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View Poll Results: Should I co-operate with Ironstone?
Yes, your work won't go to waste. 12 60.00%
No, they're the enemy of the C64 scene. 5 25.00%
Your game is too hard, the AI is wrong. 1 5.00%
I don't care. 2 10.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 05 November 2005, 03:09   #1
ant512
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Ironstone, C64, IK+, System 3 and Me

Just received an email from Ironstone Partners, the company that owns the licence to the C64 name and logos. It transpires that they've bought the rights to create a Flash version of IK+ from System 3, and have noticed that there's already one out there:

http://ant.simianzombie.com/games/ik/ik.php

The email was terribly polite, but basically boils down to "co-operate with us and you might get a tiny bit of money, but go against us and we'll force you to take the game off-line".

Now, I've just walked into a job that pays ridiculous amounts of money, so waving that flag doesn't do anything for me. Threats that they'll take the game down don't bother me either. I'll happily take it down - it'll mean I'll stop getting emails from people complaining that the AI isn't finished (though it's a shame the work will go to waste).

The issue comes down to how much this company deserves my co-operation. After buying the C64 logos etc, Ironstone's first act was to threaten to sue pretty much everyone involved in the C64 scene, from the companies who make cheap MP3 players with the chickenhead logo, through community websites, to the emulation authors. They quickly re-evaluated this when they realised that they'd just alienated their entire market, making their purchase worthless.

Later on, Ironstone released the C64-in-a-joystick deeley, which is a marvellous piece of kit. TJ Hughes are selling them for 20 at the moment, and I've been meaning to buy one.

So, has anyone heard anything more about Ironstone? Should I work with them, or at least let them use my sourcecode as a basis for their own version? Should I demand to be paid in C64-in-a-joystick deeleys, and send them out for free to any EAB members that want them (and are willing to pay for the postage)?
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Old 05 November 2005, 03:38   #2
mr_0rga5m
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I'm not really knowing the in-n-outs of Ironstone Partners .. But like you mentioned, its a shame to waste it .. And your not getting any income from it being up for free (although free is always good and nice it doesnt feed the family).

If they are intent on giving you some cash for what you've already done, let them.
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Old 05 November 2005, 04:57   #3
woody57
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Only agree to a contract of exchange of information that "Guarentee's a percentage of pre-profit sales" so you don't end up paying their TAX

By supplying the "source code " you are in FACT the AUTHOR & anything they do with t is MERELY an UNORIGINAL ARRANGEMENT.

While they are entitled to all mechanical reproduction royalties, you are entitled to ongoing original authors royalties, which means IF they sell it whoever takes it on STILL owes you money from any sales .

While you might not see a cheque for six months its a better deal that KEEPS your NAME on paper & guarentees your not going to see your idea exploited for a one off "allrights " payment.

Besides it will give you the chance to "fund " another project
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Old 05 November 2005, 10:28   #4
Dr. Dude
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ant512
Later on, Ironstone released the C64-in-a-joystick deeley, which is a marvellous piece of kit. TJ Hughes are selling them for 20 at the moment, and I've been meaning to buy one.
This one?
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Old 06 November 2005, 12:30   #5
Adeptus
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Wonder if you can connect the stick to the media player...?
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Old 06 November 2005, 14:17   #6
ant512
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Yep, that's the C64 stick. Anyway, based on the indication that people have forgiven Ironstone for their initial fumble, my current plan is to ask:

1. That I be given an agreement signed by System 3 and Ironstone that no action of any kind will be taken against me, my site or my host regarding IK+;
2. That I can continue to host my version of IK+ on my site;
3. That I retain the rights to my sourcecode and any material I generated during the creation of the game;
4. That I am credited in Ironstone's game.

In return, I will offer them:

1. Full access to the sourcecode, and permission to use and develop it as they see fit (they will have full copyrights on their modified version);
2. A signed guarantee that I will not ask for any monetary reimbursment, including an up-front fee or royalties;
3. All of the material I created whilst putting the game together (roughly 600MB of graphics, Flash sourcecode, SWF files and WAV samples);
4. A signed guarantee that I will cease development on the Flash version of IK+.

That should make both parties happy - I get to leave my site as it is, and Ironstone get a four month head-start on their own version. Whether they will go for that I do not know; they might decide that the presence of another IK+ game on the internet is not acceptible. However, there's not much they or I can do about that, as the game has spread all over the internet and is hosted by at least a dozen other sites. Many of those are based in Argentina, which has a famously lax attitude to copyright law.

