image theft of WotC

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Ralph Herold
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image theft of WotC

Post by Ralph Herold » Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:26 pm

Today Mark Rosewater has published an article about his first trip to Japan (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/mr163). Part of the article is a brief introduction of the Shichifukujin Dragon card. It seems WotC has finally decided to publicly admit the existence of this second unique card, and I am glad they did. However, the image used in the article is my image. The similarity is too striking to allow for a difference interpretation. While they perfectly have the right to do this from a legal perspective, I would have appreciated a different approach and maybe an honorous mention of this website (there is none in the article or anywhere else). Ì would like to hear your opinion about this.

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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by rg » Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:48 pm

When reading the article this morning i was also wondering why magiclibrary wasn't mentioned, but you already know what i think about WotC honoring magiclibrary ;)

How do you know they used your image?

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Ralph Herold
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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by Ralph Herold » Mon Feb 14, 2005 5:16 pm

Just compare both images. If images are from different sources, there are always slight differences in color saturation, contrast, brightness, and similar settings. This is not the case here.

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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by Mr.C » Mon Feb 14, 2005 5:49 pm

Just compare both images. If images are from different sources, there are always slight differences in color saturation, contrast, brightness, and similar settings. This is not the case here.
Question: Where did you get the image?
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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by TerraFrost » Mon Feb 14, 2005 8:51 pm

i believe it was based off of a picture taken by macone and touched up by victorfrost...
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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by sylvanstu » Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:42 pm

if they used your image great there's some pride in that who cares if they acknowledge the web page it is their product and we use tons of images of their product.


i'd just be proud that they used your picture  [smiley=ok.gif]
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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by Big Games Supply » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:17 pm

Just as a side note.  Perhaps I am easily amused, but the MoRo article had me rolling on the floor.

Back to the subject.  

Do you have to ask permission to have the card images on this site from woc, Ralph?

Just wondering.  Though it would be nice for Mark to plug this site.

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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by dragsamou » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:38 pm

Hi Ralph.
Correct me if I'm wrong,but,If I do remember the First time,they used your Image the Website was credited   ???
You know also how I call WOTC  ;)
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I did find back the link  ;)
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mt ... zards/1203
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Ralph Herold
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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by Ralph Herold » Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:24 am

Mr. C, TerraFrost: The image was artificially created by Victor Campbell and me, based upon good photos by macone and and an old photography Bob Flaminio had pulled out of the web years ago (veterans may remember the old image of the card which was solely based upon this photo). Victor completely rebuilt the card out of authentic parts (template, mana symbols, original fonts), and I helped him to find the correct puzzle pieces (for example the exact templates and the mana symbols have changed a few times in the past) and to fine-tune the card (for example cropping artwork, placing text on the card). The images were used for comparison and to extract the artwork. I vouch that the current image on this website represents the card extraordinarily well and deviations are well within the limit of what an actual scan of the card would provide.

sylvanstu: I am not proud. I would have been, if WotC had somehow given any acknowledgment to this website in regard of this image, but they have not. On the other hand, the whole matter is not drastic in any way, and I am not more than slightly disappointed.

MagicRumorMill: I do not ask permission to showcase images on this website, and WotC has never had a problem about this. In fact, I have never been in contact with WotC on behalf of this website at all. This is true for Bob Flaminio (founder and former webmaster) as well with one exception: When Planeshift was released, Bob named the alternate art cards "chase cards", and because of this, he was approached by WotC and asked to rename the category, but that is all.

dragsamou: Yes, I remember that particular Ask Wizards column, however, today's article is the first time they actually show an image of the card.

all: Victor Campbell has done some testing and can confirm that their image is my image. He has sent me a letter which I hereby make public (with permission):


Hi, Ralph,

You are right, WOTC has used your (our) image.

1. Without the border, yours is 210 x 310 pixels; theirs is 200 x 286, 95% of yours.
2. I reduced yours and overlaid it onto theirs, then flashed back and forth between the two.
3. The only differences are at the pixel level, and can be attributed to JPG processing.
4. Letter for letter they match.
5. I paid particular attention to the art, comparing the border area, positioning, and coloration: they match.
6. Even the copyright line matches, and we were never sure of that! [editor's note: The number was hard to recognize on the old photo, but we agreed that the last digit looked like a "6", and the number made sense for different reasons]
7. We spent a lot of time on the casting cost, making lots of subtle changes: it matches.
8. The kerning of all the letters matches, and though I worked that especially close, there would still be subtle differences.

So, they used the image unattributed. That prompts many comments and questions to be asked.

1. WOTC doesn't have their own copy of the image!
2. WOTC believes the Magic Rarities image to be authentic.
3. WOTC doesn't believe the Magic Rarities image is constructed or manipulated.
4. WOTC probably believes the Magic Rarities image is from a fan's photograph.
5. Mark Rosewater might have pulled it from a WOTC image bank, which could have been populated
   by an unknown employee at an unknown time.
6. As the copyright holder, WOTC doesn't see the need to attribute its own image.
7. If Magic Rarities questions WOTC's source, does Magic Rarities have to reveal its source?
8. Does it matter if Magic Rarities explains its source?
9. WOTC has, from time to time, acknowledged Magic Rarities as a quality site; just not this time.

