Author Topic: C&D: Director's Response  (Read 24652 times)

FaustWolf

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C&D: Director's Response
« on: May 11, 2009, 09:26:58 pm »
The following was composed by Agent12, director of the Crimson Echoes project, to clarify on the first announcement regarding the very real Cease and Desist Order the Chrono Compendium received from Square Enix on May 8. Some have surmised that the C&D may be a hoax, but rest assured that this situation is real and not a hoax.


Hello Everyone,

If you are not sure what's going, on please take a brief visit to www.crimsonechoes.com.

Pretty intense weekend.  I'm sorry for taking so long to respond, as I went white water rafting over the weekend and came back to this little fiasco.  This post is going to first give everyone a my feelings on the matter, answer some questions and highlight what we can do going forward.

First of all a bit of history. I started working on this project several years ago.  I've poured an embarrassing amount of time into this game, but despite what you may think it never consumed my life. I took 2 years off the project when school got rough and then came back and steamrolled the game to the finish. I vowed to never let this impact my social life and made sure that my peers did the same.  This game was a hobby for me; it was a fun way to use my computing background and probably helped me land a job (well....at least a little bit).  I also took it as a a way to practice my team leading skills, and I hope I didn't anger anyone that worked on the project (I was very very picky about how people worked on this game).  In fact, anyone who worked on the project, feel free to give me feedback on how you felt I did; I'm honestly interested.  So back on point, this game is secondary in my life.  I'm in a very good place right now and am not willing to jeopardize everything I have for a hobby. I firmly believe that SE is wrong in this case, but I'm not willing to become a martyr over it.  I always considered this to be a form of fan art, no different than if someone made a flash video, picture, or novel.

When the C&D came, I ripped the ROM into 4 seperate pieces and flew each piece to a separate part of the world.  Each piece is protected -- not just by a giant martial arts trained monkey, but also by a series of riddles that get increasingly difficult.  To put it in perspective, destroying this game is probably what Da Vinci would feel like if he had to rip the Mona Lisa in half right before adding the final touches on her finger nails.  It's one of the more difficult decisions I've had to make, but remember this is just a hobby for me.


OK, onto some of the things I've been reading on the internets:

You guys are cowards/idiots just release the game:

This is so ridiculously easy to say when you are not the person who received the C & D letter. I'm beating a dead horse here, but I am not willing to put my life on the line for this.  These people didn't just have our names and addresses, but threatened a fine up to 150,000 dollars in the event that the game gets "distributed".   I'm sorry; it honestly isn't worth it. Also, please stop comparing us getting a letter to the pirate bay getting a letter.  They are not only in a different country but they are not the creators of the content that is copyrighted.  And oh yea.......they were found guilty too.


Yea right, you guys just couldn't finish and wanted attention

I hope the videos that were put on crimsonechoes.com would stop this nonsense. If not those then the beta testers who have played through the game start to finish.  If not those, then the updates we have been doing over the last couple of months ramping up to the release.  If not those, then the fact that I'm just that awesome :)

The letter's photoshopped, the light is bouncing off it all wrong, definitely photoshopped

You know what.......i really do hope you guys are right about this one. If it's not real they did a pretty good job, better than most internet idiots I come across. The headers, address, cited laws, etc seem to checkout.  Except I'm not 100% sure what their beef with TF is? Anyway, the e-mail header checked out, so it legitimately came from SE.


why in the WORLD would you put that incrimnating piece of info in the readme

First of all, read the whole thing (they left out the middle part...):

Quote
The fans and members of Kajar Laboratories acknowledge that under

M. Kramer Manufacturing Company, Inc. v. Andrews,  783 F.2d 421 (4th Cir. 1986),

ROM altering and modification is illegal, and the demo has been made without the consent of Square Enix. However, Kajar Laboratories wishes that Square Enix view it as a piece of fanfiction or other fan-related work, falling in the general body of fan community proceedings that are too numerous to prosecute and summarily have a positive effect on the popularity of its games. Should Square Enix perceive the project as a threat to its sales or intellectual property, Kajar Laboratories will immediately cease operation on the project and comply with Square Enix's orders.

This readme was for the demo (~1 chapter). We certainly hadn't poured 5 years of work into the game at this point.  It wouldn't be a big deal at all if SE would have wanted to shut us down at this point, so we thought we would give them a way to do it nicely.  The makers of CE do NOT want to be enemies of SE, we are probably their biggest fans.  I really really really wish they would have taken action back then though....

