Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 51
06-07-2011, 02:39 AM
Actually, at this point I think the responses from Cryptic have gone so far that someone should call in an actual lawyer and figure out once and for all what's allowed, because it can't be any worse than things currently are. Either that or completely scrub all responses that clarify what Cryptic believes is allowed, and leave it on the shoulders of the Foundry authors.

The ad hoc responses have rendered the entire Terms of Use completely moot. Reading the terms of use doesn't actually tell you what's allowed anymore (basically nothing), you instead have to read a collection of dev responses.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 52
06-07-2011, 03:20 AM
I agree that the responses so far haven't been helpful. The community team doesn't consist of lawyers, and so getting a reply from them isn't given you something useful. They should probably make it their own policy to not reply to those questions, at least not in any definite positive or negative replies.

It seems it is better to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 53
06-07-2011, 03:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustrumRidcully View Post
I agree that the responses so far haven't been helpful. The community team doesn't consist of lawyers, and so getting a reply from them isn't given you something useful. They should probably make it their own policy to not reply to those questions, at least not in any definite positive or negative replies.
I agree, they need to just quit answering these questions, at least not until they've had time to actually discuss them with Cryptic and/or CBS' attorneys.

Even a non-attorney can see the problem with not allowing Foundry authors to use anything that's copyrighted/trademarked, which is what WishStone's last post seems to indicate.

Klingons are copyrighted, as are Vulcans, Andorians, Romulans, Bolians, Caitians, Warp Drive, Deep Space 9, etc.

So if we continue down this road of not allowing anything copyrighted/trademarked to be used in the Foundry then we won't we allowed to create Star Trek episodes at all.

Which would kind of defeat the entire purpose of having The Foundry in Star Trek Online, wouldn't it?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 54
06-07-2011, 04:15 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagorak View Post
The ad hoc responses have rendered the entire Terms of Use completely moot. Reading the terms of use doesn't actually tell you what's allowed anymore (basically nothing), you instead have to read a collection of dev responses.
The rules have always been that you can reference an existing characters offscreen ("James Kirk wrote in his report..."), but can't SHOW a character and have him implied to be Kirk. You can't reference or knowingly use the names of actors or production staff (Nimoy, Shatner, Roddenberry), nor may you make a character who is obviously intended to resemble William Shatner, and call him John Smith.

These are pretty obvious, straightforward rules.

The intent, in my estimation, is to steer people towards writing their own stories, rather than writing sequels to existing stories. V'Ger is a character, as is Ilia. So we can't easily make a Motion Picture II story that involves either some construct we say is V'Ger, nor some bald woman claiming to be the ilia probe. Instead, what you could do, is have an admiral read an account of what transpired in the Motion Picture, and then send the player off to encounter something entirely new. let's say some machine lifeforms.. that when questioned, say that their race is teh result of the joining between Decker and the V'Ger probe.

Now you've made a story which is wholly original, and relies on some existing IP in ways that are permitted. It is still very Star Trek, and still very connected to the history of Star Trek.

What they don't want to see, is everyone trying to edge up on the letter of the law. Oh Kirk is a Character, but is Kirk's son a character? What about Kirk's girlfriend from the nexus, we never see her? What about Dead actors? what if I go and pester the Kelley estate to get permission to use DeForrest's likeness in my story? Can you imagine the ensuing legal drama as the estate begins complaining to CBS/Cryptic?

Character appearances are out. They require an ACTOR to give permission for their likeness to be used.

Ships are not Characters, because they are not ACTORS.

That said, there may be specific limitations on using existing trademarked vessels. Namely Enterprises NX01, 1701 _-F, Defiant, and Voyager. Additionally one should probably steer clear of ANY ship mentioned in the films, since CBS may or may not have full rights to those names (Grissom, Reliant, Botany Bay, Kobayashi Maru, Bounty, Scimitar, Q'onos One, etc).

I'd personally go further and say that if you have a ship show up that's named Farragut, that's fine.. unless it's supposed to be THE FARRAGUT that was seen in episode ___. If it's the refitted Farragut, or a new ship named Farragut, with a new Captain, then it's probably in the realm of safe.

There are a lot of ships out there, and a lot of names have been used. Some (Defiant, Saratoga, Enterprise) have been used more than once (2 Saratogas existed a hundred years apart, yet both were Miranda Class). Obviously, just like with names, we're going to occassionally pick one that's been used before, simply by accident.

What I'd do is run my character and ship names through Memory Alpha, and see if the names have been used, and if so, consider choosing another name. Frankly, while we're allowed to recycle some stuff from the IP.. your stories will generally turn out MUCH better if you don't do it.

