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*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay...
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TOPIC: *lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay...
#31519
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
I DON'T agree that he's deriving his work from DF, just making it compatible...
I see where you're coming from. My use of the word "derived" comes from his direct reference to Dwarven Forge and making it to fill a void in their product line.

Yes, selling them as production masters with re-sale rights without DF credit or consent is wrong and flies in the face of US copyright law. He is trying to make a profit, and allow others to profit, off of an established entity's creation. Derived or compatible.

That being said, is DF product patented and copyrighted?

I agree, had he chosen his wording more carefully by saying "compatible with popular terrain systems" without specifically referencing DF, he could have avoided the impropriety. But then you have to ask why he's posting it on the German Ebay site in the first place.
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#31520
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
Actually, after re-reading it, I don't think there is anything wrong with the post per se. I think that probably what is getting us here was that he used a DF forum to solicit input on his designs (if it's the same guy, if it's not, then I'm wrong) and is then trying to profit from that.

However, I'm no lawyer, but I doubt there is actually anything illegal going on, as long as he doesn't use logos or any other trademarked image to sell his product.

I think it's simply a matter of not reading the room correctly.
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#31521
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
Its not only posted on the German E-bay:

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#31522
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
well, they looks pretty awesome, aside from the plain floors.
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#31523
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
Its not only posted on the German E-bay:
I see, then I completely and apologetically retract the whole German IP / copyright thought process and suspicions.

However, I still think trying to sell something that was created using another company's product as reference, with the express purpose of producing more as a business venture, without permission of the originator, is shady.

I'm no lawyer and no expert on copyright laws but I have been involved in past issues of artistic infringement and royalties due ... to the point of "cease and desist" rulings on production of derivative work.

Hey, look at today's news ... Barbie vs. Bratz.

And what happens if Stefan does release his own crypt set? Is that now derivative and infringement of a product, potentially in production, originally based off of his work?

I wonder how after-market car parts work it with the auto manufacturers? Royalties? Open licenses?

* * * *

Anyway, to re-ask an earlier question .... would DF ever consider purchasing these from Gavynn to refine and put into production for the DF-buying community ? They do look nice and might be a good starting-point for Stefan to work his magic and get another new environ into our hands sooner rather than later. I believe that the Sci Fi set was developed externally as well.
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#31524
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
Sorry if I repeat some things that have already been said.

ANY time a product is put on ANY site referencing Dwarven Forge, you should contact the web administrator immediately.

Explain that the product is not produced by, associated with, licensed from, or endorsed by Dwarven Forge. (This includes, unfortunately, one-off customs and mods, although there may be a work-around for them.) Explain that you are attempting to protect your trademarks and copyrights, and feel free to point out that the seller has not requested to use the DF name in their advertising, nor has he acquired the rights to fill "holes" in your product line. (That only stands up in this case, as he specifically says that's what he is doing.)

Specify the reasons that the product is NOT "Dwarven Forge style" -- it does not represent any of your marketed lines, it is unpainted, it is the wrong size, etc.

You can't really argue compatibility unless there are scale, size, or measurement (centimeters vs inches) differences, but you can request that alternate phrasing be substituted for Dwarven Forge's name. "Compatible with other 28mm scale Modular Interior Terrain", for example, or "compatible with 1" floor x 2" wall Modular Indoor Terrain".

Point out that this seller is also making false and misleading claims about the ease of entry into this market, which could be considered false advertising or even fraud.

If you do this EVERY TIME someone uses the DF name without permission, then at the very least you can assert that you have vigorously protected your copyrights and trademarks to the best of your ability, and no one will be able to claim that you have somehow "abandoned" them by not enforcing them.

But you should also consult a lawyer to see if a cease-and-desist is in order.
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#31525
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
ooooohhhh

Free Shipping!

I know nothing about copyright....

That said, there was a guy, years ago, in NY who put out a line of "compatible with DF" stuff. He put out a dungeon set, and then themed it in different colors, fire, air, mud... a zig zag corridor set (which was the most useful thing) and a BUNCH of different types of doors (maybe that was more useful....) Anyhow... I'm not sure how you copyright 1 inch by inch squares for miniatures after all the products that already exist..