Unfortunately their lack of action back then made us more confident that they didn't mind our work :(.  Prophets Guile was released without a hitch and had several thousand downloads.  The ROM hacking community for 2D/SNES games seemed to be chugging along without a second thought.  So we didn't mind giving an update here and there (skeleton code finished, beta testing started etc) because we honestly truly believed Square Enix was ok with us.

~

OK, let's talk future.  This morning I sent an email back to Square Enix Legal asking if we could work on some sort of negotiation.  Go ahead and lecture me oh how pointless this is, I'm a pretty smart dude (even though I use the word dude) and realize that I'm not talking to people -- I'm talking to lawyers; but after searching quite awhile for any sort of communication channel I couldn't find any.  In my opinion, this is the best bet we have.  Some points I made:

* I explained to them that this was simply a new form of fan art
* The aforementioned fan art was made by their most devoted fans
* The actions taken would only serve to anger the fan community
* We never distributed the ROM Image and adamantly told people to only use our product if they legally owned the game

* That we never ever ever ever ever wanted to make profit off of this game, to the point that the compendium doesn't even have ads on it

You get the jist.  I wouldn't hold your breath, though.

Other than that the absolute best thing you can do is let our story be known.  While I'm not willing to be crucified for CE, I wouldn't mind CE being an example to help out any future hacks. I truly do think that this is the future of fan appreciation and should be taken as a sign of flattery not competition.  I will be willing to answer any questions for any gaming websites or even social media websites (just ping me here).  I created aliases on digg and reddit (CEAgent12, and agent12 respectively; how annoying that agent12 was taken). Please feel free to send out this story to any gaming website you know; I feel like the story is pretty interesting and raises some interesting questions (though I am biased of course :) ).  And for goodness sake, if anyone knows someone at SquareEnix who would be able to open a channel of communication please let us know.   


http://digg.com/nintendo/Chrono_Trigger_sequel_98_comlete_C_Ded_before_release

--JP
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 05:35:26 pm by FaustWolf »

FaustWolf

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2009, 09:31:50 pm »
Ugh, sorry for ridding the community of all discussion it's had so far on this particular topic, but we wanted to update with the news that this is, indeed, real, without getting rid of the developer's response JP had authored.

Feel free to continue the discussion.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2009, 09:38:37 pm by FaustWolf »

MDenham

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2009, 09:35:50 pm »
http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php/topic,8582.msg134306.html#msg134306
Quote from: Tauwasser of romhacking.net
Seriously. If legal doesn't speak to you about C&D's, then you let the receptionist take a message that you're ignoring the C&D because it was obviously a hoax and post so on your website. It's not your fault they don't get their act together and under no law are you punishable if you ignore an email after you have tried to verify. If they suck so badly, they deserve this.
Also, make sure you get a detailed account of the numbers you called on your next phone bill and how much minutes were spent talking and off you go. Seriously, who's going to C&D you who doesn't even have a decent email setup... Big international companies these days...jeez

This is quite possibly the worst legal advice I have ever seen.

mav

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2009, 10:28:15 pm »
We need some kind of legal expert to give us some guidance on the situation. People left and right are toting nonsensical claims that really don't help. I mean, what can Agent12 do? Can he give them a deadline of some sort (wait, why would he)...This all seems so helpless now. Although getting to talk to the PR people is great, so let's see what happens. I was expecting him to be shot straight to the legal dept.

IAmSerge

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2009, 10:30:31 pm »
We need some kind of legal expert to give us some guidance on the situation. People left and right are toting nonsensical claims that really don't help. I mean, what can Agent12 do? Can he give them a deadline of some sort (wait, why would he)...This all seems so helpless now. Although getting to talk to the PR people is great, so let's see what happens. I was expecting him to be shot straight to the legal dept.

wish we had one...

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2009, 10:57:47 pm »
I think it's important for people to see this interview with the guys behind Chrono Trigger, Resurrection: http://www.chronocompendium.com/Stories/28

Essentially, they tried to compromise and couldn't even get a response.  I don't think we should throw in the towel or grow weary, I just think we all need to make sure we know where history stands.  We may choose to defy it and win, however, we may also choose to defy it and lose.

