Author Topic: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold  (Read 13736 times)

SteelRaven

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #480 on: 12 August 2017, 20:58:21 »
My Warhammer and Marauder are still in my MWO hanger so it's a little early to scream 'doom!' or presume everyone is just laying down. This isn't Judge Judy, we are not going to see every minute of this argument and it will take a hell of allot longer than 15-30 min. My only real concern (other than the judge being a idiot) is that HG will try to drag this out and tie everything up.
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monbvol

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #481 on: 12 August 2017, 21:09:39 »
IMR/CGL probably does have the best chance of getting out of this just fine as there seems to be no claim against the new Classic art.

HBS next best as they can as a worst case scenario point out that they haven't actually used the most questionable designs yet and the ones they have used mentioned in the suit look pretty distinctly different.

PGI, well some of those designs are a bit close even to my eye.  But they seem prepared to fight.

pheonixstorm

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #482 on: 12 August 2017, 22:39:32 »
Actually HBS has the least to worry about as they only licensed the models from PGI. CGL is IMO in the worst position. The last casefile I found had HG trying to go after CGL based on the prototype minis in CM Merc as well as the Marauder art. I don't remember anything other than the Marauder and Warhammer being attacked though. The link for that PDF is either here or over in the HG discussion at the HBS forums. I just hope that CGL can afford to take this to trial as PGI wants to do. It would be nice to see this issue resolved once and for all with out another BS settlement.

glitterboy2098

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #483 on: 12 August 2017, 23:39:32 »
IIRC the Marauder and Warhammer are about the only ones released so far that were originally macross derived unseen. we haven't had hint of what the the archer or crusader looks like yet at all, and the Wasp, stinger, and p-hawk hadn't been released yet when the case got filed. but i would presume that if the marauder and warhammer get hit as infringing, all the others will be cancelled until they can be massively redesigned.

monbvol

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #484 on: 12 August 2017, 23:50:37 »
Actually HBS has the least to worry about as they only licensed the models from PGI. CGL is IMO in the worst position. The last casefile I found had HG trying to go after CGL based on the prototype minis in CM Merc as well as the Marauder art. I don't remember anything other than the Marauder and Warhammer being attacked though. The link for that PDF is either here or over in the HG discussion at the HBS forums. I just hope that CGL can afford to take this to trial as PGI wants to do. It would be nice to see this issue resolved once and for all with out another BS settlement.

Unless the complaint has been amended and the publicly available documents not been updated there is nothing in Harmony Gold's lawsuit about the new Classic art.

Now that doesn't change the fact that I agree that CGL has the most to lose if this goes bad.  From the documents I can get my hands on their case actually seems easiest to win.

HBS's case isn't much worse or harder really because as you mention they are only sub-licensing.

IIRC the Marauder and Warhammer are about the only ones released so far that were originally macross derived unseen. we haven't had hint of what the the archer or crusader looks like yet at all, and the Wasp, stinger, and p-hawk hadn't been released yet when the case got filed. but i would presume that if the marauder and warhammer get hit as infringing, all the others will be cancelled until they can be massively redesigned.

We have new CClassic Archer art.  Now when it came out in relation to this lawsuit I'm not sure.

ColBosch

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #485 on: 13 August 2017, 01:30:19 »
The lawsuit was amended and does include the new CGL Marauder, Archer, and Warhammer. This has been previously mentioned in this thread.

https://www.unitedstatescourts.org/federal/wawd/242820/

See item 31.
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pheonixstorm

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #486 on: 13 August 2017, 02:43:36 »
Another point of speculation floating around is that the real reason for involving HBS was to get the case in a US court rather than a Canadian one since that is where PGI is based. It is possible that CGL was just tossed in as an afterthought to handle all the little fish at the same time or just scare all the other little fish.

lrose

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #487 on: 13 August 2017, 08:01:11 »
If you look at Docket item 32 it has an interesting line in the Statement of Plantiff. 

