Update: John Carmack Slams Oculus Lawsuit Decision

Update: John Carmack Slams Oculus Lawsuit Decision

john carmack

Carmack, who was a former programmer at Zenimax's id Software, says allegations that Oculus's source code was copied from his id Software work are "just not true".

Update: Zenimax has responded to Carmack's post, issuing a statement to Gamasutra stating "In addition to expert testimony finding both literal and non-literal copying, Oculus programmers themselves admitted using Zenimax's copyrighted code (one saying he cut and pasted it into the Oculus SDK), and [Oculus VR co-founder] Brendan Iribe, in writing, requested a license for the 'source code shared by Carmack' they needed for the Oculus Rift. Not surprisingly, the jury found Zenimax code copyrights were infringed. The Oculus Rift was built on a foundation of Zenimax technology."

"As for the denial of wiping, the Court's independent expert found 92 percent of Carmack's hard drive was wiped-all data was permanently destroyed, right after Carmack got notice of the lawsuit, and that his affidavit denying the wiping was false. Those are the hard facts."

Original Story: Earlier in the week, the gaming business world was rocked by the decision of a $500 million lawsuit, in which Oculus was deemed by a Dallas jury as having illegally obtained VR trade secrets from Zenimax subsidiary id Software. At the heart of the trial was John Carmack - a former programmer for id who is now the Chief Technical Officer at Occulus. Carmack has now taken to Facebook to vent his frustrations, stating that the allegations made against him are "just not true".

Essentially, an expert witness testified that he was "absolutely certain" the finalized Oculus Rift source code closely resembled code Carmack had previously developed while at Zenimax.

"This is just not true," said Carmack. "The authors at Oculus never had access to the Id C++ VR code, only a tiny bit of plaintext shader code from the demo. I was genuinely interested in hearing how the paid expert would spin a web of code DNA between completely unrelated codebases."

He went on to further mock the validity of this so-called "expert witness", stating that "By the end, after seven cases of 'absolutely certain', I was wondering if gangsters had kidnapped his grandchildren and were holding them for ransom. If the code examples were released publicly, the internet would have viciously mocked the analysis."

"I just wanted to shout 'You lie!'" he said. You can read his full statement (which is quite lengthy) here.

Oculus has stated that it will be appealing the decision, while Zenimax is looking into seeking an injunction to halt the sale of the Oculus Rift.

Source: Facebook

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I'm on Carmack's side in this case. He does not have to steal code.

So he's wrong. Flat wrong.

"non-literal copying" GTFO Zenimax. You can't copyright an algorithm. This is exactly why I said this lawsuit needed to fail: they're being prosecuted based on some abstract resemblance.

"As for the denial of wiping, the Court's independent expert found 92 percent of Carmack's hard drive was wiped-all data was permanently destroyed, right after Carmack got notice of the lawsuit, and that his affidavit denying the wiping was false. Those are the hard facts."

Well, this is getting interesting.

I'm leaning toward not believing Carmack here. Zenimax are posting the facts as heard in court, Carmack is just shouting "Lies!"

My knee-jerk tendency is to think "creators > big faceless corporations". And I recognize as someone who occasionally does some programming that a programmer's work has a tendency to resemble his or her other work, and sometimes use similar libraries, in a way that may appear to be copying to a layman but that wouldn't be recognized as such by other programmers.

All that said, Zenimax's claim regarding Carmack wiping his hard drive doesn't look good. And as much as I dislike the idea of Zenimax biting off a big chunk of Occulus while they're still in the midst of trying to midwife VR into viability- and I think the award is far too high in any case- it sounds like they might have made more of a case than was casually visible from news pieces on the subject.

This might, regrettably, fall into "You're correct, but you're still an @$$#*%&" territory.

Shoudl've kept quiet. Unless you can objectively prove nobody stole any code, you're just adding more fuel to an unwanted fire that has "rocked" the gaming business world.

Because that's what matters.

The gaming business world.

