your thoughts on the crono trigger romhack

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  Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« on: May 24, 2009, 10:46:33 PM » by Viral
Well squeenix has put the axe to several fan made rom hacks of Crono Trigger as most of you might be aware of, yet countless other Square Enix games have had this done, and no axe swinging Cease and desist orders have been, well, swung.


Whatta yer thoughts on the matter?

Rawr
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2009, 01:12:46 AM » by Andrew The Dragon Knight
I'm kind of split on this issue. On one hand, I can see why SE did this, as the game is their property and all. On the other hand, if SE is not doing anything with the series, then why bother with the C&D order?

Am I the only one who thinks this?

My current inventory is: One transforming katana, one flight suit, one Caster, various Caster shells, one gallant (including stock and barrel) and an optimistic attitude.
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2009, 01:29:44 AM » by Word on the Wind Fanservice with a vengence!
This might jsut be rumor millin', but I've heard the C*D business was just a hoax made by some group thatwanted to drop the hack project without losin' face. However, I have no bases for this other than hearsay, so it may be an utter fabrication.

I miss my signature.
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2009, 02:07:33 AM » by JayBee That's how I roll.
The whole hoax nonsense is just "the scene" generating drama, if you ask me.


Anyways...

Legally speaking, SquareEnix HAS to engage in legal action.
If they do not, they will LOSE THEIR TRADEMARKS in the US.

APPRIVOISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger rom
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2009, 10:46:10 AM » by alaras
Legally speaking, and coming from the perspective of someone who's studied copyright law on a level required of anyone who deals with lawyers, they are NOT "required" to issue C&D orders if they do not want to.  However, Square and Enix have been known to do this sort of thing for years, even when they were separate companies.  It's nothing new coming from them; it's just been a while since the last one.  Nintendo was especially infamous for pissing people off with C&D letters at one point, which took the romhacking movement even further underground than it was previously, even on roms that never made it outside Japan.  Makes it kinda tricky to deal with those roms, but if you keep it sufficiently under the radar, you CAN get away with it.
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2009, 12:29:33 PM » by Chibi Kami
Also legally speaking, Squeenix has no authority to issue a C&D on the creation of patches, especially on Chrono Trigger.

1: The original game code isn't present in the patch, and therefore the patch contains nothing they have the rights to.

2: Nintendo technically holds the copyright on the US rom code (a typically wtf situation that prevented the PS1 version of CT from having a playable rom on the disc like the Japanese version).

3: A couple of years ago the US supreme court decided that computer code itself couldn't be copyrighted, only the final product and artistic resources.

Basically, unless they were planning on releasing prepatched roms with less than 15% altered, Squeenix has no foundation for a C&D. Heck, it's not like they're hard at work on Chrono Break or anything...

The power of love is the most chaotic and destructive force in the known universe.
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger rom
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2009, 12:53:01 PM » by Datschge Sakuraba Fan
Whatta yer thoughts on the matter?

SE shot itself in the foot, killing some fans on the way. But that's to be expected for SE's huge corporate lawyers unit which needs to justify its costly existence in some way.
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger rom
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2009, 02:25:43 PM » by alaras
Chibi, you're absolutely right.  However, a judge is more likely to side with the corporation than the hacker, and the same goes for just about any US jury.  People aren't exactly educated on fair-use laws, and so abuse runs rampant.  Chrono Compendium didn't want any trouble, so they backed off.  Under the circumstances (i.e., SquareEnix actually knowing where to send the C&D), it's best for them at the moment.  I don't think that this will be a permanent measure, as there's bound to be some mavericks out there who will continue to do as they please without getting caught, and I wish them the best of luck.
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2009, 02:13:28 AM » by JayBee That's how I roll.
alaras, Chibi Kami...

I said TRADEMARK. Not copyright. They are, in fact, different issues.

They CAN lose the rights to their TRADEMARK if they don't defend it.



As far as the copyright argument goes...
The copyright holder is the only one legally allowed to make derivative works, as per chapter 1, section 106 of US copyright law.
http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106
Thsi is stated in remarkably plain english, and with very little room for reinterpretation.


Most ROM hackers will readily admit they operate in a VERY gray area, if not in outright violation of the law.

The "patches don't contain copyrighted material" argument is disingenuous at best.
It's indisputable that the ROM hackers have created a derivative work. It's the ENTIRE POINT of ROM hacking.
The fact that it's not distributed in a directly usable form has little bearing on the subject.