What is the reasoning behind my plan? Well, I am solely interested in ensuring that my version stays on my site, that I retain control over it, that I host it legally, and that any forks from my code acknowledge their heritage. I have no interest in trying to sell the game.
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Old 06 November 2005, 15:02   #7
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Like mr_0 said above i too don't really know the ins and outs of this but it seems a shame to waste it as it's very nice indeed. If it was further developed maybe a possible netplay version could be done
But back to the original point if the worst comes to the worst i would just distribute it and say it's out your hands now there is nothing more difficult to stop than the open market especially for a small disgruntled company.
Also doesn't Archie Maclean have some say in this?
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Old 06 November 2005, 15:54   #8
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change the graphics a bit, rename it and damm ironstone
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Old 06 November 2005, 17:22   #9
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@Dr Dude: Yeah, I thought of that. Change the graphics, change the name, and presto! No more problem. They can't complain about "look and feel" as IK was always just a rip-off of Karate Champ and Yie Ar Kung Fu; the samples were nabbed straight from Enter the Dragon (copyright infringment, Mr Maclean?); and the code is 100% original work.

@Whitesnake: I actually managed to get hold of Archer Maclean a year or so ago. He said that he was involved in some sort of legal tussle over the rights; I suppose System 3 must have won. He asked me to take the game down temporarily whilst we worked out what to do about it, which I did, but then I didn't hear from him again. I took this as an implicit way of saying "Host the game if you want, but you didn't hear that from me." That's just my interpretation; I could be completely wrong. But I put the game back up anyway.

So, not much out of Maclean. He did say that he was very impressed, though:

"I have to ask, how did you do the conversion - is it an emulation of the original?"

Can you imagine trying to get UAE working in Flash? There's no greater compliment than the game's original author thinking you've written an emulator, rather than just working out the algorithms and recreating the game from scratch.
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Old 08 November 2005, 22:45   #10
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Still no word back from Ironstone. It occurs to me that this could be little more than a fishing expedition on Ironstone's part. They look around for retro-related Flash games, possibly any remakes of original games whose ownership is in dispute, then convince the authors by a combination of vague legal threats and flattery to hand over their code for next to nothing. Perhaps they expected to find that the author was an easily-intimidated kid?

Sounds a bit far-fetched. Until you realise that System 3 haven't been called System 3 for at least half a dozen years. They're called "Studio 3" now. You would know that if you'd just finished negotiating with the company for the rights to one of their games, but you *wouldn't* know that if you just happened to stumble across my site and hadn't done your homework.

It's all speculation at the moment, but I will keep updating this (rather fruitlessly) as I find out more.
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Old 09 November 2005, 04:37   #11
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Well if you don't care about anything apart from keeping your game up, sounds like you've taken a good course of action. You could have demanded an ackowledgement in there game if they use your code, if it mattered to you....

...but as you say they don't sound completely on the ball. Play it by ear.

As a side note, I've not seen this IK+ before. It's a seriously good conversion - no wonder he asked if it was emulated....
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Old 09 November 2005, 21:09   #12
ant512
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Got another email from them today. Turns out that they are on the ball - they had a very plausible explanation for their initial sue-the-world press release (Tulip's fault); a good explanation of the legal situation; and the guy I'm in contact with sounds like a decent bloke. So, assuming their schedule matches up with mine, it looks like IK++ will be completed and will even get a commercial release.

Marvellous!
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Old 09 November 2005, 23:56   #13
Dr. Dude
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now is your chance, send out the game to as much sites as posible.
Complete the game in secret
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Old 10 November 2005, 00:07   #14
ant512
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The game's already on plenty of other sites, plus some guy on Xbox-HQ modded it to use the pnFlashGames high-score system, fiddled with the intro sequence and added the music. It's all over the place. Only problem is, all of these sites use the current AI, which is crap. I only worked on it for about an hour, and that was just to see if the engine I'd put together would hold up.
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Old 21 November 2005, 03:16   #15
Adeptus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ant512
Change the graphics, change the name, and presto! No more problem. They can't complain about "look and feel" as IK was always just a rip-off of Karate Champ and Yie Ar Kung Fu; the samples were nabbed straight from Enter the Dragon (copyright infringment, Mr Maclean?); and the code is 100% original work.
Here's my vote for "YAKF+"
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