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Copyrights: Pony vs. Pony, FIGHT!!!

LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
edited December 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Soooo . . . the PonyStars virtual pony-pet game is using art from a different pony game, PonyIsland.net. PonyIsland has been around since 2003, players pay for accounts (it's not free), and it's based in Sweden, although most players are American.

Examples of copied artwork:

2528847207_3906e2b7a9.jpg

2529665256_2f607855a2.jpg

Those are pretty obvious, but others are more subtle examples of tracing, with more alterations. From the pose and to some extent the hair I can tell these are copied, even though changes have been made:

2528847021_56ab166ae9.jpg

2528847327_bd072efd6c.jpg

There is also a website called Poney Vallee. Poney Vallee appears to be identical to Acclaim's PonyStars (down to the background) which makes me think that Acclaim worked out a deal with Poney Vallee or bought the rights to Poney Vallee, or something like that. So Acclaim may have no idea that PonyStars' pictures are traced/copied.

My question is . . . is it considered copyright infringement even though some of the pictures have been altered slightly (the dragon pony and the butterfly pony)? How about the pictures that have been altered more, like the pony with translucent wings turned into a pegasus?

If it is copyright infringement, what would you suggest the owners of PonyIsland and/or the person who drew the artwork for them do? Do you think a simple letter to Acclaim would clear this up, or not?
I am neither an owner of PonyIsland nor the artist, but I know them and would be happy to pass advice along to them. I know it's just a game, but . . . it's a game that the creators worked long and hard to create. This bothers me, especially since a real game company like Acclaim is involved.

LadyM on

Posts

  • HoukHouk Nipples The EchidnaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Well for starters, assembling a complete list of all the questionable copies/tracings, doing the side-by-side thing like this, would be the first thing to do. Then I'd get in touch with Acclaim (whether they got the art from Poney Vallee or "made" it themselves, they're probably legally responsible either way) and show them what you found. I wouldn't go off accusing them just yet, just get an official response and see what's going on.

    If they didn't have permission to buy/recreate this stuff and they wind up being unwilling to figure things out, I'd just send these lovely ponies to Kotaku and go from there. Cuz, I mean, the similarities are pretty damn obvious.

    nipplessig.jpg
  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    Now isn't THAT a find, eh?

    Do what Houk said.

    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    The comic book legal defence fund may had some advice regarding plagerism. Keep in mind that since it isn't a comic book and it's based around donations the best you could hope from them is maybe someone pointing you in the right direction.

  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Penny Arcade led to an increase in playing the Pony games - it shall also lead to the end of playing them.

    optimusighsig.png
    Gamertag: PrimusD | Rock Band DLC | GW:OttW - arrcd | WLD - Thortar
  • DrFrylockDrFrylock Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    This is actually a fairly good primer on copyright law.

    Disclaimer: IANAL. The section of copyright law you're probably concerned about here is the right to create derivative works. A copyright holder retains the exclusive right to create derivative works, (and, of course, the right to grant, or license this right to others). This is why, for example, it's not permitted to create Harry Potter slash fiction and such. Here, it would seem that you've identified a case where one company is creating derivative works of another company's, potentially without permission. This is likely actionable.

    Of course, this isn't necessarily the case. Maybe both of them derive from a different work that is in the public domain or under a creative commons license. Maybe they have a licensing agreement. Who knows? I would inform the first company's legal department and let them handle it.

    Spoiler:
  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    DrFrylock wrote: »
    This is actually a fairly good primer on copyright law.

    Disclaimer: IANAL. The section of copyright law you're probably concerned about here is the right to create derivative works. A copyright holder retains the exclusive right to create derivative works, (and, of course, the right to grant, or license this right to others). This is why, for example, it's not permitted to create Harry Potter slash fiction and such. Here, it would seem that you've identified a case where one company is creating derivative works of another company's, potentially without permission. This is likely actionable.

    Of course, this isn't necessarily the case. Maybe both of them derive from a different work that is in the public domain or under a creative commons license. Maybe they have a licensing agreement. Who knows? I would inform the first company's legal department and let them handle it.

    Heed this advice. You may also want to look into the license terms of the first site, as it may be under a license (such as Creative Commons) that allow for derivative works to be published.

    3DS: 0232-9436-6893
  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    DrFrylock wrote: »
    Maybe both of them derive from a different work that is in the public domain or under a creative commons license. Maybe they have a licensing agreement. Who knows?

    No, they definitely don't. I know who drew the artwork. She made it specifically for PonyIsland, which has not sold or distributed the work to other sites.

    I will definitely check out the link!

  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    If you look at the forums, I think someone mentioned finding some watermarks for Pony Vallee in some of the art that was removed later. So you're probably right on your guess. http://phpbb.acclaim.com/ponystars/viewtopic.php?t=20

    It should also be pointed out that Acclaim Entertainment went bust, and their name got bought out, so the new company isn't actually anything to do with the old company.

  • Lindsey LohanLindsey Lohan Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I would wager that Acclaim bought the rights to use it in the US. I'm pretty sure that they were planning bunch of online games, most of which were not originals - they were going to import some of the popular overseas ones. My guess would be that this is one of those imported games.

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  • fightinfilipinofightinfilipino legally competent Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Penny Arcade led to an increase in playing the Pony games - it shall also lead to the end of playing them.

    select your lawyer, and then, select your subpoena.

    ffNewSig.png
    twitter | steam | 3ds: 4227 1731 4009
  • Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I think if this turned into a big copyright fight then there might be some Other folks who might have something to say about it.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I think if this turned into a big copyright fight then there might be some Other folks who might have something to say about it.

    word, I was thinking when I first glanced at the ponystars site that they looked nearly identical to my little pony's...

  • DavaDava Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    A lot of the art on Ponystars looks familiar. They seem to be copied from a lot of fan artists. I found one sample that looks a lot like Hasbro's packaging art for My Little Pony.

    hasbro1.jpg

    petition_banner.JPG
  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    It's all completely derivative of My Little Pony, let's keep that in mind, but at least there isn't also an identical game put out by Hasbro that is being ripped off by a significantly larger corporation.

    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
  • DavaDava Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Pheezer wrote: »
    It's all completely derivative of My Little Pony, let's keep that in mind, but at least there isn't also an identical game put out by Hasbro that is being ripped off by a significantly larger corporation.

    This is true, but from what I understand, the original game (PonyIsland) came to an agreement with Hasbro. I'm not sure the same can be said for Acclaim's copycat game.

    The real issue, though, is that the work of an independent artist is being used by a corporation without her permission.

    petition_banner.JPG
  • Lady RoxyLady Roxy Registered User
    edited December 2010
    Hi, I'm Lady Roxy. I found this thread by accident and I'm a PI player. Meaning a Ponyisland player. I just registered and I am willing to tell the admins of PI this if you would let me. It will take less than a few min to paste and copy all this, and don't worry, this'll be resolved hopefully eventually.

    ~Lady Roxy

  • NubiaNubia Registered User
    edited December 2010
    Yeah. Im a PI (PonyIsland) Usr too, Roxy put me on to this, I just cant believe this!
    LunaCat and the other artists all worked SO hard on these pics, why do people have to do this!

This discussion has been closed.