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Private Servers for Dead MMOs

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  • alexmakepeacealexmakepeace Member Posts: 10,582 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    I think its more "laws need to catch up with technology".

    Very much this. There's a lot of stuff about software that is technically illegal that should probably be legal (ie. abandonware). Software has a much shorter window where it provides monetary benefit to the creator, so I think it needs shorter copyright windows and exemptions from certain restrictions on trademark. Especially with the whole "software as a service thing" which means the software will become unavailable if the company stops supporting it. This is different from, say, a book where you're able to go out and find an existing copy long after the publisher has stopped printing it.
  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,809 Arc User
    edited May 15
    valoreah wrote: »
    It is still not stealing in the orignal sense of what "stealing" meant.
    steal
    /stēl/
    verb
    gerund or present participle: stealing

    1.
    take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.

    Fits the definition perfectly.
    1. The property is still owned by a company that is still in business.
    2. It is not the property of the individual(s) who are now using it and they do not have the legal right to use it.

    Taking someone's property means that the victim is not able to use it until the property is returned to the victim. The only way it would be stealing is if the MMO was currently active and the MMO company is not getting the money for a subscription or microtransaction. The MMO company is providing a service and their service is stolen through a private server when their MMO is active. With a private server for a dead MMO, there is nothing to steal since the MMO company is no longer receiving money for their work on that product. Of course, a private server on a dead MMO is illegally copying software, but it is not stealing since nothing is being taken away.
    Post edited by starkaos on
  • artan42artan42 Member Posts: 10,201 Bug Hunter
    I won't steal things that can be nailed down (regardless of whether they're actually nailed down or not). That makes jelly fair game but not gameservers because server terminals can be nailed down.​​
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  • angrytargangrytarg Member Posts: 9,774 Arc User
    Wait, you mean people hosting private servers broke into the server farms and literally stole the game servers and are now operating them from their garage? Yeah, I agree, that's theft 😛
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    ^ Memory Alpha.org is not canon. It's a open wiki with arbitrary rules. Only what can be cited from an episode is. ^
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  • artan42artan42 Member Posts: 10,201 Bug Hunter
    angrytarg wrote: »
    Wait, you mean people hosting private servers broke into the server farms and literally stole the game servers and are now operating them from their garage? Yeah, I agree, that's theft 😛

    You mean that's not how it works!?​​
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    Norway and Yeager dammit... I still want my Typhoon and Jupiter though.
    JJ Trek The Kelvin Timeline is just Trek and it's fully canon... get over it. But I still prefer TAR.

    #TASforSTO


    '...I can tell you that we're not in the military and that we intend no harm to the whales.' Kirk: The Voyage Home
    'Starfleet is not a military organisation. Its purpose is exploration.' Picard: Peak Performance
    'This is clearly a military operation. Is that what we are now? Because I thought we were explorers!' Scotty: Into Darkness
    '...The Federation. Starfleet. We're not a military agency.' Scotty: Beyond
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    '...Starfleet could use you... It's a peacekeeping and humanitarian armada...' Admiral Pike: Star Trek

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  • valoreahvaloreah Member Posts: 10,098 Arc User
    edited May 14
    starkaos wrote: »
    Taking someone's property means that the victim is not able to use it until the property is returned to the victim.

    No, it means you took their property without permission, regardless of how you use it. This is why there are laws for things like software and video piracy. Does not matter whether the owner is using it or not. It is still a product they paid for and still own the rights to.

    Napster tried this defense years ago. It didn't work.

    Post edited by valoreah on
    Dear Devs: I enjoyed the Legacy of Romulus expansion much more than the Delta Rising expansion. .
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  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,465 Arc User
    starkaos wrote: »
    Taking someone's property means that the victim is not able to use it until the property is returned to the victim.
    So it's cool if someone steals your identity and starts running up credit-card bills in your name, because it's not like they literally took away your name.
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  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,809 Arc User
    edited May 15
    jonsills wrote: »
    starkaos wrote: »
    Taking someone's property means that the victim is not able to use it until the property is returned to the victim.
    So it's cool if someone steals your identity and starts running up credit-card bills in your name, because it's not like they literally took away your name.