It sounds like much of the evidence against Occulus was provided by Occulus themselves, in which case I don't feel inclined to reward stupidity. It's like that time that girl posted a public image of herself making fun of someone else in the gym showers. If your programmers are openly claiming that they cut n' pasted code from sources Zenimax owns, you kind of did it to yourself.

Pyrian:
"non-literal copying" GTFO Zenimax. You can't copyright an algorithm. This is exactly why I said this lawsuit needed to fail: they're being prosecuted based on some abstract resemblance.

So you cannot patent something like....Google's search engine algorithm? Yes, yes you can.

I have only seen you zealously ranting how Carmack and oculus have bared no wrong doings.

Pyrian:
"non-literal copying" GTFO Zenimax. You can't copyright an algorithm. This is exactly why I said this lawsuit needed to fail: they're being prosecuted based on some abstract resemblance.

Well yes and no. There are copyrights for the specific implementation of an algorithm (as in literal copying). An algorithm can also be patented which would give protection from "non-literal copying."

I'm of the personal opinion that algorithm patenting is bullshit, but it still is (for the most part) legal.

edit: ninja'd

fractal_butterfly:
I'm on Carmack's side in this case. He does not have to steal code.

He might not have to, but it does sound like something he would do anyway. I might not need to steal toilet paper roles from my office's bathrooms but doing so would make stocking my apartment cheaper and easier. (example only >_>)

The facts also seem against him.

And this is why covering your own ass is so important. Strangely enough, courts tend not to put much reliance on the defense "You gotta believe me!".

Xeorm:
And this is why covering your own ass is so important. Strangely enough, courts tend not to put much reliance on the defense "You gotta believe me!".

That, and "Nuh-uh!" is generally a poor defense against "We have proof that you wiped your hard drive."

fractal_butterfly:
I'm on Carmack's side in this case. He does not have to steal code.

But it is something he would do.

09philj:

fractal_butterfly:
I'm on Carmack's side in this case. He does not have to steal code.

But it is something he would do.

I know its quite a common thing for programmers to steal code from other programmers, no matter how talented the thief may be. I'm pretty sure its an unwritten rule of programming, actually. Its just all about how well you cover your tracks...

09philj:
But it is something he would do.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I know its quite a common thing for programmers to steal code from other programmers, no matter how talented the thief may be. I'm pretty sure its an unwritten rule of programming, actually. Its just all about how well you cover your tracks...

I am sure you don't understand the mindset of people like Carmack. He is no simple code monkey. He is a scientist. If it doesn't exist, he will try to create it, just for the sake of seeing, if and how it can be done. If it DOES exist, he will try to make it better or to find new ways to tackle the problem, just to explore the possibilities. We are talking about a guy, who revisited the year old Doom 3 source code, to "make the code more beautiful" and to "add more and better comments". And this just for releasing it as open source to the public, not so sell it or for a remastered version. The whole source code of the game, for free. And he went over it, not for bugfixing, but to make the code more maintainable and readable. No normal programmer cares in the least about commenting, or about others being able to read their code. This guy is a freak. He does not need to steal code, and he never would do so either.

Yeah, I know, I am heavily biased regarding this topic. I have the utmost respect for this guy. And I would be heavily disappointed, if he actually did it. But this will not happen. There is no evidence except for a biased and incapable "expert" witness testimony. They will appeal, and even if they lose the case, I think that they will never be able to prove that Mr. Carmack stole the code. Because he fucking didn't.

I would not be surprised if Carmack did steal the code, not that I think he lacks skill as clearly, he is one of the best programmers around but considering how expensive it must have been to produce the Oculus and that it did, in fact, start as an independent venture it would have been a good way to reduce production time and costs, which were ridiculously large anyway despite that I hope Zenimax fails because fuck 'em, plus Carmack God of video games brought us Doom and tons of advances in video game tech that were used for tons of classic games so I absolve him of all of his sins, by which I mean, I don't care if he did something wrong fuck Zenimax they probably deserve it.

