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Why isn't StepMania illegal?
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Promit
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0. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:41 am    Post subject: Why isn't StepMania illegal? Reply with quote

No, not the DWIs. Not the MP3s. The game itself.

Doesn't Stepmania (and in fact all the other sims too) fall squarely under the category of copyright violation? It's a pretty blatant rip off of DDR, you have to admit. If you look at patterns for other companies...I mean Blizzard had Freecraft shut down (C&D order) just because it was capable of similar gameplay to their Starcraft/Warcraft games.

So I guess my question is, why is Stepmania legal to begin with, and why hasn't Konami fed them a C&D order?
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akm3
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1. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably not big enough to register on their radar.

Also, it is possible they have realized stepmania has INCREASED their sales in the U.S.

Who knows.

-Allen
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diddrstrait
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2. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. it is not being sold for profit (by the developers anyway)
2. it is open source
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DJX
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3. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out of curiosity, why does it being open source make it not illegal?
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CNLohr
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4. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 12:21 pm    Post subject: The real reason... Reply with quote

LOL
Open source cannot change the legality of a project.

StepMania is already too large to skid under the radar.

Profit has nothing to do with it either. Until recently, the US Government for some reason hasn't loved open source because of it's no-capitolistic nature.

BUT StepMania does not violate ANYTHING except potentially the artwork... and even that's questionable because it all is technically original. It would be a stretch for konami to try to do anything with that.

As far as "stealing the idea"... ONLY patents can protect ideas, and either konami allowed their patent to expire, or it was rejected due to how similar it was to some patents from the early 90's.

Konami could not do anything to stepmania even if they wanted.

Now, here's something that will throw you for a loop.

StepMania is arguably more legal than actual DDR out of it's zone. (I.E. Playing DDREx home in a public area in america)

http://www.bemanistyle.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8751
AND
http://www.ddrmaniax.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=4512
(Topics are dual posted, if you are not a member of BemaniStyle you will only be able to read the DDRMAniax one)
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diddrstrait
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5. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ah, I see. I was going off of info from this old thread

http://www.ddrfreak.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=84586

you can stop laughing now :<

(E13.gif)
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DJX
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6. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hahahahaha...Sync was wrong!

NOW I'll stop laughing E15.gif .
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Luigi30
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7. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If they said something about Stepmania, they'd have to say something about the thousands of DDR machines imported into the USA illegally, which they don't want to do, since people plaing DDR in the arcade equals people buying the console versions.
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8. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sync got served! ok maybe not but heh good to see your not right all the time.
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diddrstrait
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9. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never claim to be right all the time. other people just assume it E13.gif
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Promit
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10. PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Syncognition wrote:
1. it is not being sold for profit (by the developers anyway)
2. it is open source


Neither of these stopped Blizzard from shutting down both Freecraft and Open BNet.


See the thing is, Stepmania has no resources. If Konami gave them a C&D order, it would vanish immediately. So does this mean Konami wants SM to exist, dsepite the blatant copyright violation?
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elementxero
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11. PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At this point Konami isn't really even making any money off of DDR in america because they capped off the whole project, correct?

So all they have to gain from is console versions sold, which will arguably be a different market than the people willing to adapt a pad to their PC and import files into Stepmania. Given this prospect might deter SOME people from buying the console version, opting instead for the free PC alternative, I'd say its generally a different market.

If there was a PC version of DDR Extreme or something that was still being actively sold and marketed I bet you they would shut down SM in a heartbeat. But at this point USA's DDR market is all but dead to Konami, so they probably prefer to just let the project linger and keep some interest in DDR for a while longer, and maybe pick up a few extra console sales.

Otherwise it would be a lengthy legal battle, that they might not even win, to shut down something thats B A R E L Y affecting their profits on something that they've already given up on. (thats a mouthful huh?)
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TehWhack
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12. PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Promit wrote:


Neither of these stopped Blizzard from shutting down both Freecraft and Open BNet.


See the thing is, Stepmania has no resources. If Konami gave them a C&D order, it would vanish immediately. So does this mean Konami wants SM to exist, dsepite the blatant copyright violation?


Did you even read the other posts? (particularly CNlohr's)
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Bemani Dog
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13. PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, it's not illegal. It's not an emulator, per se. It's just a program that combines fan-made elements to work like DDR. It does not actually emulate DDR machine hardware. Since it doesn't, it doesn't contain any code Konami or its contractors would consider propreitary. Therefore, the program itself is 100% legal.
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Promit
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14. PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No!

It's not about patents, or emulation, or reverse engineering. It's about copyright. Stepmania features gameplay that is identical to that of DDR.

FreeCraft Shut Down -- FreeCraft, apart from the name (which could've been easily changed, see Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox), featured gameplay similar to that of Warcraft 2. This was enough for Blizzard to stop them.

