January 14, 2005

The EFF is a very very confused organization.

On the one hand, they’re soliciting help protecting NCSoft from Marvel. On the other hand, they’re going after Blizzard for smacking down BnetD. Wtf?

I think the distinction is pretty clear. City of Heroes is not violating copyright because likeness rights don’t extend to kids dressing up on the playground, which is essentially what CoH players are doing. Further, NCSoft is discouraging these likeness rights situations by asking players not to do it.

BnetD is a copyright violation because they’re using the actual code that Blizzard wrote in a manner that Blizz isn’t comfortable with. This argument is a non-starter. It’s their code. It doesn’t matter that folks want to use the code, and they can say it’s a freedom thing and information wants to be free, and whatever, but it’s their code. They can do whatever they want with it, and if they don’t want other people using it that’s the end of the discussion.

The biased article I linked to says: “If it stands, the lower court’s decision would make it unlawful in most cases to reverse-engineer any commercial software program, thus making it impossible to create new programs that interoperate with older ones. This squeezes consumer choice out of the marketplace by essentially allowing companies to outlaw competitors’ products that interact with their own.”

Can they not see the difference between a game that’s no longer in production or common sales and fricking Diablo 2? The game is still making good money for Blizzard, so of course they don’t want some schlubs running their own bnet server. They have the right to expect to be the only ones to provide this service for their game. It’s easy to see how unscrupulous folks could get unwitting gamers onto a faux bnet server through targeted spam. Bad mojo.

I think the EFF needs to get its priorities straight and pick it’s battles more carefully.

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