Might be worth saying that I'm not the kind of person that believes in Justice, and even less in corporate bullshit.

Man, the whole thing is retarded.

Carmark was the only one at id software working on VR ... he practically wrote everything that he is accused of stealing.

I don't feel all that sorry for Oculus and Facebook (both a shady companies IMHO) but this is just Zenimax being IP trolls again.

fractal_butterfly:

09philj:
But it is something he would do.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I know its quite a common thing for programmers to steal code from other programmers, no matter how talented the thief may be. I'm pretty sure its an unwritten rule of programming, actually. Its just all about how well you cover your tracks...

I am sure you don't understand the mindset of people like Carmack. He is no simple code monkey. He is a scientist. If it doesn't exist, he will try to create it, just for the sake of seeing, if and how it can be done. If it DOES exist, he will try to make it better or to find new ways to tackle the problem, just to explore the possibilities. We are talking about a guy, who revisited the year old Doom 3 source code, to "make the code more beautiful" and to "add more and better comments". And this just for releasing it as open source to the public, not so sell it or for a remastered version. The whole source code of the game, for free. And he went over it, not for bugfixing, but to make the code more maintainable and readable. No normal programmer cares in the least about commenting, or about others being able to read their code. This guy is a freak. He does not need to steal code, and he never would do so either.

Yeah, I know, I am heavily biased regarding this topic. I have the utmost respect for this guy. And I would be heavily disappointed, if he actually did it. But this will not happen. There is no evidence except for a biased and incapable "expert" witness testimony. They will appeal, and even if they lose the case, I think that they will never be able to prove that Mr. Carmack stole the code. Because he fucking didn't.

Professional programmers actually do care about proper documentation of their code and keeping their code readable and thus maintainable.

Programmers working in teams need to keep their code well documented and clean for other members on the team to be able to understand what code does and work off of it. If you have a guy on your team that just blurts out code, that might work mind you, that can't be easily understood, either by reading documentation for the code and its methods/functions or by skimming over the code itself, you have a guy willingly throwing roadblocks up for the rest of the team.

Even programmers who work on their own will want to keep their code well documented and clean, because although they know what the code does at the time of writing, chances are they will be coming back to it some time later by which time it is highly likely they have forgotten what the code does, meaning they will have to spend time re-familiarizing themselves with their own code, wasting time. Especially if you are a solo programmer working on a relatively large project, documenting what you are doing and keeping things clean can save you a lot of time.

And seriously, cleaning up code before releasing it for public eyes to scrutinize to oblivion, seems like a normal practice, rather than something for which a person should be praised to high heaven.

image

fractal_butterfly:

09philj:
But it is something he would do.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I know its quite a common thing for programmers to steal code from other programmers, no matter how talented the thief may be. I'm pretty sure its an unwritten rule of programming, actually. Its just all about how well you cover your tracks...

I am sure you don't understand the mindset of people like Carmack. He is no simple code monkey. He is a scientist. If it doesn't exist, he will try to create it, just for the sake of seeing, if and how it can be done. If it DOES exist, he will try to make it better or to find new ways to tackle the problem, just to explore the possibilities. We are talking about a guy, who revisited the year old Doom 3 source code, to "make the code more beautiful" and to "add more and better comments". And this just for releasing it as open source to the public, not so sell it or for a remastered version. The whole source code of the game, for free. And he went over it, not for bugfixing, but to make the code more maintainable and readable. No normal programmer cares in the least about commenting, or about others being able to read their code. This guy is a freak. He does not need to steal code, and he never would do so either.

Yeah, I know, I am heavily biased regarding this topic. I have the utmost respect for this guy. And I would be heavily disappointed, if he actually did it. But this will not happen. There is no evidence except for a biased and incapable "expert" witness testimony. They will appeal, and even if they lose the case, I think that they will never be able to prove that Mr. Carmack stole the code. Because he fucking didn't.

