Make A Counterstrike Map Of A Montreal Metro Station, Get Threatened With $50,000 Fine

from the let's-make-decisions-based-on-our-worst-fears dept

The intangible fear that something might go wrong at an undefinable point in the future tends to paralyze bureaucratic entities, reducing them blurting out bizarre statements based on flawed logic and paranoiac "what if" theories. At times, this sort of thought process seems almost rational -- when it comes to public areas, sometimes you can't be too careful.

At other times, however, these arguments border on hysteria strained through myopia, like this recent dustup over the hallowed halls of the Montreal metro station.
Despite its age and popularity, there has apparently never been a Counter-Strike map specifically set in the Great White North. Diego Liatis and some friends thus decided to take the job on themselves, and came up with what appears to be a pretty decent rendition of Montreal's Berri-UQAM station. But the work has attracted the attention of the city's transit authority, and not in a good way.

Liatis requested permission to recreate the station in January, but the STM refused to grant it. He went ahead with the design anyway, because he doesn't believe he can be legally forbidden from recreating a public space.
Well, no matter what Liatis believes, the Société de transport de Montreal (STM) believes Liatis can't. Or, considering the fact that he's already completed his map, the STM strongly believes that he shouldn't. Why? Well, because bad stuff could conceivably happen.
"[The STM] told me that they feared the game could create panic among the city's public transit users," he said.
What a very strange fear to have. First off, this statement seems to indicate that a) many public transit users play Counter-Strike and b) they would be unduly panicked if they happened across a realistic map of the metro station. Now, I understand the half-baked rationale behind this fear, one that quickly hardens into a "first-person-shooter + map of real life area = TERROR" flavorless paté of Safety Above All Else. I really do. All it takes is one shooter in the Metro at any point in time after the release of this map into the wild to make STM forever rue the day it failed to halt this effort in its tracks. Preemptive action must be taken to ensure that this day never comes (even if it was never going to arrive anyway).

To show it means business, STM has threatened Liatis with a $50,000 fine (plus court costs) if the map is released. And to show it really means business, it has also played the always-available-but-rarely-required IP card.
Liatis said he received a letter from the Société de transport de Montreal saying its doesn't want its "copyrighted metro network" to appear the game and that it will consider legal action against him if the map, which is still in development for Counter-strike: Global Offensive, is released.
Good old copyright. When regular fines just aren't enough of a deterrent, there's always the vague threat of copyright infringement to shut down activity you don't approve of. True, there are a lot of design elements within the station (and its Counterstrike counterpart) that would fall under this protection. But it seems like STM's first concern is with "panic" and it's only wielding the Copyright Stick as backup in case it has trouble proving a banal subway map will result in "panicked" Metro riders. It's a remarkably efficient way to shut down something that is feared irrationally without having to entertain logical arguments to the contrary.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 10:56am

    Suddenly I feel the urge to participate in a global effort to make Counterstrike maps of every single public facility in the world while making them available via torrents in TPB just to laugh while distressed officials try to take the internet down "because of the children!" or something.

    And I don't play Counterstrike or any 1st-person-shooter.

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:06am

    Meh, its not like you can use CS to train to attack a real-life place.

    There's no aimbots or wallhacks in real life.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:45am

      Re:

      its not like you couldnt just walk through it every day in meatspace taking mental notes...


      nah, too much work!

       

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      identicon
      Bob, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 2:00pm

      Re: err, the Feds think differently

      Ten years ago, So Cal, large corporate office bldg.
      Sys admins, other I.T. staff build a half-life mod of their bldg., extremely detailed. The objective was to kill all upper mgt. and various other ppl they were not fond of. They did this on their workstations. It was found.
      The Feds grilled them, eventually let them go. They were all fired.

      The military make scale representations of targets, and train in them, why not CS? They even recruit through a free FPS.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 2:49pm

        Re: Re: err, the Feds think differently

        "Ten years ago, So Cal, large corporate office bldg."
        Private property.
        A definite no-no.

        The transit systems of almost all cities are municipal (ie: Public) property.

         

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          nasch (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:22pm

          Re: Re: Re: err, the Feds think differently

          Private property.
          A definite no-no.


          Playing the game on the employer's computers, no-no. What is wrong with making a digital model of private property?

           

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    Legal basis?

    I doubt they have a leg to stand on.

    First, what's their legal basis for the threatened fine? They can't just arbitrarily ding random people for thousands of dollars; there'd need to be some law they alleged he violated.

    And second, the copyright claim should fall swiftly to an argument pointing out that use of copyrighted architectural features in a game level, rather than a real-world building, is clearly transformative, and furthermore that such a use does not compete with the architect in his market.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

      Re: Legal basis?

      That's what I was a little confused about is how they can go after a gaming platform for displaying architectual copyrighted material when Google Earth, Mapquest, GPS, etc have been doing that for years? There is no way those places all pay license fees for everything. Why would doing it "in a video game" suddenly become a breach?

