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An Update from The Homecoming Team


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17 hours ago, justicebeliever said:

Trademark infringements are funny things...unless you are copying someone else's trademark and claiming it's yours, you don't lose the trademark to someone else...you just lose it - it's gone forever...

 

Escalator, Trampoline, and Aspirin were all trademarked products, but as the usage of the name become so common place and because those companies didn't manage how people used their products name, those names are now public domain...If you let your trademark get diluted, you can lose it...So if people start putting mouse ears up everywhere, and Disney doesn't police it, they will lose the right to keep that image just for them...

And Disney is especially vigilant because they trademark *everything*.  Copyright expires, so to prevent their characters from becoming public domain they use trademarks.  The whole subject can get very tricky.  A fight between heirs allowed Sherlock Holmes to fall into the public domain, but some later stories still retain copyright on details only in them.  Thank goodness CoH doesn't have to worry about that sort of scramble.

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12 minutes ago, MunkiLord said:

What Disney actually does to retain control is pay off politicians to extend copyright. Though there are rumors they are considering not doing that again here in a few years.

Disney hasn't bothered yet with paying off politicians for this...Steamboat Willie is their first copyrighted work, and under existing law, won't come into the public domain until 2024.  The landscape for IP protection has changed alot and if they pursue it (I expect they won't), it would be a difficult battle...

"The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth." - Niels Bohr

 

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23 minutes ago, justicebeliever said:

Disney hasn't bothered yet with paying off politicians for this...Steamboat Willie is their first copyrighted work, and under existing law, won't come into the public domain until 2024.  The landscape for IP protection has changed alot and if they pursue it (I expect they won't), it would be a difficult battle...

They haven't this time, and I agree wouldn't be surprised if they don't. But the last major extension from 1998, The Mickey Mouse Protection Act, was lobbied for by Disney. They weren't the only ones, many big companies fought for that corporate welfare. 

 

And when I say lobby, I really do mean pay off.

 

My biggest problem with such changes(of many) is how they apply retroactively. Clearly longer terms were not needed for content created before then, so they should have been left to expire according the law at the time they were created. 

Edited by MunkiLord
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1 minute ago, MunkiLord said:

They haven't this time, and I agree wouldn't be surprised if they don't. But the last major extension from 1998, The Mickey Mouse Protection Act, was lobbied for by Disney. They weren't the only ones, many big companies fought for that corporate welfare. 

 

And when I say lobby, I really do mean pay off.

That's right, it was supposed to be a 75 year, not 100 yr copyright...otherwise Mr. Willie would have been in the public domain since 2001...My bad Mr. Munkilord, I should know better!

"The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth." - Niels Bohr

 

Global Handle: @JusticeBeliever ... Home servers on Live: Guardian ... Playing on: Everlasting

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5 hours ago, justicebeliever said:

@TonyV

Does this mean that Paragon Wiki would be able to be updated again with the Homecoming Content? (Should things work out)

 

 

The short answer is yes.

 

The longer answer is yeeeeeesssss.

 

Actually, there's no technical reason it can't be now, and in fact, Jimmy has asked me specifically about this. Regardless of how all of this shakes out I intend to make the contents of the wiki more available to whomever wants it for whatever purpose they want it for. It's just a matter of time and effort.

 

But yes, if this goes through, the Paragon Wiki will be actively updated with new changes to the Homecoming servers.

 

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On 8/7/2019 at 11:10 PM, Omega-202 said:

I see nothing positive that can come from this. 

Option (D): NCSoft happily licenses CoX-1 for nonprofit operation by the HC team ... while quietly spinning up development on CoX2, knowing that a resurgent CoX 1 will work like free advertising.

 

On 8/7/2019 at 11:10 PM, Omega-202 said:

I feel like the best scenario was to just tell them to pound sand.  It would be more hassle and expense for them to play whack-a-mole on servers and they'd quit really quickly.  

If the HC team were to do that?

They could, individually, be tracked down in the real world, and served with various legal papers.  Lawsuits, summons to appear in court, and .... yes, U.S. law allows for it, criminal charges.

Seriously, telling the legal owner of the franchise to "pound sand" like that would have been absolute suicide.

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Global Handle: @PaxArcana ... Home servers on Live: Freedom Virtue ... Home Server on HC: Torchbearer


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1 hour ago, justicebeliever said:

That's right, it was supposed to be a 75 year, not 100 yr copyright

As originally provided for, under U.S. law, 26 years, potentially extensible to 52 years, IIRC.