I'm unbiased, and as much respect as I have for Carmack's legacy and all, there's a bit of ego at work here, and it isn't hard for me to believe he took something he thought was his, but in corporate reality wasn't. I'm not saying he did, but there's potential for it to happen and no one, no matter how big a name, is immune to human failings. Scientist or not, he's still human and humans have flaws.
Do I know he did? No. Do you know him personally and can attest to his upstanding, impeccable reputation? No, you don't and can't.
Benefit of the doubt, yes, but there's a lot of grey here. I can see a situation in where Carmack thought what he worked on in whatever off-time he had might have been his work, but if he did it on Zenimax grounds, on their machines and whatnot, by the way things work in corporate society, he did not have the right to do so and could not take his work out of that company without some form of legal issues arising. I don't know that is what actually happened, but in my mind that is a highly likely possibility and if that is the case, its also likely Carmack's ego won't allow him to admit he fucked up because it puts his newest employers on the bad end of the lawsuit.
Again, I don't know what happened but the biggest hurdle here is that Carmack has produced nothing except denials, with no actual evidence. Zenimax has not just their "expert" but testimony from non-Zenimax sources... that's fairly damning as it is.
But to be quite honest, you do not know whether he did or did not do these things. You may choose to believe him, that's a different story but you honestly don't know "he fucking didn't."
And the other side, my comment was lighthearted fun-poking at the penchant for programmers to sometimes steal code, sometimes consciously, sometimes not, from others. But getting an essay in reply, I felt I had to rebut.
Have a nice day.
TL;DR - I don't know if Carmack did or did not do anything, but I'm not willing to say its beyond him because he's human and humans fuck up.

fractal_butterfly:
I'm on Carmack's side in this case. He does not have to steal code.

It's not a matter of stealing. When you work under contract for a company, any work you proiduce belongs to the company. John used Code that he developed while at Zenimax, but due to the previous afforementioned ownership clause, the code belionged to Zenimax and well.. bam.

Guess things aren't looking so good for the rift.

MonsterCrit:

fractal_butterfly:
I'm on Carmack's side in this case. He does not have to steal code.

It's not a matter of stealing. When you work under contract for a company, any work you proiduce belongs to the company. John used Code that he developed while at Zenimax, but due to the previous afforementioned ownership clause, the code belionged to Zenimax and well.. bam.

Guess things aren't looking so good for the rift.

That's the thing: ZeniMax *claims* that he took code. But they can't prove it for the time being. John Carmack claims, that he intentionally did not even interfere with some of the code base of the Occulus, just to see how other programmers would tackle the problem. It's not about copy pasting, it's about the question, if the processes of John Carmacks mind are the property of ZeniMax. Maybe they are (legally), but they most certainly shouldn't be.

Imperioratorex Caprae:

TL;DR - I don't know if Carmack did or did not do anything, but I'm not willing to say its beyond him because he's human and humans fuck up.

I am sorry for writing my wall of text, but this thing gets me riled up pretty badly. This has the vibes of an old employer harassing a former valuable asset, who left the company. It does not seem fair. The thing is, if you believe what John Carmack writes in his Facebook post, he did indeed take one piece of code with him, and that is a piece of shader code, which has jack shit to do with the VR tech itself. The only thing that he could have "fucked up" would be, that he replicated his former work from ZeniMax when working on the Occulus. This is, as I wrote above, the question, if you can own the inner workings of the mind of a person, which would technically be slavery. ZeniMax should not be allowed to win this, if this is the case.

As I also wrote in another post, I am unfortunately quite biased when it comes to John Carmack. He is a genius in his field, and at the same time not a dick about it, which is rare.

bluegate:
Professional programmers actually do care about proper documentation of their code and keeping their code readable and thus maintainable.

Programmers working in teams need to keep their code well documented and clean for other members on the team to be able to understand what code does and work off of it. If you have a guy on your team that just blurts out code, that might work mind you, that can't be easily understood, either by reading documentation for the code and its methods/functions or by skimming over the code itself, you have a guy willingly throwing roadblocks up for the rest of the team.

