CCP Shut Down Vampire: TM – Bloodlines Fan Remake

OH THE SYMBOLISM

EVE developers CCP have put the kibosh on a fan remake of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.

The remake, known as Project Vaulderie, was billed as a non-commercial endeavour focused on recreating Troika’s RPG in Unity. The reasons for the remake were partly to do with making it more stable, partly for modding reasons, partly to add multiplayer, and partly just to bring it up to date in terms of the graphics and technology.

If you’re wondering how CCP then got involved, VTMB is based on White Wolf’s pen-and-paper RPG system, Vampire: The Masquerade, itself a part of the World of Darkness. White Wolf merged with CCP a few years back. According to the Vaulderie team, a contact at CCP had advised that Activision (VTMB’s publisher) held the relevant copyrights and thus were preparing to pitch it at that company.

It looks like their contact (who has since left CCP) missed something, though, as the cease and desist states, “While Activision retains certain rights to the game it created, CCP continues to own all other rights associated with Vampire: The Masquerade, including the copyrights and trademarks noted above.”

The letter goes on to highlight the project’s unauthorised use of registered CCP intellectual property and states “we believe you are infringing CCP’s intellectual property rights”.

It concludes:

“We ask that you immediately cease and desist from the use of CCP’s name and other trademarks on http://www.projectvaulderie.com/. Specifically, please remove all references to Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines from your website, software, and related materials. In addition, remove all artwork from the original Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines game from your website and software modifications, and discontinue any future use of such artwork. If we do not receive an immediate affirmative response from you indicating that you have fully complied with these requirements, we may be forced to take further legal action against you, including but not limited to a DMCA notice to your Internet Service Provider. Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation.”

The thing here is that CCP, as rights holders, are perfectly within their rights to send out these notices and to protect their intellectual property when it comes to fan re-imaginings. However VTMB has a very particular history when it comes to fan-created content and it’s this which makes CCP’s letter feel so jarring.

Hello, this is CCP...

A rush release after Activision delivered the developers an ultimatum, VTMB ended up hitting the shelves on the same day as Half-Life 2 in what’s probably best described as a semi-finished state. In the following months staff were let go and Troika closed its doors in early 2005. Troika released two official patches but the vast majority of the bug fixing, the patching, the restoration and completion of unfinished content has been done by a community of fans who adore the game. Nearly a decade later, a dedicated community is still working on the game – I think they’re on unofficial patch 9.2 now.

It’s this dedication which meant so much of the game’s potential could be experienced rather than lost under a heap of frustrating bugs and glitches. That’s why CCP’s cease and desist feels so out of step with an understanding of how VTMB’s community works. A secondary irritant in the matter is that CCP also cancelled their own World of Darkness MMO earlier in 2014.

The Vaulderie team say they will comply with the request but that they are actively seeking alternative resolutions to the matter.

115 Comments

  1. FurryLippedSquid says:

    The absolute bumheads.

  2. Amatyr says:

    Well, CCP take a an early lead in the Douchiest Developer/Publisher of the Week awards.

  3. Commander Gun says:

    You probably did, but just out of curiosity: Did you ask CCP for comment on this? Would be interesting to see what they have to say about it.

    • razgon says:

      With the cancelled MMO, chances are that perhaps they are using art assets to release their own enhanced edition?

      • Seth_Keta says:

        The problem is that CCP isn’t a very reliable company, and they’ve said that all of their funding is going into EVE-Online and all of their future failure off-shoots. White-Wolf as a purchase will likely kill World of Darkness from the point that it was transferred to their ownership.

        • aliasi says:

          As a point of order, technically the White Wolf/CCP deal was a merger, and former White Wolf staff still work at CCP so far as I know. (Turns out video game jobs pay better than paper RPGs. Shocking.) The World of Darkness itself, in both classic and new variants, is alive and well as Onyx Path Publishing, composed of a lot of former WW freelancers, has licensed them, Exalted, and outright purchased the Trinity Universe, and all of those are receiving or due to receive new books.

          Which may also be why they’re doing this, since if they’re considering licensing out another RPG for the video game treatment, this might be “competition” in some executive’s eyes.

          • Criv says:

            Sadly to the best of my knowledge, the last of those White Wolf employees was shown the door a few months back. :(

            CCP appears to only be interested in the IP for what it can make them at this point. Which is sad but understandable for a business.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    I thought you had to defend your copyright to keep it, so effectivley CCP have no choice but to do this, rather than them being dicks about for no reason.

    • zarniwoop says:

      You don’t.

    • Sirius1 says:

      No, it’s trademarks which have to be defended, not copyright. Unless the Vaulderie folks were using VTMB names, it’s unlikely that there were any trademark issues, so it’s all about copyright.

    • morbiusnl says:

      what would the possible worst that could happen if they let them continue?

