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Michael Barnes
August 18, 2022
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Godtear Beats the Odds - Review

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thegiantbrain
August 18, 2022
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Scout Board Game Review

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The Split - Review

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July 21, 2022
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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

Recent Topics paging, uploading images and preview bugs require a patch which has not yet been released.

× Talk about collectible card here.

FFG goes GW: Orders Netrunner fansite to shut down

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18 Sep 2014 11:37 #187242 by Erik Twice
FFG issued a Cease and Dessist letter to NetrunnerDB and forced it to shut down. It was an important site for the community because you could build your own decks and dicuss them with people there.

According to the administrator of NetrunnerDB, they simply don't want any other deckbuilder to exist because FFG bought CardgameDB. They won't even allow the names of the cards, without any images. Even worse, shutting down CardgameDB has produced a chain reaction and other sites are either going down or refusing to release any content without FFG establishing what they can or can't say because they fear being the next target.

I guess they have decided shooting their own foot and shutting down fansites is better than how Hasbro does it with Magic.

Sad.

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18 Sep 2014 11:41 #187243 by Shellhead
I'm not an attorney or any other legal expert, but it was my understanding that a company can't selectively protect its intellectual properties. It must either consistently protect them or not at all.
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18 Sep 2014 11:46 #187244 by Erik Twice

Shellhead wrote: I'm not an attorney or any other legal expert, but it was my understanding that a company can't selectively protect its intellectual properties. It must either consistently protect them or not at all.

There are hundreds of Magic: The Gathering sites like NetrunnerDB so I'm sure there was no legal need to shut it down.

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18 Sep 2014 12:16 #187245 by jur
I can see the reasoning behind what FFG are doing, as there is direct competition there, rather than just people using the artwork. The question is whether that weighs up to alienating the players. We'll only know in a few years time whether this becomes a regular feature.

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18 Sep 2014 12:18 #187246 by jeb
Ooh internet lawyering! /popcorn
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18 Sep 2014 12:30 #187248 by charlest
I understand how this can be aggravating to fans, but I don't have a problem with it (assuming they are in the legal right). This is very different than GW shutting down fan sites with custom content/scenarios as those do not compete with GW in any way. This directly competes with CardgameDB and CardgameDB provides the exact same function (even if people prefer the features of NetrunnerDB).
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18 Sep 2014 12:51 #187249 by Sagrilarus
Does cardgamedb charge a fee? I never understand why these guys don't license out and use the site for advertising. Seems to me there could be a way to make some coin off a popular site.

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18 Sep 2014 13:23 #187252 by charlest

Sagrilarus wrote: Does cardgamedb charge a fee? I never understand why these guys don't license out and use the site for advertising. Seems to me there could be a way to make some coin off a popular site.


It was free last time I used it a few months ago.

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18 Sep 2014 13:31 #187253 by Erik Twice

Sagrilarus wrote: Does cardgamedb charge a fee? I never understand why these guys don't license out and use the site for advertising. Seems to me there could be a way to make some coin off a popular site.

It's free and doesn't even have advertisments. Not that the Netrunner community is big enough for it to be even a blip on the radar, though.

In fact, CadgameDB doesn't have any kind of monetization either so even then it would be pointless.

charlest wrote: I don't have a problem with it (assuming they are in the legal right)

They are also in their legal right to blacklist reviewers or force out all the Arkham Horror content out of BGG. The problem with this is not legality, but that they are shutting down a fansite for their own product and making it harder for everyone to enjoy it.

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18 Sep 2014 13:49 #187254 by Grudunza
I think this is also different from GW in that these sites allow you to actually play the game, without having purchased any of the cards. The GW thing, IIRC, was them shutting down all peripheral things like player aids and whatnot, but not really things that alone would let you play the game.

FFG has been incredibly generous with sites like that and OCTGN and Vassal, usually allowing people to play with their LCG cards as long as they've already been available for purchase for at least 6 months.

Some have speculated that this might mean that FFG is producing their own app or online client, possibly through CardGameDB, that would allow you to play Netrunner or other LCGs. I don't know if that's likely, but I would love to see FFG produce an app similar to Card Warden, where you can play a game like LOTR:LCG. So it's not a system that controls and runs everything (that would be insanely hard to program with all of the variables)... you would still have to control the game yourself... but it would be really nice to have the cards directly available via purchase on the app, so you don't have the whole rigamarole of getting them into Card Warden, which is really tedious.
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18 Sep 2014 14:12 #187255 by Erik Twice

Grudunza wrote: I think this is also different from GW in that these sites allow you to actually play the game, without having purchased any of the cards.

No, no, NetrunnerDB didnd't allow you to play the game! It only allowed you to put a decklist and discuss it.
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18 Sep 2014 14:14 - 18 Sep 2014 14:15 #187256 by charlest

Erik Twice wrote: They are also in their legal right to blacklist reviewers or force out all the Arkham Horror content out of BGG. The problem with this is not legality, but that they are shutting down a fansite for their own product and making it harder for everyone to enjoy it.


The problem is that there's no logical reason why they would blacklist reviewers or remove Arkham Horror content. There is a logical reason why they would shut down a site that competes with a site they paid good money for. The more logical a response the less reason people have to be upset.
Last edit: 18 Sep 2014 14:15 by charlest.
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18 Sep 2014 15:04 #187259 by RobertB
Shellhead wrote:

I'm not an attorney or any other legal expert, but it was my understanding that a company can't selectively protect its intellectual properties. It must either consistently protect them or not at all.


U.S. laws deal with different forms of IP in different ways. Trademarks have to be defended, or they can be lost. Copyrights, however, don't need to be defended in the same way. In either case, FFG is well within its rights. Is the C&D letter smart? I have no idea.
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18 Sep 2014 16:37 - 18 Sep 2014 20:09 #187261 by JoelCFC25
Virtually no one is dwelling on the "did they have the right?" in the fallout from this--plainly they do, no one could credibly claim otherwise.

Things get a little murkier on the "was this a good idea?" front. NetrunnerDB had a thriving community, and for my purposes, its UI was fantastic. In comparison, CardGameDB is a hot mess of an interface, is borderline unusable on tablets/mobile, and the "scene" there is downright moribund in comparison to what NRDB had. With last year's acquisition of CardGameDB, I'm hardly surprised that FFG wants to clamp down on competitors in this space. But when the net result is that people are left with a noticeably inferior tool that doesn't get updated with new cards in a timely fashion, I'm also not surprised that a large slice of the player community feels aggrieved.

Still, in the grand scheme of things, they are selling so much ANR product that I doubt pissing off a few hundred of the most vocal online participants in the community is going to move the needle at all. People will adapt to the new slightly shittier reality and we'll all move on with our lives.
Last edit: 18 Sep 2014 20:09 by JoelCFC25.
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18 Sep 2014 17:40 #187263 by phandec
Most people seem to be ignoring the Jinteki.net angle, though. This was a new website that was creating the ability to play the game online, and they were using images owned by FFG and hosted on NetrunnerDB.

It's entirely possible that NRDB got caught in the overarching legal swoop of shutting down Jinteki.net. Now, you'd think they'd let NRDB delete their pictures and carry on, but who knows. As far as I know, they didn't send a C&D to the meteor deckbuilder, after all.
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