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Parmandilion
10 June 2003, 01:54 PM
Lucasfilm has started a new offensive as of Monday. LFL has, in a sudden oppressive move, started a full assault on the garage markets (Replica Props and other boards; Small press publishers such as Lone Jawa Productions and Black Mountain Press; and garage model kit manufacturers the world over; etcetera), especially those of the RPF (http://rpf.prop-planet.com/index.php), ASAP (http://pub23.ezboard.com/bpropreplicas), T4BB (now defunct), and other such boards. Twenty-seven members of these various boards have had their eBay auctions cancelled, 18 members have been charged with criminal conduct of varying degrees, 2 have had their property seized and are facing jail time, and 143 have been given C&D's, plus many others I do not know about I am sure; all since 12:00 AM Monday, June 9th, 2003. Apparantly, it is now clear that LFL has not been turning a blind eye or was otherwise unaware afterall, but was rather waiting, drawing information and power, for such a strike.

This has caused an intense upsurging of anger and vengeance among these groups (both the sellers and buyers of such products). Even those who are not making any money have been hit. This is forcing many of the people involved into hiding out of fear, but others are openly calling for blood. Lucasfilm is trying to squash everything and everyone and bring all under its whim.

"The tighter you squeeze, the more systems will slip through your fingers"
- Princess Leia - A New Hope

Corresponding from the front lines,
Parmandilion - over and out

Jedi_Staailis
10 June 2003, 02:18 PM
I hate to disagree on this, but LFL is perfectly justified. These groups are taking copyright Star Wars material and attempting to make a profit off of it. LFL has already negotiated an agreement with Master Replicas to provide such products under an official license. LFL's actions are both legal and reasonable, in my opinion.

Faraer
10 June 2003, 04:15 PM
What is the moral argument supposed to be that this intellectual property violation is OK?

Tramp
10 June 2003, 05:28 PM
Originally posted by Jedi_Staailis
I hate to disagree on this, but LFL is perfectly justified. These groups are taking copyright Star Wars material and attempting to make a profit off of it. LFL has already negotiated an agreement with Master Replicas to provide such products under an official license. LFL's actions are both legal and reasonable, in my opinion.

I agree with Jedi Staailis on this. As an Illustrator, and Graphic Designer, as well as aspiring Cartoonist, I would not want my intellectual property used for someone elses profit either, not unless he had my written permission in a signed contract and I received proper compensation for such use.
it's one thing to do custom work for your own use, or write fan-fictions for the free enjoyment of fans, but to make a profit off of it without the permission of the owner of the copyrights, is totally unacceptable.

Darth_Cassed
10 June 2003, 06:50 PM
I am forced to agree with my comrades. what LFL was perfectly legal and what should be done. had it not been for them the material wouldnt exist in the first place. Plagiarism is not acceptable.

Ubiqtorate
10 June 2003, 09:57 PM
Another vote in favor here, I'm afraid. Everything Lucasfilm did was well within its legal rights. I'm not saying that there's no place for the kind of home-brew stuff these people were doing, but they should have made sure they did it under Lucasfilm's legal umbrella. Lucasfilm has been more than generous in licensing its materials to all sorts of companies... for a healthy cut of the profits, of course.

Korpil
11 June 2003, 04:01 AM
A friend of a friend of mine does this great papier maché Star Wars maquettes, I had one for one of my birthdays (I'll post the picture soon), and he agrees that he can't sell them! He does it for the fun, not the profit!

Nova Spice
11 June 2003, 02:44 PM
As a writer of whim, I have to agree with the notion brought forth by Staailis; LFL is very justified in its actions. Breaking copyright laws and making a profit off of it is not part of the free enterprise system, it's flat out stealing.

I have no sympathy for those that have been "dealt with." Stealing is a crime and when committing a crime, you have to pay the price.

Parmandilion
11 June 2003, 03:03 PM
I am afraid you are missing one of the underlying points my friends. As I stated, LFL is also going after those who are not selling, those who are just making things for non-profit purposes.

