Don't be surprised if MSE2 never gets out of beta.

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Wed, 2006-06-28 19:39

Nice. Very nice. So now things like this program are in danger of Wizards' law team.

Guess they figured they got away with it once, so they can keep doing it now.

Wed, 2006-06-28 19:48
Knight Otu

Odd, after the post on the other thread, I checked that site, and didn't see it, but following this link, I do.

Also posts as Ashardalon, Eques Concordia, and Guinea Pig (only elsewhere).

Wed, 2006-06-28 19:53

Twan would have to take out all the images and frames, and give us just the program, and then the symbols and frames would have to be downloaded separately. It's either that, or no MSE, and I know which one I'd want. That's why Magic Workstation hasn't been shut down: It doesn't come with the trademarked images, which is what they're pissing and crying about this time.

Here's the email Wollo (Oliver Weikopf) got that he posted, in case you can't see it on that site for whatever reason:

Subject: Infringement of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Copyrights and Trademarks

Dear Mr. Weikopf:

We are counsel for Wizards of the Coast, Inc. ("Wizards"), the owner of the copyrights and trademarks to the MAGIC: THE GATHERING® Trading Card Game. We have recently become aware that you are making available on your website,, a tool called MtG Editor that allow users to create their own MAGIC: THE GATHERING® trading cards. The site includes many sample trading cards, as well as entire sets that have been made using the MtG Editor. These trading cards copy the overall look and feel of genuine MAGIC: THE GATHERING® trading cards and also include MAGIC: THE GATHERING® Mana and Tap symbols.

Wizards owns the copyrights and trademark rights to the MAGIC: THE GATHERING® trading card game, including the cards themselves as well as the Mana and Tap symbols. Your unauthorized copying of the MAGIC: THE GATHERING® Mana and Tap symbols constitutes copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501. Your unauthorized use of the MAGIC: THE GATHERING® Mana and Tap symbols and overall look and feel of the trading cards violates the federal trademark laws, including 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114(1) and 1125(a), by creating a likelihood of confusion with respect to Wizards’ authorization or sponsorship of or association with your MtG Editor tool and website. This unauthorized use is also likely to dilute the distinctive quality of Wizards’ MAGIC: THE GATHERING® marks in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c).

We therefore demand that you immediately cease and desist from any further use or distribution of the MtG Editor tool and remove it from your website, and remove all infringing MAGIC: THE GATHERING® trading cards and trading card sets created using the MtG Editor tool from your website.

Please provide your written agreement to the above, as soon as possible and in any event within ten days. This letter does not purport to be a complete statement of the facts or the law and is without prejudice to Wizards’ legal and equitable rights.

Sincerely yours,

... (name and adress removed)

Wed, 2006-06-28 19:57
Knight Otu

Yep, in the thread linked to, Wollo said the same thing, and that, since MTG Editor is explicitly for Magic cards, that's problematic. MSE 2 has kind of an advantage in that it can support (almost) every game with the right templates. Which of course would leave it vulnerable to the other companies...

Also posts as Ashardalon, Eques Concordia, and Guinea Pig (only elsewhere).

Wed, 2006-06-28 19:59

As long as it doesn't actively come with any templates, they've got nothing to go on. We've already seen how new templates can be added at any time, thanks to Wolfwood on the MTGNews forums, so it'd be (what I hope is) a simple matter to remove all the templates and mana symbols, and then put them somewhere else for download. The program has nothing trademarked in it, they can't do squat about it.

We've seen it done with the flip cards template etc. We just need to take that a step further to protect MSE is all.

Wed, 2006-06-28 20:05
Knight Otu

Of course I know that (I helped with the non-creature flips). Of course, a "shell program" as MSE would become isn't very attractive from the start, when there is nothing to do with it. Perhaps it could come with a fantasy game as an example.

Also posts as Ashardalon, Eques Concordia, and Guinea Pig (only elsewhere).

Thu, 2006-06-29 03:10
BigGator5's picture

Twan can suggestfully fight off a cease and desist. I know I did, even without spending an extra buck. Twan has to be more worried about a court order than a cease and desist.

Plus, Twanvl's got all the proper disclaimers down on the bottom of his site anyway. Wollo was a dumbass for not placing any disclaimers on his site of any kind.

On the safe side, I would suggest Twan place a trademark notice within MSE (anywhere and everywhere) that the mana/tap/templetes do not belong to him and for this program is for non-commerical entertainment purposes only. Also a statement denouncing reproducing real magic cards as both immoral and illegal, would be nice.

