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#1 2019-03-06 18:03:31

Christoffer
Member
From: Sweden
Registered: 2018-04-06
Posts: 147
Website

Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

This is an answer to Jason’s open letter to us.

TLDR:
Jason has taken us on a ride through hell these past days, reaching out to media to smear us, and app stores to take down our app (now retracted, thank God!). The campaign against us has included stretching the truth into being unrecognizable and blackmailing us to get what he wants.
And all for no good reason. We do wish to do right by him. Setting feelings aside, we are now putting our efforts into achieving the results Jason wants (as best we can understand them while he refuses to talk to us), using better solutions than the ones he has been demanding. And if Jason cares about his real legacy, he should stop misinforming media and the public into becoming tools for a smear campaign based on what is quite simply and objectively "Not the Truth".

Let’s first establish the truth as facts instead of interpretations:
1. Jason approved our use of his work without any restrictions. First by putting it in the public domain, and then by confirming that nothing stopped us from using it to make our app
2. The same goes for the name of the app.
3. Jason clearly stated that crediting him anywhere was completely optional. We did credit him everywhere but in one place, by mistake by a third party. Once we were made aware, this was immediately corrected.
4. When Jason asked for some more clarifying messages in the app and store listings, we worked out a solution together which he approved at the time.
5. We have offered Jason a cut of the revenues for being the official port. He declined for his own reasons.
6. We have tried to give Jason a gift for his contributions to the public domain. He declined again.
7. Before Jason sent his first Open Letter and started the process, we had tried to find solutions for him, but he refused phone calls and meeting requests.

Despite these facts, Jason decided to make demands of us that completely contradicts everything he had promised and what we had agreed on. No negotiations allowed. Jasons demands are that we call our app “Unofficial One Hour One Life”, and that we paste the permanent message “Unofficial Adaptation. Not approved by original author Jason Rohrer” across our main screen in the app. We claim that anyone reading this will come to false conclusions, something which will seriously hurt our reputation. People would believe that we were never authorized and that we “stole” his work. Any other developers could make their own version of OHOL as an app without consulting Jason. They would become the “authorized” version in people’s minds. Note that Jason would not accept changing the name to something completely different, while his game is still in there.


This letter will now be in two parts:
1) a highlighting of the damage Jason has been, and still is, inflicting on us in his pursuit of his highly personal view of "the Truth".
2) constructive actions which we will now take to address Jasons underlying wishes. Not because he forces us, but because we know his desire for them, now that he has made it known.


Part one: The campaign against us
This is my story, to act as a counterweight to Jason’s summation. I don’t demand that you agree with it, but it needs to be told.

There is a difference between what you want, and what you are prepared to do to get it.
No-one is disputing Jason’s wish to have his “legacy” intact, and created by himself rather than others. But what he wanted said was not the truth, even though that is what he is claiming. In setting this wish above all else, and unnecessarily making it depend on seriously harming the work we at Dual Decade have achieved (using his foundation), he lost his way.

And it has been hell. While this has been going on, I have done my utmost to maintain a civil conversation, to offer solutions, to show our willingness to collaborate for the common best. To remind him of what we have actually said to each other over time. There have been no efforts of collaboration or to avoid additional damage on the other side.

And other people have been made into tools for this campaign. Like the person who wrote the review for the app on TouchArchade. Apparently Jason contacted him and served him some tidbits of truth, but not all of it. And he wrote this message back, which Jason shared with you:

jasonrohrer wrote:

Just heard from the author of this Touch Arcade review:

https://toucharcade.com/2018/08/23/one- … fe-review/

I really want to apologize, it was pitched 100% that it was sanctioned by you. I swear I even saw a mobile thread on your forum prior to doing the review but I could be mistaken. I never would've went forward with a review.

In other words, I was right:  this reviewer had no idea that this was an unofficial adaptation.

Imagine the horror of this journalist. He has just been told that he was duped by unsavory software thieves into writing a positive review which has damaged the original creator. Probably someone this journalist has a great impression of (I mean, we all had that) and no wish to hurt. His apology is sincere, and he tells Jason how he understood the situation wrongly. Except he didn’t, did he? Here’s two emails Jason sent to me on August 22nd:

Jason wrote:

A substantial bump in sales today.  Not sure why.  Japan is the #4 country for the past 2 days, but only 7 units sold there, so who knows?

I see some reviews posted in various venues, so I'm sure that's helping.

