Salvaging or Stealing


Sorry, it is a little harsh, but surely taking ideas from a dead thread is more of a salvaging than of a stealing? It’s like condemning the people who finished Mozart’s last piece of music for him. I’m sorry if I offended anyone, but I’ve seen many excellent ideas die on these forums. Surely, it would be better to twist the storyline, continue the life of the story, than to just let it die?

Maybe we could have some rule that says if the writer doesn’t update or post for a year, the continuation of the story goes to whoever volunteers first? I agree that a masterpiece, like everything I have seen on the forums, cannot be truly completed by anyone but the author. But would it be better to let the spark of inspiration fizzle out, or let it grow into a smaller reminder of the fire it could have been?

I, myself, believe that a good idea should never go to waste. Surely, if someone continued an idea of Shakespeare’s, it wouldn’t be as good as what he could have written. But it would still be there. People can still see and understand what might have been. Which is why I am starting this thread.

I know that it might sound shocking, but it is my point of view. I’m sorry if I have offended anyone in posting this. From what I have heard so far, most people don’t like my idea. I don’t really like it much either, but I just believe it is a better alternative, and the lesser evil when compared to letting an idea go to waste.

Mod Edit: The breakdown is this: Legally to continue an author’s work you have to contact them. If you don’t, they may be able to a) sue you to stop posting what you’ve done, even if they’ve made no money off their work and b) if they have sold their work, they may be able to sue you for any loss your ‘copy’ may have caused. If you wish to contact an author, go check their page, see if they have an email listed and/or send them a private message. The mods do not have any more personal information than what is listed on their page already, so there is no point in asking us to contact people. If you are found to be continuing someone else’s work without the mods will treat it as plagiarism.

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@Wyrmspawn I disagree completely. Taking over a project without the author’s permission just because it’s been shelved for a while, and thereafter taking intellectual credit for its development, is just not appropriate. If you contact the author and get permission, that’s another story, however.


I agree with @Drazen if I write a story is mine and I have all the right to leave it unfinished and not someone take my idea and my game and use it without permission

it’s like someone take your second residence because you don’t use it they could say you waste your house and they do a lesser evil use it still be steal


I’m not saying that we should take the writers idea and credit. We would attribute Mozart’s last piece to Mozart, after all. But we would have to finish it before the absent author would have something to show for it.

Let’s say that you had a great idea, and shared it on the forums. Then let’s say you have an accident, and cannot continue what you have. Would you rather this idea be lost forever, or for someone to continue it for you?

I am of the latter.


I prefer lost forever the idea is MINE if you want a idea discover yours


I’d have to cut down through the middle ground: what if you can’t get in contact with the author to get approval?

Naturally, it should go without saying: it is first and foremost the author’s creation, and so when in any doubt whatsoever it should be subject to their approval where possible, and Must ALWAYS give due intellectual credit to them even if it was “taken over.”

That said, what should we do if the author goes out on a boat or what have you and promptly vanishes, leading to…say… well over a year of attempts to raise him/her and get in contact for this or that? Should it be absolutely verboten for a group to be able to “adopt” and carry on a WIP (naturally, while giving due credit to the person in question as the originator of the idea, and the one who did a lot of the heavier work)?

Of course, this would also raise the hypothetical of said MIA author returning after being stranded on a desert island for the better part of a decade and coming to reclaim their work, which I figure is their right, and that any progress or “adoption” since then should step aside, Period. Yes, it would come as a shock given the times involved and the probable work involved, but I think it’s only fair to the author. This is another reason why I doubt such “adoptions” would be frequent, since it would require willingness to invest a great deal of time and effort in coding which might get thrown down the tubes without warning; but to that I would say “That is Life. Anybody who wants to take on that kind of risk will know what they’re getting into, and must accept it before the fact.”

Now, in the case Wyrmspawn’s specifically talking about, I doubt this is an issue. WolfWriter just tends to fade in and out of contact periodically for various reasons, and this is far from outside his normal pattern. Most likely he’ll post eventually to let people know he’s alive, possibly with a brand spanking newly updated demo for us. Given the amount of care he’s shown and the lack of an uncharacteristic absence, I think Empowered is best in his hands and it is nowhere nearly at risk for being abandoned without notice.

But regardless of the specific example, I figure this has raised an issue that deserves some imput, and I for one am far from supportive of a Total Block on picking up any author’s story without their sayso (IE: without a response from them, statements of denial before the fact like MaraJade’s should be taken as binding, and a block on such “adoption”) Under All Circumstances.


Do we have an abundance of authors dying with their games unfinished?


