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> Wikimerge, Wikia's shutdown, getting people interested in contributing to tetris knowledge
caffeine
post Mar 6 2013, 03:09 PM
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Tetris concept story

QUOTE(Panda @ Mar 5 2013, 05:01 PM) *

Can somebody please inform me of the full situation? What exactly is the current situation with Wikia, HD, TetrisConcept, etc? How did the idea of "Wikimerge" arise? Why is the ownership issue such a big deal and how can it be fixed?
I'd really appreciate it if someone could clear things things up, thanks.


I am almost superstitious when speaking on this topic. The last three times I did, HD got hacked/wiped. As a result, I keep needing to write it over again.

The year is 2005. The best players were on Tetrinet, Quadra, and Tetron. These communities were cliquey--and even worse--competitive to the point that they deliberately withheld knowledge/strategies. Most of what was shared was done so via the ephemeral chat feature. Don't get me wrong, this is where I first learned how deep the Tetris rabbit hole goes. I was greatly inspired by spindizzy's articles about the game. It was refreshing to see a top player articulate his ideas so well. And what great ideas! Despite that, it was just a poor plot of land to grow lasting roots. Besides, those games seemed even at the time to have an expiration date. I wanted to work towards improving myself for the long run. That meant I needed to focus more on TTC-type games.

TTC had recently shut down one of my favorite (and one of the only) public sources for Tetris knowledge: Tetris Lovers. I had been playing Tetris Worlds (multiplayer online on Xbox) for a couple of years. While I loved it and made many (Tetris) friends, I felt limited. There was still more improving to do--more mysteries of Tetris to unravel. This is when I started a little side-project, near to my heart, that I like to call tetrisconcept.com.

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It started slow--extremely slow--but I kept at it. I must've looked fairly pathetic, updating a website of which only search engine robots seemed to take interest in. I think it was colour_thief who was my first forum member. I'd seen him before on GameFAQs talking about some Japanese game with high gravity that was the subject of this rad viral video that was making rounds on eBaum's World. I'd wanted to wait until the site grew a little more, but it was thanks to CT that the wiki got a head start. We stayed up all night laying the foundations. He had a huge list of Tetris titles to start from. He deservedly became the forum's first mod. The wiki actually served as a catalyst for the forum when Tetris DS came out. It drew in new players who were searching for quality Tetris intel, and that's when TC's turned out to be a (modest) success.

The years passed by. New games came out (but nothing nearing the height of TDS's popularity). I still strived to become a better player. There was still more to learn, but at least now there was an active community. There was a body of knowledge. Good stuff. I began my career, the process of buying a house, wanting to spend more time with my girlfriend, etc. Working a ton of hours every week, I was "time poor." I desperately needed to free up my schedule. That's when I decided to say farewell to TC.

I loved it too much to simply "give up" and leave it as is without caring for it (e.g. Tetris Taxonomy). There was no one I felt comfortable handing it over to, either. Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of friends who were capable of making their own wonderful sites, but the way I did TC was a little on the weird side. I won't go into details, but my style received heavy criticism on more than one occasion. Also, there was (and still is) a small, but intense TGM-Super-Clique (TSC). I was afraid that if it went in that direction, TC would lose its scope. That's by no means what I had in mind for the project I'd worked so hard to build and grow over the years. Most of all, I was proud of TC and wanted it to go out with the same principles I'd stuck to while maintaining it. The best option was to simply shut down.

I was confident that a new (perhaps even better?) site would pop up. I was fully prepared to advertise them for the rest of my site's lease (a perk TC.com was never so lucky to have!) Not wanting to lose the most important content, I sent it to Wikia. Later, I gave it to blink once he established HD as a serious effort. I'd tried to recruit someone to host an offline version of the forum so that that content wouldn't be lost either.

Anyway, I was naive and thought people would adapt and move on. However, TSC felt hurt, and more importantly, they felt entitled to the tetrisconcept namesake. The group is blessed with some very intelligent and capable members, since they managed to screen scrape the entire website with dead-on accuracy. They moved it completely to a their own .net domain. Nevermind the legalities, they had saved the day from the evil caffeine. The memory I'd envisioned for TC's closing was spoiled and tarnished. Many friends were lost.