Jason wrote:

Saw some reviews!  Good stuff.

Saw a bump in sales today... couldn't figure out why...

Then realized that a y-combinator COMMENT was to blame (man that sight gets a lot of traffic):

And here is his way of explaining to himself, and you, the type of reasoning he does to himself to make what he told that journalist true now, six months after the fact (actually said about the take-down letters, but I think they apply here too):

Note that all of this is talking about the current moment, in the current situation.  Because they won't meet my clarification requirements, they are no longer authorized by me to have these apps available in the store.
The were authorized in the past.

I doubt that Jason wrote back and told him that he had understood it correctly back then. And what was the gain of making use of this person? To be able to quote his apology in the forum and say Jason was right: the reviewer didn’t know it was an unofficial adaptation? Was it worth that? That journalist probably experienced a little fraction of the accusations Jason has directed against me, and believe me that those hurt.

There are now news articles of this sordid event out there. Here is one example: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/ … rized-port
This journalist refrains from leveraging any accusations himself, but he does let Jason speak an awful lot. I don’t see many quotes from me. Because Jason is Goliath in this whole affair. With power comes responsibility!

Speaking of using other people as tools, here is an example from twitter:

His game concept, assets and design were stolen by another developer who is now profiting from them.

I see no message back from Jason, saying “No, they didn’t steal it. I gave it to them. I just want to decide for them 12 months later what they can do with it now”. That would have been the Truth, wouldn’t it?

When Jason posted that he had sent takedown requests, I was of course horrified. The thought I had was:
Jason really believes that he is right here, after all that happened. Maybe he thinks that if he tells the story as it has transpired, then the app stores will agree with him? If he had acted that way, I was sure that his requests would be denied.

But what if he decided to be “smarter” than that, and tells an adjusted story instead? Then we might loose everything we have worked for.

And when Jason posted his takedown letters, which implied that we had never been authorized and not a single mention of the public domain, I could only sit and stare at it in horror, realizing that this was really happening. He had really taken it that far. Those of you who are game developers, you can imagine the depths I saw opening under our feet.

Then Jason added his blackmail message:

jasonrohrer wrote:

Christoffer, the solution and end of hearbreak is well within your reach.  Just add this text to each app store to show me a good faith effort to correct the confusion:

Unofficial Adaptation
Not approved by original author Jason Rohrer

And change the Google title to included the word "Unofficial".

My finger is on the SEND key, ready to cancel these take-down requests as soon as I see some action on your part.


So far, there has been no action at all.  Just words.

Yes, I felt the instinct to succumb and do what he demanded. Did I think he was bluffing? Not for a second. But I forced myself to think, and I saw two scenarios:

1. A cursory inspection of Jason’s claims, followed by shutdown of our app. This would result in the loss of our livelihood. If we survived for long enough, we could litigate to get our rights restored and the app back on the market places. But it might be too late at that time. The community which we had built might have moved on.

2. A detailed inspection, where our evidence would also be reviewed. This would result in denial of Jason’s requests, and possibly some slap on the wrist for frivolous claim or fraudulent statement.

Myself, I believed that #1 was much more likely to happen, though I held out some hope for #2, but not a lot. What made me decide to instead “die on that hill, and take his whole project with him” as Jason put it in another thread, was when I examined the option of giving in:

We could do as Jason asked and live with the consequences (an app that would have given us a bad reputation, and open the playing field for copycats to take the name). What would that mean for the future? That Jason would forever wield a weapon over us, to use at his will. And don’t kid yourself, Jason’s requests would not have achieved what he is really wishing for:
“All that I really care about is messaging so that EVERY PLAYER and EVERY REVIEWER knows, with no doubt or wiggle room, that this adaptation is UNOFFICIAL and NOT APPROVED BY JASON ROHRER.  It should be flashing in red, or permanently on the menu screen, or whatever it takes.”

He puts the responsibility of making this happen on us, and no-one could succeed with this task. So, there would surely come a time in the future when Jason realized that his goals were not achieved, and the app would need more adjustments, making it even worse, and our reputation further damaged.

I considered giving in a worse outcome than shut-down. Let me highlight this for those among you who believe that Jason stands up for his ideals and “DD are thieves and scumbags who only care about money”: We are standing up for the ideal that our app should be the best that it can be, and that Jason did authorize it. Our reputation hinges on this.