And if the person wants to finish it themselves at a later point, what then? Furthermore, at what point can an outside observer decide in the absence of an author that an idea has been abandoned?

Personally, I would be very offended if someone tried to pull something like that on something I had thought out.


This is not about Wolf’s masterpieces. There are others who have not been here. I am not pointing at anything, but there have been a lot of excellent ideas on the forums.

@Drazen I believe so, if you count an idea as a story.

@CS_Closet Naturally, when/if the writer comes back, he/she shall decide whether to adopt the progress made during his/her absence into the story.


Wait, what?


@Drazen Not that I am aware of, to say the least. Though to play Devil’s Advocate, how would we ever know? Knowledge of someone dying generally requires specific knowledge, rather than from a default. I don’t know most people on here, much less by their real names. I doubt I’d ever know someone died unless I specifically knew their real name and location, and went diving through reams of newspapers. That or it was announced in some way (like someone responding using their account to mention it).

Heck, I doubt somebody would know if *I* died on here unless through that.

It’s a hypothetical. An insanely radical one, yes, and one that I don’t think is even worth thinking about with Empowered/WolfWriter20 specifically yet, but one that we can ask and consider in good faith. Again, what do we do if we have absolutely zero response from an author in…say…a year without prior notification and without an explicit ban on picking up their work (like Mara (and CS_Closest?) gave)?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not that comfortable with putting a complete, under-all-circumstances ban on “adopting” a WIP, with proper attribution and accreditation of course.


@Turtler I’m very much comfortable putting a complete, under-all-circumstances ban on people taking over the work of others, without their express permission. It’s not their work, so they cannot claim it. This is not to say they cannot be inspired and write their own piece, but theft is theft.

And even if they gave the author proper credit for their ideas and foundations, so long as there exists the slightest possibility of a return, they absolutely should not be permitted to “salvage” the piece.


for me is stealing and I denounce if someone do so with a idea mine in my country is a delit with a strong money penalty agains authors law


There are a lot of good stories that are going to waste, either because the writer decided not to use the idea after all, or because the writer has been/ is still absent. I believe that those ideas on these forums are treasures that we lost. I therefore hold the opinion that we should salvage what we can, and we shall not really be stealing, but saving or resurrecting the dead.


@MaraJade And your wishes must be duly respected. Which is why if you suddenly vanished or got caught in a fatal plane crash, it would be our obligation to leave Poisoning a Steel Mind alone, as per your wishes.

@Drazen (Ah, gotta love Edits?) I understand your points, and this is where you and I must respectfully agree to disagree. You are, I am not, and here we are discussing and advocating for our opposing points of view.

Naturally, inspiration in and of itself is free and can’t possibly be restricted, so there’s not much point in debating that. Onto specific “adoption.”

Again, I’m aware that in terms of creative license this is playing hot potato with a hand grenade, but I don’t see how there is an effective difference in respecting the author’s rights between a complete and total ban, and a negative guarantee (IE: It-only-even-enters-the-equation-if-a-number-of-conditions-are-met, such as there being no ban from the author on doing so ahead of time like MaraJade and I think CS_Closet gave, there is CLEARLY an uncharacteristically extended absence- if need be as determined by administrators- no explanation from it by the author, *and* no contact with the author for the entire duration of said uncharacteristic absence *AND* of COURSE due accreditation) that allows some people to volunteer their efforts under the knowledge that if the author does return, they MUST step aside and abandon all work in favor of the creator.

Finally, I have to ask a question, more on the abstracts than on anything: if we could somehow, someway (in some mythological fashion) guarentee that there is no possibility for a return (how that would actually arise in practice, I have zero idea whatsoever, outside of maybe a family member or some research disclosing that the member in question died or is permanently incapacitated) you would be willing to see a project be “adopted”?


@Turtler Scrap that, I’d scan-read what you said. Sloppy on my part, but hey-ho.


also I never pay for a story "steal"from the author or play it is a immoral thing for me not salve anything


I would say if you think a project is dead, make a game in the same vein as the original. Obviously this would require careful planning, because if you stray too close you would be in danger of out right ripping off the original.


I would be interested to know if CoG has any standing policy on this matter.


Yeah, if an author comes up with a good idea, disappears, and doesn’t respond/can’t be contacted then that idea is up for grabs. There’s no real set time frame for what constitutes true abandonment, a year is a good baseline but might be a little long. It might be good to get the Head Honcho’s stance on this though.

Really though, it shouldn’t really be necessary do this. I see lots of neat game ideas, but they aren’t so neat or unique that you couldn’t simply salvage them for inspiration instead of using the game fragment itself.