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So why is all of the content here stolen from BGG user contributions?

New User

Literally everything I have found here has been stolen directly from BGG - game descriptions, images, game stats, everything. Even if BGG gave permission for its "wiki" content (which it hasn't), the images are still owned by the people that took the pictures. I know numerous photos of mine are on this site and they do not have my permission to use them.

The blanket disclaimer at the bottom of this site is not legally sufficient either (and it doesn't even mention BGG anyways). If you are going to take copyrighted content from another source, you need to attribute that source explicitly when it is used, not a random blanket disclaimer claiming it came from one of any number of sources.

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Partner24 days ago

Trent and BGA community. First, a caveat -- I have been and will continue to be an annual supporter of BGG for many years, and I also donated to BGA this year because I loved Board Game Prices and love the idea of fresh take on content. So disclaimers, yada yada...

I disagree with "motoyugota"'s contention that ALL of the content was "stolen" and have told him as much on BGG. But, his core contention, that some of the contributions on this site are being scraped without BGG user's permission is pretty clear. 

So, let's get past the blanket, indefensible statements, and get to the heart of the matter.

"Scraping" photos made by BGG users and posting them here is a big ethical no-no in my book. We BGA members shouldn't tolerate it or look the other way.

"Scraping" user generated content on BGG and posting them here (like game descriptions, etc) is also a big ethical no-no in my house.  If it comes from a publisher, I'll let them talk about it because I frankly don't think they would care as it is good publicity, but if it is user generated on BGG it just can't be copied willy-nilly here.

I realize that a lot of the content we see on BGA is brand new and user generated. Trends, rankings, player counts, time to play, reviews, plays, videos and the like are all awesome content that we should support. But I have a lot of friends in the industry who take amazing photography and DO NOT want their photos used without their permission.

(I'm obviously not talking about the users who have opted in to transferring their own photographs to this database. That seems fair on first glance.)  

Even thought this is a small hobby, it is a SELF-POLICED one -- much like the beautiful game of golf. We don't need outsiders to take care of this. 

Trent, here's hoping that you fix this quickly. It should be pretty easy. You have an amazing community here. We have all the games in this database (or most of them, right?)  A call out to the users to provide amazing photography for your database would fill it up quickly.  Take down the proprietary stuff ASAP.

As my grandma always said, "Do the right thing, even when no one is watching." 

BJ

Owner23 days ago

Thanks for the honest feedback. We're working on some house cleanup this week but I wanted to clarify a few things:

  • "Publisher info" - In the past, we have scraped BGG game page's main box image, where our intent was to get the publisher's official image. Publishers we have worked with in the past want a high quality game page filled with their info, so we were approaching it with the mindset that we're helping to promote their games. With that said, there have been issues raised around some box images and game descriptions, and we're working on removing them to the best that we can (we're also removing info from other game pages that could potentially be questionable). We'll also be consulting a lawyer so that we're clear on whether our approach of getting the publisher's info (or even basic info such as player count, designer name, etc) are okay for us to do or not. Either way, we won't be scraping the box/cover image or game description anymore.
  • User-generated images on BGG's game page galleries - We do not scrape this. Pictures on BGG's gallery end up on our game pages through two ways (1) BGG users importing their data with permission to move over their pictures and (2), BGA users adding in images to our game page. For (1), we've seen one case where a user seems to have forgotten that he/she had given us permission to bring in their pictures. There have been a few cases when (2) has occurred, so we're working on clarifying this on our wiki page.

Again, thanks for the honesty.

Supporter23 days ago

Excellent. Thank you sir. I appreciate all the you work you and  have put into the site. And, I'm looking forward to see how it grows moving forward. 

Premium User23 days ago

Awesome!  This additional info should help clear things up and it sounds like you’re doing the right thing image wise. 

As others have suggested, once you are clear on the legalities it could be a really fun contest to fill in the blanks on titles.  (With clear info on how and where to get the information.). 

I expect there will be a couple of loud people who won’t find this enough but also expect that for reasonable (the majority) people this is great news!

Partner23 days ago

Thanks for the quick response! Sounds like you and Trent are busy tidying up, so I will stay out of your way and look forward to the end result. 

Supporter24 days ago

Thanks for posting and thanks for providing a sanity check over at the bgg thread. Sensible points. 

Premium User24 days ago

This is a great take on things and a lot more reasonable and less righteous than what we have seen so far. Add to the fact that I can see in the thread on BGG that you actually read and absorb what other people are saying and it is miles ahead of the other 2 posters we’ve seen here on BGA so far. 

I’m of a very similar mind to you. I have contributed to BGG and BGA financially this year or in years last.  I like both sites for different reasons and I think we should look at ourselves as sister sites rather than competition to be squashed. At the end of the day both sites are minnows in the wider world. 

