Legal actions and future steps

Discussion in 'NDS - ROM Hacking and Translations' started by Auryn, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Auryn
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    Auryn GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Hi people,
    no, don't worry, Capcom didn't contact me to tell me they are taking legal actions toward me or my wonderful team (and hopufully they will not do it:) ).
    If you don't know what i am talking about, it's about the news of Square-Enix taking legal actions toward Skybladecloud that was at the head of the translation of Final Fantasy Type-0 for PSP.
    The story and the newest info can be found here:
    Sky blog
    Discussion
    Latest Infos

    I don't want to talk about who is right or wrong, i don't want to talk about if translations are legal or not and most of all, i don't want to see any hate comments towards SE or Sky in this thread.
    What I want to talk about is what I should do with my future projects.
    As most of you know, most of my projects are actually IP of Square-Enix or Squaresoft (the old company name) and naturally I wish to bring you some of those games to you in english but naturally I don't want to get in the same troubles as Sky is.
    There are at the moment about 10 games i would like to work on from SE divided in half for PSX and half for NDS.
    One side of me tells me that SE probably will not take legal actions toward me if I release patch for games that are for the PSX but I am a bit more scared about games for NDS.
    On the other side, I believe that maybe those legal actions toward Sky are not because of the translation itself, not because of the timing, not because of the HD remake but short and simply because of the patcher Sky made and the "iso merger" he made that basically include part of the game (from what i heared).
    One side of me just is thinking about releasing example a partial translation for the 4°CD of FF7 international to test the waters (maybe not just now but in some month when Sky story as cooled down a bit).
    And one last side would like to contact SE and ask for permission to work on the game xx or try to find some terms with them (example all games for any system with release after 2012 are a no go) but there is the danger that I get on touch with the last customer service employee that will tell me that all games are IP of SE so they are taboo when maybe the head of SE has nothing against my translation.

    It's a discussion that touches us all as well because we are using IP from others.

    So what are your opinions about my dilemma?? Somebody has some good contacts with SE (Europe/USA or even Japan) to ask if they would mind my translations??

    Thanks


    Auryn
     


  2. Clarky

    Clarky Don't you know who I think I am?

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    There is always a risk with these kind of things but if you are only releasing a patch, sort of that patch having anything copy written, I don't think SE could touch you, but at the same time I ain't a lawyer. For all it's worth I loved you AAI2 translation and would love to see more work by you.
     
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  3. enarky

    enarky owls?

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    You're... working on ten projects at the same time? Good luck with that. Why don't you concentrate on one?
     
  4. Dust2dust

    Dust2dust GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    This is most likely what happened. His patch is so huge in size, it probably includes both isos' contents. That gives sufficient grounds for Square/Enix to ask for a C&D. If you just release a patch with absolutely no part of the game included, there is absolutely no ground for any publisher to sue you, as the patch is completely useless if one doesn't have the game (or rom). I wouldn't lose sleep over it, if I were you.
     
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  5. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I am certainly going to keep an eye on these sorts of things, more than I already do, but I am going with business as usual for the time being. Granted I have not helped out on as much translation work in recent times so it is less of a pressing issue for me.
     
  6. Auryn
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    Auryn GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    clarky: thanks :)

    enarky: well, it's not that i started them all at once. They comulated with years :) Apart that, I started from zero and learned to hack/translate with years. Some projects/games still hide things from me and that because I still not have the skillset necessary to crack that problems. Example ASM tracing and programming on windows.
    Before somebody jumps up and tell me that it's easy as play with a toy, it's not that i don't know how to trace or program; it's more that i can not really "read" what is happening in the ASM and I am missing some key pieces in programming (example how to parse a file or rebuild one).
    Sometimes it is the game that stopped me, sometimes the language, sometimes time or life itself so i have many things started but view terminated :P

