The Lair of Contrapuntal

(Lord of Dissonant Thinking...)

Newish and Kinda Shiny!
Now With the Tale of the Kickass Piracy Debacle

Hail and well met, travellers.

Let me state now that I am indeed a member of the esteemed group known as the Ultima Dragons.

I have been following the exploits of the Avatar for a long time now, about nine years, and have seen the Ages of Enlightenment and the Time of the Guardian. If thee wishes to ask of such, or compareth notes, feel free. I have also seen the Underworld on at least two occasions.

I have personally recorded the chronicles of the Isle of Fire's ephemeral return here, if thou needst assistance.

My name is proving to be something of a mystery. Like my alter ego, who calleth himself 'Michael', I am of a musical bent. 'Contrapuntal' was coined due to a combination of this and the impression that many things are occurring concurrently, sometimes pleasing to the mind and ear, often not.

I am often found on a 'newsgroup' with my fellow Dragons. Once known as rec.games.computer.ultima-dragons, where many a query, brawl and odd joke abounded, It's been removed from most places of late, and has been replaced with the renamed rec.games.computer.ultima.dragons (keeps the denizens of news.groups happy)

For the Ultima Online player there is rec.games.computer.ultima.online

My 'niche' appears to be a technical / musical one, and it is something I will continue to attend to. If you poke around the site a little you'll also find the AWE-Ultima FAQ

I also had a role in the Reorg (Don't mention the Reorg!) mentioned further up the page. It's all buried away in Dejanews for those of you that are interested - but be warned: it's not pretty, and it lasted from April 1997 to July 4, 1997 when the control messages went out

I've also taken on the oft-Herculean task of greeting new Dragons, along with my fellow members of the UDIC Greeting Team. If thou art not already a member of this illustrious organisation, you can join at the Ultima Dragons Join Page. Anyone who has played an Ultima is more than welcome to join!

By the way - and before I forget to inform thee - I am vociferously anti-spam, and my human form has provided several anti-spam pages for those of you who are sick of being stolen from (spam costs you time and money for download! Don't just hit delete!).
Therefore do not *ever* spam the rec.games.computer.ultima.* groups, as I will track and find ye, and thy arse will be toast, and thy connection to the 'net be no more.

Fifty (former) E-mail and Usenet spammers can attest to this!
I mean it, man!

As far as my "net.fame" (or infamy) goes...


The Tale of the Kicked Ass
by Contrapuntal Dragon and a cast of several

Aside from the above Reorganisation kerfuffle, I have managed to get myself in the centre of at least one other memorable scrape, which I refer to as the Kickass Debacle
In late September '97, I was going through my usual dragonly things; checking these pages, browsing the Ring Of Dragons and checking the newsgroup when I saw a couple of posters pointing newbies wishing to find Ultima IV in the direction of a gaming site by the name of Kickass Games.

Knowing that 1) The game had been released only to PC Games for their CD and 2) That others had asked permission (and been refused) by Origin I felt I should check up on this.
Dejanews confirmed my suspicions, along with a check of the archive on offer - it was identical to the PC Games version!

This is where it got interesting. Being a little concerned (and with little thought for the wellbeing of my inbox!) I mailed the owner of said site. Next day found a fairly dodgy-sounding "defence" of their position - and it didn't answer my questions! Something smelt - very bad.
So, thinking I might as well do the job properly, I made some further inquiries with both the site owner and Origin - in my opinion it was software piracy.

The response from Kickass was, to put it mildly "terse". I wouldn't show it to children, that's for sure.
After consulting a few close and trusted friends, I went (gently) public, with a Usenet thread named "Ultima IV, Downloading and the Law" in rec.games.computer.ultima.dragons.
Much fire was cast about on newsgroup and website - some indirectly aimed at me. An "editorial" was posted on the Kickass Games website with an (IMHO) self-serving spin on software piracy. On the actual download page was a little box asking folks *not* to ask about why this was available, as "I get enough junk from savetrees,com".

All hell appeared to break loose - Origin informed me that they were looking into it, and when this was discovered "mirror" links went up. Fortunately the maintainers of these sites were more virtuous than Kickass, and they did the right thing and removed the links when the legalities of the U4 download were explained to them (Thanks Lord Soth! :-))

This lead to a rather bizarre turn of events. Origin normally is quite severe when it is discovered that folks are pirating their work - they've closed down sites hosting Apple and C64 versions of Ultimas in the past.
I would have expected them to send a Cease and Desist to the owners of Kickass (I believe that they had indeed been in contact with the site owner) but what I got was right out of left field.

I was informed, along with other senior interested Dragons, that we, the UDIC could offer the version from PC Games / Computer Gaming World (identical, by the way) for download.
Not being one to argue with a gaming company (or look a gift horse in the mouth) I have, after confiming it with Origin staff I'd been in contact with (Thanks again, Boomer!) offered it for download.

To this day, I do not know why the decision was made, but I'm glad to see that a classic can by offered to the public with the blessing of the copyright owner. However I'm less happy that the pirates that started the mess still offer the game for illegal download. :-(

I therefore implore the reader to avoid these parasites; theft is not virtuous, and does horrid things to your Karma. Point your friends and family away from them also - a check of Dejanews for the threads I cite will make the reasons self evident. ;-)

I'd also like to thank those hardy folk who both supported me by e-mail and in the newsgroup - you cannot LART a "big-timer" pirate on your own..

(But I digress..)


Many of my fellows have scrolls such as this. An increasing list of them can be found here. They're all hand-picked, top notch and good friends of mine <G>

Please also check out my alter-ego's personal page and if you're feeling game, wean him off his South Park habit <EG>


Best Wishes In Your Travels, but remember:
I. Do not drink Lock Lake water.
II. Do not even consider outdrinking knights.
III. Watch for small children with evil looks in their eyes.
IV. Trust not the Fellowship. They are as 'trustworthy' as used cart merchants.
V. Beware of beings in scarlet or in black robes. They will bring trouble.
VI. ..as will jesters' games.

And finally leave Lord British's cutlery alone!!

(Oh, and did I mention don't spam me or the newsgroup?....)


Contrapuntal Dragon
mfleming@zip.com.au

Copyright © 1996 Contrapuntal Dragon
This Home Page was created Wednesday, 6 November 1996
Most recent revision Friday, March 26, 1999

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