Thursday, May 10, 2007

EULA Madness

The PayPal (PayPal is the by far largest on-line payment processor, with tens of millions of users) User Agreement used to be over 300 pages and states that they may confiscate your money at any time, for any or no reason. You also agree to waive the rights given to you by credit card providers (and law) among a lot of other things. Now it is even bigger and split into different chapters. Again I want to stress that contrary to common belief, U.S. is not a business friendly country.
Speaking of PayPal, I read this book The PayPal Wars that is written by one of the employees that tells his story about the first years of the company. It's very interesting and also it confirms some things that often annoy me when it comes to U.S. businesses... in this case PayPal; They don't have bad consciense about lying, they even consider it their duty to lie if it benefits the company as long as the lie is hard enough to prove. Obviously it would be bad for business to lose customers to bad reputation or lawsuits that comes with badly performed lies.
The book also makes no secret about the fact that many people got their money confiscated ("frozen") by PayPal, and it is obvious that it is a tactic to make the funds hard to retreive so people in dispute with PayPal give up, leaving funds in the pockets of PayPal. The author also mentions the Class Action Lawsuit against Paypal. Funnily enough, (as I claim the same in earlier posts) he blames the bad business environment in the U.S. for this, claiming that since PayPal became successful, greedy lawyers wanted to get a cut of the wealth. That may be the case but since PayPal actually DID rob many of their customers, I believe this particular lawsuit was a good thing.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

MMORPG is mainstream

MMORPG themes on my two favourite shows:
(right click to save)
Southpark - Make Love, Not Warcraft
The Simpsons - Marge Gamer

The U.S. is not a business friendly country.

Once again I get reminded that the U.S. is not a business friendly country. One of the few payment systems we have been using that makes it possible to do business with eastern Europe is e-gold. It is U.S. based and because of that is now being punished with a 25% tax on deposits according to our eastern Europe partners. It appears that the company has been under attack by the U.S. government, using the usual false accusations that its enemies are being affiliated with child pornography and/or terrorism. This is expected, since e-gold transactions could not be controlled by the U.S. government and everything that works too well by itself is being thwarted or forbidden by the government. They want us all to work for mega corporations that can be controlled.

Read the e-gold statment about this debacle here.

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
-Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Why Matt O'Neill (Matthew O'Neill) should be fired.

During the Christmas holiday, Jagex managed to convince Matt O'Neill (Matthew O'Neill) at our former host aplus that RWE, Inc. was infringing their trademark. We did not, as will be explained further down. The reason why I post this is to inform people that Matt O'Neill acted in an extremely unprofessional and possibly unlawful way. He did not comply with the law (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).

Background:
First he shut down our website. Then I noticed that there was an email for me that said something about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA 512) and that response was required. It didn't say anything about how soon the response should be made though.

As can be seen on http://www.aplus.net/intellectual_property_use.html that there is no time period specified. However when I phoned Matt O'Neill he said that he had proof that I had read the email, and that I had chosen to ignore it. He was shouting this in my ear and I was kind of speechless since it was obviously complete bullshit. He was also kind enough to inform me that I was a criminal and that what I had been doing was "serious". (Then why haven't my company been sued over a year since they started threatening to sue?) He then modified what he said and said instead that he had proof that the email went into my mailbox. Isn't this guy supposed to know how emails work? Also he was saying some stuff over the phone that the Adlex guys had made him believe, for example he implied that RWE Inc. was illegitimate since it was an U.S. business entity run from abroad. As specified in the DMCA 512, he is not supposed to take sides in this way.

My point here is also that he was not doing his job. This is from aplus' own webpage:
"Under no circumstance will Aplus.Net sales or support personnel be permitted to deviate from the process, assess alternate courses of action, render opinions regarding the allegation, or take any sides in the matter."

Here is a copy of an email that Matt O'Neill forwarded to his buddies at Adlex:

Dear Mr. Taylor,

The official NOTIFICATION was delivered to the owner of the website rpgstash.com on 12/19/06. As the notification was ignored for the duration of a mandatory 48 hour response period, the website was taken down in total. The website owner has declined to file a counter-notification, but has since responded indicating an intent to fully cooperate with the notification and remove the offending content; however, that will require re-instatement of the website outside the bounds of the DMCA provisions.

Your client has the option of withdrawing the complaint and settling the matter amicably as requested by the website owner, or leaving the complaint in place, which of course will result in the website owner’s loss of access to the site, existing content, and investment in web design infrastructure.

Aplus.net will await your response.

Matthew O’Neill

Vice President Operations


My comments:
He mentions a 48 hour period, that is never mentioned on aplus.net's website, or even in the notification email that was sent to me. And he keeps saying that I ignored his email which of course I did not. He then goes on to explain how he thinks they can cause my company damage. I consider this taking sides in the matter.

Our statement regarding this debacle:

We consider ourselves innocent of the Trade Mark Violation we are accused of. There are no preceding rulings from a court of law indicating that the use of a game company logo is illegal on a sales platform where virtual items in the particular game are exchanged for real money. In 2001, Sony Entertainment brought sellers of EverQuest currency to court in an attempt to invalidate their business but Sony lost the case and that giant corporation is as of today devising their own platform for selling virtual items. And the original sellers are still around today, happily using Everquest and Everquest 2 logos on their website as they perpetuate themselves. Business pioneers like IGE.com and mysupersales.com are constantly running with no interuptions despite extensive use of game logos. This very business that we are taking part in is steadily growing and the turnover is estimated to exceed that of the online games themselves already. There is no Trade Mark Violation because there is no confusion as to origin, no intent of slander or false flag and no diversion of business from the Trade Mark owner. Being fully enrolled as user of the game whose logo and graphics we use to accurately describe our service is a prerequisite for doing a business transaction with us. You can not use our service unless you already are using the service of the game company and such a relation can not entertain a legal dispute. We are explicitly stating on our website that we are not affiliated with any game company and associated Trade Marks. Our service is clearly outlined in our terms as a transaction between two users of the game that fully acknowledge the virtual "goods" and associated Trade Marks as the property and ownership of the Game Company. The use of Trade Marks and other game graphics on our sales platform serves only one purpose and that is to accurately describe the service that we are selling. Our business is based on returning customers that love our service and use it of their own free will. People play games for recreation and we offer additional recreation on top of the basic game offered by its makers. No
financial harm is done to the Game Company.
Rune Word Entertainment, Inc. is a Nevada registered business in good standing, and we are confident we will remain this way.