This brings us up to date. TSC has spun this attempt to "unify" HD and TC.net's wikis. They've proposed hosting it on a non-partisan site (myndzi's), only the guy hosting TC.net (DeHackEd) is the same guy who will actually be hosting the new "unified" wiki. (Figure that out.)

Now people are throwing out the word "ownership"! It's funny that they use that word when I deliberately freed all the content on the wiki from day one when I attached a Creative Commons license to it. That was actually an unpopular idea at the time since some were worried others would steal it. What a joke--the people who brought up that complaint are the same ones who wound up hijacking my entire site! No, the actual issue here is whether or not TC.net has violated the (very liberal) CC3 license.

CODE
You may not implicitly or explicitly assert or imply any connection with, sponsorship or endorsement by the Original Author, Licensor and/or Attribution Parties, as appropriate, of You or Your use of the Work, without the separate, express prior written permission of the Original Author, Licensor and/or Attribution Parties.


Tetrisconcept.net has violated the license by:
  • Explicitly asserting connection with my site by using the same title and the same copy-pasted forum content and user information.
  • Never gaining permission from the Licensor (myself) to do this.
Moreover, TC.net has added very little to the wiki since I shut down tetrisconcept, yet HD has added quite a bit.
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post Mar 6 2013, 03:42 PM
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Caffeine, just quickly read your post on the by-chance it gets deleted.


I have to go take a walk in the snow to refresh right now, but once I come back I'll most definitely be commenting on this matter.



Spoiler: I agree with you, your general sentiment, and your overall purpose. My post will soon be edited with an appropriate response.



edit: jk decided to PM caffeine separately later, when i build up stamina and snap out of depression.
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Paul676
post Mar 6 2013, 03:43 PM
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Caff: Would you be opposed to a forum merge a priori or would you be happy with it if it were hosted completely non-partisan. Because my view is that it can be only a good thing for the spread of Tetris knowledge.


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Edo
post Mar 7 2013, 04:08 AM
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I would like to clarify a few legal points, which are clearly the cause of much confusion, both in this thread, and the previous thread that got deleted when HD went down recently.


Regarding copyright:
When someone writes something in their own words, whether it be a forum post or wiki contriubtion, or something else, they automatically own copyright to that something under international copyright law; there is no need to apply for or register in order to secure copyright. Also, it is extremely difficult to accidentally lose copyright irrevocably, as in most cases the copyright owner's original written signature is required. Regarding content of forum posts, although forum owners often reserve the right to delete or edit posts, the copyright will always belong to the original author, and at no point to the forum owners.

Regarding wikis, and the CC-BY license:
When someone contributes to a wiki goverend by the CC-BY license, either by editing an existing page, or creating a new one, they are the "Licensor" of whatever content they contribute. This is regardless of whether they are a) the "Original Author" (and hence copyright owner), or b) have permission from the copyright owner, or c) do not have permission from the copyright owner. The website -- or rather the owner of the website -- that hosts the wiki is not the "Licensor". One reason is as follows: suppose a website owner hosts a wiki on their website, and that a contributer decides to upload the entirety of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in digital form (either as scans, or text) to that wiki. Clearly, whoever is the "Licensor" in this case is granting rights to something that they don't own the copyright to. If JK Rowling and her publishers were to file a lawsuit, the "Licensor" is potentially liable to pay a large sum in damages. What website owner in their right mind would want to be the "Licensor" in this case?

Therefore, caffeine is not the "Licensor" of any wiki content except for his own contributions, and hence his argument in his post above is legally baseless.


QUOTE(ohitsstef @ Mar 6 2013, 03:07 PM) *

I think this situation should be handled in private with Caffeine and Blink.
Even if the "majority" of the users want to merge the wikis together, Caffeine was the owner of TC and didn't give permission for the cloning for the new TC to happen. Also, you stated that he gave the wiki to Blink for HD. So it seems appropriate to discuss the matter with those guys instead of leaving it to the open for the mass.

