The Last Of Us Faces Another Rip-Off Accusation - UPDATED

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Hmm. It seems hard to make a judgement call on this one without actually knowing how much work he put into the map, and how different it is from the original. If it was me I would have tweeted at them sarcastically saying thanks for using my shit without my permission, but that would have been the end of it.

This article is the reason why I think Amazon's licensed fanfiction idea is so bad. Whether or not I agree with any one side in this particular debate, it nonetheless stands to reason that writers would have no recourse for compensation if a company just ripped off their ideas.

Granted, the likelihood of making a profit off of fanfiction is something reserved for tripe-mongers like Stephanie Myer, but still, the point stands.

IshimaruHayato:
Everyone is in the mood to sue sue sue. Good god its like we cant just let people make money for being creative.

1. Nobody was suing.

2. I really hope you understand the irony of saying that we should just let people make money for being creative when the people in question are ripping off someone else's work.

chozo_hybrid:

EDIT:Sounds like it's been resolved, everybody wins. People make mistakes, but if they own up to them and sort shit out, then it's okay.

I was going to point out it was resolved and both sides apologised, but it appears you know this, so...

Carry on.

Kalezian:

I am currently making a COMPLETELY ORIGINAL, DO NOT STEAL map of the Boston Transit area.

the major change, there is a picture of a Pony on the side of it.

Now, Mr. IP troll, you now owe me money for copying MY work, I will accept no less than $113367832316574684 in Rubles to be paid in cash, or if that is not possible, no less than exactly 5 3/24 of Ponies in the pink or lightish red coloration.

But yea, you cant claim IP over something that you yourself copied, if so, then my demands must be met by no later than February 31st, 2013.

That was either brilliant satire or a gross misrepresentation, and I'm not sure which.

KeyMaster45:
Too bad this Booth fellow fails to mention that his modified transit map heavily rips off the design style of the maps issued by the London Underground.

I would point out that "in the style of" or "reminiscent of" aren't likely to get you anywhere legally, while "taking a work wholesale" which ND did regardless of origin is an actual issue.

kailus13:

Quiotu:
Huh... didn't even think of maps being copyrighted, but apparently it's a big business. Some manufacturers even have copyright traps in their maps, adding towns or points of interest on their maps that don't actually exist to make it easier to tell if the map is theirs or not

I would be so pissed if I went to a town that had an interesting name, only for it to turn out not to exist. Isn't the point of maps to show what's actually there?

Well, if a town didn't exist, they don't have any commerce or any places of interest... so one would ask why are you trying to get there?

My gosh, it's ridiculous how many people on this site think they're suddenly lawyers any time something about intellectual property comes up (note: I'm not talking to those of you who have rightly said that this guy does have a copyright claim).

Just because you've read some articles that mention intellectual property doesn't mean you know the law. The law does not always follow your personal logic, conscience, ethics, beliefs, etc. It's incredibly unproductive when people with no legal education comment as if they are giving a factual account of the law. It's silly, lazy, and, worst of all, it perpetuates that misinformation.

This guy probably has a damn good case (I can't say anything for sure since I, like the rest of you, can't possibly know every fact in the case). First off, those of you saying he merely changed a couple of things on the map should actually compare the original and his map before actually making that assertion. The changes he made were quite significant, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but from a legal one. The changes are sufficient to make it an original work under the law.

For those saying that Naughty Dog might have just made an honest mistake, this is an understandable view, but it's almost completely certain not to be the case. Videogame companies are very well-versed in intellectual property law. A company like Naughty Dog likely has in-house lawyers to work on this stuff (and, even if they don't, it doesn't really matter). They know what can and can't be used without permission, and they know better than to simply do a search on something and then assume they can use it because it turned up on google (heck, even most of the people here know that).