    • tikey says:

      Copyright holders can (and have) issue non-commercial licenses to fan projects. Allowing them to continue with their blessing and protecting their use at the same time.
      A DMCA is easier to do though.

      • Baines says:

        It is particularly easier to just kill a fan project if you have no particular interest in the franchise. After all, it doesn’t matter if you annoy fans of a franchise that you have no intention to make money from.

    • zaphod42 says:

      Stop saying this! Its 100% false!

      You don’t know anything about law, so just leave it to those who do, please.

    • ssh83 says:

      You mean like what Valve did with Project Black Mesa? If they care about fans, there are many better solutions than a straight C&D.

      • statistx says:

        You said it yourself: IF

      • airmikee says:

        You mean when Valve let Project Black Mesa release its first part for free online, and then decided to include the rest of the game on Greenlight, which was approved for final sale on Steam?

        So you think CCP shutting down a fan made game is the same thing as Valve giving out the source code to their game to allow fans to make games which Valve will then place in their store?

        You really think the two situations are the same?

        Really?

        • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

          Valve could have pulled the plug on Black Mesa. They didn’t. How is that different from this situation. CCP is in the same exact situation except for one thing; the choice of engine, which has nothing to do with copyright or trademark law and everything to do with the fact that, in this instance, CCP chose to be a bully when there is no need to.

  5. Skeletor68 says:

    That’s sad. Off to listen to the Bloodlines OST now…

  6. Drake Sigar says:

    I think it’s fair to say Bloodlines has long since belonged to that community, and no legal document will convince me otherwise.

  7. ZombieJ says:

    Well, it makes sense that a making a new VTMB game would be an attractive idea for any dev – it’s such a popular world/theme/system that the community are still playing even now. But by sending a C&D order to the community CCP have spat in the eyes of their main demographic for any new release in the series. Stupid.

  8. Lars Westergren says:

    A third irritant is that they also cancelled Obsidian’s dark horror single player RPG that they were about to do with White Wolf, probably a sequel or spiritual successor to VTMB. For a bloody MMO.

    • malkav11 says:

      Which might have been even slightly forgivable (though not much, since the MMO they were making in no way represented my taste in games) if they had, y’know, made that MMO. But they did not.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        And I had just about begun to forgive and forget – or at the very least accept it – and they go and do this. Completely and utterly unnecessary.
        The bastards. I need a hug.

  9. Asurmen says:

    Consumer excercises their legal rights protect their interests, namely investment/money/time. Everyone supports the consumer

    Company exercises their legal rights to protect their interests, name copyright/IP. Everyone screams blue murder.

    Anyone find this weird?

    • Garek says:

      Well, I don’t think people would have been as upset if CCP was making their own VTMB successor. Obviously, if they have the IP-rights and do something with them, they can and should exercise their rights to shut down infringing competitors.
      What upsets people is that they are not developing an VTMB successor, but shut down the community project anyway. Like apparently they don’t even gain anything from that (they even have to pay their lawyers, afaik cease & desist doesn’t include fees). It seems to be just an annoying ‘even if we don’t do anything with that IP, we can still prevent other people from using it’ for no good reason.
      If that was a commercial project with a bunch of money and lawyers behind it, it would be a lot different. E.g. Valve vs Blizzard over Dota IP. But in such cases, the companys agree on money and namechanges and the project still gets released. As I understand, there is no money to be paid here, so they just killed the project.

      • Asurmen says:

        I suppose, but the simple counter logic to that why do it then if they’re not protecting something, whether it be something unannounced now, any potential further games in the future even if nothing comes anytime soon, or simply company image in case people think the project is from CCP.

        I just don’t get why one thing is fair and the other is not.

        • P.Funk says:

          Because freeware community produced projects exist for the sake of creativity, imagination and as a prime example of a basically selfless contribution to community and culture. Company payware projects exist purely as a contribution to profit seeking for the company.

          Basically those of us who think things are “unfair” look on it like companies are stifling the growth of culture by protecting the theoretical privilege of earning profit off of a cultural asset they are failing to exploit. This goes into the broader discussion of how much does an idea belong to the community once it has been introduced into it. The trend in modern IP law suggests that as time goes on and more global free trade agreements are written the community has a right to less and less and less. This is part of what colours many people’s attitudes about individual issues even if they’re technically isolated from that broader cultural trend/discussion.

      • Persona says:

        Who really knows if CCP doesn’t intend to do anything with WoD? It’s very possible they might reuse some of the content created for their MMO in a different project. They haven’t been in the best financial conditions nowadays, so they’re obviously taking their time and focusing on EVE first.

        These type of projects tend to take years upon years to get released. Just look at Black Mesa. Do you think it would be better for the creators to get their project shutdown 3 or 4 years from now when CCP announces a new WoD game?

