Rockstar Joins Other Publishers In Misusing Copyright Law To Go After Cheat Developers For GTA5

from the attack-the-hack dept

For some time now, we've noted a troubling trend in the video games industry. That trend would be publishers trying to twist copyright law into a pretzel that allows them sue makers of cheat software for copyright infringement. This novel application of copyright law has been piloted by Blizzard and Epic Games in the past. Both company's theory of the case for copyright infringement revolves around their games being licensed instead of sold, with the EULA being broken by utilizing cheat software. If the EULA is broken and the cheat-maker still makes use of the game, they do so without a license. Therefore, copyright infringement.

This, of course, is not how copyright law is supposed to work. Instead, the point of the law is to prevent unauthorized copying of the product, which is absolutely not the practical result of what these cheat-makers are doing. And, yet, the trend continues, with Rockstar Games winning a summary judgement in the UK against two individuals who developed cheats for Grand Theft Auto 5.

At the Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court, Rockstar and its parent company Take-Two Interactive filed a complaint against several people connected to the now-defunct “Epsilon” cheat. Epsilon was a so-called ‘mod menu’ which offered players significant advantages. The game companies reportedly shut down the cheat in 2018 and identified five men connected to it. They were accused of copyright infringement by creating and distributing the software.

Three of the five settled with Rockstar out of court. The other two, however, defended themselves by both noting that they included a disclaimer of liability to those making use of their software and that the tools they used to make their cheats are widely and publicly available on the internet. The court didn't buy either argument and found for Rockstar in summary judgement. The court did likewise on breach of contract (the EULA) and inducement to breach that contract, except on the former for one defendent, who is a minor.

All in all, the court ruled in favor of Rockstar and Take-Two, granting summary judgment for copyright infringement against the two men. This means that the case won’t go to trial.

Both defendants were also accused of (inducement of) breach of contract and breach of contract. The court sided with the game companies here as well, except for the breach of contract claim against one of the two, who was a minor at the time of the offense.

Left unexamined appears to be why any of this is actually copyright infringement to begin with. And, if the court truly thinks it is, why the entire modding ecosystem isn't suddenly one big cesspool of copyright infringement. The law doesn't care whether a game is online or not. Either mods are appropriate fodder for copyright law or they are not.

One wonders if companies like Rockstar understand the potential harm they are doing to their industry by going down this road.

Filed Under: cheats, copyright, eula, grand theft auto 5
Companies: rockstar games, take two interactive


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2020 @ 8:40pm

    Hello? Report on Vorhies and his Google doc dump, asap.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2020 @ 9:25pm

    Re:

    Who, what, and why?

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2020 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Re:

    Just the latest imaginary scandal.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2020 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Doesn't exactly answer my question, but yeah.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2020 @ 11:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    soy.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2020 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He dumped Google docs. You can download them. But your other questions are too vague. what what? I mean, google, it's a company, documents, they're documents, there are various kinds. Your questions seem very odd, very strange, as if you don't know English at all!

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

  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    conor mcgregor, 13 Feb 2020 @ 11:15pm

    Download mozilla firefox latest version mozilla firefox i am also using this search web browser,i think you really like that.

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

  8. icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 12:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "He dumped Google docs."

    Who is he? Why does he have any credibility? How do we know the docs are genuine? How does this different from the last document dump that you guys furiously masturbated over, but turned out to say nothing like what your echo chambers pretended they did?

    You need to start answering these questions rather than try to hijack irrelevant threads with your fantasies.

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

  9. icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 12:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You forgot to finish your sentence. I think you mean to say "soy tonto completo", or something similar.

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

  10. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 4:12am

    But your other questions are too vague.

    Who is “Vorhies”?

    What is the substance of his “document dump”?

    Why should anyone care about who he is or what he dumped?

    There, those should be specific enough for you to dodge completely.

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

  11. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 4:15am

    One wonders if companies like Rockstar understand the potential harm they are doing to their industry by going down this road.

    Even if they do understand, the bigger question is whether they care about said harm. At this point, I don’t think they do.

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

  12. icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 4:16am

    Re:

    "Why should anyone care about who he is or what he dumped?"

    I can answer that: according to a link he spammed on another thread while whining about this, it seems his source is Project Veritas. So, not worth the time any of us spent reading his comment.

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 5:26am

    Re:

    Is your comment relevant to the topic at hand, if so - how?

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

  14. icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 5:46am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, FFS.... I just checked the link he pointlessly spammed in the other thread and he really is on about that one. I assumed he was falling for a new round of the same bullshit from a new "leak", not whining that Techdirt wasn't covering something that was roundly debunked 6 months ago.

    That's a new low, even for these guys.

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

  15. icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re:

    Update, and reminder for everyone: he didn't fall for a new PV hoax, he fell for one from last year. No wonder he refused to provide context.