Amongst other aspects of the bnetd ruling (see selected quotes), were that open source is more of a reason to allege copyright violation, rather than less. Note this part of the ruling:
Quote:

The bnetd emulator had limited commercial purpose because it was free and available to anyone who wanted to copy and use the program.

Hacking through the legalese, this basically means that making it free/open source is worse than charging.

I haven't brought this up before, but aren't DWI/SM guilty of reverse engineering the format Konami uses to store dance steps?



Long story short, my question is this -- Why hasn't Konami told projects like SM and DWI to cease and desist? If they did, there'd be a long legal battle, probably with bad news at the end. It seems that Konami wants SM to exist...but what's the reason?
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15. PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should read the ruling carefully to understand exactly what is going on. Law is wordy and difficult to follow because it tends to be precise, and by ignoring this precision you wind up misunderstanding the details.

The copyright issues in the bnetd ruling had nothing to do with whether or not bnetd was a clone of Blizzard's game. The copyright violation was that the bnetd developers were (1) using an illegal version of Warcraft to reverse engineer the game protocols, contrary to the licensing agreement and (2) those protocols which were found to be protected under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Blizzard forces you to accept a legally-binding contract when you play Warcraft. When this contract was broken by the bnetd developers, they became guilty of copyright violation.

The difference with Stepmania is that Konami does not make you agree to any such contract when you play in the arcades. The Stepmania developers probably wrote their code simply by watching how DDR behaves. This itself is not illegal nor is it copyright violation, because there is no contract with Konami prohibiting this action.

The only copyright issue Konami can bring up is if there is a significant amount of text or graphics which are identical. As long as the Stepmania developers are careful and only imitate the gameplay aspects and not the artwork, then they can stay legal forever.

The main issue with FreeCraft was the trademark issue, not copyright. Blizzard had a clear case here and would likely have won if this were taken to court. Blizzard also made some claims about gameplay, but these would likely not have held up in court had the FreeCraft developers decided to take it that far. As this was never tried in court, the only conclusion you can make is that the FreeCraft developers might have been foolish for folding too soon.

The sentence regarding limited commercial purpose does not state that open source copyright violation is worse than commercial violatoin. It only says that open source copying is to be treated the same as commercial copying. The only reason this comes up anyways is in determination of damages. If the plaintiff can show commercial infringement, they can be eligible for additional awards. Noncommercial copyright infringement is still infringement.

Finally, DWI/SM use their own step file formats. That's why they're called .dwi files. Nobody outside Konami knows what format Konami uses, and nobody truly cares, either.
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16. PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting things on both sides
ddrf654 wrote:

The only copyright issue Konami can bring up is if there is a significant amount of text or graphics which are identical. As long as the Stepmania developers are careful and only imitate the gameplay aspects and not the artwork, then they can stay legal forever.


If im not mistaken SM looked almost EXACTLY the same as DDR MAX. Also the new Extreme Skins for SM make it look EXACTLY like the arcade, and i men EXACT. Even the begining warning message which says the program can only be sold in Japan as well as the KONAMI fanfare, the BEMANI logo, and the BEMANI Music cd logo's. Now because this is a SKIN, id assume that only the creators of the extreme skin would be penalized if at all and not the SM creators.

Otherwise the rest seems clear to me. SM cant be shut down at this point, especially since it gives u 0 songs and steps to start out with, putting the illegal song getting into ur hands and not theirs. As far as the copyright, technically the KOA arcade copyright died....unless im wrong (im not good with taht stuff). The only way i can see someone getting in trouble is if they used SM in Japan and decided to tell a KOJ member who then later would nail them for using SM.
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rampage
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17. PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SM (and ITG) blatantly violates Konami's patents on DDR-style gameplay.

I'm sure if it was sold for profit, Konami would clamp down on it (I'm sure it's a matter of time before they clamp down on ITG). Pump it Up's makers Andamiro have to pay royalties to Konami, after all.

Evidence:

Patent 6,786,821 abstract:
To increase a feeling of competitiveness between players of a music-oriented game. Based on evaluation of performance of the first and second players on their steps, the number of times step guidance is presented is varied. Specifically, while reference arrows 46, 48 are displayed, a plurality of timing guidance arrows 50, 62 approaching the reference arrows 46, 48 are also displayed on a game screen image 40, whereby a state of step timing gradually arriving is shown to the player. In addition, the number of timing guidance arrows 50 62, namely the number of times step guidance is presented to each player, is changed based on the result of evaluation on steps by each player.

Patent 6,695,694 abstract:
To evaluate a game playing performance from a new point of view, a control method for controlling a game machine allowing a player to enjoy stepping while listening to game music, comprises the steps of detecting whether or not the player puts their foot or feet on each of a plurality of step positions; judging, based on a detection result on the step position, according to which, of a plurality of pattern changes, a state of the player's feet relative to the plurality of step positions has changed to; calculating, based on the determined pattern change, an energy consumption amount due to a change of the state of the player's feet; calculating an accumulative energy consumption amount by accumulating an energy consumption amount calculated after a predetermined timing; and reporting the accumulative energy consumption amount calculated to the player.