I think we both agree that boilerplate information scraped from wherever it is scraped from shouldn’t be fought over. If you look you can see the same information on BGA, BGG,  Amazon, and publisher sites.   I feel the same way about publisher photos of board game boxes.

Not ALWAYS mind you. For some esoteric games it has been shown that yes indeed user descriptions and photos have been brought over. 

So there’s a few things to consider here from a purely technical/legal side (obligatory I am not a lawyer):

  • If the API has been used to gather the data then it has to go if BGG asks because that is against the terms of service of using the API.
  • if screen scraping has been used in the form I am familiar with then legally this is a grey area in the US.  Cases have been found for and against the scraper based on various details.
  • without knowing how the data is captured we can’t state the legality of the situation

From a community/getting along perspective I also agree that user created works (photos/descriptions etc) should not be copied. BGG has said they don’t have the rights so they can’t sue but regardless I also expect BGA to do the right thing in keeping with what I think are our community expectations.

So here's the tricky bit.   One I thing I do know about is IT. (I’ve been involved in system design for 20 years at this point.)

If BGA is screen scraping how does the program tell if something is user generated content?  If I key in or copy paste a publishers description vs my own masterpiece it would be very tricky to be able to tell programmatically.  Even harder if it’s photos.  (This is without knowing the full data set they have to play with.) Surethe first photo on BGGis usually a publisher box photo but not always.

Add to that, what if I personally have copied pasted some esoteric game description from BGG to BGA.  Is BGA responsible to fix that?  (Is YouTube legally responsible if someone posts up a copied video?  No.  But there is a process to get them to take it down.)

Basically it would be extremely hard to only take down user created content vs publisher content.

So the other thing to consider is how many user created works are there vs generic publisher content.  If it’s 99.9% generic is it ok to get people to ask to have it taken down?  For some people even one entry is too much obviously.   But in the spirit of community can a deal be worked out?  I doubt it. At least not without leaving bitter elements for us to deal with.

The alternative is that any screen scraped BGG material is wiped.  Based on what I have seen from members of the BGG community this is probably our best bet.

Just grab it from Amazon and the store partners sites (assuming that is part of their agreement) and make  a list of empty games for the community to fill out.  

 

Supporter24 days ago

and ;

Thanks so much for these balancing thoughts. I have not waded into this discussion earlier, because, as a person who has won GAW's, and as a person who has financially contributed to BGA, I do feel like I have a certain conflict of interest.

That being said, I do agree with you. I come to this site, for reasons entirely different that I go to BGG. I do want both sites. And, in fact, using this site has made me use BGG more and vice versa. I use these two sites for different things. So, it would personally not hurt me if BGG scraped data would be scrapped. And, I am weighing in on the side that says that user generated images, etc, that are taken from BGG should be scrapped. I don't know what all the technical implications of such a move are, but I do think it is the right move. And, ultimately, the right move is the right move whether or not it is legally necessary or not.

If that takes out some more obscure games out there, that is fine. and your "fix a bounty game" button used to work. I don't think it does anymore. Fix it, and make sure that your users know that it is there and ask them to use it. I don't think that you need to bait them. Speaking for myself, I am happy to commit to trying to click that button on a daily basis. I rarely take pictures of games, because I don't find them as valuable. I am happy to try to take pictures for the few games in my collection. I even think that many boardgame publisher would be pleased to have their content better reprented here, and might even have a PR person upload some pics etc.... of new games, if you asked them to.

. I do appreciate you taking the time to check this out. That being said, when you come into a a discussion being intentionally aggresive and imposible to entreat, you shouldn't be surprised if you are blown off as a crank. When your comments come off as a attacks, don't be surprised if that sort of thing puts people on the defensive. When you hurl patently false accusations, such as all content being stolen, don't be surprised if the natural instinct of people is to point out instances where it wasn't. I use and love BGA. I use and love BGG. I am planning on buying a premium membership for BGA. I was planning on financially supporting BGG. I am still planning on buying a premium membership here. I think I will still support BGG. But, if I do, it is because I am convinced that the majority of users are not as you have shown yourself to be. I sincerely hope that your approach in this situation is due to the limitations of the medium and not indicative of defects of character.

Premium User23 days ago

Well said!

Partner24 days ago

Thanks for the kind words. I'm tuning out the troll comments, because I just don't believe in throwing bombs, insulting people and doubling down on false statements.  Happily, the couple of rogue posters on BGG who have been the most unkind are not representative of the wider BGG community, in my experience. 

As for the issue, it's pretty clear in my mind, and I agree with you, it's not as easy as some make it out to be. But, life's full of tough decisions.  

