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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:22 pm 
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Yes, there are so many grey areas, and Blazeman's question is valid, if not poorly executed.

From various topics of discussion on knock-offs and patents, something that appears to keep coming up:

* If the design is improved or remade, it seems to be ok. Certainly acceptable in the case of a 3x3x3. What about a petaminx or a floppy cube? Does making an expired patent make it ok?

I know I would be rather ticked if a puzzle was cloned 100% by someone while it was currently being sold by a person/company. But to be improved and modified... perhaps that ok? Yes / no?

What if someone improves the helicopter cube making it with their own design? Yes / no.

I for one I would love to see the ethics of some actual test cases spelled out and explored so that people can get a first hand glipse of what really is acceptable and what is not. We can't cover all bases, but we are still really in our vaguest infancy with all this.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:23 pm 
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Unlike intellectual property law which is well defined and applies to all people alike, ethics is completely personal and there is no common agreed standard. It's probably impossible and pointless to come to a consensus set of rules and definitions on this, otherwise laws would have been created to do just that. For such a subjective and ill-defined subject, it is probably more practical to agree on a common set of "values", like Respect, Integrity, etc., then let individuals decide how they want to interpret them. This is exactly how companies deal with such issues, because there is no other practical way.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:27 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
... there is no common agreed standard, so it's probably impossible and pointless to come to a consensus set of rules and definitions...


We should at least try to get a common agreed standard for our community at least to some degree. Each discussion appears to go in a certain direction (a rough standard).

In order to build an ethical standard, there should at least be some situations that we agree on as a majority. Those other cases will hopefully fall under the same umbrella. Or at the very least we work with them as they arise.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:44 pm 
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sausage wrote:
Kelvin Stott wrote:
... there is no common agreed standard, so it's probably impossible and pointless to come to a consensus set of rules and definitions...


We should at least try to get a common agreed standard for our community at least to some degree. Each discussion appears to go in a certain direction (a rough standard).

In order to build an ethical standard, there should at least be some situations that we agree on as a majority. Those other cases will hopefully fall under the same umbrella. Or at the very least we work with them as they arise.

I understand and admire your good intentions, but you would effectively have to define, set up, manage and police your own intellectual property system. Why reinvent the wheel? Wouldn't it be both easier and more effective to advise people to obtain a cheap design patent? At least it would give meaningful protection beyond the confines of this tiny community.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:05 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
Wouldn't it be both easier and more effective to advise people to obtain a cheap design patent? At least it would give meaningful protection beyond the confines of this tiny community.
"Cheap" is a relative term.

I looked into patents and it didn't seem very cheap and I didn't see much gain in my situation. I don't think my particular design will get produced, and I don't think I'll stand a chance to make much if any profit building them they way I do. Why spend money on something I probably can't afford to enforce even if granted?

Mr. Verdes has spent lots of time and money doing everything right regarding patents and look at his situation. I hope he can use the legal system to prevail against his predators but for me puzzles are a hobby and I couldn't put in the investment (time or money) he will.

Patents are not, unfortunately, overly practical for many of the designers of this forum.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:14 pm 
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But then why worry about other people buying, selling or making copies of a puzzle that would not otherwise get produced? Surely nobody is hurt if the creator would not have made a penny from it anyway?

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Last edited by KelvinS on Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:24 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
I understand and admire your good intentions, but you would effectively have to define, set up, manage and police your own intellectual property system. Why reinvent the wheel? Wouldn't it be both easier and more effective to advise people to obtain a cheap design patent? At least it would give meaningful protection beyond the confines of this tiny community.


We currently already police a certain set of rules, ie, not being allowed to post links to direct to a KO source. The intentions is make that policing clearer for us and define what is acceptable by us, respecting inventors and manufacturers. It is not about what is law, and nothing to do with patents/protection.

That much is certainly achievable.

Kelvin Stott wrote:
But then why worry about other people buying, selling or making copies of a puzzle that would not otherwise get produced? Surely nobody is hurt if the creator would not have made a penny from it anyway?


If I am reading you right, again it is about each of us respecting an inventors work and doing what the majority sees as the right thing to do. We're halfway there.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:36 pm 
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Then would a simple acknowlegement not be enough? I find it difficult to see how the inventor can claim a monopoly for an idea that is not protected unless you create your own intellectual property system. I need to go away and think about how this could work.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:48 pm 
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Probably would be enough. What you say is true, and inventors here have been very generous with giving away STLs or allowing others to co-sell things as long as they devise their own mechanisms, etc. Lots of different scenarios.

