Regarding the legality of Treamcasts

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Regarding the legality of Treamcasts

Post by Katzinator » Sun Sep 19, 2004 4:23 pm

I see the Treamcast system has gotten some decent press around here, however, I have a few questions about it. I'm aware these are unlicensed and SEGA has been taking measures to prevent their sale (Lik-Sang is unable to sell them). I am pretty sure other US-based online shops such as Ebay are also not allowing this product for sale. So how exactly are these illegal? I would assume copyright infringement of some sort, am I correct?
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Post by Phantom » Sun Sep 19, 2004 5:57 pm

I don't think copyright infringement is an issue here, but the name 'Treamcast' is definitely a trademark violation and making/selling the device itself most likely violates several of Sega's patents.
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Post by DaMadFiddler » Sun Sep 19, 2004 7:02 pm

Well, the main problem is that it was actually built (without license or permission) using actual SEGA-manufactured parts salvaged from first-party Dreamcast units.
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Post by dj898 » Sun Sep 19, 2004 7:10 pm

Hmm...
I wonder what will happen if I somehow come up with new plastic shell and with the 2nd hand NeoGeo M/B sell them as "Neo Zero" or "Neo Zeo"? :D
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Post by mankrip » Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:30 pm

"New Gel" would be a better name.
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Post by Kamjin » Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:39 pm

It Perfectly legal.. Lik-sang isn't selling them because of the hordes, of useless humans who have nothing better to do than make money off the simple pleasure of bringing someone else misery.. lawyers.. I think more countries should institute the "loser pays" law so that retarded law suits stop happening.

Taking something, modifying it, and re-selling it has always been legal..
Hotrods/perfomance.. AC Cobra/ Ferrari kits.. like taking that CPU, and attaching it to a motherboard, and putting it in a case, and sticking your logo on it. They haven't infinged on any patents since they bought the legitimate article, and placed it into a new case. All they've done is void the warranty.. which I believe is legal in most countries..
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Post by dj898 » Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:31 pm

maybe they should've sell DIY kit with all the componenet bar DC M/B and GD drive.
Pop out your M/B and GD drive and into their shell and viola! you have TreamCast.
They should change the name as well to something like TravelPort or DreamTC... :D
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Post by Phantom » Mon Sep 20, 2004 3:58 am

Kamjin wrote:They haven't infinged on any patents since they bought the legitimate article, and placed it into a new case.
Yes, if they used Sega parts the "exhaustion of rights" doctrine applies. Initially I thought that parallel importing might be an issue here, but that seems to be legal these days.

Naming the device 'Treamcast' would be a clear trademark violation though.
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Post by Kamjin » Mon Sep 20, 2004 8:45 pm

Phantom wrote:
Kamjin wrote:They haven't infinged on any patents since they bought the legitimate article, and placed it into a new case.
Yes, if they used Sega parts the "exhaustion of rights" doctrine applies. Initially I thought that parallel importing might be an issue here, but that seems to be legal these days.

Naming the device 'Treamcast' would be a clear trademark violation though.
Yeah, Treamcast.. that's the only sticking point. If they just sold kits It would clear up all the questionable issues, plus it would put a descent price on the units, and make them easier to come by..
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Post by Katzinator » Tue Sep 21, 2004 3:21 pm

Kamjin wrote:It Perfectly legal.. Lik-sang isn't selling them because of the hordes, of useless humans who have nothing better to do than make money off the simple pleasure of bringing someone else misery.. lawyers.. I think more countries should institute the "loser pays" law so that retarded law suits stop happening.

Taking something, modifying it, and re-selling it has always been legal..
Hotrods/perfomance.. AC Cobra/ Ferrari kits.. like taking that CPU, and attaching it to a motherboard, and putting it in a case, and sticking your logo on it. They haven't infinged on any patents since they bought the legitimate article, and placed it into a new case. All they've done is void the warranty.. which I believe is legal in most countries..
I understand it is sort of a lame point, but a law is a law. Even though this certain situation seems "retarded" to you, I'm sure that plenty of people feel the same way about "no backups" and emulation rules. Personally, I feel it confusing that discussion about copyright-infringing material of certain things is allowed, but others isn't.
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Post by Kamjin » Wed Sep 22, 2004 12:13 am

Katzinator wrote:
Kamjin wrote:It Perfectly legal.. Lik-sang isn't selling them because of the hordes, of useless humans who have nothing better to do than make money off the simple pleasure of bringing someone else misery.. lawyers.. I think more countries should institute the "loser pays" law so that retarded law suits stop happening.

