Imitation is the Sincerest Form

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Imitation is the Sincerest Form

The guys who made Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes should've seen Square Enix's cease and desist letter coming a mile away.

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I say just release it anyways, no money is changing hands. They should have just hidden their identities and released it when it was finished

People make these things at their own risk, hoping not to be noticed by the publishers who own the IP. Unfortunately, if a project gains a certain level of notice, then they get shut down.

They do these things for the love of the project, they don't care about the consequences when they start.

So change a few names. Its now Kronus Trigger change all the char names slightly and change all the sprites. For example a new hair colour... Then release it and don't even give square any credit.

Wait wait wait, they were working on it for 4 years and no one even bothered asking square if it was ok?

They didn't think that they would get told to stop, even though they took assests from the games without asking?!

Thats like taking my car without even asking, and painting over it with differant designs.
Sure, tehn end product may be cool, and no one gets hurt, but you still steal my damn car and paint it without my permission.

Are people really this stupid?

im fairly sure that squenix isn't planning on releasing another 16bit chrono trigger, so surely this will in no way affect them by taking away sales from them?
if anything people might play this and then get excited for a proper sequel.

This is the most subjective article I have ever seen on the escapist, and also the one I disagree with the most.

I want more Chrono Trigger :(

There was no intent to make money out of Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes so squares Enix are really crapping over fans like they don't care that we like their work so much. They just want our money.

It's not like they were about to lose their goose that lays golden eggs. They're not making capitalism or other monetary based economical systems win any points with such d**kish actions.

the only sympathy I have for the creators is that SE waited this long to shut them down. But, given how often fan projects like this fail to reach completion, I wouldnt be surprised if SE had assumed the same of this, then suddenly been panicked into protecting their IP when they saw it was about to be released.

Like you say, letting this project come to completion would set a potentially dangerous precedent. Had it been allowed to reach release, whats to stop future projects involving SE's or other devs/publishers IP being used in the same way? & whats to stop those using it from smelling cash & charging money for their, for all intents & purposes, stolen work? Better to hit it on the head while the oppertunity still existed, & be thankful these were fans who were dedicated to their project, but also respectful enough to comply with SE's demand.

If it turns out that SE was aware of this project from the beginning, and didn't send the cease and desist order right away, then they really are the jerks here. Just be cause you have the right to do something, doesn't make it right to do. If they only just became aware of it (say, in the last 6 months to a year), then I'm fine with what they did. But deliberately waiting until near the end of production? That's a cheap move calculated to not just protect their property, but hurt the people (all fans) working on the project. If I were actually a purchaser of any Squenix games (I'm not, I hate JRPG's), I'd have to reconsider any purchases from them in the near future.

I first read about this and had a similar thought: how could they not have realized they were going to get shut down? I'm only surprised it took as long as it did, but that might very well have been because Square Enix didn't find out until recently (but I have no idea). And it especially wasn't going to fly now, with Square Enix having re-released Chrono Trigger for the DS, and there's all the marketing going on. They are not going to let an unauthorized sequel out; no company would.

Nimbus:
This is the most subjective article I have ever seen on the escapist, and also the one I disagree with the most.

Most subjective, yes.

I agree with it totally. Why should this company be forced to share their IP with the modding community against their wishes? It's their product; they may do what they wish with it.

Admittedly, it was a dick move on Square's part. However, it's completely within their reign of power, and I would probably have done the same were I in their position.

Anonymouse:
So change a few names. Its now Kronus Trigger change all the char names slightly and change all the sprites. For example a new hair colour... Then release it and don't even give square any credit.

It's a ROM HACK, they didn't just take the characters and some of the graphics, they took the entire program and worked from that. Even if it wasn't a derivative is a derivative, changing the names and the sprites won't help if the result is still based on the ripped work.

Flying-Emu:

Nimbus:
This is the most subjective article I have ever seen on the escapist, and also the one I disagree with the most.

Most subjective, yes.

I agree with it totally. Why should this company be forced to share their IP with the modding community against their wishes? It's their product; they may do what they wish with it.