    But they would take your identity. Identity is supposed to be completely unique to each individual. Until the identity thief is dealt with, then they are jonsills as far as society or at least the credit card companies are concerned. Then there is the fact that they are stealing your money or the credit card company's money.
    valoreah wrote: »
    starkaos wrote: »
    Taking someone's property means that the victim is not able to use it until the property is returned to the victim.

    No, it means you took their property without permission, regardless of how you use it. This is why there are laws for things like software and video piracy. Does not matter whether the owner is using it or not. It is still a product they paid for and still own the rights to.

    Napster tried this defense years ago. It didn't work.

    And in those cases, the pirates are stealing the money that should have gone to the creators of the movies, video games, or music. In the case of private servers for dead MMOs, there is no financial transaction to violate. There is no video game company losing thousands to millions of dollars due to people stealing their game by creating private servers for a dead MMO. If there is no money or product being taken away from someone else, then it is not theft.
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 48,130 Arc User
    We can go back and forth forever on this subject. We're not gonna determine an answer.
    As I said, this is a grey area as we are dealing with a discontinued product. One that is not making money.

    The laws as they stand now are not clear on the subject of defunct MMOs. As of right now it seems to be more of case by case basis as determined by the people who owned/ran the MMO. City of Heroes got shut down, yet Warhammer Online wasn't.

    This really is going nowhere.
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  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,809 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    We can go back and forth forever on this subject. We're not gonna determine an answer.
    As I said, this is a grey area as we are dealing with a discontinued product. One that is not making money.

    The laws as they stand now are not clear on the subject of defunct MMOs. As of right now it seems to be more of case by case basis as determined by the people who owned/ran the MMO. City of Heroes got shut down, yet Warhammer Online wasn't.

    This really is going nowhere.

    All we can say is that this situation is different from instances like Napster and The Pirate Bay. One is where money is being prevented from supporting the creators of certain content while the other only has no money for the private servers. The creators of the dead MMO will no longer receive money for their work on a dead MMO while Metallica will still get money from work that they have done decades ago.
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,465 Arc User
    starkaos wrote: »
    jonsills wrote: »
    starkaos wrote: »
    Taking someone's property means that the victim is not able to use it until the property is returned to the victim.
    So it's cool if someone steals your identity and starts running up credit-card bills in your name, because it's not like they literally took away your name.

    But they would take your identity. Identity is supposed to be completely unique to each individual.

    ...

    If there is no money or product being taken away from someone else, then it is not theft.
    Do you not see the logical disconnect here? You maintain that if the actual thing is not literally removed from the possession of the original owner, that's not "theft".

    If someone steals your identity, by your definition that's not "theft", because you still have it as well.
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  • valoreahvaloreah Member Posts: 10,098 Arc User
    edited May 15
    starkaos wrote: »
    And in those cases, the pirates are stealing the money that should have gone to the creators of the movies, video games, or music. In the case of private servers for dead MMOs, there is no financial transaction to violate. There is no video game company losing thousands to millions of dollars due to people stealing their game by creating private servers for a dead MMO. If there is no money or product being taken away from someone else, then it is not theft.

    You're still not getting it. There are many nuances as to the definitions of "theft" (burglary, embezzlement, larceny etc). Again, whether the owner is still making money off of it is irrelevant. The IP has a dollar value to them if they want to sell it. Whether the rightful owner is using the product or not or making money off of it or not, they still own it - they still paid for it - the property still belongs to them. Taking something legally and wholly owned by someone else without their permission is theft.

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  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 33,908 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    We can go back and forth forever on this subject. We're not gonna determine an answer.
    As I said, this is a grey area as we are dealing with a discontinued product. One that is not making money.

    The laws as they stand now are not clear on the subject of defunct MMOs. As of right now it seems to be more of case by case basis as determined by the people who owned/ran the MMO. City of Heroes got shut down, yet Warhammer Online wasn't.
    Which is the thing, the Warhammer case is different because the IP holder chose to allow it. It's not fully piracy. Sure the publisher of the software didn't say it was fine, but they weren't the IP holder.
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  • valoreahvaloreah Member Posts: 10,098 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    As I said, this is a grey area as we are dealing with a discontinued product. One that is not making money.