Even programmers who work on their own will want to keep their code well documented and clean, because although they know what the code does at the time of writing, chances are they will be coming back to it some time later by which time it is highly likely they have forgotten what the code does, meaning they will have to spend time re-familiarizing themselves with their own code, wasting time. Especially if you are a solo programmer working on a relatively large project, documenting what you are doing and keeping things clean can save you a lot of time.

And seriously, cleaning up code before releasing it for public eyes to scrutinize to oblivion, seems like a normal practice, rather than something for which a person should be praised to high heaven.

This is how it should be, and how real professionals do it. But the things I have seen in game development... horrible horrible things.

fractal_butterfly:

That's the thing: ZeniMax *claims* that he took code. But they can't prove it for the time being. J

Except this right here is wrong. There is proof. 12 completely random individuals were taken off the street, sat in front of the presentations from both sides with the moderation of the judge, and decided that there was $500 million worth of proof that Carmack stole from Zenimax.

From the article:

Oculus programmers themselves admitted using Zenimax's copyrighted code (one saying he cut and pasted it into the Oculus SDK), and [Oculus VR co-founder] Brendan Iribe, in writing, requested a license for the 'source code shared by Carmack' they needed for the Oculus Rift.

You are also throwing the expert witness, a person you have no idea who they are or what qualifications they possess other than that the jurors and judge found them to be believable, under the buss simply because the trial's defendant didn't like the testimony against him.

tldr: Carmack did fuck up. He broke the law to the tune of $500 million. Does that mean he's an awful person? That's up to you to decide. However, he did steal at least some code from Zenimax.

Avnger:
Except this right here is wrong. There is proof. 12 completely random individuals were taken off the street, sat in front of the presentations from both sides with the moderation of the judge, and decided that there was $500 million worth of proof that Carmack stole from Zenimax.

From the article:

Oculus programmers themselves admitted using Zenimax's copyrighted code (one saying he cut and pasted it into the Oculus SDK), and [Oculus VR co-founder] Brendan Iribe, in writing, requested a license for the 'source code shared by Carmack' they needed for the Oculus Rift.

You are also throwing the expert witness, a person you have no idea who they are or what qualifications they possess other than that the jurors and judge found them to be believable, under the buss simply because the trial's defendant didn't like the testimony against him.

tldr: Carmack did fuck up. He broke the law to the tune of $500 million. Does that mean he's an awful person? That's up to you to decide. However, he did steal at least some code from Zenimax.

The USA jury system is one of the reasons, why you just have to put on a good show to win a case instead of actually being in the right. These were all allegations by Zenimax, who were sold to the jurors in a way that made it credible to them. If they are really 12 random people from the streets, I doubt they have the competence to make an informed decision in this case. Also going by the original news, the court found that "[Occulus] did not misappropriate trade secrets, but [they] had violated a non-disclosure agreement" (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/169432-ZeniMax-Awarded-500-Million-in-Oculus-Lawsuit). If they had been "stealing code", it would have been the former, not the latter.
It all boils down to this "non-literal" copying allegations, which is bullshit in itself. This is also what makes me afraid of this decision, if it would be confirmed in the appeal. It would mean, that anything could be declared a copy of anything, regarding software. It would mean, that programmers, and other professional branches could no longer switch their jobs, or they would run into the risk of "taking knowledge" with them, which would then belong to the company they worked for.

Now to the biggest problem in this case. No real information gets out. Even John Carmack himself writes, that he can't give details about certain things, since they are not allowed to be disclosed. Meanwhile ZeniMax is throwing allegations left and right, which only seem to be partially right. This is also why I trust John Carmack more than the expert witness. I don't know, who this guy is, I know a lot more about John Carmack. My decision to trust him is founded in his good standing, his overall behaviour an his professional achievements and abilities in his field of work and research. This leads me to the conclusion, that there is no real motive for him to do what is claimed by ZeniMax.
The expert witness also discredits himself by using the "non-literal copying" argument. If he would be competent (or unbiased), he would know, that this nonsense. Non-literal copying is not a thing. It would only happen, if you would write the same code by chance. There are cases of certain algoriths being reverse engineered and written in a completely new way, that does the same thing, but works differently (for example Perlin Noise versus Simplex Noise). None of these are copyright infringement, and they shouldn't be, since they are complete new implementations, sometimes even adding functionality or improving on the original implementation. They use the same theoretical basis, but go completely different ways to reach the same goal. It's like suing Tesla on infringing on a copyright on cars.