Admittedly, it was a dick move on Square's part. However, it's completely within their reign of power, and I would probably have done the same were I in their position.

I agree with the Emu. It's their property, and they have complete authority over it.

Nimbus:
This is the most subjective article I have ever seen on the escapist, and also the one I disagree with the most.

How long have you been reading? It's not only an editorial-driven publication, but this is a column and columns are ALWAYS editorial in nature.

Also, I like this article, particularly that last bit. As much as I agree with everything said, it somehow never crossed my mind that four years is an insanely long time to concentrate solely on making a hacked ROM.

If this was some form of machinima, I think it might be a different story (Then again, it is Square-Enix, so maybe not). The fan-company was working on this game for 4 years though, and if they failed to get Square-Enix's permission to use their property to make another game (why a game, anyways?) then they shouldn't make it or release it. If they do release it, I'm looking forward to Square-Enix taking some hard legal action.

This article is wrong, wrong, wrong. The idea that IP is somehow sacred and must be protected by the owner at all costs is not only false, it is quite recent development in the realm of copyrights. Things were not always perceived this way. Every major creative industry today (movies, music, and software) was built on the backs of piracy. Furthermore, when a company tries to encourage this kind of behavior by giving the fans the tools to tailor the product to their own tastes (Elder Scrolls, Neverwinter Nights) everybody wins.

Sean Sands:
In the end, I simply wonder why the people at Kajar didn't spend four years creating their own project instead of standing on the shoulders of someone else's work.

That's like saying 'gee, I wonder why Aretha Franklin didn't write her own song and just re-recorded Otis Redding's "Respect".'

We've come in the post-Bob Dylan era to fetishize the creation of entirely new works. We've become obsessed with the singer being the songwriter. It doesn't always work like that.

Heck, William Shakespeare's _Romeo and Juliet_ is a rip-off of the myth of Pyramus and Thisbe; James Joyce's Ulysses is...well the title alone says it.

Some people are great at creating things ex nihilo; however, some people are not. By insisting on 'original' everything, we lose many creative voices that are not gifted as inventors, but are gifted as interpreters and mosaic builders.

I feel basically as much sympathy as I would for a wounded lion tamer or NASCAR driver. It's sad that you got bitten in the face or set on fire, but what exactly did you think was going to happen?

Well, I don't think any animal cruelty issues apply here, but, you *don't* feel much sympathy for a NASCAR driver? Why not? Sure it's a risk, but shouldn't we dole out the amount of sympathy based not only on the knowledge of the danger faced, but also on the basis of what the person is trying to achieve?

Either way it's not really relevant because each company gets to interpret for themselves their relationship with their fans, and ultimately they hold all the cards on that decision.

...

The point is that in the end companies don't have to buy into the idea of customers and consumers taking ownership of their products, and in many ways that is the heart of the conflict.

...

None of that gives me license to act on that desire, and if I can't keep my own check on the difference between what I wish were true and what is actually true, then shame on me when my actions have consequences.

If a company wants to invoke that kind of hammer, then fans should treat the company as nothing more than what it is: a collection of investors trying to make a profit. I think companies should be very wary of trying to turn their relationship to their fans into this kind of a cold business calculation.

It's like threatening divorce if your spouse won't do what you say: you're well within your rights, but don't complain if you destroy the relationship if you bring out that kind of Foo-Hammer too often.

Which brings us to my main point: articles like this are irresponsible, and, frankly, disrespectful. Not every company out there wants their fans to have it shoved in their face that the laws of intellectual property for games--as opposed to the laws for, say, music performance--are so iron clad. Articles like this decide there's one and only one way of presenting the case for ownership rights and anyone who wants to make the case in a more diplomatic manner can now enjoy the burden of rectifying the kind of bad feelings articles like this provoke.

Articles like this do nothing to encourage respect for intellectual property. Instead, they encourage us to conjure up an image far worse than "a cliche villain corporation helmed by an old-man with an oxygen tank lounging in an oversized chair petting a cat with one hand and twirling his moustache with the other."