However, there's another side to it: City of Heroes is not just protected by copyright law, but also by trademark law.

And Trademarks never expire (at least, not due to some arbitrary calendar date coming and going).

Global Handle: @PaxArcana ... Home servers on Live: Freedom Virtue ... Home Server on HC: Torchbearer


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1 minute ago, PaxArcana said:

As originally provided for, under U.S. law, 26 years, potentially extensible to 52 years, IIRC.

However, there's another side to it: City of Heroes is not just protected by copyright law, but also by trademark law.

And Trademarks never expire (at least, not due to some arbitrary calendar date coming and going).

Actually trademarks do expire, they are just renewable, unlike modern copyrights

"The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth." - Niels Bohr

 

Global Handle: @JusticeBeliever ... Home servers on Live: Guardian ... Playing on: Everlasting

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3 hours ago, justicebeliever said:

That's right, it was supposed to be a 75 year, not 100 yr copyright...otherwise Mr. Willie would have been in the public domain since 2001...My bad Mr. Munkilord, I should know better!

I think it sits at lifetime of the creator plus 95. We can thank Sonny Bono for one of the more recent extensions.

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3 hours ago, PaxArcana said:

Option (D): NCSoft happily licenses CoX-1 for nonprofit operation by the HC team ... while quietly spinning up development on CoX2, knowing that a resurgent CoX 1 will work like free advertising.

 

If the HC team were to do that?

They could, individually, be tracked down in the real world, and served with various legal papers.  Lawsuits, summons to appear in court, and .... yes, U.S. law allows for it, criminal charges.

Seriously, telling the legal owner of the franchise to "pound sand" like that would have been absolute suicide.

A) Modern MMOs are on a 5 year development cycle.  Do you really think the HC servers are going to be anything more than a blip in 5 years?  I love this game, but you're kidding yorself if you think the servers will have 1/8th the population in 1 years time, let alone 5.  I like your optimism, but you're being completely unrealistic.

 

B) They can (and still may) pursue the HC team.  They've knowingly used NCSoft's intellectual property without permission and Leandro received STOLEN proprietary code and distributed said code.  That has all already happened.  Then to make it worse, they set up an LLC with the express intent of funneling donations to fund a server hosting said stolen data.  Again, too late to fix that.  

 

Coming to the table and asking to work something out with NCSoft is foolish.  Keeping your head down puts the burden on NCSoft to track them down.  Instead, they've come to the table and slapped their heads on the block and are trying to pretend this is a negotiation and that they have something to offer NCSoft.  They don't.  NCSoft can pretend to play nice until they get their ducks in line for the lawsuit while gathering information about the HC operation and the guilty parties.  

 

They've already knowingly infringed on NCSoft's rights, arguably caused damages and possibly committed fraud in setting up an LLC to accept donations for an illegitimate venture.  Instead of shutting up and saying nothing, NCSoft now has names, server info, and maybe even Leandro's source from Paragon for the code.  

 

I don't really want to keep going on this because I generally like this community and respect you all as players but you are all being really unrealistic and naive.  

Edited by Omega-202
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1 hour ago, Omega-202 said:

A) Modern MMOs are on a 5 year development cycle.  Do you really think the HC servers are going to be anything more than a blip in 5 years?  I love this game, but you're kidding yorself if you think the servers will have 1/8th the population in 1 years time, let alone 5.  I like your optimism, but you're being completely unrealistic.

 

B) They can (and still may) pursue the HC team.  They've knowingly used NCSoft's intellectual property without permission and Leandro received STOLEN proprietary code and distributed said code.  That has all already happened.  Then to make it worse, they set up an LLC with the express intent of funneling donations to fund a server hosting said stolen data.  Again, too late to fix that.  

 

Coming to the table and asking to work something out with NCSoft is foolish.  Keeping your head down puts the burden on NCSoft to track them down.  Instead, they've come to the table and slapped their heads on the block and are trying to pretend this is a negotiation and that they have something to offer NCSoft.  They don't.  NCSoft can pretend to play nice until they get their ducks in line for the lawsuit while gathering information about the HC operation and the guilty parties.  

 

They've already knowingly infringed on NCSoft's rights, arguably caused damages and possibly committed fraud in setting up an LLC to accept donations for an illegitimate venture.  Instead of shutting up and saying nothing, NCSoft now has names, server info, and maybe even Leandro's source from Paragon for the code.  

