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The Abrupt End of "Age of Nations"

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  • The Abrupt End of "Age of Nations"

    An external force has forced immediate production haltage on Age of Nations, Apolyton Civilization Site's (ACS) machinima-driven drama set in the Rise of Nations universe. Earlier this month RoN's publisher parent Microsoft Corporation (MS) released usage rules on Game Content published by them and/or to which they own the intellectual property to. RoN and its Thrones & Patriots expansion pack were published by Microsoft Game Studios and is specifically mentioned -- all versions -- in this Game Content Usage Rules document. Under the heading "What Can't I Do", two points affect AoN directly. Quote:

  • "You canít use Game Content to create... anything that contains vulgar, racist, hateful, or otherwise objectionable content."
  • "You canít use the soundtracks or audio effects from the original game."

    The phrase otherwise objectionable content is a catchall that could be cited by MS in almost any circumstance, though some of the themes used in AoN could also be regarded as "vulgar" and "hateful". While AoN has never used audio effects from RoN due to filming concerns, it has used its soundtrack from the beginning and that from T&P. This is particularly true since Episode 104 in the series when in-game music began to be used within the story and not just the theme.

    In the concluding paragraph to the new rules' page, MS states that "[t]hereís still a way to do some of these things weíve excluded, but you have to contact us for a commercial license". AoN has been a non-for-profit venture from the outset and we at ACS which produce and distribute this series do not have the financial means to acquire one. An additional practical consideration is that there were but two more featurettes to go to wrap up this series due to internal and other external factors. One member of the greater machinima community after contacting MS for clarification is confirming that these rules are not retroactive, however. So, what does this mean for AoN?

  • As the said rules are not retroactive, commentaries for Episodes 113, 114 and the first featurette will proceed and be released.
  • The second and third AoN featurettes will not be produced but will be released in another medium.

    With the second point, what is meant is that the script for the second is nearly completely and that for the third is well underway. So as to conclude the series' saga one way or another the scripts will be released publicly. Unfortunately releasing an audio-version of these stories cannot be considered as an alternative as these Usage Rules fall under the blanket other cool things category for which they apply.
PolyCast Co-Host, Owner and Producer: entertaining | informing civ
>> PolyCast (Civ strategy), ModCast (Civ modding), TurnCast (Civ multiplay); One More Turn Dramedy

  • #2
    Microsoft
    Co-Founder, Apolyton Civilization Site
    Co-Owner/Webmaster, Top40-Charts.com | CTO, Apogee Information Systems
    giannopoulos.info: my non-mobile non-photo news & articles blog

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MarkG
      Microsoft
      PolyCast Co-Host, Owner and Producer: entertaining | informing civ
      >> PolyCast (Civ strategy), ModCast (Civ modding), TurnCast (Civ multiplay); One More Turn Dramedy

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      • #4
        Dang

        One would think they could appreciate those efforts such as our's and be grateful.

        @ Microshaft

        Wonder what they would say if you had it named Nations coming of Age

        Sorry to all involved, but this does suxor
        Hi, I'm RAH and I'm a Benaholic.-rah

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        • #5
          I think, DanQ, that given how RoN is defunct and how your show, no offense, isn't really doing anything, I don't see why you're overreacting like this. Though I'd love to see an MS cease & desist directed exclusively at AoN. Damn that would be funny.

          BTW, polycast's gotta go too.

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          • #6
            Wiglaf -- if you don't have anything constructive to say, than don't say anything at all. You're not saying anything you haven't said before besides, so move on from it. If you don't like it than don't watch or listen to it: simple.

            It is indeed a end, Gramps, but at least the ride was enjoyable while it lasted.
            PolyCast Co-Host, Owner and Producer: entertaining | informing civ
            >> PolyCast (Civ strategy), ModCast (Civ modding), TurnCast (Civ multiplay); One More Turn Dramedy

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DanQ
              Wiglaf -- if you don't have anything constructive to say, than don't say anything at all. You're not saying anything you haven't said before besides, so move on from it. If you don't like it than don't watch or listen to it: simple.
              QFT!!

              It is indeed a end, Gramps, but at least the ride was enjoyable while it lasted.
              Indeedy

              No one can say you didnt try and make this a success.


              Hope your future projects pan out for you and this site

              Gramps
              Hi, I'm RAH and I'm a Benaholic.-rah

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              • #8
                But why cancel it. This is not directed at AoN, and MS can show no material loss due to AoN.

                AoN is not causing them any problems, so I doubt they would bother you.

                Every company has to say "don't copy our stuff" but if they don't pursue you, no need to overreact.

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                • #9
                  In a dramatic break with tradition, I think I agree with Wiglaf. If it's making no money, then Microsoft has little to fear from what you're doing and in any case cannot recoup any damages from you.

                  Even copyright sticklers like George Lucas (who famously hates anybody making non-canonical edits to his movies) has been known to turn a blind eye to pet little projects that carry the relevant disclaimers and do not threaten the copyright and profitability of his core product.

                  Does Age of Nations hurt sales of Rise of Nations? (i.e. would somebody decide suddenly to not buy a legitimate copy of Rise of Nations because they can get their jollies from Age of Nations instead?) The answer is no.

