Site Direction: Everyone Get in Here

Y'know the subject of merchandise was brought up? And you know how merchandise is really kinda blegh on standard cheap t-shirts and stuff that's mass produced? And you know how Lex has a friend who does really cool stuff with converse trainers (and no doubt many other things)? And you know how Mage makes jewelry?

Could we not get something unofficial and unique going here? I know there is the issue of trade mark, but we could either ask Square Enix to ok it for a percentage. Or make sure that the merch is altered enough so it doesn't come under their trademark.

If we have 6,000 coming here we may as well see if they want to spend some monez.
You mean like customized stuff? Special orders?
 

Lex

Administrator
Re: merch, I've been trying to get my friend to do a pair of FFVII shoes for a while, but the thing is it's so time consuming that she can't sit and paint a pair of shoes for nothing.

I actually ordered a pair that she's painting for free (10 year friendship bonus and all that) - originally I was getting a pair of Scottish Independence converse, but I could get her to do FFVII. Idk I kinda wanted Mass Effect aswell so I'm not sure about that one. Obviously the effect would be an article about it. And I'm not sure how copyright works when she's handpainting it but also making a profit. Maybe she just needs to avoid the logo or something.

For example she can paint the Tardis on Doctor Who shoes - everyone knows it's the Tardis, but a point of contention is probably the large "DW" on the other side, which is the Doctor Who logo. Are the rules different because she hand paints it and it's her own take on everything? idk.

Re: Affiliations, I'd be all over that if FFVII Citadel was still updated, I used to love that site :/
 

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
As for featuring fanmade content, like fanart...I dunno if this was bought up but in addition to quality, I would have to emphasize heavily on getting the artist's permission to feature their artwork and linking back to the source (or their gallery)
Regarding fan art permissions etc. Its best to be safe than sorry in stuff like this, even if "sorry" really just means having to take down a piece of art or saying sorry its just best to cover bases.

And the best way to cover the bases is to set up a submission button that goes straight to a page with a basic submit form that gets emailed directly to a shared email (google does this wonderfully).

Under the submit button have a basic legal info write up that covers TLS. This ensures that the submitter atleast glances as the legal jargon before sending in the art ect.
Submit form will basically just have the generic stuff like name/alias, contact email and small description section for the image and appropriate links to said images.

If we seek someone out for there art to feature on TLS we also have them do a quick submission via the in place system so that there is at least an email/name trail in case they end up being dicks... and well the internet is full of 'em.

I know it sounds extremely over the top, but it can save you a little head ache and in the case of say someone submitting someone elses work we at least have a little info to share with the original artist etc.


edit:

re :merch

but we could either ask Square Enix to ok it for a percentage
I don't want to be a debbie downer, but that's not going to fly.

Realistically I would be surprised if anyone of importance answers an email like that. I would be more surprised if they answer it with a yes.

That said. That doesn't stop people from setting up online store fronts and selling things that are definitely not meant to made and sold in this manner and do just fine for a time. The question is do you want TLS name associated with that.

Considering TLS has been acknowledged in the past by SE I dont see it lasting long tbh.


What we CAN sell though is stuff that falls into fair use or is not specifically copyrighted. You're not going to be able to sell shoes with cloud on em, or a shirt that says Shin ra.

But you could sell (im assuming this term isn't owned, correct me if im wrong) sell say like a wrist band that says meteorain, Demi, etc.

Just some food for thought.
 
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You mean like customized stuff? Special orders?
I think so yeah. Limited numbers of some things, unique other things, custom other things. Basically it means they don't have to keep large amounts of stock like that.

I think we'd need Mage and Universal Dark to take the idea and develop it (if they are even willing!) because they know the business.

Is there any way to see where the frontpage hits are coming from? Like which countries?
 

Octo

KULT OF KERMITU
AKA
Octo, Octorawk, Clarky Cat, Kissmammal2000
:aah: MUCH EXCITE!

People do that stuff on etsy all the time, and they don't seem to get their asses sued afaik...Plus SE should fuck off because their own merc is so lacking :monster:
 

Mage

Return of the Dead-eye
AKA
Mage
Insofar as copyright goes, I have a tale, a cautionary one if you will.....

Once upon a time I had a custom Wolseley Hornet plush made for me in the image of my beloved little car. The lady who made it ran a website called mylittlecar.com. One day BMW found out about her cute little custom plushes and sent their People to write Angry Letters. Despite the fact that the lady was willing to pay a percentage and had contacted them previously (without response) to check it was okay, BMW aggressively hounded her until she closed the webshop. This was despite her not making any more Mini or MINI plushes, they wanted everything they had purchased Rover for (it is known that BMW bought Rover so they could own the Mini trademark, not to save the company) to go out of production (including my Hornet as it was a Mini variant).

