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View Full Version : So, so ticked off!!!



upidstay
02-05-2009, 07:05 PM
:mad::mad::mad:

I was a lifetime member of the Emass-web.com character manager website. Now the site is abruptly down because WoTC told him to. Now, I'm out my $$ for my "Lifetime" membership". And, all of my characters are just gone!! POOF!!:mad::mad:

Does anybdy know anything about this site? Any contact info for the dill hole running it??? I want my frickin' money back. At the very least I want my damned characters!!!

tesral
02-05-2009, 07:23 PM
One of the many reasons I never trust any data storage out of my own hands, ever.

Bearfoot_Adam
02-05-2009, 08:23 PM
Well I'm guessing that lifetime here meant the life time of the website. Sorry but I think you are out of your funds

Webhead
02-05-2009, 10:51 PM
What!? Ema's site is down!? Jaysis Tap-Dancing Kryst! No! Ema made some of the best character sheets available on the web (including non-D&D sheets which "stick-up-their-swollen-rectum" WotC has no right to block). I followed his site for years...YEARS...and had yet to find its equal in consistency and quality! I am truly enraged by this and it takes a lot to make me angry! This is just the last piss in the pot 'till it runeth over. Ghawd! What is this world coming to? So politically terse and self-serving that people with legitimate talent who ask for nothing in return get the royal, emerald-encrusted shaft!

Oh yeah? Well screw you too, WotC! Not anyone in particular who works there or anyone who considers themselves affiliated with the company, but the company itself as a conceited, malicious, creativity-oppressing tool! I hope you bugger off! Here's to a warehouse of un-sellable Magic cards!

Man, that's hard for me to say, but I am just so unbelievably ripped that something like this is allowed, nay expected in this day-in-age, to happen. Nice move, WotC...nice move! :rolleyes: :flame: :target:

Edit: Forgive me if my post offends anyone... :frusty:

Etarnon
02-06-2009, 12:46 AM
why did they shut him down? Sharing pdfs?

Farcaster
02-06-2009, 01:42 AM
I looked for any definitive information out there about what happened to this site, but I haven't found anything official beyond the notice left on his website. Without knowing the exact details, I think it might be a little unfair to blow up at Wizard's about it. From what I have read of the site--I must admit that I had never been to it before--it does seem like there may have been some intellectual property concerns on the part of WotC. The timing of the cease and desist letter, however, is at the least very unfortunate.

Grimwell
02-06-2009, 10:38 AM
I'd never seen the site either :(

If there was data that wasn't D&D related, you may find the site back up after some admin time. Assuming it really was a cease and desist over IP violations, I don't fault Wizards. You have to protect your IP and challenge improper use.

From the admin side, after receiving a valid C&D the best thing you can do is immediately take the site down, put up a 'maintenance' page, and then remove all the content you had that violated the IP. After that you bring the site back up and send the source of the C&D a letter (drafted by your lawyer) that says "Now compliant, my apologies." in legal words and forget about it.

If the site was as good as you guys suggest, let's hope that is what comes of it. It would be a shame to lose the content that was not in violation of the IP.

(maybe this should be a general chatter thread? Not really D&D focused...)

Webhead
02-06-2009, 12:56 PM
I agree that WotC's intentions were probably simply an overzealous attempt to "protect their IP" insofar as it relates to the development and distribution of character sheets for their games. The primary impetus for my fevered discontent at this turn of events is the culmination of a series of similar stifilings in the past over non-profit, fan-created content (which to me should represent the ultimate form of flattery for a company).

The Freedom Force video game was the prime example. Marvel Comics demanded that dozens of non-profit, fan-content websites were to be taken down because fans were creating meshes and game content that used the likenesses of Marvel characters. Simply making a character in the game who resembled Wolverine seemed sufficient grounds for Marvel to claim "IP infringement". What this says to me is that, if I draw a picture of Spider-Man and hang it on my wall, Marvel has the right to tell me I have to either destroy it or relinquish it to them. I see no difference between a fan-created likeness on a piece of paper and a fan-created likeness in digital media.

