Square Enix Sends C&D To Developer Creating OpenCarmageddon

from the that'll-win-fans dept

Whatis42? writes in to let us know that Square Enix has sent a cease and desist letter to a guy who's been developing an open source version of the game Carmageddon. Now, it's almost certainly the case that this version does, in fact, violate the original copyrights (and potentially trademarks) of Square Enix, but should it really matter? The game is well over a decade old and not for sale anywhere anymore. The re-creation of the game appears to be a pretty cool learning experience for a developer and fans of the game.

On top of that, if you believe the Wikipedia entry on Carmageddon, the original creators of the game based it on a movie, which they tried to license, but when that failed, they went ahead and created it anyway. So now they don't want anyone else to do the same thing?

Historically, if you look at the way creativity has worked, it's quite frequently involved people directly copying the work of someone else, to learn how it was done and to build off of it. It's too bad that companies are looking to shut that down these days. Of course, this isn't a new stance for Square Enix. In the past, we've noted that the company has gone after other fan projects as well.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    cc (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 6:17am

    Looks like he is rewriting the entire engine in C# and is not distributing any of the original game resources. You can't play what he's making without owning a copy of the game.

    Remember ScummVM? They had similar problems with Lucasarts, but eventually won.

     

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  2.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 6:36am

    Orphan Works

    When a company "abandons" a product, it should immediately fall into the public domain. In abandoning a product the company has made a statement that the product is essentially worthless. To reach out from the "grave" to extort revenue violates the concepts behind the free market system and copyright.

    Products, should only "die" if the user community finds no further use in the product. Companies, especially with software, should not have the ability to unilaterally "kill" a product at their whim.

     

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  3.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 6:47am

    it goes farther than that

    One of the best ways to learn hands on about programming is basically to go look at other people's programs and modify them to break them/see what this does/see what that does, etc.

    Way to go square in ensuring that nobody will want to learn about game programming from carmageddon.

     

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  4.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 7:16am

    Well, yeah...

    "Now, it's almost certainly the case that this version does, in fact, violate the original copyrights (and potentially trademarks) of Square Enix, but should it really matter? The game is well over a decade old and not for sale anywhere anymore. The re-creation of the game appears to be a pretty cool learning experience for a developer and fans of the game. "
    I'm sure you meant that Square Enix shouldn't care and should bask in the glory of a fan reviving something they enjoyed but is no longer available. And in that case, no it should not matter that the copyright and trademarks still apply, S.E. should happliy give them a free license so they can allow a fan to have fun with it while still "defending thier copyrights".

    But since they decided to not be nice guys, yes it does matter that the CR and TM are still in place. Mike, I agree with a lot of what you have to say about how many, MANY entities out there are abusing (if not outright breaking) the CR, TM and Patent system to thier own ends and going way beyond the intent and letter of those laws. But on the other side, when those laws are being followed and not abused (for once), we have to abide by them too, even if we don't like it. As I've implied on many threads (and may have actually said... I dunno), there is no law against being jerks.

     

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  5.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 7:18am

    Re:

    "Remember ScummVM?"

    Sigh, one of my favorite projects in existence. I should note that I own all of the games I play on ScummVM, but going through Sam And Max or The Dig on my newer machines put up on my flat panel TV with surround sound is still a joy....

     

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  6.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 7:23am

    How can a remake (and with that a complete remake) of this game infringe on someone's copyright?
    I don't quite follow, Mike.

    I mean, if this game developer doesn't have access to the original sources, how can he infringe on their copyrights?

    All he offers on his site that is "originally"* Square Enix' is a demo version of the game, to give you a demo's access to OpenCarmageddon.

    And if it becomes illegal to distribute a demo of a game, then expect even more 'piracy' to occur...

    Square Enix has a known history of being bullies, and with the recent flop of Final Fantasy XIV, I think they are looking for other revenue streams.

    But the game Carmageddon isn't offered for sale anywhere anymore.
    So there is no loss of sale through this remake.

    In my not so humble and very angry opinion: big publisher bullies can f%ck off and die!

    Square Enix, consider me a lost sale. I will NEVER buy any of your offerings again!

    *) It only became Square Enix' property through acquisition of another game house.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 7:26am

    ISquare Enix Sends C&D To Developer Creating Open Armageddon!!!

    Holy crap!! People need to settle down! It's just a cease and desist letter.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 7:45am

    Re: Orphan Works

    tell that to MS.

    RIP win XP!!!!

