Justicar Report


Justicar Report

DB Copyright Release

As many of you know, the Dark Brotherhood established a policy after the Exodus governing member contributions, the owner of those and the use of those by the Brotherhood. You can find that policy on the CoJ site under "Dark Brotherhood Copyright Information on Membership Submissions." Some members, upon permanently leaving the club, have invoked their rights under this policy, and we can no longer use their works.

Along with the policy has been a long-standing practice of certain members to waive their rights under the policy. The waiver, in essence, gives the Brotherhood a license to use the member's contributions indefinitely and without threat of removal. Up to this point, these agreements have been "verbal" in nature in IRC conversations between Jac and the member.

After some discussion, Sarin, Jac and I have decided to put this waiver to writing. Specifically, this was done in response to Jac's voluntary waiver of his rights. As is obvious, Jac has written, coded, drawn, or worked on much of what we all use on a day-to-day basis. He feels that it would be unfair to the Brotherhood to keep such a strong hold over the current Grand Master. The ability to blackmail the new Grand Master with the removal of his works is inconsistent with the type of atmosphere Jac worked to build. As such, he has taken the initiative to voluntarily waive his rights to his work. I applaud and

thank him for his thoughtfulness in this.

The form for making such a waiver is now posted on the Chamber of Justice website (and linked below) with the members' works policy. There is absolutely no requirement that you sign it, nor will you be held back or gain any favors in the DB for signing it. If you would, however, like to voluntarily submit the waiver, simply fill out the form and send it to myself and Sarin.

Copyright Release


Sorry if I scanned through this and missed something: I've always been firm against members taking back what they've worked on for the club. Theres nothing worse than progress made and taken. But, why fill out a form (forgive me as I scanned....real 'firm' huh :P) for copyright of member submitted work. If this club works and advances by means of volunteer work, thats all tht this is here, why should we give people the right to take back what they did, sure its 'theirs' and they 'lent' it, but the fact of the matter (to me in my opinion) is its like giving change at the cashier station at the store for a charity, you cant get your money back, but you gave it for a good reason and it should stick like that. These members get pissed and they take off with their work is BS to me. They volunteered same as all of us; sure in a certain degree more than others, but nonetheless they donated. Say EVERYONE left and took their share of work, there'd be nothing. What you give stays, don't like it: too bad. If all this has been covered already somewhere else, then please direct me. Other than that I guess I went on my last rant of the month, gratz me :P

Basically, the DB doesn't claim ownership of any of it's members work. If I write a story and submit it to the Dark Voice, it is still my story to do whatever I want, including ask that it be taken down - that is just a right we give all our members. This form is a way of offering people a way of saying, "the work I do here is for my enjoyment and the good of the club, so I give up my right to take my work back". People have different views on how it should be, but this way gives people a choice either way.

This is the kind of attitude that we broke away from the EH to get away from. One of the complaints was that anything submitted to the EH or any of its Subgroups belonged to the EH. We've given members the right to demand that their work be removed when they leave because the leaders feel that being able to retain ownership of your work is something important. However, Kir has provided this form to waive that right if anyone feels like their contributions should stay with the DB no matter what happens. If you feel that way then you're more then welcome to fill out that waiver but if anyone doesn't then they don't have to.

I'm sorry but I don't agree with the idea of people taking work back when they leave if its something which other people are using. We have a reward system here, you do something which makes the DB better or more fun for people you get a medal or it helps your next promotion. So if you do something like a layout or write some documentation that helps people and they give you a medal or promote you what right do you have to then withdraw it? In the example of the Dark Voice article, don't they give people a DSS in return for it?

I'd be suspicious of anyone who creates something for the DB and effectively says "I've done this, but if for some reason I leave in a hissy fit in a few months you can't use it anymore" which is what insisting on retaining ownership themselves is basically saying. Is that person doing it to help improve the DB or just doing it for the status and the rewards? You need to view that persons work with caution because you don't know how long you can rely on it being there.

I think that the effect is negligible, we've had the right to take back the work for some time and it has not been an issue, we're just putting it in writing. I don't think we'll have bunches of members "taking back" thier works.

This is one of those "unfortunate realities" that we sometimes have to deal with. I too, don't like the idea of a member taking back his work (hence why I waived my rights), but it's an important right.

When we were in the EH, Ronin claimed that he personally owned every contribution ever made to the club. On top of the fact that he and Astatine would just randomly expel people, it made for a bad situation -- we had no recourse.