        Even Black Mesa had to be approved by Valve, and that one is a straight recreation of the game on Valve’s own Source engine that started as a mod needing Source SDK Base content to work, which at the time was only available for owners of their games (not anymore though, the SDK has been freely available to Steam users since 2011). They are going to release it as a standalone project on the Steam store when they finish the 2nd part, but that’s only because Valve has given them authorization and helped them out.

    • ovan20 says:

      @Asurmen

      So…how much money CCP was losing by having a mod comunnity remaking a game 10 years old to another engine?

      The game is far away from being relevant anymore, and if they had any loss with that would be minimum. This is like calling the police because the store didn’t had 2 cents for change…sure it’s your right, but you’r still a asshole for doing it.

      • Asurmen says:

        Potentially a lot, potentially nothing.

        • Corb says:

          CCP hasn’t announced any intention to do anything with the IP. At that point there is no harm in letting this community scratch their niche needs that no major publisher will bother with because it isn’t a “cash cow”. Bottom line for publishers is cash cow or bust, so there’s absolutely no reason for them to mess with a harmless fan project for an IP they won’t bother developing or using anyway. It’s just lawyers causing more problems in the world than they solve again and snubbing out cool projects for no good reason.

          • Asurmen says:

            Again, how do we know anything about their intentions about the IP? Hence why the project can potentially harm earnings or potentially do nothing.

          • P.Funk says:

            Fuck earnings. I want culture. Culture stifled by profit is no culture at all.

        • Rindan says:

          Name one time, literally one time when a poorly fan made mod has hurt an IP. One fucking time. We have had the opposite where fan work has kept interest alive… This very fucking game being an excellent example.

          The certainly have a legal right to destroy some art because it touches some ip they bought, but they are complete assholes for doing it.

          • Emeraude says:

            If anything, that’s one issue I have with modding: it creates value from which only the right holders can benefit (you won’t convince me the fan patch for Bloodlines didn’t do wonders for the game’s sales over time for one) – and they do benefit from it while treating the people that makes that added value for them for free like criminals.

            As much as I hate Valve, as much as to me they’re the enemy, they’re the enemy I can respect: at least they try to encourage and reward the modding community for this added value instead of acting like the modders are a bunch of criminals that need to be shut down.

          • Therax says:

            Two words: Hot Coffee

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            Hot Coffee? Really? You can’t buy advertising like that

          • KRVeale says:

            Also, Hot Coffee is provably not a mod: link to gamespot.com

        • darkhog says:

          “Potential” loses/gains means absolutely nothing. What they actually were loosing? How much $$$?

          • trajan says:

            None. Not in any fathomable way. You would have been required to have an original game to play the update. So you still had to pay to play. CCP has been very vocal about focusing entirely on EVE and EVE offshoots. They have no intention of making a World of Darkness game at this time. Which means that this remake will reach the end of it’s life span before they can get out a new game. Even if they did, this would only whet the appetite for the fans.

            Of course, they have every right to do what they did, but it feels like the ex who kills his x-gf so no one else can have her. So legally, it’s fair. But from a PR standpoint, it was a bad move.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Wait did you just argue that killing your ex-girlfriend is legal??

    • Jeroen D Stout says:

      I do find it weird where you imply that ‘interests’ have no further context that allows us to judge whether interests are moral, valuable, desirable, &c, and just act like ‘interests’ are some stat that you plug into game theory.

      • Asurmen says:

        I didn’t imply that at all. I would go as far as to say that people who are decrying this are not thinking on further contexts other than Evil Company.

        I also simply didn’t want to get bogged down with subjective arguments such as morals. It was more of a am I the only person who thinks like this stray random thought that came through my mind.

        • Corb says:

          Yes, but that’s because companies like this have destroyed the era of modding and also, it’s a niche market. It isn’t like a group of modders rebuilding COD as an open project that is negatively impacting COD sales. There isn’t a WoD game out on shelves that is relevant, there isn’t one to our knowledge in development (which would make all of this justifiable) and this community doesn’t have a company building games for their niche market to meet the need their trying to fill. Bottom line, it isn’t taking money out of CCP’s pocket, the devs aren’t going to make money on this project, this project isn’t negatively affecting the view of the IP, and CCP is just swinging it’s giant lawyer d*** around for no good reason.

    • Persona says:

      It’s a typical reaction, unfortunately. CCP is completely within their rights here. It should be mentioned that the creators were asking for donations, which can easily be seen as trying to profit from the project. They even suggest the amount you should donate ‘The preferred way to donate to Project Vaulderie is by using our PayPal account. We suggest a donation of 30, 10 or 5 USD, but you may donate any amount you please after clicking the button below’.