 

I don't really want to keep going on this because I generally like this community and respect you all as players but you are all being really unrealistic and naive.  

You're the ray of realism this thread needed. 

 

Said no one

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2 hours ago, Omega-202 said:

A) Modern MMOs are on a 5 year development cycle.  Do you really think the HC servers are going to be anything more than a blip in 5 years?  I love this game, but you're kidding yorself if you think the servers will have 1/8th the population in 1 years time, let alone 5.  I like your optimism, but you're being completely unrealistic.

 

B) They can (and still may) pursue the HC team.  They've knowingly used NCSoft's intellectual property without permission and Leandro received STOLEN proprietary code and distributed said code.  That has all already happened.  Then to make it worse, they set up an LLC with the express intent of funneling donations to fund a server hosting said stolen data.  Again, too late to fix that.  

 

Coming to the table and asking to work something out with NCSoft is foolish.  Keeping your head down puts the burden on NCSoft to track them down.  Instead, they've come to the table and slapped their heads on the block and are trying to pretend this is a negotiation and that they have something to offer NCSoft.  They don't.  NCSoft can pretend to play nice until they get their ducks in line for the lawsuit while gathering information about the HC operation and the guilty parties.  

 

They've already knowingly infringed on NCSoft's rights, arguably caused damages and possibly committed fraud in setting up an LLC to accept donations for an illegitimate venture.  Instead of shutting up and saying nothing, NCSoft now has names, server info, and maybe even Leandro's source from Paragon for the code.  

 

I don't really want to keep going on this because I generally like this community and respect you all as players but you are all being really unrealistic and naive.  

A.  I mean, the secret server ran for 7 years, I see no reason why Homecoming wouldn't be around in another 7.  And sure, the pop will decline, but all that means is that they'll roll shards together.  Even 1/10 the pop would be a decent size for a single shard.

 

B.  Obviously, NCSoft isn't exactly foaming at the mouth to take legal action, or these negotiations wouldn't be happening in the first place.

 

The very idea that NCSoft was somehow unaware of or content to ignore private servers like Homecoming is the real foolishness.  NCSoft have proven more than willing to go after private servers of other games in the past, no reason to assume CoH would somehow be any different.  So, the HC team took the initiative to make an offer that obviously interested NCSoft, which is why the sever is still up despite 4 months of news articles in the gaming press drawing everyone's attention to it.

 

If you think NCSoft got anything they couldn't have gotten legally of their own volition, the only naive one here is you.

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17 minutes ago, Freedom Frank said:

If you think NCSoft got anything they couldn't have gotten legally of their own volition, the only naive one here is you.

Bingo.  The doomsayers in this thread are, for once, the ones that aren't actually in touch with reality.  Because if NCSoft wasn't interested in what the HC team had to offer, the cease and desist would already have been sent and the servers would have already been shut down either by the HC team themselves or by a direct C+D to the host ISPs.

 

Which means, by textbook logic, that no C+Ds were sent.  Which means that NCSoft didn't send them.  And since the HC project has been about as public as a brand new MMO launch and about as stealthy as an nrg/nrg blaster....

 

...I'm forced to put on my Sherlock Holmes...

 

Once you eliminate all of the impossibilities, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

 

The truth therefore is that NCSoft sees some value in negotiating with the HC team, which means they feel like the HC project has value to NCSoft.

 

Do I _know_ what that value is?  No, I'm no in the negotiations.

Can I make some reasonable guesses?  Yes, and I've done so several times in this thread.

Could I be mistaken about several of them?  Yes.

Could the entire thing fall apart at the negotiating table and result in shutdown anyway?  Yes.

 

But I'm willing to bet this story has a reasonably happy ending.  Because otherwise it already would have ended.  You know why?  Because ending it in violent shutdown and death was the EASY solution and NCSoft already skipped past the easy solution.

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Original Toon: Special Agent Z (Vanity SG: Committee for State Security)

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3 hours ago, Omega-202 said:

Keeping your head down puts the burden on NCSoft to track them down. 

Which would be child's play.  HC is publicly known now; someone let the cat out of the bag.  You know, every time you log in to the servers, your computer has to know the exact IP address of those servers, right?  Which can then be used to find them physically.  The hosting company can then be compelled (rather easily in fact - a simple "or else we sue YOU" would do it in a heartbeat) to reveal whose actual, real-world name and mailing address is attached.  Also, payment records indicating the financial institution being used to pay for the hosting service could be extracted from the hosting company with ease.