Yeah, I really need to go though all the KO & invention threads and draw up a table as some sort of starting point to discussion.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:52 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
But then why worry about other people buying, selling or making copies of a puzzle that would not otherwise get produced?
People profiting from my ideas and concepts without compensating me or without my permission is offensive, and is a not a motivator for me to share my creations. If someone wants to produce my design the polite thing to do is engage with me to make it happen. A patent in this case is probably justified and worth the time and money.
I realize people aren't polite, particulary when there is money to be made. But just because something isn't illegal doesn't mean it shouldn't be frowned upon.
Kelvin Stott wrote:
Surely nobody is hurt if the creator would not have made a penny from it anyway?
Just because I don't think I will make enough to cover the costs of obtaining an enforcing a patent doesn't mean I will not see a penny. It takes a lot of pennies to "protect" a puzzle design through the patent process. Doing so would probably assure I will see no profit.

And someone copying my idea and competing with me absolutely takes away from my market. Look at the case of my Inverted 2x2x2 vs. the Rhinoceros 2x2 (here): Whether or not you believe that my competition arrived at his design independently (he may have, but clearly not his logo), my market value was immediately cut in half (or more) mere days after my auction finished. My second and third bidders ($207 and $185) declined second chance offers and one made it clear with the other puzzle on eBay the exclusivity value of my puzzle was halved.

This puzzle is highly unlikely to be produced, but I put a lot of time and effort into designing and building it. I barely made back materials costs on the first one and now have a much reduced market for other sales to compensate for my time and effort. Is this worth spending hundreds or thousands of dollars plus many, many hours of my time to patent, and would that have given me any protection?

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:34 pm 
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This is a post I made elsewhere:
Quote:
I thanks those of you who don't liek knockoffs. I regret it everytime I buy one, but I have money, I just need it for more things, other than puzzles. I hope to buy originals of all my KO's eventually, especially the V-Cubes. But I feel it is worth the down in quality, if you need the cheap price. But expect the scold of this forum. Noone here who speaks *LOVES* KO's. Also, intend to buy the original eventually, because it will be worth it.

Now, on to my rant of your morals.

The original Rubik's cube once upon a time HAD A PATENT, contrary to belief that it never did. When it's patent expired, more companies began making cubes. People HERE bought these cubes and justified there theivry because the pantent had expired.

Now to the Present:

The Gigaminx, or royal Skewb or the Ghost Cube, NEVER had a patent. However if a cube today was to be made without the consent of the patentless creator, they would be scourn.

WHAT IS THE BLOODY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUYING A KO RUBIK'S CUBE AND A KO GHOST CUBE??? END YOUR MORAL FORCES BECAUSE NOONE HERE CAN SAY THEY HAVEN'T BOUGHT A KNOCK OFF RUBIK'S CUBE, EVEN A DIY, EVEN ONE WITH A DIFFERENT MECH LIKE TYPE A, WOULD HAVE INFRINGED ON THE RUBIK'S PATENT, AND THE KO'S OF CUSTOM PUZZLES DON'T EVEN DO THAT. JUST BECAUSE A CREATOR HASN'T BECOME WELL KNOWN SHOULDN'T MAKE THERE PUZZLE AUTOMATICALLY ANYMORE MORALLY UNCOPIABLE THAN THE RUBIK'S CUBE!!!

I think I am done...


What I mean is that you would all freak out if a cube made by someone here was copied, yet they are unpatented. And your excuse for it beign okay to buy KO Rubik's Cubes is that the patent expired. And others say it is because they are better quality.

If KO were of better quality, would it then be good? NO!(From what I can infer of general ethics in this forum)

So why do you discriminate copying the rubik's cube? Because it has been done so much. When something TABOO is done frequently, it becomes not so taboo. As well with the Megaminx, many here buy PVC 'minxes instead of namebrand, and didn't Meffert also do this? Why are your ethics so hypocritical? My theory, what ever benefits me without physical harm to another and without sever emotional harm to others. My idea may sound selfish, but other than that, what else is there?

Observation of this forums ethics have shown you all follow this SAME EXACT rule. Yet the emotional harm isn't about the others, it is about making your self fell good about being good. What is the point of being good if it is only for selfish cause?

You would buy a KO Rubik's Cube because the patent expired and it is of better quality Yet if the KO of Tony Fisher's Hexaminx, or Andrew's Teraminx, were to come out, you would be weary of even looking at it, even if it is better quality.

To sum this up, stop summing up your morals and eithical values. You can't. Everytime you try, you are more of a hypocrit than any. You may not know it, but everyone here does this, intentional or not. And even if you think you don't anymore, you realy do, you just don't realise it.

