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Drama Mamas: Should a WoW widow become a WoW player? {WoW}

Apr 2nd 2012 5:18PM I like Lisa's advice... but Robin I have a somewhat rhetorical question for you (and other posters that praised Robin's advice):

If Shannon had been male, and Shannon's wife had been the one spending her days playing WoW, would you have given the exact same advice? With the exact same judgmental voice?

If the same, fine. But if you would change your advice or the way it was delivered in even the tiniest way, (and I believe many would) then it ends up being rather sexist.

Rumble Between the Junglers: Questions about the DotA name {WoW}

Feb 24th 2012 7:26PM I never said Valve was being a white knight here. The danger to Valve is a lawsuit filed in the future by one of the many creators against them where one of those companies claim ownership with reasonable grounds. By Valve claiming ownership now (pre release) it locks in the legal framework now before they invest too many advertising dollars. Valve's goal is to use the name, not necessarily deny everyone else's access to it.

Rumble Between the Junglers: Questions about the DotA name {WoW}

Feb 24th 2012 2:31PM You describe this as "foolish" but I think this is a -brilliant- move by Valve. And "move" it is because it's much more a chess move than anything else. Valve have legally positioned themselves in a win-win scenario.

Obviously Valve wants to call their game DotA but I don't think Valve wants to trademark DotA at all. I think they just want to protect themselves from Bobby Kotick's lawyers (and yes, ultimately BK runs Blizzard) by going on the offensive first. And it's going to work.

Anyone remember The Watchmen movie? A few weeks before it was released Fox claimed to hold the rights and tried to put a stop to the release. Really Fox didn't care about the movie all they wanted was to extort money as they squeezed Warner's balls. It worked and Fox got at least $15M out of that extortion for doing nothing. =THIS= is what Valve is trying to protect itself from... from doing all the work then Bobby Kotick coming in at the last minute and threatening to set fire to the whole thing unless he gets his payola. And that's a fair paranoia. Kotick has done it before, he'll do it again.

No one individual or company can own DotA. Too many hands went into making it. But there's no incentive to get the various people who made it to declare that they don't own it... UNLESS someone who doesn't own it (Valve) claims to own it. Then they all band together (like they are doing now) to stop it.

To Valve, the best way of keeping DotA clear of potential legal trouble in the future is to get all the people who could claim rights to declare in court that it's public domain and can't be trademarked. Soon as they do that, Valve will say "Hey, you're right! Our bad. But thanks for filing that statement on public record so you can never claim otherwise."

The Daily Quest: 4.3 impressions and more {WoW}

Dec 4th 2011 6:56PM I've noticed that you haven't linked to a "Jaded Alt" article in a long time, not since it moved. I hope it's still part of your personal blog roll.

It moved from "" to "" due to technical problems at the old address. It's still going strong.

The Lawbringer: Glider's story ends {WoW}

Oct 7th 2011 9:48PM This case did go to court, multiple times, multiple courts. It was already of a lot of interest to the Supreme Court and highly likely it was going to be appealed to that court if they hadn't settled. "Mercury" (the programmer behind glider) claimed in the forums before they were taken down by the settlement that the US Supreme Court was returning his calls promptly before the 9th even ruled. That's a credible statement not due how gamers look at it (bots, copyright, etc) but due to the spit between the court circuit rulings on similar EULA and DMCA issues.

It's the Lawbringer's guess that glider ran out of money to finance the case. It's certainly possible. I'm of a different opinion...

I think they settled because it was a good idea for both of them to settle. It had the potential to go horribly wrong for either side if they lost. There was just too much risk not to settle for Blizzard because there was a very real chance that the Supreme Court could have struck down the DMCA entirely as being unconstitutional when the 9th District court's ruled that "Congress created a distinct anti-circumvention right under section 1201(a) without an infringement nexus requirement." IE you can DMCA something that's got nothing to do with copyright.

Strange as it sounds, that ruling puts the DMCA itself onto shaky ground. Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution states that exclusive rights to "Writings and Discoveries" be limited in time. It's a much broader concept than just copyrights. Copyrights are limited in time and don't run up against the "limited time" aspect. Protections using cryptology lasts forever so... pow... constitutional issue in front of the Supreme Court.

