Careful, this might be one of the most dangerous items we've dealt with yet More dangerous than the invincible reptile? More dangerous than that.
More dangerous than the plague doctor who cures people by turning them into zombies!? More dangerous than the plague doctor who cures people by turning them into 𝘻𝘰𝘮𝘣𝘪𝘦𝘴!? More.
that!!! More dangerous than a malevolent star, headed towards Earth to destroy our planet, everything on it? Even more dangerous than that!! What could be more dangerous than that?!! Lawyers.
Screaming!!!! *glitchy spoop noises* Hello internet! Welcome to Game Theory, the show that usually starts with a signature 'game theory cheesy joke' (trademark) but today we're skipping all that and going straight to MatPat serious time, (trademark) to talk about what exactly a trademark actually means and why it's threatening a whole bunch of gamers and maybe worse a whole bunch of game developers and even worse worse the entirety of the internet and like our very own James Bond mystery this theory is taking us all the way up to the icy depths of Soviet Russia.
Sorry nope not the 70s anymore.
It just takes us to regular present-day Russian Federation.
Now if you haven't heard the story yet well, it means that you don't watch markiplier considering he's been one of the only big voices bringing attention to the issue which is a shame because it's a story that needs to get out there for the benefit of hundreds of creators and the people who love what they do.
So that's my goal today to catch you up on what's going on give a deeper dive into all the legal stuff that Mark left out of his video and ultimately spread the word about a horror story that's much more real, much more scary, much more dangerous than the bulk of SCP's library and fictional monsters.
If you're unfamiliar the SCP foundation is a massive collaborative community-driven creative writing project that lives at SCP-wiki.
net It might not look flashy on the outside, but it's a place for writers of all kinds to catalog the fantastic, and sometimes frightening entities that are captured by the fictional SCP foundation.
The letters SCP standing for Secure Contain and Protect the mission of this fake organization.
It's like a group of people who are collectively writing the book fantastic beasts and where to find them, but instead of y'know cute fantasy creatures, they're all nightmarish horror monsters embodying our deepest fears and insecurities It's like if Tim Burton created Pokemon The collection of stories at SCP-wiki.
net has also served as the basis for tons of indie horror games that you might know SCP containment breach is a favorite among lets players.
SCP blackout is a VR horror game I mean, we just spent three weeks covering bone works and duck season, right? Well, you know all the symbols that were used in the mysterious messages along the walls of those games? Those are all SCP field codes in a game that has a decidedly different field and a lot of the other indie horror titles out there heck its Influence has even creeped into the mainstream take for example Control a game that spent the end of last year getting showered with Game of the Year awards in an interview with Kotaku The game's director confirmed that “the similarities with SCP weren't just a coincidence” and that the SCP foundation was an influence in that game SCP has even gone as Mainstream as Netflix where filmmaker Max Landis was apparently so taken with the SCP lore that he himself contributed an entry to the wiki SCP 2137, in fact.
In short, if you're a fan of indie games Creepypastas or horror stories like I know a lot of you who watch this channel are.
Chances are that you've seen or played something that has been directly influenced by what happens on SCP wiki.
So clearly the SCP community's inspired a lot of media out there some of which is making big bucks and yet You don't hear about writers of SCP stories harassing game makers online accusing them of stealing art or stories or anything like that This is 2020.
Where's all that internet rage (trademark)? Is the SCP community just really nice? Well, yeah, actually that's kinda it.
all SCP content cataloged on the wiki falls under what's known as a Creative Commons license What is this and why haven't you heard of it? Don't worry.
None of the music studios on YouTube have heard of it either *rimshot* SCPs Creative Commons license says essentially this: One you are free to create and sell any works that you created based on SCP that's how so many game developers and artists are able to create derivative works You never have to pay a licensing fee You can just pick up a character or a storyline and create something new with it in order to use SCP's stuff though you also need to: Two give proper attribution to the SCP wiki and to the author of the entry or entries that you're basing it on.
So give credit to the original artist and finally: One (I mean technically it's three but according to my script it's one because the bullet points got all off means I just have to read) (What's on the script? Right?) Can't fix the bullet points or anything like that.
Like the SCP wiki you add the creative commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.
0 license or a CC-BY-SA for short to your own work This essentially means that you're giving other people the ability to copy your work or create derivative works provided that they give you proper attribution And distribute your work under the same license.
Basically this all amounts to a pay it forward creative mentality.
Hey, you're inspired by my stuff and that is totally cool.
Heck you might have even made some money off of it.
But now just make sure that you let the next person be inspired by your work now Maybe it's not the perfect system for every instance, but it's worked for SCP since 2008 Which is like a century in internet time.