Ultimately, I agree with you.  Sites shouldn't indiscriminately scrape BGG user's images without permission. If that's what's happening, and all the evidence points to it, I'll sadly have to leave. I wouldn't support BGG or BGA if they were using images from Board Game Gumbo without my permission, and the same logic applies here. 

I've really enjoyed posting here but I'm going to wait to see how this is resolved before engaging in anything beyond this thread. That's the way I roll. I try to hear all the evidence before snap posting. 

I"ve said it before, but as a side issue, I don't understand why BGA would need BGG user photos. I don't come to this site for that info. I come for the discussion. I'd much rather see BGA user generated content (photos, videos, reviews, play experiences, previews, etc.) plus the awesome pricing content, then some rehashed photos from another site. 

I'm telling you, there are ways to get thousands of users to post photos here. It would be "super easy, barely an inconvenience." 

 

 

Premium User24 days ago

I’m with you. I just wish others would have come in with the same approach. 

I think the BGA community as it stands could easily fill in the gaps. And if we are missing some esoteric 1861 railroad game is it really that big a loss?  BGA shouldn’t try to be BGG. Let BGG be the historical museum.  I think it does the job wonderfully. If someone wants to put the game in to BGA then just do it in your own words and find a rights free photo. 

Thought popped in my head there. I wonder how many BGG entries and photos contain publisher data without having specific permission?   This could be ugly for everyone if we aren’t careful. 

Supporter27 days ago

I read your thread over at bgg and here. Your attitude from the very first moment you discover bga is super hostile. I understand the point you make about user pictures but apart from that, most other info here on bga is just general info from a game that would not change depending on the source : name, description, publisher, player count etc. So I don't understand your hostility. From the very start you have an us vs them mentality when the purpose of this website is to expand the gaming community and have an alternative place of discussion while also making gaming data more accesable (in part to developers). I obviously don't claim to speak for trent but I've seen he's approuche first hand what he wants to build, while you assume the worst out of nowhere. 

It is ironic and dissapointing that you come here in this ill manner. You can read how civil most discussion are here and how welcoming everyone is, in large part cause they want a more welcoming community than bgg. 

I read that you mention jamey from stegmeier games, he is well aware of this website and has even commented on some posts. 

Also, you say everything is copied but I have personally edited a few entries myself checking both publisher and bgg pages and I know for a fact descriptions are the same. For example I've edited a few games from ffg. 

Supporter27 days ago

Well put. Thank you for your balanced thoughts. 

Premium User28 days ago

This is frustrating to see.  I would think most of this information is public to one degree or another.  There would not be a post here if BGA wasn't doing well...that's really what it comes down to.  I supposed if money is made directly from content being viewed (aka, I have to pay to see the photos or content at all) then there might be an argument but of course by that same logic all content on the internet except what is paid for would have to come down.

Honestly, I use both BGG and BGA, but if BGG took action on an issue like this, I would seriously consider pulling my account and cease using it.  This kind of infomongering does not help the industry and promotes division and unhealthy competition over collaboration and support.

If there is a legitimate legal argument then a polite request is still the most human way to go with specifics regarding the content that is legally yours and you would like removed. offered to do this and that seens quite reasonable to me.  I post YouTube videos of playthroughs and no game companies are calling asking me to take down the videos and Ian O'Toole didn't call asking me to pull down my Rococo video because he art was on the box.  

It's free advertising is general and instead of taking a positive spin, sadly, folks have twisted the perspective in on themselves.  Blanket disclaimers are standard and most companies use them and legal general knows a blanket disclaimer doesn't cover everything.  That being said, it would have to be argued that BGA "used" anything as the import feature allows for content upload.

As for the "scrapers", would not smaller publishers want their games listed on another site?  Perhaps there is a reason why not but I could not see why and if a small publisher didn't want their game on BGA I bet they could ask to have it removed and it would be.  That will of course reflect poorly on the publisher when someone plays their game and wants to talk about it but can't.  

Premium User27 days ago

Unfortunately this individual is unable to see past his own black and white conclusion. “Everything is stolen”, “nothing on the site is legitimate”.

The facts that have been stated are that this individual had a photo and a description he put on BGG attached to the game on BGA.

Trent has indicated he screen scrapes the data from multiple sites. Screen scraping is a grey area in the US.  Cases have been found in favour of both sides depending on the minutiae of the case.  However, this person chooses not to believe him.  So the blanket statement of “stealing” is patently false. 

The rest of the data he has is for the most part boiler plate description straight from the publishers website.  He expects BGA to get permission for all of those I guess but of course ignores that BGG hasn’t done the same. He indicated that he personally entered a description for a game so he wants that taken down.  

Trent will remove any photos if asked. I can’t remember if he has replied about the description or not. 