Thu, 2006-06-29 11:53

He can make all the statements he wants, he is using their trademarks. It's also extremely easy to fix if they do decide to send him a C&D letter. Stick out your tongue

Thu, 2006-06-29 13:37
BigGator5's picture

A C&D lettler from a lawyer, is worth crap. They can send C&D letter after letter and Twan can laugh each one of them off. Even if WotC would to get a court order, I think Twan can fight it and win.

Trust me, I am a FanFiction writer and no one has ever successfully sued a FanFiction writer. Why? Because we know copyright and trademark laws. I can build an argument so WotC would be willing to settle with MSE, just to save face.

Frankly, I'm not worried.

Twanvl, if you do get a C&D letter, email me () before you do anything.

Thu, 2006-06-29 18:55

As much as I'd love to see how that plays out, I think I'd still rather the mess just didn't start in the first place. Stick out your tongue

Fri, 2006-06-30 03:20
BigGator5's picture

I agree, but I still don't understand why most of you are being so negative about getting a C&D from a lawyer (they are worthless).

Fri, 2006-06-30 03:26
JrEye's picture

I probly could be/would be in the same boat as twan since I have tinkered with guild watermarks and distributed for use for MSE. Luckily its probly not big enough on their radar for a C&D.

Fri, 2006-06-30 03:37

You did check Wollo's site, yes?

I guess they work after all.

Fri, 2006-06-30 04:10
JrEye's picture

Its cause C&D is mainly used as a scare tactic

Fri, 2006-06-30 15:03

I'd say it was fairly effective, so I guess they aren't "totally" worthless.

Still, all I can really do is "suggest" Twan ship off a shell program and then we download everything else. I'd do that in a flash if it were my program, but what do I know Stick out your tongue

Sat, 2006-07-01 00:10
BigGator5's picture

Dude, as Private Leonard L. Church from Red vs Blue would say at this point:

"Shut-up! Just shut-up, you're driving me crazy!"

What are you, a rep from Hasbro or WotC who is about to come down hard on Twan?

Sat, 2006-07-01 03:04
The Butt
The Butt's picture

The disclaimer wrote:
"Magic the Gathering is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc."

Should probably change it to say "Magic the Gathering and related items, such as mana and tap symbols, and card frames, are a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc.", just so it explicitly states that the frames/symbols aren't his.

And besides. Twan isn't making a profit off of the software or the card-frames/mana symbols. I don't think they can do anything other than a Cease/Desist unless he's making a profit, right? Honestly, I have no clue how law works, I'm sorta guessing here, so I may be wrong.


Sat, 2006-07-01 13:10

They can bring him to court, I think, but they'd have a hard time winning. Remember, the jury are ordinary people, and it's going to be difficult to say that MSE is doing anything morally wrong, just legally.

They don't want more bad publicity after R_E, so C&D is the best way to go. I guess they're hoping that Wollo would give in (which he did).

This is not advice, I've no idea what WotC is going to do, if they've even found MSE by now.

Sat, 2006-07-01 16:09
BigGator5's picture

Zaphael... How many times and ways can I say a C&D from a lawyer, is not worth the paper it's writen on?

Sat, 2006-07-01 16:56

BigGator5 wrote:
Dude, as Private Leonard L. Church from Red vs Blue would say at this point:

"Shut-up! Just shut-up, you're driving me crazy!"

What are you, a rep from Hasbro or WotC who is about to come down hard on Twan?

If I were, don't you think I would have by now?

Think before you post something that stupid next time. Jesus, anyone who has a different point of view other than "He's not doing anything wrong" is someone who's just got to be quelled, isn't he? This is why I don't post on Salvation.

edit: And besides, I really doubt a real Wizards/Hasbro lawyer would be suggesting ways around a potential legal problem, such as stripping the program of all the templates and downloading them separately.

Sat, 2006-07-01 18:55
BigGator5's picture

Nemephosis wrote:
And besides, I really doubt a real Wizards/Hasbro lawyer would be suggesting ways around a potential legal problem, such as stripping the program of all the templates and downloading them separately.

Yeah, and posting thoes ideas in a very public place is also a good idea... moron.

Besides, it is very short sighted and your idea will only get the image provider in trouble. Are we also have to program each and every image into the program (like you had to do for the Snow Mana pre-0.2.5)?

Sat, 2006-07-01 19:09

If you can't post without flaming, don't bother wasting my time.