That sums it up, please reply with any questions, and note I am not trying to in any way sound cruel, mean, prickish, or disrespectful. I respect and honor everyone here, including those who have shown thier dislike of me. I consider myself disliked, but I hope this doesn't aid that.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:41 pm 
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Blazemann,

This is the objective we are trying to achieve. You have some points, and they are valid. Don't get too hot under the collar over it. Instead, stick around and contribute these points when we eventually get a consensus going.

If there is hypocrisy, it is unintentional I am sure. The intention is for all is to do the right thing (in the majority view) for individual inventors and original manufacturers alike.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:51 pm 
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sausage wrote:
Blazemann,

This is the objective we are trying to achieve. You have some points, and they are valid. Don't get too hot under the collar over it. Instead, stick around and contribute these points when we eventually get a consensus going.

If there is hypocrisy, it is unintentional I am sure. The intention is for all is to do the right thing (in the majority view) for individual inventors and original manufacturers alike.


Thanks, I am trying. I think I have figure out how to say it correctly now:

You can't state moral values without hipocrisy.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:57 pm 
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Blazemann wrote:

You can't state moral values without hipocrisy.


Possibly. Should that stop us having a crack at a policy? The alternative is to do nothing. Nothing means that debate will rage on forever unchecked for each situation.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:59 pm 
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True to that. Even if it isn't possible, at least people who wish to debate it, like me, will have someplace to do it.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:42 am 
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My two cents for this:

A patent is there to protect the inventor, and he/she has a 20 year period to profit from his/her design,
which I believe, it is a fair amount of time. After that, others should be given a chance to profit
as well as improve it. That is, with time to come, it is nice to let a product to become cheaper
and better, something which will benefit all the world's communities.

For example, my Cubedron. I will not mind if someone copies it after 20 years. As long as he/she
does not breach any copyright or trademark, I will be actually flattered to see a renewed version.

So I see absolutely no ethical issue here when a patent has expired (as long as there is no copyright
or trademark infringement).

For those puzzles which have no patent, ethically speaking, I believe around five years is more than
enough
for them to see, think, build, and profit before the puzzle's mechanism should be available to everyone.
If they want more time, then, those people will be very unfair to those filing patents, as well as stopping
development of a given design. Of course, after those five years, new people should be able to use the mechanism,
but they should always respect all copyrights and trademarks (which never expire) that the original inventor has.

Those people who do not file patent can clearly see that their puzzle has no mass production potential
otherwise they will even get in debt (like I did) to support it and manufacture it. The niche quality market
could always be theirs, because quality builders will always receive quality prices. A brand name does not
need a patent. But a puzzle needs to become public after some fair time, to share the goodness with the world.

From an egoistic point of view, I would never want any of my puzzles to be reproduced, as I need the monopoly to...
rule the world! (just kidding!).

:mrgreen:


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:29 am 
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When I found the KO-MB at e-Bay, the person used original photos and includes "Mirror Block" without 's', and "Origina" without 'l', and "Mega-House corp" without '.', but the price is so lower.

Then I asked for the person, "This auction is used original photos, and your explanation includes typo 'Mirror Blocks' and 'Original' and 'Mega-House corp.' words. Is it correctly original Mirror Blocks ?"

Then the person's answer was following, "This is not original but OEM. Original Mirror Blocks is so expensive, then everyone doesn't buy it."

Of course, "OEM" is abbreviation of "Original Equipment Manufacturing", means entrusted original manufacturing and selling it.
And of course I made sure of OEM for Mega-House directly, and his answer is No. They don't entrust for other countries.
And already the person's answer was contradicted, "not original but original" meaning.

Then I replied for the person, "OEM includes original meaning, but Mega-House don't entrust for other countries to make OEM. And I'm the original Mirror Block's designer. Sorry for the expensive original puzzle of us."
Of course the person didn't reply for me.

How do you think about this interchanges ?
The auction was listed from Hong Kong, the KO maker's area.

Already new puzzles about Rubik's 360, Mirror Blocks, Void cube, and Floppy cube was made KO at Hong Kong and they are selling at Hong Kong and Korea.

Most problem of KO is, the original builder's motivation.
Already I and Mr.Okamoto are disgusted at those KO.
Especially, he was copied two cubes of his original, and he is planning third mass-production cube.

And someone sold the white KO Void at Japanese Yahoo auction.
Yes, here is other evildoer. Of course I and Mr.Okamoto reprove him, but he didn't accept our warning, and finished before Yahoo auction's manager check it.

I notice, I don't hate those KO, only for custom puzzles.
Because original cubes are really expensive to use custom puzzles. (Of course I want to use original for custom puzzles, but I am not only the designer but also custom builder. Then I know those custom puzzles need so many trials. ;)
But in reverse, therefore, I want to be played originals when everyone play normally.

Am I so obstinate ?

