Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Quick request: Renaming stories

As you might have heard, over the weekend long-time small gang PvP corp "Blackwater USA Inc." (formerly of Gentlemen's Club, AAA, and Atlas Alliance, now part of Pandemic Legion) was renamed to EveCorporation12315533.  The reason for the renaming?  After review, CCP GMs determined that the original name was a violation of EULA.  BUSA's CEO has been invited to choose a new name for his corp.

The corp has been active with its prior name for more than five years now.

I'm writing a full-length article about the renaming, interviewing the partipants involved (where I'm allowed to).  But it also occurred to me that it would be fun to crowd-source a little bit of the background information-gathering for this piece.  As a result, I'm looking for any corroborated information anyone may have regarding past forced renamings that CCP's GM team might have done over the years.  I'm obviously most interested in renamings that have been done in the past for EULA violations.  But I'm nearly as interested in provable stories anyone might have about "gank renamings."  From time to time, you hear campfire tales in EVE about "[Corp X or player Y] ganked my freighter, so I submitted a petition saying I was offended by their [character name/corp name, depending] and CCP should make them change it and CCP actually did it, lol."  I'd like to investigate if any such story is true or if they're strictly apocryphal.

Please post in comments if you have such a story, along with a contact method (Twitter, e-mail, Skype, etc.) that I can use to reach you.  Comments with contact information will not be published.  Again, I'm looking for stories with documentation behind them.  Thanks!

46 comments:

  1. Other than a link to these guys

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academi

    What is actually offensive about the name? I'm a brit and maybe don't know something here but what's possibly offensive about the name Blackwater?

    o7
    Dracoth Simertet
    RvB Red Federation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their participation in the most recent Iraq War is hotly debated in the States; let's leave it at that.

      That said, it's mostly an issue with this phrase of the EULA:

      "You are encouraged to use a pseudonym, but you may not choose a name that violates anyone's trademarks, publicity rights or other rights."

      While the company in question may not choose to operate by that name anymore, they still have the trademark on it. (And in particular, Academi owns trademarks on "Blackwater" specifically for use in the video game industry; there's a video game about them in the making.)

      It'd be no different if someone made a corp named McDonalds. CCP is just covering their ass, and I don't blame them one bit.

      Delete
    2. It's an actual company that provide private security, military and mercenary services in the US.

      I believe the EULA prohibits trademarked names.

      Delete
    3. Reference to rl American merc corp that derped some "human rights stuff" in Iraq... not quite sure why it should be EULA-violating though, there's never been any indication they're celebrating that fact.

      Delete
    4. See below. If the EULA prohibits trademarked names, there are literally hundreds of them. To pick a single example, there's an EVE corp named Xe Services, the name that Blackwater moved to after the scandal. If blocking of trademarked names is the case, why bring it up now, five years later?

      Delete
  2. I'm Australian, so it may be a cultural or historical thing, but I can't see what was in violation of the EULA? Was it offensive in some way?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From memory Blackwater USA Inc. was/is a mercenary organisation that ran/runs a lot of the private defence/security operations in hot spots around the world (i.e. Iraq/Afganistan etc..).

      Their "troops" regular made it into the press many years ago at a time when there were a lot of "blue on blue"/local killings at security checkpoints not to mention financial issues due to significant lobbying/influence in the US.

      I'd always think the name would be subject to a copyright claim not this. Which is weird because I came across this corp last night:

      http://evewho.com/corp/Coon+and+Friends.

      Now, I know Coon is a brand of cheese in Australia but I believe the word is quite significantly racist elsewhere yet this corp hasn't had to rename...

      Delete
    2. Aside from being a trademarked name of a real-world private security company, maybe? Not sure. Are there rules about real-world corp names? Is there a Coca-Cola alliance out there?

      Delete
    3. Pretty sure its the name of an american private security firm that a lot of security related contracts were awarded to during the Iraq war. There were a shit ton of scandals and accusations regarding their conduct and also about how they got many of those contracts having been previously connected to vice president Cheney. They since changed the name of their company iirc. This is all from memory of course and I might have a detail or 2 wrong.