                  Does Age of Nations infringe on the copyright? That may depend. If you are posting a disclaimer that Rise of Nations is entirely owned by Microsoft Games and that you do not intend this as a challenge to their copyright and ownership, and if you go further and include a promotion or plug for viewers to buy a version of the game, then I don't think that would provide them for grounds for a claim. (I am not a lawyer, though, just a law student with too much time on my hands.)

                  And to Wiglaf, don't come to expect me to agree with you, you filthy Republican
                  "lol internet" ~ AAHZ

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                  • #10
                    As I was getting at in my original post, the concern is not what has already been made with RoN but rather what would be. I agree it's not a probability that MS would come after us if we were to continue with the series -- and, again, there was not much left of it anyway -- mostly because it's probably not on their 'radar' (or likely to get on their 'radar' for a number of reasons).

                    That the possibility is there, the rules are clear enough and not forgetting minimal interest in the series throughout its life, it is not worth "fighting the fight" so to speak. Though half of my undergraduate degree is in Law, I doubt I need it or any degree for that matter to realize that the likelihood of such a lawsuit going to court -- let alone coming to a conclusion -- is minimal be it against us (me) or anyone else in such a circumstance. Further, were such a lawsuit conclude it would almost certainly be in my favour as the defendant.

                    Beyond the above, the money, the stress, we don't need that kind of attention. It would be an even bitter end than this one. That said, I am both surprised and -- believe it or not -- pleased with this discussion. If only this series had enjoyed such interaction on "itself" and before its twilight...
                    PolyCast Co-Host, Owner and Producer: entertaining | informing civ
                    >> PolyCast (Civ strategy), ModCast (Civ modding), TurnCast (Civ multiplay); One More Turn Dramedy

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                    • #11
                      microsoft can't help but suck!!!!!
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Alinestra Covelia
                        In a dramatic break with tradition, I think I agree with Wiglaf. If it's making no money, then Microsoft has little to fear from what you're doing and in any case cannot recoup any damages from you.

                        Even copyright sticklers like George Lucas (who famously hates anybody making non-canonical edits to his movies) has been known to turn a blind eye to pet little projects that carry the relevant disclaimers and do not threaten the copyright and profitability of his core product.

                        Does Age of Nations hurt sales of Rise of Nations? (i.e. would somebody decide suddenly to not buy a legitimate copy of Rise of Nations because they can get their jollies from Age of Nations instead?) The answer is no.

                        Does Age of Nations infringe on the copyright? That may depend. If you are posting a disclaimer that Rise of Nations is entirely owned by Microsoft Games and that you do not intend this as a challenge to their copyright and ownership, and if you go further and include a promotion or plug for viewers to buy a version of the game, then I don't think that would provide them for grounds for a claim. (I am not a lawyer, though, just a law student with too much time on my hands.)

                        And to Wiglaf, don't come to expect me to agree with you, you filthy Republican


                        DanQ, let's put it t his way. If MS were to sue you, they would lose more in legal fees than any judge would give them. All that they would do is tell you forcefully to shut it down, which they haven't even done, and which would not be "stressful" at all.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wiglaf
                          DanQ, let's put it t his way. If MS were to sue you, they would lose more in legal fees than any judge would give them. All that they would do is tell you forcefully to shut it down, which they haven't even done, and which would not be "stressful" at all.
                          Being told to shut something down or be sued would be stressful -- whether you went to court or not -- particularly when you have invested a lot of time and energy into that something which you are told to shut down. Even if they didn't follow through with such a suit, if we were given such notice we would have known all too well leading up to that point that we had invited such notice upon ourselves.

                          Through defiance we would have brought about the end of the series' primary distribution point in an abrupt and hostile fashion. This would even include those installments that were produced and released prior to the rules' effectiveness. Then there would be the matter of what to say publicly, or not, about why we removed the series from here. Oh wait... we would almost surely be limited in what we could say if anything about why. More joy.

                          Don't get me wrong: I do appreciate the sudden support for the series, even if it appears to be more in reaction to a response to an external force than about the nature or content of the series itself. Ultimately, AoN is set in the Rise of Nations environment. That environment is a MS published property and MS has chosen to exercise an option that as worded surely curtails efforts to use it in (non-commercially licensed) machinima and related productions. For better or worse, that's their prerogative. It's equally our prerogative to do what is best for us in response in consideration of all the points -- legal and practical.

                          You have to admit, this whole turn of events is a bit ironic. There were long those calling for this series' shutdown when it was being produced -- and they were the vocal majority, however periodically they spoke. Now the vocal majority is calling for the series' continuation now that production has been shutdown due to an external force. If I had claimed this turn of events six months ago...
                          PolyCast Co-Host, Owner and Producer: entertaining | informing civ
                          >> PolyCast (Civ strategy), ModCast (Civ modding), TurnCast (Civ multiplay); One More Turn Dramedy

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                          • #14
                            Correct DanQ, it would appear that unfortunately, it is not the support of AON, but more support of a fight against MS or actually stirring the pot to see who gets more riled up...


                            You are to be commended for the efforts, but indeedy, when warned you have done what is prudent, obey and focus on another issue of passion.
                            Hi, I'm RAH and I'm a Benaholic.-rah

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                            • #15
                              Really... Upsetting about Microsoft and the end of the series... At least the lion's share was already shot.
                              -->Visit CGN!
                              -->"Production! More Production! Production creates Wealth! Production creates more Jobs!"-Wendell Willkie -1944

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