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:27 am 
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I have already expressed the fact that I believe that buying KOs of new original puzzles most probably harms the creator of the puzzle, and might dissuade that person to release subsequent new puzzles. That's why I would never buy a K.O. Mirror blocks or floppy cube;
But I have a question that was equally raised by someone else on this forum:
I've seen white skewb diamond KOs cropping up. Meffert has clearly said that he will no longer be producing these. Does that make it OK to buy this particular KO in this particular circumstance?


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:15 am 
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I would say go ahea with it. Meffert's said he was don with the mech.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:14 am 
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OK, having consulted with my pillow, here's a solution to ensure we respect the ethical and moral rights of inventors, even where there's no official IP protection:

Use our existing puzzle database (must be fully updated!) to register any new and original puzzles which have actually been made (not just ideas), including the following details:

1. Rightful owner/inventor
2. Date of creation (or first publication or public awareness)
3. Any patents or other official IP (design, trademark, etc.)
4. Details of any specific features which are new and unique to the puzzle
5. Picture/video link to show how it looks and prove it has been made

Then we apply the following rules:

1. No member should buy or sell any puzzle that appears to be a direct copy of any puzzle in the database, unless:
a) they buy it directly from the rightful owner/inventor or licensee; OR
b) they get approval from the rightful owner/inventor or licensee; OR
c) at least 5 years have passed since the date of creation or first publication, AND there is no official intellectual property currently in force.

2. Any member can create/build a copy of any puzzle in the database, provided that:
a) it is for personal use only; AND
b) they acknowledge the original inventor if/when they show it in public; AND
c) they do not sell it if this would break rule 1 above.

Two things to note:

1. Clearly the puzzle database needs updating for this idea to work effectively, but I understand this is long overdue in any case.

2. The system should only include physical puzzles which have been made and proven to work in practice, not theoretical ideas. Otherwise people could claim ownership and reward for every idea they can think of, without getting off their backside to reduce it to practice. We want to avoid these arguments, so either people can work hard to make their ideas work, or they should just keep quiet. Therefore, we can assume that any idea can be used freely (without any conditions) if it is disclosed as just an idea without the effort to make it work in practice.

Anyway, this probably needs some further thought and refinement, but I think the overall concept is the most simple, practical and effective solution in the long run.

Let me know what you think. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:06 pm 
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kastellorizo wrote:
I believe around five years is more than enough for them to see, think, build, and profit before the puzzle's mechanism should be available to everyone.
Thanks to Pantazis for being brave enough to jump in with a proposal, even with a number!

So how do I feel about five years? On one hand it seems a reasonable time. Consider, however, the cases of the Golden Cube. Under this framework it would be completely ethical for a KO company to produce Golden Cubes in competition with Meffert, even before Tony and Meffert agreed to produce it. Tony built his first Golden Cube seven years ago, and it only went to production recently. What would this mean for Tony and Meffert? In this light perhaps five years seems short.

What other examples might we look to for evaluating proposals? The Golden Cube is good because it was a highly valued and recognized puzzle that did make it to production. How about some of Okamoto's older designs?
The Pyraminx Crystal is an interesting example because it was proposed and mocked up so long ago. Then built by two builders independently (Okamoto and Aleh) and eventually adopted (the Aleh design) for production by Meffert, who proposed it so many years back.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:55 pm 
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DLitwin wrote:
kastellorizo wrote:
I believe around five years is more than enough for them to see, think, build, and profit before the puzzle's mechanism should be available to everyone.
Thanks to Pantazis for being brave enough to jump in with a proposal, even with a number!

So how do I feel about five years? On one hand it seems a reasonable time. Consider, however, the cases of the Golden Cube. Under this framework it would be completely ethical for a KO company to produce Golden Cubes in competition with Meffert, even before Tony and Meffert agreed to produce it. Tony built his first Golden Cube seven years ago, and it only went to production recently. What would this mean for Tony and Meffert? In this light perhaps five years seems short.

What other examples might we look to for evaluating proposals? The Golden Cube is good because it was a highly valued and recognized puzzle that did make it to production. How about some of Okamoto's older designs?
The Pyraminx Crystal is an interesting example because it was proposed and mocked up so long ago. Then built by two builders independently (Okamoto and Aleh) and eventually adopted (the Aleh design) for production by Meffert, who proposed it so many years back.

Dave



Well, the names constitute a different part of the story. Names can be a trademark forever.

Now if a mechanism is protected for 20 years, legally speaking, where an insane amount
is paid to file a patent in many different countries, then for those who decide to not invest
in their own design, I even think five years is very generous.
(I am not negotiating here LOL, this number could increase or decrease, I just propose what I believe
is fair for all sides).

So someone for example, should be able to sell a puzzle which resembles a Golden Cube
if and only if, a different name is used.

