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vtm
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Zenimax accuses Carmack of stealing Oculus Rift tech

"Zenimax initially appeared unconcerned by the move: "The technical leadership Carmack provides for games in development at id Software is unaffected," they said.

But Carmack lasted three months before quitting Id Software and working full-time at Oculus VR. It is alleged that the ideas and technologies which the seasoned programmer had used while at Id Software were the still property of Zenimax when he left.

According to documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal, lawyers for Zenimax Media sent claims to Oculus VR, stating "it was only through the concerted efforts of Mr. Carmack, using technology developed over many years at, and owned by, ZeniMax, that [Oculus founder] Mr. Luckey was able to transform his garage-based pipe dream into a working reality."

full read:
http://www.computerandvideogames.co...ulus-rift-tech/

So Zenimax want a piece of the cake now.

Old Post 05-02-14 03:51 #
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Avoozl
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I think Zenimax might be turning corrupt, I don't think John Carmack stole it at all.

Old Post 05-02-14 03:57 #
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AndrewB
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The entire concept of "intellectual property" is a load of garbage.

Old Post 05-02-14 03:58 #
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GreyGhost
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vtm said:
So Zenimax want a piece of the cake now.
Either a large piece of the cake or buckets of money, for technology they weren't interested in before Facebook purchased it.

Old Post 05-02-14 04:01 #
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Doominator2
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Carmack did steal some apple computers when he was young, but I doubt it has to do anything with this.

Old Post 05-02-14 04:10 #
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vtm
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Avoozl said:
I think Zenimax might be turning corrupt, I don't think John Carmack stole it at all.


Carmack's anwser:
https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/s...000400996921344


GreyGhost said:
Either a large piece of the cake or buckets of money, for technology they weren't interested in before Facebook purchased it.


After knowing how much did they let go I wouldn't be surprised of what will they do to get a piece of the oculus.

Old Post 05-02-14 04:11 #
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Sodaholic
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Avoozl said:
I think Zenimax might be turning corrupt
Uh... They've already been miles ahead of corrupt status and still going. This is 100% fucked and I hope the justice system slaps them upside the head if it goes that far.

With this, I've gone from disliking and distrusting to outright hating their guts. I can't say I'm surprised, I thought it was only a matter of time until they started pulling major bullshit with code related stuff. This seriously makes me fear for what they might try on Doom and Quake source ports if they get bored one day.

A lot of people say that lawyers are sharks, but really, they're more like vampires. They feed on others' blood as their life source, and can only survive in the shade. Obviously, blood being money and shade being secrecy and NDAs.

Old Post 05-02-14 04:20 #
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Bucket
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He had this coming. When has a faceless corporation ever NOT tried to assert creative dominion over its workers?

AndrewB said:
The entire concept of "intellectual property" is a load of garbage.

You know how Libertarians complain that anyone who is against property rights is a shiftless parasite who thinks he's entitled to the hard work of others? That's how I feel when Libertarians rant against INTELLECTUAL property rights.

Old Post 05-02-14 04:48 #
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Aliotroph?
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I'd love to know what they thought Carmack was doing there that he didn't already share with Oculus (and probably the rest of the world) while he was doing it. He's very open about what he's working on all the time. Was there even anyone at id working on VR other than him? Does any lawyer believe he can steal his own know-how?

I'd also be surprised if Carmack wasn't smart enough by this point to have sold the company with terms very favourable to him. Sure, any code would belong to them, but he wouldn't settle for the rest of his tinkering belonging to them.

I'm done with those bastards now. I don't buy EA games and now I won't buy Zenimax games. If any of you guys know Cancer Man and his buddies, perhaps you can suggest Zenimax be dismantled with their assets sold/given to Interceptor.

Old Post 05-02-14 04:51 #
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Avoozl
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Heh, I've already been done with Zenimax games for a while now.

Old Post 05-02-14 04:56 #
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Nomad
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My guess: They are trying to claim that the work that Carmack did for Oculus during his employment under Zenimax is their property. Zenimax has had a weird history of shady lawsuits like this. Remember the Cease & Desist they sent Notch when he was working on Scrolls?

Old Post 05-02-14 05:29 #
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Caffeine Freak
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Let's look at the timeline of events:

August 7, 2013 - Carmack becomes CTO of Oculus.

November 22, 2013 - Carmack leaves id Software to work at Oculus VR full time. Zenimax doesn't express any particularly strong concern or regret over this.

5 months pass. Silence from Zenimax on the matter during this time(at least as far as I can recall.)

March 25, 2014 - FB acquires Oculus VR for $2,000,000,000.

May 1, 2014 - Zenimax: 'Uh, you owe us some money!'

