Jimquisition: Lawsuits, Memes, and Tasty Medicine

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Raioken18:
I'm actually going to side with Warner Bros on this one, especially when it comes to what is essentially an easter egg. As long as it's not main content then I don't see why it should be a problem. Take World of Warcraft for instance, the bulk of the main content is the nature of the Alliance vs the Horde and their "original" storyline, but there are a bunch of sidequests which reference other games and tv shows. The first that came to mind was the Linken quest, which I just looked up and it no longer exists, but never fear there are still plenty of other references. Then there's games like Borderlands 2 that have references as well, like the 4 mutants who live in a sewer and eat pizza (TMNT) etc etc.

There's a difference between having Nyan Cat in a game and having parodied Ninja Turtles in a game. There is a difference between having the actual item and a reference.

I don't know about the specific quests, but if it was actually referential, that's not a problem. Nobody's saying it is.

wolfyrik:
As a reviewer and journalist, surely you should have some protection, especially given your location? Have things gotten so bad?

\

Reviewers and journalists don't get much protection from the DMCA. The DMCA largely supercedes fair use, though it hasn't been challenged on those grounds. Also, as Jim lives in MO, I don't know what his location has to do with anything. However, even if he were British, it would block off a large body of viewers.

Jman1236:
Nice to see supporters of SOPA getting there just desserts.

Not to mention people who use the DMCA at the drop of a hat. A LOT of people complain about WB filing DMCA complaints even when they don't own the material.

Might want to watch your step, this thread is full of slippery slopes. Apparently if we allow someone to get credit for something they created we now have to make sure to never reference anything ever.

I would prefer falling back onto the old "If you make money or gain services off of someone else's creation you have to credit/pay them as the person or the laws see fit. If you don't, then reference away." I'm not sure what's so difficult or distasteful with the idea of asking someone before stealing their ideas and claiming them as your own.

I love 5th Cell and Scribblenauts. They're some of my favorite games. It's a shame they're getting hit with this. I don't really agree that they're "getting what they deserve" by using Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat in their games. It was an amazing experience to find in-jokes like that in a random DS game. As for the snubbing, it seems like they didn't think that the creators understood how the memes worked- after all, many other sources of media use pop-culture references and don't sued. I hope the lawsuit doesn't go through, I want to see more Scribblenauts.

Jimothy Sterling:

DVS BSTrD:
Except for the fact that the game was released BEFORE the copywrite was even filed.

According to the creators, the legal blog that initially reported this suit got all the dates wrong.

And the creators of the monster are under attack as well. Good,I say! I think Jon Stewart said it best: "You can't say "Release the Kracken" and then claim to be the victim."

And while the entire world squabbles over a few unimaginative ideas, no one cares that we as a race are culturally devolving into mainstream shit that leaves no room for new content.

This is the reason we're still rebooting content that was interesting and groundbreaking, like Star Wars, and we're seeing very little new content that's anywhere near as interesting.

You just know when stuff like Wolfenstein gets yet another release, people stop bothering being creative and taking a risk.

Actually S2 recieved permission to use nyan cat from the author for monetary gain before they used it.

personion:
I love 5th Cell and Scribblenauts. They're some of my favorite games. It's a shame they're getting hit with this. I don't really agree that they're "getting what they deserve" by using Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat in their games. It was an amazing experience to find in-jokes like that in a random DS game. As for the snubbing, it seems like they didn't think that the creators understood how the memes worked- after all, many other sources of media use pop-culture references and don't sued. I hope the lawsuit doesn't go through, I want to see more Scribblenauts.

This is not a pop-culture reference. If you typed in 'nyan cat' and the game just made the nyan-nyan sound bit from the video or made a rainbow pass quickly through the far background where you wouldn't have able to see the cat; that is a pop-culture reference. What actually happens when you type 'nyan cat' is that game pops out the nyan cat's likeness. You've typed in a copyrighted character's name and got said copyrighted character. If this game was produced by another company, you typed in Sam Winchester and then got Jared Padalecki's likeness; it would be a safe bet to say that Warner Bros would be quick to do the same if not worse.

DVS BSTrD:
Except for the fact that the game was released BEFORE the copywrite was even filed.

Under copyright law the copyright exists from proven date of creation (not hard with memes,) not date of filing.

CrazyCapnMorgan:

Upon further thought, would "bait and switch" also be applicable in the lawsuit against SEGA and Gearbox? It seems to me it would, unless that is included in the false advertisement. In which case, I'll shut up about the whole damned thing.

Bait and Switch is more or less a specific case of false advertisement. The idea is that you lure customers in with a low price model that you don't have in stock and then try and push upon them a different model (often of a higher price). In this case, Pitchford and Co were still insisting it was the same product.

I'm not a legal EXPERT, I must say, but based on my understanding of the laws I'm pretty sure this wouldn't count.

I do want to see this play out, one way or the other.

I think the video of that real-life 'Forever Alone' guy is amazing! Where can I find that? Google doesn't come up with that video when I search.

I'm pretty much in agreement with Jim, if only because WB would and have done similar things. You shouldn't complain about getting kicked in the shins when you do it as well. Also maybe if enough of this type of thing keeps happening someone will take a long hard look at copyright law, but that's just wishful thinking.