      While I’m a big fan of the setting and would definitely like to see more projects related to WoD coming out, it’s perfectly understandable that CCP wants to protect their IP. Even a non-commercial project from an indie team can seriously hurt your brand. It’s one thing when you’re doing a mod for an existing game or porting it to a different engine as it is, it’s an entirely different thing when you intend to release a standalone game for free while using another company’s IP, using content previously made by Troika, making your own design decisions and adding stuff like co-op, MP and even a storyteller mode.

      Who do you think gets a negative perception when the donators complain about the game never coming out? Or when CCP announces a new WoD game and are met with ‘played the other game, it was crap’, ‘didn’t they release one for free before?’ or ‘they should make it free like this other game’? There’s more to this than being the good guy who lets the fans use their IP with no strings attached.

      Just because they aren’t releasing any WoD games right now doesn’t give other people the right to do so without their authorization. They should have made sure CCP was onboard in the first place.

      • Emeraude says:

        The donation bit changes things and should have been mentioned.

      • P.Funk says:

        “CCP is completely within their rights here.”

        Gotta love that mindset, that when someone has the legal right to do something one is not subject to being criticized for their choice of action.

        When Piranha gave cease and desist to the Mechwarrior Living Legends devs that was within their rights as well. Doesn’t mean I won’t decry them for killing off a great mod for the sake of a crappier F2P microtrans up the ass version.

        • Persona says:

          I guess one could read the entire comment and then present a proper counterargument, but why bother when you can just quote part of the first sentence and go off on a tangent.

          And since you seem quick to judge, this is coming from someone who actually used to be a modder. But feel free to pursue your point about this so called ‘mindset’.

          • P.Funk says:

            No I read it, I just don’t agree with that assessment. The whole point of a professional development studio is that they make stuff that can be better than community made. The tragedy is when they don’t.

            Also I don’t know how easy it is for people to confuse a professional release with a mod release. There’s hardly any confusion when its free and not acquired through Steam or some other distributor. Brand confusion is often a weak argument.

    • elderman says:

      Are you making general point about a potential reaction to a notional DMCA take-down letter sent by an unspecified company to a theoretical group of hobbyists, Asurmen? Or do you think someone in particular has reacted too strongly to the news that CCP has threatened the people making the Vampire: TM — Bloodlines fan remake and got them to stop their work?

      All I know about the business comes from Philippa’s article, but I’m apt to side with the critics of CCP here. This is not the way to interact with fans of the games on which you hold the copyright. It seems to me you can save on billable hours and goodwill by first writing to the hobbyists saying “hey, we love the fact that you’ve kept this game alive! In fact you’ve inspired us to do a fully updated HD re-release of the game. So please stop working on your update so it doesn’t compete with us putting this game together in a modern engine the way it’s always meant to be.”

      Of course, if that’s not the case, I don’t see why they need to shut the remake down at all.

      • Siimon says:

        Because of lawyers. The obvious example is “you’ve inspired us”, because it could mean the fan/mod guys could get a lawyer and demand payment from CCP.

        • elderman says:

          I’m so glad to have a lawyer chime in! What’s the wording you advise your clients to use?

        • All is Well says:

          I don’t know all that much about these things (neither exactly what legal area that claim would sort under, nor what legal system would be applicable here as it’s an international matter, I think), but that seems very unlikely, doesn’t it? Why would a non-contracted (and infringing!) party have a legal claim to compensation for inspiring a copyright holder? Would that be an equity-related thing, because I don’t really understand equity.

          Edited because I accidentally a word

    • Emeraude says:

      They have a right to exercise their legal right. We have a right to believe that they should have no such right.

      I do think Intellectual monopoly laws are far too much in favor of right holders (this in some cases even in disfavor of the creators themselves) and should be toned down quite a bit, if not done with altogether if we can’t find a better fitting set of laws.

      So when companies try to defend their interests on that front I can’t side with companies.

      • Asurmen says:

        That doesn’t answer the question I posed.

        • Emeraude says:

          You asked if we found it weird that we side with consumers trying to protect their right and not with companies trying to do the same.

          I’m trying to explain to you why I don’t find it weird. I’m trying to lay down the logic of that why.

          • Asurmen says:

            It doesn’t seem to answer the question though. It states why you want the rules to change which is fine but that’s irrelevant. I’m asking why it is weird for them to exercise their rights (as those rights currently stand) but get attacked for doing so, and yet if a consumer is asking for a refund and exercising their rights, any reasonable person wouldn’t judge them for doing so, nor demand reasons explanations why.

          • Emeraude says:

            Because we think the rights are fair to have for the consumer when we defend them (not that we always do) and unfair to have for the company when we don’t ?

            I’m asking why it is weird for them to exercise their rights

            That’s not exactly what your original post was asking though, it was asking if we found it weird that people reacted negatively to companies defending their rights, and in support to consumers when they do.

