by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 1st 2011 2:10pm
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 8th 2011 10:46am
from the pros-and-cons dept
JESSE SCHELL: And what will that world be like? Well, I think it'll be like this: You get up in the morning to brush your teeth and the toothbrush can sense that you’re brushing your teeth, and so, hey [BELL TONE], good job for you! [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] Ten points for brushing your teeth. And it can measure how long, and you’re supposed to brush ‘em for three minutes, and you did. And so you get a bonus for that. Hey [BELL TONE], you brushed your teeth every day this week, another bonus. All right, and who cares? The toothpaste company, the toothbrush company; the more you brush, the more toothpaste you use. They have a vested financial interest. So then you go and you get on the bus. The bus, why am I taking the bus? You’re taking the bus because the government has started giving out [BELL TONE] all kinds of bonus points to people who use public transportation, and you can use these points for, for tax incentives. And you get to work [BELL TONE] on time, good job. You, you get a, a special bonus. So then you go to lunch and you've had Dr. Peppers all week, and so you know you got to have another Dr. Pepper ‘cause you get 10 points [BELL TONE], 10 points [BELL TONE], 10 points [BELL TONE], 10 points, and then you'll have another one [BELL TONE]. You know there’s a special with Dr. Pepper this week. If you have five Dr. Peppers in a week [BELL TONE], 500 bonus points, so you definitely have to take advantage of that.Obviously, some of those things may strike some people as "good" and some may strike some people as "bad." But either way, understanding the likelihood of these things coming about is important, and you can see the full (extremely entertaining) video below.
And then you've got a meeting at another building that’s a half a mile away. And you could take the shuttle over but you decide, I'm gonna walk because the health insurance plan that you’re on [BELL TONE] gives you bonus points if you walk like more than a mile each day, and we can sense that easily, you know, through your digital shoes. And if you get your heart rate up [BELL TONE] above a certain, a certain amount, then you get more bonus points from your health insurance company. So then you’re going shopping on the way home, and man, this is like a place you can get a lot of points, and it’s really complicated so you let your like your app figure it out. It like looks at all the point systems you have, it looks at what you want and then it tells you which ones to buy [BELL TONE] in order to get, ooh, wow, a lot of points, just because I make good choices shopping. And then you get home and your daughter’s like, oh, I got my report card. And you’re like [BELL TONE] oh, good job. I mean, you’re getting 2,000 points from the state for getting’ such good grades, and [BELL TONE] [LAUGHS] you’re getting 5,000 as a parent from the Obama bonus for the good parenting bonus, which you’re excited ‘cause you can use that as tax relief. And then you say, hey, wait a minute, wait a minute, did you practice your piano? And she’s like, yeah, I practiced my piano. Well, what score did you get? It’s like, oh, well, I got 150,000. A hundred and fifty thousand, that’s the best you've ever had on that particular [BELL TONE] sonata. That’s 9,000 points given by the Arts Council for your scholarship fund, so go you. Right?
Update: Or, as pointed out in the comments, it could all end up like this comic....
by Michael Ho
Fri, Feb 25th 2011 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- Gamification should make tasks challenging, so that humans actually feel a sense of accomplishment when they finish them. On the other hand, a bot doesn't feel accomplishment. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever... [url]
- Humans can try to come up with simple tasks that computers can't do -- and the history of the CAPTCHA apparently starts in 1997. If only CAPTCHAs were more fun to do... [url]
- Game designers are always trying to get into the "flow zone" to make their games more addictive. Hmm. "The famous GRE test is a good example of design based on the concept of the Flow Zone." [url]
- To find some cool online games, check out what StumbleUpon has found to play. [url]
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 22nd 2011 1:47pm
from the i'll-trade-you-some-wheat-for-a-clue dept
So I was interested a few weeks ago when Michael Weinberg, a lawyer at Public Knowledge, put up a discussion about whether or not there was an IP violation in doing 3D printings of Catan pieces. He explained why there actually was no actual violations there. In reading that, I realized that most of the same arguments would apply to software as well... and like magic, someone popped up in the comments to that post, noting that he had written an Android clone of Catan, and their lawyers had forced it down. Weinberg has now written a detailed explanation of why the lawyers for Catan are flat-out wrong and are abusing intellectual property law to stifle competition.
You should read the whole thing, but the key points are that only parts of the game are covered by copyright: the graphics, for example. But if you're using different graphics, you should be fine. The Android app was using different graphics. Board game rules are also not copyrightable, as they're like a recipe. Catan's lawyers claim that their rules are covered by copyright because the rules "create a protectable fable." Weinberg points out that this is "simply ridiculous." He walks through the fable, and breaks it down piece by piece to show how it's not copyrightable at all.