    There is nothing gray about it - it still has value because it is a property that can be sold should the owner decide to sell it.

    Dear Devs: I enjoyed the Legacy of Romulus expansion much more than the Delta Rising expansion. .
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  • mustrumridcully0mustrumridcully0 Member Posts: 12,419 Arc User
    jonsills wrote: »
    starkaos wrote: »
    jonsills wrote: »
    starkaos wrote: »
    Taking someone's property means that the victim is not able to use it until the property is returned to the victim.
    So it's cool if someone steals your identity and starts running up credit-card bills in your name, because it's not like they literally took away your name.

    But they would take your identity. Identity is supposed to be completely unique to each individual.

    ...

    If there is no money or product being taken away from someone else, then it is not theft.
    Do you not see the logical disconnect here? You maintain that if the actual thing is not literally removed from the possession of the original owner, that's not "theft".

    If someone steals your identity, by your definition that's not "theft", because you still have it as well.

    Well, there are bad things in the world without them being called "theft".

    However, if we want to, we could point out that something is lost - your reputation, and potentially alongside with that your money. Because someone is capable of doing something in your name, it can fall back on you. (Like a credit card bill for a credit card you never knew existed). It might stop you from opening your own credit card, or taking credit for a big acquisition, or it could even destroy your chances of getting a particular job.
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  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 33,908 Arc User
    valoreah wrote: »
    rattler2 wrote: »
    As I said, this is a grey area as we are dealing with a discontinued product. One that is not making money.
    There is nothing gray about it - it still has value because it is a property that can be sold should the owner decide to sell it.
    Yeah, There's no way they could make a paid CoH official server profitable while free unofficial servers exist. That is part of why the unofficial ones are illegal.

    I mean if someone was to make a private WoW server with an exact duplicate of the current build, but make all the paid features free, how many players would stop playing on the official server? That's the sort of thing the business people at Blizzard will think about.

    Realistically I don't think this IS grey. I think what it really is is a scenario where you have to respect the wishes of the IP holder. What one IP holder chooses does not "set a precedent" binding or otherwise that affects other IP holders.
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  • angrytargangrytarg Member Posts: 9,774 Arc User
    Which is the thing, the Warhammer case is different because the IP holder chose to allow it. It's not fully piracy. Sure the publisher of the software didn't say it was fine, but they weren't the IP holder.

    The publisher of the game (EA) also lost the license in the meantime. They couldn't do anything about it. If they would reacquire a MMORPG license from Games Workshop again, then they probably would step in.​​
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  • valoreahvaloreah Member Posts: 10,098 Arc User
    Yeah, There's no way they could make a paid CoH official server profitable while free unofficial servers exist. That is part of why the unofficial ones are illegal.

    I mean if someone was to make a private WoW server with an exact duplicate of the current build, but make all the paid features free, how many players would stop playing on the official server? That's the sort of thing the business people at Blizzard will think about.

    Realistically I don't think this IS grey. I think what it really is is a scenario where you have to respect the wishes of the IP holder. What one IP holder chooses does not "set a precedent" binding or otherwise that affects other IP holders.

    The IP has a value whether they are using it or not. Suppose NCSoft wants to sell the IP to an interested party? Having a free version out there for all the world to enjoy destroys the value.
    Dear Devs: I enjoyed the Legacy of Romulus expansion much more than the Delta Rising expansion. .
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  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 48,130 Arc User
    Only if they intend to repackage the ORIGINAL product in question though right? If a more modern version was made available, how would an older version detract from it? The very fact these private servers of the old product exist means there's interest in the subject material in question.

    This really is a case by case basis, because frankly treating it like a black and white subject like that just opens the door to abuse.
    "Oh we can't sell X product because there are copies of Y product from 15 years ago still in the wild. We must destroy them."
    "We got fanfiction writers making stories. We gotta shut them down to be able to sell our books, even though theres no money involved."
    "We got fan artists! Shut them down or we can't sell our work!"
    "We got people modding our old games! Shut them down or we can't sell new stuff!"

    It can escalate to rediculus levels.

