The jury is out on whether or not DOTA 2 actually belongs to Valve

    
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lol, valve

It’s not very interesting to see a big company take knockoff companies to court to argue that the knockoff companies are violating intellectual property. It is, however, quite interesting when the argument of the knockoff companies is that the big company doesn’t actually own said intellectual property at all… and that claim has some actual basis. There’s no question whether or not Valve owns Dota 2 itself, but there’s some actual legal ambiguity over whether or not the intellectual property of the characters is owned by Valve or not, which is the case being brought to federal court as Valve sues mobile developers Lilith Games and uCool.

The fundamental argument is that the original Dota map made for Warcraft 3 could legally be considered to be abandoned by its creator, which would render the intellectual property public domain. There’s also some basis to argue that as a Warcraft 3 map, everything in the map was already owned by Blizzard and couldn’t be bought and sold in the first place. In other words, it’s a quagmire of specific definitions and legal edge cases, which is sure to delight the more law-minded members of our audience as the case moves forward.

Source: Kotaku
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MesaSage

No comments on that header image. Because somebody needs to comment on that header image.

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Schmidt.Capela

The crux of the question is that DOTA creator Eul, in a forum post, gave everyone permission to use and modify his mod in any way they desired, in exchange for being credited with the original idea; in theory, that means all of the copyrighted content that can be separated from the Warcraft 3 IP — such as character names and stories as created by Eul — can be freely used on other games as long as proper credit is given.

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Megalus Doomslayer

I wonder what kind of people are on the jury. They probably have no clue what a DOTA is. They probably don’t even know where the power button is.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

Show them 10 minutes of dota chat and they’ll ask if one of the verdicts can be “burn it to the ground.”

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Armsbend

Cases like this usually don’t have juries.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

It will be interesting to see what the jury decides. It sounds like DotA is a mod of a mod of the Blizzard game and that Judge Breyer thinks Blizzard’s original EULA prevents it from being considered intellectual property in its own right. If so, then the maker of the original map, Eul, didn’t own it (because of Blizz’s EULA) and therefore had no ability to assign rights or put it in the public domain.

Sweet! This is more complicated than a GW2 champion jump puzzle.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

gabendota2allyourbase.jpg
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Ailsa Nordstrom

My brain hurts.

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Nordavind

Of course it does wit that avatar. It’s called a brain freeze.

Also, hi Nord.

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Robert Mann

The characters were in effect owned by Blizz because of their EULA, and Blizz reached an agreement with Valve. Open and shut case here.

Sorry, but direct copies of characters is not allowed. Creative license to use general ideas, sure… but direct and shameless ripoffs are a no!

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flying_dutchman

That always did sorta bother me….

I mean, regardless of whether or not Ice-frog made a deal with valve. Ice-frog was only the last in what was a LONG line of dota-makers before that. Even Eul, who I think was the first to actually use the DOTA name on one of his maps, was only one map maker in a horde of people who’d been ripping off and One-uping each other making games based off the first Age of Strife Maps.

And all of those were made using assets and rule-sets edited from Blizzard property. When you start the Map editor in War Three it even says in big letters that any maps or games you make with the editor are property of blizzard inc.

Granted I’m not sure how a blanket statement like that is even possible legally, but that was in the days when the industry was much less regulated. Also the entire thing was pretty cute coming from blizzard since they stole the entire story-line for Warcraft Three from a Tad Williams book.

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Sorenthaz

The actual DotA map was first made by Eul, but it basically had 0 support for it after The Frozen Throne expansion came out. Meian and Ragn0r were the original creators of the DotA Allstars map that would be picked up by Guinsoo (who went off to be a head dev behind LoL). Guinsoo took a lot of work from other DotA spinoffs and also added some original content, but the game was riddled with bugs and balance issues that could never make it a real competitive game. IceFrog picked it up in 2005 and managed to turn it into the highly competitive game that it still is to this day (as he still updates the Warcraft 3 map alongside DotA 2).

Those specific details of course were never expressed by Riot when they said that they advertised LoL as being ‘from the makers of DotA Allstars’, over 4 years after IceFrog was solely working on the map.