Although this assertion is highly questionable as a general principle, in this case it is simply ridiculous. As far as I can tell the "fable" in question is this:Then there's the trademark claim. Clearly, "Settlers of Catan" is covered by trademark, so if you were offering a product by the same name, that's in violation. But the Android app was called "Island Settlers" which is not infringing. Catan's lawyers claimed that because the developer mentions Catan, that makes it trademark infringement, but that's ludicrous. If you are accurately describing that a game is "like" Catan, there's no trademark infringement. In fact, you're specifically showing that there's no likelihood of confusion, because you're admitting that the games are not from the same source. As Weinberg notes, it's perfectly legal, if you're selling replacement parts for a Toyota Camry to mention that they work for a Camry, and thus it's perfectly legal to say you've made a game like Catan, or which matches with Catan, and not violate the trademark.Players are recent immigrants to the newly populated island of Catan. Expand your colony through the building of settlements, roads, and villages by harvesting commodities from the land around you. Trade sheep, lumber, bricks and grain for a settlement, bricks and wood for a road, or try to complete other combinations for more advanced buildings, services and specials.Everything beyond the first sentence simply describes the gameplay. The first sentence "Players are recent immigrants to the newly populated island of Catan" is far from a wildly original piece of storytelling, and may not be able to be protected by copyright at all. Even if you could protect that one sentence with copyright, if that sentence allows Catan to protect its game then "Nations are at war, fighting to control the globe" would protect Go, Chess, Checkers, Risk, Connect Four, and just about any board game in the world. Maybe even Catan. There is very little by way of original work to protect in that "fable," and certainly nothing to extend to the rules of Settlers of Catan. I am willing to bet that very few lawyers would be willing to make Catan's assertion in front of a judge.
Unfortunately, the lawyers toss out all sorts of otherwise incorrect information and claims about intellectual property law, and the developer admits that, even if they're wrong, he feels he has no choice but to give up, because he can't afford to fight any sort of lawsuit, no matter how bogus it might be.
As Weinberg points out, this is the worst kind of legal bullying:
The email exchange between Catan and Neil is the worst kind of ignorant (let's assume it was ignorance) legal bullying. It is full of patently incorrect or misleading statements of US law, punctuated by threats to pull the developer into court if he fails to submit. It is a shameful example of a company trying to control what the law does not allow it to control by relying on fear and an inability to afford to go to court.Tragically, this how much of the law works today.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 21st 2011 5:22pm
from the society-today... dept
"We're definitely not going to pursue legal action. While I think the similarities are pretty nauseating, we're too small to take on a company like Capcom. That, and we owe them one for inventing Mega Man, so we'll let them slide. I just hope they're not counting on the fact that indies can't fight back.What's also interesting is that Capcom seems to recognize that it's own reputation was seriously harmed by this copying, and has put out a statement saying that it hoped to "rebuild the trust of our fans and friends in the gaming community."
"In general, anything that would take our focus off of making games would be a bad decision, I think. We just need to keep our heads down making the next thing so that Capcom has something to steal next year. But I have to say, the amount of support we've seen in the last 12 hours on Twitter and over email has been awesome, and I think that's better than wining [sic] a stupid lawsuit or anything like that.
Once again it looks like social mores and social pressure can be a hell of a lot more effective (not to mention cheaper) than any lawsuit.
from the more-fun-on-screen? dept
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Sep 16th 2010 1:48pm
Indie Game Developer Points Out That It's Better To Give People Reasons To Buy Than Worry About 'Piracy'
from the figuring-things-out dept
Instead of just relying on guilt tripping pirates into buying, or wasting time and money trying to stop them, I can offer online-only services that actually add to the game experience. Online level saving, centralized skins, friends lists and secure name verification for multiplayer. None of these features can be accessed by people with pirated versions of the game, and hopefully they can be features that turn pirates from thieves into potential customers.He also notes that the impact of unauthorized copies is somewhat ambiguous:
If someone pirates Minecraft instead of buying it, it means I've lost some "potential" revenue. Not actual revenue, as I can never go into debt by people pirating the game too much, but I might've made even more if that person had bought the game instead. But what if that person likes that game, talks about it to his or her friends, and then I manage to convince three of them to buy the game? I'd make three actual sales instead of blocking out the potentially missed sale of the original person which never cost me any money in the first case.In the end, he makes the same point we've tried to make here for years: worrying about and fighting unauthorized copies just doesn't seem to be nearly as productive an approach as focusing on ways to actually give people reasons to buy. He doesn't support "piracy," but suggests that it's happening, and there are much better ways of dealing with it than fighting it. Nice to see more people recognizing this key point.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 2nd 2010 1:05pm
Twilight Producers Aggressive IP Enforcement Strikes Again: Temporarily Shut Down Silly 8-Bit YouTube Game
from the oh-come-on dept
So... it didn't take long for Summit to issue a DMCA takedown on the game, which caused the game to disappear. Thankfully, however, after a conversation between Summit and the game makers, the game has been put back up. But, again, it does seem problematic when we need to live in such a permission culture, where doing something creative like this leads to takedowns and legal threats.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 2nd 2009 5:49am
from the when-will-they-learn dept
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 10th 2009 1:25pm