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(TFT) Re: Appropriate use of copyrighted material

From: Michael Taylor <MichaelTaylor1@compuserve.com>
> As a computer programmer I felt I had to respond to this statement. Your
> statement seems to imply that writing a computer game from someone else's 
> written -- non-computer rules - is no work at all. This misconception about
> the amount of effort involved in writing computer programs is pretty
> self-evident when you look at the quality of computer software out there.


> My point is that the writing a computer program is alot of work and very
> different from the type and amount of work that went into designing the
> rules. If Steve Jackson is going to profit from writing the rules to Mele= e
> (for example), then why shouldn't I profit from the amount of work it too= k
> to write a computer program 'version' of it? The final form is entirely
> different and his contribution to 'my' software - while very great and
> valuable - does not diminish the work that I've done in programming it. =


> As far as the morality of it - again - that only makes sense if you assume
> that writing a computer program takes as little effort as say....running off
> xerox copies.

The effort in writing a computer program is at least comparable to another 
example. Let's say someone writes a novel using the Star Wars characters. This 
is a lot of work. So why shouldn't they be allowed to publish it? It's very 
simple. Because it's illegal according to copyright and trademark law. The 
copyright or trademark holder is legally entitled to exclusively benefit from 
their creation for 95 years (now that the law has been changed). This includes 
all derivative works, which a novel or a computer program of a game entails. 
Using the name, spells, skills and other creations of the game is comparable to 
using the characters and settings of Star Wars. It's really that simple. And 
since Metagaming is incommunicado, it is not possible to get a license. So the 
would-be game writer is stuck. They either must break the law, or look to other 
projects. Now, it might be possible to get a license to GURPS or Compact 
Combat. ;-)

Morality has very little to do with it. But legality does.

> Mostly because it would be FUN and why shouldn't someone else who WANTS the
> program be able to get it from someone who was willing to put in the effort
> of writing it! And if someone put in the effort of writing it, then why
> shouldnt they get PAID for it - even if they dont get paid as much as if
> they wrote the whole thing (rules and all) themself.

Very loose on the rights of the original creators of stuff, aren't we?
Brett Slocum  --  slocum@io.com  --  ICQ #13032903
Illuminated Sitekeeper, GURPS, Tekumel, MiB
Illuminated Site Form: http://www.sjgames.com/ill/illsotw/illform.html
Home page: http://www.io.com/~slocum/
"Ah'm yer pa, Luke." -- if James Earl Ray was the voice of Darth Vader
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