Many of you have gotten the impression that this is a fight between moral right and legal right, but that's not so. The moral right Jason has, is to be heard when he has a problem with how things are turning out. The moral obligation we have is to listen, and try to help. (That is hard to do when the other party refuses to speak to you, but we certainly tried)

But what Jason tried to do here was to assert his will over ours, and make us bend or break. There is nothing morally right with that.

We tried to understand what would make things more right instead of more wrong. If we had given in, Jason would now be “the guy who gave his permission and then sabotaged the work and reputation of other indie developers”. He is not that guy now.

Jason’s own conscience stopped him at the end. When he had opened the abyss underneath us, his conscience stopped him and he took one crucial step back. This is why Jason is not a Sith Lord today, but can still be the Jedi game creator, albeit one who lost himself a bit. There are ways back from that.

Your legacy is what you do to others. Not what anyone else does to you.


(End of part one)

Last edited by Christoffer (2019-03-06 18:05:02)

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#2 2019-03-06 18:04:33

Christoffer
Member
From: Sweden
Registered: 2018-04-06
Posts: 147
Website

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Part 2: Actions which we have now set in motion

1. The name of the app.

Using the same name was clearly a mistake from the beginning, though neither of us realized it at the time. Many of you have already pointed this out as the main source of the problem, and you are correct.

Jason has pointed out is that this is a new situation in gaming, which hasn’t happened before. The natural thing for someone to think is that the PC game and the mobile app with a similar name, must be connected (because that’s the way it always has been). I will add to his assessment that the natural thing to think is that if they are somehow not connected, then that’s because the mobile game is an illicit copy.

And as he also pointed out, part of the thing being sold is the server service. His servers are the “official” servers for “One Hour One Life”. But when someone buys the app from us, they clearly are entitled to “official” services and support from the ones they buy their app from. It’s impossible to explain that the app purchase comes with official support and servers from Dual Decade, but that they are not official in the sense of “One Hour One Life”. And calling the app “Unofficial One Hour One Life” and still claim that they should turn to us for official support, is becoming absurd.
Add to this that in China, it seems that the method of choice for distinguishing and app from other similar ones, is to add “official” to the name or description. We are getting into real headache territory here…

The goal of Jason’s is that every player and reviewer knows and understands the actual situation. With a name change, the natural thing will be to not confuse the games or believe that they are from the same source. So people who don’t read, will not make false assumptions. And for the people who do read, we will have new and improved messaging to let them know more precisely what’s going on.

A lot of the work we have done is to build the community (well, insofar as you can build it, rather than just hope that it builds itself). We have been lucky to see a lot of Youtube content uploaded, which has helped the community grow. We will loose most of that now, along with more invisible things like ASO, search engine history, etc. The hashtags on Twitter will not make sense anymore, etc.

But so be it: we have initialized the process of changing the name.


2. In the app

We have initiated work on the following:
- An info screen at the first start of the app after install, and after each subsequent major and minor update (we have had about one every 14 days). To close it, you have to click an “I understand” button. The same info will also be accessible from the settings menu in the main screen.
- A way to report bugs from inside the app. Today the forum can be reached with one button click in the app, but you have to register in order to submit issues. We will add a way to send reports directly to us without forum registration, and without having to know the support email address.


3. Outside of the app

Messaging in the store listings will be updated to reflect the new situation. The name change will make sure no-one just buys it believing it to be directly from Jason, and the new messaging will make sure that those who care to read will know that it is based on the PC game (so they have an option to check that out and see if they would actually rather buy that) but is not specifically approved by him. And the info about running on different servers etc (which is there in the old messaging already) will remain clear. Exactly how to phrase this depends on a choice I am getting to now:

Regarding messaging, three things seem important to Jason: That it’s not associated with him, that it’s not built by us from scratch, and (lately) that he is attributed as the original author. The first and third are a bit of opposites to each other. If one of them were much more important than the other, maybe the less important one should be sacrificed so that the important message would get through? If they are equally important, maybe one is most important before purchase, and the other most important in the app?

We could (and these are shortened examples):
A - mention that it’s based on the PC game One Hour One Life by Jason Rohrer, which would give Jason the best credit, but also establish the strongest connection between the app and him, for people who don’t read that carefully.
B - mention only that it’s based on the PC game One Hour One Life, which would direct people to the right game, but also establish some connection between the app and the original game.
C - mention only that it’s based on a PC game without naming it, which would create almost no connection to Jason, but still say we are not the original creators.