Ownership of the "tetrisconcept.com" domain has no relevance to wiki content. Blink could have copied the entire wiki verbatim, with or without caffeine's permission. This is because every single wiki contributor, caffeine included, has granted blink the license to do this, under the terms of the CC-BY license. For this same reason, "tetrisconcept.net", "pointlesstetriswikiforknumber5.com", and "yetanothertetriswikifork.info" are all legally entitled to the same, regardless of what caffeine, blink, or any other individual says.

Furthermore, ownership of the "tetrisconcept.com" and "tetrisconcept.net" domains has nothing to do with the copyright of the domains' respective forum content. Just to recap: copyright of a forum post belongs to the original author, automatically, under international copyright law. Hence when the tetrisconcept.net forum was created, all that happened was that copyrighted forum posts were copied from one website to another. Since caffeine does not own the copyright to any forum posts except for his own, and since those forum posts to which he does own copyright are still clearly attributed to him on the tetrisconcept.net forums and no one else is claiming to have written them, there is no infringement.

Finally, the name "tetrisconcept" is not trademarked. Now, suppose my wife was expecting a baby boy, and that together we'd thought up a really nice and unique name. Suppose also that my friend and his wife were also expecting, and decided, even after we'd asked them not to, to give their son the exact same name as ours. Sure, caffeine is entitled to feel resentment over the fact that the people who created tetrisconcept.net used the "tetrisconcept" name after he told them not to, however, he has no more legal or moral right to the name "tetrisconcept", than I do to my son's name. I leave it up to the individual to decide the extent of such moral right.


I've presented the above as objectively as possible, and merely for the purpose of correcting misinformation.
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XaeL
post Mar 7 2013, 04:14 AM
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QUOTE(Edo @ Mar 7 2013, 04:08 AM) *

stuff

Sorry, after caffeines post i didnt read yours and just assumed it was wrong. I'll read it later.


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QUOTE(Paradox @ Dec 16 2010 @ 05:52 PM)
Like many setups here, it is useful if your opponent doesn't move and you get 4 Ts in a row.
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myndzi
post Mar 7 2013, 06:39 AM
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caffeine:
I made a fuckin noob mistake and edited your post rather than replied to it. I believe I've put everything back the way it was, except the image is missing. My apologies.

general: I wrote this reply without having noticed Edo's reply, so I defer to his more thorough description of the legal standings of things.

QUOTE

This brings us up to date. TSC has spun this attempt to "unify" HD and TC.net's wikis. They've proposed hosting it on a non-partisan site (myndzi's), only the guy hosting TC.net (DeHackEd) is the same guy who will actually be hosting the new "unified" wiki. (Figure that out.)

This is only one of many options. I have directly volunteered to pay hosting out of my own pocket; this was, in fact, my first suggestion. I must say, though, that it seems exceedingly silly to expect me to turn down an offer of free indefinite web hosting just because "those against" have a (misguided) low opinion of DeHackEd's professional conduct.

QUOTE

Tetrisconcept.net has violated the license by:
  • Explicitly asserting connection with my site by using the same title and the same copy-pasted forum content and user information.
  • Never gaining permission from the Licensor (myself) to do this.
This is a circular argument. Using the content does not "imply connection" with anybody. What this clause is about is absolving people who offer up the content of legal responsibility.
Since tetrisconcept.com doesn't exist, there's nothing to "imply connection" with -- if it did, I might side with you on this one. However, since your intent was to close the doors and leave them closed, there is no ambiguity here.

In addition, by the terms of the license itself, you are not the Licensor; you distributed the work (1c-1e). The licensor is the person who released copyright on the content, e.g. the original author or an entity entitled to act on behalf of the original author.

Your argument therefore fails on both counts. I believe this is where we were at the end of the last thread.

As for your comments about "TSC", any argument on those terms is ad hominem or similar. The argument for or against combining the wikis has nothing to do with whether you personally happen to like the people involved in the discussion.

In short, I'm sorry that this bothers you, but it is your own misunderstanding of the legal terms involved that has caused you to be upset by the situation. This, however, has very little to do with the desire of existing community members to remedy the situation.