Marvel did it again with City of Heroes, trying to claim IP violation because "the in-game tools can be used to make characters that fairly resemble Marvel characters". So, by this logic, Photoshop Pro is in danger of violation because its tools can be used to make semblances of their trademarked property. But wait a minute, Bic pencils can be used to create semblances of Marvel characters too, and we can't allow that to happen... :rolleyes:

I used (and adored) Ema's free D&D and non-D&D character sheets because they were excellently designed, well organized and constantly updated and offered option of auto-calculating versions of most sheets for those who liked to type-and-print. In fact, the current 4e game I just joined was using Ema's sheets. I guess we're just out in the cold now. Ema's was a labor of love and it showed. I'm sure he wouldn't have spent nearly so much time and effort developing such excellent fan resources if he did not truly have love and respect for D&D. Combine that with the fact that his site had been around and thriving since the dawn of 3e and the timing of this development only strikes me as suspect of a new direction of WotC corporate policy (of the "boguard" variety).

I'm all for companies protecting the rights of their products. But a company should be able to recognize when the fans are trying to do them a service by increasing enthusiasm and appeal for their products and when they are just profiteering.

Here's hoping that some form of Ema's site returns to the web with offensive IP stripped out. There was a lot of good stuff there and it will certainly be a blow felt by both of my current game groups. :(

tesral
02-06-2009, 01:37 PM
<sarcasm> Here's to a return to the bad old days.</sarcasm> Ha$bro replaces T$R.

The thing I most miss about the 3x Lizard days? The attitude of Lizards.

spotlight
02-06-2009, 01:44 PM
.... and people have asked ME why I don't bother with D&D much any more ....

Farcaster
02-06-2009, 02:00 PM
Jeez, guys. It seems like you are saying that anyone who wants to protect their intellectual property is the devil or the lowest sort of money-grubbing-rat-scallion.

tesral
02-06-2009, 02:20 PM
Jeez, guys. It seems like you are saying that anyone who wants to protect their intellectual property is the devil or the lowest sort of money-grubbing-rat-scallion.

There is protecting you IP and there is the kind of thing TSR did back in the 80s. It's the extremes that gather ire, not legitimate protection of IP.

Now I don't know the case of this site. I never used it. My sole comment is that you keep you data where you control it or it is not your data, plain and simple. Sure I think Pen & Paper is a great forum, but I have no assurance that it will be here tomorrow. I would be a fool to think of it as a good place to keep gaming data.

Heck, my website The Old Phoenix Inn (http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/) is over ten years old. Freeservers is a decent host. I back up every single page and image. Not only is the content of the site on my own computer, and backed up on that computer i have it on a USB key around my neck right now, and it is duplicated on my laptop. Four offline backups of the current content. Webhosts have and do vanish overnight.

Simple Axiom. Data you do not control the access to is not your data.

spotlight
02-06-2009, 02:32 PM
Yeah, what tes said. I gots no prob with protecting ones property, just no need to be an arse about it.

Webhead
02-06-2009, 02:38 PM
Jeez, guys. It seems like you are saying that anyone who wants to protect their intellectual property is the devil or the lowest sort of money-grubbing-rat-scallion.

That's not what I'm intending to say (even if my present distaste has left my language a little harsh).

What I am saying is that I don't appreciate companies that try to stifle the creativity of the fans. This isn't about property piracy or people stealing legitimate business from WotC. This is about people who have the desire to share their enthusiasm for something being told that they are not allowed to do so. Basically, WotC is saying "keep it to yourself...no sharing".

If I want to draw and distribute pictures of Darth Vader, I will draw and distribute pictures of Darth Vader and Lucasfilm has no right to tell me that I can't unless I am charging people for them or otherwise using them to make a profit. I created something based on my interest and enthusiasm and want others to share those feelings. Telling me I can't express that interest is not only off-putting but sets a poor example for the entire fan base.

Perhaps that is the line that Ema crossed as I understand that there was some level of bonus content that only those who donated to his site could access. However, the majority of his content was free to anyone who visited his website and I find it discouraging that such great work can be blocked. What's next...RPGsheets.com?

Edit: Please understand where I'm coming from. As a writer and generally-creative mind, I like to share my interests for established properties and as long as I'm not trying to profit from that sharing, I expect the owners to appreciate my efforts and not block them, because that only does themselves a disservice by announcing that they don't want creative fans.

spotlight
02-06-2009, 02:46 PM
One thing I do know, WotC probly has it mentioned on their stuff, You can make copies of character sheets and other things, but only for your personal or game use. If that site was selling them, they sure had better have something distinctively different about them to NOT be labled as copies. Otherwise it not a disrubtion of creativity. But I still don't like companies going after them with out at least trying to make a deal of some sort. Nobody has mentioned such an effort.