            So to answer your newly worded question :no, it’s not surprising that the companies are trying to defend their rights.
            Hell, in light of the fact the Vaulderie people specifically asked for donations, I think we’ve reached a tipping point when they basically add to do so, in one way or another.

    • DXN says:

      It’s almost as if the two things are not exactly the same despite being referred to with similar terminology.

      • Asurmen says:

        Explain how they’re not the same unless you’re being literal? I used similar terminology because they’re comparable. Both legal rights exist to protect the parties interests.

        • Rise / Run says:

          Maybe the difference is that the consumers are people whereas the corporation, while represented by people, is not a person. Much as a corporation has no empathy for me, I have no empathy for it.

        • Arglebargle says:

          Dead simple: The laws are mostly slanted in the favor of the corporations. The abundance of money raises their influence in the legislative proceedings.

          I worked for over a decade in a legislative agency, and we would regularly see bills coming in from major legislators, that were written by industry lobbyists. The legislators didn’t even bother to retype it, as they’d come in still on lobbyist letterhead. Some of these were major political figures and the issues were significant.

          So, some ‘rights’ are more equal than others, don’t you know…..

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      The thing that nobody here has mentioned and that really speaks in the mod’s favor, is that it was going to have a resource checker to confirm that you bought the original game. If that tool didn’t find anything, then you weren’t allowed to play the mod. No one is getting a free version of the game by downloading the mod, because of that resource checker. *That* makes all the difference and is why I can’t understand CCP shutting it down. Getting around that resource checker would be fairly easy I guess, but pirating the whole game would also be fairly easy and probably simpler than trying to play it for free using this mod.

    • malkav11 says:

      Of course they have the right to do this. It’s possible that from a business standpoint it’s even the correct move to make. But it’s shitty and it doesn’t serve me as a consumer, so I’m not going to be happy about it. And in this particular instance, it’s aggravated by the fact that CCP did not make the intellectual property that they currently control and have not, in point of fact, ever even used it to bring a product to market. If it were the originator of the IP trying to safeguard their own active work with the IP, even if they were aggressively wrongheaded about it (see, say, Games Workshop), I’d be more sanguine about it. But the old White Wolf crew split off and formed Onyx Path to do the tabletop games (to be fair, at least CCP is licensing the IP to them so they can do that), and CCP proper’s just sitting on the digital rights.

    • Unruly says:

      Disclaimer: I’m coming at this from a US perspective, though from what I’ve seen in the news for various European countries, including the UK, it seems to be a largely shared one.

      I believe it’s largely because of the actions of such groups as the RIAA/MPAA/their worldwide equivalents, as well as the things that various individual companies have done in the past to “protect their rights.” For instance, getting laws passed extending copyrights into perpetuity so that nothing enters the public domain anymore, and even making it so that certain works which had already entered the public domain have copyrights retroactively reapplied to them. Or how “protecting our copyright” is somehow free license for companies to harm me even though I’ve actually followed proper, legal channels to acquire their product, ala the Sony rootkit and other malware-inspired DRM schemes. Or adding a “copyright tax” to all recordable media sold, such as blank CDs and DVDs, simply because they could possibly, maybe, be used for copyright infringement despite having plenty of legitimate, non-infringing uses.

      Heavy-handedness on the side of corporations in their relentless pursuit of protecting their rights, and governments that often side with corporations over the people in these matters, has led to a deep public distrust for anything they do in that regard. If a single citizen were to do anything resembling what these corporations have done, you’d see them brought up on criminal charges and jailed. But for some reason the corporations get away with it largely scot-free or with comparatively small slaps on the wrist.

      I mean, compare the cost that Sony paid to Texas over their rootkit – $750,000 plus a refund of $150 per person who sought damages over their compromised computers – to what happens to someone who had shared 24 songs a total of approx. 1,700 times – $220,000, with the possibility of $1.92 million. One is the infection of millions, or at the very least hundreds of thousands, of PCs with security-destroying malware that spies on you and possibly prevents you from using your computer for legitimate activities, the other is the loss of $1,700 in revenue. Coincidentally, downloading academic papers off of the MIT network landed a Harvard research fellow under prosecution in US federal court, facing 35 years in prison for wiretapping and computer fraud, because he connected his laptop to the MIT network, which he was allowed to do under MIT’s campus visitor policies. And the reason he was charged was because he connected it through an unlocked, openly-accessible, networking closet. Meanwhile, Sony actually violated the same federal laws he was charged under, by installing software without PC owners consent or awareness and then spying on them, and they were instead charged with “deceptive business practices” by the US FTC and had to reimburse a paltry $150 per PC claim.