The people I mention, the garage industries especially, have been quite often the first line of defense for the fans. LFLegal has always been so tied up with them, that they have not been able to strike deeper. This turn of events shows a weakening in the lines. Furthermore, it all boils down to the argument "if they made what we wanted, of reasonable quality and price, there would be no garage industry."

So in conclusion, I mention this not for your approval of the practice, but for when LFLegal shows up on your doorstep, and screws you over for making things even for your own personal non-profit enjoyment. You cannot blind yourself to the coming storm just because it is coming from a front you do not agree with. I just want to warn you and spread awareness, so you can be informed and ready.

Nova Spice
11 June 2003, 03:35 PM
I am afraid you are missing one of the underlying points my friends. As I stated, LFL is also going after those who are not selling, those who are just making things for non-profit purposes.

If people are making products that are exactly alike to those made by LFL companies and then displaying them, that is still copyright infringement.


This turn of events shows a weakening in the lines. Furthermore, it all boils down to the argument "if they made what we wanted, of reasonable quality and price, there would be no garage industry."

This doesn't justify a garage industry. If LFL does not make products you like, don't buy them. Simple. Going out and running a black market business off their merchandise because you disagree with the price is a felony and should be punished. Again, this is still a crime.


So in conclusion, I mention this not for your approval of the practice, but for when LFLegal shows up on your doorstep, and screws you over for making things even for your own personal non-profit enjoyment. You cannot blind yourself to the coming storm just because it is coming from a front you do not agree with. I just want to warn you and spread awareness, so you can be informed and ready.

And why would LFL show up on my doorstep when I don't black-market their products? Scare tactics and "apocalyptic" warnings will not make your case any stronger. LFL cannot walk into anyone's home without a warrant, and they won't. We are entitled to Second Ammendment rights and there are people (myself included should I be forced) that will exercise that right.

I'm not blind to anything; my eyes are wide open when it comes to civil liberties. Creating black-market products is not free enterprise, it is illegal and should be prosecuted. Believe me, I believe in small government and small business entrepreneurial spirit over corporate conglomerates any day of the week; you're talking to a very Conservative Republican here. ;)

But I'm also aware that big corporations have exclusive rights to their products, and LFL has the right to round up those that are breaking copyright laws on their products. This policy protects free enterprise and ensures no one else can cheat off your ideas and your products.

Note: If there is a coming storm, it's al-Qaeda, not LFL. ;)

FVBonura
11 June 2003, 04:55 PM
Hey guys Parmandilion is just giving "us" a heads up. He isn't telling you how to think. Go easy on him. I for one consider his warnings worth investigating. If he is right, my website is in jeopardy of being shut down, so I'm going to check it out.

I think George should spend less time hunting down illegal prop builders and spend more time building better props to sell, and putting the Classic trilogy on DVD to boot. Sounds more like jealousy and feelings of inferiority, than a crack down. I guess the prop builders embarrassed George into action.

Going after the little guy is the first sign all is not well with LFL. I see this as a symptom of a far greater problem internal to LFL. It is very common for a large failing company to legally attack its smaller competitors in times of financial difficulty. :thrawn: :noghri:

Jaggard
12 June 2003, 04:41 AM
Bah!
1) if you make an item for your own pleasure, how is he going to know you have it? Duh. If you define building duplicates of existing products and useing them as displays to draw crouds as your own pleasure then you missed something. The kid who builds a lego cantina scene for his own amusement isn't gonna have to face down real storm troopers for his right to do it. The thirty year old man who build a replica lightsaber 'based' on the prop replics and uses them as display items in a store window is useing copyrighted materials for self promotion without regard for proper procedures and if he takes it further and sells it or even just raffles it, is conning consumers.
2) Lucas isn't cracking down because the bussiness is in trouble. He make money now but after episode three is done and over the sales of these items are all the Star Wars franchise has left really. He invested decades and money into these ideas that the world has embraced, and he markets it up the wazzu (like a certain boy wizard). He making a profit off of what is his (shame on him :rolleyes: ) and isn't too pleased with knock offs and pretenders cutting in on his efforts to boost themselves. It would be like that dork at work who gets a promotion for claiming to have done your work. It's obnoxious at best and fraud and conning people at worst (actually there are probably worse levels this could be taken too but...).