     

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  9.  
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    Chargone (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 8:02am

    Re:

    "How can a remake (and with that a complete remake) of this game infringe on someone's copyright? "

    the only parts of a game where copyright makes any sense is the art elements and the story/plot.

    if the game is a remake, the second is copied almost by definition. for the first not to be would require someone to do all the required new artwork (car designs, i guess?)

    at least, that's the logic my brain automatically applied to the statement.

     

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  10.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Orphan Works

    the majority of the world still uses XP. (I know because my last 2 jobs were with high tech firms and they still use it today)

     

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  11.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 8:48am

    Re: Well, yeah...

    word games.
    ultimately you are both putting forward the same concept (which i happen to agree with).

    and you are right, there is no law against being jerks. if there were we pretty much wouldnt be in the mess we are.

     

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  12.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Re: Well, yeah...

    Laws are man made, and thus can be changed. You do not ever have to blindly follow a law, simply because it is a law.

    That's only what those in power would have you believe, because it's easier to control you when you don't ask questions.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 8:53am

    Re:

    Games are copied off one another all the time. It the primary way the medium grows.

    Change the name (a copyright claim on using the name is legit) and make sure art looks somewhat different, and it's pretty much in the clear.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re:

    "the only parts of a game where copyright makes any sense is the art elements and the story/plot.

    if the game is a remake, the second is copied almost by definition. for the first not to be would require someone to do all the required new artwork (car designs, i guess?)

    at least, that's the logic my brain automatically applied to the statement."

    I haven't looked at this particular remake, but generally speaking, remakes involve rewriting the game engine (most often without seeing the original code) and then requiring that people supply their own copy of the artwork/levels/etc. That way the rewriter hasn't copied any of the originators work at all. The user is encouraged to buy the game so that they legally have a copy of the file required and no copywrite infringement has taken place on their end either. Of course the user can illegally download a copy of the artwork files, but that's not the rewriter's problem, it's solely between the original producer and user.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 9:09am

    Re: ISquare Enix Sends C&D To Developer Creating Open Armageddon!!!

    Seriously. A big company sending a C&D is like a normal person hiccuping. Its not news, its a reflex. Talk to me when they assassinate him or file charges.

     

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  16.  
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    ECA (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 10:04am

    Viva Interstate 76/82...
    LOVED that game.

     

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  17.  
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    Eugene (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 10:08am

    In similar news, the sonic fan remix is still up.
    Granted, they not only used their own original code, but also their own original art. But it's still Sonic, and THAT property is still active.

    Yet it's still available: http://sonicfanremix.com/

     

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  18.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Re: ISquare Enix Sends C&D To Developer Creating Open Armageddon!!!

    Oh, so it's just a legal threat. Nothing to see here.

    Where do you people come from?

     

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  19.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    Yes, you can change laws... through the proper channels and courses of action. You can't just ignore it and say "well, it should be changed anyway". If that were the case, the speed limits near my house would be in the triple-digits by now. :\

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    I disagree that proper channels or courses of action is the way you change laws. Take Prohibition for example, if people hadn't flagrantly broken the law over and over Prohibition may have never been repealed.

    If a law is unjust or broken by no means should we follow it. By doing so you are only reinforcing its existence in the first place.

    Bottom line is that defiance is what really changes laws when it comes to the common man. So unless you got billions of dollars to lobby for law changes it is time for dissent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    It is true that actions speak louder than words... but be prepared to face the consequences for breaking the law. Right or wrong, they are the laws.

    I disagree with the idea that we should break laws just because we disagree with them. That mentality is selfish and uncivilized. But you're welcome to your opinion and choice of action.

    Also, be careful with a post hoc argument... you cannot prove that the breaking of Prohibition lead to it's repeal. It very well could have been repealed even if everyone adhered to it. There's no proof either way, so it's a fallacious argument.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Jay (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Orphan Works

    That means we would have had Duke Nukem about 6 years ago.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    DMCA - Ten years and counting of trying to change it for the better.

    The Library of Congress had to intervene to give us, the consumers, the power to jailbreak an iPhone.

    Patent Law - Severly confusing and limiting

    Trademark Law - Beginning to get a little long in the tooth as well.

    And the avenues to change them?

    Talk to your Senator - Extremely limited effect. You are ONE constituent in a sea of millions for a state

    Join a group - Now you have a little more power but still just one focused group. Unless you're the AARP, no one listens

    Join a public group (KEI Online, EFF) - Sectioned off and dismissed in the grand scheme of things. How much do you hear about Public Knowledge affecting change in policies represented? Unless it's something severe, we don't get that a lot.