    And as pointed out above, Warhammer Online is being allowed to exist on private servers by the IP Holder. So basically you're saying that Games Workshop is ADVOCATING for stealing just by the fact they allow private servers of a defunct MMO to exist. And then we have to expand it to subject material that belongs to companies that don't even exist anymore, or have abandoned a product entirely.

    We have some laws on the books right now that were made decades ago, before certain things we have today were even thought of. Until the laws are updated to account for technological advancements... we cannot difinitively say one way or the other. It is open to interpretation, by both us and the IP Holders who are affected. NCsoft chose to shut down Private servers. Games Workshop chose not to.

    Who's in the right? Who's in the wrong?
    We are not lawyers. So... why ARE we trying to act like lawyers on a forum?
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  • valoreahvaloreah Member Posts: 10,098 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    Only if they intend to repackage the ORIGINAL product in question though right? If a more modern version was made available, how would an older version detract from it? The very fact these private servers of the old product exist means there's interest in the subject material in question.

    What if they wanted the IP itself to rebuild it using a different, more modern engine?

    Look at it like this - suppose some publisher wants to buy the IP of City of Heroes tomorrow to re-start/rebuild the game. How are they going to justify the expense when there is a free version out there for all the world to play?

    The IP itself has a value.
    Dear Devs: I enjoyed the Legacy of Romulus expansion much more than the Delta Rising expansion. .
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  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 33,908 Arc User
    Actually, Games Workshop isn't advocating anything, they're allowing their property to be used in that way.

    Fan fics, fan games, and fan films are firmly in the "you can't sell it or we sue" department. It's why Axanar went down in flames. Peters made it his source of income. But this is because they're never a duplicate of a work that's being sold. If you were to make a "fan game" that's a duplicate of a paid game then you can get sued for that, even if you code everything from scratch.

    Also, there are rules about works becoming public domain. If the IP holder goes out of business and the IP doesn't get transferred then the work becomes public domain. In the case of CoH, that hasn't happened. Also, transferal of the IP isn't all that complicated. It's normal for failing companies to sell off all their assets, and IPs are typically sold this way.
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  • valoreahvaloreah Member Posts: 10,098 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    And as pointed out above, Warhammer Online is being allowed to exist on private servers by the IP Holder. So basically you're saying that Games Workshop is ADVOCATING for stealing just by the fact they allow private servers of a defunct MMO to exist.

    Amazed you can't see the difference here. It's in your own post.

    Games Workshop (the IP holder) said "this is ok to do with our property."

    Where is the approval of NCSoft (the IP holder) to do the same for CoH?
    Dear Devs: I enjoyed the Legacy of Romulus expansion much more than the Delta Rising expansion. .
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  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 48,130 Arc User
    Interesting how you zeroed in on only one part and ignored the "case by case basis" part that I've pointed out SEVERAL TIMES.

    You keep pretty much saying there must be Zero Tolerance, yet seem to be just fine with Games Workshop allowing it. So which is it? Zero Tolerance or Case by Case?
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  • ichaerus1ichaerus1 Member Posts: 792 Arc User
    To the OP's queries, yes. If a dead MMORPG is resurrected(such as CoX or Warhammer Online), and is free, I wouldn't have a problem with the games being around. Were my tater laptop able to handle CoX(some derpy issue w/ the graphics card driver isn't cooperating), I'd be playing that right now, though I poke at Paragon Chat and Icon here and there. I'm tempted to look into Warhammer Online, and see how the resurrection's come out, since I really had a lot of fun with that game, and the PvP/RvR it had during my time with it. Should the Unseen battlemechs from Battletech be brought back? Definitely. But I also have my own opinion on the whole Harmony Gold issue. If someone who once offered a service that's desirable no longer offers that service, but someone else does, I'm going to go to the place/person that offers the service I want.
    jonsills wrote: »
    Apparently our ethical standard here is "what we don't actually get arrested for is okay." Good to know.