      So again, the backlash against companies doing these things usually stems from the actions of the corporate world as a whole. Reasonableness has apparently gone out the window in most regards on both sides, with the corporate world being first to throw it out the window. Overzealous and uneven actions on the corporate side have taught people to distrust everything they do in regards to copyright and/or trademark, no matter how it’s done or if the company may actually be on the right side of things in a particular instance.

      • Asurmen says:

        Thank you. This explains it nicely.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        You forgot to mention that the MIT research fellow later killed himself because of the despicable unfairness of the charges. That’s why people loathe corporations.

        • Unruly says:

          Yes, he did kill himself. However, it wasn’t the corporations that caused the horrible unfairness, it was the US Attorney for Massachusetts. Even after MIT dropped all charges because they realized they were in the wrong, the US Attorney’s office pressed on with a federal case that they brought on him by themselves, for the exact same crimes against MIT that MIT was saying he didn’t actually commit.

          But since no corporation was involved, you can’t really blame them for anything in his case. I was simply using him as a comparison example to how corporations are treated so much differently from single citizens when it comes to the court system and governments in general. Sony did worse things to far more people, and got what amounted to a financial slap on the wrist for a multinational corporation that, at the time of the scandal, was boasting about net profits in excess of $1 billion. Which just adds another item to the “reasons to distrust corporations” list.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            MIT were just as guilty of causing Schwartz to kill himself as the government, if not more so for pushing the gov to press charges and harass Schwartz. And they are a part of the corporate culture, so I’ve got no problem grouping MIT in with any other large business. Besides, wasn’t IBM involved too?

          • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

            No amount of money in the world can compensate for causing a person to commit suicide. MIT started the situation and did not back off until it was far to late. They must take their share of the blame. MIT is also subsidised by corporate America. That makes them anything but objective.

    • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

      Since when did the consumer get the upper hand in the courtrooms, exactly? That one has completely eluded me.

  10. Anthile says:

    Damn their Ventrue lawyers.

    • strangeloup says:

      I’m reaching for a pun here about “Ventrue capital” but I can’t quite make it work.

  11. Distec says:

    CCP has been getting a good bit of positive press with their recent developments in EVE. There’s always some perennial grumbling, but I can’t remember the last time I saw so much praise from that community.

    So – of course – we’ve reached the time of the month where somebody at CCP needs to sour all that.

  12. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Quick question, if I may, what exactly is a DMCA notice? I keep seeing the things mentioned but I’m not sure exactly what they are (wikipedia article is…quite long). The wording of CCP’s statement suggests a copyright claim can be used to shut down someone’s access to the internet which, while I suppose it would be a way of stopping copyrighted materials being “out there”, does seem a bit dickish.

    More generally this along with the stories that came out about the mismanagement of the world of darkness MMO suggest CCP aren’t the nicest people, shall we say.

    • Garek says:

      The Digital Millenium Copyright Act is a piece of US law. The important part here is that in grants service providers (ISPs etc., but most prominently sites like youtube or google) so-called safe harbour privileges. These prevent them from being liable for having copyright infringing content on their service (e.g. pirated movies on youtube). However, they have to remove such content as soon as they are notified of it. A DMCA notice is afaik just such an notification, with the explicit threat of ‘if you don’t comply, we will sue you’.
      This is why most bigger content hosters like youtube provide well-known rights holders with automated systems to take down infringing content. Which is of course problematic for several reasons, but also the main method to combat online copyright infringement.

      Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer or anything, this is just what I picked up on the internet.

      • malkav11 says:

        A shitty, shitty piece of US law that’s fundamentally anti-consumer and gives license for all sorts of bad corporate behavior. :(

  13. tornflags says:

    As a 28 years old, who wasted his youth playing video-games, Vampire the masquerade: Bloodlines is still the very best game I’ve ever played. Silent Hill 2 is just behind.

  14. peterako1989 says:

    konami intiated some shady bussiness leading to the devs of the fan remake of metal gear to cancel it. On to the blacklist

    square bitchslapped the devs of the fan remake of chrono trigger and it had to be canceled. Guess what. blacklist

    CCP stopping this from being made during a time where I concidered if I sould start playing EVE…hmmmm…yup, blacklisted.

    • Fontan says:

      Exactly. I’ve been flirting with the idea of trying EVE sometime, guess that won’t happen now. I had so much hope for the project, damn.

  15. lizzardborn says:

    Dear CCP – enjoy your Streisand effect days.

    And a good lawyer could argue that modding and reworking and updating is under fair use anyway.

    • vlonk says:

      I do not think that a “good” lawyer would argue that. Fair use ends much sooner than this case (going by the facts in the article alone). It ends latest at the donate button that is mentioned in the comments. That makes it a truly commercial endaveour. Fair use also does not even apply to all countries in europe. Germany for instance has no fair use rules in its copyright laws at this time. You can quote things (very restrictive regulation) and maybe tap into some things “for science”. That’s about it. So no Vampire Mods for ze germans without the copyright holders approval. Maybe not fair in the age of the remix culture, but these are the laws we have in Germany.

