|Normal Text = Exact Quotes Italic Text = Paraphrased
Bold Text = Read this
Red Text = My comments / notes
Note : There were two others involved in this situation, I will
not post their names here for it doesn't matter who they are,
but that is why you will see references to three times in some
places. Also note this is all in cronilogical order.
FROM : Me PCJoker, it has come to my attention that you have
used works from my web site without my permission.
FROM : Markus, PCJoker "This is Markus of the PC Joker magazine,
and it was my fault (kind of) that you weren't informed about
us using stuff partially from your homepage. Forst of all: Sorry
about that! It's unually not our style to use any material without
asking, but I was really short on time for the last deadline,
and since I took some days off afterwards I simply forgot about
it. Sorry again." [Translation : I stole
your work and have been caught]
.... [snip, talk about money, he offers
their Standard fee]
"I'm not yet sure how we're gonna get the money to you (or
the other two guys, if they insist)"
FROM : Me Talk about money not being enough (and the standard
fee being an insult). And that we do insist that each of us be
compinsated. Also preaching about how unethical it is to steal
anothers work and then try to get away with just paying the standard
fee. Also asking for a MUCH larger amount.
FROM : Markus, PCJoker "...if you want to hear my personal, totally
unofficial opinion: You are some weird guys! I mean, putting together
information and giving it away for free on your website, but making
a fuss like this if we do the same (it's a service to players
of the game, we're not selling a solutions mag here)." [The
point is that they are making money off of it.]
"...and the printed text isn't just a translation by a long shot."
[Actually it is, right down to the editorial
"...I mean, why do I (for example) bother writing console game
reviews in my spare time and publishing them on the web? I could
as well try to sell them to a magazine, but I don't, because I
think they belong to everyone." [But isn't
that exactly what he did? The magazine IS making money off of
it, if it was a FREE mag then that would be a different story]
FROM : Me "I am sure that you are outraged by the summs that
are being asked for,but put yourself in our positions; should
we not be outraged for seeing our work in a magazine that is making
money off of it?"
... [Snip, more ranting on my part]
"We are not unreasonable people and are more then willing to
discuss this matter further. The point is not so much the money
but the principle of the situation. We have all worked very hard
to make our works the best they can be. Places like the [Name
removed because it isn't necessary] had contacted us BEFORE
using our works, and they were given written permission to used
the works with certain stipulations. To take someone elses work
and to capitalize on them without asking, or offering any compinsation
until you were caught is very frustrating. If no one had mentioned
that these works were in your magazine then we many never have
known and you would have profitted more. Again let me state that
we are NOT unreasonalbe people and that we are more then willing
to discuss the situation to come up with an acceptable solution
for all of us. Please feel free to contact me at your earliest
FROM : Markus "Yes, you do have every right to be mad at me for
not asking you, and all I can say about this is that I'm sorry.
I've often used (German) internet solutions in the past, and
those guys have ALWAYS been paid afterwards (and mostly been informed
in advance, I admit). " [Translation
: Yeah, I stole others works in the past and then gave them a
token amount when caught]
"What I still don't get is your use of the term "making money
off of it". I assure you, I would have written this one page of
MM6-Hints anyway, as we have at least one fan of that game ourselves.
It was just easier verifying your guide than most of the others,
more incoherent (does this word exist in English?) ones that we
got from our readers. The only money that we made is found in
the 3 or 4 hours I saved using your file..." [Translation
: We liked your work and just were too lazy to write something
FROM : Michael Labiner "I am writing concerning your latest e-mails:
I want to apologize about how things (the work in our magazine
PC JOKER) went, but I definitely can not help you in the way you
suggested. [snip money talk] I talked
to my lawyers today and they assured me, that in case of court,
I would have to pay less then what my editor allready offered
to you. To tell the truth: As far as it concerns German (internet-)
law, I would not have to pay at all!!!! So all I can do is offer
the Standard Fee to you again. Anyway, this is a fair price
- we never pay more and we do not "capitalize" on this work."
