PDB IP Policy

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The Scholastic Interpretation of IP

The previous iteration of the IP rules focused entirely on a legal approach to IP. An alternate viewpoint of interpretation was discussed during the biannual IP discussion, a more scholastic approach. By the way, thanks again to those who participated. U4dandy and I agree that loosening the rules to that level would allow for greater creativity. But in order to so some guidelines need to be established to better communicate what is allowable and what is not. It is also important to note that while we are loosening the accreditation policy, that has not caused a change in the TOS in regards to copyright. A more direct way of stating this is, while we will be loosening the standards of what can remain on site, we are still legally bound by copyright law and will we do what we need to if an enforcement issue arises.

So lets talk about this scholastic measure. What we are going to strive for is the same level of compliance that would typically be required in a creative writing class. That roughly means you can bring in the works of others provided they can and have been sourced. I state roughly because the ban on intermixing IP is still in effect, but has been limited to a ban on commingling Champions with any other established world or universe IP. So here are the rules that the Administrators will be looking at for guidance should an issue appear.

1) Textual and Visual content will be evaluated on the basis of scholastic standards. That is it must be sourced if used. If permission to use has been granted as well, PDB encourages it’s users to detail that information in the upload notes or on the image page that follows.

2) IP licenses of fictional universes cannot be combined textually on character pages for any reason, though links to areas dedicated to other IP on User pages are not only permitted but encouraged.

3) IP can be commingled when describing trivia about the User and on the User’s Page, as long as it is in a limited fashion regarding motivation or reference to a characters history in another game.

4) Visual Content cannot commingle the IP of fictional universes. If a fictional universe uses copyrighted material that is historical, it may still pass. It never hurts to contact an admin and they want to help you, so let them do so.

5) Visual Content created by Users or Purchased by Users must be attributed like any other image,

6) Digitally Altered Imagery that has less than TEN OBVIOUS changes (including disparate elements) must be cited to the original owner with the annotation that it has been altered and who did so.

7) Digitally Altered Imagery that has more than TEN OBVIOUS changes (including disparate elements) may be claimed as owned under the rules given in either point 5 or 6.

8) Unsourced images will be given one warning and if no further communication is received may be deleted after seven days.

9) PDB can still disallow images within the parameters in the TOS. This references the entry “No content shall be added to Primus Database that is threatening, harmful, hateful, unlawful, libelous, defamatory, harassing, abusive, fraudulent, vulgar, obscene, contains viruses, or is otherwise objectionable or potentially damaging, as reasonably determined by Primus Database or our hosting provider”. However, please be aware that wikis may still contain content of an adult nature, or content that you may find offensive.

10) Users are advised that PDB will cooperate fully with any entity that is seeking to protect its IP rights, up to and including providing otherwise private information about the submitting users. This also includes the immediate removal of any data of any type that is being properly challenged.

11) The explicit understanding that PDB reserves the right to change this at any time, without notice.

So What Does all This Mean

Parts one through four are interlinked and as such can be discussed together. PDB was created to provide a creative outlet that is about expanding the Champions Online IP. If we are going to be true to that then we need to follow Cryptic’s lead. To that end we will be enforcing the same rules that Cryptic does. If Cryptic’s name database does not support your characters name, or if Cryptic would reset your costume for trademark violation, we will not support it here.

Also please understand that by Cryptic’s own statements, Cryptic feels that the act of creating a character with their jigsaw pieces and agreeing to their TOS, that you are willfully participating in Cryptic’s IP to the exclusion of all others. With that in mind, the addition of any other IP to the creative side or your entries creates an issue that we cannot support. The only company that we make a proviso for is Hero Games (the P and P game). Due to its continuing existence and Cryptic’s franchising of the rights from them, PDB will provisionally allow the mixing of these two IP.

Mixing IP belonging to anyone outside of Cryptic (and Hero) on your User page to discuss trivia about your creative motivations is still allowed, and of course abusing this provision to the point of making your User Page a Character Page is going to be frowned upon.

Should you have any questions about something related to this, please contact an admin. Being proactive is only going to help you get the best for your entry. Rules five through seven are meant to try and help make clear how things should be classed. If a User wants to use artwork that they created in whole, they can, but they still need to claim their work. If a User posts an image of Kevin Smith with ultra cool glowy eyes that they photo shopped themselves, then they should source the image to its owner and annotate the changes they have made. If the User wants to take credit for a montage they have created with a lot details combined, added, and altered, then can do so provided that there are at least total elements combined, added, and altered. PDB admins may ask the creator about the artwork in particular to what those elements are and may ask that they be sourced individually.

Please note that rules on IP (1-4) supersede these rules about created images. If you personally create images of characters from outside the Champions IP, you still cannot use them due to the rules on IP.

Rule nine is kind of boiler plate, but given the adult themes already covered by some of the Character Pages, PDB prefers to have a ‘cover our butts’ trigger. That said any image posted that could qualify for such treatment will still have its admin review. If an image is only being reviewed for this rule, it will be considered by as many admins as can be mustered. That said, as baseline rule, if it’s PG 13 it should be okay.