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

  16. icon
    Koby (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 6:24am

    Harm, or Awesome?

    One wonders if companies like Rockstar understand the potential harm they are doing to their industry by going down this road.

    The actual players and customers, meanwhile, are cheering the ruling. The GTA5 cheaters are viewed as pond scum by much of the community because of the disruption a single cheater will cause to the map. I don't forsee this as harm; Rockstar will likely see increased game sales in the future if they continue this action, and will be beloved by the playerbase.

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

  17. icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 6:36am

    Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    "The actual players and customers, meanwhile, are cheering the ruling"

    Only if they don't understand the objections. The issue isn't stopping cheaters, the issue is using copyright to do it. They have other tools. Doing it this way opens up to abuse to stop legitimate actions that don't have anything to do with cheating.

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

  18. icon
    Koby (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    After playing GTA5 for several years, I can personally promise you that they don't care about the objections. Stopping the torment of the cheaters would be acceptable through any means necessary. Perhaps other means are possible, but the cheaters are currently so despised that the legitimate players are perfectly okay with it.

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

  19. icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    "Stopping the torment of the cheaters would be acceptable through any means necessary."

    Presumably right up until the time that they're playing a different game, but the precedent here is negatively affecting what they want to do that time around.

    They might not care or understand now, but the will after it's too late if this stuff goes the wrong way. Which is why it's important for those who do understand to criticise what's happening, even if some people are too busy playing to care.

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

  20. icon
    deadspatula (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    Ignoring the absurdity that you are using your personal views to speak for an average of 60K players active online at any given time -

    None of the playerbase's views make it legal to abuse copyright to achieve these ends, nor moral to use copyright as a bludgeon to stack monetary damages on to breach of contract claims.

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

  21. identicon
    Glen, 14 Feb 2020 @ 7:08am

    Re:

    It's like you don't even know me.

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

  22. identicon
    Glen, 14 Feb 2020 @ 7:10am

    Re:

    The only Voorhees or Vorhies I worry about is Jason Voorhees.

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 7:10am

    Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    The issue isn't stopping cheaters, the issue is using copyright to do it.

    As a gamer myself, I wouldn't believe that my fellow gamers have such high regard for nuance.... For most of them the ends justify the means. Just look at Nintendo's current policy of permabanning Switches from getting system updates for cheating users.

    Doing it this way opens up to abuse to stop legitimate actions that don't have anything to do with cheating.

    Very true. As the article claims, MODs are at risk here, and we've already seen crackdowns on things like fan-translations, fan games, and even fair use rights. (YouTube review or commentary videos for example.) The industry is desperate to stomp out any unofficial content no-matter what it is or where it came from.

    "Pay and look, but don't expand on, fantasize, or communicate about it." - AAA Game Industry

    Doing it this way opens up to abuse to stop legitimate actions that don't have anything to do with cheating.

    I'll address the elephant in the room: WHY can one player's actions turn the entire multiplayer experience on it's head? WHY are the player's actions so heavily trusted by the other clients? This is basic state syncing for crying out loud. What's the point of all of the other systems running an instance of the game world if they cannot use that information to override and prohibit a bad actors influence by majority rule? The PC games of yore didn't have this issue. This issue is a recent one. It's almost as if the programmers promising these "unparalleled multiplayer experiences" have intentionally allowed the bad actors to run rampant unopposed. Meanwhile any attempt to correct their "mistakes", such as via MODing the game / replacing it's engine outright / replacing the matchmaking server / social engineering / etc., are violently (via the legal system) opposed at every turn. It seems like they intentionally want this crap to happen, and given it's allowing them to expand the abuse of copyright in the courts, I can see a good reason why they'd want to.

    This crap needs to stop, and gamers should be demanding real technical fixes for cheaters not a game of legal whackamole.

    Of course, that won't happen, but it should.

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

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 7:21am

    Point of the law

    Instead, the point of the law is to prevent unauthorized copying of the product

    No! The point is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". Preventing unathorized copying is the (increasingly dubious) means by which it tries to achieve that goal.

    It seems vaguely plausible, though quite unlikely, that this "cheat" software Rockstar dislike will cause fewer games to be created. While it might shift the market toward different kinds games, people have been creating games for more than 4500 years (long before copyright law) and will continue to do so.

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

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 7:36am

    Re:

    how can you have access to the Internet, and a large part of human knowledge, and still remain as uniformed as you are?

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

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re:

    r/uniformed/uninformed

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

  27. icon
    Koby (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    First, I'm not only using my personal views, I'm telling you that practically every 30-person game lobby will hurl insults, and then leave the game upon interacting with a cheater. It's more than just me, and the game devs can see the negative impact.