Usually the first option would seem the reasonable choice, but Jason has emphasized the need to keep him out very strongly. We would of course add that he is not involved, but again: people don’t read.

We have no wish to pick the wrong option here, so if Jason were to pick one for the store listings and one for the in-game info, that would be best. If he doesn't prefer one over the others, we will implement option B for both store listings and in-game (that's our current best guess for what Jason would want).

The reason for these changes are to achieve the priorities Jason has said are important for his legacy. They are not the exact changes he demanded, because we judged that those would also give people a clearly wrong understanding of things. This way, the right message should get across to the most people.

These changes are now on their way, but they won’t happen without work. I will take a break from “battling it out” with both Jason and fans, and focus completely on making things happen instead. I will also not go to GDC. Less words and more action, as it were.

Though Jason didn’t want any involvement in our launch in China, we still missed an opportunity to do something nice for him with the debacle that happened. Instead something really bad came out of it. I am truly sorry about both the missed good that didn’t happen and the bad that did. My hope and expectation is that we have not seen our last chance of making a positive difference in China, for a game which we love dearly, and also for the original creator of that game.

Bye for a while.

// Christoffer

Last edited by Christoffer (2019-03-07 15:05:54)

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#3 2019-03-06 19:56:41

Chard
Moderator
Registered: 2018-03-04
Posts: 106

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Thank you for explaining your side! I think a lot of the community is struggling with this, trying to understand what has happened. Sharing information helps everyone in such circumstances.

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#4 2019-03-06 20:22:22

futurebird
Member
Registered: 2019-02-20
Posts: 645

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

"an app that would have given us a bad reputation, and open the playing field for copycats to take the name"

Seems strange you are concerned about this. The point of it being open is that more people get involved. Further I don't think people will think "unofficial" means that you stole anything. I have the mobile app as well and it was not clear to me that it wasn't a part of the original game. I still would have bought it either way, but I feel mislead.

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#5 2019-03-06 21:15:14

Kinrany
Member
Registered: 2018-01-22
Posts: 229

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

The best and easiest solution here still seems to be changing the name and the graphics.

You could start using a genre name like "OHOL-like". I'm pretty sure Jason's game *will* spawn a new genre sooner on later.

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#6 2019-03-06 21:28:12

BladeWoods
Member
Registered: 2018-08-11
Posts: 162

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Your version of the story is pretty much that you're a perfect angel that did nothing wrong, and Jason is a crazy monster and is doing all of this for no conceivable reason. Try being more truthful.

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#7 2019-03-06 21:52:57

breezeknight
Member
Registered: 2018-04-02
Posts: 701

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

unbelievable

@Christoffer
you don't do yourself any favour by the tone & the contents of your post

the demands of Jason are pretty simple

he doesn't wish to be mixed up as the maker of your app

what's so wrongfull about that ?

& you have quite a hutzpa

you use Jason's work - his idea, the title of his game, the graphics he drawn by hand himself, the animations, the sounds made using his voice, the music he composed & recorded, the feel of the game
& then you accuse him of being untruthful ?

i have no idea what your goals are
but you burn atm your way as game developer to be taken seriously


the solution to all this is still the same simple
change the title, exchange the graphics, exchange the sounds & music & write inspired by Jason Rohrer
case closed

but i now suspect you are just trying the impossible
to sever Jason Rohrer from his game lol
you cannot succeed, there is no way you will be able to succeed on this path
but you might succeed to end up in court, despite open source & public domain, lol

- - -

Last edited by breezeknight (2019-03-06 21:54:00)

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#8 2019-03-06 22:11:17

Portager
Member
Registered: 2018-03-09
Posts: 202

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Sounds to me as though you and Jason need to sit down and work your troubles out face to face, there is too much "he said, she said" discourse going on at the moment.

Christoffer, your work on this mobile port is admirable, but the most suspect part of your development is your entrance to the Chinese market. From a business standpoint kudos to you, but from a moral standpoint, you more or less excluded the original creator of this game from one of the world's largest video gaming markets. Now, if Jason decides to release in China, there may be legal ramifications (due to the trademark issues) or consumer confusion since the mobile game will already be more established. At the end of the day though, I was here when you first contacted Jason about your project long ago, and I do think you have held up your end of the bargain for the most part. The widespread popularity of your mobile port was unexpected overall, and that has led to issues of project identity. These are the issues that I hope you can find a solution on. Honestly, if Jason will do it, meet somewhere and iron out these details. Face to face can be awkward, but I suspect that you each would gain some new appreciation for one another, and a new willingness to work together. It would also be a gesture of goodwill, imo.

