“Yes, it happened. No, we’re not going to do anything about it.”

March 2, 2007 · Posted in Copycats · Comment 

WashHandsSo AGSI has finally come to publicly admit that the DB2000 plagiarism was not a figment of someone’s imagination but an actual fact:

It is the belief of several published database developers I have talked to that plagiarism has occurred. There were enough unique items to the source database that appeared in the plagiarized database (and some Scenarios) that there is little likelihood of co-incidence.

A little background here: In 2002, AGSI made an informal agreement with the crew of the then-HarpoonHQ that the creations (DBs and scenarios) of any third-party author were his sole intellectual property (IP) and that AGSI was to guarantee this against copycats etc. by any means necessary. This peace of mind was instrumental in allowing the community content to flourish in the early years of Harpoon 3, dramatically boosting its popularity and sales.

So, one might be excused for expecting ASGI to honor this commitment by making an example out of the perpetrator and demonstrating that such acts will not be tolerated in the future. So, what are the “any means necessary”? Taking the offender to court? (This is, after all, a matter of IP theft). Asking the multitude of sites hosting his material to remove it, as it is the product of theft? Perma-banning the perpetrator from every forum it can? At the very least, publicly denouncing him by name and instructing everyone of his actions?

Nope. In this community, the punishment for blatantly ripping off the work of others is… you don’t get to be a member of yet another “AGSI insider” group of questionable value:

Due to the realities of the internet, and international parties there is little we can do about the situation except ensure that those we suspect of such behavior do not bear the mark of "Team Harpoon Content Provider" If they were to come clean, apologize, and make amends, the Membership Committee will reconsider.

Phew. That will show them.

In retrospect, it is fortunate that AGSI had no members on the board of judges in the Nuremberg trials. Fine folks like Goering or Kaltenbrunner might have walked off with a pat in the hand and a stern warning.