Articles like this encourage us to see video game companies as a faceless, indifferent group of investors to whom the distinction between a corporation which takes actions that are "greedy and a slap in the face to fans" or "a group of artists and professionals who take what they do very seriously" is "not really relevant."

Why is it that the supposed stalwarts of property rights almost always defend those rights by debasing the very notion of property? Why do they almost always portray the owner exercising ownership rights as some kind of mindless half-wit yelling "mine Mine MINE!"

I understand the legality, and lack-there-of, but my only problem is that it was probably going to be really good. In this case, couldn't Square, oh, I don't know, give them, instead of a "cease and desist," a, "Come into talks with us?" kinda thing? What I mean is, they could look at the game, and, if it really is quite as awesome as it sounds like it was going to be, basically say "Alright. You guys walked a fine line, but we really like the game. Finish it up, send it to us, we'll add the polish, and then we'll release it on the DS, XBLA, and PSN."

Seriously, that could have made everyone happy. We would have gotten the game, the people who made it would have gotton it released, and Square would have made money, at little to no cost to themselves. And the people who made it would have to accept whatever bare-bones paycheck they might get from Square as a thank you. Then, they should be hired, assuming they don't have jobs in the industry already.

I disagree with this article in the strongest terms.The author seems to assume that ownership of an idea is some type of God-given right like life or liberty. I just can't buy that.

I suggest we take a step back and look at reasons copyright law exists. My understanding is that copyright law exists to encourage the creation of new content by giving creators a way to profit from their work. Therefore copyright laws should be measured by how well they promote the creation of new content. In this case and the case of most non-profit mods, allowing companies to restrict the new content built upon their IP does not improve the incentive for creation of new content. It does, however prevent the community from adding their ideas and new content to humanity's library of art.

Grampy_bone:
This article is wrong, wrong, wrong. The idea that IP is somehow sacred and must be protected by the owner at all costs is not only false, it is quite recent development in the realm of copyrights. Things were not always perceived this way. Every major creative industry today (movies, music, and software) was built on the backs of piracy. Furthermore, when a company tries to encourage this kind of behavior by giving the fans the tools to tailor the product to their own tastes (Elder Scrolls, Neverwinter Nights) everybody wins.

Mind explaining how the movie music and software industries where built on the backs of priracy?

ES and NN though where built with the modding community in mind though, you still had to buy (or have) the original game. In this case it would be like taking the halo engine and releasing a fan based 2(no halo 1 purchase required). No original purchase and it doesn't fall under the realm of "mod" for your existing game. Would it be right if I took Crysis designed a new lvl using the game engine and pieces, paste in a few new guns and sounds and released it as a separate entity and called it "crysis 2"

sneakypenguin:
Mind explaining how the movie music and software industries where built on the backs of priracy?

For music: http://www.artistshousemusic.org/news/the+tangled+web+of+terrestrial+radio+artist+performance+royalties

puffenstuff:
I disagree with this article in the strongest terms.The author seems to assume that ownership of an idea is some type of God-given right like life or liberty. I just can't buy that.

I can, it's just that the author presents the case for ownership being up there with life and liberty in a horrible manner that seems designed more to piss people off than persuade anyone, which is what a lot of the pro-property rights talk here on The Escapist does.

Think of it this way: what is the natural result of me living my life with liberty? I'm going to wind up creating stuff: the freedom to live and express myself is going to result in creative works. My property is a product of my life+my liberty.

A hell of a lot more sympathetic when it's explained that way, isn't it?

I suggest we take a step back and look at reasons copyright law exists. My understanding is that copyright law exists to encourage the creation of new content by giving creators a way to profit from their work. Therefore copyright laws should be measured by how well they promote the creation of new content.

It's true--that's one reason. The other reason is the property rights so unappealing described by the article and hopefully more well explained by me.

