AH - the General:  CD archives?
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Post Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:50 pm 
 

http://www.ahgeneral.org/

Anyone know these guys??


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Post Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:59 pm 
 

grodog wrote:http://www.ahgeneral.org/

Anyone know these guys??


No, and I've never heard of published material falling into public domain this quickly. They may be right or this may just be a case of undefended copyright.

  


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:14 am 
 

grodog wrote:http://www.ahgeneral.org/

Anyone know these guys??


Most of the PDF games and pieces are actually more expensive than buying an original :lol:

For example : To get all the components and rules for D-day would be $32.00 plus shipping.

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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:48 am 
 

Saxonangel wrote:
Most of the PDF games and pieces are actually more expensive than buying an original :lol:

For example : To get all the components and rules for D-day would be $32.00 plus shipping.


oops sorry that was me :oops:


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:51 am 
 

Great find.
A little over prived IMO. If they sold the whole run of The General for $50 I'd be in for a copy. Individually pricing PDFs when someone is looking to buy the series is just plain asinine.
And they don't offer a sample, so you have no way of knowing the quality of the PDFs you're gonna get. They could be professionally done, or they gould be as bad as the Gamelords or JG stuff online.
Best to stear clear until someone posts a credible review of what these are like.


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:13 am 
 

this is the only sample I can see...

http://www.ahgeneral.org/index/pdf/AH-GEN-v23n1.pdf

might want to look through this as well..

http://www.ahgeneral.org/gameparts/


Brette:)


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:17 am 
 

That is a pretty good quality scanned page.
If they are all like that it is something I would consider buying.
I'd like to hear from someone who's bought then first though.


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:02 am 
 

My non-lawyerly take on this: published works do not enter the public domain after only twenty years, even if they're undefended.  The term is more like 90 years.  And "fair use" never includes making a profit off of the "use".

These folks are going to get their pants sued off.

Foul

  

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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:23 am 
 

In the US and in the UK, published works enter the public domain only after 70 years following the authors' death. The 25 year rule for periodicals only covers the layout and design of the periodical. Copyright of it's contents (the individual articles) belong to the publisher (unless by special arrangenment) for 25 years following the end of year of the date of first publication, and then revert to the ownership of the original author for the remainder of the author's life and become the property of his heirs for 70 years beyond.

Anything published in PDF form without the consent of publisher and/or the author is a clear breach of copyright. It really comes down to whether the person publishing can justify their actions, prove that they went to all reasonable extents to trace the copyright owner, and is willing to compensate the copyright owner if and when they sue.

There is no doubt that a portion of what is currently available on RPGNow is being published illegally. Gamelords and Judges Guild come to mind, but there is probably much more besides. And I am in no doubt that the Dragon Magazine Archive, Ares Magazine Archive and White Dwarf Magazine Archive, all also are in direct breach of copyright law.

Will anyone ever do anything about it? I doubt it.
Does anyone really care? I doubt it.
Do the copyright holders know? A proportion of them do.
Will they do anything to defend their copyright? No.

RJK, FM, TK and a whole raft of others have materials published in the Dragon Magazione Archives. 25 years following publication, those articles became their property again when the periodicals' copyright lapsed inot public domain. Do they care that their copyright is infringed? I doubt it. They certainly won't ever do anything about it.

Bottom line is, it is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder to defend their copyright, and if they choose not to do so, there isn't a single institution or business that has the power or interest in doing it for them. It is the same with patents. If you create something but don't care whether anyone copies it or uses it, the world is going to value your invention with the same value you put on it. So why the hell not copy it? It harms absolutely no-one except the copyright owner, and if they don't care, then it harms absolutely no-one.


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:39 am 
 

. wrote:RJK, FM, TK and a whole raft of others have materials published in the Dragon Magazione Archives. 25 years following publication, those articles became their property again when the periodicals' copyright lapsed inot public domain. Do they care that their copyright is infringed? I doubt it. They certainly won't ever do anything about it.


On the Dragon magazine archive how was their copyright infringed?  TSR/WotC paid out a large settlement (half a million dollars) to the copyright holders for this - or so I was told.

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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:48 am 
 

Mars wrote:
On the Dragon magazine archive how was their copyright infringed?  TSR/WotC paid out a large settlement (half a million dollars) to the copyright holders for this - or so I was told.

Really? I didn't know that. That would be a settlement for the breach of copyright then? Maybe that's why the product was pulled. If they published without permission from the authors, and the authors could prove ownership of copyright (or at least WoTC could not prove that TSR retained ownership of the copyright after the 25 year lapse), then I presume someone sued and got paid. A class action mayhaps? Or a single case that set the precedence for complensation claims? Curiously, that would also apply to people who wrote in letters for the letters page, but that would need to be something challenged in the civil courts, and I doubt anyone would go that far.


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:49 am 
 

. wrote:There is no doubt that a portion of what is currently available on RPGNow is being published illegally.


Your evidence?  I can't say anything about the Gamelords stuff as I know nothing about the company, but given that Judges Guild themselves link to the products on RPGNow I think it's safe to say that their product is not being published illegally.


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:50 am 
 

. wrote:Really? I didn't know that. That would be a settlement for the breach of copyright then? Maybe that's why the product was pulled


It was why the product was never "reprinted", yes.

And it was with Kenzer & Co. over Knights of the Dinnertable strips, IIRC.  The settlement is why Kenzer got permission to do Hackmaster modules based off of old AD&D products.