I don't think DF has anything to worry about... it's in that zone where it's not a business a big company will sink money into, and not many people can compete art wise with Stephen. And if they could... the only way to undercut the cost is kill quality... and that's one big plus DF has over others.. it's not a toy, its a freaking rock shaped like a toy.....

But, I'm just babbling to avoid grading tests....
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#31526
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
He is actually a simi regular on this forum. Under the same name or close to it.





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#31527
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
And now, more unsolicited advice and opinions.

I am certain that the outrage and disappointment that Stefan and Jeff are feeling is due to the unauthorised used of the Dwarven Forge name, not to potential competition. Neither has ever given any indication that they consider modular indoor terrain to be their exclusive domain -- they have actually encouraged forum-goers to modify DF pieces and create custom pieces that work with DF, allowed the sale of custom and modified pieces on eBay, and permitted discussion of other products (such as Hirst Arts) here on the forums.

Dwarven Forge is actually only one of at least four companies that produces modular indoor terrain. Ainsty has a few lines of products, Mage Knight sold a cheaper plastic product, and Fenryll has a few sets as well. That's not even counting Hirst Arts and that guy who sells HA "kits". Ainsty and Mage Knight especially share some features with DF, primarily modular construction and standard sizes that allow all pieces to work together in any configuration.

It is impossible to hold a copyright or a trademark on terrain sets of any variety. Dungeons and catacombs and taverns and sewers and castles and every other fantasy and/or historical location is firmly in the public domain. As are scales (such as 25mm and 28mm) and architectural features (such as passageways and corners and doors).

DF can copyright their company name, and the names of specific lines (such as "Den of Evil"), but nothing can stop another company from taking the name "Elvish Smithy" and putting out a "Realm of Evil" or a "Parlor of Sin". DF can trademark particular features, especially in the less generic lines, but they can't stop another company from making a dark and foreboding dungeon with a different motif. But again, I don't think this is about another company making a similar but distinct product.

Despite the competition, Dwarven Forge has pretty much defined modular indoor terrain, and set the standard for quality. Now it is time for Dwarven Forge to define the rules of engagement, and set standards for terminology and compatibility. One thing we need is a generic name for what DF makes -- in this thread, I'm pushing modular indoor terrain, but pick whatever you are comfortable with. You need to decide what criteria MUST be satisfied for a product to be compatible with Dwarven Forge (size, scale, dimensions, materials, mass, pre-painted, whatever).

You should also set out terms for the use of the Dwarven Forge name. I suggest that the requirements be:
a hardcopy request that includes the exact phrasing to be used, the media/locations where it will be used, and for how long; and
a hardcopy response from Dwarven Forge repeating (or modifying) all points.
Specify phrases you don't want to see without express permission -- this is a list you can add to as time goes by. Provide alternative phrasing that does not use the DF name.

If you have this statement available somewhere on your website and/or forums, no one can claim that they acted in ignorance.
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#31528
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
dwarvenforge.com/dwarvenforums/profile.php?id=211

One thing "CONVERTING" Dwarven Forge pieces; because that means DF items being bought then being converted so no real money loss for DF, but to make it from scratch is not so good (Unless it is for personal use I would think, or even used for personal use but then sold at a later date but not suggesting mass manufacturing as semi competition to DF.

Oh well just my two cents.

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#31529
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
Now I'm just rambling.

Competition was inevitable. I am surprised that one or more of the forum-goers hasn't tried to market a DF-compatible line sooner. I've toyed with the idea myself, but I would (as a matter of honor) make absolutely certain that it was something that DF wasn't producing (or even hinting at in the forums). ANY modular indoor terrain product is going to be in competition with Dwarven Forge, as the amount of money gamers have to spend is limited, but on a certain level they are competing with rulebooks and miniatures and everything else that gamers buy.

Within any market, however, I think we can distinguish between three kinds of competitive product (terms are mine, don't know if there are "official" business/marketing terms).

There are rip-offs, products that are obvious copies of an existing product, which the producer may actually hope will be confused with that product. This is the most direct kind of competition, as the products are mutually exclusive. It's also incredibly sleazy.

