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Distributing Oracle files

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Distributing Oracle files

Postby BlackMamba » 07 Jul 2009, 23:17

Hi, I released the source code for Mox a couple of days ago. I realized after that I was distributing an oracle file with the source code (10th edition), which I use to parse card info. From your experience/background, do you know if this is something that we are allowed to do? I know I won't ever distribute card images or flavor text as part of Mox, but is distributing the other card infos safe?

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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby Snacko » 08 Jul 2009, 09:24

It's one of the least concerns of yours as you're already breaking the patent http://www.google.com/patents?id=ixoMAAAAEBAJ (US only as EU patent was withdrawn http://register1.epoline.org/espacenet/ ... Y=ep&LG=en) when you're implementing MTG game.
It contains all the information about item placement on card, zone placement, and overall rule summary.
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby malenko » 08 Jul 2009, 09:48

Snacko wrote:It's one of the least concerns of yours as you're already breaking the patent http://www.google.com/patents?id=ixoMAAAAEBAJ (US only as EU patent was withdrawn http://register1.epoline.org/espacenet/ ... Y=ep&LG=en) when you're implementing MTG game.
It contains all the information about item placement on card, zone placement, and overall rule summary.
Does this means that legally you can program a magic card game and use it at EU (without flavour text and image)? :D
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby Snacko » 08 Jul 2009, 11:39

WotC lawyers try to impose that your software is in English and this means targeted at Americans so they want to bring the case to US court which will favour their patent.

I don't know how legal that is and would need a lawyer to clarify.
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby malenko » 08 Jul 2009, 13:44

Snacko wrote:WotC lawyers try to impose that your software is in English and this means targeted at Americans so they want to bring the case to US court which will favour their patent.
No problem with this, my program is in Spanish :D
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby MageKing17 » 08 Jul 2009, 20:13

Snacko wrote:WotC lawyers try to impose that your software is in English and this means targeted at Americans so they want to bring the case to US court which will favour their patent.

I don't know how legal that is and would need a lawyer to clarify.
I had no idea England was in America now.
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby frwololo » 09 Jul 2009, 05:28

as Snacko said.
If you don't live in the US, you're quite safe.
In Europe you can't patent the rules of a game, and the oracle text is clearly part of the rules. The "flavour" text is copyrighted though.

This does not necessarily mean that your stuff is legal, but IMO they have other fish to fry.
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby Arch » 09 Jul 2009, 08:28

So in short; wait and see what happens.

Report back here if you get fined or end up on deathrow. If enough people do this we might eventually be able to find out where the line actually goes without the need of a lawyer.
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby frwololo » 10 Jul 2009, 04:48

Exactly :lol:

Well, a few of us got a C&D letter (forge and myself at least), and it never went further than that.
In both cases what we did was to remove the infringing content: pictures.

I respect WotC's copyrights, but be warned that their lawyers don't hesitate to lie to you, and threaten you with blatant fake stuff. They rely a LOT on the fact that you are not a lawyer to frighten you, and make sure it will make you stop whatever you're doing. That's the point of a C&D.

The truth is, they have very little legal power to terminate these fan projects (except in the US, maybe), not mentioning the bad image it would give them, and the money it would cost them to actually go to court for stupid "work in progress with a few hundred users base" freewares. Although legally they could certainly win, I believe it makes no financial sense for WotC as a company.

By the way, if/when you have to reply to these guys' C&D, the less you say, the better for you (anything you say to them can be used against you in court, this is not a movie quote, this is the truth). But of course if you are using copyrighted content that they ask you to remove, just do as they say.

My piece of advice for programmers is to have your game to be as independent as possible from the whole MTG Patents. This allows you to remove only infringing content without giving up your entire project. And again, their patent is only valid in the US.

Oh, and people who get such threats should definitely blog about it. If it gives WotC a bad image, they will stop, or be less aggressive about that.
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby MageKing17 » 10 Jul 2009, 18:26

frwololo wrote:I respect WotC's copyrights, but be warned that their lawyers don't hesitate to lie to you, and threaten you with blatant fake stuff. They rely a LOT on the fact that you are not a lawyer to frighten you, and make sure it will make you stop whatever you're doing. That's the point of a C&D.
I respect WotC's R&D teams, but they have little to nothing to do with the corporation and its lawyers (besides working for the corporation, that is... okay, so maybe they have more than a little in common with the corporation. But not its lawyers). C&D letters can and will get thrown around for the sole reason to intimidate people who might be infringing to stop what they're doing so they don't have to pay for a legal battle to see if they actually are.

Magic Set Editor could easily be seen as infringing on copyright (other card editing software/sites have been shut down), yet they've so far not been sent a C&D. This doesn't mean it can't happen, merely that it hasn't. On the other hand, WotC's R&D employees have been spotted posting images obviously (and not so obviously, but still apparent upon close examination) made in Magic Set Editor. They don't acknowledge MSE, of course, because if they were to do so, it would merely draw it to the attention of WotC's lawyers.

frwololo wrote:Oh, and people who get such threats should definitely blog about it. If it gives WotC a bad image, they will stop, or be less aggressive about that.
Don't count on it. C&D letters are the corporate equivalent of the infinite ammo peashooter. They don't really cost them anything (except the time it took to write and send it), so they'll use them whenever they think it's cost-effective to do so.

Also, don't confuse the personal philosophies of WotC employees for the corporate philosophy of WotC (or its parent company Hasbro). Corporations have very little reason to care whether the people who make games that infringe on their copyrights like them or not.
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby frwololo » 14 Jul 2009, 01:33

MageKing17 wrote:
frwololo wrote:Oh, and people who get such threats should definitely blog about it. If it gives WotC a bad image, they will stop, or be less aggressive about that.
Don't count on it. C&D letters are the corporate equivalent of the infinite ammo peashooter. They don't really cost them anything (except the time it took to write and send it), so they'll use them whenever they think it's cost-effective to do so.
Just so you know, what I said in the quote above is advice I received from a lawyer. There is no legal reason for you to shut up when you receive a C&D letter, and bringing attention to what they do is the best thing you can do if you get threatened. I'm not saying it will change the world, but it's better to let people know about it.

Edit:
MageKing17 wrote: Corporations have very little reason to care whether the people who make games that infringe on their copyrights like them or not.
I also disagree with that. It's not about us as "copyright infringing game makers", but us as "bloggers with an audience which is a potential target for WotC's business". Image is an important part of success nowadays, and "corporations" care about what people say about them. Then of course, it's only a matter of audience. I don't think my blog + Forges's blog are enough to put pressure on WotC, but if it were a huge site with a large audience, I can tell you it would change things.
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby MageKing17 » 14 Jul 2009, 19:16

frwololo wrote:I also disagree with that. It's not about us as "copyright infringing game makers", but us as "bloggers with an audience which is a potential target for WotC's business".
Well, no wonder we see the problem differently... I don't run a blog. ;)
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby mtgrares » 17 Jul 2009, 18:25

I also got a cease and desist letter. I just went to a different site to host my project and didn't put in the description of my project that it is an implementation of Magic, I just say that my program is a trading card game. Wizards could easily track me down through my blog and send me another letter but they haven't. (Wizards biggest problem with the first cease and desist letter was that I named my project MTG Forge and they didn't like that. My project is still unofficially named MTG Forge but my project is named "cardforge" on Google Projects. Here is a link to my project on Google Projects.
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Re: Distributing Oracle files

Postby kudit » 02 Mar 2015, 05:52

So what ever happened with this? Did you get another C&D or have they given up trying to stop Forge?
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