"Reader, Carthegena was of the mind, that unto thoſe Three Things, which the Ancients held Impoſſible, there ſhould be added this Fourth ; To find a Book Printed without Errata's."

  

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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:00 am 
 

g026r wrote:
Your evidence?  I can't say anything about the Gamelords stuff as I know nothing about the company, but given that Judges Guild themselves link to the products on RPGNow I think it's safe to say that their product is not being published illegally.

IIRC, Pegasus 1 was relesed in PDF form (at least I have a copy that I bought), and seeing as it was published more than 25 years ago, copyright of the magazine layout is now in the public domain, and copyright of the articles within the magazine is now the property of the original authors. Now, unless JG required their athors to sign away all rights of ownership prior to publication, or sought permission for the publication of the PDF from each of the contributing authors, then there is a breach of copyright that could be challenged. Whether anyone would ever do anything, and/or care about it, I very much doubt it. And whether or not that PDF is still for sale, or has been pulled, I also have no idea. But that is just one item. I haven't had a look at what's for sale in a few years now, and I doubt JG have looked too hard at it either. These decisions were made many years ago when BB was still alive.

As regards the Gamelords stuff that's up, I am curious to know who owns copyright there. One would assume Tadashi does and is publishing himself. If not, and the author is publishing legitimately, then is he doing so legally under the Gamelords' name which presumably is the copyright on Tadashi? Who knows? Who cares? Just another case that may not be cut and dried.


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:01 am 
 

g026r wrote:
It was why the product was never "reprinted", yes.

And it was with Kenzer & Co. over Knights of the Dinnertable strips, IIRC.  The settlement is why Kenzer got permission to do Hackmaster modules based off of old AD&D products.

Nice little titbit of info there. Thanks.
One wonders whether FM or RJK or TK or any of the others ever got a payout for their IP?


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:09 am 
 

. wrote:then I presume someone sued and got paid. A class action mayhaps?


I believe the big issue was actually because of the fiction stories.  Various author's had signed exclusive contracts with their publishers about electronic content.  So when the archive was published there was a breach.  I believe there was a class action suit that got settled out of court.

In the case of RJK, FM, TK the question or rights may not be so clear since presumably they were staff members while most of their articles were published so TSR owned the rights to them.  In the standard contract, I'm sure TSR had the rights to reproduce copies of the magazines and that is what they viewed the archive as.

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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:20 am 
 

Mars wrote:In the standard contract, I'm sure TSR had the rights to reproduce copies of the magazines and that is what they viewed the archive as.

This is where copyright law needs to be tested, and most authors have no interest in challenging things like this, and no funds to do so.


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:58 am 
 

This is actually a topic that is near to me as I'm a huge wargame collector and player. It's my first love, so to speak.

I ran into these folks scanning and selling Avalon Hill games, parts and magazine issues sometime ago and contacted them asking them to verify the legality of what they were doing. I was partly curious to press them on the ethics of what they were doing, and partly interested in knowing if it really was ok for them to be doing what they were doing as others might also benifit from doing so as well.

I spoke to the person running the operation directly. He runs or owns a computer shop and conducts the Avalon Hill copying business out of the same location. His initial response was very frank and direct and forthcoming. He seemed very concerned about getting called about the legality of what he was doing. He went on to explain that he in fact had no explicit permission to do any of what he was doing but that he was doing so because in essence he was never told not to by the current owner of the copyrights. He said they has contacted Hasbro to request permission but never received a response and were never told no, so they took that as a green light to proceed. I explained to him that lack of response from a copyright holder is not the same as receiving permission to copy and sell copyrighted materials. He took much of it down for a few days but they got bold and it all went back up again and he's never looked back since. I contacted the legal department at Hasbro who holds the current copyright for most Avalon Hill products but I didn't speak to anyone personally and didn't follow up. I am considering doing so again to press the issue.

The long and short of it is that Hasbro holds the copyright to most Avalon Hill products but they have so far not been active in pursuing defending those copyrights from people like those at ahgeneral.org. As a result it has caused them to feel they have a defacto right to scan and sell any AH product they want since it must now be in the public domain (so they claim incorrectly). I tried to explain they may very likely be called to task for this and that over time the damages will mount significantly against them if they continue, especially if it can be proven that people attempted to tell them otherwise but they no longer seemed to care.

When this issue was discussed on a wargame forum the responses were mostly in favor of them ceasing their illegal copying and selling, but there was a group of people upset that folks "were sticking their noses into issues that didn't impact them" and were causing a source of supposedly affordable parts and back issues to potentially disappear. Some folks were rather upset about that about that aspect and took great dispair against those wanting the operation closed down.

Lastly, as someone who has studied copy right law a great deal and who has fought their own legal battle with someone over copyright infringement I can tell you their supposed justification for their "project" are absolute bunk. The Fair Use clause does not allow private parties to copy and sell copyrighted material, among other points they claim!

  

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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:29 pm 
 

jcp wrote:He said they has contacted Hasbro to request permission but never received a response and were never told no, so they took that as a green light to proceed.


That's a pretty big contradiction to what they say on their website:

ahgeneral wrote:We have determined, after repeated contact with Avalon Hill, Wizards of the Coast, and Hasbro, that the copyrights for all these magazines are now in the public domain.

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Post Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:50 pm 
 

This seems to be the case where most of the concerns come from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_T ... _v._Tasini

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