Recently however, a guy over in Russia has been threatening the system using some odd tactics and has slowly been starting to extort legitimate SCP members.
He successfully managed to take down sellers of SCP merchandise in Russia; He's successfully taken down the official social media page for the SCP foundation wiki's Russian branch; And now he's moved on to the Russian section of the wiki itself Demanding the page be handed over to him so he can take it apart and use it to sell his own merch Yikes! With selling tactics like that even Jake Paul could take some lessons from this guy “Buy the merch” Now how the heck is this happening? Is he just some kind of master internet pirate or some super hacker? Operating in secret? turns out, no turns out he's just a guy who understands Russian legal loopholes really? Well.
Yeah I know.
I wish it were something cooler, too I see him burrowed in some bunker somewhere with one of those chunky hacker laptops, typing things really fast like they do in the movies, but no He's literally just a bureaucrat someone who's using the system to his advantage.
Last year he applied to the Eurasian customs union for both the trademark of the SCP foundation logo and the name of it within Russia even though he's not affiliated with it at all and didn't create either one of those and somehow he was granted the trademarks.
According to SCP Master Admin, John Beattie quote these actions threaten not only the Russian wiki but every SCP branch writer and fan around the world end quote.
So how does this happen? How did this guy manage to register the copyright for a massive community project that he had no hand in creating and why would you trademark something that you can use for free anyway? Well, maybe the more basic question before getting into either of those is to make sure that everyone knows the difference between trademark and copyright Copyright is protection of intellectual works including books, plays, music, videos, illustrations pretty much anything that you can create and legally owned is automatically covered by copyright that drawing that you just posted to Twitter? Copyrighted! that tour of what you keep in your refrigerator that you just uploaded to YouTube? Copyrighted! Whatever this is? Copyrighted! (By the way, welcome back pewd's and glad you're back I don't know what the current memes are.
Last episode I literally used one of the skeleton memes because that's as hip and recent as I get) Cool thing about copyright there's no need to go and register your work with some government office.
You can (if you want) but you usually only do that if someone is infringing on your copyright You're gonna go smack them down in court trademark on the other hand refers to Branding not the words in the book or the songs in the album just the name of the book on the cover or the band's logo that appears on the poster.
Trademarks have to be specific to your brand and specific to your industry.
McDonald's in the golden arches logo are obviously trademarked by McDonald's but specific to the food category.
Right, So you could still be McDonald's the music label or you could trademark McDonald's the book publishing company for instance.
The battle between the SCP foundation and our Russian saboteur is over trademark and not copyright which unfortunately makes it tougher to sort out even though the stuff that's trademarked is usually tiny a logo a catchphrase compared to something like a whole book or a whole movie, in the case of copyright most countries have agreements that respect the copyright of people in other countries for instance as of 2006 Russia agreed to comply with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or T.
for those of us who don't speak bureaucracy-ese.
It's an international agreement to respect copyrights of anyone within the World Trade Organization Countries.
That said countries like Russia and China infamously struggle to actually enforce the laws that they put in place around intellectual property which is why you see a lot of those counterfeit iPhones coming out of China and all of those Dolce & Banana bags.
These countries are just massive and officials within them aren't always operating aboveboard GAN, a company that specializes in investigating businesses for any shady dealings, released a general report on russian legal corruption in 2018 in their report companies operating in Russia note that quote “public procurement sector in Russia.
” You know the ones that deal with business licenses and things like trademarks.
Carry high corruption risk, bribes, kickbacks, and other irregular payments are often exchanged to obtain public contracts and licenses companies report favoritism and decisions of government officials and public funds are frequently diverted due to corruption” end quote Wow That is like a two-star yelp review and believe it or not the other sectors of government that they report on actually rate worse.
Seriously! so the SCP is already up against a pretty rough system from the start.
Add to that the problem that trademarks are especially slippery when you cross country borders.
They're territory specific which means that your trademark usually only works in your country or continent, for example, you'll find no Burger King signs in Australia.
That's because when Burger King expanded into Australia in the 1970s They found that the trademark for Burger King had already been registered by an Australian company.
So instead they had to brand their Australian restaurants as Hungry Jack's.
Sure if they can still advertise themselves as home of the whopper Whopper is trademarked as their burger They just can't call themselves Burger King because someone had it in that territory first.
Countries like China and Russia are strong first-to-file countries.