In the 1996 agreement, which was entered pursuant to a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Mr. Weisman and certain of his business partners, Mr. Weisman agreed that he would not “make any use, and will not authorize [his] licensees to make any use, of the visual design images of the twelve (12) Battlemechs listed below except as provided in this agreement.”

It looks like that is a direct quote from the 1996 agreement- what I am curious about is the exceptions provided by the agreement.  That could be very interesting.

ColBosch

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #488 on: 13 August 2017, 09:02:42 »
FASA and Ral Partha were allowed to sell off their remaining stock of infringing material. RP listed the Unseen for years after the settlement.
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monbvol

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #489 on: 13 August 2017, 10:11:25 »
Okay I was grabbing an out of date document.  Which I won't be surprised if it is amended again.

To be honest it does just make me even more convinced that we as fans should have demanded even more distinctly different art for those mechs and that far too many perfect chances to put this behind us once and for all have been wasted.

While the Classic art does look distinct enough to me I'm not on the jury(yet, I do live in the area where the jury can be pulled from when time comes).

Which is the only part that still worries me.

Talen5000

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #490 on: 13 August 2017, 10:53:05 »
Yrs...but on tne amended docket, it keeps referring to the new models as "Based on"

I don't think that's the standard for copyright infringement.
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ColBosch

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #491 on: 13 August 2017, 11:04:28 »
Yrs...but on tne amended docket, it keeps referring to the new models as "Based on"

I don't think that's the standard for copyright infringement.

Yes, it is. Most copyright litigation is not over direct reproduction, but instead about what are called "derivative works." The classic example is the intro to Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" as compared to the bassline of Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure."
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ColBosch

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #492 on: 16 August 2017, 22:24:43 »
Okay, here's what we've been waiting for: Leonard French, an actual copyright attorney, reviews this case.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPou5WuE-Y4

I'll let him speak for himself.
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Liam's Ghost

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #493 on: 16 August 2017, 22:49:07 »
"Well, they're both humanoid robots."

A rousing endorsement of Harmony Gold!

All told, pretty interesting assessment.
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Easy

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #494 on: 16 August 2017, 23:17:27 »
The thought of Harmony Gold lawyers poring over my fan fiction for derivative works is kind of creepy, but this is pretty much as I might have expected.

The license chain for the 'Mech designs is still pretty opaque to me regarding the four companies I consider the mainstays; Catalyst, Piranha, Harebrained, and Iron Winds. Oh, and Microsoft.

The thought of me having some sort of project where I would necessarily have a good cause to want a license is pretty far-fetched. But, say, I wanted to have a BattleTech novel published, or something. I mean, I don't see any other way around Catalyst, which is, actually, optimal, right? I certainly would feel more comfortable approaching a company with this much love for the BattleTech Universe than a generic copyright-holder. I don't see a scenario where I would want to ask Harmony Gold for permission, or pay them, because I write a story in which I describe a Rifleman, even briefly.

So, the gentleman has done a good job of dusting off the worst cobwebs and rank speculation and for that he deserves some gratitude, at least. I look forward to the next update.
« Last Edit: 16 August 2017, 23:58:31 by Easy »

monbvol

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #495 on: 16 August 2017, 23:45:18 »
The interesting part is that reading through the comments Tatsunoko did try and break Harmony Gold's grip on Macross but lost.

The lack of restraining orders and cease and desist orders is interesting and does seem to suggest Harmony Gold is more looking for a settlement than a fight.

As such I hope PGI, HBS, and IMR/CGL do manage to fight and win.

ColBosch

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #496 on: 17 August 2017, 00:00:21 »
The thought of Harmony Gold lawyers poring over my fan fiction for derivative works is kind of creepy, but this is pretty much as I might have expected.

The license chain for the 'Mech designs is still pretty opaque to me regarding the four companies I consider the mainstays; Catalyst, Piranha, Harebrained, and Iron Winds. Oh, and Microsoft.

