[MUD-Dev] Re: Black Snow Revisited

Fred Clift fred at clift.org
Mon Apr 1 09:39:12 New Zealand Daylight Time 2002

On Sat, 30 Mar 2002, Adam wrote:
> <Fred Clift wrote>

> The tone of the original post was without a doubt quite
> obstreperous; however I feel you've replied to the tone rather
> than the content.

Yeah -- After re-reading it twice (at least 3 typos - argh) I agree
with you :).  I have to admit that this touched a sore nerve with
me.  I see worse attitudes than this fairly regularly in relation to
the mud I work on, and I had just finished reading my
'customer-service' type mud email.  No excuse.

>   - If someone creates some WHOLLY NEW content using the
>   contractually provided software/service, then at first glance it
>   is VERY unclear who "owns" that - this is outside of property
>   law, and into intellectual property law. Without knowing what
>   precedent/case law there is in this area, I'd guess by default
>   the creator of the CONTENT, not the software, would be given
>   ownership ...

>> I repeat - can you tell a game company what to do with their
>> property?  Note that in this case it _seems_ that

> Yes; they may own the servers and software, but not necessarily
> own what's on them. Hence, (this is a silly example, and I have no
> idea if it is actually legally valid, but perhaps it explains how
> this MIGHT happen) the owner of that content could theoretically
> order the owner of the hardware not to delete the content

Hm - I should have been more clear, and perhaps included portions of
a previous posting I made - What I was trying to say was that even
if the hypothetical 'new content' was owned by the creator, he stil
has no right beyond what is granted in the service contract to store
and manipulate his content on the game owner's servers.  So say the
user owned the new contnent - I would still suggest that the game
company can send him a floppy containing a binary image, perhaps
some screen shots, or maybe a text file with description of the
contents to the user and tell that user he is no longer welcome on
the server. "you violated our contract and so we are no longer
obligated to provide you access..."

> - thereby restricting the hardware owner's use of their own
> hardware.

Hence, the game company still gets to say what happens on it's
servers, and still has full control over it's hardware.

> For a casual example, look at web-hosting companies (not relevant
> to the current situation regards Mythic, but the question you ask
> above is a bit more general).

The web hosting company can (if the customer violates the contract)
opt to disolve the contract (or excersize provisions in the contract
which specify penalty for violation etc) - the content is still
owned by the customer, and should be made available for the
customer.  The compnay is not however, required to keep offering
service if it's customer violates their contract (well, I guess it
would depend on what the contract says, as you pointed out earlier).

I happen to be very familiar with this analogy -- I do system
programming for a large web hosting company, and I go to lunch 3 or
4 times a week with a good friend who is a service/support manager.
>From him, I know that on ocasion we terminate customer accounts for
various violations of our contract and AUP. We then give them some
grace period in which to download their data before the account is
shut off.  At least under our license agreement, aparently this is
legal (well, I guess this would take interpretation in court, but
all contracts that are under dispute fall into that same category).


Fred Clift - fred at clift.org -- Remember: If brute
force doesn't work, you're just not using enough.

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