Last edited by Caffeine Freak on 05-02-14 at 11:28

Old Post 05-02-14 06:03 #
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Woolie Wool
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Sodaholic said:With this, I've gone from disliking and distrusting to outright hating their guts. I can't say I'm surprised, I thought it was only a matter of time until they started pulling major bullshit with code related stuff. This seriously makes me fear for what they might try on Doom and Quake source ports if they get bored one day. [/B]

You can't undo something that's been licensed like that, not retroactively. Id Software let the Id Tech 1-4 genies out of the bottles and no amount of Zenimax lawyers can get them back in.

Old Post 05-02-14 06:10 #
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FireFish
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This is odd to say the least.
But my guess is that this 'RIFT' device will fluke and flop like every VR helmet ever made since SEGA tried it in the 80's and VFX in the 90's.
all it does is exactly the same but with better graphics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0n5B3fl-bU

Last edited by FireFish on 05-02-14 at 08:14

Old Post 05-02-14 06:43 #
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CorSair
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Nomad said:
Zenimax has had a weird history of shady lawsuits like this. Remember the Cease & Desist they sent Notch when he was working on Scrolls?

That was a fun little episode. If I recall it correctly, Mojang tried to settle it with Quake 3 match. Zenimax wins, Mojang removes name, Mojang wins, they keep the Scrolls. Would've been good PR, for both. But common sense hasn't been exactly forte of the corporations getting cash out from everything they can.

Old Post 05-02-14 08:05 #
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Enjay
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AndrewB said:
The entire concept of "intellectual property" is a load of garbage.

Because everyone should have the right to take someone else's idea, rebadge it and sell it as their own product?

Many of the ideas and principles underpinning the basic idea of IP are good, right and justified. The implementation and exploitation of the flawed laws put in place to try and ensure those principles, however, is an entirely different matter. In many cases, garbage is too kind a word.


As for this particular situation, I suspect that it's quite grey. There is no way that Carmack wasn't doing OR related stuff while still on the Zenimax payroll. It is also entirely unreasonable to expect Carmack to be able to wipe his brain clean and start again on leaving Zenimax. Identifying and proving how much work he did on OR related stuff at Zenimax, how useful and how directly affecting of his work at OR it is and how much was his versus how much was Zenimax's, however, will be tricky.

I also don't see it as surprising that Zenimax saw the size of the deal and, cartoon-like, $$$$$ signs appeared in their eyes. I don't even see it as particularly wrong. An employee of theirs left to go to another company and has probably taken some knowledge with him that he gained while on their payroll. If OR are going to benefit from the work that Zenimax funded, but Zenimax isn't, then surely Zenimax is entitled to something? Their mistake, IMO, was not being on the ball enough to sort this out at the time when Carmack left. Perhaps, that mistake should be seen as severe enough that they allowed the boat to sail and are therefore not entitled to anything because they let it go when they shouldn't have.

Old Post 05-02-14 08:41 #
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GreyGhost
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Enjay said:
It is also entirely unreasonable to expect Carmack to be able to wipe his brain clean and start again on leaving Zenimax.
What about a partial lobotomy, if it's possible to identify the grey matter that contains Zenimax's IP?

Old Post 05-02-14 08:55 #
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kristus
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Doominator2 said:
Carmack did steal some apple computers when he was young, but I doubt it has to do anything with this.

That nerver happened. He got caught breaking into a computer lab. He only used the computers. He didnt steal them. Same with the softdisk PCs they were borrowing.

Old Post 05-02-14 10:01 #
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geo
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This is why tech companies try to steal Google employees. So new employee... what was Google working on?

Carmack did remake Super Mario Bros 3 using PCs borrowed from his employer.

So what's the issue here? He stole Oculus Rift tech or did he steal Zenimax tech to give to Oculus Rift / Facebook?

Old Post 05-02-14 11:57 #
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Didn't Zenimax sue Black Isle Studio, (the company that created Fallout, and Fallout 2) for making another Fallout game? Even though Black Isle supposedly still had the right to create one? I think they sued them over some kind of technicality. Legal or not, it seems pretty nefarious on Zenimax's part.

Old Post 05-02-14 13:49 #
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doomgargoyle
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It does seem like Zenimax wanted to acquire the Rift since at least 2012, before FB bought it.

Old Post 05-02-14 14:11 #
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Gez
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Kontra Kommando said:
Didn't Zenimax sue Black Isle Studio, (the company that created Fallout, and Fallout 2) for making another Fallout game? Even though Black Isle supposedly still had the right to create one? I think they sued them over some kind of technicality. Legal or not, it seems pretty nefarious on Zenimax's part.


