Needless to say, the mailbag’s been busy about the Verant episode (scroll down and read if you aren’t up to speed, it’s been a busy day – and here I was worried about running out of things to bitch about)
I am not a expert but I do know copyright law. This document clearly falls under fair use clause if you were using it to criticize the guide program and using this document as an example to illustrate this. Further because it has no commercial value there can be no damages awarded. They still can however sue to block its use. But they would have a snowballs chance in hell of winning. You most likely could file a counter suit for your court costs as they would be filing a vicious lawsuit. Besides if you made a big fuss about it and they did file a suit you would be famous and so would your site.
They are not stupid and they know this… They were hoping you would cave to get rid of you without a fight!!!
I did in fact plan on using the “fair use” clause if Verant chose to escalate. However, a few things would have worked against my use of “fair use” – I made the entire document available, instead of excerpts, and there was no actual comments made regarding the document other then “You might find this interesting”. Of course, to those familiar with Verant’s history of deep-sixing ANY insider knowledge of their game, the existence of the manual is itself newsworthy. Which is why I posted it.
There was some minor commercial value involved in that this site carries advertising. (Not that *I* see any revenue from it, mind you.)
I also believed that if I carried this to the end, they would in fact sue, to create precedent. Frankly, I don’t really want to spend thousands of dollars to make a point. However, I did understand that once I uploaded the document, it was released. Try as they might, Verant can’t stuff the genie back in the bottle. I’m sure eventually it will appear on a Russian web site or some other location fairly immune from Verant’s legal terrorism.
Verant does take some people seriously. Or shall I say, they do favour some people. I used to beta test Tanarus, also a 989/Verant game, and there would be the select few Elite who would get their favour. It seems to me that Verant is a basement company that came to fame and glory without knowing how to handle it. I could be wrong.
I got the lack of professionalism vibe a few times as well (the “President and CEO” of a company shaking down rogue web sites? Doesn’t he have minions like Richard Garriott does?). A good example is the “989news.txt” file, which you should be able to read on your Everquest CD. It was just patched recently to read, in full, “deleteme”. Check out the copy on CD. Basically, news postings from early in the beta. Pressed onto the release CD. Installed on every user’s hard drive. Quality Assurance – gotta love it.