Which is better.. an enigmatic Vulcan who has rejected logic and embraced his emotions, who has a cult-like following.. Or Spock's half brother that no one ever mentioned before? The answer of course is that it's always better for your story to stand on it's own two feet, than to lean on the works of others. You don't HAVE to always go to "that planet they visited in that episode in TOS" you don't HAVE to have a ship that is "that same ship that was lost in that one episode of Enterprise"... there were plenty of ships that had vanished and gone missing in TOS, yet the writers of TNG made up a whole new ship called "Bozeman" when they needed a ship from the past to come through a vortex.

Would Wrath of Khan have been as good if Khan were just some guy we never knew about before? maybe not.. but we're expressly forbidden from having characters from the IP make a physical appearance. And unfortunately, that means an implied appearance, offscreen, but at the helm of a ship as well.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 55
06-07-2011, 07:49 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagorak View Post
Cryptic needs to get a lawyer to address these issues
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagorak View Post
How about rewriting the Foundry terms of use so it actually makes sense
If you want something written that actually makes sense, the last thing you want is to have a lawyer write it.

I had a job for two summers during college working for the town doing maintenance. Each year the boss strolled in on day one and told us that we were required to wear long pants and steel toed boots. We nodded and thanked him... then for the rest of the summer we wore shorts and sneakers. He never told us we could wear shorts and sneakers but if one of us got our toes crushed in a horrific accident on the job, he and the town were covered legally.

Policy is one thing. Enforcement is another. The less said, the better (for us).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 56
06-07-2011, 08:18 AM
You can copyright the Enterprise as a "starship", copyright court hearings go by a "points of similarity" to Intellectual properties, an example would be the Disney version of Robin Hood as a cartoon fox character with the name costume etc, that specific version of Robin can be copy-written as Disney I.P. and in this case, a starship named Enterprise can be property of CBS.

I personally don't think the EULA on what we can and cannot use is as complicated as people are making it seem, you can "mention" or "talk about" anything in dialogue you just have to avoid making the characters from the show appear in the mission.

That being said, you can parody or "pay homage" to characters from the show or other shows, if it is done in a subtle way that does not violate copyright.

Example if you make a character named Commander Kent from a planet with " a red sun, that was destroyed years ago" you can pay homage or parody The man of steel without being so similar it crosses the line. Wow an d Sto do this in missions, There is one mission cryptic made name eludes me, that pays homage to Dr who and mentions "Time and Relative Dimensions in space" (tardis). Wow made lots of star wars in jokes when they did burning crusade and brought in Draeni, they made parody remarks with characters with names that may be similar to a star wars character but the character looked so different the likeness did not match the name enough to even worry about it.

I'm not encouraging people to do that per se, just giving examples of fairly safe activities.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 57
06-07-2011, 08:25 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagorak View Post
Cryptic needs to get a lawyer to address these issues, or sit down with CBS/Paramount and clarify what is actually allowed. Just saying "err on the side of caution" isn't cutting it. How about rewriting the Foundry terms of use so it actually makes sense and actually says what it prohibits, rather than current method of adding ad hoc amendments whenever a dev responds? The terms of use is getting stupider and more convoluted as time goes on.
Yes, they do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagorak View Post
What I take away from this is people need to stop asking what's allowed. Just do your thing based on your good faith reading of the Terms of Use. Worst case scenario, your reading is wrong and your mission is taken down. But the truth is, the enforcement mechanism is such that unless something truly egregious is done, you're not going to end up on the radar screen. Few would have had a clue what the IKS Klothos was if Azurian hadn't made the mistake of asking, and I guarantee no one would have reported it. The mission could have been up for years no problem, but he made the mistake of drawing attention to the issue.
I don't like this, you're making like I ruined the Foundry for everyone for wanting to know where that fine line was. I wanted to maximize my story telling potential without violating the EULA. After all CBS was so gracious enough to Trek fans to give us this degree of official freedom of story telling, I wanted to respect that by honoring the conditions. That and I didn't want to have my 2 months of hard work being flushed down the toilet.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 58
06-07-2011, 08:43 AM
They have hearings on these issues for a reason. A person i was acquainted with years ago created a 3-d adult like web comic using a Wonder Woman like main character. He had it going for about a year before he received an email from DC comics asking him to alter the character and they gave specific examples of how much to tone her down to be acceptable to them as not violating the integrity and IP of Wonder woman-

1. No lasso if she is an amazon
2. No bullet reflective bracelets
3. No name that starts with " Wonder"
4. No invisible plane

The character was altered with a mask, still an amazon, no lasso or bracelets and renamed something like Glory woman or something. DC was ok with it after that.

