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Got a crazy idea again!

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Re: Got a crazy idea again!

Postby Kurgan » Thursday December 31st, 2020 11:18pm

j_dean80 wrote:
Kurgan wrote:
j_dean80 wrote:What about creating the monsters for the HQ25 project.?



I'm pretty sure those miniatures actually got released and are for sale via the original company, so probably not?


Actually HQ25 is an Inn project.


Oooohh, oops. I was confusing it with the GameZone anniversary thing, wasn't I? My apologies! That was before my time here...
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Re: PARDONED!!!!

Postby Davane » Friday January 1st, 2021 12:01am

Kurgan wrote:
Decipher wrote:You're right about 1 thing, you most certainly are NOT a moderator on these forums. And second, maybe you could contribute a little more than 75 posts before you come busting into a thread showing your backside. Right or wrong, legal, not legal, whatever, you sure got a crappy attitude. If Hasbro or Game Workshop has an issue with me, the admin, the forums or anything else, they would have closed these forums down years ago over copyrighted material. If you would have taken the time to read ALL of my posts, I did in fact say that I am interested in producing only brand new miniatures and am willing to make a list from everyone here on the forums. But clearly you were too busy to come in here throwing the weight around that you think you have before reading all of my posts. |_P


Let's face it, this happens in every thread, people will respond to the OP without reading the entire thread first, I've done it myself... we all have. With only 1,223 posts to my name, I agreed with those urging caution. I'm not a moderator either, so you can tell me to take a flying leap, if you want, but a more helpful suggestion I have to offer is just edit the OP and that should prevent further misunderstanding. We're just sharing opinions, which is what one invites when one starts a thread.

The situation now is not how it always was because: 1) Hasbro is actively producing, promoting and selling a new version of their game. 2) interest in HQ is peaking as a result, hence more eyes are going to be on us and our behavior here, 3) We're not just talking about something that exists that people could print on their own, but a product that would be indistinguishable from the original and is proposed for sale. Yes, Hasbro could shut us down (and that would be a sad day)... we're lucky they haven't so far, but why risk that? That was the point. You seem to agree with us that as one who wants to help out the community, this wasn't the way, but you've found a safer, better way now. Nobody is wanting to put you on the torture rack for having ideas here, least of all me! :D


I've thought long and hard about how I wanted to respond to this - but the truth is, people don't know me, and they don't know my attitude. They don't know that I give advice, for free, because it's what I do - that's who I am. My post count doesn't matter - I've been using the resources of the Inn for a LONG time, way before I even started getting involved in these forums, and I don't want to see it go.

I've read THIS thread from the beginning, and been responding from the beginning, so it's somewhat disingenuous to assume that I haven't read the rest of the thread after the OP. I have. The fact is that the impression I got from the OP wasn't the same as Decipher's follow up post. I went back and reread Decipher's original post, just to make sure I hadn't misread it or missed something, and unfortunately, it was NOT clear that Decipher was talking about creating NEW models. Decipher might have evolved his idea to creating original models, which is totally cool and totally legit, but that was NOT what was being expressed in the original post.

Copyright infringement is a touchy subject, but I don't judge, because there are times when copyright infringement is legitimate, and that's what the Fair Use criteria cover.

I will reiterate my advice for Decipher here - kill this thread. Start over with a new thread about creating NEW models. That way, those people who only read the OP before replying won't get confused because Decipher evolved his idea to producing NEW models when the original thread reads more about reproducing the existing models.

It's easy to see why people might be confused over the OP and the change in direction Decipher is going with, and people are going to respond based on the OP. Other people, like myself, are going to talk ABOUT the OP, and Decipher evolving his idea, as these are events that have happened as part of the discussion on this thread. That's how discussions work.

Is it fair to assume that Decipher was suggesting copyright infringement? I believe so. There are a few indicators that Decipher was suggesting copyright infringement. He referred to a previous project - which is copyright infringement. He talks about a process of scanning models, which implies copyright infringement unless Decipher is a sculptor or modeller. Comments about loaning rare miniatures suggests copyright infringement. The language and use of original, all imply copyright infringement. So, I believe it is correct to assume that Decipher's original idea involved copyright infringement - and that puts the Inn at risk.