    Second, I'm not saying that filing copyright infringement charges against cheat program devs IS okay, I'm just commenting on the optics of the situation. Defending the vile scum that are the cheaters, even if you can win in court, may take a toll on your reputation. This may be a battle that you don't advertise.

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

  28. icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    "Defending the vile scum that are the cheaters"

    Who's defending the cheaters?

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

  29. icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    You are using your personal views. As a gamer since the NES days, I certainly have hurled insults and droped when I encountered cheaters in a multiplayer game (GTA V isn't my jam, but Counterstrike, Team Fortress 2, Halo 3, and Rocket League have all been in rotation). While you are extrapolating Personal experience, I can accept that conclusion as generally true.

    But it is your view that those 60K average concurrent gamers will not care that bogus extra charges with a far higher penalty than the actual issue (breach of contract) are being stacked on. But I would expect that, like me, there are a number of "actual gamers" who are more broadly concerned with corporate overreach. Not to No True Scotsman my argument here, but there is a significant faction of gamers who took up the hobby before the online FPS and micro transaction boom who are very wary of the overreach of corporations into micromanaging our play that would be concerned with the power we give

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

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    Alright... let's take a step back from GTA in general. make a list in your head of known games.

    Are any of these games on your list:

    • Minecraft
    • Skyrim
    • Garry's mod
    • Fallout 4
    • Terraria
    • Starbound
    • Witcher 3

    What do all of these games have in common? Well for one thing, all of these games have modding communities. Those communities thrive due to the good will of the developers (and in the case of Garry's mod, the game itself likely wouldn't exist otherwise).

    These game may still have cheaters. Some companies have boundaries as to what mods may be allowed to do (for an example of this look at the Legal situation regarding the Skyblivion project). Despite this there is still an important fact.

    The law makes no distinction between modding and cheating. So think for a moment, what if these companies were not so encouraging toward their modding communities. Oh look, in the UK there is now a precedent to be used for that.

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

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    You had me up until you brought up your 'elephant'. Then you dropped me so hard the pavement cracked.

    "The PC games of yore" were like this too. The thing is mods are a double edged sword, they can be used both for and against you. Cheats are essentially 'bad' mods. The reason cheats are bad is because players agree they are bad when the players expect mods to not be used at all. Trying to block out the 'bad' mods can block the 'good' mods too.

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

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 9:15am

    good old UK! get's things wrong by finding the people guilty of 'copyright infringement' and every fucker else jumps straight in to do the same! mind you, i was unaware that there was a specific UK court to deal with these types of cases anyway! shows the reach of the entertainment industries, the lies they spread and the extent the 'law' will go to oblige them! shame that the Internet is totally being given over to industries that want to keep making money from decades old material, regardless of the harm done in all other areas! considering most of these industries were the instigators of 'copyright infringement' and had to relocate themselves and their businesses, the hypocrisy is astounding! still, it's surprising how 'hand in glove' these industries are with law enforcement and the courts!!

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

  33. icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    WHY are the player's actions so heavily trusted by the other clients? This is basic state syncing for crying out loud.

    Because, unless your game is effectively a streaming service with all gameplay factored on a system fully controlled by the developer/publisher with no inputs from the player, there exists a vector for abuse. State syncing is a complex weaving of the states of various clients, that is constantly anticipating the game state and throwing out bad state data. I am sure for instance that pre-processing attacks (ala Meltdown) could abuse this behavior to screw things up in hard to mitigate ways while maintaining a low-lag environment. But that kind of weaving happens because the server can trust the inputs coming from the client.

    I am sure that Rockstar might be able to do some things, like test for client modifications by comparing the executable version to a hash based on a proprietary cryptographic algorithm or some such. But game crackers have been bypassing that kind of check in anti-piracy areas for decades and full verification of hundreds of files over 56GB of data would take longer than I am sure gamers want to wait, which is why we use MD5/SHA-1 Hashing for download verification. VAC-style anticheat software to try to find software running outside the game client which might spoof inputs has been a constant cat and mouse game with a wide margin for false positives which is why VAC was contentious when I was playing on steam.

    It may be that ROckstar isn't working on any serious anti-cheat options, or it may be that the openness of the PC platform, a boon to emulation and modding, is continuing to pay dividends in the realm of making cheating impossible to stamp out. Im not into GTA V discussion enough to know. But Id put real permanent technical fixes for cheating on the PC platform as impossible, not merely difficult.

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

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    What, pray tell, makes it not possible to have a highly moddable multiplayer game and have proper server-authority state-synching as well?

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

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 11:10am

    The online requirement has cost them some customers.

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

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 2:56pm

    Re:

    They seem to care super deeply about that. Clearly they're scrambling to change that to stop the financial bleeding.

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

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re:

    Yup. They get paid regardless, and I still hear things like corporations have a fiduciary responsibility.

