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.