Now, I didn't state whether I assumed that said copyright infringement was Fair Use or not. I suggested ways that Decipher could clarify his intentions so that they become Fair Use, which would bolster any defence he might need to make in court or other situation where the copyright infringement is examined, such as if Hasbro or GW make such a challenge as a result of the new version of HeroQuest being produced. I also suggested ways that the Inn might protect itself from risks, since if the copyright infringement is deemed not Fair Use, or if the Inn refuses to comply with any DMCA notices to take down threads and/or content, the Inn itself may find itself liable as a co-conspirator and/or enabler.

For the record, I think there are some uses for Decipher's original idea that could count as Fair Use. There's also the risk that the original idea could be used for illegal copyright infringement. If not handled correctly, those risks could affect Decipher and the Inn in an adverse manner.

Kurgan sums up the changing situation of the HeroQuest community quite nicely, but he forgot an important fourth issue: We don't know the future of HeroQuest, Hasbro, or GW. We don't know what they are going to decide in two, five, ten, or twenty five years time. The situation now is not what it was, but there's also a good chance that the situation now will not be as it will be in the future either. What is Fair Use now might not be Fair Use in the future, but likewise, what isn't Fair Use may become Fair Use in the future.

When it comes to reproducing the existing HQ models, I'm pretty sure that GW owns the copyright. But does GW still own the moulds? Do they ever intend to rerelease the models? Do they even have any scans? Fair Use for Archival purposes MAY be the only way these models can be preserved, let alone replaced. But once files are out there, they STAY out there. Model scans for archival purposes can become tomorrow's bootlegs, and it's going to come back to whomever did those first scans, and whomever hosts them.

Ultimately though, it's just advice, because I'm not a moderator here. Nor am I a judge. If this was to end up in court, I doubt my opinion will be called for. But that doesn't mean I can't point out what some of the pitfalls might be based on the little experience I have. I'd argue that Decipher's original idea would be Fair Use, and I'd argue that Decipher's evolved ideas would count as derivative work, if not unique pieces in their own right.

As for this thread - I'd kill it, and request Decipher start over, clearly stating his intention to create new models, so that any confusion over the OP is gone. This would be preferable to simply editing the OP, since people have responded to the confusion, and that creates even more confusion, most of which may no longer be relevant to the discussion. For example, the majority of my comments regarding copyright infringement are irrelevant if Decipher edits the OP to he current version of the idea. Decipher's outburst and Kurgan's response would be irrelevant.

Please don't take this suggestion of killing the thread as implying that Decipher shouldn't be able to talk about his ideas. I am just saying that if the thread is killed, then this aspect of the discussion is closed, and the discussion itself can move on. Else, this thread may end up with people wondering why we've gone from copyright infringement to whether there should be Nipponese Assassin models in HQ...
"The HeroQuest World is loosely based on the Warhammer World which is the copyright of Games Workshop and is used by their permission."

HeroQuest Combined English Edition Rule Book (HQ CERB)
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Re: Got a crazy idea again!

Postby Kurgan » Friday January 1st, 2021 1:34am

No hard feelings?
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Re: Got a crazy idea again!

Postby Fubar » Friday May 7th, 2021 9:11pm

I want in! I have a 3D printer, access to 3D modeling softwares, and scanners, and I also have the full game and expansions too.

Let me know how I can help!
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Re: Got a crazy idea again!

Postby iKarith » Saturday May 8th, 2021 2:47pm

I kinda need to rain on the parade a little, and then hopefully sprout a few flowers.

j_dean80 wrote:1 person doing this on their own has nothing to do with the Inn. The Inn would not be directly involved. It’s like someone posting a bootleg movie for sale through facebook classified. That doesn’t go to facebook and get the site shut down.


There is a LOT of misinformation on Intellectual Property law that spreads across the Internet, some of it kind of intentionally. Not saying you're doing that j_dean80, but e.g. "you can download this and as log as you delete it within 24 hours, it's legal" is absolute horse crap. Some of it is people like yourself trying to apply logic and "common sense" to the law. Lemme tell you, US law and sense (common or otherwise) aren't even on the same planet.