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

  38. identicon
    Rekrul, 14 Feb 2020 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    The actual players and customers, meanwhile, are cheering the ruling. The GTA5 cheaters are viewed as pond scum by much of the community because of the disruption a single cheater will cause to the map. I don't forsee this as harm; Rockstar will likely see increased game sales in the future if they continue this action, and will be beloved by the playerbase.

    The issue is that the cheat mods function in the same way as mods that you consider harmless. Therefore if cheat mods are found to violate copyright law, that means that ALL mods violate copyright law and game companies will have the power to shut down any mod that they don't like whether it's a cheat mod or not.

    Is there a mod to let you customize the HUD? Illegal! A mod to improve the graphics? Illegal! A mod improve the controls? Illegal!

    And not just for GTA, but for all games. Say a developer releases a game with a bunch of bugs in it. Some fan comes along and fixes the bugs, embarrassing the developer. Illegal!

    Oh sure you can say "Well, they would never object to *legitimate" mods..." What's a "legitimate" mod? Maybe a mod comes too close to what they plan to do themselves, so they kill it using copyright law.

    Do you really want to hand game companies the power to veto any mod that they don't like, regardless of whether it harms or enhance the game for others?

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

  39. identicon
    Rekrul, 14 Feb 2020 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    Some companies have boundaries as to what mods may be allowed to do (for an example of this look at the Legal situation regarding the Skyblivion project).

    And that's a problem. Companies shouldn't have any say over what mods get made for their games as long as those mods don't actually copy any of their content. That's what copyright was meant to cover, copying.

    Twisting it to cover things that don't actually involve copying is a bad idea.

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

  40. identicon
    Rekrul, 14 Feb 2020 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Point of the law

    No! The point is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

    While that's the stated intention of the law, that hasn't been true in practice for at least a century. Now the purpose of the law is to promote the profits of corporations and secure monopoly rights for as long as possible. You won't find a single copyright holder or politician who believes any different.

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

  41. identicon
    Rekrul, 14 Feb 2020 @ 3:57pm

    Wouldn't a valid legal defense to this have been to present a list of all the other non-cheat mods that work the same way and ask why the company isn't filing lawsuits against all of them?

    I mean, can't they rely on the precedent of modding being condoned by companies to show that they're technically not doing anything different?

    Isn't this a little like someone suing a specific crowbar company because those specific crowbars were used to break into that person's business?

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

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Answering questions and being honest is completely foreign to these folk.

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

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 6:40am

    Re:

    "Why should anyone care about who he is or what he dumped?"

    Just flush the dump, it's stinkin up the place

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

  44. icon
    tp (profile), 15 Feb 2020 @ 2:26pm

    Re:

    Fundamentally it's every person's own responsibility to ensure that the actions they're doing are legal. It's a bad defense to claim that other people are also doing the same thing. Basically that defense tries to shift blame to other people, and thus is unlikely to succeed. Plaintiff can decide themselves which criminals they want to sue -- some of them crosses the threshold where they need to be sued. If you're a copycat who clones other people's activities without ensuring first that those actions are legal, there is significant chance that you cannot execute necessary precautions against illegal activities that the original vendors have done. Thus copycats have larger chance of being sued than the original inventors of the technique.

    The situation is such that original crowbar vendors managed to check criminal records of their customers, but when you start manufacturing cloned crowbars, you accidentally forget to check customer criminal records. Thus when the criminals use those crowbars to break into buildings, you will be sued for not executing proper precautions against criminals getting access to crowbars.

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

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 2:51pm

    GTA 6...rockstar puts "we can take ALL of your bank passwords, documents, business plans and browsing history" as the EULA.

    Then sues you if you object to their data mining your entire PC.

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

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 9:43pm

    Re: Re:

    imagine unironically defending glorious chairman Google

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

  47. icon
    tp (profile), 16 Feb 2020 @ 3:03am

    Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    Do you really want to hand game companies the power to veto any mod that they don't like, regardless of whether it harms or enhance the game for others?

    Just yesturday, google decided to kill thousands of browser extensions because they were deemed to be slurping user data and spying the users. Are you claiming that companies shouldn't be allowed to fix their community when user base misuses the services provided? Of course companies that maintain the communities need to have a veto power over anything that happens in the community. Good companies do not let misuses to happen and customers experience be ruined by some idiots who want to harass other people.

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

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2020 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Point of the law

    You won't find a single copyright holder or politician who believes any different.

    Essentially everyone is a copyright holder—including you, unless you've published some legal document putting all past and future writings into the public domain.

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

  49. icon
    PaulT (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 12:07am

    Re: Re:

    "It's a bad defense to claim that other people are also doing the same thing"

    Which is not what is happening, but you'd only know that if you weren't dead set on misprespresenting this stuff.