Valdar
02-06-2009, 03:04 PM
I would like to hear more about this- like Farcaster, I couldn't find anything about this except the parallel thread over at Wizard's.

I am a little concerned that there's no policy on fansites yet- are their lawyers really this slow? My housemate used to put in time at a pro-bono clinic in Seattle that could have had something drafted up by now...

Kalanth
02-06-2009, 03:54 PM
Wasn't this site charging money for the right to store characters on the site? WoTC could have looked at that as a person attempting to make a profit by selling their product (i.e. characters sheets) on the back end. If the site was free then I doubt there ever would have been an issue and I am surprised it took as long as it did to file suite against the site, though the launch of the full character builder may have a lot to do with that.

On the other side of it, why not just download something and keep it on your own PC? Why pay someone to hold something that takes little to no space at all? That just confuses me, but I may just be overlooking a logic point (which happens at times).

nijineko
02-06-2009, 04:16 PM
may i suggest using the wayback machine to snag the contact info off of the site and then attempt to contact the owner so that they can, hopefully, tell the tale?

Dark
02-06-2009, 04:45 PM
It's sad but in the end there is nothing you can do short of sending WoTC a e-mail of your feelings which they will laugh and promptly delete. It is one of the reasons why I tend to purchase my books second hand as they can only get their money once.

tesral
02-06-2009, 11:15 PM
Wayback Machine (http://www.archive.org/index.php)

You have nothing to lose.

Grimwell
02-07-2009, 12:15 AM
Wizards is neither being over zealous, grossly interpreting the law, or even breaking new ground here. Disney is the king of IP protection in the United States and has been thorough in doing so. They have told day care centers to remove wall paintings of the Disney characters that were not created with permission, and will gladly scorch anyone who tries to make a profit with anything resembling their content. Even some small guy who makes 200 a year doing something silly with Goofy.

That does not mean any of us have to like Wizards for going after this site, and we don't have to support it either. They are fully within the law though. Fair use has it's limits.

kirksmithicus
02-07-2009, 01:19 AM
eh I'm used to it. After all I used to be a Palladium player with a website. :D WoTC are not the only ones who go after IP violations, real or not.


*edit* yeah, I should probably throw in a TM or copyright symbol somewhere just to be on the safe side.

Farcaster
02-07-2009, 04:53 PM
may i suggest using the wayback machine to snag the contact info off of the site and then attempt to contact the owner so that they can, hopefully, tell the tale?

I have sent a letter to both emass-web.com and WotC requesting comment. I did receive a response today from Ema if you want to read about it.

Mead
02-07-2009, 05:34 PM
So in other words, he got pulled over and issued a warning for a burnt-out brake light, and decided to abandon his car rather than deal with the problem.

I always liked his 3.x sheets, but gotta say, this was a bit of an overreaction.

tesral
02-07-2009, 06:14 PM
Don't store data off site. End discussion.

Webhead
02-08-2009, 01:06 AM
Don't store data off site. End discussion.

For me, my disappointment has nothing to do with his online storage features of which I did not partake. I just liked the site for the very wide variety of extremely high quality character sheets (some for games which have been out of print for many years. He had specialty sheets for things like 2e Dark Sun and Planescape, Cyberpunk 2020, Gamma World, Call of Cthulhu and other marvelous works of artistic quality.

His site will be sorely missed and it saddens me that I had not the forsight or forewarning to save copies of all those documents for myself. I have a few of the sheets I most commonly used stored somewhere, but many other, equally great sheets are now lost to me forever (unless I feel restless enough to go asking around for others who have saved copies themselves).

upidstay
02-08-2009, 08:02 AM
Farcaster

How did you send the letter to Ema? I'd like to contact him and see if i can get my characters back!!!

Tigerfire
02-08-2009, 08:50 AM
http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1145484 (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1145484)

Here is the discussion over at Wizards. It seems Ema pushed the line a little too far.



Look I got this in the right thread this time. I do know how to use the internet. :typing:

upidstay
02-09-2009, 07:03 AM
Original poster here. Tried the Wayback machine. Did not work. Oh well.

I'm not as mad at WoTC as I am at Ema. I understand why they told him to shut down. He would have been fine if it weren't for the power cards. To bad he can't just re-open it for the 3.5 and earlier stuff. Oh well.

I'm mad at Ema for not telling us he was shutting down. If he had sent an email out saying he had to shut down for whatever reason, you have 24 hours to retrieve your characters, I wouldn't be so pissed. Some people lost alot of characters.