For those saying that this is just a case of some guy trying to "extort" money from someone who is more successful: what's your point? First off, it's not extortion. Let's just get that straight. This guy created an original work, and somebody else used it without permission or payment. That is illegal, no matter who you are. To design the map themselves would have taken labor and time, which costs what? It costs MONEY. They avoided paying that money by using his work; therefore, the money should go to him, as he did work for them that otherwise would have to be done by actual paid employees. Just because ND has a successful game out does not in any way mean that they get to do what they want when it comes to the law. Could you imagine what kind of world this would be if your philosophy was actually the prevailing wisdom?

Finally, for those who say it's just a small part of the game: again, what's your point? So, if someone steals your work, but uses it as just a small part of a larger work, that's ok? Just because it's a small part of something larger means that they shouldn't ask for your permission or pay you for the work you did, which they would otherwise have to pay to someone else to use their work?

As the facts stand before us right now, ND stole from this guy. It's as simple as that. Nothing else matters. Not your personal beliefs, not the work's significance in the whole of the game, not whether the work was based on a different map, not whether you believe certain things about the law that aren't true.

EDIT: and, of course, I would be remiss not to add one more comment about the sad, cruel irony of people defending a videogame company stealing intellectual property from some single graphic designer in MA.

EDIT 2: considering the effects the gaming community has had on both EA's policies (their recent decision to back away from insisting on online passes) and Microsoft's next console, people should really be happy that they have more of a voice than they thought and that they might sometimes actually be able to change the predatory practices of these huge videogame companies. Instead of defending ND with fallacies and faulty legal reasoning, people should stand against game companies appropriating the works of others to fill out their games instead of paying someone to do that work or paying to obtain work that has already been done. Remember, one day you might be trying to live off your own creativity, only to find that someone is stealing your work for their own uses, AND the projects in which they're used end up making a ton of money. You won't feel so good about it then.

I'm sorry I thought maps where a resource we could all use.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Maybe it showed up in Google Images and they thought it was free source.

Considering allot of transit maps look like that, I think this is most likely the case. When I first saw the image, I almost thought is was the Sydney City rail network.

Edit: To clarify, I haven't played the game. I'm referring to the twitter image.

image

to be honest when i first saw the trailer for "last of us" i thought it was suppose to be ellen page for sure. Then i saw the trailer for "beyond two souls" and was like she is voice acting in both games!?
just assumed she was getting heavy into gaming. had no idea "last of us" character wasn't meant to be based off her.

Ghadente:
to be honest when i first saw the trailer for "last of us" i thought it was suppose to be ellen page for sure. Then i saw the trailer for "beyond two souls" and was like she is voice acting in both games!?
just assumed she was getting heavy into gaming. had no idea "last of us" character wasn't meant to be based off her.

Haha I had the same experience! Though I think that it's very unlikely they appropriated her likeness (what's really to be gained from that anyway? It's not like they advertised her being in the game, so the chances of them having sold even a single unit based on someone thinking that she was in the game is almost zero, so why even take such a chance?), it definitely looked like her. Still, that was a good line about how she doesn't hold the rights to being a 4'9 brunette.

Quiotu:
Huh... didn't even think of maps being copyrighted, but apparently it's a big business. Some manufacturers even have copyright traps in their maps, adding towns or points of interest on their maps that don't actually exist to make it easier to tell if the map is theirs or not.

But here's the trick in this case. Sounds like this guy didn't publish or distribute the map they used, he just did it for S&Gs to show what was wrong. Naughty Dog basically found a way to use a non-copyright map, which is pretty rare, and now this guy doesn't have a leg to stand on in the conversation. Posting an edited map on your blog doesn't make it copyrighted.

Sure it's a bit conniving on Naughty Dog's end, but this guy isn't a victim either. Hell, he just got free publicity for a map edit he's received ZERO money for... past, present and future. Take the publicity and shut up, dude.

Actually anything created is automatically covered under copyright. If I take a photo I own the copyright, if I draw a picture its covered and if I make a fictional map based off a real location it is also covered. He created a map to show how he thinks the network needs changing, if thats his map then yes it is legally a breach of copyright to use it.

I thought Ellen Page's rip-off comment was just a poor choice of words. It seens kind of small compared to the accusations that this guy is throwing about. I can make improvements to Mickey Mouse's apperance that doesn't mean I own Mickey Mouse. Shouldn't it fall under fair use?