[They don't Capitalize?? What they give
away their mag for free and don't have any advertising in it?]
"Please answer soon, because this offer will expire by the end
of this week. Then you will have to look for a lawyer in Germany....."
[Translation : Come get me if you can]
FROM : Me I'm mad, and I will sue you as soon as I can find
FROM : Michael Labiner "as much as I understand your anger, I
sadly have no time for further discussions. Just that much: The
material was not claimed to be made by us and was not published
for profit - the hint-pages in our magazine are a pure reader-help-
reader-thing. At this point there are only 2 possibilities left:
Either you let my Editor Markus know that you want your fee oft
[Initial offering amount here] until end of this week (if
you are interested, we then maybe could buy material from you
on at this rate on a more or less regular basis) or you take things
to court. It is your decision, I dont mind very much - this allready
cost me more time than some maps in the hint-pages are worth anyway."
[Translation : Go away, you bother me. If
you don't take the insulting offer, just try and sue me]
FROM : Me "This whole case is not about money, it is about what
is wrong and what is right. After doing a brief search on the
Internet seems to show that PC Joker has done this before and
many people have been upset about it."
FROM : Markus "I've been doing this job for more than one and
a half year now, and I've NEVER had any problems or trouble with
any of our readers or the guys that provided us with walkthroughs
(apart from the X-Com cheats that were taken out of the German
version)." [Note : He says that the people
who GAVE them the info, not those he stole from.]
"Please don't answer this mail (I kinda had enough of that discussion),
just tell me when I've ever tried to rip people off, because I'm
counting that as a personal affront." [Let's
see, you ripped ME off!]
Time goes by with no other messages; I am talking with several
copyright and international lawyers trying to get someone to take
the case. Unforutnatly I get the following line from one of them,
"Listen.. I'm not going to make any money on this, so I won't
take it". Finally we decided that we must settle for their offer.
FROM : Me "After conferring with the lawyers and discussing the
matter among ourselves we feel we have no other choice but to
accept your offer of [initial offer] a piece for our
work. With the acceptance of this offer, a couple of conditions
1) This entitles you to use of the material in the one issue
of PC Joker that is has already appeared in. It does not allow
you to use this material again, or to use any additional material
from the Mandate Mania web site without additional written consent
2) The removal of the quest list from your web site as soon as
3) Notification in the next issue of PC Joker of where the maps
and quest list came from (inclusion of names) and the web address
of Mandate Mania (http://www.pottsland.com/mm6/index.html) of
where the latest versions of these works can be found.
4) A free subscription to PC Joker for all three people involved.
We feel that these conditions are not extreme nor are they unreasonable.
If you have any questions on these conditions or additional comment
please feel free to contact me directly. A printed copy of this
agreement will be sent to you as soon as we receive your acceptance.
Please make all checks payable to the names listed below, and
made out to U.S. Dollars. Thank you."
FROM : Markus We're glad you made the right decision. The German
quest list has been removed from our site, and the subscriptions
have been taken care of. If it's of any interest to you, I might
add that with the [Offer] added, this is more than even
our usual reward for a complete walkthrough... The money will
probably be sent out within the next two weeks to you directly,
because it would be a lot more expensive to split the reward (postal
fees and cheque expenses). If that's a
problem, please drop us a line. Also, if you've got some interesting
solutions/maps/hints in the future and want to make some extra
money, just let us know. We are always on the lookout for good
FROM : Me "Actually it is much more difficult if the money is
sent to me directly; we are all in different parts of the country
and then there is the part of taxes (I would be responsable for
taxes on [3x Offer] instead of [Offer]). Please
see if you can arrange for each of use to have seperate checks.
FROM : Markus "Well, technically, this won't be a problem (just
more expensive), so we'll do it your way and send you guys three
separate checks. But: You seem to be missing a major detail! Our
offer didn't include [offer] for each one of you but
for the combined maps and quests! Check your email folder, our
mails were really clear on this one. (BTW, it wouldn't be fair
considering our readers only get less than [Offer] in exchange
for a complete walkthrough with maps, savegames and/or screenshots.)