Black Isle was taking too long and apparently their right to make one more Fallout game was restricted to a limited window of time.

Imagine if Gearbox had bought the Duke Nukem franchise rights from 3D Realms but instead of Gearbox finishing Duke Nukem Forever themselves, the terms of the contract were that 3D Realms could keep developing and publishing Duke Nukem Forever on their own, provided they publish it within X years.

Old Post 05-02-14 14:12 #
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dew
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Caffeine Freak said:
May 1, 2014 - Zenimax: 'Uh, you owe us some money!'

Except Zenimax was pursuing Oculus since August 2012, immediatelly after Carmack received a Rift unit and began working on new software for it. Apparently, they're very serious about that part of the contract that says they own what their employees create while working for them. Even Carmack admits they own his code and Luckey apparently knew about it and signed some yet undisclosed agreement with Zenimax. They're just voicing concern that Zeminax is trying to get their hands into the entire VR business. Sooo...

OP linked a very, very shitty article that barely scratches the surface and creates a false image about the case. Makes some of the hysteric overreactions in this thread look a little hilarious. :P Here's something I saw linked on irc yesterday, definitely with more details:
http://www.vg247.com/2014/05/01/joh...-him-to-oculus/

Old Post 05-02-14 14:59 #
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Gez
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It's apparently common practice. On the ZDoom forums, GooberMan has often expressed desire to tweak code in ZDoom/GZDoom but stated that he'd need to negotiate it with his employer first. And no, he's not working for ZeniMax.

Old Post 05-02-14 16:50 #
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Once upon a time IBM had employees sign contracts saying all of your side jobs or personal work belongs to us.

Old Post 05-02-14 17:32 #
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printz
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Yikes, looks like I need to be careful where I get hired on next job, because they might just trash all my work as belong to 'em, and I'd need to pursue a new hobby then, like play the guitar or other mundane activity.

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Old Post 05-02-14 18:30 #
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Caffeine Freak
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dew said:

Except Zenimax was pursuing Oculus since August 2012, immediatelly after Carmack received a Rift unit and began working on new software for it. Apparently, they're very serious about that part of the contract that says they own what their employees create while working for them. Even Carmack admits they own his code and Luckey apparently knew about it and signed some yet undisclosed agreement with Zenimax.



If what the article says about Zenimax seeking compensation since August of 2012 is true, then my opinion on this will matter will change a bit. It still seems pretty obvious to me that their interest in compensation spiked exponentially after the FB deal. I guess I'm curious about how much compensation they were seeking back in 2012, versus how much they're seeking now. If nothing else, it seems a bit contradictory for them to tell Carmack that no, they aren't interested in doing VR for their games, and then to release the statement I pasted below about the Oculus being 'a viable VR product, superior to other VR market offerings'.


dew said:
They're just voicing concern that Zeminax is trying to get their hands into the entire VR business. Sooo...



And that's a legitimate concern, in my opinion.


geo said:
So what's the issue here? He stole Oculus Rift tech or did he steal Zenimax tech to give to Oculus Rift / Facebook?


The latter is what Zenimax alleges. Here: http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/1/56...legal-challenge

"ZeniMax provided necessary VR technology and other valuable assistance to Palmer Luckey and other Oculus employees in 2012 and 2013 to make the Oculus Rift a viable VR product, superior to other VR market offerings," said ZeniMax in a statement to The Verge. "The proprietary technology and know-how Mr. Carmack developed when he was a ZeniMax employee, and used by Oculus, are owned by ZeniMax."

Carmack's response via Twitter: "Oculus uses zero lines of code that I wrote while under contract to Zenimax."


Gez said:
It's apparently common practice. On the ZDoom forums, GooberMan has often expressed desire to tweak code in ZDoom/GZDoom but stated that he'd need to negotiate it with his employer first. And no, he's not working for ZeniMax.


It is fairly common. We had a level designer quit Hexen EOC because he said his contract with Ubisoft had that very stipulation.

Last edited by Caffeine Freak on 05-02-14 at 23:39

Old Post 05-02-14 20:20 #
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Clonehunter
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Hmm, so companies can buy our thoughts now... Interesting.

Old Post 05-02-14 21:57 #
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Gez
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Caffeine Freak said:
<snip>


You attributed one of geo's posts to me in your quotes.

Old Post 05-02-14 22:59 #
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printz
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Gez said:
It's apparently common practice. On the ZDoom forums, GooberMan has often expressed desire to tweak code in ZDoom/GZDoom but stated that he'd need to negotiate it with his employer first. And no, he's not working for ZeniMax.
What about using fake names and nicknames while at it? Maybe he'd keep under the radar that way.

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Old Post 05-02-14 23:31 #
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