You can huff and puff and it still won't make, what isn't yours, yours. There is a local store that sells exclusively Star Wars things. He buys from licensed sellers and has no trouble. Because everthing he does is on the up and up. Lucas may own the franchise but others have to sell items for him. If you do it for him and not for yourself there should be no problems.

Tramp
12 June 2003, 07:39 AM
One caviat to what Jaggard said: there is nothing wrong with displaying your own original creations based on Star Wars, or any other licensed property as long as you put proper disclaimers in the work,and you aren't trying to make money off of it. It is when you make a direct copy of an exsisting work and try to pass it off as your own and try to sell it that you get into trouble. Which is what these people have done. They've tried to make a profit off of Star Wars knock-offs, without even so much as aknowledging in a disclaimer, the ownership of the intellectual property by LFL.

Albert_Rally
12 June 2003, 08:01 AM
Well this yet again boils even further down to some vital concepts. 1. money 2. people wanting more (be it the LFL or you the fans)(I mean I can't afford a life-sized Vader) 3. the freedoms of this contry be a bind instead of a springboard.

I honestly am against bunk merchandise. I also am sick of the offical licencers putting out crap the even babies hate. I mean a middle group is to be had. I think if more "garage companies" started a pitch and did a test for market demand on their budget then LFL may go on with an aggreement of sorts. I mean if they let someone kill Chewie in a book and Fett lives when Lucas killed him off then obviously they love the money more. You stop costing and start making then you are on their side. Look at Napster the guy got offered like hundreds of jobs because he was doing something that met a demand. Where he lost out was not knowing the lines. There is a moral line no matter how much the like something you can't go stealing it. And for that matter making money off of it is two wrongs. It may be harder but I am sure that less legal problems are had when yougo through the proper legal means to accomplish things. Besides the prices go up every time you besmerch the LFL's companies. They have to charge for the name they offically own to use. I still say if you don't want Ford to sue you don't make a mustang in you garage and sell it on ebay. If you are going to make things don't do it in eyes of the ones who would catch you. So in closing don't do and you don't get caught. The heads up is a appreciated though.

Nova Spice
12 June 2003, 02:05 PM
3. the freedoms of this contry be a bind instead of a springboard.

Mind explaining this one? I fail to see how freedom can be binding?


I honestly am against bunk merchandise. I also am sick of the offical licencers putting out crap the even babies hate.

Well, like I said in my previous post, if you do not like the merchandise, don't buy it. This doesn't excuse illegal black-marketing. You have the freedom to not buy what you don't like. And if you're really courageous, try starting up something on your own with original material and an original concept and work your way from the ground up (that's what George did). ;)


I mean if they let someone kill Chewie in a book and Fett lives when Lucas killed him off then obviously they love the money more.

Star Wars has become a business now. The books, games, RPGs, and films make large sums of money for LFL companies. I hardly see how killing Chewie (which was a bold and very good step IMO) and allowing Fett to live is indicative of corporate greed?


So in closing don't do and you don't get caught.

I totally agree. ;)

The moral of this story is don't commit a crime and you don't have to worry about such things.

Stormfalcon
12 June 2003, 08:25 PM
Drifting slighlty off-topic, but the whole idea of killing Chewie was LucasBooks's not Salvatore's. He had the draft all ready to go without the death when LucasBooks realized that they didn't tell him that they wanted Chewie dead. At least he went out as a hero.

Wedge in Red2
13 June 2003, 08:34 AM
(snif) I miss you Chewie :(.

(Slightly off topic, I know, but we were drifting that direction anyway).