Mon, 2006-07-03 23:26
Art_Freak's picture

Sorry if this is a double post, but it didn't post correctly the first time I tried.

Back on topic, I'd suggest also adding a disclaimer for VS System and Yu-Gi-Oh! as they are (and soon will be) in the program. I know UDE is typically better than WotC, but it's wouldn't be a bad idea to be on the safe side.

Tue, 2006-07-04 20:40

Fanfiction is not covered by copyright law. And anyway, this is a whole different game. If WotC don't like MSE, I really don't see why they shouldn't be able to kill it...

Tue, 2006-07-25 05:44
The Nemesis15

Don't hold me to this, because I'm not a law expert, but it might be possible for MSE to fall under the halo of "fair use"

Wikipedia might not be a law textbook, but the basics are there in plain enough english to understand:

One might be able to claim that MSE reaches the 4 criteria of fair use protection

1) Purpose and Character - MSE is not for profit, and it "advances the knowledge or the progress of the arts through the addition of something new" by allowing creators to make Magic the Gathering cards and sets which differ from previously released cards and sets, and can feature new artwork, new gameplay mechanics, radical changes in the rules, etc. all in a manner which familiarizes and spreads knowledge of MTG to new people, and opens peoples' minds to the possibility of new ideas not presented by the game as WotC presents it.

2) Nature of the copied work - MTG is not public domain, and MSE is not attempting to republish or supercede the previously published elements of Magic The Gathering.

3) Amount and sustainability - There are thousands upon thousands of Magic the Gathering cards that WotC has designed and millions, if not billions are printed and in circulation around the world. The cards that are created by MSE will more than likely never achieve more than a few hundred copies in any sort of "circulation" because any cards that people make are likely to either remain in MSE (and be unusable) or be printed on paper for private use.

4) Effect upon work's value - Probably the biggest boon for MSE is this one. MSE will not have a negative effect on the market for Magic cards. People will continue to buy real Magic cards to play with because these cards are not a substitute for the real thing when it comes to tournament play or even casual play. Even if I made an entire set of cards using MSE, I wouldn't exclusively use those cards, because they're not the same thing as an actual Magic: The Gathering card.

if push came to shove, all that would have to be done is for MSE to have its real TCG-inspired templates replaced with generic ones, and add a line in the EULA that states the user will not employ this program in the duplication of actual copyright Magic: The Gathering cards or the cards of any other game which are mimiced by this program.

It's kind of like VCRs and file sharing programs. All they have to do is tell you that it's illegal to pirate content with their hardware/software and they're in the clear. All Twan would have to do is say that it's illegal for us to replicate existing TCG cards and we should be fine.

But that's just one person's interpretation of things.

And if it really came down to it, one could argue that MSE promotes the creation of parody TCG cards. This is one of the major argument that protects fanfiction and webcomics

Tue, 2006-07-25 06:22
marjanovich's picture

2) "If I don't charge for it, it's not a violation."
False. Whether you charge can affect the damages awarded in court, but that's main difference under the law. It's still a violation if you give it away -- and there can still be serious damages if you hurt the commercial value of the property. There is an exception for personal copying of music, which is not a violation, though courts seem to have said that doesn't include widescale anonymous personal copying as Napster. If the work has no commercial value, the violation is mostly technical and is unlikely to result in legal action. Fair use determinations (see below) do sometimes depend on the involvement of money.

4) "My posting was just fair use!"
See other notes on fair use for a detailed answer, but bear the following in mind:

The "fair use" exemption to (U.S.) copyright law was created to allow things such as commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education about copyrighted works without the permission of the author. That's vital so that copyright law doesn't block your freedom to express your own works -- only the ability to appropriate other people's. Intent, and damage to the commercial value of the work are important considerations. Are you reproducing an article from the New York Times because you needed to in order to criticise the quality of the New York Times, or because you couldn't find time to write your own story, or didn't want your readers to have to register at the New York Times web site? The first is probably fair use, the others probably aren't.

Fair use is generally a short excerpt and almost always attributed. (One should not use much more of the work than is needed to make the commentary.) It should not harm the commercial value of the work -- in the sense of people no longer needing to buy it (which is another reason why reproduction of the entire work is a problem.) Famously, copying just 300 words from Gerald Ford's 200,000 word memoir for a magazine article was ruled as not fair use, in spite of it being very newsworthy, because it was the most important 300 words -- why he pardoned Nixon.