    Dust2dust: well even if in this case I believe that to be the culprit, history show that it's not like you say.
    You can take a look HERE, many of those games didn't have parts of the original on them or they even wasn't released yet.
    Anyway, I completely agree with what Gideon Zhi commented in one of the links above:
    FAST6191: Well, for me it's a bit more concrete but actually it doesn't really matters.
    It would be nice to finally have a clear stantement from SE and other gaming companies on how they see our passion and where they see the limit. Tell us clearly a time frame (example all games released less than 5 years ago are a no go), by having somebody we could talk with to make some rules for each project that can garantie we will not be sued if we respect the rules or by making clear declarations why they stopped a project. I take the example of Crimson Echoes: what is the real motive why they stopped them?? Just a new employee at SE that wanted to show off for his boss?? Was SE soooo scared that the game would be so good or so bad that they would have some damage from it?? Was the game still too "new" because CT just came out on the nds some months before and CE would interfere with the business/advertising plans of SE?? Was it because they had already plans for the playstation network and virtual console release in 2011??
    Would be nice to have clear rules, clear limits and some kind of support from the gaming industrie.
     
  7. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I very much doubt you will get more than an unofficial nod of appreciation from some of the devs -- officially saying yay or nay could have all sorts of ramifications on copyright, licensing deals and trademarks. Equally the likes of virtual consoles and emulators are now common enough that far more intellectual property is viable in game world for an awful lot longer. At best you might get something like the let's play situation where they are unofficially hands off.
     
  8. DinohScene

    DinohScene Capture the Dino

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    Afaik, translating a game is legal..?
    I've got no bloody fucking clue tho.
     
  9. sandytf

    sandytf GBAtemp Regular

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    I still don't believe the Crimson Echoes C&D was real. Agent 12's story was rife with inconsistencies, holes, and ambiguities.
     
  10. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Not as such. It probably falls under copyright of a script, derived works and things like http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/...subtitles-lead-to-polish-german-police-raids/ are good examples of what goes (there was a more recent one as well). Trademarks possibly also get involved and those can get quite messy.

    On the other hand most devs, if they even know at all, usually run the numbers and figure going after a couple of programming enthusiasts is not going to do much for PR, much in the way of anything for or against the future sales of the game, if a patch is released then it is probably already too late to stop distribution and so forth.
     
  11. Cyan

    Cyan GBATemp's lurking knight

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    It has the story itself.
    Translations are copyrighted in some(all?) countries. you can't translate a book and give it to international community without the consent of the book's author or publisher. what if you did this with harry potter?
    Like Fast said in another thread, few years ago a French fansub website had C&D letters and had to shutdown because movie subtitles wasn't well accepted by companies.
    It seems to be more accepted now, though it's still copyrighted.


    working on a game translation is the same, providing the same content in another language it's not legal at all, but the developers/publishers don't send letters systematically.
    I think they send them if they want to protect their future release plan and think they can still make money with it (digital distribution being easy now, they can think of a lot of official re-release).


    As an untold rule, we forbid to provide data not created by yourself. All content created by the developers are copyrighted.
    releasing patch not containing any original data is probably what prevented so many projects from receiving a legal threat.

    I don't know if contacting the IP owner before starting a project is not killing it in the egg, They will be aware and can take actions before you even hope releasing it.
    You don't even know if you could release it they let you do it. lot of project were dropped. Asking for doing it and finally dropping it after few weeks/monsth is not a good thing too.
    contacting the owner with content you can display is maybe good. the project is well advanced, you have things to show them, they could like it?
    But like Fast said, the game company will probably never tell you that they support you (the best they can do it that they won't send letters), you are not doing their job for free, you are not going to ask money compensation for the work you did, etc. it will never be official. If they want official translation, they have their own agencies, or own private translators they know better (for consistency with old games, or popular culture references) and with whom they already worked. And sometime they can even hire you officially.


    I remember video game fan translator working on official project and later being released on consoles (Gideon Zhi from AGTP with Cave story!), and official translators working on fantrans project too ! (Mother 3 had a pro translator working on his own free time on it).
    When IP owners and Fans can come to mutual consent it's great, sharing their love for a game with everyone :)


    sorry if my post is not very well structured, I wrote things as it came in mind.