    "The situation is such that original crowbar vendors managed to check criminal records of their customers, but when you start manufacturing cloned crowbars, you accidentally forget to check customer criminal records."

    Only in your warped mind would this type of requirement even seem possible, let alone desirable.

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

  50. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 2:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Answering questions and being honest is completely foreign to these folk."

    Assuming these "folk" are anything other than that single lonely astroturfer who has to get an anti-google rant in on at least ten boards before the day is done if he wants his 50 cents.

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

  51. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 2:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "imagine unironically defending glorious chairman Google"

    Against loose assumptions based on debunked hoaxes created by people with a vested interest in undermining "Chairman Google"?

    Yes, the normal person should logically defend "Chairman Google" against accusations which have no factual backing. There's plenty of accusations which have such backing which deserve more coherent effort, after all. I don't believe we should give much credence to accusation which have Xi jin Ping supporting Pewdiepie either.

    None of which the regular anti-google poster wants to raise because that doesn't fit their particular narrative.

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

  52. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 2:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    "Defending the vile scum that are the cheaters, even if you can win in court, may take a toll on your reputation."

    Defending?

    You know, stopping a lynch mob never meant "defending" the victim who might more often than not be a terrible guy. But just because a lynching is a quick and expedient way to cater to the baying crowd doesn't mean that it, in the end, is a good idea.

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

  53. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 2:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    ""The PC games of yore" were like this too. The thing is mods are a double edged sword, they can be used both for and against you."

    Yes and no.

    The only times a mod is a bad experience for anyone, if said mod performs as it is designed to, is if you are using it in a coop/mmorpg setting.

    But the problem with the legal precedents made is that they fuck up any form of modding or hardware-owner intervention, whether it concerns an online or offline game.

    And THAT becomes an issue.

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

  54. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 2:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    "Just yesturday, google decided to kill thousands of browser extensions because they were deemed to be slurping user data and spying the users. Are you claiming that companies shouldn't be allowed to fix their community when user base misuses the services provided?"

    If the "fix" is as easily reversible as Google where you can tell Google to go screw itself by simply changing one line in your browser, then sure.

    But your conflation of a legal mandate with a developer's personal intent is duly noted, tp.

    "Of course companies that maintain the communities need to have a veto power over anything that happens in the community."

    Which is a great argument for social platforms and an absolute crap argument when it comes to who gets to make changes in the data on a computer owned by a private individual. But you knew that when you decided to make that crap analogy.

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

  55. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 2:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Point of the law

    "Essentially everyone is a copyright holder—including you, unless you've published some legal document putting all past and future writings into the public domain."

    And that, right there, is one very good argument as to why copyright law is logically broken.

    Once you've made use of your free speech and have allowed other people to hear or read you you should no longer get to decide anything at all about what they choose to do with the information now in their possession.

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

  56. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 2:34am

    Re: Re:

    "The situation is such that original crowbar vendors managed to check criminal records of their customers, but when you start manufacturing cloned crowbars, you accidentally forget to check customer criminal records."

    You are actually using broken, nonapplicable logic which has never been true, in a way to justify an equally broken logic with attempted applications in vivo?

    If I had any doubts about your sanity, TP, they vanished once i saw you presenting your example with the analogoy of "Since we have this flying pig...".

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

  57. icon
    PaulT (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 2:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    He was presented with an example of something that would be stupid to expect in the physical world. Rather than go "oh yeah that would be stupid", he's then treated the idea of metal tool manufacturers performing background checks on end retail customers as a perfectly natural thing to expect. That's pretty spectacular delusion right there.

    As I often say, I'm not sure what planet he's living on, but I'm glad it's not the same one the rest of us inhabit.

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

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2020 @ 6:12am

    One Trick Pony

    In your mind that constitutes defending google

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

  59. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2020 @ 6:21am

    Re: Re:

    "Fundamentally it's every person's own responsibility to ensure that the actions they're doing are legal."

    Assuming you are correct, how is one to be knowledgeable of these laws they are expected to follow when some of said laws are top secret? How is one to know ahead of time how a secret court is going to rule on a secret law?
    Their silly reply about ignorance seems to come with a smirk, that in itself is unacceptable for those who purport to seek justice and the american way - lol.

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

  60. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2020 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    Just yesturday, google decided to kill thousands of browser extensions....

    Not the same thing, as all Google did was stop distributing those extensions through their store. The developers of the extensions can continue to develop them and distribute them outside of the Google store. There was no invocation of copyright law to prevent the continued development and independent distribution.

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

  61. icon
    tp (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 1:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Only in your warped mind would this type of requirement even seem possible, let alone desirable.