Note that most inclusion of text in followups and replies is for commentary, and it doesn't damage the commercial value of the original posting (if it has any) and as such it is almost surely fair use. Fair use isn't an exact doctrine, though. The court decides if the right to comment overrides the copyright on an individual basis in each case. There have been cases that go beyond the bounds of what I say above, but in general they don't apply to the typical net misclaim of fair use.

The "fair use" concept varies from country to country, and has different names (such as "fair dealing" in Canada) and other limitations outside the USA.

Facts and ideas can't be copyrighted, but their expression and structure can. You can always write the facts in your own wordsthough

See the DMCA alert for recent changes in the law.

6) "If I make up my own stories, but base them on another work, my new work belongs to me."
False. U.S. Copyright law is quite explicit that the making of what are called "derivative works" -- works based or derived from another copyrighted work -- is the exclusive province of the owner of the original work. This is true even though the making of these new works is a highly creative process. If you write a story using settings or characters from somebody else's work, you need that author's permission.

Yes, that means almost all "fan fiction" is arguably a copyright violation. If you want to publish a story about Jim Kirk and Mr. Spock, you need Paramount's permission, plain and simple. Now, as it turns out, many, but not all holders of popular copyrights turn a blind eye to "fan fiction" or even subtly encourage it because it helps them. Make no mistake, however, that it is entirely up to them whether to do that.

There is a major exception -- criticism and
parody. The fair use provision says that if you want to make fun of something like Star Trek, you don't need their permission to include Mr. Spock. This is not a loophole; you can't just take a non-parody and claim it is one on a technicality. The way "fair use" works is you get sued for copyright infringement, and you admit you did copy, but that your copying was a fair use. A subjective judgment on, among other things, your goals, is then made.

However, it's also worth noting that a court has never ruled on this issue, because fan fiction cases always get settled quickly when the defendant is a fan of limited means sued by a powerful publishing company. Some argue that completely non-commercial fan fiction might be declared a fair use if courts get to decide.

7) "They can't get me, defendants in court have powerful rights!"
Copyright law is mostly civil law. If you violate copyright you would usually get sued, not be charged with a crime. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a principle of criminal law, as is "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." Sorry, but in copyright suits, these don't apply the same way or at all. It's mostly which side and set of evidence the judge or jury accepts or believes more, though the rules vary based on the type of infringement. In civil cases you can even be made to testify against your own interests.

While copyright law makes it technically illegal to reproduce almost any new creative work (other than under fair use) without permission, if the work is unregistered and has no real commercial value, it gets very little protection. The author in this case can sue for an injunction against the publication, actual damages from a violation, and possibly court costs. Actual damages means actual money potentially lost by the author due to publication, plus any money gained by the defendant. But if a work has no commercial value, such as a typical E-mail message or conversational USENET posting, the actual damages will be zero. Only the most vindictive (and rich) author would sue when no damages are possible, and the courts don't look kindly on vindictive plaintiffs, unless the defendants are even more vindictive.

The author's right to control what is done with a work, however, has some validity, even if it has no commercial value. If you feel you need to violate a copyright "because you can get away with it because the work has no value" you should ask yourself why you're doing it. In general, respecting the rights of creators to control their creations is a principle many advocate adhering to.

In addition, while more often than not people claim a "fair use" copying incorrectly, fair use is a valid concept necessary to allow the criticism of copyrighted works and their creators through examples. But please read more about it before you do it.

Just a helping hand...

FYI - if you do need a host to put the templates etc i have one so if in the event you do decide to split the works i can help...


ICQ - 330690959
AIM - s13damon

Tue, 2006-07-25 23:38

So it is against the law (think that was a given) but there are possible ways around it, if need be. Excellent. A happy smile

Should also be thinking about R_E's lawyer, he posts on MTGNews from time to time.

Wed, 2006-07-26 00:18
BigGator5's picture

Look, I thought we talk about this.

Hosting the images on another site is will not be a solution as they will just go after the person hosting the images. I mean, how are we going to find these files if we don't post a link? Are we going to play hot potato (like, one person hosts the file then the next and next) with these files? Also, are we going to have to program MSE2 after we get the images?

Wed, 2006-07-26 02:05

I talked about it, you flamed me about it, but that's neither here nor there. Now, let's actually do something useful for once.

Go download the four-colour horizontal hybrid card templates in the Template Development forum, and install them. They're very awesomely done by the way.

Do you have to do any programming to MSE to get them to work? It's okay, I'll wait.

eh screw it.

Did you have to do any programming in MSE to get it to work, or did the guy who added them already do it?


Therefore, it should be that easy to add them.