Webhead
02-09-2009, 10:20 AM
...He would have been fine if it weren't for the power cards...

I'm not sure what the big fuss about power cards is but I've seen plenty of other fan-created documents to allow you to access/print the same thing (some are customizable/editable and quite good). I know because I was looking up resources to make playing 4e easier. Printed power cards are something I would not play 4e without.


...To bad he can't just re-open it for the 3.5 and earlier stuff...

I agree. The 4e stuff can take a long walk off a short pier as far as I'm concerned but I would be overjoyed to have access to the non-4e stuff again.

Skunkape
02-09-2009, 12:12 PM
My only fear about this kind of activity by Ema's ISP is that it destroyed IP created by Ema or people who used his site. I'm all for protecting a company's IP, mostly because I have liked various versions of DnD in the past and know they have to make money to continue producing the product, but that kind of broad stroke deletion of the site really concerns me.

That says to me that the big company can destroy whatever they want if you have even one thing on your site that relates to them if they feel you're breaking their IP.

Granted, if it is ever revealed what was there they that felt violated their IP, I probably won't be quite so concerned, but what exactly was it. All we can do is speculate until either Wizards or Ema post what they found objectionable, which could mean that by having a logo from their product on your site, you could get your entire site wiped.

That was just an extreme I went to there, because I think it was a little more than that, but by not telling us what was objectionable, we don't know for sure what we can post on our sites about their products.

Grimwell
02-09-2009, 07:58 PM
You can't blame Wizards for the actions of the ISP. It's a fairly standard action on their part that other ISP's have done in the past. You get a note that a user of your service is breaking the law in a way that could involve courts and you can bet that the lawyer on your side is going to say "Nuke the material, close the account, and credit him back the last payment he made."

It's worth that loss.

Now, why Ema wouldn't have a backup of his own data? That's just foolish.

Lucian-Sunaka
02-09-2009, 10:02 PM
Honestly my issue isn't as much with Wizard's or the ISP as it is with the entire principle in general. Ema's site didn't have anything up that prevented people from buying books, and neither do most sites that are supporting the industry. The truth is, people who want to get it for free, will pirate the material, and people who want to be honest, will buy the books honestly.

In our current internet environment, it's impossible to propperly regulate such material. The best the company can really do, is to encourage fan support and give good reason for people to want to buy their books instead of pirating it.

Shutting down beneficial site's like Ema's does nothing but make me WANT to stop supporting company's that follow such practices.

Grimwell
02-09-2009, 11:59 PM
I do get your point Lucian, it's impossible to stop piracy. That's the reality of a digital world and even though I find pirating someone's hard work abhorrent and without merit, it's going to happen -- just not in a way that I will condone.

That noted, if a company does not aggressively protect their IP when they are aware of it being used in a compromised manner, they will lose the ability to own it. That's how IP law works -- you protect it or the IP falls into the common property. So if Wizards did nothing, after knowing about this site, it would cause potential greater harm. By simple fact of finding it they have to act.

Valdar
02-10-2009, 12:58 PM
You can't blame Wizards for the actions of the ISP. It's a fairly standard action on their part that other ISP's have done in the past. You get a note that a user of your service is breaking the law in a way that could involve courts and you can bet that the lawyer on your side is going to say "Nuke the material, close the account, and credit him back the last payment he made."


When I worked for an ISP, this was our exact policy, except for the last part. I caught a bulk-emailer in the act, and we closed his account immediately and didn't give him his money back.

Lucian-Sunaka
02-12-2009, 12:24 AM
But there's a huge difference between protecting their IP and wasting people who put hard work and effort into providing something valuable to the community. I didn't say Wizard's had no legal right to what they did, only that they had no moral right.

There are lines and boundaries between what is right and propper, and what follows the letter of the law. I could be mistaken in this, but I believe all it would have required was some sort of legal documentation that Wizard's authorized the use of their material on that site, or the withdrawl of the exclusively innappropriate material.

The protection of IP, and the greedy overbearing domination of IP are two very different things. If somebody's uploading books for free, or even worse, for sale, by all means go for it. However, if somebody is making an effort to enrich the community and the game as a whole, and the company chooses Domination over Protection, then they earn by ire.

As much as I love their earlier products (no love for 4E yet, what I've read feels undesirable but I will try it sometime to get a direct oppinion) I despise the company's tactics. I'm sorry if I come off abrasive guys, but I mean everything I say. Just because someone has 'the right' does not make their actions right.