Jon

Korpil
13 June 2003, 08:37 AM
I'm starting to read Vector Prime and Chewie is alive and well... I think I'll stop reading right there ;)

Ubiqtorate
20 June 2003, 08:29 PM
I find it hard to believe that Lucasfilm would really bother coming after the people who are doing a little kit-bashing in their basements for their own personal enjoyment. There are too many of those people, and if they're not selling what they make, then there is no measureable impact to Lucasfilm's profits. It just wouldn't be worth their time, and I think most judges in this country would feel it wasn't worth their time, either, and dismiss the case. Now, <b>Parmandilion</b>, if you can provide me with concrete evidence that Lucasfilm is, in fact, going after people who are making Star Wars inspired memorabilia for their own use, and not for any sort of commercial gain, then I'd be very interested to see that. As for myself, however, I think it's far more likely that Lucasfilm is only going to concentrate on those who might pose a threat to its profits, and that means commercial competition. A company that size has bigger fish to fry.

FVBonura
20 June 2003, 08:43 PM
I just wish the fish they were frying was a 3 DVD set of the original movies.:isd: :xwing: :atat:

lynnlefey
20 June 2003, 10:35 PM
Hey Frank,

Far be it for me to suggest ANOTHER illegal action, but you CAN get the original trilogy on DVD, ordered off the internet, legally licensed from LFL, but only released to CHINA. (sigh)

I agree that LucasFilm has every right to safeguard their intellectual property. However, if someone builds a beautiful hand-crafted item... a model for instance... that ITEM, even if sculpted to represent an object which is intellectual property, might very well, of it's own artistic merrit, be the sole property of it's creator, and be legally sold.

There was a case some years ago where a man was arrested for counterfitting a $100 bill. His legal stance was that the bill, while so close to U.S. currency as to only be detectable as a forgery by the most carefull observer, was a one-of-a-kind hand-drawn work of art. The paper stock (Vellum, actually) was of higher quality than U.S. monetary stock, and the item was worth (as a piece of ART) much more than $100 dollars. The case was dismissed.

In another case, Disney sued a day-care company, because they had Disney characters painted on a wall of their facility, without any legal rights to the characters. After the Disney lawyers pulled the jackboot stuff on this little daycare operation, Warner Brothers came in and had a team of their artists redo the walls with WB characters for free (well, actually for the publicity, I bet).

I guess my point with the second example is that, while well within their legal RIGHTS to take such actions, doing so will sour the Star Wars fanbase, making LFL seem like Business Nazis. I think LFL ought to consider that what might be lost in potential revenue from replicas is made up for with fan interest. Who, exactly, is interested in BUYING a Count Dooku Lightsaber replica, if not the hardcore fan.

Once you piss off your fans... well... Let's face it, Star Wars is nothing without those who love it. This is true of anything. Harry Potter is a worthless space-filler on a bookshelf without it's fan base.

Alienate your fans, and watch you franchise disolve.

Ubiqtorate
21 June 2003, 08:41 PM
Well said, <b>lynn</b>. I hadn't thought about the one-of-a-kind-artwork defense, but I agree that it would certainly be valid in most of these cases. I think most of us would agree that there's a big difference between hand-crafting a single lightsaber replica and mass-producing a bunch of cheap ones to sell. Again, part of the difference is that it's not worth Lucasfilm's time to go after the one-shot deals. If that really is what they're doing, it's got to be one of the biggest legel blunders by a corporation in history. It would cost so much to hunt down every one of these offenders that the company would spend a whole lot more than it stands to gain.

On the other hand, Lucas hasn't seemed to care much about alienating his fan base lately. I suppose that's also well within his legal right, and if the saga really is shaping up the way he wanted it to, well, then, power to him. I guess this is a rant for a different thread, though, so I'll stop.

Darth_Cassed
21 June 2003, 08:53 PM
Lucas needs to take another look at the material the fans produce. I, for one, am not a big fan ot WotC. I think the fans make better stuff, and much better decisions. If they look at this site, it's priceless. We have so many stats, net.guides, and overall contribution, it's a gold mine. Were they smart, they'd utilize all of our talents. In fact, I'm sure there are many people that are content with giving them stats and all as long as credit is given to them. Ooops...I'm blastin WotC here....but same principle!!

lynnlefey
24 June 2003, 08:23 AM
Cassed,

You're pretty accurate with your analysis of the value of this site, but I don't feel that what WotC produces is bad stuff. I am quite happy with the books i've gotten so far.

