Today my readers I’d like to feature a guest post by a hobby games veteran. Chris Clark from Inner City Games Designs gives us his thoughts on copyright. His thoughts were spawned by a very intense discussion regarding the Google class action settlement with the Author’s Guild. If you’re not aware of the lawsuit and subsequent settlement, you’ll want to read The Author’s Guild Google Settlement Resources and how it might affect you.
I’m an industry dinosaur. Inner City Games Designs (ICGD) is approaching its 30th year in business (est.1982, first pubbed product actually in 1981 – it was a smaller, kinder industry then). I frankly have 107 published IPs that could be in serious jeopardy if the courts allow this to happen. I’m working on two books and four games for the next quarter as well.
I do a LOT of things to earn a living, and always have.
I can build a car from scratch.
I can build a house from scratch.
I can build furniture from scratch.
I was a restaurant chef for 7 years.
I was a logistics (import/export) guru for 16 years (although I am now sadly out of date).
WHY do I write stories and games to make my living? Because, if I do that job well, that particular body of work should outlive me. The effect that said work will have on its intended audience will extend beyond the brief span of years with which I have been gifted. In short… those ideas, those IPs, are my legacy (not Google’s legacy, not some programmer’s legacy).
Yes, I need to make a living at this as well. Not get rich, just “make enough that I can get up again tomorrow and do this again”.
But what those who are asking for complete open content are actually telling me is this: no one deserves a legacy. Your ideas, the moment you have them, belong to everyone. Personal achievement is worthless. No one cares, or ever will, who you are. Thanks for sharing, now please go away.
Society owns everything, the individual, nothing.
When we are speaking of ideas, for gosh sakes, that an individual has not even the right to call their thoughts their own; its just a bit much for me. The concept of socialism can not possibly become more invasive than that.
I would guess that brands me as a social capitalist, rather than a social socialist.
I DO believe that individuals should be rewarded for their individual efforts. Call me crazy.
Our society is capitalist, and is designed to reward the extraordinary efforts of individuals.
Take away my rewards for coming up with new ideas, and frankly, I’ll go rebuild cars for a living.
Take away my legacy, and I might as well build houses or make shrimp de jonghe.
If ideas are that easily percolated that they deserve little to no protection, gentlemen… come up with your own; don’t pirate mine.
“So sweetheart, what does your father do for a living?”
“My dad is the guy that wrote Fuzzy Heroes.”
“That’s YOUR dad?”
That’s what they want to take from us, and anyone who thinks differently is kidding themselves.
“Star Wars? Yeah, its cool.”
“Who wrote that?”
“Huh? I dunno. Some guy.”
That’s what they want. Call me crazy as aforementioned… but in my book, that is WAY beyond crazy. Do this; allow this…. and our kids will never see another “Star Wars” idea. It just won’t be worth the time to put it on paper.
I’m lucky, I married a lawyer.
I’m lucky, because I live in the United States of America, and you don’t have to be powerful to change things here, just noisy.
I plan on being very noisy should this policy become precedent.
Wish me luck. On the bright side, I do not believe I’ll be the only one standing atop a soapbox.
About Chris Clark
Chris Clark began his ‘professional’ gaming career in 1977 running events at Gen Con in Lake Geneva Wisconsin. He formed his first gaming company, Inner City Games Designs, while in college at the University of Illinois in 1981. His first published game, the Inner City RPG was also published in its original format that year. Chris still owns and operates Inner City Games Designs which now has more than 50 titles currently in print. It is one of the oldest small press companies still in existence.
Chris formed Hekaforge Productions with Gary Gygax in 1998 in order to launch Gary’s newest role-playing creations, the Lejendary Adventure™ and the Lejendary Earth™. While still small, Hekaforge currently has 20 titles in print, and shows no signs of slowing its steady growth.
Since 1980, Chris has written more than 100 published role-playing, miniature, card and board games, including Fuzzy Heroes and War PIGs, and is still writing them for both Hekaforge and Inner City Games Designs. He is also an avid member of the Game Publishers Association, and engages in freelance writing for several magazines as well as other game publishers. You can find out more about Chris at www.fuzzyheroes.com.