I must say that I am NOT and attorney. However, I have had more than a little experience with US intellectual property laws, courtesy of my work with Debian and other projects. Like what?

Well, ever heard of 3Dfx? For a time, they were THE 3D graphics card company if you were a gamer. In order to make 3D happen on those cards, you need a thing called Glide. Glide is available effectively under the GNU General Public License. It was closed, proprietary source code until a someone asked them to release it, negotiated the legalities, etc. You're talking to him.

There used to be a legal contention with a desktop environment called KDE and a strict reading of the license, letter of the law, etc. It couldn't be used with the Qt library without an exemption because Qt was not "free enough" (Richard Stallman's definition of the phrase). Troll Tech wanted to fix that if they could, and it took weeks back and forth between the company, their lawyers, and the only guy stup—*ahem* brave enough to step into that flamewar crossfire and help the company hash out license language that met the GPL's technical requirements. Me again. There are ideologues and contrarians who still hate my guts for that one, despite the fact Qt is actually under the GPL now.)

A group calling their project "QBlood" took the DOS games Blood and Blood 2 published by Infogrames (now Atari SA) and, since they didn't run on modern Windows, decided to port them to a Quake engine that did. This is pretty blatantly Copyright infringement. I negotiated with Infogrames on their behalf for permission to keep doing it. Infogrames gave them a quitclaim, a legal document that's effectively a get out of court free card.

So … assuming that convinces you I have some idea what I'm talking about, I should explain a couple of things:

First, the reason why Facebook and eBay and Etsy are all able to stay up despite people posting stuff that's a clear Copyright infringement is two-fold: First, they're large enough that they can reasonably argue that they had NO IDEA copyrights were being infringed on THEIR website, even though it happens daily. Much or even most of the content on Etsy and eBay and Facebook is legally allowed to be there, and they've just got so many millions of users that they can't possibly police all traffic or exercise any kind of editorial control over it.

And, thanks to the Communications Decency act, 47 U.S.C §230 absolves the publisher of an online service of responsibility for content carried by that service and published by users of that service provided that they have no actual knowledge that the content is unlawful. The argument was that the service cannot possibly exercise editorial control over the content, ensure it was all legal, etc., and therefore it's on the person who put that content there, exclusively, and not that person plus the deep pockets of Mark Zuckerberg and his company.

Which is absolute horse crap, they REGULARLY exercise editorial control to censor content and opinions that they don't like, but that's an argument for other forums. Point is that it wouldn't apply to the Inn, whose content is little enough especially these days that its several moderators should have time to literally examine every single public post. And it wouldn't help anyway, since drathe has uploaded a bunch of things that are literally scans of Copyrighted materials. So in some ways that ship has already sailed for the Inn.

So what's covered by Copyright? Honestly, anything based on HeroQuest, be that house rules, custom cards, our own fan-made quests, etc. are a derivative work for the purposes of Copyright law. That means if I sit down and draw the freakin board in SVG (which I've done), I have infringed Hasbro's Copyright unless they gave me license to do so! They can go after me for actual or statutory damages. There are limits to what the courts will allow them to do and under what circumstances, but they have the power to stop it. They aren't obligated to, but they can.

If they wanted to stop a HQ fan from doing something, say, they would likely send a cease and desist letter. THEY DON'T HAVE TO do it that way. They can skip straight to lawsuit, but a normal company going after a fan project is likely to start with a strongly worded letter. Most people recognize their claim is legitimate and they have a right to defend it, so if they give you a fair chance to stop … and then they drop the hammer on your ass because you didn't, that's on you, not them. Copyright trolls are different—they always file the lawsuit first, seek maximum damages, offer to settle for much more than they'd likely win as judgment (but less than the threatened amount) and hope you'll settle. We call those Copyright trolls, and those should be burninated along with goblins with crossbows.

HOWEVER, Milton Bradley gave us license for at least some of what we're doing! A lawyer would probably tell you that my claim to that effect isn't a guaranteed sure thing, however, I'm telling you the odds are pretty damned good in our favor. Open your Quest Book to the end … there's a blank map, copies of all the icons, etc., and instructions. Including that you should photocopy the page to make more quests using it. That there is what I call license.