All I know about the participants and the details released so far only points in the direction of ZeniMax being ZeniMax. They have a habit and track record of suing everyone they can. John Carmack on the other hand has a track record of setting new standards and innovating regularly in the field of computer science.

fractal_butterfly:

MonsterCrit:

fractal_butterfly:
I'm on Carmack's side in this case. He does not have to steal code.

It's not a matter of stealing. When you work under contract for a company, any work you proiduce belongs to the company. John used Code that he developed while at Zenimax, but due to the previous afforementioned ownership clause, the code belionged to Zenimax and well.. bam.

Guess things aren't looking so good for the rift.

That's the thing: ZeniMax *claims* that he took code. But they can't prove it for the time being. John Carmack claims, that he intentionally did not even interfere with some of the code base of the Occulus, just to see how other programmers would tackle the problem. It's not about copy pasting, it's about the question, if the processes of John Carmacks mind are the property of ZeniMax. Maybe they are (legally), but they most certainly shouldn't be.

Johnny signed the contract when he started work for them. He knew. And that's basically the thing with patents and what not. But some how nearly every other software engineer finds a way around this by simply not copy and pasting their old work. Johnny boy got lazy and now he's paying for it... big time.

MonsterCrit:
Johnny signed the contract when he started work for them. He knew. And that's basically the thing with patents and what not. But some how nearly every other software engineer finds a way around this by simply not copy and pasting their old work. Johnny boy got lazy and now he's paying for it... big time.

If you read all the details about the case, there is no definite proof (that is disclosed to the public), that any kind of copy pasting took place. Only allegations by ZeniMax. It is literally their word against Occulus'.

fractal_butterfly:

MonsterCrit:
Johnny signed the contract when he started work for them. He knew. And that's basically the thing with patents and what not. But some how nearly every other software engineer finds a way around this by simply not copy and pasting their old work. Johnny boy got lazy and now he's paying for it... big time.

If you read all the details about the case, there is no definite proof (that is disclosed to the public), that any kind of copy pasting took place. Only allegations by ZeniMax. It is literally their word against Occulus'.

But there are certain levels of similarity that cannot be explained as coincidence. Enough that the courts said, yup, you used their tech. Pay up.

MonsterCrit:

fractal_butterfly:

MonsterCrit:
Johnny signed the contract when he started work for them. He knew. And that's basically the thing with patents and what not. But some how nearly every other software engineer finds a way around this by simply not copy and pasting their old work. Johnny boy got lazy and now he's paying for it... big time.

If you read all the details about the case, there is no definite proof (that is disclosed to the public), that any kind of copy pasting took place. Only allegations by ZeniMax. It is literally their word against Occulus'.

But there are certain levels of similarity that cannot be explained as coincidence. Enough that the courts said, yup, you used their tech. Pay up.

I refer to my lengthy answer to Avnger

fractal_butterfly:
Also going by the original news, the court found that "[Occulus] did not misappropriate trade secrets, but [they] had violated a non-disclosure agreement" (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/169432-ZeniMax-Awarded-500-Million-in-Oculus-Lawsuit). If they had been "stealing code", it would have been the former, not the latter.
It all boils down to this "non-literal" copying allegations, which is bullshit in itself.

fractal_butterfly:
Also going by the original news, the court found that "[Occulus] did not misappropriate trade secrets, but [they] had violated a non-disclosure agreement" (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/169432-ZeniMax-Awarded-500-Million-in-Oculus-Lawsuit). If they had been "stealing code", it would have been the former, not the latter.
It all boils down to this "non-literal" copying allegations, which is bullshit in itself.