I am happy you shared your story, and I am also happy to know Jason's story. Hopefully this resolves itself soon.

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#9 2019-03-06 22:24:45

voy178
Member
From: Sweden
Registered: 2018-08-18
Posts: 123

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Don't you care about money though? You stated that you were worried about your livelihood. Seems to me you're just out for the money, why else would you be worried that others might take your spot in hauling in the money it does net you for relatively little effort.

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#10 2019-03-06 23:44:07

Greep
Member
Registered: 2018-12-16
Posts: 266

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

BladeWoods wrote:

Your version of the story is pretty much that you're a perfect angel that did nothing wrong, and Jason is a crazy monster and is doing all of this for no conceivable reason. Try being more truthful.

TBF Jason's OP was also pretty one-sided.  This is like bitch-at-the-other-guy-cat-fight-forum-free-for-all at this point.  We need an OHOL popcorn eating gif.

Last edited by Greep (2019-03-06 23:47:54)


Likes sword based eve names.  Claymore, blades, sword.  Never understimate the blades!

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#11 2019-03-07 00:02:54

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 1,668

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Addressing your concern that I would keep wielding this club over you repeatedly in the future, even if you complied today:

I would be willing to sign a legally-binding agreement, promising that if you make the requested changes, and stick to them as long as they are necessary, I will make no further demands for clarification, even if my changes end up not being "sufficient" in the future.  I do believe that the changes would be sufficient to let every player know.  They would be displayed in three places, making it impossible for players to miss.

When I say "as long as they are necessary," I mean that, in the future, if you take the path of using the engine to make your own unique game, to the point where no one would be confused anymore, you could change the title, and no specific notice of any kind would be needed anymore to clarify the situation.  Of course, we'd have to cross that bridge at that time.  But we're nowhere near that now.



By the way, my main concern has always been the extraordinary damage that was done in China, and continues to be done, with misleading messaging.  There needs to be some kind of pretty extreme correction for that.

I didn't know about that horrifying website before, but now I do, and it is just as misleading, and even worse, because it mixes Don't Starve's art with mine.  It still has not been taken down.

http://www.1hourlife.com/web.html

Also, there is a fraudulent copyright claim at the bottom of that website.


If I were you, I would be taking ALL of this stuff in China down until I got everything ironed out.  Leaving it up there is just doing more damage, day by day.

Now, after this, I find out about the trademark and the copyright in China.  It just keeps getting worse for the truth, my legacy, and my own claim to my own game.



And yes, you can blame this all on your publishing partner.  They are clearly not the best.


But here's the problem:  you picked them!  You negotiated with them.  You set this all up with them.  You set the parameters.  You can't claim that you didn't see any of this stuff before it went live, or in the 50+ days after it went live.  I've seen you tweeting about success in China.  You've clearly been looking at that TapTap page over the past 50+ days.

And furthermore, your programmer apparently speaks Chinese.  I'm sure he was reading TapTap reviews.  The idea that your team had no knowledge of any of this text... it's really hard to believe.



Now, regarding me being a Sith Lord, you really left me with no alternative.  I've pointed out this ongoing fraud to you, and given you a time limit to start making corrections that would set the record straight.  The deadline passed with absolutely no movement made on your end.

And here we sit with the fraud continuing.  Mixing illegal artwork in with my artwork in a way that implies I would approve such a thing (from a direct genre-competitor's game, even worse).  Sure, it's not your doing, and not your fault.  But who can stop it, except for you?  I certainly have no control over your Chinese publishing partner.  So what they're doing with your version of my game is your responsibility.

On Monday morning, I decided that the fraud needed to stop, and if you weren't going to take steps, I would have to use the only tool available to me, which was a take-down notice.  Given the desperation of the situation, I worded the requests in what I felt would be the most effective, yet honest, form that I could.  In my opinion, your use of my work IS unauthorized currently.  Not for reasons of copyright, but for reasons of fraud, and because you are in direct and continuing breach of whatever email agreements we have had in the past.  The fact that you are in breach in China revokes whatever authorization you had to use my work with Apple and Google.


