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Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Name, name, who’s got the name?

In General, RP on 28 February, 2011 at 9:08 pm

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose                                                    By any other name would smell as sweet;”                                                                                           Romeo & Juliet [Act II, Scene 2]

As tempting as it is to believe the Bard, this isn’t always true. Some names carry far more weight than others. And yet names are a very had thing to truly own.

For those using pseudonyms and role players or authors of fan fiction, who owns a name can be a thorny issue. It’s also an issue getting more attention in the virtual world where who you are is often nothing more than a name.

We would all like to think that our names are as unique and individual as we are. To some degree this is truer online than in the real world. Usernames generally have to be unique for each network or website they are associated with. Offline there are no such restrictions. A quick glance through the phone book of any small town, let alone a major city will reveal that many “real” people share the same name or portions of it. It’s not just personal names that are duplicated, either. Depending on where you are, business names including local flora, fauna, landmarks or cultural significance may be shared by numerous entities.

This might imply that a unique name like Cher or Sookie is more desirable than an sensible everyday name. To some extent this is true. It’s easier to identify dopplegangers when they use an unusual name (this appears to be how Facebook identified many role-players to ban). Unfortunately, being unique doesn’t really protect your name. Other people can, and will, use it.

The only way to protect a name is to register it as a trademark. Names, even character names appearing in protected works, cannot be copyrighted. It doesn’t matter how creative or distinct a name is, copyright law does not and will not protect them. Trademark laws, on the other hand might, at least to an extent.

As general counsel and an IP lawyer for consumer Internet companies, I recognize there’s a strong case for trademark infringement in using “Twitter” in the name of any product or company not affiliated with Twitter,” said Antone Johnson, Founding Principal of Bottom Line Law Group in San Francisco and Los Angeles (Santa Monica), CA.  Former VP and head of worldwide legal affairs at eHarmony; one of the original in-house lawyers at MySpace, in answer to a question about the recent Twitter/UberSocial dispute. “That said, I think going after variants using the word “tweet” is overreaching. I would have had more sympathy for Twitter in this skirmish if they’d exercised a little more restraint in policing the Twitter TM; instead, the company comes across as rigid and bullying, in the same way Facebook has overreached by going after other sites with “book’ in the domain name.”

Variants aren’t the only issue when it comes to protecting a name. Here having a unique name is a distinct benefit. Common names as less likely to be trademarkable because they are frequently used.

There are other issues as well, besides those having to do with the name itself. Registering a trademark is not free. In fact, it costs several hundred, even thousands of dollars. Applicants may also need the assistance of a lawyer to complete and file the forms appropriately with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Some states may allow individuals to register trade or business names at a lower cost, however, such registration offers limited protection in the online world.

For these and other reasons trademarking a pseudonym is not a practical option for many authors, let alone role players. Yet without such legal and official proof that an individual has the right to use a name companies like Facebook will continue to be able to exclude access and service on a whim. Such exclusions also serve to legitimize the claims made by some in the literary and political arenas that “hiding” behind a pen name is somehow cowardly or dishonest. It is neither. In fact, the use of pseudonyms has a proud history that is even older than the United States.

As Michael Bryan noted on Halloween of last year:

“Pseudonymous writing is ethical as long as the purpose of the pseudonym is to prevent retaliation, interpersonal conflict, or financial harm, and is not to deceive readers….”

He was referring to political bloggers but it is just as true or perhaps more so for role-players. There is, sadly, a certain stigma based largely on misconceptions about what role-playing is and who does it. One could argue that until we stop hiding behind characters and pen names that stigma will continue to exist. At the same time, who really wants to be a waitress in a nowhere Southern town unless she’s telepathic, has a vampire as a neighbor, a shape shifter for a boss and faeries for relatives?

Superstistics

In Uncategorized on 28 February, 2011 at 12:06 am

The use of prior evidence of one event to predict the outcome of another unrelated event – from the words superstitious and statistics.