       

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        cpt kangarooski, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 2:07pm

        Re: Re: Legal basis?

        The Berne convention requires that architectural works be copyrightable. In the US, exceptions at 17 USC 120 and 107 might apply and be useful for the level designer, but I don't know what they do in Canada.

         

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      SUNWARD (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:42pm

      Re: Legal basis?

      A few.

      The logo that may be trademark. The map of the system that may be copyright protected.

      Tough as most of this may pass for fair use. And remember this is under Canadian law. So with the new law that was passed, I doubt this law suit would succeed.

      As for the 50,000 fine, I think something is lost in translation. That may be the maximum, but I don't think it would work.

       

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      PRMan, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 1:02pm

      Re: Legal basis?

      "They can't just arbitrarily ding random people for thousands of dollars; there'd need to be some law they alleged he violated."

      Yeah, they're in Canada, not the US!

       

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    crade (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Copyright? Like as if they were trying to prevent someone from recreating an actual transit station that copied it's design rather than a picture of one right?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:00pm

    Bah I'm off to go make a map of the Montreal Metro Station just because I can.

    Maybe they'll sue me for everything I'm not worth rofl.

     

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    NoahVail (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    Dear STM Board Members;
    One of your descendants could - against all good parenting - grow up to become a notorious terrorist.

    What preemptive measure should we take to prevent that?

    Sincerely,
    the Very Cautious Citizenry.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

      Re:

      Or worse... they have a vast knowledge of the interworkings of the place. They are probably the most likely suspects. Do any of the designers/workers play Counterstrike? If so we may need to investigate them as terrorists right?!

       

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      KMB, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 4:48am

      Re: Prevention measures

      As a precaution against unwanted possible terrorist activities all members of the STM Board and operations have to arrive at their doctors within 2 days to become neutered as soon as possible to avoid a possible terrorist infiltration.

      No kids = no terrorists.

      In case there are already children, please send those to the neuterisation to avoid unwanted terrorism in other places.

      This must be unfortunately done to avoid further spread of terrorism.

      And in case this message will be ignored, please let it be known that I have the full genetic profile and thus the copyright to all human bodies and can sue therefore at any time.

      Sincerely,

      Person-Next-Door

       

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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    Did they threaten Google?

    I haven't looked, but I bet the map shows up on Google Earth, and I think I heard about them showing internal views of public spaces like stations and shopping malls. Seems like a serious copyright and terrorist threat to me.

    Tourist brochures, city maps, transportation websites, Oh Noes!

    /s

     

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    Travis, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:10pm

    Idiocy reigns

    First off, wouldn't you rather some wannabe terrorist getting his rocks off on a game INSTEAD of real life?

    Secondly, when I was younger and had more time, I had desire to build a DOOM map of the downtown +15 in Calgary and the malls that are linked to it. That would've been cool (I still think it would be cool) there's just something about playing a game in something that could be like real life.

    After all, people play lasertag and paintball for that very reason. Playing it digitally is alot less painful and sweaty. :)

     

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      Yakko Warner (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

      Re: Idiocy reigns

      When I was in college, I played a lot of Doom, and maps of various college campuses were plentiful and a lot of fun to play on. Never did find one for my particular campus, but I thought it'd be fun to make one. Of course, if I tried that today, I would be arrested for being a "terroristic threat": http://www.joystiq.com/2007/05/02/student-arrested-for-making-a-map-of-his-school/

      Oddly enough, it's when I hear about people being prosecuted for doing perfectly normal things that I get the urge to be violent in real life.

       

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        PRMan, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 1:05pm

        Re: Re: Idiocy reigns

        As much as everyone wants to call it idiocy, I had a group of friends that did make the campus into a map in Doom.

        While at first it was just harmless fun, eventually they got really dark about it, talking about how much fun it would be to do it in real life and what teachers and fellow students they would kill or spare.

        So, while I still think it should be legal, I understand the reactions and fear as clearly a couple of my classmates couldn't separate fantasy from reality very well.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 2:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: Idiocy reigns

          The inability of your classmates to differentiate between real life and their fantasies has nothing whatsoever to do with making game maps. Not only that, but trying to prevent the making of the aforementioned game maps will not stop any possible real world violence.

          As such, your empathy directed at this idiotic reaction by public officials reflects poorly on you.

           

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      jimjam, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:30pm

      Re: Idiocy reigns

      "Playing it digitally is a lot less painful and sweaty"

      not the way I play

       

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    gnudist, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    I seem to be palming my face a lot lately.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    I, like thousands of people, make my way to Berry-Uqam each day as part of my commute.

    It's a public space, that can be visited by ANYONE at ANY TIME. I certainly don't feel any safer that this map isn't out there and I certainly won't give much of a damn if it does.

    The metros have MAPS in them.

    Next you'll be telling me that Deus Ex Human Revolution will be losing it's 'Montreal' level due to copyright infringement and worries that terrorists will take over the stadium...