Even that didn't spur you to action, so I withdrew it, imagining that this was not the end of the situation, as I had hoped, but only the beginning of a long and bloody struggle.  And also... I don't really want to destroy the mobile version, or your livelihood.  I just want the situation to be clear to everyone.  Destroying it is one way to achieve that, but that's a pretty severe side-effect.  I hoped the threat of it being destroyed would finally spur you to move.  Somehow, even that didn't work.

I have no idea what was going through your mind there....  you must have had some kind of plan...  And there is NO plan there that is good and moral, except the plan to curl up and die.  The idea that you might be considering suing me over my own game is.... just...



Now that I've withdrawn the notice, two days have gone by with still no action.  Fraud continues, and new examples are uncovered.


Again, Christoffer, what do you expect me to do in this situation?


I guess you expect me to do what I'm doing now:   Nothing.  If you sit tight long enough, the whole thing will just blow over.  My deadlines mean nothing, it seems.  I said 72 hours.  Here we are approaching 144 hours.  Instead of spending that time taking action, you spent it typing up more explanation and justification.


And somehow, you expect me NOT to reach out to journalists?  How else shall I get the word out, and let people know that I didn't make the mobile version?


Regarding the "Great review" email from August, I was happy to hear that the reviewer had gotten so much out of the game.  And this was long before the confusion emerged, and long before you started making more dramatic changes to the game, and long before the fraud in China.  In other words, the situation was totally different back then than it is now.  The reviewer wasn't covering Jason Rohrer's Santa Claus as part of the review, nor was he giving DualDecade exclusive credit for the game---he didn't even mention you guys, strangely enough.

Now, I look at that history through a different lens.  No wonder so many people were confused.  Look at these reviews!  Even they didn't know, and it was never corrected.

So now, with the current situation in mind, I'm taking steps to correct it, including contacting those reviewers and telling them the truth.  And really, I mean the truth.  I opened my message to this guy by telling him that the game is in the public domain, so unofficial ports are "fine":

h2cDZIy.png

I have permission from this guy to post this private conversation.

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#12 2019-03-07 00:16:47

jord1990
Moderator
Registered: 2018-03-03
Posts: 109

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

I mean at this point can we still say the Chinese publisher is making mistakes?? How many did they make in a row now 3-4??

Seems you found yourself a bit of a shady partner Chris

Edit: Oh hey, Jason also blamed the publisher while I was reading your story and writing my response.  Didnt read jasons post before I posted mine

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#13 2019-03-07 00:26:03

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 1,668

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Christoffer wrote:

We could do as Jason asked and live with the consequences (an app that would have given us a bad reputation, and open the playing field for copycats to take the name)

What on earth?

You are making an adaptation of a public domain work!  You should have absolutely no expectations of exclusivity, not to the name, the idea, the graphics, the gameplay... none of it!

Copycats "taking" the name?  What name?  The name that I invented?  The name that I permitted you (and anyone else) to use?

You are a "copycat" yourself, don't forget, in no better position than anyone else who wants to make an OHOL adaptation.

You were a first mover in the mobile space, but that doesn't mean that you have any homesteader's rights.

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#14 2019-03-07 01:08:30

CatX
Member
Registered: 2019-02-11
Posts: 34

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Christoffer, if I may offer another viewpoint:

It seems to me that your main concern, and your main reason for inaction when it comes to Jason's request, is that you feel you did nothing wrong.

But sometimes, things go wrong even if everyone involved do the right things. This seems to be such a case.

If you take steps to make the necessary fixes, it doesn't mean that you were wrong all along. Nor does it mean that you bent to someone else's demands.

It only means you righted a wrong.

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#15 2019-03-07 01:37:08

Peremptive
Member
Registered: 2019-02-14
Posts: 189

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

not trying to be the devil's advocate, but it is already weird that two games on two platforms have the same name, it would be worse if multiple games on the same platform had the same name. The dd people want to protect their adaptation in a similar way that you want to protect your original work.

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#16 2019-03-07 01:45:22

Redram
Member
Registered: 2018-08-16
Posts: 98

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

jasonrohrer wrote:

I'm taking steps to correct it, including contacting those reviewers and telling them the truth.  And really, I mean the truth.

No link to the 7-page forum discussion eh?  Just your quick version of things, nothing else for them to judge based on?   Ya, seems totally truthful and above-board.  Are you afraid that if people have two sides to the story, they might actually form balanced opinion and decide that your story is not snow-white-pure?  You should be.