I own three SWRPG books, all D20 (I got rid of my D6 book more than 10 years ago). However, two that I own (SotG, and A&EG) are soft covers, and I've actually gotten a lot more material in folders that I've printed off from SWRPGNetwork.

There is one other thought I'd like to give though. I've been involved in publishing before, and it is vastly easier to make game stats than to make accompanying art. It's easier (or at least more gratifying) to make art than to do editting and layout. A LOT of work goes on after a product is 'created'. I can crank out stats all day without breaking a sweat. Look at the ships I've posted. They're not just a block of stats, but pictures, deckplans, long writeups, and I've made a strong effort to check my work for errors. In any case, the art (deckplans in particular) is the most time consuming aspect. Even then, I don't have to deal with page layout and design aspects. So consider that what's available here is 'raw' source, not polished.

I don't want to trivialize contributions, but making stats is not that hard or time-intensive in the overall scheme of things. I actually find it fun, as opposed to the third time I reread some write-up for errors.

I worked with a small-press comic company, and now have a great respect for ANYONE who manages to get ANYTHING to press. It is really not an easy thing. I also got to do a lot of editting work, and layout work, which gets NO praise, respect, or fans. And, as I was doing it for publication credit, it didn't even get me money. :)

Sorry for taking the thread a bit off-topic, but I felt a need to 'share'. :D

FVBonura
24 June 2003, 02:49 PM
Lynn I quite agree. Well said!!! A picture is worth a 1000 words, and often its 100 times the labor of 1000 words. The stats and capsule are often the last thing I do the night before I post. Often as an afterthought.
:thrawn: :noghri:

Parmandilion
25 June 2003, 06:00 PM
Now LFL is editing posts! Look at this screencap from the RPF,

http://www.thelightsaber.com/postpics/eddited.jpg

It shows a post from the RPF that has been apparantly edited by LFL for legal reasons.

Not only is LFL doing this without the poster's consent, but against their will and without their knowledge in some cases. This is a direct affront and attack on freedom of speech! Now we cannot even explore what a prop was made out of? We cannot talk about anything SW related without fear of LFL censoring us?

I am sorry, but I am afraid I missed the meeting where we elected GL to the position of God Emperor, master of all we experience.

Tramp
25 June 2003, 06:07 PM
You're missing the point, The person in question was using a trademarked image without, not only permission from LFL, but also without acknowledging that LFL owned the image in the first place. LFL had every right to demand its removal.

FVBonura
25 June 2003, 06:28 PM
It looks like Parmandilion has proof. I think I need to start backing up my server files. Free SW fan sites may very well be in danger after all.

It always starts slow and harmless and progressively, and slowly minor changes are made, till it becomes impossible to operate. Change is seldom good. This appears to be no exception.

:thrawn: :noghri:

Tramp
25 June 2003, 06:35 PM
Since you're not using them for profit, as long as you show acknowledgement of LFL's ownership of any copyrighted material on your site, you're in the clear. It's if you Don't do so that you'll get into trouble.

FVBonura
25 June 2003, 06:42 PM
Tramp can you suggest some suitable wording for such a disclaimer.

:thrawn: :noghri:

Darth_Cassed
25 June 2003, 06:47 PM
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Posts are owned by the poster under the SWRPGNetwork HoloNet Forums Registration Agreement. Other content is copyright © 2001 SWRPGNetwork unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. The SWRPGNetwork HoloNet Forums are powered by vBulletin Version 2.2.6 Copyright ©2000, 2001, Jelsoft Enterprises Limited.