Thanks for your understanding."
FROM : Me "Your first message clearly stated that it was for
each "if we insisted", and we do. Second off, you are talking
about several people's work, not just one. Each of them has the
right to bring you to court if need be.
This is NOT acceptable."
[All talks have been for EACH person at
this point, look at his first message, the bold caption]
FROM : Markus "Unfortunately, I don't have the first mail I sent
you ready (I didn't expect things to get this complicated), but
I'm absolutely positive that I didn't offer you three times [Offer].
If there's an "each" in my email it surely meant the maximum payment
for each issue, but as you didn't permit us to use any further
materials, our offer was clear (just read Mr. Labiner's mails)
and your responses suggested that you perfectly understood them.
I'm sorry there was any doubt but I don't think it was our mistake.
Again: We're NOT trying to rip you off, we just want you to get
your fair share as every of our information sources does. Of course,
you could still give us your permission to use the material on
your homepage (I'd even turn down some of our readers who offered
their help on MM6), and we could raise the reward. But I'd need
to know that as soon as possible because I'm almost done sighting
the stuff I've already got for the next issue.
Sorry for the inconveniences I've caused you, but I don't think
we could have stated our offer more obvious."
FROM : Me "No the offer was not clear. Actually the message I
wrote issuing the statement on what we felt the conditions were
was very clear (it even used "each"), and that was accepted till
today (Monday). Personally I now feel that you ARE trying to rip
us off, thinking that now you know we'll settle that you should
make it as low as possible."
"You do not have permission to use any materials from the web
site at all, and you will not get the rights to use it. Why? Because
you have shown that you are very untrust worthy. You steal others
work, then when caught and you feel you can get away with it you
make a cheap offer, when that is finally accepted you try and
get away with ripping us off again."
FROM : Markus "And that's what I don't get. I'm still telling
you that it was a honest mistake (you on the other hand still
haven't pointed out on which occasions I've ever tried to take
advantage of other people's work), so why don't give us the permission
of using any more of your material? It wouldn't mean any work
at all for you, just more credit and money..."
"Allright, since this is really getting to my working performance
now, and as I still believe it's more of an personal apology than
the money you're after, I offer you this deal: I'll personally
throw in another [Offer], which means that every one of
you will be receiving a check of [less than the original offer].
Don't ask for any more money, because as you probably can imagine
(or rather remember, since I'm starting to believe that you have
to be much older than me), [Offer] Dollars are a lot of
money to just "give away" at the age of 25. No, I don't want your
pity or your sarcasm, I just want to point out that this is a
FROM : Markus "Okay, it's a deal.
Just for the record:
We'll be sending out [the settlement]. The subscriptions
are in the works, the quest list has long since been removed and
there'll be a note in our next hints & cheats section containing
the autors of the original maps and hints plus the location where
the other ones can be found."
FROM : Markus "Hi!
In order to transfer the money, we'll need a bank connection for
each of you three."
FROM : Me "Unfortunatly I won't be able to get in contact with
[the other two] today; and even so sending out account
numbers like this is very dangerous and I do not wish to do so.
It is very simple to have a bank make out a check in any currency
you wish (I have done this many times)."
FROM : Markus "That might be correct, but for all we know it's
much more dangerous to send a check by mail then an account number
by email. If you are browsing through the web, everybody advises
you to refrain from sending either cash or checks by snail mail.
So we'll try sending you the money via postal money order, if
there are any problems we'll let you know. Then perhaps someone
(someone save me, that is, as I'm taking some weeks off) could
just call you directly, if you don't like the idea of sending
your account numbers over the net. But personally, I can't understand
your fear; I mean, it's not like sending a credit card number
and an expiry date and pray that nobody abuses them... Well, we'll
be in touch (if there are any problems)."
FROM : Markus "Just wanted to inform you that the money
orders have been successfully sent out to you. The guys at the
post office estimated that it will probably take two to three
weeks until the transfer is completed."