Does it strike anybody else that he's accusing naughty dogs of doing to him what he did to the boston government? It's like a theif reporting a watch of his getting stolen, and when they ask how much the watch cost him and where he got it, tells them "ten minutes and a lock pick down at a jewelry shop."

EDIT:

ObsidianJones:

kailus13:

Quiotu:
Huh... didn't even think of maps being copyrighted, but apparently it's a big business. Some manufacturers even have copyright traps in their maps, adding towns or points of interest on their maps that don't actually exist to make it easier to tell if the map is theirs or not

I would be so pissed if I went to a town that had an interesting name, only for it to turn out not to exist. Isn't the point of maps to show what's actually there?

Well, if a town didn't exist, they don't have any commerce or any places of interest... so one would ask why are you trying to get there?

Read Paper Towns to discover one potential reason

While I suppose it is true that seeing as how he did technically create the design and changed a few routes, I can't help but wonder how far we can push copyright. Since when have maps of areas been copyright protected? Like, come on, next thing you know basic shapes will be copyright protected.

The Lugz:
Honestly, the entire game screams 'CashCow'

so frankly the fact they're too cheap to pay someone 5 to draw a metro lines poster art is no surprise to me.

Your right it is a Cash cow. They made a really good game and made a lot of money.

Deshara:
Does it strike anybody else that he's accusing naughty dogs of doing to him what he did to the boston government? It's like a theif reporting a watch of his getting stolen, and when they ask how much the watch cost him and where he got it, tells them "ten minutes and a lock pick down at a jewelry shop."

Well the status of the original map is unknown as far as I know; it could be public domain or it could be copyrighted. Even if it was and his new design of the map was considered "stealing," (though I highly doubt redesigning something to that extent counts as stealing), he did nothing illegal unless he tried to make a profit off of it.

Naughty Dog, on the other hand, just took his copyrighted design and just put gritty filter over it, which definitely isn't enough to avoid violating his copyright. Even so, it's nice to see that, once their mistake was pointed out to them (or once legal action became a legitimate concern), that Naughty Dog owned up to it and are talking to the guy.

bug_of_war:
While I suppose it is true that seeing as how he did technically create the design and changed a few routes, I can't help but wonder how far we can push copyright. Since when have maps of areas been copyright protected? Like, come on, next thing you know basic shapes will be copyright protected.

Too late, Apple already has a patent on rounded rectangles.

No, really.

I'm just sick and tired of intellectual property law on the whole. It's getting to where I don't care whether it's a little guy or a big corporation, I have no sympathy for anyone trying to make a claim under that branch of the law. It's supposed to spur creativity[1], and instead it stifles it. I can't understand how anyone would support something like that.

[1] Yes, that is what it's about. It's not supposed to reimburse the creator, it's supposed to encourage people to create by allowing them to be reimbursed. What it's doing instead is preventing people from creating new things, because someone somewhere owns the rights to every idea past, present, and future. Or at least they do if you ask the lawyers.

Quiotu:
Huh... didn't even think of maps being copyrighted, but apparently it's a big business. Some manufacturers even have copyright traps in their maps, adding towns or points of interest on their maps that don't actually exist to make it easier to tell if the map is theirs or not.

But here's the trick in this case. Sounds like this guy didn't publish or distribute the map they used, he just did it for S&Gs to show what was wrong. Naughty Dog basically found a way to use a non-copyright map, which is pretty rare, and now this guy doesn't have a leg to stand on in the conversation. Posting an edited map on your blog doesn't make it copyrighted.

Sure it's a bit conniving on Naughty Dog's end, but this guy isn't a victim either. Hell, he just got free publicity for a map edit he's received ZERO money for... past, present and future. Take the publicity and shut up, dude.

