC or something like that) on all submitted material.
Ide is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 11:30 AM   #8
Newworlds
Legend
 
Newworlds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Name: NewWorlds
Home MUD: New Worlds
Posts: 1,384
Newworlds will become famous soon enoughNewworlds will become famous soon enough
Re: Security Issues

Another way is to hire them as an intern or as a service worker (donated time with non pay). When someone is working for you you even without pay in the field of the arts their work is automatically the ownership of the entity they are working for.

For example. An intern working for Industrial Light and Magic cannot take or use the work they do for ILM even if they are not being paid as long as it is clear they are working for ILM when they create their art and creating rooms, descriptions, story lines WITHIN your game or directly for your game falls under that category as long as they are listed as an intern, work for hire, service worker, donated time, etc.
Newworlds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 02:57 PM   #9
dentin
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Home MUD: Alter Aeon
Posts: 245
dentin is on a distinguished road
Re: Security Issues

This is the wrong place to get or give legal advice. Copyright is EXTREMELY thorny and non-intuitive; you cannot simply say "hire someone and you will own all of their work". There are a number of fields and locations where this is in fact not true, the creation and ownership of music being the most blatantly confusing and irregular. Depending on how a creative work is presented and interpreted in court, you may very well find out that all rights revert back to the author instead of defaulting to your ownership.

If you are really concerned about this, buckle down and hire a competent IP/copyright lawyer to help you figure out the most appropriate solution for your country/state/precinct.

-dentin

Alter Aeon MUD
http://www.alteraeon.com
dentin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 04:09 PM   #10
Erisine
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 21
Erisine is on a distinguished road
Re: Security Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by dentin View Post
This is the wrong place to get or give legal advice. Copyright is EXTREMELY thorny and non-intuitive; you cannot simply say "hire someone and you will own all of their work". There are a number of fields and locations where this is in fact not true, the creation and ownership of music being the most blatantly confusing and irregular. Depending on how a creative work is presented and interpreted in court, you may very well find out that all rights revert back to the author instead of defaulting to your ownership.

If you are really concerned about this, buckle down and hire a competent IP/copyright lawyer to help you figure out the most appropriate solution for your country/state/precinct.

-dentin

Alter Aeon MUD
Alter Aeon
Yes, and no.

I think anyone with an ounce of sense should realize that the counseling of a random (and rather unprofessional) internet forum should never be comparable to the advice of a real lawyer.

That being said, most game owners here are running not-for-profit, hobbyist games and likely just want to form a "comfort zone" as far as protecting their legal rights, and maybe even be able to have something to deter would-be thieves. The grand majority of people here will never really ever be in a situation where they're not only capable but are also willing to enter a drawn-out legal battle over a MUD. Unlike the music business, or even the novel business, our world isn't one filled with 15-page-plus contracts and advocates/agents.

"Don't discuss that, ask a lawyer" type answers annoy me because they're not actually helpful and they leap outside the realm of sensibility.
Erisine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 05:23 PM   #11
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
Re: Security Issues

You might find these links of interest:
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


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 06:58 PM.


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