Author Topic: The Ethics of Unsolicited Promotion  (Read 2097 times)

Calin Leafshade

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Re: The Ethics of Unsolicited Promotion
« Reply #20 on: 16 Sep 2010, 15:03 »
Sounds like a big clusterfuck to me, Calin. Just have the author's add their games themselves.

This was always my opinion I think :p

And GG:

As for having Nexus as some kind of official AGS overlay I see a couple of problems.

Firstly I'd like to expand the database to include *all* indie freeware games. My thought is that perhaps if we can flood a useful system with popular adventure games then when other games are added it will cause an influx of new adventure gamers thus reviving the genre!.... or something like that.
Starting with AGS games also gives everyone the opportunity to get their game high up on the ranking before the more popular genres invade.

and secondly I dont think CJ would agree or it would be his interest to devote time to a project like nexus.. he has enough on his plate as it were.

Ryan Timothy B

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Re: The Ethics of Unsolicited Promotion
« Reply #21 on: 16 Sep 2010, 16:45 »
Yeah, for now, just make it so that the creator uploads his/her own games.


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Re: The Ethics of Unsolicited Promotion
« Reply #22 on: 16 Sep 2010, 17:23 »
Now, in theory, I could rip all the AGS games from the gamesdb and add them into the nexus database. Would this be unethical? or even illegal?
Let me give you a pragmatical answer:

By requiring the game authors to submit their own games, you (1) save yourself a lot of work, (2) avoid being flamed by people who think you're acting unethically or illegaly (regardless of whether you actually are), and (3) draw people in to register for your Nexus system.

Sounds like a net win.


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Re: The Ethics of Unsolicited Promotion
« Reply #23 on: 16 Sep 2010, 17:43 »
I'd say add a feature to Nexus for game devs can quickly and easily add their games. If you make it simple and fast enough, where the author has to do as little work as possible, the Nexusbase will be able to expand much more rapidly. Still, you don't want to have a system that is very easy for developers but very time-consuming for you, so you can probably figure out a simple way to automate the whole process.

But if it were me, I wouldn't add games without asking first, mainly to avoid unpleasant situations.


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Re: The Ethics of Unsolicited Promotion
« Reply #24 on: 20 Sep 2010, 05:36 »
Regarding the legality of distributing copyrighted works, I'm afraid in this case Calin is right, and ProgZ is wrong.  While you'd be very unlikely to be sued over it, it is illegal to distribute copyrighted works without the copyright holder's permission, whether or not there are any explicit conditions or restrictions.  Quoting from the Copyright Basics document from the U.S. Copyright Office:


Note among the things the copyright holder has "exclusive rights" to do are "to reproduce the work in copies" and "to distribute copies... to the public".

So why do commercial DVDs and software have all that extra text about what is and isn't allowed?  Well, probably for two reasons.  First of all, because being explicit about it makes it easier to defend in court.  It's not strictly necessary to explicitly say that unauthorized copying is prohibited, because that's covered by copyright law already, but it may make the legal case slightly easier, and in any case explicitly pointing out that it's illegal may discourage some people from copying it.  This is especially true if the text includes something about the consequences (as it generally does, e.g. "Any such action establishes liability for a civil action and may give rise to criminal prosecution.")  Basically, it's not only reiterating exactly what the law is, but serving notice that the company intends to enforce that law.  (This may or may not be an empty threat, but in any case it's certainly intended as a deterrent.) 

Secondly, though, far from further restricting the user's rights from what copyright alone would grant, some of that copyright disclaimer text about the rights and restrictions actually grants the user extra rights that he wouldn't otherwise have under copyright law.  Software copyright disclaimers, for instance, usually say that the user is allowed to make one copy as a backup, or something to that effect.  Technically, according to copyright law, the user wouldn't have the right to do that if it hadn't been explicitly granted!

But in any case, it's still illegal to distribute a copyrighted work, whether or not the work includes a notice explicitly saying so.  (Unless, of course, the work explicitly says in a readme file or elsewhere that it can be freely distributed, as some AGS games do.)  Just as a work is still copyrighted whether or not it explicitly includes a copyright notice (unless the copyright has expired or it's been explicitly released into the public domain).  Making matters explicit may help ease the case if it comes to prosecution, but it's not technically strictly necessary.

(There is, of course, such a thing as "fair use" that does allow use of copyrighted materials under certain circumstances, but that's a complicated and ill-defined topic not worth going into here.)

IANAL, so I certainly can't promise I've gotten all the details right here.  (And I freely admit that some of the bits above about the reasons for including the copyright disclaimers are partly speculation on my part.)  Still, I think relying on what the U.S. Copyright Office says is probably a more reliable guide than drawing iffy conclusions based on DVD disclaimers and making assumptions based on what other people have gotten away with.  Yes, technically it is illegal to distribute copyrighted works without the owner's permission.  It's extremely unlikely that you'd ever get in trouble for putting up games for download without contacting the owners first, but it is technically illegal.

(Of course, this is all U. S. copyright that I've been referring to, and the copyright laws in other countries may differ, but... again, that's probably not worth going into right now.)

Naturally, though, all of this is a moot point if, as most people seem to be suggesting anyway, you just require the game authors to submit their own games.  So... yeah, I'll join the chorus endorsing that option.
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