Copyright licenses have their basis in contract law, and one of the major tenets of contract law is that the person who wrote the contract is responsible for any ambiguity. Meaning, if there's more than one way of reading it, and the contractor and contractee disagree, the court will find that the actual meaning of those ambiguous terms are most favorable to the contractee. Argument in favor of this system: Milton Bradley wrote the terms, they should've written those terms better if they didn't want the defendant to be allowed to do that.

How far does that extend? Well, Hasbro could argue it applies to that one page in the book, only. But wait, they're also telling you in expansions to photocopy cards if you don't want to cut them out… And expansions have changed the rules too. The resolution for rules is cards. quest book, and core mechanics in that order. Quests call for making new monsters/cards, new tiles, new spells, etc. Sometimes it calls for duplicating stuff that was in the base game so you have more of it. Just how far does that license to make new stuff go? That would be a matter of fact for the court to find, and then a matter of law based upon the facts determined.

A non-commercial homebrew rule set, custom cards or even some original cards as part of an expansion deck, tiles, you name it … the court must consider that all of these elements that ADD ON to the game (but do not replace it or deprive Hasbro of current or future revenue for the game system) … they themselves gave you implicit license to produce. And while the existence of published quests by magazines of the era are NOT a defense ("they got away with it, so I should be able to" doesn't fly), they do further cement the idea that Milton Bradley and, if any were published after the Hasbro acquisition, Hasbro, did indeed intend people to create them, did therefore provide some license by which they could do so, and by their failure to specify the terms terribly precisely, anything Hasbro did in their quest packs … you are authorized to do yourself.

That doesn't mean Hasbro couldn't go after you for doing 3D scans of the minis MB previously licensed from Games Workshop. No, they likely don't have the rights to even produce the minis anymore themselves, or the reboot would've had them, probably even if GW was so stupid as to have allowed them access to other/new minis as part of the original 1989 agreements. Use some Age of Sigmar modern minis or … reprint the classics people would undoubtedly want anyway? Duh. No, I think Hasbro would not sue you for making new minis because they don't own the rights to them. GW does. If or whether Games Workshop will want a piece of you will be its own, separate calculus.

What you can't do with such a wide interpretation of an implicit license as MB gave us is e.g. scan every possible component of the game at 300 DPI or higher, suitable for printing, or, remaster the original as a PDF file that could be printed out at as high a resolution as you can afford and look as good as the version printed in 1989 to 1994. And I suspect drathe is under no illusions that this amazingly cool resource is not kosher with Copyright law and Hasbro could at any moment order him to take it ALL down, and he'd better comply if they do. Assuming they know the Inn exists, or that they care.

It's a pretty safe bet the people working on the HQ remake for Avalon Hill know the Inn is here (they can hardly NOT know) and … they neither care nor have bothered to inform people very high up in management. At some level, someone probably NOT authorized to make it, made the strategic decision that pissing off whatever active fanbase the game has by going after scans of the old stuff they're not reprinting anyway … was not good for the remake, y'know?

If the new HQ takes off in a big way and it becomes a significant property, expect drathe to get a strongly worded letter as described, sooner or later, especially if 300 DPI scans of the new, in print, game surfaces here on the Inn. Don't go uploading that to the Inn's servers m'kay? (No, you keep stuff like that in a throwaway Google account's Google Drive or something so when Google gets hit with a takedown notice, it won't get your primary Google account in any trouble "…is what I would say if I were helping you commit Copyright Infringement—which I'm not!"* :lol:)

This is why I want to archive this stuff somewhere they can't get it taken down. Including STL files, actually, because:

* Actually, I don't care if Hasbro thinks I'm engaged in "contributory infringement" or not. The fact is I am a legally bind since birth man with stage 4 metastatic melanoma, dealing with the side effects of the chemotherapy drugs that are literally keeping me alive. Oh, and with no assets to seize and only a fixed disability income they can't garnish. Suing me would be an absolute freakin' money hole, and they would NEVER get back a dime they spent on it, and their own lawyers WILL tell them as much. Basically, people like me are an absolute pain in the ass, legally speaking, can be absolutely infuriatingly annoying, and are thankfully usually blissfully unaware of the POWER THAT THEY WIELD, MUAHAHAHAHA!

