IRC channel #NetHack on Freenode

Most recent chatter in the #NetHack channel Rodney has seen.

Mon Sep 25 2017
19:03:35jonadabAnd apparently "Angband" isn't a major enough word in the Tolkein corpus to warrant trademarking.
19:03:51jmryou can't use "hobbit" in any media without their permission so it seems
19:04:01jonadabaosdict: D&D famously renamed them to halflings at some point specifically because of lawyers being involved.
19:04:13jonadabNot sure how NetHack has flown under that radar for so long, actually.
19:04:15ChrisETrademark is the only sort of intellectual property that I could see applying to either word.
19:04:29ChrisEAngband is presumably simply not very notable in the Tolkein context and thus not a trademark.
19:04:40ChrisE(I doubt many people would recognise the word.)
19:04:42jonadabHobbit is clearly trademark-worthy, since it is the _name_ of a product (specifically, a book).
19:04:52jmrMoria didnt gain any notice either, but that's ancient
19:05:05jonadabIndividual words are not long enough to copyright.
19:05:06jmrMoria certainly more known place name
19:05:29jmryou have a point there with the book title
19:05:58jonadabAnd, importantly, it wasn't an existing word in the language before the book was written.
19:06:07ChrisEThough, the way the book presents it, it is easy to imagine that it was.
19:06:39jonadabYou often can't trademark an existing common word and make it stick, if it's too closely related to what you're selling. But a made-up word is generally a shoe-in for trademark if you use it as the name of your product and/or it's prominent in your advertising.
19:06:49jonadabChrisE: Sure, but that's just good writing.
19:10:00aosdictjonadab: well, hobbits have no real presence in nethack beyond an encyclopedia entry, the monster name, and a throwaway line about the One Ring.
19:10:15aosdictI imagine that this is worse in Angband.
19:10:27ChrisEI wonder what would even happen if legal action were taken about the use of "hobbit" in NetHack.
19:10:46ChrisEThere are lots of copies of NetHack around, and I very much doubt everyone could be persuaded to get rid of them or patch the word.
19:11:14aosdictProbably some measure of bad PR for the Tolkien estate, and since they would accomplish nothing except getting hobbit references struck out of a free game, they don't bother.
19:11:57aosdictjonadab: ^ also relevant to 3.6 tribute stuff
19:12:07ChrisEActually, I think the main effect would probably be to make NetHack more famous.
19:13:08aosdictFor Tolkien's lawyers, that's mostly a neutral effect.
19:14:27jonadabEntirely neutral, I'd say. Negative PR if they're seen as picking on a group of harmless volunteer fans might be somewhat less neutral.
19:14:40jonadabThough realistically all they'd do is send a C&D.
19:14:44jonadabThat would be enough.
19:14:55jonadabSo the PR might not actually be that big outside the NetHack fandom.
19:15:15ChrisETo whom?
19:15:21ChrisE(Would they send it)
19:15:22aosdictdepends on how angry people would get over it I suppose.
19:15:41jonadabChrisE: I imagine they'd be able to find that out.
19:15:43ChrisEThere are probably quite a lot of NetHack distributors.
19:15:53jonadabChrisE: yes, but you go directly to the dev team.
19:15:57ChrisESending it to DevTeam people wouldn't necessarily allow much to happen.
19:15:59jonadabProbably to whoever owns
19:16:42aosdictChrisE: they'd say to do it in the next release
19:17:02aosdictof course, then you have to C&D all the variant devs who aren't working off the next release...
19:17:11jonadabAnd yes, they'd probably have to rename them to halflings in the next release.
19:17:14ChrisEA number which might start rapidly growing.
19:17:52jonadabLooks like jwallz is probably the one that would get the letter.
19:18:08jonadabAssuming they go by domain reg info.
19:20:49jmrthe Pern lawyers forced some name changes as well
19:21:07jmrToME probably the most known
19:21:38jmrbut didn't catch heat for "Middle-Earth" i guess
19:43:40rodieL256can I attack a merchant while confused ?
19:46:13teskohow come nethack isnt in ports?