Now, here's the issue that people who talk about property rights never answer: if property is owned by an artificial person like a corporation, then under U.S. law it is owned only for the purposes of financial investment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_v._Ford_Motor_Company

So why do corporations have the same property rights as individuals? Corporations by law do not do anything except for the purpose of profiting of the stockholders, so why should they have property rights that are only of relevance to a human being, when human beings are not just 'for profit biological colonies' or something? In fact, if they *were* to exercise their property rights in a way that is of any relevance to anything *but* profit, they would be violating their duties to their stockholders.

Of course there's a fiscal interest in protecting a brand name; however, if the property rights of people are more than just a consequence of their freedom to have fiscal interests, then there's a huge justification for treating the property of a corporation differently from the property of an individual.

My reaction is:

If the mod team tried to contact Square Enix before, and Square simply didn't respond, SE are have committed a huge dickmove by stopping this at the last possible second.

If the mod team didn't even try, SE have committed a smaller dickmove. And the mod team are a tad stupid.

Basically, I don't see why SE were so afraid of it as to have it nuked - fan made versions of the game could actually increase their overall sales - at the very least, they won't have much/any impact on sales as only internet traveller will find it.

If anything, they might have hurt themselves with this - after all, why not have a bunch of people working for free on a similar thing to you and let them experiment with the formula for free - and then you can easily copy any good things created.

Royas:
If it turns out that SE was aware of this project from the beginning, and didn't send the cease and desist order right away, then they really are the jerks here. Just be cause you have the right to do something, doesn't make it right to do. If they only just became aware of it (say, in the last 6 months to a year), then I'm fine with what they did. But deliberately waiting until near the end of production? That's a cheap move calculated to not just protect their property, but hurt the people (all fans) working on the project. If I were actually a purchaser of any Squenix games (I'm not, I hate JRPG's), I'd have to reconsider any purchases from them in the near future.

SE was aware and told the company they could proceed only if SE could give a cease and desist order at any time. I suppose they wanted to watch them pour their hearts into the game only to destroy it.

Grampy_bone:
This article is wrong, wrong, wrong. The idea that IP is somehow sacred and must be protected by the owner...

Err, what do you think the "P" stands for?

I'll say it again. If Square does not release a new Chrono Trigger game (not a remake of Trigger/Cross) in the foreseeable future (or at least announce one), then what they did to this project is one big dick move.

The problem here is not that the developers of Crimson Echoes did what they did. They acknowledged the fact that Square could shut them down at any time. The problem is that Square waited for four years to do so, after all that time of laboring through a game, that will probably not even benefit the developers monetarily.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
snip

This is the second thread I've come to intent on expressing an opinion, only to have you sum it up much better than I could.

Ugh if you want to take a good look at corporations I think SICKO or farenheit 911 explain it well enough.

personally i still think the devs should keep copies of the game just for the hell of it I mean its four years of hard effort, just to have what can ultimately be surmised as a bully kicking your sandcastle just as you put the flag on top. I mean if SE doesnt even give them a job for this..

sneakypenguin:

Grampy_bone:
This article is wrong, wrong, wrong. The idea that IP is somehow sacred and must be protected by the owner at all costs is not only false, it is quite recent development in the realm of copyrights. Things were not always perceived this way. Every major creative industry today (movies, music, and software) was built on the backs of piracy. Furthermore, when a company tries to encourage this kind of behavior by giving the fans the tools to tailor the product to their own tastes (Elder Scrolls, Neverwinter Nights) everybody wins.

Mind explaining how the movie music and software industries where built on the backs of priracy?

ES and NN though where built with the modding community in mind though, you still had to buy (or have) the original game. In this case it would be like taking the halo engine and releasing a fan based 2(no halo 1 purchase required). No original purchase and it doesn't fall under the realm of "mod" for your existing game. Would it be right if I took Crysis designed a new lvl using the game engine and pieces, paste in a few new guns and sounds and released it as a separate entity and called it "crysis 2"

http://www.free-culture.cc/

The movie industry moved to California to avoid Edison's patent enforcers.