I'm not blissfully unaware, but I still endeavor to be mostly harmless. And I do want to see the companies that make the stuff I love be successful. So if it comes to market, either retail or online, buy the new HQ. Yes, even though the orc bard is freakin' stupid. Buy the sh*t out of it. And sure, buy Citadel washes and paints too if you like them to paint the result. I don't care if GW is trading on past good will or Hasbro is an evil vampire company that intends to consume every other toy and game maker on the planet… (Hasbro: Till All Are One!) If they have the rights to make the stuff you love, support them by all means!

I've only spoken about Copyright here because Trademark is something different. Copyright MAY be defended. A trademark is a declaration (for ™ purposes) or registered with the appropriate government offices (for ® purposes) that a commercial entity is using a particular name, logo, design, or phrase for commercial purposes and does not want others using it. These aren't inventions, they're often words, such as "Hero" and "Quest", being used together, and intended not to be mistaken for another product. "Hero Quest" is the trademark, stylized as "HeroQuest", and it may not be used without license or permission by others, except in acknowledgement that the owner of the trademark in fact owns it.

Trademarks are use-it-or-lose-it affairs. If you stop making "Hero Quest" or "HeroQuest", the mark will lapse. The mark was registered by Games Workshop in 1989 as part of their collaboration with MB, but they let it lapse and it was picked up for an RPG in the 2000s which probably most here are aware of. That system has actually been called a number of things, whereas HeroQuest was always HeroQuest, so ultimately Wikipedia notes that the trademark was sold to Hasbro last year. So there is a trademark, Hasbro DOES own it, and they DO have an obligation to defend it if they don't want to see it lost.

It's possible then that a number of pages might get strongly worded letters from Hasbro asking them to modify their pages to reflect that HeroQuest is a trademark of Hasbro, and/or to change the name of whatever it is they have on their page. I suggest complying without any fuss if asked to do it. It's kinda like Kleenex, Q-Tips, and Xerox. These are almost genericized names, but they aren't because the owners of these trademarks actively defend them: You may NOT refer to your photocopier as a "xerox machine", and in fact even Xerox themselves does not do so! You do, and so do I, but … we're not doing it commercially, so that's just free marketing for the Xerox corporation—thank you for your support! :D

All that to say, if you make copies of minis … Hasbro isn't going to stop you. If it's not a large scale operation, probably Games Workshop isn't going to stop you either. But there's a threshold where they can—and you'll know where it is only when you have crossed it.

I encourage some caution, but I won't tell you not to do it. GW may, like Hasbro all these years, simply no longer care about these old sculpts and consider them commercially unviable. There are companies making "oldhammer" minis, in metal as they always used to be, or in plastic, and they're small potatoes. They scratch an itch in the market for the old style, and GW isn't interested really.

If you wanna do it commercially, the safest way is to make your own sculpts and scan those, or design them digitally from the start. If you wanna just get STL files out there that anyone can print, get one scanned properly and take up a collection to get the rest scanned, and just put the STL files somewhere for people to download. If you produce a few for a modest profit on demand like the other people printing or casting them are doing, the community is likely to consider you an asset and Hasbro and GW both are likely to continue giving no Fs.

There's some risk you will be told to stop making them though, so I wouldn't invest a fortune in copying GW's original minis yourself in the hopes of making a profit producing them by the thousands for several dollars each by the thousands. At least it's not likely to pan out that way, and at worst you might get a knock at your door some day serving you with a notice you're being sued.

The former's a more likely outcome than the latter, and I've kinda found that I enjoy my hobbies more when they're hobbies than when I'm expecting them to generate revenue anyway. YMMV. I'm moderately qualified to talk about what is and isn't strictly legal (even if I clearly demonstrate my lack of any Fs given which is which for out of print old game components that'll NEVER be remade), but I'm completely the wrong person to talk to about successfully running a commercial concern as my attempt at doing that was NOT successful.
Milton Bradley: "So guys, everyone knows about orcs, goblins and mummies and stuff, but what about these 'fimirs' we're putting in the game? Tell me all about them!"

Games Workshop: "Uhhhhhhhhhhh...."
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