My personal take is that Trent should be clear about what he scrapes from sites. If he uses the API then it’s a different ball game and he has to take everything he gathered that way down. Photos are probably something to be avoided although in 99% of the cases on BGG the first photo is the publishers shot. This person found one rare case he is using to get BGG brownie points. 

In the end, assuming Trent is not using the API to get the data, then the data we have should be fine and taking it down when asked by a person who has created a unique work on BGG is reasonable. 

And, while I am not a lawyer, if the above assumptions are true this persons statements are libel.  He is writing things with the obvious intent to create harm to Trent. 

Supporter27 days ago

Well said. This is a great summary. I do not believe that BGA has any ill intent. 

New User27 days ago

One more thing - information being "public" doesn't mean people have the right to use it however they want. Public does not mean "public domain". And the content on BGG is not and has never been public domain. That's the problem here. Trent has violated copyright law by taking content belonging to others and using it in an attempt to make money for himself. 

New User27 days ago

BGG has made the polite request to Trent multiple times and Trent has ignored them. Also, Trent stealing the content from BGG is not free advertising for them - it is an outright attempt to take their revenue away. How could it be free advertising when he has not attributed the content to them, not even in his BS blanket disclaimer? Oh, and blanket disclaimers not only don't cover "everything" when it comes to using others' content, they don't cover ANYTHING. You have to specifically cite sources when you use another's content. 

Oh, and money IS directly made by viewing content on both sites. Do you seriously not understand how websites make money?

Owner28 days ago

We get the data from multiple websites focused on online retailer connections, BGG, and publisher websites with some tools. We also have a BGG Import tool that allows users to link all their plays, lists, reviews, and images to our site if they give permission as well. Finally, it's also a wiki based system with users able to submit content as well. Since we can't control what all our users are doing we remove any reported copyrighted information that the owners do not want on the site. If you'd be able to share the photos you took I'd be happy to go through and remove them all.

 

New User28 days ago

Oh, and I've taken screenshots of multiple pages of this site with your stolen content, so don't try to just delete it now to pretend it was never there.

And 1861 is just ONE of the games where I've found this - there are others, but I'm currently saving that as evidence in case BGG wants it.

New User28 days ago

This is a complete load of BS. There is no way users submitted the thousands upon thousands of incredibly obscure games that you have on here. And BGG has explicitly NOT given you permission to use their content. In fact, as confirmed by Aldie just today, they have told you repeatedly to take down all of the content you have stolen from BGG. You can see that here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/2564611/article/36577915#36577915

In that thread, you can also see the link to one of the games that you stole content from (links both to here AND the BGG page), including MY photos of the game. I'm sorry, but there is zero chance that someone just "happened" to upload content for that game. You stole it using the BGG API, in direct violation of their terms of service.

Every game I have looked at on here you have stolen the description and images directly from BGG.

Owner28 days ago

Like I mentioned we have certainly gotten game information that was grabbed from BGG through scrapers we created as part of the many sources of information. The obscure games likely did come from the BGG scrapers though. However we've had several thousands of users join who've imported their BGG data giving permission to use their info which supplies a large amount of data as well.

I'm sorry that the photos you took were uploaded without your permission and again would be happy to remove them to comply with your desires if you could share them with me.

New User28 days ago

Game descriptions, player counts, game time, etc. are NOT content that one of your users can give you permission to use. The only way those could have come from BGG is by you explicitly stealing them. So how does every single game on this site have nearly the exact information as BGG if you didn't explicitly steal ALL of it from there?

Owner28 days ago

Player count isn't something that BGG has copyright for. If #Catan is 3-4 players then it'll be the same player count no matter where the information comes from.

New User28 days ago

Even the existence of most of the games in your database is evidence you stole the content. Doesn't matter that the games' existence itself is public knowledge, you clearly used the API againts its TOS to get the content to populate your system. That is against the law.

New User28 days ago

The fact that every single piece of that "basic" data for every game matches BGG exactly is proof that you stole the content from BGG rather than entering it yourself. That is the point.

New User28 days ago

And Aldie has said that you have been told MULTIPLE times that you do not have permission to use the content from BGG, so ANY data that you have "scraped" from BGG is here illegally and needs to be removed. Copyright law does not allow you to just "scrape" content from sources and use it however you see fit.

You aren't even apologetic about your theft. Seriously, I was hoping that this was a misunderstanding and/or that you would be working to remove all of the content that you deliberately stole.

If you aren't proactive about cleaning up your act, I'm afraid it's going to be a much uglier situation for you.

Owner28 days ago

I did talk with Octavian who I think is a moderator and complied with him and his requests back in early 2019 which was the only discussion I've had with them. I also offered to work for them and build their API in hopes to make the website better as well.