      Delete
    4. I believe it is the name of a IRL Mercenary group that has been accused of violations of human rights.

      Delete
  3. The real Blackwater USA isn't even known as Blackwater USA anymore. They've been known as Xe ever since their marketing people decided to pull what laughably passes for a "mea culpa" in modern corporate society: change your name so people won't remember to hate you, but don't change a damn thing that sullied the originally name.

    Why anyone would say the old name was offensive with a straight face is beyond me, but then again EVE players being petty and vengeful is nothing new I suppose.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Blackwater security was involved in a bungled escort operation where Iraqi civilians were killed.

    If you need more information it is available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_Baghdad_shootings

    I do not believe that simply evading detection for X period of time should allow a name to be immune to the naming policy, except where the name existed before the policy was put in place. In the case of Blackwater USA, their name came into existence after the Nisour Square massacre but before the revised naming policy. I do not know enough about the people involved to suggest that the BUSA name came into being as a result of the Nisour Square massacre, and I hope that this is not the case.

    I have characters with names plainly stolen from popular literature, so I am watching developments of the naming policy closely. Should CCP decide that we can't name our characters "Biggles" or "Eleanor Arroway," I will have to rename my characters and I will do so without starting a forum and Twitter campaign claiming that CCP is persecuting me.

    In the meantime, naming your corporation after a bunch of trigger-happy mercenaries wouldn't be so bad if those mercenaries were not mass murderers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_Baghdad_shootings

    ReplyDelete
  6. Eve's EULA states:

    You are encouraged to use a pseudonym, but you may not choose a name that violates anyone's trademarks, publicity rights or other rights. Acceptance of a pseudonym by the System does not mean that your chosen pseudonym does not violate anyone's rights. You are responsible for any liability incurred by yourself, CCP or anyone else due to the pseudonym you choose. CCP retains the right to reject any pseudonym it determines, in its sole discretion, is unlawful, indecent, obscene or otherwise violates standards of good taste.

    Clearly Blackwater would fall under the "violates anyone's trademarks, publicity rights or other rights" exclusion. Sucks to be them, they should have chosen something original.

    I was once part of a corp that got forcibly renamed after someone bitched about the name/ticker. I was perfectly happy that it got renamed as I didn't want to be associated with rl bullshit that could be implied from the original name/ticker.

    So my advice to the Blackwater guys is to HTFU and pick a better name rather than crying on the internet because they couldn't follow the EULA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good response. However, two minutes of research has revealed there are corps in EVE named Coca-Cola, International Business Machines, and Fox News Network, as well as characters named Taco Bell, Pepsico, Microsoft, and both McDonalds and McDonald's. I'm sure there are hundreds of other possibilities.

      So why this particular corp?

      Delete
    2. Why any particular decision? Like any game, occasionally the ref, arbiter, umpire etc will make call that appears inconsistent. CCP's GM is not immune to this - they are only human.

      Delete
    3. Why the Blackwater corp? Because someone brought it to CCP's attention and after that they couldn't not change it or they might assume some measure of liability for it existing.

      If someone complains about the Coca-Cola corp I would expect their corp to be re-named as well.

      There are doubtless some judgement calls by the GMs but I expect that (such as guidelines exist to cover this situation which may not be very thorough knowing CCP) copyright/trademark infringement isn't one of them.

      When my corp leader finally decided on a new name he had to contact the GMs to get it changed from the generic one they gave us and the new GM pretty much said "Well it looks like the original GM may have over-reacted but what's done is done" and gave us the new name.

      Delete
    4. Well, for one, the trademark needs to extend to online games. (Something like Nice 28 or 41, for example.) That probably won't be the case for all the examples you named. Also, the company's legal department would have to notice, complain, and prove their trademark rights to CCP. In most such petty cases, companies can't be bothered, plus potential negative press. Now, for Blackwater, negative press is probably a non-issue (they can hardly get much worse reputation than they already have). That being said, still find it unlikely that they'd bother to complain to CCP about it. So I agree, your main question still stands: why this corp? It's just that you need different reasons to come to that conclusion.

      Delete
  7. Blackwater is a modern mercenary company with a troubled history. Given some of the controversy...

