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Re:HEROQUEST in Crowdfunding

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:50 am
by ced1106
HeroQuestFrance wrote:

We're not talking about COPYRIGHT since the products are different.
There's no violation of copyrights in a such case.

GZ hasn't released the rules and other written material, so you can't say this -- yet. Copyright laws protect original and "derivative works", but the latter has to satisfy copyright law’s requirement of "originality" (which, frankly, seems pretty ambiguous to me). As I understand it, GZ will have entirely new quests and includes new character classes, and will have a revised ruleset. How much will the ruleset have to change before being "original"? And if they change the ruleset entirely, how will fans react?

A derivative work must "The transformation, modification or adaption of the work must be substantial and bear its author's personality to be original". However, even though it's trademarked in Spain, "HeroQuest 25th Anniversary Edition" *might* be interpreted by a judge as failing to have the "author's personality", despite the different sculpts and other components. Who knows.

If Hasbro sends a C&D or otherwise brings legal action of GZ, GZ does not have the legal resources Hasbro has. The Up Front / Airborne in Your Pocket KS has shown that a legal case can drag out a KS for a year or longer. So, even if GZ is in the right, they may still not be able to fight back against Hasbro. Certainly their backers will have to be very patient as the case is worked out in court.

However, this assumes Hasbro brings legal action. If HQ really had value to Hasbro, why hasn't Hasbro republished the game? Or perhaps Hasbro and GZ will work out a licensing agreement. Only Hasbro knows -- and that's the problem.

KS -- or, rather, crowdfunding -- is not a store. Some potential backers are waiting for HQ25 to be available retail because, by then, the risk (ie. uncertainty) will be much lower. Forty-one days to go! :D

Re:HEROQUEST in Crowdfunding

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:10 pm
by jackattack
The comparison to the sci-fi franchises doesn't hold up. Those all involved mutually consensual and contractual transfers of the intellectual properties in question, and strict enforcement of the rights of all parties. In the case of the HeroQuest 25th Anniversary Tribute Game, there was no attempt to secure any rights from the creators or owners of the HerQuest name or product until after the name was registered and the contesting deadline had passed. (And I would wager that they only have rights to the name -- the word -- HeroQuest, not to any of the content.)

GameZone registered the name in Spain in November 2012, then waited until July 2013 to request use of the intellectual property in the United States from Moon Design.

When Moon Design turned them down, GameZone went ahead and tried to crowdfund their project through the Canadian branch of a US company and got shut down when Moon Design sent a cease and desist.

Then GameZone tried to crowdfund through a Spanish company and got shut down without a cease and desist. Verkami told backers, "After carefully studying the campaign, we believe that the content of the project could be misleading to our users."

Now GameZone is crowdfunding through another company in Spain.

GameZone's own project statement says that they saw a well known but out of print product was approaching an important milestone date, and since nobody else seemed to be doing anything with it they just decided to do it themselves. They didn't approach anybody who has a legal claim to the intellectual property (Hasbro, Milton Bradley, Games Workshop, Moon Design) beforehand.

Re:HEROQUEST in Crowdfunding

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:29 pm
by HeroQuestFrance
People are mixing up everything : the trademark owner, the Creator of the trademark, the copyrights and the licence.

Hasbro Inc is the creator of the trademark HEROQUEST worldwide.
They also own this trademark in many countries.
They can claim a right on their trademark if the owner doesn't respect the basic rules without a licence with them :

-> product has to be different
-> you don't have to use the same logo, text, etc
-> you cannot sell outside your country using a third party
-> you are limited in the sector which was initially taken by the creator (here it's "games & toys" class 28)

You certainly know the roleplaying game called HEROQUEST in the USA.
They follow those rules otherwise ... plaf !

In Spain, GameZone Miniaturas is the owner of the trademark HEROQUEST since november 2012. Hasbro Spain as initial Creator of this trademark had 6 months according to the international laws to make an opposition in the official journal : they didn't do it.
So GameZone Miniaturas has the right to use the trademark.

We're not talking about COPYRIGHT since the products are different.
There's no violation of copyrights in a such case.
They make a new game with the name HeroQuest that's all.
No elements of the original game are used.
So no complaint possible from the authors, designers, writers etc of the original game. Same for the roleplaying game called HEROQUEST in the USA.

Ok you benefit of a trademark popular name but that's all.
V mini series was renewed in 2009, Robocop movie this year, Terminator serial has changed many times the trademark owners (now a complete reboot i called genesis is coming), JOUEF also changed the trademark owner (modelism train) and makes new products etc etc .

The error of GameZone was to launch a crowdfunding campain on kickstarter Canada which is a part of the US company where all the money goes and is handle : on the american sole a thing they didn't check.

So the US owner of the trademark HEROQUEST (Moon Design) entered in conflict with them. It caused the close of the kickstarter project which it was logical. It caused too an unexpected polemic involving a false clue with a lawyer name who is dead and so on : something incredible !

Gamezone has registered the trademark last year with the International Madrid system which is protecting them well against international complaints in their country. Why ? The legal time limit to complaint and refuse the inscription in the official journal/gazette has past for 6 months now.

Now the campaign started on a third crowfunding plateform "lanzanos" which is -thank you for being respectful- not obscure. This is a famous european plateform and funds are not going in the usa or fiscal paradises and remain in Europe, in Spain to be more precise. (Madrid)

It's like Verkami : a spanish crowdfunding plateform close to my home (catalane !! ^^) which is very "cultural". They're more in art concepts and local artistic projects not really boardgames.
Their team hadn't time to check the project entirely in the short timing they had so they have refuse it. Don't read between lines they have clearly stated it in their communicate to the backers.

Now I'm agreed : This boardgames minis & furniture will suit well with Dwarven Forge. But it would come unpainted so there's a lot of work incoming !

Re:HEROQUEST in Crowdfunding

Posted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:39 pm
by AnimeSensei
Ethics and the legal system. Two totally different things there... :P

While I'm interested as I've never played Heroquest, I'm out due to the price tag. I'm out of most KS games due to the price tag...

Re:HEROQUEST in Crowdfunding

Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:43 pm
by jackattack
But it remains unethical everywhere else.

Re:HEROQUEST in Crowdfunding

Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:38 pm
by jchunick
jackattack wrote:

So it's technically legal in a particular country...

Yeah, no.

Personal opinions aside, if anyone here is familiar with copyright laws and the history of copyright then, yes, it can be quite legal in another country.

Re:HEROQUEST in Crowdfunding

Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:15 pm
by jackattack
So it's technically legal in a particular country...

Yeah, no.

Re:HEROQUEST in Crowdfunding

Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 4:29 pm
by dice4hire
I am amazed so many people are so sure these guys will actually produce the game, after all these shenanigans.

I do not think I would trust them that much.

Re:HEROQUEST in Crowdfunding

Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:43 pm
by jchunick
Zenfinite wrote:

Yeah, the copyright actually did expire in Spain, so they are using a Spain based crowdfunding website to fund their game. Completely legal. My friends and I had a good laugh over all their US consternation vis a vis copyright laws and not understanding them at all, but this is the only way they can make this and not be sued into the Stone Age. It looks nice, honestly, but $200 for a US backer is just too steep for a game I already have two of.


Ah, didn't see your post before mine... yeah, expired copyright would be their legal loophole, for sure.

Re:HEROQUEST in Crowdfunding

Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:41 pm
by jchunick
Kodiak3d wrote:

I looked up some info about the situation and apparently the fact that the new site is a non-US site could make a difference...

...or it may not.

Spain is part of all international copyright agreements, including the Berne, WIPO and UCC conventions, so there would be legal recourse by the copyright holder.