The thought of me having some sort of project where I would necessarily have a good cause to want a license is pretty far-fetched. But, say, I wanted to have a BattleTech novel published, or something. I mean, I don't see any other way around Catalyst, which is, actually, optimal, right? I certainly would feel more comfortable approaching a company with this much love for the BattleTech Universe than a generic copyright-holder. I don't see a scenario where I would want to ask Harmony Gold for permission, or pay them, because I write a story in which I describe a Rifleman, even briefly.

So, the gentleman has done a good job of dusting off the worst cobwebs and rank speculation and for that he deserves some gratitude, at least. I look forward to the next update.

Catalyst not only allows fanfic, they implicitly encourage it, as long as it's not for sale.

And FYI:
BattleTech boardgames and novels: Owner is Topps, Inc. They license it to InMediaRes, who publishes products under their Catalyst Game Labs imprint. Topps also licenses the visual designs to Iron Wind Metals to produce miniatures.
BattleTech video games: Owner is Microsoft. They license it to Piranha Games Inc., who publish MechWarrior Online, and PGI has sublicensed their visual designs to Harebrained Schemes for the new BattleTech video game.

The two franchises (BT tabletop and BT video game) share a universe up to roughly the start of the Jihad, but due to licensing weirdness use different visual designs.

The lack of restraining orders and cease and desist orders is interesting and does seem to suggest Harmony Gold is more looking for a settlement than a fight.

Yes, that was something I hadn't considered, either. Very interesting.
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Valkerie

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #497 on: 17 August 2017, 00:03:45 »
I find it interesting that the RT fans seem to hate HG just as much as the BT fans do.  30 plus years with that IP and very little done with it.  Got several friends who would love to see that change and have RT grow again, but they're all convinced it won't happen until someone else (somehow) gets control of RT.  Don't see that happening anytime soon.

Very curious to see if this goes to trial.  There are a couple of images that might be iffy, but then others (compairing the redesigned Shadow Hawk to a Destroid Spartan?!) aren't even close.

I as well hope that all of our BT folks put up a good fight and come out on top and put this BS to rest once and for all.
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YingJanshi

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #498 on: 17 August 2017, 00:53:28 »
The interesting part is that reading through the comments Tatsunoko did try and break Harmony Gold's grip on Macross but lost.

The lack of restraining orders and cease and desist orders is interesting and does seem to suggest Harmony Gold is more looking for a settlement than a fight.

As such I hope PGI, HBS, and IMR/CGL do manage to fight and win.

My thinking is that HG thought they could intimidate them into settling out of court. But PGI/HBS et al called their bluff. (Which might explain the laughable selection of images.)

I find it interesting that the RT fans seem to hate HG just as much as the BT fans do.  30 plus years with that IP and very little done with it.  Got several friends who would love to see that change and have RT grow again, but they're all convinced it won't happen until someone else (somehow) gets control of RT.  Don't see that happening anytime soon.

Very curious to see if this goes to trial.  There are a couple of images that might be iffy, but then others (compairing the redesigned Shadow Hawk to a Destroid Spartan?!) aren't even close.

I as well hope that all of our BT folks put up a good fight and come out on top and put this BS to rest once and for all.

The question that I am most curious about is what happens if it goes completely against HG and is decided that their copyright is void because they bought the rights from the wrong holder? They own RoboTech...but if they lose the rights to Macross...what exactly is left of RoboTech? Just the story? (Granted I doubt it will go that far, but highlights the curious nature of the case.)

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ColBosch

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #499 on: 17 August 2017, 00:59:59 »
No idea. It's almost certainly outside the purview of this case.
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pheonixstorm

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #500 on: 17 August 2017, 01:05:15 »
If CGL has retained legal counsel how long until we see a new docket entry? I would hope soon. The longer it takes the more agitated and worried the forums may become.

