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Posts with tag intellectual-property

Officers' Quarters: Charter pirates

A pirate fires cannons
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

I never thought I'd be writing an OQ column about intellectual property, but here we are:

Hi Scott,

I'll make this short and to the point, because I'm honestly at the end of my rope with just how disrespectful, inconsiderate, and shady some folks who play this game are.

Without going into too much detail, we removed some folks from our guild a few weeks ago; they tried to poach our members and couldn't, so they ended up stealing our charter instead.

I found out because I noticed them advertising in trade chat, so I scoped their website out. Lo and behold, there were MY words I worked so dutifully on, for many hours, over the course of a few weeks, with my co-GM and other officers. This charter was the result of almost a year's worth of questions, concerns, comments, and experiences we all have shared since forming our guild, and to see another guild just blatantly rip it off was infuriating.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Worlds.com aims to sue over the virtual world of Warcraft


Business Insider (no relation) is reporting that Worlds.com CEO Thom Kidrin is intending to sue anyone who will not license their virtual worlds product through him, and since Kidrin claims they hold the patent to virtual worlds, everyone has to get a license. Since this is a legal issue I'll lay this out in a few easy to read steps:
    1. Thom calls up Blizzard, Linden Lab, etc...
    2. Thom says "Hey, I invented virtual worlds! Pay me money since you're making money off the concept."
    3. Blizzard and Linden Lab laugh and hang up, assuming it's a prank call.
    4. Thom goes to court.
That's the gist of it. Kidrin plans on going after a few other companies before knocking on Blizzard's door: notably, Worlds.com has already filed suit against NCsoft, which publishes City of Heroes and Guild Wars.

How did Worlds.com wind up with the patent to the idea of a scalable virtual world with thousands of users? Kidrin has said that they invented the virtual worlds with a product for sick kids called Starbright World back in 1997. (Though apparently the concept was thought up back in 1995.)

However, let's take a look at the definition of Cyberspace. It was first used in William Gibson's 1982 story "Burning Chrome" and again used in a few of his books, with "Neuromancer" being the most popular. Gibson's definition for Cyberspace reads:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items

Forum post of the day: For fun and profit

What does a spiffy rare mount cost? You can get a Spectral Tiger for about $900 (once sold for $2,000) on eBay. You could pay 20,000 gold for an Amani Warbear. BlizzCon 2008 World of Warcraft in-game polar bear mount with mounted, flag-waving murloc? $40 bucks. All you have to do is sign up for the DirecTV package and that fabulous bear is all yours. If I were a mount collector, I might persuade my friends to sign up for the package in my name.

Kothor of Skywall is ordering the video package even though he's planning on attending Blizzcon. He suggested that Blizzard should make all of the rare mounts available for purchase. This suggestion was welcomed by several who have spent countless hours grinding for their prized ponies.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, Mounts, BlizzCon, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Tabletop WoW: A roll of the dice

Gamasutra has an interesting article exploring the creation of the World of Warcraft line of gaming books released by White Wolf's Swords and Sorcery imprint. Written by Luke Johnson, the co-developer of the line from White Wolf's end, it has a lot of good detail for fans of tabletop (or pen and paper, as my circle of geekish souls always called it) roleplaying games as to the challenges and difficulties of converting a sprawling property like WoW from the rigidly controlled computer game to the much more expansive format of live gaming.

I own pretty much every book White Wolf's put out (both in terms of their WoW property and in general, I buy a lot of gaming books) and I have to say I found Luke's points about how the relationship between White Wolf and Blizzard as far as developing the lore in these books to be absolutely fascinating. Blizzard clearly wants to keep the development of the property and its lore firmly in their control, which on the one hand is totally understandable and yet on the other hand really shackles the writers hired to work on these books. You can't just throw in that Orcs like to eat human babies - any cultural note, even an offhand reference to humans having a lot of festivals throughout the year or trolls not liking large groups, needs to be accepted or rejected by the folks at Blizzard, which can really slow down the production of the books. The upside to this kind of supervision is that the RPG line can be used as a sourcebook for troubling lore questions for nerds like me. The downside is that it takes much, much longer to release the books if they have to go back and forth to Blizzard and wait for the team there to have time away from making the MMO in the first place to check what you wrote and decide if they want Harpies to be offended by flutes. The tightrope they walked between providing content and satisfying the folks at Blizzard is a problem I'd not considered in adapting something like this.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Lore, RP

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