However, if I wanted to make a silver pin badge using a particular font which read FFVII, there isn't really much Square can do to stop me. It's when I profit from the production of said pin badge that it becomes an issue. It is also known that in the jewellery trade knock-off copies are incredibly common (so much so that Tiffany have stopped suing the fuck out of anyone using their patterns). I'm not saying that makes it okay, merely pointing out that copyright breaches are so far and wide that enforcing a legal standpoint is a civil matter and thus not worth the effort. Asides which, I should be able to find out how long anything FFVII-related was trademarked for (UK only, since that's where I am, natch) without cost.

TL;DR, the official line would be a no but it doesn't mean that nothing can be produced within the confines of the law and without profit.

Jewellery is easy enough, custom lines would be cost-prohibitive but not beyond question.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
I'm personally against going down that route even a little, but if there are those who are interested, willing and know the seemingly inconsistent legal ins and outs of dealing in that trade, I'm not going to try talking them out of it.
 
Is it beyond the bounds of possibility that we could get a licensing agreement from SE? Has anyone ever tried to? (I mean anyone in the world not just anyone here) Specifically, a licensing agreement to make one-off unique things that couldn't be mass-produced and therefore wouldn't be of interest to them.

Then there are people like this:

http://www.redbubble.com/shop/ffvii+greeting-cards

Now, they trade in such things as FFVII Postcards ("Visit Junon" and the famous "Guide to the Midgar Railway System") T-shirts, posters, mugs etc... All of these things are much more attractive than most of the stuff SE sells. I gather that Redbubble conceive of themselves as an online marketplace and they have this extensive section on copyright:

http://support.redbubble.com/kb/top20/redbubble-ippublicity-rights-policy

Which, as far as I can tell from skimming over it, urges everyone to ensure that their products don't breach any copyright. Redbubble take no responsibility for checking whether or not their vendors are breaking copyright and won't help vendors if they are caught breaking copyright.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, since I know nothing about running a business, online or otherwise, but it seems to me that if we wanted to we could sell items such as the ones being sold on RedBubble and we could possibly take the same line they've taken with copyright - yes? Or maybe not, since they're basically a kind of online mall whereas we are a dedicated fan site.

Is there a bigger Final Fantasy site than this anywhere outside Japan?
 

Lex

Administrator
^Some of those are using artwork from the Web Series project that I was a part of. AFAIK it's completely original artwork so it doesn't fall under the same licensing loophole banner thing. The web series stuff is the "Junon" and "Midgar" and chocobo stuff IIRC. I used to have access to that page actually.

Proceeds from that previously went to the web series. I have no idea how it's working now.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
This is why I'm against it. My understanding of all of the "loopholes" and whatnot amounts to "It's fine until it's not."

As for getting the license from SE for anything, there's not a chance in hell. A translation company couldn't even get the license for the Ultimanias earlier this year, you may recall.
 

Airling

Ninja-Fairy-Jedi-Princess
My mind has been wandering all morning, particularly on this subject, and I apologise if what I say feels... off topic.

To me it feels like, while all these particulars that we have discussed so far are important to know and establish to have the place running well, there is something beneath all that without which all the planning in the world would be pointless.

It's an enthusiasm I guess. A dedication that drives what we do. It's hard for me to explain it because my mind works in concepts and not words so much. Ultimately, I suppose it's a love for the community.

So what I guess I'm saying is, I like Lex's idea for establishing who contributors officially are, because I don't think it fair to expect people to chug out content if the work itself doesn't fulfil them. Doing work you don't like in the hope of getting fulfilment in getting recognition for it is a gamble, and life's too short for that!

Perhaps this is a whole new thread. Sorry. On the upside, I love you guys!:loveglomp:
 

Drax

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Benoist; Captain Highwind
I've read a good deal of this thread and hopefully I'm not just repeating stuff.

As far as merchandise goes, since SE is very protective of its licensing, would it be a good idea to have some sort of wish list articles that talk about what they're lacking? It's possible that SE looks at the front page regularly, like when they were scouring the web for fan sites that one time.

What about really thorough play arts reviews of existing figures, do we have those? Like, discussion of joints, paint job, sculpting quality, pros and cons...that would also be a good time to mention what figures are missing.

There's a lot of old sculpts and jewelry on the SE merchandise site that can be revived with review articles.

As for privacy, I'm good with keeping what's currently private, private. There's something about that barrier where people have to become members. For the game section, there's gamertags. For the news and politics section, that's pretty much an extension of people's views. People might like the fan clubs and creativity section staying in the realm of registered members, until they feel comfortable having a spotlight in the news section or something.