Grimwell
02-12-2009, 09:49 AM
But there's a huge difference between protecting their IP and wasting people who put hard work and effort into providing something valuable to the community. I didn't say Wizard's had no legal right to what they did, only that they had no moral right.

That sounds great in a touchy feely world, but no corporate lawyer is ever going to give the advice "They are in violation of your IP, but are really doing something nice, let's find a way to help them." That's not what lawyers do, they interpret the letter of the law and protect their company against all challenges.

Morals... are too intangible to be a factor in decisions like this. We can't even get every advanced culture on this planet to agree on a set of morals; expecting our businesses to hold to anything other than the morals forced upon them by our laws is not realistic.

Webhead
02-12-2009, 11:21 AM
The moral of this story for the private user is that if you come across fan-resources for your game that you think you will want to have access to at any point(s) in the future, make personal backups of them on some form of private storage...because for all you know, those external resources could disappear tomorrow.

cplmac
02-12-2009, 01:07 PM
That sounds great in a touchy feely world, but no corporate lawyer is ever going to give the advice "They are in violation of your IP, but are really doing something nice, let's find a way to help them." That's not what lawyers do, they interpret the letter of the law and protect their company against all challenges.

Morals... are too intangible to be a factor in decisions like this. We can't even get every advanced culture on this planet to agree on a set of morals; expecting our businesses to hold to anything other than the morals forced upon them by our laws is not realistic.


Ironically though, in the Accounting aspect, there is such a "thing" known as an intangible asset. One that is commonly used is called "Good Will". I will refrain from boring all of you with the details of how it works, but just wanted to show that there are times that other individuals don't neccessarily follow everything that the Lawyers say.

Tigerfire
02-13-2009, 08:40 PM
Okay so the moral of the sorry seems to be back up your work. My question is what is the best way to back it up? CD's, Flash Drive, Print it out and put it in a Safety Deposit box?

No I am not being sarcastic as the person looking over my shoulder is asking, I am serious. What is the best long term back up option?

Farcaster
02-13-2009, 11:27 PM
Print it out?

Valdar
02-14-2009, 01:11 AM
Okay so the moral of the sorry seems to be back up your work. My question is what is the best way to back it up? CD's, Flash Drive, Print it out and put it in a Safety Deposit box?


I have one of these on my keychain:

http://www.victorinox.com/index.cfm?site=victorinox.ch&page=563&lang=E

I keep all my character and campaign data on it. Since I can't exactly leave the house without my keys, it's with me at all times.

Grimwell
02-14-2009, 11:44 AM
I'm a fan of the flash drive for storage because it has no moving parts. Plus for things like characters you don't need even a single GB to store just about everything you are going to need. Plus they are cheap so you can get a few of them, each for different types of data.

The only real problem they prevent: Small and easy to lose.

spotlight
02-14-2009, 12:22 PM
YES, Farcaster, PRINT IT OUT! I have personally made several game designs and/or 'redesigns' (of published games) and all though none of my work has never been published, and I doubt it ever will, it is all on hard copy AND signed AND dated.

I personally don't worry about being copied any where, it is only a hobbie of mine, but my father did teach me this years ago, like maybe 40ish, keep signed copies of every contract you make. Which includes copywrite-able things.

In fact, I would even do so with my opinions HERE, but you already have that covered when folks join up on this forum. Good for you. The group I used to play on in MSN-GROUPS got all their stuff copied over to a new site, just so they wouldn't lose it. I can have access to all my posts there and down load them (as long as the site exsites) and I might down it.

But paper copies? dang right!!

tesral
02-14-2009, 01:38 PM
Okay so the moral of the sorry seems to be back up your work. My question is what is the best way to back it up? CD's, Flash Drive, Print it out and put it in a Safety Deposit box?

No I am not being sarcastic as the person looking over my shoulder is asking, I am serious. What is the best long term back up option?

Multiple locations is you best bet.

Rule One: Anything not in your possession is not in your control, ergo, you do not "own it". So you need to have that data in your possession, on your computer at the very least.

Rule Two: Anything vital should be in multiple locations. On your hard drive, your main backup, a usb key, a print out in the Utah deep storage facility where it will survive the fall of man. What ever makes you feel more secure. I send a DVD of the important stuff to work with my wife. Not under the same roof it is safer. My laptop also has a copy as does the 16gig thumb drive around my neck. My main comuter has two hard drive, one is nigfhtly synced to the other.

Backup, backup, backup.