No it doesn't. The actual complaint is very explicit:

NATURE OF THE ACTION
1.Under a binding Non-Disclosure Agreement, ZeniMax provided Palmer Luckey and Oculus VR, LLC with access to intellectual property developed by ZeniMax after years of research and investment. This valuable intellectual property included copyrighted computer code, trade secret information, and technical know-how. The Non-Disclosure Agreement expressly provides that ZeniMax's intellectual property is confidential, owned exclusively by ZeniMax, and cannot be disclosed to or used by any third parties without ZeniMax's prior written approval. Defendants have wrongfully taken that ZeniMax intellectual property and commercially exploited it for their own gain.

What the court decision essentially boils down to is breach of contract. Oculus and Zenimax had a contract saying Oculus were allowed to look at Zenimax's code and hardware, but they were not allowed to use it, or anything derived from it, commercially without Zenimax's permission. Oculus broke this contract. Everything else is little more than the details of exactly how they broke it.

In fact, the more I look into it, the worse it looks. This was not simply a case of Carmack using code he'd developed while working at Zenimax, the Oculus Rift only exists at all because of the work and money Zenimax put into it. The original Rift appears to have largely been developed by Zenimax (and not just Carmack) based on an extremely rough concept that Luckey was unable to develop further himself, Luckey and Iribe were both fully aware of the extent of the work Zenimax had done, and were both fully aware of the agreement the companies had and even had discussions regarding licensing the work for commercial use. They offered Zenimax a 2% share in Oculus, Zenimax turned that down and asked for a larger share, Oculus basically told them to fuck off and, after a period of begging for more support from Zenimax (while Carmack and others continued to work on the Rift), stopped acknowledging that Zenimax had ever had anything to do with it.

Carmack, for his part, appears to have repeatedly lied to both Zenimax and the court, and actually broke two other contracts with Zenimax regarding working for them (he was supposed to be working as a part-time technical advisor for id after his employment with them ended, but he immediately went to work full time at Oculus), and regarding recruiting Zenimax employees (he recruited 5 of the staff who had worked on the Rift, who all quit simultaneously to move to Oculus).

All this information, plus much more, can be found here, as well as in other related documents (unfortunately the actual court decision is behind a paywall). While this is a complaint document, and so obviously biased towards Zenimax, all of the above are simple matters of fact - aside from the complaint including plenty of supporting documentation including correspondence with Luckey and Iribe, I don't think any of it has actually been disputed. Luckey, Iribe and Carmack all know they had binding agreements and admitted so many times, and the fact that Zenimax offered a lot of support to Oculus and never received anything in return is a matter of record.

I'd originally assumed this was simply a matter of big companies arguing about who owns exactly what when an employee does bits of work for different people at different times on similar things. Zenimax seemed to win based on legal technicalities but it was hard to say either side really deserved it based on the general reporting in the media. But looking at the actual details, it seems pretty clear that Luckey and Carmack went out of their way to screw Zenimax over. Carmack in particular may have done some great work in the past, but the fact that he's willing to break multiple contracts, steal from his employer (not just code but physical tools), and then lie about it in court has seriously reduced my respect for him. The fact that the best he can do to defend himself is to rant about a single witness while not even denying the majority of the accusations is just sad.

So where's Zenimax's VR device? What's so important about their "code", that's "so" special, Oculus needed it but never ended up inside a product of their own?

Copyright trolls, that's what they are.

Kahani:

fractal_butterfly:
Also going by the original news, the court found that "[Occulus] did not misappropriate trade secrets, but [they] had violated a non-disclosure agreement" (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/169432-ZeniMax-Awarded-500-Million-in-Oculus-Lawsuit). If they had been "stealing code", it would have been the former, not the latter.
It all boils down to this "non-literal" copying allegations, which is bullshit in itself.