What you make, you own. In the US, and, for what I know, in most European countries, the copyright laws do make that official; once you create something you have a copyright in it regardless of any registration process. Our policy acknowledges that, but also acknowledges that the DB has a right to use those works in exchange for the benefits given to a member. IE: what you are saying is along the right lines. Our policy is basically this: if you are a member of this club (receiving promotions, awards, etc), we get to use your works. You can forbid us to use those works, but you will not be welcomed back as a member. That last point is something people often forget -- you have to leave permanently to invoke this right.

Unfortunately, this policy has been invoked a few times, and unfortunately it has been damaging. The most prominent impact has been Chi refusing to allow us to continue using the robe graphics, grant of arms or website layouts he made. That forced a very big changeover in graphics (though, probably welcomed for the fresh look).

But, hopefully this won't be an issue again.


I have seen these work withdraw happening in other communities, and from Jac post i can see it also happened here.

Its always better to be prepared for situation like this, then getting into a lawsuit against the original creator of certain things.

I give my rights to anything i do up so everyone can use it :)

I give my rights to anything i do up so everyone can use it :)

sorry guys my computer messed up and sent the info twice :(

Jac hit the nail right on the head. The main reason things are as they are, if for no other reason, is that legally speaking people own their own work. The DB can't actually say "sorry, but the law doesn't apply here, we own your stuff". Ronin tried that, and, well, look what happened. Even if you ignored the sheer legal igorance, it was immoral if nothing else.

Now, sure, the chances of somebody actually sueing an online club over the use of stuff is practically zero, but it's still an uncomfortable position for the club to be placed in. The written waiver just gives us some level of security as well as still allowing people a free choice in whether or not they want us to "own" their stuff.

It's a bit like IRC. Is anybody ever going to sue the DB over someone being racist to them on IRC? Not likely. However, we still provide our own methods to protect people from that kind of unfair treatment. It's the principle more than anything else, i.e. "racism is wrong", and, in this case, "theft is wrong".

I'm not a coder or an artist, but I do know people like Muz and Sildrin do what they do for the DB for a living too. Sil is a professional coder, Muz is a professional design artist. For all I know, Muz might have some of his designs copyrighted and might choose to incorporate some of them into his DB designs. If he ever decided to use the CNS logo for something professional, perhaps if he was designing a corporate logo or something, it would be a bit rich for the DB to say "sorry Muz, we own that, not you".

Fortunately, in that case, I think Muz has already signed one of these things anyway, plus Muz isn't the kind of person to do that, but there are always people who might. It just helps to be prepared. While the chances of a lawsuit are low, the unfortunate truth is emotions are always running high when people get so angry they want their stuff withdrawn and you never know what people may or may not do. You never know where the law is going to go either, they're always creating new internet laws and trying to clamp down on intellectual property theft etc.

As for Malisane's point about people coming for the medals then leaving with their stuff, I've had a couple of people raise that with me in the past. As Jac said though, our insurance there is that if you want to invoke this right, we reserve the right to tell you to leave. That prevents people from trying to get the best of both worlds, as if they want recognition from the DB, they can't go pulling their stuff for their own reasons and not expect us to be unhappy about it.

Fortunately, as Jac said, this is very, very rare, and only ever happens when people get majorly pissed off. It's also a virtually non-existent concern with the current Dark Council members, but it's still better safe than sorry.

After all, you never know when that evil Jac is going to hold us all to ransom :P

I was never a memeber of EH, from what you guys have told me thankfully so but I joined the DB for two reasons 1.) I love the starwars 2.) I wanted to have fun. and I signed the release from both of those reasons two have fun and to give to a story I enjoy.

Goatham is right. People can decide to go nuts over something very very small and cripple the DB as it is. That's why Jac came up with this. I signed one back in like may of last year, right as i was adding all sorts of stuff to the DB, not because I was worried about myself flaking out and taking my work away, but more for the peace of mind for the GM and the club as a whole.

Sarin doesn't have to be nice to me, or do as I say because he's worried about me yanking my stuff, and watching the website look like crap for the next six months while they get Raven and the boys to get the stuff looking good again.

And It's no skin off of my back, either. I still own the rights to the work, so if i wanted to use it somewhere else, professionally, or even just as a reference in my portfolio, I still can. Besides, the way I figure, if I spent so many hours working on something for the club, the club should at least be able to use it, otherwise my time was wasted.

That's just me, though. The beautiful thing is that this is not mandatory, and you can choose to sign one of these or not. It's up to you.

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