I myself, will not even think of doing it, as it is more like an ethical code for this forum's members
to respect other designers, but I will never blast other outsiders who will.

But most importantly, we need to consider craftsmanship. All the genuine collectors will surely
pay much more for a high quality original hand-made design with an excellent finishing touch,
than a extremely common mass produced piece.

Regarding the case with Uwe Meffert, we also need to consider that Uwe does not profit from this.
I do not know anyone who will do what he is doing. He is actually helping to produce some puzzles
which will have never seen the daylight otherwise. This is also why I believe it is highly unlikely for
another business to copy those puzzles with success without using the original name, because those
puzzles are targeted to our niche puzzle market. Now if those puzzles could find a way to the toy market,
then a whole bunch of new positive parameters will enter the entire equation.

:)


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:16 pm 
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And did ANYONE read my proposal? This should in fact address all the points David raised, since the five years would count from when the inventor first publishes a working prototype (as long as they don't give away the idea before then), so the inventor would have complete control over this. This should be more than enough time as long as you don't show off your puzzle prematurely and then sit on your backside for the next 5 years!

So far, I am the only person to propose a practical system with a clear and comprehensive set of rules, and yet given all the fuss there has been on this topic lately I am surprised that nobody has even commented on this. I guess people are more interested in analysing and complaining about problems than actually doing anything about them... :|

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Last edited by KelvinS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:20 pm 
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Well said.

- Billy


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:32 pm 
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Kelvin, we have all read your post. But before we actually apply any decision, we must ensure everyone
is comfortable about it. A poll is certainly not out of the question. The five years limit for example, is not
decided yet and it may seem long for some (those who wait for the puzzle), and short for some (the inventors).
We need to all agree here.

And I am not sure what you mean by saying "no one is doing anything about it". No one should do anything
by themselves, until it is democratically decided (which is why we are discussing it).

But you presented a very nice structure which will be needed right after we finish with this issue.

;)


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:41 pm 
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OK, thanks, I just got a strong impression that everyone chose to ignore it completely, and instead discuss the same old issues again.

Also, clearly I wasn't expecting an immediate yes/no decision, but rather some thoughts from other people on how it might or might not work in certain cases, so that we could all consider together (democratically) how to refine it.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:46 pm 
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Just a quick thought....

How would this work outside of the forum? (to non members)

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:50 pm 
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reeeech wrote:
Just a quick thought....

How would this work outside of the forum? (to non members)

It's completely irrelevant to others outside this forum (ethics and morals are personal), so really we're only considering rules for how WE behave as a community.

Although you could say we would be setting an example for others to follow, which is always a nice thought. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:05 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
Although you could say we would be setting an example for others to follow, which is always a nice thought. :D



True...

but as a community, aren't we all supporting each other in a way already? And when we don't, or someone crosses the line (even by accident), we somehow correct each other?


I think the bigger problem is, how do we enforce this to those outside the forum members?


You bring up a lot of points, but I think the issue we are all pointing towards are those who make KO's that are outside of this forum. (because anyone here that are making KO's are asking permission or somewhat obliging to the inventors' wishes... and those who aren't, are learning fast or happy to stop the auction/sale).


I have a feeling you guys will come up with a great solution. I just wish, like you said how we can set an example for others to follow, that we can get this solution of some sort to the outside world, and have them fully accept it. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:11 pm 
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I'm afraid changing human nature throughout the entire world is probably a bit ambitious even for this forum!

But seriously, short of lobbying governments to enforce tougher laws, all we can do is lead by example. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:49 pm 
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Ah I did read this, but didn't note you as the author. The reason there would be no discussion as yet would be probably for the same reason as me. A lot to digest and there are points to mull over. I did like some parts of the proposal.

Kelvin Stott wrote:
OK, having consulted with my pillow, here's a solution to ensure we respect the ethical and moral rights of inventors, even where there's no official IP protection:

Use our existing puzzle database (must be fully updated!) to register any new and original puzzles which have actually been made (not just ideas), including the following details:

1. Rightful owner/inventor
2. Date of creation (or first publication or public awareness)
3. Any patents or other official IP (design, trademark, etc.)
4. Details of any specific features which are new and unique to the puzzle
5. Picture/video link to show how it looks and prove it has been made

Then we apply the following rules:

1. No member should buy or sell any puzzle that appears to be a direct copy of any puzzle in the database, unless:
a) they buy it directly from the rightful owner/inventor or licensee; OR
b) they get approval from the rightful owner/inventor or licensee; OR
c) at least 5 years have passed since the date of creation or first publication, AND there is no official intellectual property currently in force.