    ... Or it's a reference to poop: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_(waste)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm kind of confused, too. I assumed that it wasn't about offensiveness, but trademark violations. For example, "Blackwater", which is the trademark of the US mercenary company mentioned in the first comment (later called Xe, now called Academi), is a registered trademark with US and EU trademark offices and listed with the WIPO (sadly, I couldn't find out how to give a proper stable link, it seems all they have are session links). The trademark covers the somewhat nebulous Nice class 41, which among many other thing also covers online games.

    That being said (<- Gahh! Curse you Shadoo! I watched to much ATXI), I'm still not convinced that's the reason. Someone from (ex-)Blackwater would actually have to contact CCP and complain officially, and I'm not sure that's very likely?

    I guess I'll just wait and see what happens. Don you investigator hat and report back!

    ReplyDelete
  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_(video_game)

    That will be why.

    Using a game name in another game is actionable. Especially if it is shown that they had "official notification".

    We had to do it all the time in Jagex. You can be personally blind to it, but as soon as theres any official notification, be it from a player , or from anything that can be construed as legal, then you have to take action.

    Be it a1 day old corp or 10 year old corp.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Maybe it because Blackwater USA is a trademark of a real mercenary corporation. They changed their name due to a lot of bad publicity in Iraq, but they still retain the trademark.

    The EULA states "You are encouraged to use a pseudonym, but you may not choose a name that violates anyone's trademarks, publicity rights or other rights. "

    Slam dunk.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Blackwater USA is a private security company that operates in a lot of "hot" spots around the world. In other words, they are mercs. They also provide a lot of extra security for the US govt in places like Iraq, where they don't quite have the pull for military protection or where obvious military would be considered gauche. The media (and a lot of games) have painted their sort of work as "EVIL" so that could be it, or their name could be trademarked so CCP doesn't want to get a bunch of guys with heavy ordinance mad at them...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I imagine it wasn't about being offensive, but about the intellectual property implications of the name.

    Incidentally, discussing renamings one might have triggered are probably in themselves violations of the EULA (as it involves disclosing details of communication between players and GMs).

    ReplyDelete
  13. It may be something to do with the name conflict. Perhaps it's a bit too close to 'attempting to impersonate another entity' or W/E the EULA sayts

    ReplyDelete
  14. The EULA prohibits using the names of real life entities. It didn't used to, IIRC, but there was a major nija change to the EULA not that long ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Problem with that is that there are literally hundreds of names in the game mirroring real life entities. Just for this single corporation name alone, there are more than a dozen permutations of this company's past names (including Xe Services, Academi, etc.).

      Delete
  15. since when was busa a small gang pvp corp?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I believe it was probably this part of the terms of service:

    "Reflect, glorify or emulate any real-world group or organization, terrorist society, criminal elements, discriminating organizations or their leaders and figureheads. This includes the use of names of real-world military, political or religious groups."

    It was probably considered an emulation of a real-world organization.

    ReplyDelete
  17. One of my former corporations, Stargate SG-1 got renamed the same way. I was a bit puzzled, wtf is offensive about that name? o.O

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't think it is anything offensive, but perhaps the EULA violation has to do with Blackwater USA Inc being the name of a real-life company so might fall under somekind of copyright infringement. For non-Americans, Blackwater is a mercenary firm made infamous during the Iraq war.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I suspect the EULA violation for Blackwater is over trademark issues (pretty sure that name is trademarked in the US) rather than political controversy.

    ReplyDelete
  20. For folks who apparently missed the news, Blackwater USA is the name of a real PMC that was involved in some controversy a few years back. They've since been renamed 'Academi'.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academi

    ReplyDelete
  21. Perhaps the Real World Blackwater corporation didn't like the use of their name and requested CCP to make it go away.

    I have no idea if using a real world corporation name is in violation of the EULA.

    ReplyDelete
  22. It is a real life mercenary force used by america in the Iraq war. They were alleged to kill Iraqi civilians or something. Pissed people off and Iraq forbid them from being used there.