QUOTE

Moreover, TC.net has added very little to the wiki since I shut down tetrisconcept, yet HD has added quite a bit.

If you compare the quality and amount of content instead of simply the article count, this comes out a lot closer than you think. It also implies that TC members added nothing to the HD wiki, which I know to be patently false. This is not a distinction you can really make, nor does it bear on the argument at hand.


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caffeine
post Mar 7 2013, 06:46 AM
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Thank you for your post, Edo. I too believe there is much confusion about these legal points. It is definitely worth consideration. Hopefully with some discussion we can all come to a better understanding.

First let's tackle the forum issue.

You are correct by saying that the law automatically protects someone's intellectual property by default. In regards to my site's forum, every member granted tetrisconcept.com the priviledge of publishing their words under its terms of service. On the other hand, tetrisconcept.net straight up copied this content. In other words, I was given permission from my members to publish their content. TC.net was not. On the contrary of what you said, simply attributing someone on the forum does not give you the legal right of publishing their complete work without permission. You may be interested in reading more about this subject on Wikipedia's Fair Use article.

Now, let's clear up some stuff about the wiki. Whenever someone created or edited a page on TC.com's wiki, they were notified by the following disclaimer:

CODE
Please note that all contributions to wiki are considered to be released under the Attribution 3.0 (see wiki:Copyrights for details). If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then do not submit it here.
You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource. DO NOT SUBMIT COPYRIGHTED WORK WITHOUT PERMISSION!

Whatever content anyone wrote on the wiki, it was written under the CC3 license. Now, let's have a look at the CC3 license's legal code.


CODE
"Work" means the literary and/or artistic work offered under the terms of this License including without limitation any production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, [...]

Any content submitted to TC.com's qualifies as the "Work."


CODE
"Licensor" means the individual, individuals, entity or entities that offer(s) the Work under the terms of this License.

The Licensor is anyone who submitted content to the wiki (of which all of whom released their Work under CC3's license)


CODE
"Original Author" means, in the case of a literary or artistic work, the individual, individuals, entity or entities who created the Work or if no individual or entity can be identified, the publisher;

In other words, all anonymous additions and edits are classified as the publisher's (TC.com) in regards to whom qualifies as an Original Author.


CODE
7. Termination

This License and the rights granted hereunder will terminate automatically upon any breach by You of the terms of this License.
[...]
Subject to the above terms and conditions, the license granted here is perpetual (for the duration of the applicable copyright in the Work). Notwithstanding the above, Licensor reserves the right to release the Work under different license terms or to stop distributing the Work at any time; provided, however that any such election will not serve to withdraw this License (or any other license that has been, or is required to be, granted under the terms of this License), and this License will continue in full force and effect unless terminated as stated above.

The license doesn't simply go away after someone closes up shop. If you violate the license, you are automatically publishing copyrighted work without permission.


CODE
You may not implicitly or explicitly assert or imply any connection with, sponsorship or endorsement by the Original Author, Licensor and/or Attribution Parties, as appropriate, of You or Your use of the Work, without the separate, express prior written permission of the Original Author, Licensor and/or Attribution Parties.

Under the terms of CC3, I am the Licensor of all work published under my pseudonym, and I am technically the Original Author of all anonymous work. TC.net does not have my permission to assert connection with me and my work. They've done this explicitly by screen-scraping my entire site and naming it the same. This violates the the CC3 license, meaning they no longer have permission to use the wiki's copyrighted work. As a result, TC.net is breaking copyright law on the wiki as well as the forum.
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myndzi
post Mar 7 2013, 06:58 AM
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Re: Forums: I concede the point that your personal posts on the forum may be subject to whatever demands you make, however you cannot speak for all members. I'm sure muf would be delighted to remove all your posts from the database if you so desire.

Your entire argument hinges on "association" but you still haven't provided sufficient evidence of that claim. TC.net is not claiming association with you and never has or will. You have no trademark on the name Tetrisconcept, and you have no website under the same name. In the eyes of any outside observer, you are a complete unknown. This is far from "claiming association".

