Collected Responses to Otakon’s Artist Policy Announcement

The Anime News Network reported that sale of fan art based on properties that the artist does not own the copyright for or have a license to produce will not be permitted at the Otakon artists’ alley this year. The issue turned out to be not quite as broad as that. Here are my collected responses from forums (so I don’t lose ’em).

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Every time I’m tempted to pick up World of Warcraft again…

…something like this occurs that makes me question whether or not I want to give money to Blizzard. Early on, the bnetd issue. Last time it was their invasive anti-cheating measures. This time, I haven’t gotten a handle on their policies against advertising for a gay-friendly guild.

Slashdot | Gay Guild Recruitment Disallowed From WoW?

In Newsweekly -.- Gaming -.- Blizzard of GLBT gaming policy questions

Boing Boing: World of Warcraft: Don’t tell anyone you’re queer

A few issues. First, some respond in a way that ignores the problem; that you’ve agreed to a EULA so you have to do what Blizzard says. Of course, that’s not entirely true. EULAs are not necessarily valid forms of contract in whole or in part; and different parts may be enforced differently in various jurisdictions. Again, though, that’s ignoring a problem. Blizzard offers a service, so at some point they are accountable to the users of their service.

Do I think this is bad? Yes, for a variety of reasons. From a game-play perspective, one of their goals is immersion, particularly on the servers that have been designated as RPG servers. Should people not RP that they’re gay, then, because they might be harrassed? Is harrassment itself in character? Where do they draw the line?

Do they allow advertising for the Christian guilds that I’ve been reading about? Wouldn’t that also invite harrassment?

Isn’t harrassment punishable by suspension? Then why aren’t they suspending the harrassers rather then not allowing the advertisement in the first place?

I don’t know. Is Blizzard more likely to listen to people when they no longer give them money, or when they are paying customers? When they leave, or when they return? I don’t have a good answer for this. I can make arguments either way.

You don’t have freedom of speech when using a private corporation’s resources. There is no “public space,” as much as they might want us to feel like we’re in a public space. At some points, like this one, the perception and the reality of the situation collides. I firmly believe that the cure for “bad speech” is more speech, not the restriction of speech.

Of course, this problem hasn’t been resolved in the “real” world, either. This makes the issue… well… realistic. Unsurprising.

Ultimately, Blizzard will need to clarify it’s policies and act consistently in the enforcement of those policies.

Edit: Well, we did it- Holly and I are back. Utopian Hell and Iconochron have good discussions about the subject in their comments.

LISNews.org | Google Cache Ruled Fair Use

LISNews.org | Google Cache Ruled Fair Use

In the makes no sense department…

50 Cent Sued for Allegedly Stealing Lyric

The reason this doesn’t make sense, of course, is Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.. In that case, 2 Live Crew was sued for using lines and music from Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman. They won the case because the court determined that their use was fair. What’s wrong with this picture?

First thing to tempt me to get a Nintendo DS…

GameSpy3A20A20Boy20and20His20Blob20Preview

A new release of a Boy and his Blob. Old news, but new to me. ^_^ aBahB was one of my favorite games on the NES- basically, you and your alien Blob pal must adventure to save his homeworld (aptly named Blobonia). You get past obstacles by feeding him different jellybeans, which allow him to change shape into useful things. (Cinnamon=blowtorch, licorice=ladder, cola=bubble, ketchup=catch up to you, vanlilla umbrella, trangerine trampoline, etc.). Of course, now I find myself wondering if this new title has the same lack of relationship to the original as a Bard’s Tale did… is this a remake, an appeal to nostalgia, and/or taking advantage of a loss of trademark?

Vatican ‘cashes in’ by putting price on the Pope’s copyright – World – Times Online

Vatican ‘cashes in’ by putting price on the Pope’s copyright – World – Times Online

Scary. Copyright as a tool of censorship is never a good thing, but to use copyright to get money from religion, particularly in this case- come on. First, you’re limiting the message, which is completely antithetical to the message itself. Next, if as a Catholic you believe that the Pope’s words are divinely inspired, then there are some bigger issues. 😛

CNN.com – Baseball statistics: history or property? – Jan 15, 2006

CNN.com – Baseball statistics: history or property? – Jan 15, 2006

This is scary. Esseentially, MLB wants to have right sto “identites and statistical profiles” of their players. Statistics, even when associated with an individual, are clearly facts. If MLB wins, it will be disturbing- not only for the fantasy sports industry, as CNN alleges, but for any uses of copyright as well. If statistics associated with a person can be protected by IP, then why not databases? Or for that matter, phone books (currently not protected by copyright)?

First steps towards software patent reform

From Groklaw, 3 initiatives to improve patent mess.

Public Knowledge – Primer on Copyright for Creators

Public Knowledge has come out with a primer on copyright for creators, avaiable for purchase (print) or free (pdf). It’s a good read.

Hayao Miyazaki on TCM

This month, Turner Classic Movies will be showing Hayao Miyazaki films on Thursdays- for the most part, both the dubbed and subbed versions (Studio Ghibli films).

During the introduction, the commentator interviewing someone from Pixar said something I found strange- something along the lines of, ‘when you think of anime, of japanese cartoons, you don’t think of developed characters or plots,’ contrasting that “standard” thought to Miyazaki’s works.

That’s just bizarre. The whole reason I got into anime in the first place was because of the developed plots and characters- much more than I could expect from English equivalents for the most part. This isn’t to detract from Miyazaki- Ghibli’s works are awesome. We own many of the Japanese versions of the Ghibli films- if only Howl’s Moving Castle didn’t cost quite so much to import we’d have it now. ^_^

We’re watching Spirited Away right now- Holly is reminded of her time in Japan. In the beginning of the movie, the heroine and her family stumble upon an abandoned “theme park” of some sort. That can happen. ^_^