I will leave it up to you to comment publicly on the issue, and you certainly may quote from my e-mail if you wish.

Take care,

--Vic

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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by silver.paladin » Tue Feb 15, 2005 1:37 am

I did a somewhat extensive search a few months ago looking for a clearer picture of the Shi Dragon, and as memory serves, I found approx 10 different websites all using the exact same image.  Previously I never knew the history how the Library got its scan, but it appears to be the same scan/picture most widely used.  There are only a couple other pictures that I had found, but their quality was much poorer than the Library pic.

It may be that Mark used the pic on the Library and either forget/missed to give credit for it, or it could just be that Wizards got the pic somewhere else on the 'Net and have had it for a while.
From the other websites that I saw the pic on, none of them credited anyone/anything for the picture.  So it may be that Wizards used the Library picture, but they also might have used it from somewhere else.  And also the reason for this article, perhaps he was asked to do the article, and somebody just gave him a copy of the picture or a link to use in the article.
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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by l0qii » Tue Feb 15, 2005 1:41 am

When Planeshift was released, Bob named the alternate art cards "chase cards", and because of this, he was approached by WotC and asked to rename the category
What was the purpose of that? I've used the term "chase cards" on my website. Should I ask Bob?
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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by Celebrindor » Tue Feb 15, 2005 2:11 am

Let me get this straight - the image on the site isnt actually an image of the card, its been reconstructed?  If that is the case, isnt it possible that you simply did so fine of a job that it matches WOTC's image, which may be a real scan of the card?  I mean, you're saying that victorfrost recreated this card digitally, using knowledge of the layout and colors and so forth used at the time.  Since you did recreate it *so* meticulously, isnt it possible that you 'got it right,' and the 'pixel level' differences are the result of the differences between WOTC's actual scan, and your detailed reconstruction of an image of the card?

Either way, this raises some questions:  if they are using our 'dragon picture, is it possible that they are using our 1996 Champion picture too?  If they aren't, then how is it that they have a scan of the 'champion, but not the 'dragon.

It really would be nice if someone from WOTC would clear this up for us...

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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by DeadSmurf » Tue Feb 15, 2005 4:20 am

Let me get this straight - the image on the site isnt actually an image of the card, its been reconstructed?  If that is the case, isnt it possible that you simply did so fine of a job that it matches WOTC's image, which may be a real scan of the card?  I mean, you're saying that victorfrost recreated this card digitally, using knowledge of the layout and colors and so forth used at the time.  Since you did recreate it *so* meticulously, isnt it possible that you 'got it right,' and the 'pixel level' differences are the result of the differences between WOTC's actual scan, and your detailed reconstruction of an image of the card?

Either way, this raises some questions:  if they are using our 'dragon picture, is it possible that they are using our 1996 Champion picture too?  If they aren't, then how is it that they have a scan of the 'champion, but not the 'dragon.

It really would be nice if someone from WOTC would clear this up for us...
The chances of a reconstruction and a scan of an actual card coming up within pixels of each other even with a near perfect reconstruction are so astronomically low I would call it near impossible.  The colours would be slightly  different on contrast or brightness or whatever simply based on the scanner used and what image effects were used on the scan.

Wotc is fairly notorious for not having scanned or archived a good portion of their early works.  Almost the entire Autocard cards they have are not scans but digital reproductions of the cards based on the archived arts (which they luckily kept mostly.)

Chances are the 1996 world Champion pic is their own, not ours.  But ours I do believe is based on the same promotional materials as theirs is.    As Mark Rosewater said in the article, 1996 world champion was used in a lot of promos back then.

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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by AXIOS » Tue Feb 15, 2005 4:38 am

as i always wondered:

how is it that in the official encylcopedia there is a picture of the 1996 world champion and there isn't a picture of the shichifukujin dragon?
Since they ceremonially destroyed the printing plates of the champion, but not without having a scan/photcopy of it (otherwise they couldn't reproduce it in the encyclopedia), then why the h*ll didn't they made a scan/photocopy of the dragon??
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Re: image theft of WotC

Post by rick21n » Tue Feb 15, 2005 4:51 am

Though it is too late to do now I would have thought some "security" measures would have been taken by VC and Ralph.  i.e. Embedding something on the pixel level.  That is if one was ever to suspect any problems.

I do agree however that if the image WOTC used is ours then it should have been stated thusly.  Unfortuantely that would have shown that WOTC doesn't always have the answers.  Not that many if any of us believed they did anyway.

I would suggest that somebody (probably Ralph) emails MaRo and hopes for a response.

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