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Copyright is such a difficult topic


Copyrights make for a huge topic. Sometimes even in the Sims community. I totally agree on the idea of protecting intellectual property, not the least because modern societies shift from producing material things to non-material values like entertainment or technology. Or to put it simple: Minstrels need to be paid if you want them to work as one. But the protection of the copyrights does pose a lot of problems. I don't see an easy solution to it. Several states have come up with different solutions (laws about "fair use", laws about "private sharing exceptions", etc, sorry I do not know all the names such regulations have in their respective countries) and all have their shortcomings and trapdoors.

Take at example the current patent system and the fact that many companies live off solely from the money they earn for sueing rich companies as notional patent violators. There are jokes that today only the very rich could afford not to be illiterate if the current patent system would have been in use when writing and characters were invented. Or that no car would exist if the wheel would be copyrighted by a cave man etc. Some fear that the patent system will not only protect investments in immaterial goods, but also slows the distribution of intellectual advances to the whole world up to a standstill. But as I said, intellectual property is a huge topic and I don't want to dwell on patents.

What I want to point my finger at is best illustrated by this: When I was younger, I was excited to see that computer soccer games went from 2D to 3D and that they looked more realistic by the day. Finally you could even recognize the face of the players, but then... copyright protection set in and the games weren't allowed to show real names or real faces any more without paying huge royalties. Since that time you have the choice to play several great soccer games but without real names/faces or to play one less good game but being the only one with the official licence of the year. I still find it ridicoulous. How long before I won't be allowed to mention Obama (copyrighted) as president (copyrighted) of the United States (registered trademark, used without permission) without paying a royalty up front?

A short while ago an artist I really admire for all the paintings she uploads was questioned about copyright issues. The longer you think about it, the stranger it sounds. If you look at all the Sims downloads, from clothing to clutter to paintings, all strive to mimick the real world as perfect as possible. Versace clothes? Ikea furniture? Coke can? Porsche car? Just imagine you would need an official licence for it - probably 3/4 of all downloads had to be erased because of copyright violations. The TSR artist was showing respect for the painters whose pictures she processed by asking her sources for permission to use it. This is a noble gesture. I bet most artists recreating a dress they saw in a fashion magazine are not doing such a thing. Think about all the Sims that are designed to look like a real life celebrity! Now think back to the soccer computer game case I mentioned above... If you use creations of others, show them due respect, but don't carry the copyright thought any further, or all hell will break loose and downloading/creating Sims stuff will become a lot more restrictive and expensive for all of us.

I can even add a small anecdote to this topic. My current story hero, called Jake Jarvis, was "lent" to a friend of mine who wanted to have him in her story as well. I liked the idea. She put Jake in and let him even appear in some "compromising" screenies, most of the time making him act differently than I would have done it. One way to react would have been to fear for "my intellectual property". Did she damage "my" Jake and the way I want him to be? People might see Jake differently now, even if they were reading my story again, wouldn't they? Should I fear for my yet unfinished story? Rubbish. She had fun with it, the people commenting on it had a good laugh, too, so no harm was done at all. Except some people had a great time with Jake, and I can't say anything bad about that :D Being over-protective wouldn't have made the world a better place.

The Sims is only a game. It is about big money, true, because EA is probably making a fortune with their brand, but still, it is a game for (nearly) all of us. We all want to have fun and the overwhelming majority is not out to hurt anyone or to steal anything or to rip others off. I am aware that I use a lot of CC and some of it is used in my stories. Since I never kept track of the CC I downloaded and which items were created by which artists,  I don't have a proper credit list in my stories myself, but that's more because of my inability to identify my CC and the matching artist, not because of not wanting to do it (and if you are one of the unmentioned CC artists, please drop me a message and I will list you in the credits!). At least I always thank the artist when I download their stuff. What I want to say: Give credit where credit is true, but beware of being over-protective.

But since this is such a difficult issue, I think it is very easy to have a different opinion on it :D. Feel free to voice it.


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7 Comment(s) so far


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#1fredbrennyNov 4, 2010

You spoke well Flatter. Couldn't agree more.

#2Peachybitz1Nov 5, 2010

Food for thought

#3MangioNov 5, 2010

Yep, copyright is such a huge issue - no one can really define it. \;\) Such another thoughtful blogpost \:wub\:

#4ShelleyBNov 10, 2010

I agree, and the whole process is too complicated. I suspect it is this complicated to make it even more difficult for the layman to understand (or want to) . . .

#5flody888Nov 13, 2010

Give credit where credit is true, but beware of being over-protective. I think that's probably a good rule that most people to follow including companies (because in the end they want to make money). Also, I agree with the part about respecting other people's wishes/rights. It doesn't matter if we think someone is being over-protective. If that's the way they feel, then just respect it. That's their right. Thank you for posting this if only to just make us pause and think!

#6Ben72006Nov 15, 2010

Great post.
We create things for other to use. It be great if they thank the person but we can't control how they use it when they use it. I know copyright is a big thing.

#7martoeleDec 7, 2010

Flatter, your words in this blog post shows us all your common sense. \:D

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