Copyright is something you opt-out of owning, not opt-in. So long as he can prove himself to be the original maker then he legally owns the copyright. The only reason you would file any of this with the government is to prove the date of your creation of the work and to make your ownership better known as copyrights filed with the government can be easily searched to avoid all this kind of crap in the first place therefore it also puts a limit on the damages he could sue for, if he was even suing. The only way an image you make would be public domain is if the work is explicitly labelled as being public domain. Therefore he does have a leg to stand on in the conversation.

This conversation played out so many times in the case of Christopher Torres/Charles Schmidt vs Warner Bros for their inclusion of Nyan Cat/Keyboard Cat in the Scribblenauts series. It's giving me flashbacks so bad. So instead let's all focus on the pun in a title like "The Last Of Us Faces Another Rip-Off Accusation" when the first accusation was of the last of us doing an actual rip-off of another's face.

Wow... Now I know why people make fantasy worlds instead using more real places. Also why is Ellen Page getting all pissy if Ellie looks like her? Anna Paquin looks like Lisa from the original 98 Silent Hill game cutscenes and she's never said anything about that. Celebrities are nuts.

As an artist who posts their work online all the time I completely understand this guys fury. It is one thing for your work to just be online but for someone else to use it without your consent in a commercial product is absolutely not ok. If ND had contacted him, paid him a small amount to get permission to use his work that would be fine, any artist would say cool awesome thanks to that. But they didn't, so he has every right to demand compensation for this.

The maker of an unofficial Boston transit map.

There.

unofficial

His claim is invalid.

Well, you know...

Maybe Cameron Booth should be paying the people who actually designed the Boston transit system.

The Boston transit layout isn't his intellectual property.

IshimaruHayato:
Everyone is in the mood to sue sue sue. Good god its like we cant just let people make money for being creative.

Yeah Good God it's like people aren't respecting an artist enough to PAY HIM for the use of his artwork.

K84:
The maker of an unofficial Boston transit map.

There.

unofficial

His claim is invalid.

No, you don't need to stick the word 'official' onto something to own its intellectual property.

Anyways, like a few have already said, I'm quite astounded by how many people are backing ND. They are a massive multi-million dollar corporation, there is no way they just accidentally stumbled across this in a google search and innocently stuck it in their game. They did this knowing full well that they were stealing from someone and it's fantastic that they are getting called on it.

Sarge034:
I need to see the legality of this guy's rip off of the MBTA map first and then I need to see his legal rights to this image. Until then I am neutral.

I didn't research it, how it is with the MBTA, but when it is an organization of the state, their maps are public domain.

Deshara:
Does it strike anybody else that he's accusing naughty dogs of doing to him what he did to the boston government? It's like a theif reporting a watch of his getting stolen, and when they ask how much the watch cost him and where he got it, tells them "ten minutes and a lock pick down at a jewelry shop."

If something is "copyrighted" by the goverment, it's public domain.

I would have confused Booth's map as public domain as well considering it had a link to www.MBTA.com

s_h_a_d_o:

Bix96:
As much as I would love to back somebody using the same tactics that big businesses use to screw over your average joe this guy comes off as a massive dick just trying to money grub it reminds me of that guy that tried to sue Rockstar Games cause he looked kinda like CJ from San Andreas

We're talking about the theft of someone's livelihood here, not a passing resemblance to an intangible quality.

More power to him.

Except the map wasn't his livelihood. it was made as part of a hobby. And as others have pointed out, he used the logo of the MBTA... meaning he violated copyright in his creation of the map in the first place.

The guy created something based on a real place that was used in a commercial property without his permission. Arguing it's based on a real place, based off another design, or unofficial is irrelevant. Like saying you need to pay the city of New York for selling a painting of Central Park. The guy must have been jumping around when he realised he won the copyrighting sweepstakes. Kick up a fuss and get an out of court settlement. I doubt he could give a shit about the copyright until he sniffed a profit. Hell I bet if they only obtained his permission on day 1 he would be tweeting like hell and putting Naughty dog on his design portfolio. This way he gets a nice bit of dough and a credit for additional material. Not a bad win for this guy.

Edit: As for him using the transit logo. That's between him and the transit authority now. And I am sure they have much better things to do than fight pointless tiny copyright infringements.