    It's only illegal if you get caught. Until then, it's intelligence. People will always find a way to get what they want, or to get ahead.
    If someone's willing to take the risk to "sail the high seas" for music or video entertainment or whatever, they're going to go for it. That's part of human nature. It's a reason why Prohibition failed. ;)

    Laws only have teeth if someone is present to enforce them, or a person is not willing to accept the risks/rewards/consequences of ignoring them.
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,465 Arc User
    ichaerus1 wrote: »
    It's only illegal if you get caught. Until then, it's intelligence.
    That's a very... utilitarian point of view there.
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  • evilmark444evilmark444 Member Posts: 4,798 Arc User
    valoreah wrote: »
    rattler2 wrote: »
    Only if they intend to repackage the ORIGINAL product in question though right? If a more modern version was made available, how would an older version detract from it? The very fact these private servers of the old product exist means there's interest in the subject material in question.

    What if they wanted the IP itself to rebuild it using a different, more modern engine?

    Look at it like this - suppose some publisher wants to buy the IP of City of Heroes tomorrow to re-start/rebuild the game. How are they going to justify the expense when there is a free version out there for all the world to play?

    The IP itself has a value.

    There actually has been an indy publisher trying to do something similar to that with CoH for years, NCsoft had them sign an NDA and then did nothing. When the code finally got leaked a few weeks back an indy publisher (the same one i think, but not positive) said they were going to try again with the hope that things would be different now that the server code is in the wild. Their reasoning was that they wanted a 100% legal server to be available for fans so that they wouldn't have to fear being shut down again. I should note though that the indy publisher(s) I'm referring to were created by CoH fans for the specific purpose of building a successor to replace the void left by the CoH closure.
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  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,809 Arc User
    valoreah wrote: »
    rattler2 wrote: »
    Only if they intend to repackage the ORIGINAL product in question though right? If a more modern version was made available, how would an older version detract from it? The very fact these private servers of the old product exist means there's interest in the subject material in question.

    What if they wanted the IP itself to rebuild it using a different, more modern engine?

    Look at it like this - suppose some publisher wants to buy the IP of City of Heroes tomorrow to re-start/rebuild the game. How are they going to justify the expense when there is a free version out there for all the world to play?

    The IP itself has a value.

    If someone bought the IP of City of Heroes tomorrow from NCSoft and decided to develop it, then most of the private servers would shut down since the private servers are supporting fan's need for City of Heroes. After all, why bother playing a Static MMO where it only includes the last patch from the MMO that shut down years ago when there is a new version creating new content?

    The only reason why it might suffer is if someone bought the IP of City of Heroes and didn't develop the game any further, but that would be due to a person's greed rather than their desire to play the MMO. So the only difference would be is that one is legal while the other is not. With the new City of Heroes private servers, there is a P2W vendor that provides every item in the Paragon Store for free or for an Influence/Infamy cost (their version of Energy Credits).

    The only reasons why anyone would use private servers assuming a legal version is being developed instead of just supporting the MMO is if the server is based around a certain period of time like Star Wars Galaxy pre-NGE or like being able to cheat in a MMO where there are no other players.
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,465 Arc User
    ...or because the illicit server is charging less than the legal one. Don't pretend for a moment that the Internet that gave us Pirate Bay and Torrentz would balk for a moment at saving five bucks a month by using an illegal game server.
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  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 33,908 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    Interesting how you zeroed in on only one part and ignored the "case by case basis" part that I've pointed out SEVERAL TIMES.

    You keep pretty much saying there must be Zero Tolerance, yet seem to be just fine with Games Workshop allowing it. So which is it? Zero Tolerance or Case by Case?
    I would say: Zero tolerance to doing it against the wishes of the IP holder.
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  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,809 Arc User
    jonsills wrote: »
    ...or because the illicit server is charging less than the legal one. Don't pretend for a moment that the Internet that gave us Pirate Bay and Torrentz would balk for a moment at saving five bucks a month by using an illegal game server.

    An illegal game server would not be developed like a legal game server with an active dev team. So there won't be any new missions, raids, or features besides the ones that might have been currently being worked on when the official servers were terminated, but never implemented.

    If someone acquires the IP of a dead MMO and has an active dev team to create new content, then most of the private servers will die off even if there is higher cost. However, if someone acquires the IP of a dead MMO and doesn't create new content, then people will stick with free private servers rather than the legal servers that actually costs money. Although, if people had a choice between free private servers and free legal servers, then they would pick the free legal servers.
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