Frequently Asked Question #72:
I understand that you guys are upset about the wholesale theft of your databases and other material, but don’t you think that your public complains about the incident are going too far? Don’t you understand that the flamewars inevitably erupting from your public accusations are driving new players away? You are effectively killing the community!
Let’s say you work your butt off to make something unique over the span of many years. You are justly proud of it. Then somebody rips it off and puts it on display as his own work. Naturally, you turn to the supposed "authority" (and self-appointed protector of IP rights) on the subject, and ask for corrective measures. They tell you (off the record) that you are right, but they are not going to take any action to remedy the theft. They also ask you to keep quiet about the whole deal, so as not to disturb "the peace of the neighborhood".
What do you do?
Do you suck it up, be a good puppy, and let the culprits walk? Or do you raise hell until justice is done?
What is the price of “peace in the neighborhood”? Is it worth losing something valuable to you? If you answer yes, wait until it happens to you.
Did the public argument drive some people away from the game? Perhaps. Did the knowledge that IP theft is A-OK in this community drive away the DB & scenario creators in droves, thus draining the community’s lifeblood? You bet. As we predicted and warned that it would.
As a result of getting away with the rape of the DB2000, the “creator” of the PDB has since then moved on to plagiarize material from other sources (e.g. the HUD), modify and re-post the scenarios of others without their consent (Ralf Koelbach) and generally vindicate anyone who considers him the single most destructive element in the Harpoon community.
Once more, appeasement for the sake of peace has failed.
Back in 2006 when the argument about the wholesale plagiarism of the DB2000 and other HarpoonHQ material was in full swing, fed up with the repeated attempts of multiple parties to trivialize/skirt/mock the issue, I made the following announcement/prediction at the MG forum:
I do hope this will be my last post on this subject, as I have more productive uses of my time.
PlayersDB users, consider yourselves formally notified.
You are using a DB which was blatantly ripped off from the DB2000, a product of untold hours of voluntary work, without any credit to its creator. This is neither supposition nor personal opinion; It is a verifiable and confirmed fact.
Your continued use of the PDB amounts to endorsement of this act. You are condoning intellectual theft against an individual without whose monumental, unselfish work there would be no H3, no ANW and possibly no TNH. Your reward to one of the instrumental figures of Harpoon’s survival so far is to state, by your actions, that his work isn’t worth a damn.
I know of at least one fellow Pooner who had great plans (and real ability) for doing real magic with Harpoon and has been severely disillusioned by what has happened with the DB2K and the PDB. "Why bother", he argues, "when someone down the line some obsessed kid can rape my work and everyone will look the other way". I wish I could tell him it isn’t so.
You can try to rationalize your course of action by trivialising the issue ("It’s just a game, get a life"). You can certainly say "I don’t care, I just wanna play the game" and it’s your right. What you CANNOT say, from now on, is that you didn’t know.
That is all.
As expected, the statement was mocked by virtually everyone. Shortly afterwards the thread was deleted.
Just a few years later, almost all the content creators (more precisely, everyone who is not on AGSI’s payroll or Herman Hum’s lackey) have moved away; not fun to put in real work and make material vulnerable to theft, and knowing no-one will care. The 2000-2006 torrent of high-quality scenarios & databases for H3 has turned to a trickle of decades-old HC-remakes and forum snipe-wars. For all intents and purposes, the H3 community has become a virtual ghost-town.
Karma is a harsh mistress.
The photo confirms that the previous artists’ impressions were largely accurate. The jet has long, slender outer wings, spanning as much as 80 feet, mated to a stouter, deeper centerbody with a pointed nose. One important detail: the overwing fairings are not B-2-like inlets, but cover some kind of equipment – satcoms on one side, perhaps, and a sensor on the other.
The most likely provenance of the airframe is Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, and it is very likely to be associated with the Desert Prowler program – unearthed by historian Peter Merlin and "patchologist" Trevor Paglen.