EDIT: Also, I just poked around the front page. Are we affiliated with the Before Crisis site and Crisis Core sites, or were they taken down? If they were, it would be nice to have a site build of things like the Turks hierarchy from BC and things like that.
 
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Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
^Some of those are using artwork from the Web Series project that I was a part of. AFAIK it's completely original artwork so it doesn't fall under the same licensing loophole banner thing. The web series stuff is the "Junon" and "Midgar" and chocobo stuff IIRC. I used to have access to that page actually.

Proceeds from that previously went to the web series. I have no idea how it's working now.


This is wrong.

100% wrong.

The artwork maybe "original" but its based on proprietary characters that are owned by a company (SE). They dont care if you draw it and share it online for free with the world. When you start making money off of it thats a completely different story.

The reasons site like that exist is because companies to an extent companies dont go looking for every source of infringement. If something gets flagged enough then they'll issue a cease and desist.

A very recent example of this being shut down by a company is this

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/409017778/fund-the-wristbands-league-of-legends

The owner of the kickstarter and site assumed that since he handcrafted the wristbands and that since he drew every piece of vector art that the art belonged to him even though the arts bases was owned by Riot.

Just because you draw something, sing something or write something based on something else does not mean you own it. Intellectual property does not work that way unfortunately.

Regarding redbubble :


urges everyone to ensure that their products don't breach any copyright.
This is exactly why they get away with it for so long. It's also exactly why they wont get away with it forever.

Anyone remember what happened on youtube last year? With all of the MCN's screwing over the partnered content creators? With Youtube coming down on MCN's?

Do you know why that happened?

When you get partnered on youtube with a MCN they basically tell you monetize anything you want just make sure it falls under fair use or you own the content. If you get a copyright strike we will let you go. Sound familiar?

Except Youtube didnt want it that way. They wanted the MCN's to actually self govern instead of letting the partners monetize what ever they wanted and then punish after the fact. Eventually copyright holders got tired of having to flag and strike a lot of content that didnt belong to the content creators and the great partner crash happened.


There are plenty of websites that sell things that have no business being sold by anyone but the owner of the property and they last a good little while.

I'll ask the question again : Do you want TLS associated with that?

Selling these things online is no different then selling knock off Prada bags on the street corner.

edit:

Forgot some words and stuff. Barely woke up.

tl;dr though guys. Im really really trying to not be a debbie downer here and I should have made more clear in my first post in this subject. I have a good handle on this sort of thing and this is a road TLS should not go down.

You have your mind in a good place here. You're just trying to make better content for fans to own then SE. I get that. But thats not legal. Not even close.

If you want to do it then you're going to have to do it for free and even then... theres some red tape and grey ground to cross if you want to do it the right way.

There is no loophole, work around etc. That a Lawyer hasn't been paid years ago to think up to stop people from doing exactly what is being discussed here. SE will never give us a percentage deal. Most companies never will unless your a huge company yourself.

Legally speaking. It's just not going to happen and sure you might have a good run of it but eventually you will get that letter. TLS should not be associated with that.

I urge you guys to hear me out on this one.


Anyway gonna go make some coffee.
 
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That's more or less what I figured, Gabe.

I like Benoist's idea of more reviews of their merchandising (although when it's stuff like the Rufus cup it's hard to do anything but mock it).
 

Cthulhu

Administrator
AKA
Yop
Re: merchandise store, we actually had an Amazon Associates store page for a couple of years, selling FFVII and VII-related products. I think we generated over $1000 in sales from that one actually, of which we got a percentage - iirc a total of $80 or so before we removed it after a redesign (and not updating it since forever).

When I say "we" though, I mean X-Soldier (iirc), he set it up back then and was the financial owner of the shop receiving the proceeds and as far as I know he hasn't spent any of it on TLS-related expenses, :awesome:.

TBPH, stuff gets kinda tricky when it comes to making money; who gets the money? Where does it go to? What should happen if TLS' income becomes higher than its expenses? Off course, part of me goes "Well I paid for it for the past five years and I've never run a profit so I should get it", but the other side goes that I did relatively little to generate that money so it wouldn't be fair.

Anyway, I'm sure there's ways around possible legal repercussions; Amazon's associate store was completely safe (I think) because it was Amazon's, and Amazon's products, and whatnot. On the downside, we were limited to what Amazon offered.

Anyway I think setting up a store - of any kind - should be a separate thread / project. FWIW, I like all the brainstorming and ideas going on in here, but at the same time it gets a bit chaotic and branching out and shit, :monster:.
 