      Nonetheless if you pay “a” lawyer to say that modding falls under fair use he might just do that. It should better be a good payment though. It has to outway the possible negative press for the name of the lawfirm.

  16. Kala says:

    Not cool, guys.

  17. AngusPrune says:

    It seems strange to me that when projects like these get cease and desists, they just pack up tools and say that’s their lot. They’ve spent time assembling a team, building assets and making their engine work. Why not just take what they have and build a new RPG inspired by VtM: Bloodlines with a different ruleset and story line? It seems a shame to have wasted so much time with nothing to show for it.

    • Garek says:

      Maybe because it’s not that easy to get a group of random people to focus on the same idea. It works best when you either pay them or everyone has some personal interest in a specific, common goal. I imagine it would be quite hard to get a team like this refocused on a different project as it is. However, if this really is the end and they don’t find some kind of agreement with CCP which allows their project to continue, I would expect at least some of the people involved to reappear in another interesting project.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Well, it’s hardly “just” make a new ruleset and storyline. Those are immensely complicated tasks. From my understanding the WoD universe is pretty deep and textured, having been written over a long period of time. And having to devise, playtest and balance an entirely new ruleset is no small feat. Being able to use that ruleset and that universe saves them years of work.

      Plus, it’s no doubt they are lavish fans of that particular game. The passion for something different might not run as hot.

  18. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    Filthy criminals, right.

    Btw, have a random Risk of Rain steam key: [gone] :)

  19. geldonyetich says:

    These kinds of projects are always a depressing case of fan enthusiasm running blindly into a brick wall. Of COURSE you’re going to get shut down, the companies that own those trademarks/copyrights really have no choice because if they don’t defend them they’ll lose them. Either get permission or take the time to make your knockoff IP distinct enough to constitute fair use. No, just because you have not been shut down yet does not mean you have permission.

    The good news for VTM fans here is if CCP is defending their White Wolf copyrights, there’s a pretty good chance that the World Of Darkness MMORPG is not truly dead, after all.

    • Gyro says:

      Or they have no real idea what they’re doing. Given how incompetent they’ve been with White Wolf IP already, that is the more likely explanation methinks.

    • Rindan says:

      That simply isn’t true. I wish copyright was use it or lose it, but it isn’t. You need to do exactly nothing to retain a copyright. Ditto for trademarks. There is nothing you can do to lose copyright, and the only way you can lose the right to enforce a trade mark is if the term becomes generic, which this was in no danger of causing . This was a senseless act. It destroyed a community keeping interest in an IP alive to absolutely no ill effect.

      They might have had the legal right to destroy someone else’s art that was in no way hurting them (and likely was helping a slowly obscuring IP), but they are still absolute assholes for doing it.

      • geldonyetich says:

        No, it’s true. A copyright/trademark that’s not defended with some regularity can be interpreted by a court as evidence that it has been abandoned, which may end up having a case settle in such a way that they lose it. So not defending them weakens their ability to hold that copyright/trademark. This mostly applies to intellectual properties that have not had a new product come out fairly recently, as new products establish some evidence in their favor somewhat.

        Did you seriously think companies take a legal action just for kicks and malevolence? Legal actions are expensive! When a cease and desist encounters pushback, they will have to settle it in court, and that’s not something you invite upon yourself lightly. Consequently, there needs to be something financial at stake going on to undertake this action.

        Unfortunately, for this same reason, they’re generally only going to target fan products you’ve heard about. They can’t very well afford sending out cease and desists against everything, they reserve this for ones they think might be a threat. What I’m saying here is that, the more successful a fan project is, the greater the chance it’s going to get shut down unless they get permission. That’s what makes this whole thing tragic: you do well, you lose.

    • Baines says:

      The Project Vaulderie page says that they had planned to pitch the project to Activision, as they had been told that it was Activision that held the rights instead of CCP.

  20. Time Bat says:

    I must admit I find this a bit of a shame, simply coming from the direction that VtM:B was what got me into the tabletop RP setting of WoD (admittedly the newer World of Darkness setting rather than the original one, mostly due to when I happened to jump on the bandwagon) and all of that has now been shoved onto a Kickstarter-based print on demand system. It’d have been nice to have seen CCP do SOMETHING with White Wolf, rather than seeing a headline like this (because, yes, they are pretty much within their rights to do this… but it still leaves things in an unpleasant limbo).

    So yeah, I get that Eve is very much CCP’s baby, and they’ve done grand things with it, but it really feels like everything else they get their hands on tends to die a slow and agonising death.

