GameFAQs Bought

Shit.

“CNET, our long-time sponsor, has acquired GameFAQs and will take over all infrastructure work on the site. This leaves me to focus once again on the core of the site: the FAQs, reviews, codes, and all of the other content on the site. I’m not just giving GameFAQs to CNET and running away; I’ll be working with (and for) CNET to continue to build GameFAQs into best site I can make it.”

:(

–Dave

There were plenty of ads on the site before. As long as they keep the content I don’t have a problem with that. And the content is provided for free by the fans, right?

Well, the basic content is. A site like that needs a demonic updater to be worthwhile, however. It will live or die based on how much attention CNET gives it.

We’ve had a relationship with GameFAQs for a while now, so the ramifications of this shouldn’t have much of an impact for anyone who visits the site. In practical terms, we’ll try to get Jeff Veasey (who’s single-handedly run the site since 1995) some assistance moderating GameFAQs’ explosive message boards, so that he can concentrate on the core, just as he said. Other than that, though–and to risk saying something I suppose I might eventually regret–CNET will mess with GameFAQs only over my dead body. We acquired that site because it’s a great, great site just the way it is.

That’s reassuring to hear that you aren’t going to mess with it, Greg… GameFAQs is truly a fantastic site in it’s current incarnation, it is a resource and reference like no other. I never visit the msgs boards, but even my wife knows that when she wants to look up info on a walkthrough, to go to GameFAQs…

Were it to go away or require a fee it would be a sad day for all gamers, though I’m sure Sybex and BradyGames would be dancing on it’s corpse.

Well, it’s not clear how much gamers might change their view of submissions there…or if the submission policy might also change under the new owners. When it’s one guy doing everything, you’re not in too much danger of being exploited. When it’s a company the size of CNet, there’s a much greater chance that down the road, your willingness to contribute will be tested by said company exploiting your output while offering nothing in return.

I hope Greg’s right. I hope it doesn’t change. But well…we’ve heard that line before a million times with a million different sites. If Greg is currently the guy keeping it from changing, and he gets a new job in a year, well, immediately things could change.

–Dave

“Other than that, though–and to risk saying something I suppose I might eventually regret–CNET will mess with GameFAQs only over my dead body.”

I don’t know what it’s like in your industry but in my industry, this is a rather naive statement.

There’s more than one definition for “termination”.

I made a good deal of money off gamefaqs when I was a teenager. When games like mortal kombat 2 would come out, everyone would want to know how to do all the moves and fatalities. I would print off faqs with all this crap and sell them at the arcade for $5 apiece. I’d throw like 50 in the care and would usually make $100 or so in the span of the 3-4 hours I would hang out in the arcades. Now that pretty much everyone that plays games knows about TeH InTARweB, i don’t think you’d be able to take advantage of that demand for information.

Hmm… I wonder if an issue will arise about ownership and compensation now that GameFAQs is owned by a Big Company? I mean, they make money (or “will” make money, or “can” man money, or “seek to” make money) off of FAQs that are submitted by users or found on like usenet and stuff. Are all those people going to have to sign releases for their work to be used? Is every FAQ going to have to contain a statement about it being okay for corporations to use it For Profit if they’re going to be considered?

It hasn’t been a problem in the past, but GameFAQs was a homespun site. With CNet as a target, it wouldn’t surprise me if those issues came up.

Yep, and you can blame those truckloads of AOL cds for that one. You should sue AOL for turning your business unprofitable or something.

Expect to see it…

Yeah, way back when, I put a lot of time into doing a FAQ for Emperor of the Fading Suns, which somehow ended up on GameFAQs. I was flattered it ended up there, but I’m not sure how I feel about c|net making money off it.

Granted, it’s an older game, no one will read my FAQ, and I’m sure c|net wouldn’t make a penny off the thing. But still, the issue is there.

 -Tom

Did people have to sign anything when submitting something to GameFAQs? If they didn’t, what’s the law have to say about re-assigning copyright to another entity when nothing’s been signed? Would every single contributor need to sign something before C|Net can publish their works?

The thing about all those FAQs that already exist is that most of them aren’t really copyrighted per se…they just have the usual “This is copyrighted by me, blah blah” thing in them that people write on stuff like that so other people think twice about copying and pasting it somewhere else. I doubt anyone’s actually holding any piece of paper in their hand for their FAQ. Hell, Tom’s ended up there without him submitting it.

So really, that whole pile of FAQs is a kind of netherworld of content that the original owners gave to the site owner of their own free will. Now he has apparently profited from the sale and will continue to draw a salary based on said content. CNet will also make money from it somehow, whether just through advertising or more in the future, who knows? I have no idea how the law handles something like this.

–Dave

I’m taking bets on how long it’s going to take before you have to sign up for Gamespot Complete to access all the FAQs.

I came across this on GameFAQs:

“You still own what you’ve submitted to GameFAQs. If you’ve submitted FAQs, codes, reviews, or other content to GameFAQs over the years, it’s no more CNET’s than it ever was mine to own. You still have the right to remove anything you’ve submitted to the site, although naturally I’d be more than happy to try and talk you out of it. Your work was not sold to CNET; in fact, it was specifically excluded.”

It’s odd that my EFS FAQ is up there, because I never submitted it and no one asked me if it was okay for them to host it.

The moment that happens, they will be shy one FAQ for Emperor of the Fadings Suns! That’ll show them!

 -Tom

Actually, Tom, you’ll have to sign up to GameSpot Complete to be able to delete it. But once you subscribe and have access to deleting it, that’ll show 'em!

The thing about all those FAQs that already exist is that most of them aren’t really copyrighted per se…they just have the usual “This is copyrighted by me, blah blah” thing in them that people write on stuff like that so other people think twice about copying and pasting it somewhere else. I doubt anyone’s actually holding any piece of paper in their hand for their FAQ. Hell, Tom’s ended up there without him submitting it.

So really, that whole pile of FAQs is a kind of netherworld of content that the original owners gave to the site owner of their own free will. Now he has apparently profited from the sale and will continue to draw a salary based on said content. CNet will also make money from it somehow, whether just through advertising or more in the future, who knows? I have no idea how the law handles something like this.

Actually, you don’t have to do anything special to obtain copyright rights under current US Law. Absent an agreement to the contrary, the copyright in each FAQ would be owned by the author(s) of the FAQ.

Proving copyright online can be a difficult thing, as it’s easy to fake a date and time, but to own a copyright in the real world for something written, all you really have to do is this:

  1. Get whatever it is that you want copywritten.
  2. Get an envelope.
  3. Put the writing inside the envelope and mail it to yourself, either at home or at a P.O. box.
  4. As soon as it arrives at home, don’t open it. Put it in a safe. Because the stamp is dated, and because it’s not open, you can admit it into court as evidence, and will almost always win. If it arrives at the P.O. box, leave it there, unopened, as well.

There you go. The four ways a poor man can copyright something for himsef. It’s the first thing you learn as a writer of music, stories, books, articles, etc. If you’re Mark Asher or Steve Bauman or Vede and you get published, however, you of course don’t need to do this as your publication date is good enough.

Desslock, care to back me up on this?

Expect popups shortly… and maybe some subscriptions?!? Gee, that’ll be great. As long as the site is mainly text and runs as fast as it does now, I’ll be fine. But I highly doubt it will be the same.

etc