If you make a mission and are on the fence whether you crossed a line, just publish it and if someone catches it they will tell you to change it. The only way to weed out some of these gray areas is to just do it and see what happens. But leave room for the possibility you may have to change it enough where it won't destroy the "spirit" of what you made.

Another thing that solves these issues is create your own "legends" in your own personal canon, create a history consistent with npc's and their deeds over a course of time your missions will create their own backstory of unique characters within the Trek lore, make a Klingon captain as legendary as Koloth and make his ship name, have the ship be mentioned even after the character is first introduced and eventually the satisfaction of planting your own seeds into the lore will bear fruit.

And no EULA concerns to boot
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 59
06-07-2011, 09:36 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine_Falcon View Post
Please do not make the ruling on this yourself WishStone. Please talk with someone higher up about this. Because if we can't use the IKS Klothos then we also can't use DS9 or even Vulcan.
This does not come from me, PF. This comes from my bosses. This Posting came verbatim from Ivan, whom you guys know is my boss here at Marcom. It came from a discussion thread that involved a lot of people in different departments. I understand that no one wants to be told "No", but "No" it is here.

And anyone who does not wish to just follow the link, I will be happy to repeat it and even add highlighting.
Quote:
Hello everyone!

I just wanted to stop by and give some clarification here.

We really cannot have any user mimic or duplicate the work of others.

We do truly appreciate the continued support of our Foundry authors and the enthusiasm we've been seeing from Star Trek fans, but Cryptic and its partners at CBS and Pocket Books would greatly appreciate it if each of you focused on creating your own works.

While your efforts are valued and your enthusiasm is admirable, persistent direct correspondence to our partners and their partners is both unwarranted and distracting. We must ask that you please respect the privacy and wishes of those talented individuals who bring Star Trek to life by keeping the original Foundry missions coming and by leaving them at peace to live and work as they like.

Thank you so much for understanding!
Edith:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagorak View Post
Cryptic needs to get a lawyer to address these issues, or sit down with CBS/Paramount and clarify what is actually allowed. Just saying "err on the side of caution" isn't cutting it. How about rewriting the Foundry terms of use so it actually makes sense and actually says what it prohibits, rather than current method of adding ad hoc amendments whenever a dev responds? The terms of use is getting stupider and more convoluted as time goes on.
It is a huge misconception from users that a company just 'invents' EULAs, TOS and similar - and one that just sticks around. The reason that such rules look as if they 'do not make sense' is because they get written in legal terms. You'll find a lot of and/or stuff, you'll find terms and wording not found anywhere else in regular written, flowing texts.

The whole reason that you do not see me paraphrase the TOS for you guys on the fly, is that I am not a lawyer and cannot do this for you. And our lawyers would tell me no anyhow, because it needs to stay like this. The moment anyone would 'rewrite' stuff is when it indeed starts standing on shaky ground.

It's right there for you, as rephrased as we can give it. "Make your own story in the Trek universe". I even attempted to give you an example from Trek. Canon, on the air, made by CBS Trek. Go back and watch The Naked Time and The Naked Now. Note the differences between the two and you know what you'll be able to do without problems.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 60
06-07-2011, 09:37 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by chooch99 View Post
If you make a mission and are on the fence whether you crossed a line, just publish it and if someone catches it they will tell you to change it. The only way to weed out some of these gray areas is to just do it and see what happens. But leave room for the possibility you may have to change it enough where it won't destroy the "spirit" of what you made.

Another thing that solves these issues is create your own "legends" in your own personal canon, create a history consistent with npc's and their deeds over a course of time your missions will create their own backstory of unique characters within the Trek lore, make a Klingon captain as legendary as Koloth and make his ship name, have the ship be mentioned even after the character is first introduced and eventually the satisfaction of planting your own seeds into the lore will bear fruit.

And no EULA concerns to boot
Well for the most part that is true in making your own personal canon.

But my Foundry mission was all about experiencing the Battle of Klach D'Kel Bracht, which was one brief thing mentioned by Kor during DS9. So instead of a Time Travel Episode, I made it into a Holosuite Program.

So instead of seeing Kor, you would be Kor. But since that is likely to violate the EULA, I changed it that you was another hero within that battle, being directed through one of Kor's subordinates. So I wanted to show the Klothos, to reflect imersion into partcipation into a historical battle.

Which now, even that has to be referenced.
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