Re: [Circle] Re: Copyright info, Moderated?, Ettiquette!,

From: Brian Gray (
Date: 08/23/96

On Tue, 20 Aug 1996, Linebacker wrote:

> >> I want to write several areas, actually an entire mudworld based on an
> >> already existing novel set, and am curious as to what others have run
> >> into.  I'd suggest letting the author know at the *very* least... 
> For starters, in the United States, you cannot be penalized for any copyright
> violations if you do not benefit (make money) from using the material. That is
> why muds have mostly escaped the recent policing on the net. Look at the fire
> usenet is under, usenet is full of copyright violations, hell you can download
> the entire playboy issue if you want.
> If I am breaking the law, oh well, I have done much worse in my time. For
> any matter, you can only be sued for amounts up to the maximum revenue 
> gained from the use of the copyighted material. I'd be happy to turn 
> over my 'gain' to Forgotten Realms. My gain starts out with a fat 
> negative sign.

Ok, well this is completely wrong.  Could you tell me your source on this 
information?  Copyright laws are just that -- laws.  Once a person or 
corporation records a sufficiently creative work in any form (even RAM 
has been upheld as a recording medium for copyright reasons), THEY 

If you distribute Playboy for free and make no money off it, you bet your 
ass that the courts will find every downloaded copy was a potential sale 
for the copyright owner.  Thus it is counted as lost income and you are 
liable for all the revenue the holder would have collected if those 
magazines were sold at a newsstand.

Ok, so you can argue that use of a book's characters and situations in a 
MUD area causes no lost income.  Fine, so you owe nothing in revenue 
compensation.  Big whoop.  Besides the possible punitive damages, the 
first thing the copyright holder will do is issue a cease and desist 
order.  Then you have the choice of scrapping your work on the area or 
being held in contempt of court.  Now you've escalated from a civil 
dispute to being criminally liable.  At minimum you owe a fine; at most 
you could serve time in jail.

I'd go out on a limb and guess that you won't be sued.  I would even go 
so far as to say that the original copyright holder will never know about 
your area or derivative work.  So you'll get away with it.  That doesn't 
make it legal or ethical.

 -- Mandy, Coding Director of The Multiplex

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