[MUD-Dev] Re: Black Snow Revisited

Adam ya_hoo_com at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 1 17:58:52 New Zealand Daylight Time 2002


Derek Licciardi <kressilac at insightBB.com> wrote: 

> Currently there is investment in the MMORPG community but if you
> take the already tremendous risks of a project and increase them,
> investors will place their money elsewhere.  I do think that many
> projects would fold up shop because the investors behind the
> project would close them down.  The end result in my eyes, if BSI
> wins, is that the developer will not own any of the content it
> just poured some $5 million US into to create.  Investors demand
> intellectual property(IP) rights get protected in every possible
> way.  Without the IP, the games don't get published.

I'm not trying to be patronising here - I'm only going to say this
because it genuinely seems that you are unaware of it - but the
commercial value of the games is an awful lot more than the
intellectual property within the game. (Even though, see below, I
think you have misunderstood quite what "IP" means). Certainly, with
respect to the BSI case, the [in-game] ownerhsip of content is only
a tiny part of the commercial/business value of a MMOG; as has
already been mentioned, more general ownerhsip even merely of
content is already well-protected by copyright law.

> I believe that a BSI victory will all but crush the market for
> many years to come.  It doesn't matter how much money you have, if
> a simple lawsuit can convert your IP to someone else's property.
> Aside from the depreciating infrastructure, and the software
> code(also depreciating technology wise), your IP is your only
> long-standing asset in the project/service.  It is the major asset
> that allows you to make money.  If that IP can be converted
> against your will, investors won't touch the genre.  Lets hope BSI
> doesn't win.

That is completely untrue; you seem to be unaware of the legal
division of Intellectual Property Rights into discrete sub-sections
- e.g. Patents, Trademarks, Designs, Copyright, etc - and the fact
that each of these is a separate branch of law. You seem to imagine
that winning a case of "BSI can sell in-game ownership of in-game
content" implies that "BSI can sell Mythic's Intellectual
Property". You seem unaware that the word "ownership" has several
different meanings in different contexts - the implication above is
not an obvious step. Sure, if it were true, then your doom and gloom
would have some foundation. As it stands, I think you have merely
failed to understand IPR properly.

As a side note, your statements about investors being scared away
are also quite misleading: MMO Games development is not as you seem
to think an ultra-high risk proposition, perhaps despite what
publishers may say. I've seen tons of interest in investment at the
million-dollar level from corporates - let alone professional
investors - in MMOG development. These are not generally high-risk
investors.

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