2. Any member can create/build a copy of any puzzle in the database, provided that:
a) it is for personal use only; AND
b) they acknowledge the original inventor if/when they show it in public; AND
c) they do not sell it if this would break rule 1 above.

Two things to note:

1. Clearly the puzzle database needs updating for this idea to work effectively, but I understand this is long overdue in any case.

2. The system should only include physical puzzles which have been made and proven to work in practice, not theoretical ideas. Otherwise people could claim ownership and reward for every idea they can think of, without getting off their backside to reduce it to practice. We want to avoid these arguments, so either people can work hard to make their ideas work, or they should just keep quiet. Therefore, we can assume that any idea can be used freely (without any conditions) if it is disclosed as just an idea without the effort to make it work in practice.

Anyway, this probably needs some further thought and refinement, but I think the overall concept is the most simple, practical and effective solution in the long run.

Let me know what you think. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:57 pm 
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Sorry if your suggestion seemed overlooked. I'm still trying to figure out the right questions to ask to frame the discussion.

Your post seems to describe a process that might work well but assumes quite a bit. I'm trying to firm up assumptions.

Here are a few:

Rightful owner/inventor

There's a huge can of worms right there. For example, who is the rightful owner/inventor of the Square-2? I built and traded (and advertized, in the "Directory of Puzzle Collectors & Puzzle Sellers") one in the mid-1990s, but before I joined this forum another member posted (in 2003) about building one. Then, right after I posted (in 2007) about mine in that same thread, Hidetoshi posted about one his friend Noda built just a few weeks before my post (incidentally the genesis of my now long friendship with Hidetoshi!).
So under this system Jake might think he was the original inventor and within his five year window, and for a number of years who was to correct him? Noda probably didn't read the forum and couldn't know he wasn't the first. Before I posted would Jake have any rights to say Noda's was a copy? And I showed up years later with an even older claim. How does this affect Jake's status? Who's to say someone out there didn't beat me?

Centralized database:
Even if properly maintained and up to date, this databse would only relevant to those who frequent this forum. There are other forums with posters who may have created many things we'll not see. Perhaps our creations are "copies" of theirs and we don't know. Perhaps they already have a database of their own, not tracking our items.

Who's decision is it:
We're talking about a system that requests a standard of behavior beyond that governed by law. But what gives one the right to decide the ethics of using another's designs? Tony Fisher has codified his own standard, but it wouldn't match what has been discussed so far. I have parts of both with which I agree and disagree. But what are the ethics of me telling Tony: "Sorry, even though you are requesting that people not sell Fisher cubes without your permission, we think it is fine". Who is the "we" and do they all agree?

I think a system is useful if there is some general consensus but I think we aren't yet near that. I am not sure we have explored the issues enough to have a proper opinion.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:23 pm 
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Rightful owner/inventor: person who (as far as we are aware) first created and published the working puzzle, not someone who just had an idea and never put it into practice.

Centralized database: we can build and revise this as we become aware of original puzzles: if nobody is aware that a puzzle is a copy, then there's no point worrying about it because we don't know until we know.

Who's decision is it: each individual member must take responsibility for their own decisions, according to the rules, with input and guidance from other members of the community.

Try not to think too much: xkcd

:D

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:26 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
So far, I am the only person to propose a practical system with a clear and comprehensive set of rules, and yet given all the fuss there has been on this topic lately I am surprised that nobody has even commented on this. I guess people are more interested in analysing and complaining about problems than actually doing anything about them... :|

*uncomfortable silence*
The problem with these KOs is that... j/k :)

There's quite a bit to think about in what you wrote. I'll take a stab at it...
Kelvin Stott wrote:
OK, having consulted with my pillow, here's a solution to ensure we respect the ethical and moral rights of inventors, even where there's no official IP protection:

Use our existing puzzle database (must be fully updated!) to register any new and original puzzles which have actually been made (not just ideas), including the following details:

1. Rightful owner/inventor
2. Date of creation (or first publication or public awareness)
3. Any patents or other official IP (design, trademark, etc.)
4. Details of any specific features which are new and unique to the puzzle
5. Picture/video link to show how it looks and prove it has been made


This is a very good idea. At present, the TwistyPuzzles.com database is the most comprehensive twisty puzzle reference I've seen on the Internet. There are individual collectors with more puzzles, but most of those collections are simply pictures - they don't have detailed information about each puzzle.

Kelvin Stott wrote:
Then we apply the following rules:

1. No member should buy or sell any puzzle that appears to be a direct copy of any puzzle in the database, unless:
a) they buy it directly from the rightful owner/inventor or licensee; OR
b) they get approval from the rightful owner/inventor or licensee; OR
c) at least 5 years have passed since the date of creation or first publication, AND there is no official intellectual property currently in force.