    Now let's see what the opposition has:

    Lobbying - Money to "grease the wheels" of Congress. Lessig has a great discussion on this.

    Money - Businesses have the most money over personal interests. They get free reign in Congress. This is known to all.

    Special interest - As lobbyists become known to certain Senators they gain influence, that influence turns to "quid pro quo", which turns into a revolving door.

    Look at Mitch Glazier as just one example of bad lobbying.

    So your argument of "proper channels" comes off more as wishful thinking.

    Now, let's look at Prohibition:

    "Also, be careful with a post hoc argument... you cannot prove that the breaking of Prohibition lead to it's repeal. It very well could have been repealed even if everyone adhered to it. There's no proof either way, so it's a fallacious argument."

    There is. Proof of Prohibition hurting more people. We currently have Nixon's Drug Standards Act that has caused more drug arrests in the last 40 years, more enforcement, and more racism (IMO) than anything else. Yes, it's a year long, but when even the moralists saw that Prohibition didn't work and lead to more death, it was those very same people that went to Congress to repeal Prohibition laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    DMCA - Ten years and counting of trying to change it for the better.

    The Library of Congress had to intervene to give us, the consumers, the power to jailbreak an iPhone.

    Patent Law - Severly confusing and limiting

    Trademark Law - Beginning to get a little long in the tooth as well.

    And the avenues to change them?

    Talk to your Senator - Extremely limited effect. You are ONE constituent in a sea of millions for a state

    Join a group - Now you have a little more power but still just one focused group. Unless you're the AARP, no one listens

    Join a public group (KEI Online, EFF) - Sectioned off and dismissed in the grand scheme of things. How much do you hear about Public Knowledge affecting change in policies represented? Unless it's something severe, we don't get that a lot.

    Now let's see what the opposition has:

    Lobbying - Money to "grease the wheels" of Congress. Lessig has a great discussion on this.

    Money - Businesses have the most money over personal interests. They get free reign in Congress. This is known to all.

    Special interest - As lobbyists become known to certain Senators they gain influence, that influence turns to "quid pro quo", which turns into a revolving door.

    Look at Mitch Glazier as just one example of bad lobbying.

    So your argument of "proper channels" comes off more as wishful thinking.

    Now, let's look at Prohibition:

    "Also, be careful with a post hoc argument... you cannot prove that the breaking of Prohibition lead to it's repeal. It very well could have been repealed even if everyone adhered to it. There's no proof either way, so it's a fallacious argument."

    There is. Proof of Prohibition hurting more people. We currently have Nixon's Drug Standards Act that has caused more drug arrests in the last 40 years, more enforcement, and more racism (IMO) than anything else. Yes, it's a year long, but when even the moralists saw that Prohibition didn't work and lead to more death, it was those very same people that went to Congress to repeal Prohibition laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    DMCA - Ten years and counting of trying to change it for the better.

    The Library of Congress had to intervene to give us, the consumers, the power to jailbreak an iPhone.

    Patent Law - Severly confusing and limiting

    Trademark Law - Beginning to get a little long in the tooth as well.

    And the avenues to change them?

    Talk to your Senator - Extremely limited effect. You are ONE constituent in a sea of millions for a state

    Join a group - Now you have a little more power but still just one focused group. Unless you're the AARP, no one listens

    Join a public group (KEI Online, EFF) - Sectioned off and dismissed in the grand scheme of things. How much do you hear about Public Knowledge affecting change in policies represented? Unless it's something severe, we don't get that a lot.

    Now let's see what the opposition has:

    Lobbying - Money to "grease the wheels" of Congress. Lessig has a great discussion on this.

    Money - Businesses have the most money over personal interests. They get free reign in Congress. This is known to all.

    Special interest - As lobbyists become known to certain Senators they gain influence, that influence turns to "quid pro quo", which turns into a revolving door.

    Look at Mitch Glazier as just one example of bad lobbying.

    So your argument of "proper channels" comes off more as wishful thinking.

    Now, let's look at Prohibition:

    "Also, be careful with a post hoc argument... you cannot prove that the breaking of Prohibition lead to it's repeal. It very well could have been repealed even if everyone adhered to it. There's no proof either way, so it's a fallacious argument."

    There is. Proof of Prohibition hurting more people. We currently have Nixon's Drug Standards Act that has caused more drug arrests in the last 40 years, more enforcement, and more racism (IMO) than anything else. Yes, it's a year long, but when even the moralists saw that Prohibition didn't work and lead to more death, it was those very same people that went to Congress to repeal Prohibition laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    * a year long

    An hour long discussion about current drug policy, but looking back at the 1930s...

