The ESA Saga Continues
Following is the exact copy of the e-mail the ESA
(formerly the IDSA) sent to us, requesting the removal
of all copyrighted material belonging to their members.
Before this letter, the ESA had already sent an e-mail to our domain
registrar in November 2000, requesting that they remove the site. That was more or less a futile
action, as Register.com is merely our domain registrar, not our host, and their services agreement
clearly imdemnify them from any liabilities or damages that may arise from sites whose domains
Regardless of this "gaffe," and the strange fact that the ESA did not contact us directly (let
alone asking US to do anything), we removed hundreds of games believed to be copyrighted by their
members, as an act of goodwill. The large majority of these games were gradually added back to the
site, as we hear comforting news from industry insiders (including those who work for ESA members)
that certain ESA members no longer care enough about their out-of-print oldies to prosecute those
who distribute them.
IDSA: INTERACTIVE DIGITAL SOFTWARE ASSOCIATION
Thursday, June 14, 2001
Dear Sarinee Achavanuntakul and/or email@example.com,
I am an authorized representative of the Interactive Digital Software Association ("IDSA"),
which represents the intellectual property interests of over thirty companies that publish
interactive games for video game consoles, personal computers, handheld devices and the
IDSA is providing this letter of notification pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act and 17 USC =A7 512 (c) to make you aware of material on your network or system that
infringes the exclusive copyright rights of one or more IDSA members. This notice is addressed
to you as the agent designated by Sarinee Achavanuntakul and Register.com to receive
notifications of claimed infringement, as so reflected in the current records of the U.S.
Copyright Office. Under penalty of perjury, we hereby affirm that the IDSA is authorized to
act on behalf of the IDSA members whose exclusive copyright rights we believe to be infringed
as described herein.
IDSA has a good faith belief that the Internet site found at http://www.theunderdogs.org
infringes the rights of one or more IDSA members by offering for illegal sale one or more
unauthorized copies of one or more game products protected by copyright, including, but not
limited to: Adventures of Lomax, Adventures in Serenia, Adventure Construction Set, The
Dambusters, Darklands, Deadlock, Deathtrack, Covert Action, Conqueror AD 1086, et al.
The unauthorized copies of such game product[s] appearing on, or made available through, such
site are listed and/or identified on such Internet site by their titles, variations thereof or
depictions of associated artwork (any such game titles, copies, listings and/or other
depictions of, or references to, any contents of such game product, are hereinafter referred
to as "Infringing Material"). Based on the information at its disposal on 6/14/2001 16:05:32
PM Eastern Standard Time, IDSA believes that the statements in this notice are accurate and
correctly describe the infringing nature and status of the Infringing Material.
Accordingly, IDSA hereby requests Sarinee Achavanuntakul and Register.com to immediately
remove or disable access to the Infringing Material at the URL address identified above.
Should you have any questions, please contact IDSA at the following address, telephone and
fax numbers, and/or e-mail address:
Interactive Digital Software Association
Attn: DMCA Enforcement
1211 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Robert L. Hunter, IV
Interactive Digital Software Association
It is quite ironic that even though that the ESA believes their statement is "accurate and
correctly describe the infringing nature," the letter makes some obvious mistakes. First, they
accuse us of "illegal sale" of copyrighted games, which we have never done. Further, they listed
MicroProse's Darklands as one game we are infringing copyright, while in reality we have
only an order link to where one can buy the game. These errors clearly illustrates that the ESA
simply never checks the site thoroughly before making decisions. At least they did contact the
right people this time ;)
June 15 update: after our protests, the ESA sent us a revised letter, replacing the words
"illegal sale" with "illegal downloads." Thank you, Mr. Hunter :)
To comply with the ESA, we have removed around 320 games we believe to be copyrighted by ESA
members-- many of those were the same games we removed once before, in November 2000. We (or more
accurately our lawyer friends) are currently in touch with the ESA for clarifications on their
letter, as well as seeking exemptions or potential assistance in our efforts. If you want to write
them at the address above, please be civil. Let the ESA know what diehard gamers we are,
not how immature. Please read some letters
from visitors who have
written them about it, if you are unsure of how to react ;) We would appreciate copies of your
letters to add to that page.
The ESA's latest act is unfortunate, as some of their members certainly do care about the
preservation of oldies much more than the ESA. We regret the ESA's single-minded emphasis on
protecting their members' rights, regardless of the fact that the possibility that some of these
games will be re-released, or even given away for free, is extremely remote. What is the
likelihood that Sierra will re-release Adventures in Serenia, a 1985 game that was quoted
in the ESA's e-mail? We think very few people, if any, at Sierra nowadays even know this
classic, let alone the fact that they have copyright over it.
We will step up our efforts to free these oldies, so that one day everyone will be able to see
how far the gaming industry has come-- or how low it has sunk, depending on your perspective. The
ESA's letter highlights the irony that nowadays, it is not game companies who care about
out-of-print classics, part of our 20th century heritage: it is gamers/game collectors like us.
May the memories never fade.
-Underdogs, June 15, 2001