Octo

KULT OF KERMITU
AKA
Octo, Octorawk, Clarky Cat, Kissmammal2000
@Gabe, yeah, thats a bummer. I guess it's easier for the piddly little etsy stores to get away with it, but we're more visible - I mean I'd like to think if we were on SE's radar they'd buck their fucking ideas up (and not just re merchandise) but yeah...


Anyway reviews of their merc would be good, maybe we could shame them into actually making some good fucking stuff eh? :monster:
 

Airling

Ninja-Fairy-Jedi-Princess
Anyway I think setting up a store - of any kind - should be a separate thread / project. FWIW, I like all the brainstorming and ideas going on in here, but at the same time it gets a bit chaotic and branching out and shit, :monster:.
Should we maybe start thinking about breaking the main ideas we want to discuss and develop further into separate threads, as with the design stuff?
 

Airling

Ninja-Fairy-Jedi-Princess
I'll skim the posts and make a list of possible new threads. I'll edit this post to include the list.

Edit - okay, here are the main veins of discussion thus far (slap me if I missed something):


  • Expansion to other FF & Square titles - It seems this would be more about how than if. (thread has been created
  • Contributors and other staff (thread has been created)
  • Ideas for future VII content/articles - guides, merch review etc.
  • Cloning Shademp
  • Inclusion of fan-art and fanfics in site activity
  • Forum format and visibility of various sections - ideas for the retro section could start in this thread for a start.
  • Youtube & Facebook - something I thought of whilst compiling the list that I think could use some attention too. (thread existed all along)
 
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Airling

Ninja-Fairy-Jedi-Princess
Just hit me what it was I felt I was forgetting.

Discussion for the future of the podcast could happen in the existing thread for the podcast, but if we do it there I ask that we withhold that until after the recording of this coming one is done, so as to not clog up the arrangements.
 

Fangu

Great Old One
I wrote this in the 'Site Design' thread, but I guess it's more fitting to put it in here:

...

As for me, I'm starting to think implementation needs to be up to someone else. There are probably lots of new WordPress themes to choose from. Migration might be hell, but I'm sure you'll tackle that too when the time comes.

I do this stuff between nine to five everyday now, so I'm not sure how much I can stomach contributing with. Soon I'm going to be involved in a content overhaul/ responsive and universal design at work with external resources where a lot of these things - content vs technology vs graphical design - will be discussed heavily during my daytime, and -- if this TLS thing turns into a major project, someone else should pull the implementation, because I'm not too sure I'll be reliable.

Also, it's -- it feels right, that I spent 2012 on this, learning from it (because any experience is good, paid or not; experience is knowledge gained) and that someone else should step in with a fresh take on things.

Shrug.

I never felt like I had the courage to let loose back then, I was so afraid to mess up. Not because of technical stuff I didn't think I'd be able to fix - but because my head was fragile and I wasn't sure I would be able to handle any (silent or not) anger or blame if I broke something. My ego was precious. It still is, but not nearly as much as it was back then.

So yeah, I'll be watching these threads fondly, because there's something wonderful about the commitment in them. It's commitment like this that made sure we pulled through with the last redesign. I cheer you on :monster:

Edit the morning after: Wow, that sounded a lot more resigned than I meant it to be. I had this wonderful idea in my head while writing it about cycles coming to and end and whatnot but I see I shouldn't skip the 'edit my posts five times' thing because.... idk I guess I'd expected some form of reply, but obviously I failed to communicate this message properly. Either that, or it's 'bitch you're no longer of use, gtfo'
 
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Lex

Administrator
I'll skim the posts and make a list of possible new threads. I'll edit this post to include the list.

Edit - okay, here are the main veins of discussion thus far (slap me if I missed something):


  • Expansion to other FF & Square titles - It seems this would be more about how than if. (thread has been created
  • Contributors and other staff (thread has been created)
  • Ideas for future VII content/articles - guides, merch review etc.
  • Cloning Shademp
  • Inclusion of fan-art and fanfics in site activity
  • Forum format and visibility of various sections - ideas for the retro section could start in this thread for a start.
  • Youtube & Facebook - something I thought of whilst compiling the list that I think could use some attention too.
In line with this post I've made two new threads:

One to discuss the site staff changes
One with a poll to talk about coverage.

I'm not 100% convinced we need any more. Discussion about ideas for articles and future content can take place in the thread with the poll regarding coverage.

The YouTube and Facebook thing is an entirely different beast, and a Social Media thread will come later, because we have a Twitter, a tumblr, facebook and some other things IIRC that could really use a social media manager (more to come on that if I don't just take that role up).
 
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