Taking something, modifying it, and re-selling it has always been legal..
Hotrods/perfomance.. AC Cobra/ Ferrari kits.. like taking that CPU, and attaching it to a motherboard, and putting it in a case, and sticking your logo on it. They haven't infinged on any patents since they bought the legitimate article, and placed it into a new case. All they've done is void the warranty.. which I believe is legal in most countries..
I understand it is sort of a lame point, but a law is a law. Even though this certain situation seems "retarded" to you, I'm sure that plenty of people feel the same way about "no backups" and emulation rules. Personally, I feel it confusing that discussion about copyright-infringing material of certain things is allowed, but others isn't.
Yes, the law is the law. It's a wonderfully good an evil creation of man that keeps the hamsters turning the wheel!!! While I did make the statement rather crudely about lawyers.. some of my best friends are lawers.. otherwise most of this legal crap wouldn't be in my head.. and they'll vouch as well for the overuse of litigation on trivial things.

Part of this falls into the (C) laws, also there is a potential trademark violation. You see when you buy something you are legally allowed to sell it, in any form. Unless you have some sort of binding agreement with the person(legal entity) you bought it from. In the case of dreamcast, there's no such agreement. Your toaster as well, and your car, and almost any other item you've ever purchased in your life. If you are to modify it, and resell it's within your rights. But we have to shift over to the corporate, and import laws in the berne agreement.
Phantom brought up a great point about the "Parallel Importing" this a law that was intended to protect retailers, and middlemen from multiple cheaper source imports, that compete on the same product.. but this law has been ignored for ages.. note: Duabrand, APEX, Shinco.. at your local wallymart, zmart etc.. have already wiped out most of the smaller import, and retail shops.. who were forced to buy form local distribution.
(this is getting long winded!!)
Exaustion of rights, is where this lies. Since sega already excersied their trademark with the dreamcast, by actually selling it in all the markets in the world. It became fair game for someone to resell it without their conscent. I would like to add that when you buy your latest copy of shikigami no shiro, you are by definition in trademark, and (C) violation along with the import shop, since sega, and the licensee haven't excercised their right yet in your market.. unless you live in japan..

The only sticking point is that Treamcast is too simmilar to dreamcast, and I believe the box mentions that it's dreamcast compatible, and has a simmilar logo.. these are trademark violations. If they just called it the "WhiteBox", and said it was a 128bit gameconsole compatible they'd be in the clear..
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Post by fatheadpi » Wed Sep 22, 2004 12:35 am

Alright, now I've got a question. Suppose they were to do the Treamcast mod, and simply sell it as a "modified" or "upgraded" Dreamcast. Would that be illegal?

Also, looking at my Treamcast, I was thinking of something. The main Tramcast logo is on the screen and case portion itself, so they could say that the Treamcast/Treamacast (TC owners, look at your TC's you'll see what I mean) was just a name for their screen and case. Then just change the ads to mention that it includes free Sega hardware. I don't know if I'm going anywhere with this one, just curious.

I know it doesn't do much good to make this point, but I still see it as pointless of SEGA to attack the TC. That's just like Sega saying "Hey, look!!! We've found some hardcore Sega fans that want to throw down some serious bones to buy another Dreamcast 2 years after we abandoned the DC! Let's go out of our way to screw them! Yippee!!!" Seriously, the moves Sega makes these days make me not want to buy any Sega products ever again. The DC, the web browsers, the TC, the sh*tty PSO sequel... Makes me wonder why I don't just buy a PS2 or XBOX.

Oh, wait, it's cus i still have about 10 DC games to beat. Damn you, Sega!
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Post by fatheadpi » Wed Sep 22, 2004 12:37 am

The only sticking point is that Treamcast is too simmilar to dreamcast, and I believe the box mentions that it's dreamcast compatible, and has a simmilar logo.. these are trademark violations. If they just called it the "WhiteBox", and said it was a 128bit gameconsole compatible they'd be in the clear..
My Treamcast has neither a DC swirl nor a MS WinCE logo. Also, the HK part number is different.
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Post by dj898 » Wed Sep 22, 2004 1:04 am

buy the swirl logo is bit similar to DC. Ok it's square rather than round but still similar enough... also the appearance of the unit is dead ringer except the screen and thickness... ??? :p
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Post by Kamjin » Wed Sep 22, 2004 1:08 am

fatheadpi wrote:Alright, now I've got a question. Suppose they were to do the Treamcast mod, and simply sell it as a "modified" or "upgraded" Dreamcast. Would that be illegal?
It's not illegal as it is right now..
Also, looking at my Treamcast, I was thinking of something. The main Tramcast logo is on the screen and case portion itself, so they could say that the Treamcast/Treamacast (TC owners, look at your TC's you'll see what I mean) was just a name for their screen and case. Then just change the ads to mention that it includes free Sega hardware. I don't know if I'm going anywhere with this one, just curious.