There are alternatives, products that are similar in function but different in design. A generic dungeon with brick walls, or caverns composed of sandstone, or a tavern with wooden walls and straw-covered floors would be decent examples of this. DF already makes all of these TYPES of product, but the designs are original and easily distinguished from DF's. This is also fairly direct competition, as many buyers will pick one product and not the other, although some may buy both if their budgets allow.

Finally, there are supplements, products that DF does not make but could be used with DF products. A whole new line (such as Egyptian tomb walls) would be a supplemental product, as would a Lovecraftian furniture set or a spiked wall that just happens to fit in a DF passage. This is an indirect kind of competition, as the purchase of one product does not preclude the purchase of another (except financially). In some cases, the purchase of one company's product may actually encourage the buyer to purchase the other company's product to go with it. ("I'm gonna connect my Elvish Smithy Mine Set to my Dwarven Forge Cavern set and make the coolest dungeon ever!")

Quite frankly, gavynnalexander has made supplemental products. DF does not produce an actual crypt set, just a single sarcophagus floor piece. His principal design feature -- the walls with skulls and bones -- is not a design that Stefan has used, and is derived from a specific real-world example and many fictional usages. The pieces that don't use that motif are also distinctive from DF designs.

And honestly, I don't think it is wrong for someone to create a new product for an existing market. It's not much different from marketing a line of original miniatures (even if it is another variation on skeletons or orcs), or a new set of rules, or another sourcebook for a fantasy kingdom based on medieval Europe.

Using the Dwarven Forge name without permission, however, is clearly out of bounds. And his assertion that he is filling a void in DF's product line is plain rude.

I hope no one thinks that I am not 100% behind Stefan and Jeff and Dwarven Forge in wanting to protect their company name, and wanting that incredible doofus to stop using it to shill his merchandise, but I think that's all we can fault him for.
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#31530
*lol* Dwarven Forge Style Catacomb Masters on ebay... 5 Years, 7 Months ago  
Arg, I have a copyright exam next week - stop reminding me I should be studying!

But, for the record, just to test myself...

1. If you buy DF, convert it, and re-sell it, you're fine. First sale doctrine indicates that once you buy a copyrighted work, you can always sell it again. That's why used bookstores aren't black market. You don't own the copyright, but you do own the physical item, and that's yours to do almost anything with. (though, ironically, transmitting pics of it over the web is NOT allowed - so most of us would be guilty of a section 106 violation, though I'm fairly certain the Cool Photos forum would count as a waiver of that exclusive right)

2. If you make something that vaguely resembles DF and attempt to sell it, you're also fine. The presence of things like Hirst Arts, the Wizkids dungeon tiles, and various other products indicates the existence of the idea (modular dungeon terrain) which cannot be copyrighted. Only the particular expression can be -- and there is probably not substantial similarity here.

3. I'm fairly certain that both "Master Maze" and "Dwarven Forge" are matters of trademark law, not copyright -- so, unless Stefan or someone has registered them, you're actually fine using the phrase. Titles and names are not eligible for copyright protection.

4. If you DID want to make a Dwarven Forge-like product that bore substantial similarity to the original, whether the court considered it "fair use" would be a matter of four points. First, the purpose and character of the use. Two primary considerations here: was the copy for commercial purpose, and was it transformative of the original? It's better for the defendant if his/her work is not being sold, and does something creative with what's been copied -- simply copying something else without changing any aspect and then trying to sell it, that's frowned upon. Second, the nature and character of the original work. Creative works like DF get a LOT of protection, much less likely to find fair use. (more likely in cases like nonfiction works which we like to encourage people to work with, hence grant wider range of fair use) Third, the amount and substantiality of portion used -- if you just copied the mermaid fountain or the demon arch, or if you just used some elements from the DoE designs, that's not as bad as if you completely ripped off the whole set. Finally, the effect on the market or potential market for the plaintiff's work. If you're just selling stuff to fantasy gamers, it's a pretty clear-cut violation, no leeway there.


So, that's my basic review. There's more, of course, but I feel a little better now. Enjoy the free legal advice, people, I'll be $700 bucks an hour in a few years! ;)

L
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