    Edit (offtopic):
    I once found a translator website from one of post on on gbatemp, but forgot the name/site/user.
    I wish I could find it again, he explained how he started translating, what it really is, which project he worked on, how much it is paid per words, how companies often sub-employ other translator companies and the game ends being horrible, etc.
    Someone already read that website?
    Edit: it was http://www.loekalization.com.
     
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  12. the_randomizer

    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    Dr. Wahwee's castle

    I'm pretty sure it was fabricated and was likely a convenient excuse for them to drop the project. At the very least, there is a version of the hack that can be completed.
     
  13. hackotedelaplaqu

    hackotedelaplaqu GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    If you fear for you, do what all hunted hackers do :
    1/ keep silent (close this thread),
    2/ work on those projects
    3/ make the patchs released by a "nasty 1 post gbatemper" who leaked your patch. <--- shame on him. :ha:
     
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  14. GHANMI

    GHANMI GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Aside from this recent debacle involving distributing actual chunks of game data -you need one disk- (and maybe some pornographic eroge for PC), the only time a company C&D'ed a translation was back in 2009: Sega USA vs 7th Dragon (DS) translator. (and yet, someone else did it anyways in 2014)
    Also, one zero-day Pokémon DS translation?
    Yes, it can happen, but it's very rare and depending on the publisher and circumstances.
     
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  15. Alchemilla

    Alchemilla GBAtemp Regular

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    I'd think that if you translated only games that had no chance of coming to America they wouldn't do anything except if it was a big IP like when they ordered a cease and desist on Chrono Trigger Resurrection.
     
  16. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    The little stuff does make for good fodder for a lot of translation houses, NIS this year have done quite a bit there and in times past it was Atlus' mainstay. Moreover Chrono Trigger Resurrection, and all the other projects, tend to be fan games which most likely would fall under a different area of IP law (probably trademarks).
     
  17. Alchemilla

    Alchemilla GBAtemp Regular

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    So fan mods of a thing are okay but remaking the thing outright is not allowed. Okay. I thought it was all just not allowed technically.
     
  18. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    The trouble with trademarks is you can keep them forever (unlike basically every other form of IP, give or take how you might feel about modern copyright extensions and oddities like the King James bible in the UK) as long as you maintain them. Part of maintaining them though is going after people that would use your trademarked concept in a manner. http://www.inta.org/TrademarkBasics/FactSheets/Pages/LossofTrademarkRightsFactSheet.aspx has some more if you are curious.
    In games Nintendo was involved in a fairly famous case with King Kong and Donkey Kong, Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. being the case in question, it is not quite the same as this but it was considered a fair loss for Universal.

    Likewise fan mods like this can be legally dubious, however companies can afford to let them slide owing to it probably not being a trademark that is troubled.
     
  19. Auryn
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    Auryn GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Nice discussion it raises more questions than it gives answers.
    Example as fast said, IP protecting their future plans for digital releases etc...
    How many hack and translations and retranslations are there around of titles like Final Fantasy that are re-re-re-released over and over and SE didn't and don't touch them??

    the_randomizer: well, i don't see why they should do that especially because the second beta version shows they did a pretty good job with it and even if maybe not everything was on it what they planned, it is still a pretty complete job.

    Be silent and just release the things? Well, I don't think it's a good way.
    If a company get to know you are working on a project, they can send you a C&D before you release something and before you spend too much time on it. If you be quiet and just release the things, they have only left to sue you for the damage / copyright infrangement.

    I know it's difficult for companies as well to get clear with this topic.
    First there are so many projects that are announced but never completed.
    Second because how we say here " they could give a finger and the people take the hand".
     
  20. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    On the mainline FF (re-re-re)rereleases I stand by my comments in those threads discussing such things that mainline FF titles kind of became Tetris in that you just have a version of it on everything. Equally it probably also sees a healthy dose of the same thing that sees people buy the original Doom games despite them being able to go into their attic, get the old discs, grab the wads from them and package them in dosbox (which is all the Steam version has done) or put them with any of the source mods (which do all sorts of good things).