KebreI

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2009, 11:27:05 pm »
We need some kind of legal expert to give us some guidance on the situation. People left and right are toting nonsensical claims that really don't help. I mean, what can Agent12 do? Can he give them a deadline of some sort (wait, why would he)...This all seems so helpless now. Although getting to talk to the PR people is great, so let's see what happens. I was expecting him to be shot straight to the legal dept.
There is a lot of help out there, several law firms meet with people here for free. If Z needs help he can get it, I trust his judgment in this case.

JungleFreak

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2009, 01:13:31 pm »
I would contact the Electronic Frontier Foundation (http://www.eff.org).  This seems like something that would be up their alley.  Even if they don't take up your case, they may give you some advice on how to proceed.  They have very knowledgeable lawyers with respect to copyright law and fair use.

ZeaLitY

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2009, 01:18:44 pm »
We're not going to fight it, though. It'd be too much of an interruption in our personal lives.

TheGary

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2009, 02:10:45 pm »
None of this really makes any sense. There is already the precedent out there that it is okay to release a modded version of a 16-bit era game as long as it's in the form of a patch and that you own the actual game itself.

How can they tell you to remove a program like Temporal Flux from the site? I guess with that logic, Action Replay, Gameshark or any other program that modifies a game is illegal and should be banned.

I think that people are just falling into their trap of being scared by the C&D letter and not standing up for their rights. You guys do have rights here and they are being trampled on.

The question is: Does SE know that you did not plan on distributing this as a stand alone game? How do we know what they know?

Take a look at all of the other games out there. There are games like The Sims where there is a ton of user created content and it's legal for people to make these mods. There is no difference here.

There is no legal precedence for them to arbitrarily tell you to C&D.

KebreI

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2009, 02:19:27 pm »
The thing is they can't afford to argue, The team knows they have some laws and precedents on there side. Regaurdless square has unmatch resources that pretty much nulls everything they've got. 

placidchap

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 02:23:15 pm »
Well there is a point though.  If you were to release a plain ol patch it would be similar to torrent files.  The actual .tor file is nothing and meaningless unless used with an appropriate program.

   (legal)       (possibly illegal)                (legal)
.tor file ---> actual file downloaded ---> via Bittorrent

   (legal?)             (possibly illegal)             (legal)
patch file ----> Chrono Trigger ROM ----> ZSNES

Delta Dragon

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 02:29:02 pm »
What I don't get is why did they wait until it was 98% done?  Did they just not know about it before?

TheGary

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2009, 02:35:34 pm »
The thing is they can't afford to argue, The team knows they have some laws and precedents on there side. Regaurdless square has unmatch resources that pretty much nulls everything they've got. 

What can't they afford? SE can't afford to take this to court, because they know it is baseless. They are just sending out empty threats in order to scare people and keep them in line. Also, as I said before, do they actually think that it's a stand alone release or do they know it's a patch? If it's a patch, there is nothing they can do about it.

I definitely say that it should be expressed to them what the project actually is and what it is intended for at least. If there is no response, I would say get some free legal advice from a lawyer and they might even tell you that their C&D is baseless.

The point here is that there will be no court date, there will be no fighting it on SE's part. They are just throwing out an empty threat and they have no authority to stop you from releasing a patch to a game.

Seriously, there are countless games out there for the PC and for SNES emulators where patches or modifications similar to these are released all the time and they are perfectly legal. The problem seems to be that SE thinks that these games are being made as stand alone projects and they are in turn passing out illegal copies of a rom in a modified state.

They could state that they have not authorized people who have a copy of the game to have a ROM image of the game as well like I believe a few companies have already done so. In that case, they still can't tell you to not release a patch to that ROM as the patch itself is still not illegal, only the ROM image itself would be.

Dark Serge

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Re: C&D: Directors' Response
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2009, 02:38:31 pm »
What I don't get is why did they wait until it was 98% done?  Did they just not know about it before?

They know. They've probably got snake bastards watching this forum as we speak. It's just that they don't want to bother if they think the project isn't going to be released. Until they see that there's no other way, they won't send a C&D.

As for the other thing, I don't understand how you guys can just let this go. The laidback way you're all acting, I'm starting to think you don't care much and just go about it like "It happened, now let's badmouth Squeenix a lot but not actually try do anything about it". I understand you're uneasy with releasing it, as I personally wouldn't pull out 150 bucks for it either. But it's not illegal to argue or try to defend yourselves.

Also, even the ROM image is not illegal as long as you possess the actual game.