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Would there be a copyright issue?

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The thread on FSimport was evolving into an interesting topic on copyright use. Since that thread was getting lengthy I thought I would move that topic out on it's own. Would there be a copyright infringement if FS Imports converted FS default scenery? The courts have been somewhat balanced on the issue of personal use of copyrighted material. Padraic's program only allows the converted scenery of freeware developers to be used on the single PC. What if it would allow default scenery to be converted or used only if both FS2002 and Fly II were installed on the same PC to be used only on that PC? In one sense the functionality of FS Imports is similiar to Music Match or Media Player where copyrighted material is converted from one format to another for the personal use of the software owner. Why not in this application to? Hypothetically speaking, of course. I do realize we are talking about a company that has thumbed their nose at most of the World's governments. Anybody ready to take on Microsoft to prove my point? :-sword

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I think you answered your own question. What you are saying about personal use when both programs are installed may very well be legally justifiable - I don't know. However, a company with the legal and financial resources of Microsoft doesn't need to be in the right to still win the day in a court of law. Even defeating such a lawsuit would be a Pyrrhic victory at best, as the resources required to even conduct such a legal fight would be too dear for just about anyone to contemplate.- David Sandberg

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>Would there be a copyright infringement if FS Imports converted FS >default scenery?Just don't upload any converted sceneries and they'll likely be no problems.Ernie.

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If I bought a BMW, took it apart and combine some parts with Toyota's chassis I don't think BMW (or Toyota) would mind. But if I opened a dealership and started selling such hybrid cars probably someone would knock on my door sooner or later ...Michael J.http://jdtllc.com/images/RCsupporter.jpg

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I don't have a copy in front of me, but I'm just about positive the FS2K2 EULA would have wording protecting them from you using any form of tool to disassemble, view, modify, edit, convert, decrypt, or otherwise manipulate their files. You would then be riding the fine line of this: would a court uphold fair use for personal use if you owned the product, if Microsoft has never enforced that clause for other freeware tools that knowingly edit/modify/decrypt their formats (which I know many freeware/shareware tools do, for editing MSFS scenery). This would be a VERY risky proposition, since you have no idea if Microsoft has enforced this or not in the past. And, could you even financially survive long enough to have your day in court? It's just not worth the trouble and risk. Again, you can have 90% of the world and probably get no pressure from them, or go for 100% and guarantee their wrath. I'd go with the better odds and enjoy the thousands of wonderful freeware sceneries out there (or get permission from some of the commercial companies) and leave it at that.Which then begs the question: if Padraic could get Lago, Wilco, or other scenery companies to agree to provide him scenery to convert, which would then be sold electronically online specifically for Fly! II use, would anyone be willing to buy it? If there were a reasonable audience, and the conversion cost was minimal, you just might get some of the better scenery companies out there to do this. It will all boil down to how much time they have to spend -- if they can simply hand a scenery set to someone and have it auto-converted in a weekend, it would be a very compelling item because commercially you'd almost make pure profit on ANY sales you made. There would be minimal risk to their relationship with MS, because Fly! is effectively a dead franchise and it's not like their going to lose market share to Fly! at this point.Of course, you can always do what Padraic did and simply write your own tool to do whatever you want, and convert whatever you want. I'm sure that's less risk to Padraic! ;)Rich

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Actually, David my comment about challenging Microsoft on a copyright issue is, for the most part, without basis. I don't even think they would see this as a threat since using FS Imports for Fly II would require the purchase of FS2002 to begin with. I really just wanted to see some discussion on this in the forum because I believe that converting the default scenery is something that is being avoided because of, perhaps, an erroneous fear that the product might violate copyright laws. As Michael pointed out, you can do just about anything you want with a company's product as long as it is for your own use and not for profit.

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>I don't have a copy in front of me, but I'm just about >positive the FS2K2 EULA would have wording protecting them >from you using any form of tool to disassemble, view, >modify, edit, convert, decrypt, or otherwise manipulate >their files. Rich, Wouldn't this put the potential problem of violating the EULA in the user's lap and not the developer of the tool? >Which then begs the question: if Padraic could get Lago, >Wilco, or other scenery companies to agree to provide him >scenery to convert, which would then be sold electronically >online specifically for Fly! II use, would anyone be willing >to buy it? Yes, absolutely. If I could buy the type of quality product for Fly II that the payware developers for MSFS offer, I would.

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I wanted to add a comment that it is Padraic's right and his alone to determine the capabilities of his product and I appreciate that he has given this as freeware. It is yet another tool, like TM2, and the built in editor, at our disposal for populating areas. I was more interested in the copyright angle being presented and how that may impact what we can or can't do. You never know, someone out there might find a way to hack FS Import. Nah.........

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This idea is intriguing in that it sounds like the cd writer software dilemma. With it, one can use it illegally or legally depending on the extent that it is done for personal use. Following this logic, it's beginning to sound like it's possible to use Padrac's tool to convert Fs default scenery for personal use.tony

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I seem to remember that quite awhile back a fellow was converting either Fs Panels, or Fly panels for use in Flight unlimited. He came under quite abit of fire, and eventually deleted the panels from his system. I wish I could remember who it was, but it played out on these forums for awhile. I believe that if panels were a problem, then scenery would be equally as much of one.Al

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This is a very big question.I stress ADD-ONs everywhere in FSI. I also attempted to prevent end users from trading with converted sceneries. As I have noticed, it seems that some end users are already thinking about uploading etc. This is the very thing that I wanted to prevent - danger to themselves and others. Uploading converted ADD-ONs is bad enough - what if they were defaults?FSI should be an END USER's tool to generate ready-to-Fly! sceneries. Padraic (Podjoe) Morgan.

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>I seem to remember that quite awhile back a fellow was >converting either Fs Panels, or Fly panels for use in Flight >unlimited. He came under quite abit of fire, and eventually >deleted the panels from his system. I wish I could remember >who it was, but it played out on these forums for awhile. >I believe that if panels were a problem, then scenery would >be equally as much of one. >>Al If he was uploading or in any distributing those panels than I can see where this would be a problem. My question pertained to the personal use issue on a single PC. I also was curious and wanted to get some opinions as to whether the developer of the tool would be violating copyright agreements, or the user of the tool who chose to ignore the EULA.

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