    When I was young, there was shops selling spray paint. It's well known that spray paint has only two kinds of customers. One is people who build bikes and want to paint them. And then there is people who want to do graffiti, which is slightly criminal activity and controlled by the laws. What happened with the shops that sell spray paint is that they actually tried to check which usage the teenagers buying spray paint was planning to use. They collected names and addresses of the people who bought the stuff, and then month later had someone check the address if the intended usage for the paints was happening. This is the only way how they could make selling spray paint to be legal and not be in trouble immediately when someone decides to use the product for something illegal.

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

  62. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 1:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your story stinks of bullshit, but even if true does not account for real life problems, such as a) the paint being used for both things, b) the paint being used by a third party for illegal purposes without the knowledge of the original buyer, c) people being denied access to something they need for perfectly legitimate uses, because the retailer is being held liable for things they haven't done. Also, you seem to be assuming that nobody is going to use the paint on a bike and sell it in less than a month, which is rather idiotic.

    Also, you are as ever getting yourself confused, because in your analogy you're referring to retailer and manufacturer interchangeably, while in real life they are very, very different.

    Once again, your story fails even the most cursory of logical tests, and if even remotely true places massive liability on innocent people, which is wrong. Where I'm from, there's an age limit on selling certain types of goods that could be misused for graffiti or substance abuse, and the retailer will be held liable if they sell to someone underage. They will not be held liable if someone misuses the product after sale, and the manufacturer will not be held liable in either case as they have no control over the end purchase.

    This is how this should be, not your nightmare dystopian fantasy world where shopkeepers have to stalk customers to avoid liability for things they didn't do.

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

  63. icon
    tp (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 2:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This is how this should be, not your nightmare dystopian fantasy world where shopkeepers have to stalk customers to avoid liability for things they didn't do.

    I don't think you understand how dangerous graffiti is. It only takes one unsculpturous shopkeeper and the whole neighbourhood is full of graffiti, ruining large number of buildings that costed hundreds of thousands to build each. Also the children who get access to the product will be in trouble, simply because the shopkeeper wanted $30 for a can of paint. Thus it's in the interest of the neighbourhood that they ask shopkeepers to do some checking against product misuses.

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

  64. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 2:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Where the hell do you live where people will spray the town with graffiti unless shopkeepers are not forced to become a special branch of law enforcement, yet the actual police don't have any powers to stop the people who are actually doing it?

    Seems to me that the problem is not whether or not you've forced third parties to spy on others.

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

  65. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 2:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "unless shopkeepers are not forced"

    are forced, slight typo there...

    But seriously, your society is unworkable unless you're constantly monitored by people outside of law enforcement? Your dystopian fantasy is a nightmare,

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

  66. icon
    tp (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 3:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    people will spray the town with graffiti unless shopkeepers are not forced to become a special branch of law enforcement

    shopkeeper's position is special, because he can control the activity before the damage happens. Police can only fix the situation after your neighbourhood buildings are ruined and everything needs repairing and children are getting sued.

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

  67. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 3:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "shopkeeper's position is special, because he can control the activity before the damage happens"

    No, he can control what happens at the point of purchase. He has no control over whether the person who bought the can goes round the corner and hands it to a teenager, if the remainder of the can is disposed of safely after use, or anything else after the sale. No matter how much free work you expect him to do, he cannot possibly stop all illegal activity.

    I will again note that you're focussing on the retailer here, whereas before you were saying this stuff was the responsibility of the manufacturer. Make up your mind.

    "Police can only fix the situation after your neighbourhood buildings are ruined"

    If you have shitty police, sure. Competent departments will usually have a reasonable idea of who's likely to be doing it and that type of kid will usually be known to them for other crimes and misdemeanours anyway.

    "children are getting sued"

    For their own actions? That's better than holding innocent third parties responsible for things they didn't do...

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

  68. icon
    tp (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 4:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I will again note that you're focussing on the retailer here, whereas before you were saying this stuff was the responsibility of the manufacturer. Make up your mind.

    manufacturer can withdraw the whole product if it turns out that it's being misused.

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

  69. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They probably can. They won't, because that's an idiotic suggestion, but they could technically do that.

    Not that it would stop vandalism. Since, not only would they be unable to recall every single unit that's left their factory, but the root cause of such behaviour is not the availability of certain types of paint. But, you have picked the least efficient, most expensive and least effective method of dealing with an issue, which is your usual method.

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

  70. icon
    tp (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 5:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the root cause of such behaviour is not the availability of certain types of paint.

    But recardless, product manufacturers, retailers, parents, teachers and all other people need to actively look for misuses of the products and do corrective actions when misuses of the products are found.

    Otherwise your paint vendor will flood the market with thousands of cans of silver paint which is suitable for nothing else than vandalism. The people who build bikes will reject the product because it's wrong colour, but the vandals want the most horrific looking bright colours they can find, so if your paint vendor is willing to help the vandals, they'll just flood the market with the product without caring about the consiquences.

