Purchase rights to commercicial episodes and make them GPL

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Lava89
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Post by Lava89 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:38

It would be interesting to see some kind of law inacted to deal with situations where the rights of the creator to their creation are no longer held by them. Like Commander Keen, Wasteland and even Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

Oswald was created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney, but were under contract to Universal which fanangled him from underneath Walt. Eventually they stopped doing anything with the character and the Walt Disney Company ended up "trading" him back for sports newscaster Al Michaels nearly 80 years later. Since being grabbed by Disney they were already able to feature him in the platformer game series "Epic Mickey".

Wasteland was the spiritual predecessor to the Fallout series, created by Brian Fargo. He wanted to create a sequel after making the first game but publisher EA moved onto other things. 26 years later Fargo was able to make Wasteland 2 after the rights expired under Konami (go figure how they got them! haha).

This law would recognize two things that all three cases have in common-- the company currently holding the rights has done nothing with the character \ IP and another entity has claimed more rightful ownership. Of course, this would have to be determined case by case (i.e. Tom Hall would have to put together a strong argument as to why he should get Keen back). I'd best describe it as kind of the way custody rights work between divorced parents, in the US. Its also similar to how Marvel negotiated movie rights to other studios-- if they don't make any new movies with those characters, they go back to Marvel, the rightful owner.

There's obviously some exceptions to this; for instance, using this law for Duke Nukem would be a bit murky, as to claiming who exactly owns rightful ownership. Since its debatable whether he was in better hands of the old 3D Realms after Duke Forever...though the Interceptor guys, who now own 3DR, might do better with him...but can they claim proper ownership of Nukem? Secondly, in the case of Spyro, he's technically being used in Skylanders and Insomniac feels they've moved on from the character. Thirdly, Fallout has been really successful under Bethesda, so the original developers can't really claim rights under the first condition. Lastly, Lucas could never claim rightful ownership of Star Wars because he was handsomely compensated for its sale.

However, I think with a law like this Disney and Fargo would've been reunited with their property much sooner, instead of happening to fall upon luck and unless Tom Hall shares the same good deal of luck, he may need some kind of legal "umph" if he ever wants to see those rights again.
Last edited by Lava89 on Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:36, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by SupFanat » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:44

This is my opinion.
Generally entire copyright to every copyright owned by company should be cut to no more than 20-30 years. No single company depends on renevue from ancient things.

Some examples of things things which in my opinion should undergo copyright expiration to protect public domain from current non-existence:
- Mickey Mouse
- almost all Tom and Jerry cartoons with exception of very few modern ones
- absolutely every software which needs emulators to work properly
- all obsolete OS even if it's only few years old. Only to prevent waste of money by senseless lawsuits about something obsolete.

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Post by Fleexy » Sun Sep 27, 2015 18:36

If we do get a hold of the rights, I would much prefer that the source be released under the MIT license instead of the GPL. (MIT allows sublicensing and commercial use.)

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Post by ScarletFlame » Sun Sep 27, 2015 18:41

We need to get Carmack to use his L337 haxor skills to "accidentally leak" the source code.

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Post by Flaose » Mon Sep 28, 2015 22:59

Lunick wrote:Go find Commander Keen 6 first.
Atari holds the rights. Or at least they probably do.
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Post by ScarletFlame » Mon Sep 28, 2015 23:42

Flaose wrote:
Lunick wrote:Go find Commander Keen 6 first.
Atari holds the rights. Or at least they probably do.
The rights to keen are confusing. Separate games owned by separate people.

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Lava89
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Post by Lava89 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:05

So if someone gets the rights to each individual Keen game (1-6, Dreams, GBC), do they get to make TUIT?

You know, kind of like collecting all of the Chaos Emeralds?

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Post by Keening_Product » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:45

Given the person who bought KD does not have rights over the IP except an unlimited license to redistribute that game, I doubt it. Though, having said that, KD has always been a special case and always distributed under license.
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Post by SupFanat » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:10

Are there any news about Commander Keen 6? I know that the risk of being sued because of such old stuff is zero but I think you'd like to do it because you love the idea itself... :)

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Post by RoboBlue » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:05

ScarletFlame wrote:
Flaose wrote:
Lunick wrote:Go find Commander Keen 6 first.
Atari holds the rights. Or at least they probably do.
The rights to keen are confusing. Separate games owned by separate people.
Can we start declaring rights legally dead?
Like, if nobody knows who owns the rights to something for a period of time, we can just call it public domain.
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Post by SupFanat » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:04

I know that most probably no one is even going to sue anyone for the sake of protecting the cheap $4.99 Steam pack from being pirated. But I do know that your ideology does have such value as having all Commander Keen games as public domain, doesn't it?

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Post by Keening_Product » Sun Oct 04, 2015 7:01

Use the IP and you will probably find out who owns the rights pretty quickly, albeit via a lawyer.
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Post by Lunick » Sun Oct 04, 2015 10:53

I dare someone to put Keen 6 on Steam Greenlight :dopefish
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Post by Nospike » Sun Oct 04, 2015 21:26

SupFanat wrote:If I was Bill Gates I'd admit that Windows 8 is simply a fail for it's original purpose and since it's a fail instantly stop caring if it's pirated or not. I'd redefine it as historical document and set the price to zero to encourage people to use it as historical document. First fail since 27 years is acceptable loss. Ideally a law snould exist that fail products can't be copyrighted - it would encourage companies to stop trying to use fail products as source of renevue.
Windows 8 is by far not Microsoft's only major failure in the last 27 years. Windows ME anyone?
It just might be done someday. The chance is always there.

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Post by ScarletFlame » Mon Oct 05, 2015 0:26

Nospike wrote: Windows 8 is by far not Microsoft's only major failure in the last 27 years. Windows ME anyone?
Don't forget Vista.

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