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Legal Topic For Siggraph 2015 Talk

category: general [glöplog]
Hey everybody,
I've been in touch with ACM Siggraph about a talk next year on a legal topic. Is there a legal issue you'd love to know more about that could interest or even blow the Siggraph audience away, ideally even next year?
I'd greatly appreciate your input.
added on the 2014-09-29 18:28:02 by netpoet netpoet
added on the 2014-09-29 20:09:54 by las las
added on the 2014-09-29 20:10:07 by las las
or how you can deal with others using your "free" stuff. like e.g. that recent incident with some lnx dj using the lnx logo.. and im sure it happens more often that stuff reappears elsewhere, sometimes slightly altered... so how to best approach that? i mean we cannot stick CCs everywhere ;)
added on the 2014-09-30 00:25:35 by Maali Maali
I'm curious about the effects that anti-piracy measures, international treaties and the huge differences in local policies have on the global creative industry.
added on the 2014-09-30 04:39:26 by numtek numtek
The legal status of unpublished source code.

Let's say there's a game that was published 20 years ago. The legal status of the game is muddy (through mergers, bankruptcies, etc). Someone finds the source code - that was never made public - on an old hard drive somewhere. What's the legal status of it?
added on the 2014-09-30 08:20:56 by sol_hsa sol_hsa
Distributing abandonware and remaking games / software where the original license is in limbo / unknown state.

Legality of homebrew software & circumventing limits on custom software on both old and current hardware
added on the 2014-09-30 15:17:09 by visy visy
remember its still siggraph and not your usual demoparty audience so something with gfx/visuals would probably be best (although ive never been there so i might be wrong)?

for examlple how many pixels/visual elements are you allowed to rip until it can be declared a scene bubble uh i mean stolen work, where is the border where you can apply copyright to it (clearly you cant on every blue pixel you put on a screen)?

or maybe a bit more on the technical side, shaders and rendering algorithms: can you claim the ownership of a certain result/performance even if another implementation competes similar but uses a different approach?

and because we are over the copyright/patent shit anyway maybe something on software patents in general.. are they good or bad? do they hinder development? are they ethical?

just some ideas, probably been done to death already anyway :p
added on the 2014-09-30 16:14:51 by wysiwtf wysiwtf
Since we're talking about patents: what kind of patents would block hardware implementations of raytracing right now? (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if PowerVR already holds a bunch of key ones given they have already been messing with hardware raytracing, which would block any competitors)
added on the 2014-09-30 16:22:19 by Sik Sik
Thanks for all those ideas! Keep 'em coming!
I'll look into all of this thoroughly to see what there is to it and, frankly, how much I can offer to a mostly US-American crowd with my German-law background.
added on the 2014-09-30 19:46:27 by netpoet netpoet
@visy: this is different from abandonware. The source code was never published, so there's no publication date.
added on the 2014-10-01 08:29:34 by sol_hsa sol_hsa
How about an ethical debate about whether or not to contribute to a patent that you know is bogus or close-to-bogus. I mean patents on things that are the direct result of a sane engineering process, where any somewhat competent engineer, given the same goals, would end up with the same result. Engineers often author these patents anyway, because their employer needs them to defend against patent trolls and Oracle. But if the employer('s patent portfolio) is bought by Oracle or a patent troll, what then?

Related: in which jurisdictions can an employer fire you if you refuse to co-author a patent application?

Netpoet, about the mostly US-American crowd: it would be awesome if you couldn't make US-legislation only. In fact, in the US the answer to any legal question whatsoever seems to be "lawyer up. now", so what's the use :-) Other legislations might be way more interesting in that respect.
added on the 2014-10-01 13:07:15 by skrebbel skrebbel
how much I can offer to a mostly US-American crowd with my German-law background.

make that your topic - there are a few very interesting (IMHO) differences regarding copyright in german and US law :)
added on the 2014-10-01 13:21:53 by groepaz groepaz
I think I found something that could excite the Siggraph audience.

Let's assume you are at Siggraph and you read the following title in the directory.

Would you--

a) Want to go and hear the talk;
b) Want to read more about the talk;
c) Not want to go?

“The donkey is a zebra!––Why legal work has little to do with magic.”


Explanation: I sometimes show my seminar participants an image of a donkey that, once you zoom in, reveals that it shows a zebra (you initially just couldn’t see the stripes because it was too far away). Often I hear how a certain court decision is “unbelievable” or how a certain law “makes no sense”. It’s a wonderful door opener for differences in national laws because it shows two things. For one, it shows how as a lawyer, too, you need to dig into details to come up with the perfect solution, and also, it allows for examples of how for example the US and Germany regulate certain areas such as copyrights and data protection differently.

Overview on a potential agenda:

  • How legal work is hardly magic but usually hard work and thorough (and ideally, common-sense-based) wording;
  • Examples of differences in national laws in copyrights, data protection, and laws dealing with General Terms and Conditions. When the time suffices, even a quick excursion to TTIP and its consequences are possible;
  • What role court decisions play in both countries, and what you can do to avoid as much potential harm as possible in contracts;
  • Choice of law in contracts, and what lines should not be crossed (i.e. with consumers).

added on the 2014-10-14 17:08:43 by netpoet netpoet
sounds good. i would go.
added on the 2014-10-14 18:45:33 by psenough psenough
I think the title is a bit odd (which attracts curiosity), but based on the topics I would go for sure. It covers at least half (agenda points 2&3) of the subjects I want to learn more about from a legal perspective.
added on the 2014-10-15 06:19:17 by numtek numtek
How and why - or why not - protect assets such as 3D models, textures and so on.
added on the 2014-10-15 07:43:04 by Marq Marq
@Numtek: Who knows, I might cover parts of this talk at Revision next year if Dfox lets me. :)

@Marq: The basic question of what to protect how (and whether at all) is so generic that I'd want to narrow it down a bit, but I could maybe even include aspects of this in the talk mentionend above.

Thanks again, everybody, for your feedback! Ideas are still welcome. I'm eager to see what my Siggraph contact will say about this idea. :)
added on the 2014-10-15 12:39:24 by netpoet netpoet


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