Only the dumbest and boldest of people would try to claim that they were merely distributing a random collection of bits that MIGHT HAPPEN to modify a copyrighted software product into a deriviative work.

There's simply no question that all the hacks taken down were in violation of SquareEnix's copyright.
The only question is whether SquareEnix was aware and cared enough to DO something.



And I fail to see where a blatant derivative work is defended by fair use.
http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107
Certainly, fair use is a vague clause and most of the rules have been set by judicial precident and not actual law, but to argue that it's a defense for wholesale derivation...
Just as fair use does not allow anyone to make and distribute their own Mickey Mouse cartoons, regardless of if they use original footage and sound or not, it also does not extend to cover anyone making and distributing their own Chrono Trigger sequel, regardless of if the original code is used or not.

(Historical note... fair use almost certainly played into the classic ROM download disclaimer that the files were "for educational purposes only," though I'm certain that no court would've found the site proprieters operating within the bounds of fair use. I'm still not sure where the 24-hour clause came from, though)



Now, you can argue that copright law is too strong in many cases. But that doesn't change the law.





Not related, but there's a section devoted to computer program exemptions that's interesting to us for two reasons.
http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#117

1. This is the one Nintendo used to lie about by saying you couldn't legally make back-ups of your games. They intentionally used the public's popular definition of computer to insist that that clause only applied to PC software and not game console software(spoilers: game consoles are computers, and game cartridges/disks contain computer programs). 
US copyright law says you can back up your games. In the real sense of the phrase, not the euphemism for piracy sense. This also implies mod chips are legal, since you can't use your back-ups on your original hardware without them.
The conflicts between this and the DMCA are currently unresolved.

The second interesting part is that it also provides protection for adapting a program, provided "that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner...".
This is the "emulation is legal" clause, since there's a clear intent in US copyright law for the user to be able to run computer programs on platforms other than they were originally designed for.

APPRIVOISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2009, 03:32:08 PM » by Chibi Kami
An incredibly well formed argument JayBee; You've just rendered the creation of fanfiction illegal (granted, some of it was a crime against humanity to begin with...).

The power of love is the most chaotic and destructive force in the known universe.
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2009, 05:29:14 PM » by Shadow The Ace Hunter
I don't think you can easily draw a comparison between a game hack and fanfiction, as the latter is much more... immaterial, for lack of a better word.

A game hack uses the game's code, art and audio besides story elements. In fanfiction, you're just making use of ideas, which are less concrete and legally handled quite differently.
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2009, 08:44:24 AM » by Derek The Blue Wings of Kyonoshi
An incredibly well formed argument JayBee; You've just rendered the creation of fanfiction illegal (granted, most of it was a crime against humanity to begin with...).

Fix'd. I read and occassionally write fics myself. About 95% of all fanfiction is shit, simply because the writer has no sense of WTF they're doing with the ideas and characters.

And don't even get me started on slash fics.

dragonmasterjb0: Apparently, in the new series, Lina is arrested at one point on charges of being Lina Inverse.

The rest of the party, in typical Slayers fashion, gives a reaction to the effect of "Sounds reasonable."
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2009, 10:37:52 AM » by Word on the Wind Fanservice with a vengence!
An incredibly well formed argument JayBee; You've just rendered the creation of fanfiction illegal (granted, most of it was a crime against humanity to begin with...).

Fix'd. I read and occassionally write fics myself. About 95% of all fanfiction is shit, simply because the writer has no sense of WTF they're doing with the ideas and characters.

And don't even get me started on slash fics.

However, it can best justified when someone comes along and MSTs the damned thing.

I miss my signature.
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger rom
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2009, 05:11:22 PM » by JayBee That's how I roll.
The best/worst I can say for fanfic is two words: Transformers Porn.

The worst is obvious. It's TRANSFORMERS PORN.

The best? It is endlessly hilarious that such a thing EXISTS. That someone looked at their toy shelf and actually thought "You know what'd be awesome? If Megatron stuck his gunbarrel into Starscream's exhaust port."

Having actually READ one or two out of morbid curiosity, the implementation is even MORE hilarious.

APPRIVOISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  Re: Your thoughts on the Crono Trigger romhack
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2009, 07:55:19 PM » by alaras
And for Derek's groans, that pairing would technically double as slash, since both of those bots tend towards the masculine side.  No, I won't read any of THAT fanfiction, though there's plenty of half-decent fanfiction out there...
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