Five years feels very long to me. I'd like to see this go down to two years.

Most of the custom puzzles I've seen get prototyped, developed, and then made. The piece gets auctioned off for a very large amount of money. And then after the first build, nobody sees anything else for the next six-eight months. Then the second piece gets built, gets auctioned off for a little bit less, and then nothing gets built for another six months. From there, the process continues.

This becomes a real supply/demand problem, because by keeping production to one person, it makes supply artificially low and keeps prices artificially high. Virtually all the prices custom puzzles sell for aren't the market value, but a bidding war because there's only one available. This is bad because it gives creators an inflated sense of what his or her creation is worth. Then, when other people make the custom puzzle, the original creator feels ripped off because the first piece sold for much more money. But that first sale price didn't originate from what people thought the puzzle was worth - it was only because there was only one piece available, with no competition.

Kelvin Stott wrote:
2. Any member can create/build a copy of any puzzle in the database, provided that:
a) it is for personal use only; AND
b) they acknowledge the original inventor if/when they show it in public; AND
c) they do not sell it if this would break rule 1 above.


I agree if the exclusivity can be held down to two years.

Kelvin Stott wrote:
Two things to note:

1. Clearly the puzzle database needs updating for this idea to work effectively, but I understand this is long overdue in any case.

2. The system should only include physical puzzles which have been made and proven to work in practice, not theoretical ideas. Otherwise people could claim ownership and reward for every idea they can think of, without getting off their backside to reduce it to practice. We want to avoid these arguments, so either people can work hard to make their ideas work, or they should just keep quiet. Therefore, we can assume that any idea can be used freely (without any conditions) if it is disclosed as just an idea without the effort to make it work in practice.


I agree.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:42 pm 
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I want to reply to a few things that are intersperced throughout this thread.

First: There is NO puzzle manufacturing in Hong Kong. All the industry moved across the border in the 1990's because of labour and land cost. Most of the factories her are derelict buildings now. The government is working hard to figure out what to do with them.
All of those sellers that have Hong Kong listed as their location are selling via Hong Kong ebay. I've ordered from a few and the packages are shipped out of China. I've written on this subject somewhere before.

As to the Meffert's Diamond Skewb, the one on eBay is different. I broke one open last night, and the pieces are all hollow inside-the core has hollowed out grooves in it. When I have time to dig out my Meffert's next week I'll post pictures of the two of them so you can see it.

It would be very hard to place an invention date (first seen in public) on a puzzle. I've seen a few that have been made over the years that have not been massproduced by that designer-but have many years shown up on webpages for sale. This is also something not easily determined through research-at least not by me. I've also seen some prototypes that I was asked not to release pictures of that were later made by copy companies. Then what? If the copy comes out first do they get the "first seen" credit? i.e. master pyramorphinx.

I am sure I will be shot for saying this, but if I'm reading Hidetoshi's stand right, I agree that if you are making a modification for yourself it's ok to use copies. Case in point, I'm not a builder, but I have taken apart a few puzzles and tried to copy what I've seen here. I would hate to ruin (and I do) an expensive original to try something I know probably won't turn out anyway.

Is it ok to buy a KO? I would say no if you are only buying it because you want x puzzle and the original is too expensive. If you have the original, then maybe depending on the circumstances. i.e. are you selling it on, or just using it for yourself. I know that quite a few collection pages don't have the KO's on the sites. I see nothing wrong with putting them up as long as they are not listed as originals. I have a feeling that some collectors do have KO's and are afraid to post them for fear of negative comments from others. I have caught a lot of flack over the past year for doing so, and was tempted to stop showing pictures, but have also realized that in some cases people have not purchased said puzzle. And in other cases, the patent owners/designers have thanked me for letting them know via my posts that their puzzles were being copied.

As to the rightful owner/inventor in the database, that is often different from the manufacturer. Using Meffert's as an example: He owns the molds to the dogic's. But he didn't invent it, he just bought them. So is he the rightful owner, or the inventor? Difficult to answer for me. Our database (if I remember right has both versions) And this is an even bigger problem. As Dave pointed out with the square 2. Many different people have made it over the years unbeknownst to them that someone else had made one exactly like it. Do we add in all 4 or 5 versions?

I think 5 years is very generous. Not meaning that in a bad way either. Most people will copy something the day after it is released. I mean how many of Calzone's modifications have been copied and sold on ebay within days of his showing us pictures of them. But then, I don't know if he thought of them on his own in the first place or if someone else in another forum came up with the idea at the same time.

Again, I'm sure I'll get chastized, but there was no talk of KO's in this forum or the two that peceeded it until some of our own started to develop and market puzzles. Does this make it any less important an issue? I would say not. The real problem comes in because we now have the ability to get puzzles faster from many places around the world. Back in the day, you got what you could find because you wanted it. Now we no longer have that excuse. Unfortunately, many people buy the KO because of the price, not because of lack of availability.

