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Is Programming Magic Illegal? DMCA and fair use

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Is Programming Magic Illegal? DMCA and fair use

Postby mtgrares » 10 Dec 2009, 20:08

The short answer is maybe, ha, legal stuff is very complicated. I did find some interesting information at avvo.com a free site that lets people post legal questions and the answers are given by attorneys.

At best "Fair use is a defense to infringement. That means you usually get sued first and then raise it. It'll cost you $10,000 to get out of the lawsuit."

This answer is about fair use and the DMCA, here is the link.

In order for the use of a copyrighted work to be "fair use" it has to qualify under a 4 part test: (1) purpose and character of the use & whether it is commerical or nonprofit; (2) nature of the work; (3) amount of the portion of the work used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) effect of the use on the potential market for the vlue of the work. So, what you may think in your mind is fair use may not be so in the mind of the copyright owner, nor of the court.

Fair use is a defense to infringement. That means you usually get sued first and then raise it. It'll cost you $10,000 to get out of the lawsuit.
Here is another answer about a person wanting to sue because of a DMCA copyright infringement issue.

Before you can sue anyone for copyright infringement, you need to register each of your copyrighted works - your photos, website and video- with the Copyright Office. Having not registered your copyrights before the infringement incurred, you'll be unable to claim certain damages.
More about "fair use".

The law says that the copyright monopoly we the people grant to authors to protect their creative works is not absolute and that we all, in some circumstances, may freely use those works -- even if the author objects. The law explains that much of that free use will be for "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research" and that certain factors need to be considered before it's held that any such free use is fair.
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Re: Is Programming Magic Illegal? DMCA and fair use

Postby frwololo » 11 Dec 2009, 05:58

Forge would not fall in the "fair use" category, don't count on that.

As long as you don't use copyrighted contents (mana icons, card pictures, Tap symbol...) or trademarks (such as expansion names, "MTG", "Magic"...) I believe Forge cannot be attacked for copyright infringement.
Note that trademarks work strangely. MTG is probably a trademark, which means you are infringing if you use it in the context of a card game. You would perfectly be allowed to create, say, a computer named MTG, but not a card game containing this term because the context is too close. For the same reasons, you are infringing if you use the terms "The Dark" in the context of a card game. <-- all of this is really context dependent and only a judge can take a decision on that.

Assuming Forge is not using any trademark or copyrighted content, the next issue is counterfeit.
Forge, and all other MTG freeware that we code, can probably be considered as counterfeits of MTG / Patent infringement, based mostly on this patent:
http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationDeta ... 2&KC=&FT=E

This patent is valid only in the US. Wizards tried to push it in Europe, where they were kindly asked to put it where the sun doesn't shine. Because patenting an idea is dangerous for the progress of mankind, but the US still don't understand that.
The internet being international, it is a gray area, but a lawyer confirmed to me that if the game (or the blog promoting it) is obviously aimed at an american audience, they can do something against it.
for example MagMa's main language is italian, so they probably have no issue with this.
But even if your blog is not hosted in the US, you write it in english, which gives a good clue to the lawyers that the audience is american (I know, like the U.S. is the only country that speaks english, right...)

AFAIK Wizards has never sued an individual based on this patent, they usually get on us for copyright/trademark infringement, not patents. But they used it against Nintendo for the Pokemon game.
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Re: Is Programming Magic Illegal? DMCA and fair use

Postby nantuko84 » 11 Dec 2009, 06:25

was interesting to know about
thanks to both of you
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Re: Is Programming Magic Illegal? DMCA and fair use

Postby mtgrares » 11 Dec 2009, 18:59

Thanks frwololo. I figured Forge and all Magic programs were still illegal for some reason.

Officially I've changed the name from "MTG Forge" to "Forge" in order to help make my program "less illegal", if that even makes sense. That is also the reason why the card pictures aren't distributed with the Forge program, in order to try to make it "less illegal".
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Re: Is Programming Magic Illegal? DMCA and fair use

Postby MageKing17 » 22 Apr 2010, 20:04

mtgrares wrote:Thanks frwololo. I figured Forge and all Magic programs were still illegal for some reason.

Officially I've changed the name from "MTG Forge" to "Forge" in order to help make my program "less illegal", if that even makes sense. That is also the reason why the card pictures aren't distributed with the Forge program, in order to try to make it "less illegal".
The less threatening these programs seem to WotC, the less likely we are to get sued over them, right? :)
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Re: Is Programming Magic Illegal? DMCA and fair use

Postby frwololo » 23 Apr 2010, 09:50

No, at our level I think this is unrelated. It just happens if they find your stuff and find easy flaws to "attack" (trademarked names, and copyrighted graphics seem to be the easy ones so far...)
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Re: Is Programming Magic Illegal? DMCA and fair use

Postby mtgrares » 28 Apr 2010, 18:40

Names are much easier to attack than saying that "Forge infringes on Magic Online".
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Re: Is Programming Magic Illegal? DMCA and fair use

Postby gofishus » 15 Oct 2010, 14:36

It's not infringing on Magic Online because Forge only allows duels with the AI, that's why multiplayer shouldn't be added in because then it would be seen as a substitute for Magic Online in which case Wizards would sue.
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Re: Is Programming Magic Illegal? DMCA and fair use

Postby Rob Cashwalker » 22 Oct 2010, 19:44

So we're not competing against MTGO, we're competing against DotP.
The Force will be with you, Always.
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