    • theliel says:

      Back in 2012 CCP licensed the rights to Onyx Path for the Old/Classic World of Darkness, New World of Darkness & Exalted for Table Top (Exalted 3E, Mage 20th & Werewolf 20th edition for ‘classic’ WoD kickstarted, Mummy: The Curse, Demon & others for NWoD kickstarted & released) and the LARP rights to By Night Studios who kicksarted a new hardcover version of the classic MET rules.

      In the tabletop/larp world the line is far from dead. It’s just in vidja and other media that CCP is sitting on the license.

  21. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Love VtM and WoD but just because we’d all like to see more Vampire ™ doesn’t give everyone the right to plunder the trademark. Not just talking about the remake but really anyone could use the IP then.
    I care less about MMO #12345 out there though. Maybe they’ll sell the rights on some done instead of putting the franchise in cryo-sleep when the world is ready again for some real vampires you know not the virgin pacifist edwardian teenage-dream kind.

    And there are still other gothic doom worlds out there to be created, no need to get worked up on some foolish company.

  22. jonahcutter says:

    They should hire the modders to do the remake, not shut them down for doing it for donations. Contract stipulates whatever pay the modders get must come from some portion of the sales of the remade game.

    Sell the final product for $10-15.

    Basically, the modders get to continue under their existing structure, and CCP could potentially make some extra scratch from any actual sales of the remade game. Plus the goodwill they engender.

  23. pixelbaron says:

    I can see why they would shut them down, as much as it sucks. Remaking the game in a completely new engine and using their assets and everything. Modding the existing engine and game is one thing, but pulling all that shit out of the engine and redoing it without some kind of blessing is shady.

  24. wyrm4701 says:

    Oh, CCP, every single time I want to give you money, you remind me why you don’t deserve it. At all. Even a little.

  25. aliksy says:

    I wish they’d just, like, file off the serial numbers and release a Vlampire: Vloodlines game. Change enough so it’s legally safe, give copyright the finger.

    Ok, what I really want is a game like Bloodlines but in Requiem instead of Masquerade, because Requiem is so much cleaner. Or maybe the new-new version that I haven’t played yet.

  26. JohnnyPanzer says:

    They have every right, and it’s not a shitty move in any way. How SMART of a move it is, is still up for debate though. I fail to see how the potential financial harm of letting it continue could outweigh the bad blood potentially caused by shutting it down. But then I don’t have all the information.

    I do feel, however, that the article should’ve mentioned that the mod team was activly asking for donations (see a post above for more details). That changes things quite a bit.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      So it wasn’t a shitty move, but it wasn’t smart because people are going to hate them for it?
      Then it sounds like a shitty move.

  27. Sarkhan Lol says:

    “If I can’t have it, no one can!” – Megatron

    • Atrak says:

      This was the first thing that sprang to mind when I saw this article, I’m surprised it was so far down the comments section hehe. :-)

      (Ok maybe not that exact quote, but close enough).

  28. MellowKrogoth says:

    CCP are dicks, and the idiots who are defending them in this thread and elsewhere are dicks too.

    An age where fans cannot express their love for a game they have appropriated in this way is a very sad age.

    Edit: Forgot to mention: the lawmakers who passed laws encouraging this kind of behavior, the people who elected them and those who spread this kind of ideology are all double-dicks.

    • TheJagji says:

      And you just don’t get it.

      The site is asking for donations. If that was not there, I don’t think it would have got shut down. But no, not only are they asking for donations, they also are ‘selling’ a position in the credits. That write there is why the so called ‘Not for Profit’ project got the message to shut down. Because it was making money. Its that simple. There for, the project, in this case, is the dicks. Not CCP.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        “That write there is why the so called ‘Not for Profit’ project got the message to shut down.”
        No.

        “There for, the project, in this case, is the dicks. Not CCP.”
        Hell no.

  29. cylentstorm says:

    Fuck CCP. Do it anyway. If the weasels (no offense to any actual weasels) had their way, you wouldn’t even be able to talk about their “property” without paying them. Quit being a bunch of silly little pussies.

    • TheJagji says:

      The weasels here is the so called ‘Not for profit’ project. If there asking for donations, then you can not be called not for profite unless you can prove your not making a profit. Or your a charity. And I don’t think this is a charity.

      • cylentstorm says:

        It’s possible that the remake team sports a roster of weasels, too. Then again, I don’t know anyone who isn’t a weasel at times.

        Sigh–I suppose that what upsets me the most is this blind acceptance and justifications being made in the name of capitalism. As for any silly laws–don’t make me laugh. If you’re from the US, then you should know that our “justice” system is that in name only. It’s only another means of controlling the poor or unfortunate, and defending those with the most power, which often translates to $$$. If you’re from the UK or another part of Europe, then you are most likely subject to similar power structures. International law is widely known as a bit of a “grey area.”