ANS Kamas P81

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #501 on: 17 August 2017, 01:14:49 »
It's really interesting to me how flexible "significant similarity" can be.  To me, and I'm not an artist, I see a large number of similar visual components - take the Rifleman, a forward projecting "Cockpit" central section with two upward-projecting "side torsos" with a radar antenna on top, two gun barrels in each arm, a similar two-toed foot design, a general reverse-curve to the shape of the front of the lower leg.  All of those they both have in common, yet this lawyer doesn't seem to see much strength in HG's argument.  So what IS the requirement for showing too many things in common?  Is it specifically using the exact art from Macross/Robotech (which has happened waaaaay back in the day) and redrawing something similar, but not using the same artwork, safe?

If CGL has retained legal counsel how long until we see a new docket entry? I would hope soon. The longer it takes the more agitated and worried the forums may become.
Then in all honesty, then the forums need to grow up and learn patience.  It's not like we don't know how long it'll be, the jury trial is set for September.  So we just wait.  And meanwhile there's still books coming out from Catalyst with 'Mechs in them and things to play with; it's not like this has jammed up everything.

monbvol

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #502 on: 17 August 2017, 01:17:57 »
My thinking is that HG thought they could intimidate them into settling out of court. But PGI/HBS et al called their bluff. (Which might explain the laughable selection of images.)

I wouldn't call their image selection too laughable really.  We have a bias that helps us spot the differences and say that aforementioned differences are sufficient.

To those less biased and emotionally invested PGI's art in question and the Classics art of IMR/CGL are close enough that a jury could easily side with Harmony Gold unless a good case is made that helps point out how different they really are.

HBS though should have no trouble getting their portion of those claims decided in their favor.

Then in all honesty, then the forums need to grow up and learn patience.  It's not like we don't know how long it'll be, the jury trial is set for September.  So we just wait.  And meanwhile there's still books coming out from Catalyst with 'Mechs in them and things to play with; it's not like this has jammed up everything.

The only thing I worry about is how many products could potentially be impacted by an unfavorable result and having to start all over with new art again.

ColBosch

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #503 on: 17 August 2017, 01:50:34 »
If CGL has retained legal counsel how long until we see a new docket entry? I would hope soon. The longer it takes the more agitated and worried the forums may become.

As Leonard French said, this is the "discovery" phase. The lawyers for each side will be communicating, trading information and documents, and negotiating. They could come to an agreement tomorrow and the whole thing will be over, or they might not be able to find common ground and then things will move to the next stage, which (I believe) would be a round of presenting new amended complaints and responses.
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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #504 on: 17 August 2017, 02:37:34 »
The question that I am most curious about is what happens if it goes completely against HG and is decided that their copyright is void because they bought the rights from the wrong holder? They own RoboTech...but if they lose the rights to Macross...what exactly is left of RoboTech? Just the story? (Granted I doubt it will go that far, but highlights the curious nature of the case.)
What would happen then is that they would lose the ground to sue. In respect to the Macross stuff they would be distributors (In the form of Robotech) only, nothing more, the Southern Cross and Mospedia stuff is more likely to hold up.

glitterboy2098

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #505 on: 17 August 2017, 03:19:02 »
if the court decides that HG does not legally have the rights? they lose the case, and we all continue to do what we're doing.

it'll be the followup case where one of the anime companies sues HG over use of an invalid license that would have the big effect for them.. assuming such a case occurs.

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #506 on: 17 August 2017, 08:32:08 »
So when does Harmony Gold sue the Victorian Board of Education?
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pheonixstorm

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #507 on: 17 August 2017, 08:48:17 »
over?? Thats new and sounds interesting :P

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Re: TRO Succession Wars and Harmony Gold
« Reply #509 on: 17 August 2017, 15:15:03 »
Must have been some history lesson :P And someone has some good art skills to make it look as its actually part of the illustration.