Patent 6,758,756 abstract:
The present invention relates to a method for controlling a novel video game in which dancing is used as a factor in the behavior of a character, a machine for the video game, and a medium in which a program for the video game is recorded, and makes it possible to dance characters 611 and 612 displayed using 3-D polygons in time with music, to evaluate their dance skills based mainly on whether dance actions are in time with the music, and to proceed with a story by winning matches with a computer or to match with other players.

Patent 6,320,110 abstract:
A music game device is provided in which a player manipulates a manipulation unit in conformity with music. The device includes an input unit for setting play information including a plurality of tunes to be successively played and a play order of the plurality of tunes, a storage unit for collectively storing the play information, an automatic setting changing unit for automatically changing a part of the play information set by the player to a preset standard play information if the play information set by the player includes a setting which cannot be executed by the music game device, and a reproduction unit for successively reproducing the plurality of tunes in the play order based on the play information stored in the storage unit.

Patent 6,227,968 abstract:
Rhythm sensations can be represented in time to music by using the entire body and to create powerfulness and rhythm sensations. Stepping position indication data which is set by a rhythm setting section is read from a stepping position indication data memory, and the stepping position instruction contents are scrolled and displayed on a monitor by a scroll display control section, thereby performing instructions of the stepping position and the stepping operation timing. When the fact that a player steps on a step-on base section in accordance with the display contents of the monitor is detected by a cable switch and this is input from a stepping operation monitor section, a score proportional to the timing deviation is calculated by an amount-of-deviation detection/totaling section, and next, an evaluation is performed by the rhythm setting section. Then, the next stepping position indication data is set according to the evaluation result.

Patent 6,450,888 abstract:
Disclosed is a game system which matches a player's tastes. In a game system operating in time with music, it is possible to select an edit mode for editing timing data which define timings of operations. In the edit mode, an edit window having a predetermined display range is displayed on a screen of a display device in correspondence with information representing a position in a tune. Images in the edit window are scrolled so that the position of a target to be edited set inside the edit window moves forward and backward through the tune. When an operation is performed to provide marks, timing data for showing an operation timing of a control member provided in correspondence with the operation is provided at the position of the edit object in the edit window, and in addition, the timing data during editing is updated so that the position in the tune corresponding to the position of the edit object is defined as a operation timing.

Patent 6,582,309 abstract:
A game system has a display monitor for displaying a game image, a plurality of control buttons manually operable by a game player, and a memory for storing data representing timings to operate the control buttons, respectively. The game system has a control operation indicating function for displaying in the game image an image for indicating the timings to operate the control buttons based on the data stored in the memory, and an obstructing function for generating an obstructive effect in the image for indicating the timings to operate the control buttons, to obstruct an attempt of the game player to grasp the timings to operate the control buttons.

Patent 6,607,446 abstract:
Disclosed is a music game system in which the attraction of a game is increased by effectively using limited music data. The music game system comprises an input device 4 for outputting signals in correspondence with the operation states of push-switches 5; a ROM 30a in which are stored music data for reproducing multiple tunes, and timing data of each tune defining a procedure for operating the push-switches 5 in correspondence with the tune reproduced based on music data; display devices 24,3 for displaying game screens; music reproduction devices for 26, 32 reproducing the music data; and a CPU for reproducing a predetermined tune by the music reproduction devices and for guiding the player in operation procedures of the input device 4 in correspondence with the reproduced tune, a medley tune comprising parts of the multiple tunes linked together being reproduced, and the operation procedure of the input device being guided in correspondence with the medley tune.

Patent 6,659,873 abstract:
Data link-up between multiple game devices can be more flexibly achieved. A game system (1) comprises a game device for business (2) and a game device for use at home (3), which execute games in accordance with predetermined programs, it being possible to exchange information between these games devices, and the game device for business (2) comprises an information output device for outputting judgement information for judging whether predetermined conditions have been satisfied in the game device for business (2). The contents of the game executed on the game device for use at home (3) are changed based on the judgement information output from the game device for business (2). For example, when a predetermined game result has been achieved in the game device for business, the content of the judgement information is updated, and a hidden element appears in the game device for use at home (3) in correspondence therewith.
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Luigi30
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18. PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2004 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again.

If they sued the makers of StepMania for lost profits or whatever, they would also have to sue everyone who imports DDR machines, or they would be hypocrites. They wouldn't do that, since people playing DDR in America means that people will buy the crappy console mixes that they make.
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19. PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They would have good grounds to sue importers, since 90% of the imported DDR machines contain bootleg software.

They did (successfully) sue Andamiro once Pump It Up hit the scene (Andamiro has to pay royalties to Konami), and I'm waiting for when they sue Roxor Games for In The Groove (which is a much more blatant rip-off than PIU ever was).
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