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

  71. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 5:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or... people know and understand that shitty teenagers always have and always will exist, and they base their businesses and social interactions around the 99.9% of legitimate uses of their product, rather than creating an unstable supply chain and secret police / stasi network to catch a few vandals.

    It's possible that you do personally live in an area where all that stands between you and anarchy is a few cans of paint, but that's not really got much to do with whether local shopkeepers are willing to create a free spy network.

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

  72. identicon
    matt, 18 Feb 2020 @ 5:37am

    mis-use of copyright by R*? rather misunderstanding by author

    well - the author of this article obvious mis-understood what happend and why it worked out: we don't buy the games - we actually never did since the first games sold: we only ever bought a copy of the games code along with a license to use it under the terms of the developer and publisher if a dev/pub states in this license you're not allowed to modify the game but you do then you violate the license makes it invalid and you lose the right of use also, just cause it's called "copy"-right it's subject isn't really the copy itself (wich the pc does several times when it loads V from the server to your disk, from disk into memory into cpu cache) but rather the redistribution and making money out of other ones intellectual property - gta v belongs r* north - and those hackers made money out of it - and THAT's what's against copyright the author of this really should read up that stuff - this article is just invalid rant caused by misunderstanding

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

  73. icon
    tp (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    rather than creating an unstable supply chain and secret police / stasi network to catch a few vandals.

    Our stasi network is not tracking or spying humans. The purpose of the network is to ensure product safety and allow feedback about how well products are performing in the marketplace. The purpose of the network is not to track movements of humans or build a fasist state for stalin.

    whether local shopkeepers are willing to create a free spy network.

    If the shopkeeper's income relies on vandals buying the silver paint, then obviously the shopkeeper is not interested about feedback coming from the marketplace. The shopkeeper already knows how badly his product is performing and he has no intention to fix the problems. Instead he wants to profit selling few cans of paint.

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

  74. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Feb 2020 @ 5:50am

    Re: mis-use of copyright by R*? rather misunderstanding by autho

    Punctuation and grammar exist for a reason. Try them!

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

  75. identicon
    Rekrul, 18 Feb 2020 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Point of the law

    And that, right there, is one very good argument as to why copyright law is logically broken.

    Once you've made use of your free speech and have allowed other people to hear or read you you should no longer get to decide anything at all about what they choose to do with the information now in their possession.

    Agreed. Unless you've registered a copyright and put a copyright notice on your work to inform people of that fact. Which is the way it used to be before someone got the bright idea to make registration automatic.

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

  76. identicon
    Rekrul, 18 Feb 2020 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Harm, or Awesome?

    Just yesturday, google decided to kill thousands of browser extensions because they were deemed to be slurping user data and spying the users. Are you claiming that companies shouldn't be allowed to fix their community when user base misuses the services provided?

    I'd argue that they should fix the game on their end to detect and kick cheaters rather than trying to make an entire class of software illegal.

    Of course companies that maintain the communities need to have a veto power over anything that happens in the community. Good companies do not let misuses to happen and customers experience be ruined by some idiots who want to harass other people.

    Except that giving them veto power over online mods also gives them veto power over offline mods as well, since there's no technical difference between the two. And if you want to extend that to its logical conclusion, that would also make any software that patches itself into a computer OS illegal as well. Which means that Microsoft and Apple could use a copyright claim to kill any third party program that adds features to the OS.

    Do you really want to open that can of worms?

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

  77. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 2:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Point of the law

    " Unless you've registered a copyright and put a copyright notice on your work to inform people of that fact."

    Not even then.

    If you distribute information to any person, unless that person has agreed to sign a contractual NDA what that person does with the information is no longer any concern of yours. No matter whether you call that information "copyrighted" or not.

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

  78. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 2:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "This is the only way how they could make selling spray paint to be legal and not be in trouble immediately when someone decides to use the product for something illegal."

    Bullshit.

    There is NO business in the western world where anyone will ask any questions what so ever about the use to which you intend to put any dual-use technology which doesn't in itself present a direct hazard to the end user. And even then you need to invoke weapon law or radiation control clauses before you find ANY legal liability.

    In summary, your argument is broken to the point of actual insanity. Were it otherwise no one could sell cars or screwdrivers, provide electricity, or sell postal services, for starters.

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

  79. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 2:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Otherwise your paint vendor will flood the market with thousands of cans of silver paint which is suitable for nothing else than vandalism."

    Who gives you these odd ideas about human society? Is it beamed directly into your head by flying saucers? Do you come up with these theories while riding the high of strong medication?

    "But recardless, product manufacturers, retailers, parents, teachers and all other people need to actively look for misuses of the products and do corrective actions when misuses of the products are found."

    Not even in North Korea.

    Your presented "cure" for human behavior would have us abolish technology or mandate that every person needs to be a policeman. Not even the most deranged collectivist fanatics ever tried going quite that far.