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#17 2019-03-07 01:56:33

Chard
Moderator
Registered: 2018-03-04
Posts: 106

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Redram wrote:
jasonrohrer wrote:

I'm taking steps to correct it, including contacting those reviewers and telling them the truth.  And really, I mean the truth.

No link to the 7-page forum discussion eh?  Just your quick version of things, nothing else for them to judge based on?   Ya, seems totally truthful and above-board.  Are you afraid that if people have two sides to the story, they might actually form balanced opinion and decide that your story is not snow-white-pure?  You should be.

Hi Redram. The link to the forum was right there in the screenshot. Contacting the reviewers is an effort to make sure they've heard more sides than they until then had done.

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#18 2019-03-07 02:03:17

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 1,668

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Yes, RedRam, you can see the link to the 7-page discussion right there in that screen shot:

ScreenShot wrote:

I am not afraid of anything, which is why I have posted everything openly here, instead of doing things in the dark.

I have had absolutely no private communications about this matter, except to a few personal friends to ask for advice, and those were by phone or in person, which is why they haven't been posted here.

I'm definitely not "snow-white-pure."

But going back to my original open letter, I have absolutely no regrets about anything that I said there, or what I was asking for, and am still asking for, or why.

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#19 2019-03-07 05:17:40

carbon
Member
Registered: 2018-08-09
Posts: 47

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

jasonrohrer wrote:

What on earth?

You are making an adaptation of a public domain work!  You should have absolutely no expectations of exclusivity, not to the name, the idea, the graphics, the gameplay... none of it!

Copycats "taking" the name?  What name?  The name that I invented?  The name that I permitted you (and anyone else) to use?

You are a "copycat" yourself, don't forget, in no better position than anyone else who wants to make an OHOL adaptation.

You were a first mover in the mobile space, but that doesn't mean that you have any homesteader's rights.

I'm honestly surprised that there aren't more people trying to capitalize on the success of the mobile game.

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#20 2019-03-07 14:30:11

CrazyEddie
Member
Registered: 2018-11-12
Posts: 676

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Jason, the mobile developers have not committed fraud. You should stop saying that.

Also, every time you tell someone that you don't approve of the mobile version, you should also remind whoever you are talking to that the mobile devs don't need your approval, and that you specifically placed your work in the public domain so that people could develop things using your work regardless of whether you approve of what they do with it or not.

The things you are telling people are just as misleading (by omission) as you claim the mobile developers are being.

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#21 2019-03-07 15:06:52

Christoffer
Member
From: Sweden
Registered: 2018-04-06
Posts: 147
Website

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

I have now updated the post #2 about the steps we are taking.

And quickly before I leave for a while: Regarding the use of the word copycat, I checked on Wikipedia, and didn't see the definition I was expecting there. So I guess I picked the wrong word.

What I meant was what I had written a bit earlier. "Any other developers could make their own version of OHOL as an app without consulting Jason. They would become the “authorized” version in people’s minds."
There are companies that make it a business model of watching what is currently popular, then make a quick and dirty knock-off of bad quality, cash in some money and then leave users hanging without bug fixes, support, etc. No-one who has played our adaptation could mistake us for such a company.

That's what I think of when I hear "copycat", but I guess that's not exactly what it means.

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#22 2019-03-07 15:26:25

Booklat1
Member
Registered: 2018-07-21
Posts: 696

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

CrazyEddie wrote:

Jason, the mobile developers have not committed fraud. You should stop saying that.

Also, every time you tell someone that you don't approve of the mobile version, you should also remind whoever you are talking to that the mobile devs don't need your approval, and that you specifically placed your work in the public domain so that people could develop things using your work regardless of whether you approve of what they do with it or not.

The things you are telling people are just as misleading (by omission) as you claim the mobile developers are being.

you're the most reasonable here

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#23 2019-03-07 16:53:58

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 1,668

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

Eddie, if you look at that Twitter PM chat with the journalist, did you see anything misleading there?  Again, I open the conversation by explaining that the game is in the public domain.

Regarding the term "fraud":

1.  wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.
"he was convicted of fraud"

2. a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.
"mediums exposed as tricksters and frauds"

I am using it in both senses here.  There is wrongful personal gain to be had by making a false claim of sole authorship, by staking claim to the trademark and/or copyright in China, etc.  And "unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments" is precisely what is going on here.