Which means that basically if you don't register your trademark there first they can legally sell your exact trademark like your actual logo or name or whatever to someone else this appears to be what's happening in the case of SCP, but it's far from the first example in 2002 a Russian company started under the name of Starbucks and was able to get the rights to the Starbucks Trademark after persuading the Russian patent agency that the name should be auctioned off and yes, this Russian firm also copyrighted the classic mermaid Starbucks logo, which they did not create what ensued was a multi-year legal battle that finally came to an end in 2005 when the Seattle coffee chain finally convinced the Russian courts to uncancel the trademark that they had registered in 1997.
Reverting the sale that had allowed a Russian company to lay claim to their brand for three years! This also happens in countries like China all the time.
A number of articles have surfaced over the last several years about how trademark theft is on the rise in China.
But the best US lawyers can do for companies whose logos or names get ripped off is literally to tell them to try and buy back their own name and trademark from the company who stole it.
It would be like Vsauce having to buy back the name Vsauce from some random person in Russia because he didn't think to preemptively register his name there or it took him too long to use it.
Well to our sensibilities that might seem ridiculous it actually is all totally legal in first-to-file countries.
What's happening with SCP isn't necessarily breaking trademark laws.
Selling that trademark to some random guy was potentially legal because well, that's just the way that Russian law is set up.
So is that it? Just a really sucky ending for this group who's sharing their work with the whole world? Does the SCP have to somehow buy back their own trademark or be forced to operate under a totally separate name in Russia? Well, maybe not well our Russian saboteur here may not get snagged on trademark issues in Russia, we've also been talking this whole time about copyrights.
You'll remember from the beginning that the entire SCP wiki all the spin-off games, the pages, the stories, the artwork, All of it is governed by the Creative Commons license requiring that anyone who uses SCP materials, artworks, or related materials gives credit to the community and also allows others to use those same works under the same license.
That said, Our Russian saboteur has reportedly been using his trademark as a lever to take down SCP works from other authors and block merchandise sales containing SCP artwork.
Admittedly, it's a bit hard to authenticate some of those claims because the sites themselves have been taken down, but if he's blocking the use of SCP art and related works He's actually violating the Creative Commons license that the SCP wiki was built on.
Remember he's allowed to sell SCP art himself just like anyone else under the Creative Commons license but if he's blocking other people's sale of that merch or publication of SCP materials he's breaching the Creative Commons license So in short the TLDR here is he's not breaking trademark laws.
He's breaking copyright laws.
You can see how this case is pretty nuanced but when you get down to the bottom of it, it's clear that there's a violation of legitimate SCP Creators happening.
If these reports are truly accurate.
So what does this all mean if the SCP foundation loses this battle? Well for one thing it means that the SCP foundation and everyone besides our Russian saboteur loses the ability to use the SCP Foundation name and logo inside the Russian Federation.
Note that the trademark only applies to Russia even with a Russian SCP trademark.
There's nothing he can do to threaten SCP foundation outside of Russia.
It also doesn't mean that our Russian saboteur can lay claim to the wiki itself because he has the SCP trademark but not the copyright over the content itself.
At that point SCP could create their own separate Russian branch under a different name with a different logo but let's hope it doesn't come down to it.
But beyond SCP, there's actually a bigger issue happening here.
This move sets a dangerous precedent for any Creative Commons work out there as long as this guy's able to block other Creators in Russia.
If someone can just take a piece of artwork that's currently under Creative Commons and trademark it, then that basically means Creative Commons provides no protection of that artwork.
As soon as anything is created that has value anyone can potentially lock it down by using that trademark loophole.
So if this case isn't addressed properly it seems to set up a kind of slippery slope that others can exploit for their own advantage.
So the good news here is that you can go to court against trademark trolls and win.
Yes, even in Russia.
The bad news is it's not easy.
It takes time and more importantly money to pay the legal fees to defend that trademark.
Which is why it's so critical for SCP to be able to raise the funds to fight that legal battle.
Luckily it already looks like they have the funds that they need.
The same community that came together to create an intricate and sprawling shared universe has also banded together to defend that shared universe against Russian trademark trolls.
And I think that's the real story here it can be easy to get upset about the world being full of selfish people looking to cheat the system for their own good.
But it's filled with a far greater number of people who are willing to come together to defend against the few bad apples who try to muck things up.
It's a bummer that this thing had to happen and in some ways it represents the worst parts of what we see online but it's also revealed some of the best elements of being a part of an online community that's brought Joy and entertainment to thousands of people.
In the end Even if you're not an SCP member this case is worth following and worth being educated about because Creative Commons Licenses govern a lot of what you see on the websites that you use the most including this one.
So it's in our collective best interest to keep it as intact as possible.
Fight on SCP! I'm sorry that this time the thing that you have to secure contain and protect is your own right to exist.
But hey, that's just a theory.
A Game Theory, thanks for watching.