Blizzard settled because of how bad it could go for all of Activision. MDY settled because all the other obvious reasons of 1 guy vs a big corp.

The Lawbringer: Paying for addons and the spirit of the TOS {WoW}

Oct 1st 2011 8:41AM Blizzard's selective ToS is selective. All addons are allowed. No addons are allowed.
A. use [...] any other unauthorized third-party software designed to modify the World of Warcraft experience;
That clause that catches far more than just the "bad" addons. It also catches auctioneer, DBM and every other addon written. And clause C clearly catches wowhead, thottbot, auctioneer a second time, and every other database or crowd-sourcing software. Now those addons and websites like wowhead are a benefit to the game. Blizzard is smart enough to know that and they are smart enough to allow them. However they exist at Blizzard's pleasure.

The point is that Blizzard has all the power. Blizzard has written the Eula/ToS so that they have veto power over anything and everything that interacts with the game or it's code. Including if an individual user is allowed to play the game. This has far less to do with Contracts and Law and far more to do with Power.

The Eula/ToS is a worthless document with no zero legal standing in many countries that Blizzard operates. An addon can be based out of one of those many jurisdictions. Regardless Blizzard still has the power. And the simple answer is that Blizzard doesn't care enough about this particular issue (2nd rate addons that charge $) to bring the hammer down.

The Lawbringer: What WoW can learn from other microtransaction models, part 2 {WoW}

Aug 12th 2011 11:14PM You mentioned Xbox Microsoft points. MS is being sued over batch currency transactions exactly because of the reasons you mention.

The Lawbringer: Letters to Rogers, letters to Congress {WoW}

Jul 23rd 2011 5:07AM "Of course, illegal peer-to-peer traffic should be throttled and punished -- no one is making the case that we shouldn't punish criminals or network hogs."

We are talking about "The Internet" here. The border-less, multi-jurisdictional, world changing communications medium. So who decides:
- who is a criminal,
- who is a network hog
- and who decides the punishment?

In the above post you talk about Canada and the USA simultaneously. What's illegal in one country can be legal in the other. For example filesharing in Canada is legal. Even the cases where it looked like a copyright holder (plaintiff) had a solid case, those cases were tossed. Contrast that to the US bill S.978 which wants to add jail time. That's an extreme difference between 2 very similar countries.

Who gets to decide who's being a network hog? Is a Blizzard a network hog when they torrent via the launcher a major content patch that is a 10 Gig download to a few million people all in the same hour? Are we all network hogs for file sharing it between us? What's an appropriate response... jail time for the end users on one hand and on the other fines for the ISP?

What about traffic routed across international boarders? Something that would be "hogging the network" in the USA would be a tiny fraction of bandwidth in South Korea. However the reverse is far more likely to be true. I play on a North American server but often I've had people from Brazil, Argentina and other South American servers in my random LFG dungeons. That data is passing through a lot of hops and multiple countries. If that data is a large % of one of the hops how acceptable is it to throttle it and punish the users? If it's legal in Canada and passes through an ISP in USA which believes it to be illegal, what should the ISP do? Alternatively if it's legal in the USA and illegal in Panama should the Panama hub it's passing through take steps to throttle it? Or some other punishment?

I don't think you are considering the consequences of blanket statements you are making. Even getting a truthful answer out of a US ISP for you yourself was impossible. It took a regulatory body outside the US to force ISPs to stop lying and admit that they were even throttling in the first place. These would be the same organizations that would get to decide what is and is not illegal and what is and is not abuse.

You want fair treatment from ISPs, but allowing them to determine legality, what constitutes "hogging" and the associated punishments is incredibly dangerous. It guarantees you will NOT get fair treatment.

The Daily Quest: Against insurmountable odds {WoW}

Apr 15th 2011 10:01AM Everyone's frustration with the lack of portals will soon self correct. Guilds are starting hit Guild level 21+. Once it becomes common, players will be able to pst players in other cities (/who Shat'rath) and ask for a summon via "Have Group, Will Travel." And as a final irony it won't be restricted to your own faction's cities.