I'd like to personally address the people who think that it's 'hypocritical' of Jim to think that it's fair for WB to get smacked by copyright laws when he complains about publishers sitting on IP or pulling out the banhammer on 'offending' youtube videos because of the same laws:

Guys, there's nothing wrong with making a piece of work and expecting to get credit for it. Anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together would agree. The problem is that copyright laws as they rife for abuse and allow copyright holders to completely screw over people for minor infringements such as fan tributes or charity works. If Nintendo sued WB for using it's characters in Scribblenauts without permission, there would be absolutely no debate: Everyone would agree it was stupid of WB to use said characters offering money or at the very least asking, plus I very much doubt that they would ignore an angry letter from Nintendo saying "Give us our due, you thief" (yes I know they were licensed out, I'm not an idiot). And yet here we are in exactly the same circumstances, except for the fact that the copyright holders aren't massive companies (and also that the characters were only licensed just before the third game if I'm not wrong).

We don't hate copyright owners as a rule. We don't have a problem if WB gets mad when people put Bugs Bunny as a feature (rather than a reference) in their pay-to-play game or uses him to advertise said game, and we would fully respect their rights to sue. We understand WB's concerns with piracy and we don't mind legitimate threats being warned and/or taken down. What we DON'T like is when companies ban Youtube accounts because of fan-tribute videos (or even game reviews featuring game footage or even TRAILERS for the game, god forbid), threaten to sue men who craft copyrighted character costumes to wear at Cancer charity events (Nickelodeon threatened an NZ man for making a SpongeBob SquarePants suit from raw materials and attending a charity parade, even though owners of dozens of other characters featuring in the parade didn't mind) or using automated software to threaten anything that so much slightly resembles the TITLE of one of their films. Those acts of douche-baggery simply cannot be compared to what is undeniably stealing something and using it to promote your own paid software without so much as any sort of recognition.

Oh, but Nyan Cat and Piano Cat surely aren't making them any money or influencing any sales? THEY'RE IN THE FREAKING ADVERTISEMENTS. LOOK IT UP.

You are allowed to copyright something, gain profit off it and expect to be the only one gaining profit off it. We're fine with that. We just don't want you to be a dick about it.

Orekoya:

personion:
I love 5th Cell and Scribblenauts. They're some of my favorite games. It's a shame they're getting hit with this. I don't really agree that they're "getting what they deserve" by using Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat in their games. It was an amazing experience to find in-jokes like that in a random DS game. As for the snubbing, it seems like they didn't think that the creators understood how the memes worked- after all, many other sources of media use pop-culture references and don't sued. I hope the lawsuit doesn't go through, I want to see more Scribblenauts.

This is not a pop-culture reference. If you typed in 'nyan cat' and the game just made the nyan-nyan sound bit from the video or made a rainbow pass quickly through the far background where you wouldn't have able to see the cat; that is a pop-culture reference. What actually happens when you type 'nyan cat' is that game pops out the nyan cat's likeness. You've typed in a copyrighted character's name and got said copyrighted character. If this game was produced by another company, you typed in Sam Winchester and then got Jared Padalecki's likeness; it would be a safe bet to say that Warner Bros would be quick to do the same if not worse.

What he said. Claiming something is a reference and not a feature because the developers 'used their own art style to create their version' is ridiculous. Because stealing/failing to give credit for someone else's work/creation is only wrong when you copy it pixel for pixel, right?

Jimothy Sterling:
This is not to say, however, that my show is free of licensed material. Hell, SEGA has actually blocked some of my episodes from YouTube for using footage from its trailers, of all things. I don't like it, but this lawsuit wouldn't set any new sort of precedent, just turn around the existing ones on those who set them in the first place.

SEGA has been going crazy with copyrights lately. It is making me lose respect for them.

Which is sad because it seems they are finally getting back on track. Sonic Generations, Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing games, NiGHTs into dreams... lots of re-releases of classic games. They put up not only NiGHTs into dreams on Steam, XBOX, and PlayStation 3, but also Jet Set Radio, Sonic CD, Sonic Adventure, and lots of other stuff. They're polling fans abroad to see if they would like the Hatsune Miku games. And there's even talk of another Shenmue game.

But this stuff isn't doing them any favors. Heck, I've heard they've gone viciously after anything and everything Shining Force related. SEGA needs to stop this.

Enough is enough. We have to stand up to the Copyright Gestapo or they will nickel-and-dime us to death while crushing all creativity.

Well...
The day I saw "It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time" in Family Guy, with the dog Brian dressed up as a giant Banana, I laughed a lot ; and I was so happy to be surprised by the presence of internet meme, internet culture, on this show ! This was like a "private joke" between the scenarists and me.

But what's if now, everyone fears of using internet references ?

This is the best way to kill this popular culture... If the creators of Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat win... well... good for them... but they will be the only winners... everyone else, us included, will lose. I will wait before opening the Champagne...

DVS BSTrD:
Except for the fact that the game was released BEFORE the copywrite was even filed.

Copyrights are automatically granted on creation.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Whether I'm on the side of the meme creators depends on what their intentions are.

If they're doing this because they believe it's their right and they're entitled to the fruits of this extortion, then I'm not on their side.

If they're doing it to give this publisher a taste of it's own medicine, then I'm a fan for life :D

So a friend of mine was just watching this video, and he says he recognizes that pink-snouted critter standing in front of the gold bars that Mr. Sterling likes to use to represent avarice (EDIT: in this specific video, he appears at 1:36-1:38). He says it belongs to some old cartoon about aliens kidnapping Santa, but he can't remember its name. Does anyone know what he's talking about?

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