Sunday, July 21, 2013

Copyright holder of "Attack on Titan" stops fan game mod in SL

Rest in peace, Attack on Titans in SL. It was good as long as it lasted but the copyright holders of the manga series closed it down. Well not entirely: those people who bought the gear can continue playing. The battle arena is still up and running. But it is not possible for new players to buy it. Luckily I got my gear before the vendor was closed.

At least the battle arena is still up and running

I really hope that the developers will now create a new gear that is different from the manga series but with the same/similar game mechanics. It would be too bad if other people couldn't join the fun!

The development of fan art based articles has become a minefield in our digital times and a lot of items that have been tolerated or even supported in the past are now banned. Second Life user Nathan Adored explains in a blog post comment how a vendor of Star Trek fan art got into troubles (full comment here):

In the 80s and into the 90s, I used to buy all sorts of Star Trek and general sci-fi things at conventions and through mail order. Most of it was books filled with diagrams and technical descriptions of how this stuff was supposed to work, or blue prints and comparison charts of spacecraft. I’m pretty sure most if not all of these were Not Officially Licensed… but the fans were specifically ALLOWED to make and sell these things, they just weren’t allowed to be sold through regular book stores and the like. This WAS the standard we went by for decades. So far as I understand it, this sort of gentleman’s agreement came about when in the 1970s or so (before I got involved in organized fandom), Paramount had gone out stomping hard on those making Star Trek stuff without going through them first… and it had blown up in their face, since they were going after fans making, say, tear-off notepads with Spock’s pictor on the corner and selling them to other fans, where the one doing it was making them mostly to show their love of Star Trek… and Paramount discovered that their stomping on these things were actually harming fandom in general, were turning large numbers of fans against them, and even causing some of them to leave overall Star Trek fandom in discust… so they backed off, and reached an agreement that remained in place after that for decades.
And then one day… BAM!!! Suddenly one of the more prominent and respected makers of Trek stuff (but also of lots and lots of other genre stuff) gets an out of the blue DMCA on some of the Trek items he makes, and SECONDS after the DMCA he gets his account disabled, apparently because he didn’t instantaneously act on the DMCA and take those handful of Trek things off the Marketplace.
Thing is, yes they have to protect their copyright and trademark and stuff, under the theory that if you don’t protect your owned copyrights and trademarks, you might lose your rights to them… but there’s better ways to handle it than the totally binary way they’re suddenly treating it now. That, and it is VERY clear they’re forgetting decades of tradition and decades of how Trek fandom HAD been allowed with Paramount’s blessing to handle things.
In the spirit of these lines I do think that the SL version of Attack on Titan was a great promotion of the manga series. I hadn't heard about it before and I was really curious to get to know it. Now I have a somewhat bitter feeling towards the AoT show and I think I wouldn't enjoy watching it anymore.


  1. This is a clear example of corporate culture not really understanding a prosumer dynamic. It's not black and white any longer, and traditional thinking will do more damage than good in the end.

  2. Star trek issue wasn't as clear cut as that, there were others things going which created that situation and it happened around a year ago, Statements have been main regarding trek and SL which makes it easier to know where fans stand check the article and link to the first one

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  4. @ Snapper: I agree and disagree with you. Yes it is allowed to play Star Trek in Second Life if no one asks for any money. Last Saturday I have even presented a Star Trek fan game in Second Life on my blog. It is a freebie game and it is cool:

    However many fan items would take dozens or even hundreds of hours to make. If this work can not be remunerated, many people will just not do it.

    Are the cool fan made articles at conventions given away for free? NO!

    Look at the SL marketplace and what kind of products are offered now. They mostly look cheap because they are cheap. Paramount doesn't offer any Star Trek articles in SL so there is ONLY freebie stuff left. But cool stuff requires WORK. If the work is not compensated somehow it will simply not be done. Now we got lot's of LAME Star Trek stuff in SL. Great Job, Paramount, Thanks a lot! (There might be some exceptions and if you are a Star Trek fan item creator, don't take this statement personal)

  5. The issue is always the fact that such big corporate companies see copyright over fans. Secondly big consumer companies are protective over branding but in the same twist, do not actually go out and employ people in virtual communities to feed fan based culture in other platforms and avenues.
    It's nothing new, there has always been a short sighted view of ownership vs fan creativity. As sad as that is, its something people have been aware of for years in Second Life; that is if you dare to place a copyrighted image on an item or create an item based on a famous iconic design (that's steeped in copyright), then you lose the risk of having a DMCA on it as the corporate owners see it as "un-official bootlegging" and not continual free passive marketing as they should do. Many fan based Rps and sims were told to close down due to such copyrights and its really a lot safer to be original and create new ventures especially as many fan based based creations/ Role Play sims in Second Life (that fell under fan based developments have been told to cease and desist) had the stops pulled on them. A great shame as such ventures pulled together people like a fan based convention. I guess the corporatism executives need to go back to marketing school and see the reasons why allowing open ventures to fans " with certain restrictions" would serve them well.

    So how does that serve the gaming/ roleplay world of SL? Well something I learned in my time in Wastelands is the importance of original creativity, if you have a good idea and a motivation; its amazing what can be done to develop new ideas far removed from huge corporate company owned franchises. As long as they are managed well and supported, then they can be exciting places that you don't miss having a crutch of a famous iconic program/ movie etc to base your creative flow. I do admit though I would love to see more themed environments based on the worlds and character we have known and loved in famous fictional programs, books etc. But while the digital stranglehold over property is killing any sort of fan based venture, best way is to be original.

  6. Hi Jordy, thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. I am citing one way of getting more fan based content of famous fiction in my latest blog post:

  7. It still LIVES! Theres a new SIM and you can buy the gear again!