Rules ten and eleven deal with what Users should expect if things go wrong. PDB offers a creative service that is meant to be enjoyed by the largest possible audience. PDB’s staff is made up of people who serve that same goal. PDB does not encourage or discourage internet activism as that it completely outside the sites goals. Users of PDB can and should expect that PDB will do what is required to end legal conflict between PDB and an outside source immediately, even if this means passing along otherwise private and protected information. PDB’s intention is to remain operating for the duration Champions Online lifespan. Given that things can change very dramatically by bad legal precedents being set within new media, and that we at PDB hope that Champions has a very long lifespan, PDB reserves the right to alter rules in as immediate a fashion as is required. In the case of an immediate change in policy PDB will do it’s best to explain in a timely manner on the front page, or via a link there, and will try and contact the public on C.O.R.P. and or the official Cryptic Champions Online forums.

So How Is This All Going To Work Together?

Before marching forward I would like it noted that PDB has actively been seeking more administrators. U4dandy and I would like to thank LXD, In-Betweener, Tyranno, Thundrax, and Blue Bruiser for jumping into the fray. Points up and shields out lads! Also if you think you may be a good fit to the new PDB team, and are interested in putting in some quality volunteer time, you can always contact me to see if we can find you a place. The primary purpose for adding admins is to create a review board that looks at each image within a week of its arrival on the site. They will help get images categorized correctly for ease of discovery and evaluate the same for the category of inclusion. The new admins that are coming online were specifically invited due having an ability write what they mean without engaging on a personal level. This is the exact trait that PDB needs in admins, that is to be more diplomatic when going about it’s business. This will help with that and will give the Users more people to discuss an issue with if they cannot connect we someone in particular.

Note that I put issue before diplomacy. In other leadership experiences I have found that people who are willing to make a stand are rare and required for a healthy organization, but the additional requirement, to stand without engaging, makes finding volunteers even more difficult. But it also assures the best possible outcome for the organization. Please note, it is NOT my intention to yell “PIT FIGHT” and having everyone go all out. The longevity of this project requires friendship, and that ain’t no way to make it. What am asking from each of them is to go through the new images on a weekly basis. With more people policing new submissions then we can set up a council of admins that ‘vote’ to assess were something is within the boundaries that are set. The goal would be for the admins review each image that has been posted within the past seven days and vote, pass, fail or abstain. As long as the majority of admins that vote, grant a pass then the image passes and the image stays provided no problems come up. Admins that don’t review the image, don’t get counted. Admins that are not certain can always Abstain. If the Admin votes Fail, the admin should state why in the appropriate discussion page. If the overall vote is a fail, then the user will be notified and can petition a higher level of adjudication at the bureaucrat level (which is coincidently now me). Additionally, if the vote is a tie then I review it for final pass fail.

In tandem with this, we will be adding a category requirement to be done by admins, when images have the vote tallied. The admins would assign the tag based on the info that the user has provided.

New Categories as follows:

Image CO Screen (This category is an automatic Pass, includes raw and edit screenshots with no additional imagery)

Image IP Uncited (this is the entry level, and I’ve already mentioned to u4dandy that if there’s a way to code the image dl page to put this on automatically, it would way helpful)

Image IP Cited (image has it’s owner cited, but no permission has been granted)

Image IP Permission (image is cited and owner has granted permission)

Image DELETE (this is a tag that gives users the ability to notify us if they have something that can be culled for non use, without issue)

Image Notice (this tag is reserved for images that get a Fail vote)

Image Reviewed (this is a secondary tag, only for items that have been put through the voting process)

The process would be once an image is uploaded, each of the IP council Admins take a look and vote accordingly. The First Admin voting needs to add either the category Image IP Uncited or Image CO Screen to the text page associated with the image. Images labeled Image CO Screen automatically pass and need no further action. After seven days any Admin can tally up votes and reassigns it from Image IP Uncited, to Image IP Cited, Image IP Permission, or Image Notice (in case of some failure) and contacts the user and asks for more info and adds the secondary category Image Reviewed to the text page. The admin council effectively votes over a week long period and creates the minimum period of checking in once weekly for Admins.

The majority of the images should be cleared without my seeing them, and I’ll vote on the basis of the rules, not my ethics. I freely admit that I’m a creative rights individual, and that I see the Creative Commons Movement as the best path to seeing rights maintained, while the populace is educated on their rights and the value of their effort. That said, a convincing argument has been made to move to this to a more scholastic approach and we are going to try it. I hope by now I have earned the right to state that I’m a man of my word, and I give my word that should adjudication fall to me, then I will do so according to my responsibility to the PDB.

Character Names

The only additional exception is in regard to character naming. If an instance occurs where Cryptic has accepted a name string that is likely or definitely a trademarked property PDB will accept the name as is. Should any legal problems occur the administrators will step in and immediately alter the characters name to character1@username and list and link all renames on the users user page. PDB will also help move any pages that suffer such to new names once they are created in Champions Online. PDB hopes this is unlikely, but assumes the burden because this site is a reflection of Champions Online.

If you feel these restrictions are too harsh and you would like to use a namespace to link to site hosted by another party (including yourself) you may do so as long as the content that you link to is relevant to the Champions Online experience.

For more info see FAQ on IP, TM, and CW

PDB would like to thank VirtueVerse, and it’s Administration for clearing the trail and sharing the wisdom they have earned.