Speaking strictly of DotA, IceFrog had it pretty much handed off to him and he’s the one who was able to turn it into a huge success story that led to DotA 2. There were only 4 others who worked on the main line that led to the DotA that it is today, and they only spent a few years at best working on it vs IceFrog who’s been working on it for over 10 years now (the first several years of course probably not making a dime off of it unless he made money from tournaments that used it).

That said it doesn’t mean that there can’t be other games LIKE DotA, as there were plenty of Warcraft 3 maps that were all based off of Aeon of Strife and thus known as ‘AoS maps’ back in the day. Stuff like Tides of Blood, Battleships, Enmity Campaign, and others all used similar but different elements (hell Vladimir from League of Legends was pretty much based off of a Tides of Blood hero who used the Blood Mage model – he even has an ability named after that map). Nothing’s wrong with games that do that, but straight-up ripoffs of DotA shouldn’t be allowed when Valve owns the rights to the intellectual property now.

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Armsbend

I enjoyed the MOBA history lesson. I knew the basics but not so in depth. Thanks you two!

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possum440 .

The biggest problem here are the laws. They need to be changed for all developers. I have no problem with “Intellectual” rights for a limited time, or making profit for a limited time but not forever and nothing that stifle better coders out there.

Right now all these asswipe devs and publishers own everything forever. To the point some other person or person, better than they cant make something that is “close”.

Many IP’s deserve to be released to the public to be developed, World of Warcraft for instance would be in much better hands if it went public code after 10 years. Blizzard isn’t doing anything with it and imagine the people better than blizzard chomping at the bit wanting to improve it. Any code, for any game for that matter.

The laws, as many have stated restrict creativity and advancement. The only thing the gamer lemmings eat today are the leavings of the forever owners after they wipe their asses and you take it.

It is easy to shut down game developers. Too many of you however are weak willed to do so like some of us.

One day maybe EULAS and TOS will be things of an ancient culture and consumers will have rights for digital media after purchase and intellectual property will be restricted to only a set number of years.

Don’t keep paying these asshole developers/publishers, or they will continue to get what they want and teach and groom you how to play their games as they have been doing for the last 15 years.

It would only take a year or so to wipe out all the major players and then we could see some changes in the laws. And see what true talent is lurking out there.

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McGuffn

“World of Warcraft for instance would be in much better hands if it went public code after 10 years. Blizzard isn’t doing anything with it”

I mean there are content droughts and such but….
Also you don’t need to steal peoples stuff to see what true talent is out there.

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Stropp

Really?

Who’s going to develop AAA games then? You?

These ‘asshole’ developers and publishers are making games for the public. They deserve to receive compensation for their efforts.

Unless you are telling me you’re going to walk into your employers office and volunteer to work for free, come-on, be real.

As for creativity. There are currently too many people trying to develop on old IPs. Too many sequels, prequels, reboots, and remakes. Let’s get some originality into the picture.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I smell a self-interested argument.

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Connor

“World of Warcraft for instance would be in much better hands if it went public code after 10 years. Blizzard isn’t doing anything with it”

So you just want free legit WoW private servers because you don’t want to pay for the subscription…

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kgptzac

Is this some kind of… intellectual communism?

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Nathan Aldana

It is an interesting legal thing especially since blizzard doesnt seem to care and in fact instead made their own IP for that genre, but at the same time, you cant ust take abandonware and claim it has a new copyright under you. Also, in b4 people who hate valve or blizzard barge in.

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Sorenthaz

DotA hasn’t been abandoned though – the Warcraft 3 map is still regularly updated by IceFrog to this day.

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Schmidt.Capela

blizzard doesnt seem to care and in fact instead made their own IP for that genre,

AFAIK building upon the original DOTA would make the devs of the original mod co-owners of the IP, as the mod changes the base game in meaningful ways. Blizzard doesn’t want that risk.

but at the same time, you cant ust take abandonware and claim it has a new copyright under you.

Very true. Copyright doesn’t depend on commercial exploration. Some countries are toying with the idea of releasing the copyright for orphaned works (i.e., those that no one claims and where finding the owner seems more expensive than the IP itself), but that isn’t the case with DOTA.