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

  80. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 2:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "As I often say, I'm not sure what planet he's living on, but I'm glad it's not the same one the rest of us inhabit."

    I'm not even sure he's inhabiting physical reality at all. Some of what he writes could only be seriously suggested by a person who has never experienced any reality outside of four padded walls in an isolated mental facility, or more likely, someone who likes to write social commentary while on a drug high.

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

  81. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 2:55am

    Re: mis-use of copyright by R*? rather misunderstanding by autho

    "...we don't buy the games - we actually never did since the first games sold: we only ever bought a copy of the games code along with a license to use it under the terms of the developer and publisher..."

    Which is why the author should really have manned up and just presented the conclusion that at the end of the day, copyright needs to be abolished since that licensing and copy bullshit has never been anything other than the attempt of monopolist industries to set market economics aside in order to gouge the consumer using manifestly unfair business practice.

    Copyright is one of those unhealthy cancerous outgrowths of information control which needs to be circumvented until it can be abolished.

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

  82. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Our stasi network is not tracking or spying humans"

    Yet, you stated that your system required shopkeepers to personally check up on purchasers a month after they bought the product to confirm if they are using it legally. By your own psychotic admission, you're lying.

    "If the shopkeeper's income relies on vandals buying the silver paint, then obviously the shopkeeper is not interested about feedback coming from the marketplace. "

    No, the marketplace has spoken and it's stated that your insane paranoia over graffiti does not trump the rights of the vast majority of people who buy the product for legal purposes, nor give you the right to get free police state labour from those who sell the product. It is you who do not listen.

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

  83. icon
    tp (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    to personally check up on purchasers a month after they bought the product to confirm if they are using it legally.

    This is only required because the product has a flaw -- it can be used for illegal purposes. Basically when vendor of the paint cannot ensure that the product cannot be used for graffiti, they need to check that property after selling the item to customers.

    Proper products have been designed in such way that illegal uses are not available to customers. If customers still find a way to misuse the product, those use cases might need to be prevented too.

    your insane paranoia over graffiti does not trump the rights of the vast majority of people

    Some activities are explicitly marked illegal so that product vendors, retailers etc can design their products in such way that those illegal use cases are minimized. This is the main reason why laws declare some activities illegal. So that those activities can be removed from the society, because they are deemed to cause damage.

    This is why it's extreamly annoying that your techdirt site is trying to promote illegal activities, and recommend people to go with the copyright minimalist route, i.e. trying to find loopholes and expand the allowed area in copyright. The activity is explicitly marked to cause damage, and thus those use cases need to be removed. It's amazingly arrogant to try to dismiss that illegality decision by the society and recommend those illegal practises.

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

  84. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "This is only required because the product has a flaw -- it can be used for illegal purposes"

    EVERY product can be used for illegal purposes, genius. Yet society has managed to get along for the most part without the totalitarian police state you favour.

    "Proper products have been designed in such way that illegal uses are not available to customers"

    I'd love you to propose the paint mixture or crowbar design that cannot be used for illegal activities. I know logic works differently in whatever world you've created for yourself, but does basic physics operate differently there too?

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

  85. icon
    tp (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'd love you to propose the paint mixture

    When the paint vendor decided that they cannot prevent kids to use their paint for graffiti, they decided to add water to the paint mixture so that it is easier to clean after the illegal stuff happens. It would be sad if the graffiti's consiquences couldn't be fixed once it happened. Sadly that decision made the paint not suitable for situations where it needs to protect against corrosion or wear and tear. So they had to divide the product to two parts, one only sold for experts which can take any weather, and another product for the vandals. Then their real customers started complaining about poor quality of the paint they bought from the supermarket, but the experts tried that paint once and decided never to buy it again.

    Basically this kind of stuff happens all the time. Customers find ways to misuse the products, and product vendors need to redesign their products to protect against that kind of misuse.

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

  86. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, you haven't explained how a paint can be made unsuitable for graffiti, only how it can be made useless for the legitimate purpose most will use it for. As a bonus, everything you just said is at the manufacturing stage yet you expect retailers to get responsible for the tiny amount of misuse that occurs.

    You still haven't answered the question, but I'm sure that any manufacturer would be happy to spray paint in your face while you blather on. Which would be assault and therefore illegal no matter the composition, thus proving your claims wrong instantly

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

  87. icon
    tp (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, you haven't explained how a paint can be made unsuitable for graffiti,

    They can easily get your address and perform inspection of the end result.

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

  88. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, you're not interested in stopping graffiti (since in your example the graffiti has not been prevented), you're only interested in retroactively punishing people for actions they may had no hand in or control over.

    Thanks for confirming you just want the Stasi and neighbours spying on each other for their benefit. You can keep it, the rest of us say no thanks.

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


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