I know it doesn't do much good to make this point, but I still see it as pointless of SEGA to attack the TC. That's just like Sega saying "Hey, look!!! We've found some hardcore Sega fans that want to throw down some serious bones to buy another Dreamcast 2 years after we abandoned the DC! Let's go out of our way to screw them! Yippee!!!" Seriously, the moves Sega makes these days make me not want to buy any Sega products ever again. The DC, the web browsers, the TC, the sh*tty PSO sequel... Makes me wonder why I don't just buy a PS2 or XBOX.

Oh, wait, it's cus i still have about 10 DC games to beat. Damn you, Sega!
They haven't actually tried to take Treamcast to court, since they know it's legal, and they can't claim any sort of dammages from it, they can't argue that it stops a dreamcast sale.. in actuality it makes a sale, at the full retail price, since the units inside the treamcast had to be bought retail or at the end of the disty chain..
In reality sega just told Lik-sang that they found it questionable. It's the fear of getting pulled into court that kept lik-sang from stocking it.. which was my main point..
Sega in general isn't an evil corporation.. it's actually one of the nicer one's. I mean all the info they leaked just for the dev community, they answer emails about the DC even today. I've sent Emails to Sega USA/JP, and got some cryptic hints about the hardware..

Now to shift the topic.. I've already asked Wraggs, I seriously want one of these Treamcasts, my fear is the screen. Is it descent?? also the included VCD player, Does it play at descent frame rate w/o sound skips? and can it cope with SVCD?
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Post by Rand Linden » Wed Sep 22, 2004 2:46 am

I'm not positive about this, but IIRC, in most cases, when you buy something, you're allowed to resell it -- and in any fashion.

The issue is that you can't try to claim (in any manner, intentional or otherwise) that you are the company who created it in the first place.

e.g. You can't say you're Sega selling a Dreamcast, but you *can* say you're so-and-so selling one, or a modified one, or one that you've mangled in any way you wish to.

(Phantom touched on this in his post, and there's a similar law here -- and in most places, infact -- I don't recall the name used here, though.)

Effectively, the issue is one of "confusion" in the marketplace -- as again, many people have mentioned.

Provided that there's no "confusion" in the marketplace between what you're selling, and the original product it was derived from, I'm pretty sure it's legal as well.

The problem is that it rarely is a matter of "clear-cut" laws -- and it's likely that Lik-Sang decided against the battle, even though it would ultimately have ended in their favor.

And, IMHO, Sega is *BY FAR* one of the nicest companies out there, from a whole variety of perspectives.

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Post by farrell2k » Wed Sep 22, 2004 10:26 am

It violates Sega patents and trademarks. Treamcast is an obvious trademark infringement. Also, the dc, and how it does things is patented. If I want to replicate someone elses hard work, and try to PROFIT from it, I am going to have to get permission. It's ridiculous to even suggest that it may be legal, just as ridiculous as claiming the legality of bleem.
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Post by doragasu » Wed Sep 22, 2004 2:56 pm

Rand Linden wrote:And, IMHO, Sega is *BY FAR* one of the nicest companies out there, from a whole variety of perspectives.
And for sure you know what you're talking about...

Edit:
That makes a question come to mind... do you really think sega would have been as nice if you had developed a DC emulator for PS2 when DC was still alive (supposing it would be possible, I know PS2 can't emulate DC)?
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Post by puddytay » Wed Sep 22, 2004 3:32 pm

anyone care to post a picture because I have no idea what your talking about.
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Post by Lartrak » Wed Sep 22, 2004 4:21 pm

farrell2k wrote:It violates Sega patents and trademarks. Treamcast is an obvious trademark infringement. Also, the dc, and how it does things is patented. If I want to replicate someone elses hard work, and try to PROFIT from it, I am going to have to get permission. It's ridiculous to even suggest that it may be legal, just as ridiculous as claiming the legality of bleem.
Well, they didn't replicate it, they actually just modified existing parts. But yeah, they're still illegal even if only because of the name.
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