What happened to the SPI Prestags Module?
As stated in the red box at the top of the modules page, no modules from SPI, among others, will be hosted on the site without express permission from the publisher or whoever it is who now owns the rights to the game. Thus I would imagine that the PRESTAGS game did not have said permission.
I’m not a lawyer, but I doubt that anyone could prohibit the use of a open source program that is a play aid and not the computer version of a copyright protected boxed game. If I want to PBEM a game that I purchased no one can prevent this, claming copyright issues. If you want to use a Vassal module you need to know the rules and therefore own that game. Yes, I know that I can use an home-made Vassal module for private use, but it is a nonsense. By the way, who actually own the right of the very first SPI games, published back in the '70s?
I’m guessing that Decision Games might own the old SPI games. Some background information, but not quite to the
point, is at decisiongames.com and hexwar.com . If you go to the VASSAL module page and follow the link near the
bottom of the red box, you’ll wind up at the “BAOR/Donau Front …” module. There is a description of the permissions
obtained that led to vassalengine.org hosting the module, if I understand correctly.
I’m speculating that VASSAL modules and games from hexwar.com are sort of competitors, if they are for the same game.
hexwar.com advertises complete games rather than playing aids, however. I cannot say what the copyright holder is
entitled to do to discourage VASSAL modules, especially since I’m not a lawyer. Within a work intended to assist
with fair use of copyrighted material, I wonder how much copied material is allowed that lessens the effort needed to make a
complete illegal copy. It doesn’t sound like a simple issue to me.
I’m neither a member of the VASSAL engine staff, nor a lawyer, despite my writing style.
Stewart C. Strait
Many thanks for your reply. The question is : what is exactely the object of the copyright issues? Maybe the simple fact of reproducing maps and counters in a Vassal module can be claimed as a sort of copyright violation. In any event, at decisiongames.com and hexwar.com you can find another kind of material, that is , of course, copyright protected. However these items aren’t simple play aids, but complete games for sales.
I don’t understand why the owners of the copyrights can think that a Vassal module could be in competition with a computer game or a computerized version of a boardgame.
I hope that in the future these guys finally understand that they are doing the wrong thing, because prohibiting someone to use a play aid to PBEM a purchased game can only encourage people not to buy other games produced by this company.