    ReplyDelete
  23. So, using a "real" corporations name is forbidden and will get your corp renamed, but it's ok to run around with characters like:

    Pedophile Niggerbeater, https://gate.eveonline.com/Profile/pedophile%20niggerbeater
    Theodore Niggerbeater,
    https://gate.eveonline.com/Profile/theodore%20niggerbeater
    Niggertot tot, https://gate.eveonline.com/Profile/niggertot%20tot (tot = death in german)
    Nero Niggerkiller, https://gate.eveonline.com/Profile/nero%20niggerkiller

    etc.etc.etc. But, hey, good that CCP decided to act against the vile name.... Blackwater USA inc.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Blackwater USA is a real life corporation. Its a us defense contractor specializing in paramilitary operations. So yeah I see why CCP made that call.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Occasionally watching the news never hurt anyone (well, so long as it isn't Fox News). But admittedly, it's been a few years since this happened:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_Baghdad_shootings

    ReplyDelete
  26. Blackwater was the name of a PMC(it has since changed its name once or twice) that was accused of engaging in some pretty bad shit in Iraq/Afghanistan. I imagine that is what someone claimed was offensive.
    Pretty stupid if that was actually why.

    ReplyDelete
  27. "You are encouraged to use a pseudonym, but you may not choose a name that violates anyone's trademarks..."

    Blackwater USA, Inc. is a registered trademark.

    ReplyDelete
  28. The link posted by the Anonymous above to the wiki article about the PMC BlackWater/Academi is probably the root of the issue. It's most likely that it is some form of copyright infringement type thing. Naming yourself almost excactly after a legitimate company could bring the almighty wrath of international copyright laws on your head.

    It could also be an issue with this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_Baghdad_shootings

    PMC's are not traditionally painted in a positive light partly because of that event in particular. Its possible that someone didn't take kindly to them naming themselves after someone responsible for killing innocent civilians.

    Although considering that GoonWaffe is named so similarly to the Luftwaffe and the connections implied there its probably unlikely. Although the company formally known as Blackwater probably does not have the power and influence of the Goonies.

    I agree with your assertion that it might be a 'gank renaming' someone with a grudge decided to report them, possibly using one of the reasons above as an excuse. There's no reason CCP would decide to rename this corp out of the blue. Someone HAD to have given them a legitimate reason.

    Although in my opinion any reason for offense by the nature of the BlackWater name is complete crap. There are far more legitimately offensive names then that of a somewhat maligned PMC. The copyright issue is probably the most likely.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Blackwater USA is the name of a company based in the u.s. that is a mercenary group. Their employees are all ex special ops, rangers, marines, etc...

    You know the type: psychopaths that after getting discharged from the military, need to feed their urge to kill "legally". So they get contracts from the u.s gov't to go to places like Iraq, and work as a paramilitary group killing, maiming, etc., and the best part, they have essentially no gov't oversight. They have some very sophisticated weapons at their disposal, and you know...... boys with their toys.

    Their very existence is offensive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Respectfully, you've no idea what you're talking about. Your generalisations do the great work that's being done short. Please refrain from your "politically correct" insinuation, too cheap.

      Delete
  30. There is some politically charged history with regard to Blackwater USA. In that same Wikipedia article, they mention just one example of Blackwater's PMC work in Iraq. What the article fails to mention are the numerous other incidents in Iraq since that time regarding the behavior of Blackwater. A search for Blackwater on both fox news and huffingtonpost reveal still yet more articles regarding their activities which may be controversial or hurtful to those who've been affected.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Blackwater was a US "private security" company that had some unfavorable killing of Iraqi civilians in the Iraq war I believe.

    ReplyDelete
  32. My guess? The EVE corp Blackwater somehow pinged on CCP's radar recently (maybe the fact that they joined PL; were there any Blackwater pilots in ATXI?), and since the real-life outfit formerly known as Blackwater has ready access to lawyers, guns, and money, and something of a history of using all three, CCP decided it was better to get strict with the EULA in this case rather than wait for Academi to send them a strongly worded letter.

    Or maybe Academi sent a strongly worded letter, and this is CCP's response. With half a million accounts and potentially three times as many names out there, CCP can't realistically do much more than hammer down the nails that are brought to their attention.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.