No it doesn't. The actual complaint is very explicit:

NATURE OF THE ACTION
1.Under a binding Non-Disclosure Agreement, ZeniMax provided Palmer Luckey and Oculus VR, LLC with access to intellectual property developed by ZeniMax after years of research and investment. This valuable intellectual property included copyrighted computer code, trade secret information, and technical know-how. The Non-Disclosure Agreement expressly provides that ZeniMax?s intellectual property is confidential, owned exclusively by ZeniMax, and cannot be disclosed to or used by any third parties without ZeniMax?s prior written approval. Defendants have wrongfully taken that ZeniMax intellectual property and commercially exploited it for their own gain.

What the court decision essentially boils down to is breach of contract. Oculus and Zenimax had a contract saying Oculus were allowed to look at Zenimax's code and hardware, but they were not allowed to use it, or anything derived from it, commercially without Zenimax's permission. Oculus broke this contract. Everything else is little more than the details of exactly how they broke it.

In fact, the more I look into it, the worse it looks. This was not simply a case of Carmack using code he'd developed while working at Zenimax, the Oculus Rift only exists at all because of the work and money Zenimax put into it. The original Rift appears to have largely been developed by Zenimax (and not just Carmack) based on an extremely rough concept that Luckey was unable to develop further himself, Luckey and Iribe were both fully aware of the extent of the work Zenimax had done, and were both fully aware of the agreement the companies had and even had discussions regarding licensing the work for commercial use. They offered Zenimax a 2% share in Oculus, Zenimax turned that down and asked for a larger share, Oculus basically told them to fuck off and, after a period of begging for more support from Zenimax (while Carmack and others continued to work on the Rift), stopped acknowledging that Zenimax had ever had anything to do with it.

Carmack, for his part, appears to have repeatedly lied to both Zenimax and the court, and actually broke two other contracts with Zenimax regarding working for them (he was supposed to be working as a part-time technical advisor for id after his employment with them ended, but he immediately went to work full time at Oculus), and regarding recruiting Zenimax employees (he recruited 5 of the staff who had worked on the Rift, who all quit simultaneously to move to Oculus).

All this information, plus much more, can be found here, as well as in other related documents (unfortunately the actual court decision is behind a paywall). While this is a complaint document, and so obviously biased towards Zenimax, all of the above are simple matters of fact - aside from the complaint including plenty of supporting documentation including correspondence with Luckey and Iribe, I don't think any of it has actually been disputed. Luckey, Iribe and Carmack all know they had binding agreements and admitted so many times, and the fact that Zenimax offered a lot of support to Oculus and never received anything in return is a matter of record.

I'd originally assumed this was simply a matter of big companies arguing about who owns exactly what when an employee does bits of work for different people at different times on similar things. Zenimax seemed to win based on legal technicalities but it was hard to say either side really deserved it based on the general reporting in the media. But looking at the actual details, it seems pretty clear that Luckey and Carmack went out of their way to screw Zenimax over. Carmack in particular may have done some great work in the past, but the fact that he's willing to break multiple contracts, steal from his employer (not just code but physical tools), and then lie about it in court has seriously reduced my respect for him. The fact that the best he can do to defend himself is to rant about a single witness while not even denying the majority of the accusations is just sad.

You you are basing your opinion on this document, which are purely allegations made by ZeniMax? How is this casting a bad light on John Carmack?

Czann:
So where's Zenimax's VR device? What's so important about their "code", that's "so" special, Oculus needed it but never ended up inside a product of their own?

Copyright trolls, that's what they are.

This.

If they are really 12 random people from the streets, I doubt they have the competence to make an informed decision in this case

Please tell me more about the assumptions you have made about 12 people you have

a: Never met
b: Never seen
c: Never spoken to
d: That you clearly know more than. I'm sure their experience listening to the entire case presented to them in full, from all perspectives pales to the 12 paragraphs you've skimmed over

As a programmer, this verdict is absolutely idiotic. Carmack's post already tells you everything you need to know what happened, and the implications of this win by Zenimax are horrific.

 

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