As for getting others outside this forum to follow our rules-Impossible! My husband is constantly telling me I can't teach others how to behave. He's right, there is nothing we can do about other people. We can only hope they follow our example-and I'm not putting myself into that "our" because I am sure there are not many people willing to follow my example. (which still is unknown)

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:22 pm 
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katsmom wrote:
I see nothing wrong with putting them up as long as they are not listed as originals. I have a feeling that some collectors do have KO's and are afraid to post them for fear of negative comments from others.


This I feel is very important. People shouldn't be afraid of what to say. I have been scolded since the R-7 topic was made. I approve the selfishness of buying KOs. Am I as liked as those who do but don't say so? No. But at least I have the ability to be honest. Too many people here lied in such topics when really they thought as I do, yet said the opposite. Everyone has the right to keep thier opinions a secret, but don't lie about them.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:39 pm 
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DLitwin wrote:
[quote="all2bar"What about Apple's DRM limits you?
Dave


I have a huge reason DRM limits me personally. If I want to add a song to a video, or edit it in a music editing software (such as Audacity), and it has DRM, I have to jump through hoops to use it. I'm not able to convert the file to a suitable format, so I have to either A)Burn the song to a CD and rip it as the suitable format or B) use the software's record feature to get the part of the song I need. Both are a hassle and enough to make me resent DRM.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:28 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
OK, having consulted with my pillow, here's a solution to ensure we respect the ethical and moral rights of inventors, even where there's no official IP protection:

Use our existing puzzle database (must be fully updated!) to register any new and original puzzles which have actually been made (not just ideas), including the following details:

1. Rightful owner/inventor

This is tricky ground. Let's maybe call this "the first person known to have released a working prototype," considering the concession near the end of "physical puzzles which have been made and proven to work in practice." The term "rightful owner" could stand. I just thought it should be defined.

Kelvin Stott wrote:
2. Date of creation (or first publication or public awareness)
3. Any patents or other official IP (design, trademark, etc.)
4. Details of any specific features which are new and unique to the puzzle
5. Picture/video link to show how it looks and prove it has been made

Then we apply the following rules:

1. No member should buy or sell any puzzle that appears to be a direct copy of any puzzle in the database, unless:
a) they buy it directly from the rightful owner/inventor or licensee; OR
b) they get approval from the rightful owner/inventor or licensee; OR
c) at least 5 years have passed since the date of creation or first publication, AND there is no official intellectual property currently in force.


5 years seems like a good idea, but we sould come to a consensus on this. I've seen a time as short as 2 years mentioned here. Patent protection lasts 20 years, and copyright is currently almost infinite under the current US system. I understand patent protection as "disclosing ideas in return for a temporary monopoly." Since what we are in effect proposing to enforce is an open-source, community-driven (honor system) patent protection, I think 5 years should be the absolute upper limit.

Kelvin Stott wrote:
2. Any member can create/build a copy of any puzzle in the database, provided that:
a) it is for personal use only; AND
b) they acknowledge the original inventor if/when they show it in public; AND
c) they do not sell it if this would break rule 1 above.

Two things to note:

1. Clearly the puzzle database needs updating for this idea to work effectively, but I understand this is long overdue in any case.

2. The system should only include physical puzzles which have been made and proven to work in practice, not theoretical ideas. Otherwise people could claim ownership and reward for every idea they can think of, without getting off their backside to reduce it to practice. We want to avoid these arguments, so either people can work hard to make their ideas work, or they should just keep quiet. Therefore, we can assume that any idea can be used freely (without any conditions) if it is disclosed as just an idea without the effort to make it work in practice.


I also think a provision should be made for publicly-released files. If an inventor publicly releases files or instructions on building an original idea, I would consider any resulting build to be publicly accessible, and therefore not subject to all of these protections. The question is, though, which protections would not be avaliable in this case.

Kelvin Stott wrote:
Anyway, this probably needs some further thought and refinement, but I think the overall concept is the most simple, practical and effective solution in the long run.

Let me know what you think. :D


On how to treat older puzzles which would be outside of the period here; we need to give the builders here notice before we decide to enforce any of this, and we need to give them a chance to give their input. I suggest splitting this side-discussion off into a separate thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:54 am 
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I'm just curious, what do you guys think about pages like this:

http://thepiratebay.org/legal

Personally I find it very humorous.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:54 pm 
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Garrett wrote:
I'm just curious, what do you guys think about pages like this:

http://thepiratebay.org/legal

Personally I find it very humorous.

i find those very funny

this is probably my favorite

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