With all due respect, nice as the map may be, it is a map of train stations. While I realise they are still infringing on intellectual property, and it definitely should have been cited and the author credited, is it being that map and not any one of the billion freely available state transit maps important?

uro vii:

K84:
The maker of an unofficial Boston transit map.

There.

unofficial

His claim is invalid.

No, you don't need to stick the word 'official' onto something to own its intellectual property.

Anyways, like a few have already said, I'm quite astounded by how many people are backing ND. They are a massive multi-million dollar corporation, there is no way they just accidentally stumbled across this in a google search and innocently stuck it in their game. They did this knowing full well that they were stealing from someone and it's fantastic that they are getting called on it.

It's a hobby made rendition of a subway map.
More like some weird kind of fanart actually.
Is that intellectual property nowadays, really?

Clovus:
Actually, it does. Copyright is granted to whoever created something in the US. You might be able to claim that the creation was derivitive or something, but, barring that, he has a copyright on the image. You do not have to distribute or even regsiter a work to have it protected by copyright. Not registering it will decrease the types of damage you could sue for.

Very much this. Anything is copyright as soon as it is created. The question in this case is not whether the map was copyright or not, but simply whether this guy changed enough for it to be considered his work or if copyright would remain with whoever made the original. However, there is another important point to consider:

Andy Chalk:
"Naughty Dog seems to have known that they couldn't use the official map without paying a hefty license fee"

How exactly does he know this? I rather doubt Naughty Dog have published all the information about what they've licensed and from who. It's entirely possible that they actually have paid that hefty license fee and thought they were using the official map. Given that he hasn't actually changed much and left all the logos and such in place, that would be a very easy mistake to make.

FalloutJack:
Hey, Hollywood! Quit stealing ideas directly from my brain that go into your movies! You don't even have the imagination to use them properly! GIMME MONEY!!

Hmmm...nope, doesn't work. Sorry.

Except that's not what this is.

It's taking someone else's work, not just ideas.

K84:

It's a hobby made rendition of a subway map.
More like some weird kind of fanart actually.
Is that intellectual property nowadays, really?

Whether he made it as a hobby or not doesn't matter.

And how is using copyrighted characters comparable to using the likeness of an actual place?

Taking other people's work to make money?
Not cool.
(But I'm sure Naughty Dog, or rather the publishers of the game would be fine if I took assets from the game to make money, right?)

Legion:
Now that they know it is his, I agree they should respond, but to be honest depending on how they discovered it I can't see it being difficult to not realise that it was made by a graphic designer...

Uh, how else would maps be made? They don't just magically spring into existence, someone has to design them.

Clearing images is common and routine practice in TV and Films and i imagine should be in high profile AAA games. Someone here has not done their job. Yes it's not going to make or break the game but they did use an asset without permission, even if the owner himself may have trouble arguing he should make money off a slightly modified official map. I imagine whoever holds the license to the original map might have something to say about it ("Derivative works" and all that) ,if the issue wasn't so trivial.

It's a bit Naughty of them (hyuk hyuk) but its kind of trivial really. I don't imagine it's worth getting an IP lawyer and picking holes in his claim to ownership. Just pay him a small fee and move on.

Seracen:

Granted, the likelihood of making a profit off of fanfiction is something reserved for tripe-mongers like Stephanie Myer, but still, the point stands.

I'd like to point out, that no matter what you think of Meyers' writing talent, it was E. L. James who made money off stuff based on Meyer's work.

IshimaruHayato:
Everyone is in the mood to sue sue sue. Good god its like we cant just let people make money for being creative.

Um, you do realise that's what this is about, right?
Naughty Dog, instead of creating art-assets themselves, or paying for them, took someone else's work.
And the guy wants to be paid for his creation.

Therumancer:
At the end of the day you can't copyright an image of Boston's streets or whatever.

Why not?

It's certainly possible to do so. You could copyright a photograph, a satellite image, or a drawn map of Boston streets. What law are you referring to that prevents this?

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