A fraudulent copyright claim is indeed "fraud" in the legal sense, see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyfraud

This article is, in particular, talking about copyright claims made over public domain work.  Claiming copyright over the entire game in China, without specifically spelling out that you're claiming copyright over only the parts you added, and not noting that the rest of the work is in the public domain, is fraud.

Apparently, an official copyright registration has taken place, and we have yet to see the wording in that registration.  But this website continues to lay an unqualified claim to copyright:

http://www.1hourlife.com/web.html

Trademark applications can also be fraudulent.  Trademarking the direct Chinese translation of the game's title, which is already in wide use by Chinese fans of the game, is fraud.

And the sole claim to authorship that was made for 40+ days in the presentation of the mobile Chinese version was fraudulent.  Maybe not in a legal sense, Eddie, but in a dictionary sense---but I suspect that the legal sense and the dictionary sense are the same, as they almost always are.  Judges quote from the dictionary all the time in their rulings.


Now, you may be simply questioning the "intent" part of it, and I concede somewhat there, but I think there is intent by proxy, on the part of the Chinese publishing partner.  Fraud is being committed on the mobile developers' behalf by their authorized agents.


But let me reiterate that in our friendly agreements by email, back in May 2018, I warned of the potential for fraud here.  This is not a new idea that I suddenly sprung on them out of nowhere:

Essentially, everything I do, including names, is in the public domain and not copyrighted, trademarked, etc.

However, that doesn't give people the right to mislead people.  Fraud and copyright are two different issues.  If I were to take a public domain work (The Wizard of Oz), I could still release it under that title.  If I modified it, I could no longer claim it was by Baum, but I could say it was based on Baum's work.  If I presented it as my own work 100%, when it was not, I would again be committing fraud, though not violating copyright.

So, just be sure to make this clear.  Same game, but an unofficial port, by you guys, but based on my work.  You don't HAVE to say that it is based on my work, by the way (there is no attribution license in place here), but if you're claiming authorship yourselves, you'd better mention this so as not to commit fraud.

So they were well aware of how concerned I was about the potential for people to be misled, and what i thought that would mean.  This was two months in to their development process.

My legal opinion here might be unorthodox, but again, I think the situation is completely without precedent.  Even if the Wizard of Oz situation manifested itself, there's no one living who would care to contest it legally.  Still, I think there's a pretty clear case that claiming sole authorship to W/o/Oz would be legally fraudulent.  When the author is living and still actively working on the original work/service in question, I think it becomes even more clear.

The only case law I could find (thanks Jere) is this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dastar_Co … _Film_Corp.

But again, the particulars of this case are different enough.  It's not a perfect fit.  (The original work was based largely on public domain footage anyway, the original work was itself an adaptation, the derivative work made substantial changes and released it under a different title, the original authors were not actively promoting the original work for a long time, the copyright had officially lapsed, the "original authors" weren't even involved in making this new claim (many of them were probably retired or dead), there was no danger of public confusion---because the original work was long forgotten.)

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#24 2019-03-07 17:07:23

jere
Member
Registered: 2017-04-09
Posts: 17

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

I don't agree with a lot in here and the behavior from the Chinese publishers looks horrible, but this point rings 100% true:

What I meant was what I had written a bit earlier. "Any other developers could make their own version of OHOL as an app without consulting Jason. They would become the “authorized” version in people’s minds."

According to what Jason has laid out:

1) Unacceptable behavior: make a mobile port of OHOL called One Hour, One Life. Put your name on it and not Jason's name.

2) Acceptable behavior: make a mobile port of OHOL called One Hour, One Life. Put no one's name on it.

Someone else could come along and do (2). They get 100k downloads. People still confuse their game with the original game. Erroneous bug reports are still filed. Reviewers still get confused. Hundreds of thousands of players of people play Jason's game without knowing who he is.

But that's an acceptable outcome?

In situation, this "anonymous" publisher does have a huge leg up over Christoffer because they don't have "Unofficial" in their name and they don't have "not approved by" disclaimers, both of which make players extremely uncomfortable.

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#25 2019-03-07 17:26:06

CrazyEddie
Member
Registered: 2018-11-12
Posts: 676

Re: Open Letter From the Mobile Developers

jasonrohrer wrote:

Eddie, if you look at that Twitter PM chat with the journalist, did you see anything misleading there?  Again, I open the conversation by explaining that the game is in the public domain.

Yes, I did. You say to him:

"I have decided that what they are doing is no longer permitted."

But you don't have the right to make that decision. You gave that right away when you put your work in the public domain.

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