Sure, I got an example for ya!! :P

It's as simple as that.

hisham
25 June 2003, 06:53 PM
Star Wars™ © ® and everything intellectually, textually or graphically related to it is wholly the property of Lucasfilm Ltd. and the Maker, George Lucas. Star Wars The Roleplaying Game is currently licensed to Wizards of the Coast, and used to be under the care of West End Games. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a labor of love. Please don't sue us. We have no money anyway. Star Wars rules!

This is mine... seriously. Click on that link below.

Nova Spice
25 June 2003, 06:59 PM
What Cassed and hish have given are examples of fans giving credence to LFL and Lucas' rights to the Star Wars franchise. I can guarantee you that because the sites they've shown have disclaimers, they are going to be perfectly fine.

Right is right. Wrong is wrong. If people are making a profit off of Lucas' idea, then that's copyright infringement. Plain and simple. If people rip off Star Wars from Lucas, then that's copyright infringement. Plain and simple.

Again, there is no coming storm of LFL. There is no stamping of freedom of speech. There is no apocalyptic sign that LFL is trying to stamp out our rights or lock everyone up in jail.

They are only going to punish those that deserved to be punished. And that's the way it ought to be. ;)

Darth_Cassed
25 June 2003, 07:15 PM
Nova, I'm 100% behind that. What they did is what any company would do. It's what any person in charge of a company would do. No one likes to lose money, specially not in America ;)


Not only is LFL doing this without the poster's consent, but against their will and without their knowledge in some cases. This is a direct affront and attack on freedom of speech! Now we cannot even explore what a prop was made out of? We cannot talk about anything SW related without fear of LFL censoring us? I am sorry, but I am afraid I missed the meeting where we elected GL to the position of God Emperor, master of all we experience.

Is that not done on the HoloNet? Moderators can edit posts without telling someone that they did it or even explaining why to them, it's the same principle. And yes, he is the master of all we experience, we would not be experiencing it if it weren't for him in the first place. As long as we stay within legal guidelines, we're fine, like
Nova said.

FVBonura
25 June 2003, 07:42 PM
Hisham I like your disclaimer. It covers all bases. I am officially requesting permission to use part of or a modified version of your disclaimer on my site. What say you?

Lets hope it wards off the Emperor's wrath for now.

:thrawn: :noghri:

hisham
25 June 2003, 07:50 PM
Go nuts, Frank. ;)

Tramp
25 June 2003, 08:00 PM
Hopefully, the issue of copyrights and disclaimers has been covered. Thanks, Hishram, Darth_Cassed, and Nova Spice for helping FVBonura out. Just remember, we have to abide by the legal rights of Copyright holders, just as we'd wish others would abide by our rights to our own intellectual properties.

Jan Tolbara
25 June 2003, 08:59 PM
I had been planning on writing a legal disclaimer for Star Wars: The Forgotten Tales (http://www.swtft.com) for quite some time but never got around to it. Due to this discussion, that is now completed. But, before you jump over to my site to look at it (as if), I am waiting for approval from my two partners before it is made public.

Thanks for the inspiration, guys! :)

Tramp
26 June 2003, 05:42 AM
You're welcome.

Chris Curtis
26 June 2003, 07:47 AM
I just wanted to jump in with some additional information for people regarding copyrights in general. I think most of the people actively participating in this thread know a lot of this, but other people just reading may not.

1. Simply putting a disclaimer on your site and not charging for your work doesn't mean you are free to post copyrighted material.

2. Pretty much everything you read, see, etc. is copyrighted. Copyrights in the United States generally endure for the life of the author plus 70 years. That's a long time!

So, for instance, the fact that WEG material is out of print makes no difference whatsoever. Copyright can, of course, expire early if the author specifically puts the work in the public domain. This rarely happens.

3. The often-cited "fair use" clause in United States copyright law is extremely misunderstood. The majority of people do not correctly understand what constitutes (and, more importantly what does not constitute) "fair use".

4. Some good resources for copyright information:

United States Copyright Office (http://www.loc.gov/copyright/)
Copyright Website (http://www.benedict.com/)
10 Big Myths about copyright explained (http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html)


Hope people find this info useful.