As for content that you yourself contributed, you also released that content under the CC3 license; it therefore doesn't really matter if you are the Original Author or authorized to act on their behalf (anonymous users), since even if you authored all the content, it is still available under a license that gives explicit permission to use that data.

Finally, please direct your attention to my previous comment regarding "use of the data" as "association" - this is a completely invalid argument. The CC3 license is authorizing people to use the data; that data does not imply association with anyone.

Edit: I once offered to bring an actual laywer in for a considered opinion, but nobody took me up on it. I still can, if you would like.


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caffeine
post Mar 7 2013, 07:04 AM
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Edited out to later respond to myndzi's new post
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myndzi
post Mar 7 2013, 07:22 AM
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Let's break this down further.

You may not implicitly...

Implicit: implied, rather than expressly stated.

or explicitly...
Explicit: directly stated

assert...
Assert: to state with assurance; to maintain or defend

any connection with...
"This <content> is related to this <entity>"

sponsorship or endorsement...
"This <content> is supported by this <entity>"

We can rule out 'explicit' immediately. If there remains any explicit statement of connection with, sponsorship of, or endorsement by you, caffeine, I don't foresee any problem bringing that into compliance.

What you're getting at is the 'implicit' part.

To imply connection, sponsorship, or endorsement, TC.net would have to mention you somehow and/or not deny such an assertion. It is not enough to say "they have the same content" -- the content [in the case of the wiki] is available for anybody to use. TC.net does not imply connection with wikia or vice versa. It's not enough to say "they have the same name" -- there is no existing site to be associated with. It's not enough to say "they scraped the data" -- the data was made available, and they are legally granted permission to Reproduce -- without any modification, though I daresay there has since been modification -- the content in question.

It's not enough to say "well some people in the Tetris community know I used to have a site that this site is based on" -- this isn't an "implied connection", it's a knowledge of history. These terms actually have a specific meaning, they aren't just what you want them to be. I am confident in my interpretation but, once again, if somebody would like to take it further, I am willing to submit the question to legal review.

And before you go and say "they used the name 'tetrisconcept' -- that's me!" -- note that you have no trademark, legal entity, or indeed, any property whatsoever by that name.


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caffeine
post Mar 7 2013, 07:24 AM
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Let's put it this way. As long as "tetris concept" is included in tetrisconcept.net's wiki as well as its name, it's eliciting endorsement/connection to the original CC3-licensed Work which was identified by the same name. Fair enough?

I chose the word "explicit" because titling something exactly the same as what you're copying without mentioning it's actually a different thing... is pretty damn explicit in my eyes. It's not an implication, it's a direct "this and that are the same."
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myndzi
post Mar 7 2013, 07:26 AM
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QUOTE(caffeine @ Mar 7 2013, 07:24 AM) *

Let's put it this way. As long as "tetris concept" is included in tetrisconcept.net's wiki as well as its name, it's eliciting endorsement/connection of the original CC3-licensed Work which was identified by the same name. Fair enough?


This is not true.


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caffeine
post Mar 7 2013, 07:28 AM
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QUOTE(myndzi @ Mar 7 2013, 01:26 AM) *

This is not true.

Pretty weak argument there.
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myndzi
post Mar 7 2013, 07:29 AM
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I don't know how many other ways I can put it. Using a similar domain name is not 'implying connection with the licensor/original author'. The domain name is not the content. The content does not reference you personally (?).

The obvious intent of the CC3 license is to make content available for everyone to use without legally impacting anyone who "came into contact" with it. The legal terms support this. It's a license for making content freer, not for asserting control over it.


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caffeine
post Mar 7 2013, 07:43 AM
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QUOTE(myndzi @ Mar 7 2013, 01:29 AM) *

It's a license for making content freer, not for asserting control over it.

Which is exactly why I chose it. That was the whole idea behind TC in the first place--get knowledge out there for all who seek it. It's the same reason why I handed the wiki over to not one, but two different sites!

However! There are some things that are just not cool. It's not cool to copy something and pose as the original source... letting people get the wrong idea. That is why CC3 includes the endorsement/connection clause. It's just not right.
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