And then that's it  A few weeks of sending out letters on a lawfirm's letterhead, and the jig is up.
 

3 hours ago, Omega-202 said:

A) Modern MMOs are on a 5 year development cycle. 

Not all of them.  Cryptic's post-NCSoft claim was "concept to launch in 2 years".

Not to mention, it's also possible that NCSoft was already deep in development for such a game.

My alternate option was only one scenario among many, and only served to show that there are other possibilities than the two dire-grimdark-and-doom scenarios you outlined.

 

3 hours ago, Omega-202 said:

Coming to the table and asking to work something out with NCSoft is foolish. 

What exactly makes you think the HC team initiated those talks?  I suspect it was NCSoft who initiated contact, and the HC team (with help, obviously) managed to make a convincing enough case that an amicable resolution was in NCSoft's best interests that, instead of dropping the hammer .... they are instead hammering out a deal.

 

3 hours ago, Omega-202 said:

you are all being really unrealistic and naive. 

Mirror, mirror, on the wall ...

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Global Handle: @PaxArcana ... Home servers on Live: Freedom Virtue ... Home Server on HC: Torchbearer


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45 minutes ago, Freedom Frank said:

If you think NCSoft got anything they couldn't have gotten legally of their own volition, the only naive one here is you.

Good for them to find out player count to help calculate damages.  Or get information regarding who is hosting the servers so they can pursue them for damages because they have deeper pockets than the HC team.  Or to findout who their contractor was at Paragon who handed over the stolen IP.  

 

There's a ton of info that they could gain under the pretense of a negotiation that's not readily available.  And for the stuff that can "be gotten legally of their own volition", why bother when you can accept an offer to "chat" by the guilty parties and let them hand you said information.  Do you think investigations of this kind are cheap and quick?  Like you said, the servers were underground and unknown for 7 years.  Better to fi d out from the horse's mouth what other secrets there might be, especially if the horse asked to speak with you.

 

In regards to "foaming at the mouth" to hand out a C&D: how fast do you think legal departments work?  Especially if corporate is debating how to best handle the situation and they didn't have names, addresses or contacts to properly serve said C&D.  Do you really think the legal department caught wind of this in late April and dropped everything to work on shutting down a pirate server for a 15 year old game?  It's been 3 months.  Their docket is probably 6-12 months deep with shit to do.  

 

This may all shake out.  Maybe you're right.  But I'd put money on this going south.  I'm done debating this, see you all on the other side.

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On 8/8/2019 at 11:55 AM, VicZantosa said:

...

 

Now for the rest of the story.  I'm not going to let this happen again.  In real life, I am a server hardware and virtualization engineer.  The very first thing I did was download a copy of the CoH server, client, and launcher, and got on eBay to find server hardware that would run it, which cost about $150.  NCSoft has very little motivation to allow this to continue, and has not been very clear about their motivations in any of their negotiations.  I applaud your efforts, but have very little hope that this will result in anything but a shutdown, either now, or six months from now, or a year from now.   Later today I'm going to be saving all of the costumes for the characters I and my wife have carefully recreated from our old Live days on Freedom, and brace for impact.

 

I would very much like for the Homecoming guys to allow us to export existing characters, just so I don't have to powerlevel on my own or someone else's server.

That seems like a very sensible approach and precaution and it leaves me with only one question

 

WHY  WOULD YOU ANNOUNCE THAT  ?????????!!!!!!!!

 

There are probably lots of people who did that and IF NCSoft were ever so wacko as to try to shut down private servers and find individuals to try to go after, those people will all be so low key and under the radar that NCSoft would ever know even to look for them.  Unless they ANNOUNCED that that was what they were planning in a public forum!

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On 8/8/2019 at 12:39 PM, TonyV said:

/offtopic

 

That's not true, by the way. A "fiduciary duty" is a specific legal term, and corporations are not legally obligated to maximize profit for shareholders, the company itself, or anyone else.

 

Obviously, that's usually a good idea at least to some sane degree to keep your shareholders happy, but it's totally up to the board and officers of a company to decide what its goals are, and they don't have to include maximizing (or even making) profit.

Activist investors would like you to think otherwise -- those are investors who buy a company, push for short term profits and boost performance at all costs, boost the price with their antics and sell out to move on and wreck another company.  They are VERY bad for the health of businesses in the long term.

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