Lords and Heroes MMO RPG coming this Spring

In Games, RP, vox populi on 27 February, 2011 at 8:25 pm

“Our idea for this mobile-only game is to create a world full of adventures and mysteries that are never the same,” Sovereign Dynamics LLC CEO Sergei Inyushkin, told the Preternatural Post in a Twitter conversation through @LordsAndHeroes. “We want to create a dream you carry in your pocket.”

The opening scene of Lords and Heroes

The game, titled Lords and Heroes, was officially announced 26 Feb., 2011 although the project is still in development. Described as a unique implementation of the RPG and strategy game genres, this brand new MMO experience from Sovereign Dynamics, an independent Russia-based software company, will be available exclusively on the iOS platform. The title will take full advantage of the capabilities of current the current versions of the iPhone and iPod touch. The current iPad will be getting a special HD version of the title, too. Release is set for Spring 2011.

Lords and Heroes pushes massively multiple online (MMO) mobile gaming to the next level with a variety of  capabilities and features.  Like any good MMO, Lords and Heroes will provide multiple quests with opportunities for characters to hunt treasure, fame and glory.   Players will experience also a lush and highly detailed medieval fantasy world that is fully traversable and full 3D, real-time play mode combat features not commonly seen in iOS platform games.

Players will choose between three factions, the noble Irmoran, the mysterious Westerwald and the brutal Nords. The factions fight ruthlessly for the resources they need to feed and arm their people.  What distinguishes Lords and Heroes from other MMOs is that players are not limited to the faction they choose when creating their characters. In fact, players can choose to leave their faction and pursue their goals elsewhere at any time during play.

The advanced reputation and achievement system utilized in Lords and Heroes also allows players to make their mark on this complex virtual world. PvE (Player v. Environment) players can quest from one side of the world to the other in search of valuable items or solutions to problems besetting their faction. Those preferring PvP (Player v. Player) interactions take to the field of battle against players from other factions as the conflict between them escalates. Players will not be facing this new world all alone, either, no matter which faction or play style they choose. Lords and Heroes enables players to hire militia and a range of servants to help them in their adventures.

Lords and Heroes also boasts a unique crafting system not found in other RPGs for iOS devices. By tweaking the base “recipe” players can create items with their own chosen combination of materials, customizing them to their character and style of play.

Taking advantage of the brilliant sound quality of Apple’s mobile devices, Lords and Heroes will feature and epic instrumental soundtrack. The score, created by Cherniy Kuznets (Black Smith) and including performers from the Saint Petersburg Academic Philharmonic Orchestra. The score is nearing completion but those who can’t wait can find a taste of the Cherniy Kuznets musical style with Russian lyrics online.

From the information obtained so far, this is one MMO that really might put a world in the palm of your hand!

Calendar of Events continues to grow

In Travel, vox populi on 27 February, 2011 at 10:15 am

Some great new events are now marked on the Preternatural Post Calendar of Events. You’re going to want to start making your travel plans for the year now if you want to beat the crowds (like this one at last year’s Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle).

Crowds at the 8th Annual Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. Photograph by Jim Barry.

The 9th Annual Emerald City Comic Con arrives in Seattle, WA on March 4 – 6, 2011.

That same weekend (4 – 6 March, 2011)  filkers and musicians will be heading slightly south to San Francisco, CA for Consonance 2011.

Animation fans bitten by the travel bug won’t want to miss Anima, the 30th edition of the International Animation Film Festival of Brussels, March 3 – 13, 2011.

It’s never too early to inspire creativity in children. A great place to introduce teacups to the preternatural world is at the Fantasy & Fairy Tales in Books and Art event on March 17, 2011 in Ft. Meyers, FL. This is a small free event open to the public.

Germany celebrates the international attraction of filk at DFDF – Das Frühlingsfest der Filksmusik 2011 on May 27 – 29, 2011.

For those who like to plan way ahead, a number of Fall and Winter events have been added. Note to the creative types: Many of these are still accepting submissions so check them out NOW!