     

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    Anonymouse, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

    While we're at it, I guess we should ban all flight simulator games that contain realistic cities with buildings. Since.. you know... Terrorists!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    they're only doing it because they can, to instill the very same thing they say they are worried might happen, ie fear and because they have the money to back up the ridiculous claims. Jesus, this 'there is a terrorist hiding behind every conceivable object, waiting to blow the shit out of everyone/everything really can go a bit OTT!

     

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    DogBreath, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 1:33pm

    Still not as bad as the Newcastle Tramway Authority

    Where they "up the ante" quite a bit:

    http://i.imgur.com/uBX8ktx.jpg

     

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    MrWilson, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    Ironically, the only threat this project has inspired is the one from the STM.

    When government agencies can financially "terrorize" creative people over empty moral panics, you've got bigger problems than people playing FPS games set in realistic locations.

     

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    johnny canada, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    I just hope the maps where in French ONLY or they can be in real trouble.

     

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    Pickle Monger (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Oy-vey!

    Here in Montreal, we the people apparently are given to panic over a lot of things. For example, just the other day, Quebec Office of the French Language (which usually only throws hissy fits upon seeing anything written in English) sent a nastygram to the owner of Buonanotte (an Italian restaurant in the trendy Plateau area) complaining about too many Italian words on the menu. Next thing you know, they are going to request us all to change our given names to something non-possibly-panic-inducing, i.e. Frenchier. The way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    Here's hoping a ton of Gamers who actually know how to Mod stuff go bonkers and start making all kinds of Gaming Mods that take place in Montreal.

     

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    Pickle Monger (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 2:38pm

    Feeling a little dead inside?

    Here's a thought: "Warm Bodies" was filmed in Montreal. Are we supposed to be flipping out about possible zombie invasion when we recognise the scenery in the movie?

     

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      sam-12, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 5:29am

      Re: Feeling a little dead inside?

      the zombies are here! they are all in control of everything!

      Wear helmets with studs, protect your brain at all cost!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 3:30pm

    I used to be an STM rider, I'm happily not part of that anymore. Even though they claim to be one of the best transit authorities in North America (2010), they're most likely one of the worse. Having lived in many big cities, I can vouch for that theory.

    That being said, they're a company that blames their users for their employee's incompetence, hires racists and xenophobes to work with the public (and admit it), fail to follow their own rules (you can't film in the metro if your camera is on a tripot - unless you work for the STM, media included)...

    They even filmed part of a zombie movie last year (I can't find it now) in a different station close to that one, they put up signs saying that if you took X hallway you automatically agreed to be in the zombie movie.

    They're just mad they're not making any profit, end of story. You can't pay the dude mopping the floor 25$/h if you don't make a few extra bucks on the side. They're just hypocrites.

     

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    Chris-Mouse (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 3:38pm

    STM has no case.

    Canadian Copyright Act, Bill C-42
    Section 32.2 (1)(b)(i)

    32.2 (1) It is not an infringement of copyright
    (b) for any person to reproduce, in a paintng, drawing, engraving, photograph or cinematographic work
    (i) an architectural work, provided the copy is not in the nature of an architectural drawing or plan
    .

    A transit station is an architectural work. The game would count as a cinematographic work, and thus is very specifically exempted by the law

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:28pm

    Metro Station, lost without a Trace.
    Next stop, Ashland High.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 4:31am

    If only Anonymous would hax and leak it he may not be legally responsible. Hint hint.

     

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    special interesting, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 11:27am

    I think each generation has to deal with the “chain everyone to the bed because its to dangerous to get up” syndrome. Think of the insurance liabilities that can be reduced!

    At some level we except the risks of everyday life and get on with it. As a society we need to accept each others individual presence/existence. Cant we all just get along? When was the last time your heard that? What are we but just a bunch of adolescents fighting in the sandbox?

    Not quite off topic: The reason (good) laws are written such that only the physical act of hurting, damaging, killing, stealing, etc is because there is no possible way to distinguish absolutely from what people say or talk about. What people say and do are (almost) entirely unrelated. Most everyone (well, at least me) does not even understand themselves let alone their relation to society or the world. Just trying to explain it is so hard that the concept of “preemptive action” just makes my mind twist up.

    Preemptive action is not fair, reasonable nor polite (and used in this way likely intrudes upon individual rights). It is a war mentality that contradicts the very existence of even society itself. This is NOT war and if it was who is the opposition? What was harmed physically?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 3:33pm

    semi related topic

    Has anyone actually copyrighted all previous acts of terror? so when copycat acts are performed. they then have more legal heavies to throw around charges, should the instigators ever get caught.

     

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    Miff (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 4:21am

    I don't play CS, but as a Team Fortress 2 player I can't help but think a real-world building would make a terrible game map gameplay-design-wise.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 8:59pm

    Make it for CS 1.6

     

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    W Robison, Mar 29th, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Really?

    So let me get this straight, movies like Olympia Fallen and countless others depicting destruction of Americas infrastructure, buildings and history is OK? But all hell breaks loose from a map?

     

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