Radio was opposed as piracy. Cassette tapes were opposed as piracy. VCRs were opposed as piracy. Cable TV was opposed as piracy. The Internet is being opposed as piracy. Youtube is being opposed as piracy. Bittorrent is being opposed as piracy. See the trend here?

If someone made a Crysis expansion or sequel using the packed-in Crysis level editor, that would be awesome. You would still need to buy the original game to play it, so the publisher benefits from someone else's creativity. Who is the thief here exactly?

Half-Life was popular because of mods. Thief was popular because of mods (an entire expansion/sequel was released). Elder Scrolls are popular because of mods. These are not bad things. People will always take old stories and creations and build on them to make their own contributions, creating new ways for people to enjoy these works. This has always been the way things are, only very recently has this somehow become *Wrong.* The fact that fans want another Chrono Trigger sequel so bad they are willing to make it themselves should tell Square something. These people should not be punished any more than all the other talented artists out there who have been inspired by other works.

orannis62:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
snip

This is the second thread I've come to intent on expressing an opinion, only to have you sum it up much better than I could.

Heh, I guess I owe you a 'thanks+sorry'

Cheeze_Pavilion:

orannis62:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
snip

This is the second thread I've come to intent on expressing an opinion, only to have you sum it up much better than I could.

Heh, I guess I owe you a 'thanks+sorry'

Not at all. As I said, you summed it up better than I could; if I tried, I would have come across as stupid (as I tend to in the big discussions), so really I should be thanking you.

To set things straight, I am in favor of modding and fan art, but this is definitely a shady area.

Legally most of these "derived works" aren't allowed, but it's funny while "Crimson Echoes" gets a "Cease and Desist" letter and "Half-Baked Snake" sells out.

No wonder Creative Commons works out...it's one of the few reasonable solutions.

Grampy_bone:

Radio was opposed as piracy. Cassette tapes were opposed as piracy. VCRs were opposed as piracy. Cable TV was opposed as piracy. The Internet is being opposed as piracy. Youtube is being opposed as piracy. Bittorrent is being opposed as piracy. See the trend here?

If someone made a Crysis expansion or sequel using the packed-in Crysis level editor, that would be awesome. You would still need to buy the original game to play it, so the publisher benefits from someone else's creativity. Who is the thief here exactly?

but no ones buying the "original" game here though, kinda like taking someones engine without permission. If this was a direct mod of a game requiring the original to play I would have no issue here, but since it's a hack of the game it's ground that Square prolly doesn't wanna go. Allow this then do we let someone make a new game with FF7 code? That's the thing here yes TES HL and such where popular cause of mods, but this IMO doesn't quite fit the definition. This would be like someone taking source and making a fan version of Ep 3 in a few years(for free DL)

Half-Life was popular because of mods. Thief was popular because of mods (an entire expansion/sequel was released). Elder Scrolls are popular because of mods. These are not bad things. People will always take old stories and creations and build on them to make their own contributions, creating new ways for people to enjoy these works. This has always been the way things are, only very recently has this somehow become *Wrong.* The fact that fans want another Chrono Trigger sequel so bad they are willing to make it themselves should tell Square something. These people should not be punished any more than all the other talented artists out there who have been inspired by other works.

Bottom Line: Does Square-Enix make money out of it and protect their property rights? If allowing this fan-made game to be released does not make Square-Enix money or protect their property rights, then the "cease-and-desist" makes perfect sense.

In the case of games like Half-Life, which was popular for its mods, or a game I'm currently playing (Mount & Blade by TaleWorlds) the mods help increase the original company's profits and don't infringe on property rights at all. In those cases, it was fine.

In the case of machinima, such as Red-vs-Blue, when Bungie got wind of it, they turned out to like it. It increased Halo's popularity and it turned out to be a mutually beneficial endeavor. RoosterTeeth wasn't making a new game afterall.

But when a company tries to make a new game using another company's property without their permission... ya, that sounds like stealing to me, and Square-Enix is well within their rights to stop the release.

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