Horror movie buffs will want to head south in September when Atlanta, GA hosts the Atlanta Horror Film Festival Sept. 15 -17, 2011 as part of Independent Film Month Atlanta.

Atlanta gives holiday shoppers a gift December 3 & 4, 2011 with Wizard World Atlanta. (James Marsters, Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel is among the guests already announced.)

Buffy and Angel fans in a more of a hurry will want to head to Texas. James Marsters and Mercedes McNab are both announced guests at Wizard World Austin Comic Con on November 11 – 13, 2011.

Russian Toilette

In Uncategorized on 27 February, 2011 at 12:06 am

After sitting on the toilet to poop, you notice that there is less than one-quarter of a roll of toilet paper, and no spare in the bathroom. You decide to poop anyway, gambling on the fact you will have enough toilet paper to have a satifying wipe.

Retard in Aluminum Foil

In Uncategorized on 26 February, 2011 at 12:07 am

What a lady’s knight in shining armor becomes when she really gets to know him.

laborhood

In Uncategorized on 25 February, 2011 at 12:11 am

The neighborhood in which you work, if different from the neighborhood in which you live.

Teenage Vampire Angst: A Disaster in the Making

In RP, Twitter, Vampires on 24 February, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Life as a teenager is never simple. Add a pair of fangs and a blood thirst that is never fully satisfied and you have a recipe for trouble. Certainly the residents of Area Five are discovering this fact with the introduction to newly turned, Jessica Hamby (@SassyJessOB) in their mists.

Several weeks ago, a disturbance in the parking of lot of Fangtasia (@BarFangtasia) was reported. Apparently Jessica was caught feeding from a human by co-owners, Eric Northman (@EricNorthmanSC) and Pam Ravenscroft (@TB_PamR). This is a clear violation of the bar’s rules. This incident wasn’t reported to the Shreveport P.D., which can lead one to ask, how was this incident handled? One can assume, Jessica was left to leave freely and the patron was dealt with. Though later events would suggest otherwise.

The following evening, Eric and Pam were seen escorting Jessica to her Bon Temps residence that she shares with her Maker Bill Compton (@VampireBillC). After a heated conversation, Jessica was seen storming upstairs. One can only wonder if Bill punished his Child for her blunder or if he allowed her to go unpunished. Though once again, later actions can lead one to wonder what her punishment was, since the following night, she ran away to Dallas.

Under the watchful eye of Silent Shore Hotel owner, Godric (@GODRlC), Jessica spent several weeks in Dallas until Bill and his newly reunited flame, Sookie Stackhouse (@TelepathSookieS) attended the Winter Ball. Within days of Jessica’s return to Bon Temps, she was rumored to have met and fallen for local good boy, Hoyt Fortenberry (@HoytSC), only to be sent to stay with Eric’s enforcer Chrissi Asphyxia (@ChrissiAsphyxia).

The constant back and forth these past few weeks has left several questions to come forward.

Will the Vampires ever be able to find a way to deal with the rebellious baby Vamp or will they continue to pass her off?

Is the scent of love in the air for Jessica and Hoyt? Or will she leave him as cold and lifeless as the un-beating heart in her chest?

We will continue to follow Hurricane Jessica as she moves through the ranks of the Vampire World…

Bipolar Texter

In Uncategorized on 24 February, 2011 at 12:11 am

An individual who will suddenly, mid-conversation stop responding to you via text. Or, an individual who has reckless emotional swings through text message.

Radical Publishing: Coachella Contest Launched (via Graphic Policy)

In Uncategorized on 23 February, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Sounds like a fun photo contest.

Radical Publishing: Coachella Contest Launched Official Press Release Win Two Tickets to the Coachella Music Festival through Radical Publishing’s “Where in the World is Radical?” Contest February 14, 2011, Los Angeles, CA – Radical Publishing is happy to announce the launch of their most recent contest, “Where in the World is Radical?” The contest will run from February 11 to March 15, 2011. The winner of the contest will be flown from wherever they live in the United States to Indio, Califo … Read More

via Graphic Policy