    Damn computer...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Jay (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    ... Damn errors!

    The next two posts were due to the same errors in connection. Sorry folks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    Of course we face consequences for breaking a law, but that still does not make the law correct or in anyway should discourage us from breaking it if it is wrong. Please read up on Gandhi and see how passive resistance freed India.

    I never said we should break laws because we disagree with them, rather when a law is obviously broken we should not follow it. It is wrong to believe a few people with power and opinions should be able to force their will on citizens when it is clear that it is not about protecting rights rather legislating their particular brand of morality.

    What you have to say about Prohibition is clearly wrong and uniformed. Please read up about Prohibition and what lead to its repeal. To think that if everyone agreed with the Prohibition and followed it that we would have repealed it anyways shows a profound lack of critical thinking IMHO.

    Speaking of logical fallacy arguments, your appeal to authority is not only misplaced it is rather ridiculous considering what history has taught us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 1:54am

    Re: Well, yeah...

    Gabriel Tane wrote:

    Yes, you can change laws... through the proper channels and courses of action. You can't just ignore it and say "well, it should be changed anyway".

    Hmmm ... isnít that exactly what a group of folks in a certain British colony did in about 1776 or so? Decide they were simply going to throw away the laws of their ruling Government and come up with their own?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 6:13am

    Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    So we should secede from the US as those colonists did from Great Brittan because we feel we're being unjustly restrained by these copyright laws without being given proper representation?

    Are you saying we should revolt and declare ourselves independent because we feel ANY of our laws are unjust and our interests are not being given fair representation?

    Fine. I'll stand right next to you on that field so long as the laws in question are restraining people's right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness... something truly unjust. I think copyright laws are a little below the cut for that though. My point is that ignoring laws just because YOU feel they are wrong, as an individual, is presumptuous and egotistical. How is your interpretation of right and wrong any better than anyone else's?

    If you want an unjust law changed or removed, take action towards that end... but just saying "nah, I disagree, I'm going to do this anyway", and then decrying the consequences, is wrong. That's not revolutionary; it's antisocial behavior, egocentric to think your opinion is the one that's right, and (in my opinion) stems from our societies modern over-inflated sense of entitlement... "I don't like this, so it should be changed to make me happy..."

    You can argue all you want that that's what the speakeasy's did back in Prohibition, but you better remember to mention all the crime that came with it. The tight grip that organized crime held over some of the largest American cities and the many people who suffered and died because of that crime. Don't just gloss over to the happier parts of that story.

    Now, look at the marijuana movement. There is strong political pressure being brought in quite a few areas (fairly peacefully, I might add) to change the laws that truly were misguided in the first place. But all the people out there who break the law by growing, trading in, or consuming marijuana are still subject to that law if caught. I won't look at someone who smokes pot and say "OMG!!! Scofflaw! Get 'em!!!". But I will say "you WERE breaking the law..." if they get arrested for it. It's your choice if you want to break that law you disagree with... but prepare to face the consequences. The consequences for pot is a variable array of fines and/or jail time... for speakeasies, it was rampant crime due to the criminalization of alcohol... for a bunch of colonists who felt taxation without representation was too unjust, it was a bloody, deadly war that cost 50,000 separatist casualties and $151 million in debt that took until the 1790's to pay off.

    And to the point I FIRST made to Mike about "does it even matter if the CR & TM laws are in place on this software", yes it does matter. We can wax philosophic all we want about right and wrong of revolutionary behavior and effecting change... but my point was that you can't argue about one party abusing a law and then expect that the law be waived just because it would benefit 'your side'. As I said... instead of us thinking that the law be waived here, Square Enix could have (and in my opinion, should have) granted a free license to the individual... their CR would still be 'protected' and the fan could continue celebrating a product that makes them happy. But just because we disagree with thier action doesn't mean the law should be waived.

     

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  31.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, yeah...

    See my other post below (above? if you're viewing chronologically) for my opinion on the rights and wrongs of prohibition, et al.

    As for appeal to authority... sorry, doesn't apply to my argument. An appeal to authority has nothing to do with 'the authority to govern' or 'the authorities'. The 'authority' that this logical fallacy references is an 'expert in the field' or 'someone with authority on the subject'. Since I wasn't referencing someone I thought had the authority to back up my statements, to which authority was making an appeal? If you're going to pick a logical fallacy to throw at me, make sure it fits the argument.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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