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When Kickstarter Projects Go Missing 86

On Friday, we posted about Kickstarter's new rules of engagement, including some new rules under which some of the most popular Kickstarter projects to date might never have surfaced. But what about ones that make it to the site, then disappear? Wired takes a look at what happens to those Kickstarter projects that for one reason or another get yanked from the site. (DMCA complaints apparently are often that one reason.)
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When Kickstarter Projects Go Missing

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2012 @02:13PM (#41429645)

    I'm actually more concerned about projects that never get _delivered._ Kickstarter puts some distance between themselves and "investors" based on just being a facilitator, but I'd be curious about the ratio of projects that never see light of day or--as I suspect is even more frequent--see it so late that the original Kickstarter pledge should be considered broken.

    This specific example is interesting to me:
    because I know the *author*, and believe that its persistent delays are symptomatic of his personality. I doubt it will ever see light of day, and the 90,000 dollars handed over has already been largely spent.

    There's not much difference between this and showing a "simulation of a product" and yet one is banned while the other remains acceptable.

    An obvious step would be to hold funds in escrow but that would seriously impact Kickstarter's minimalist business model and increase costs of funding...which might be a good thing.

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @02:42PM (#41429837)

    It's like investing, but without the prospect of cash return, it's more 'investing in future entertainment' than future financial rewards. You may get goods (most of which will have more sentimental value than actual value). It's 'better' in some sense, because you know you're losing the money you give - there's no risk, you're just out the money - but it allows you to support a product that might not otherwise get made, and no one should give more than they can afford to lose, because they will definitely lose everything they give.

    Also, it stabs at a lot of pricing models. I'm a games guy so I think in terms of games. If I look at games I've played the most those happen to be the paradox strategy games and the X series (I'm not linking because I'm not pitching them just take this as a statement of fact, as I am an expert in the games I have played the most), now those games have given me personally quite a lot more value than other comparably priced titles. I would have been quite happy with those products at double the price, and if I can be reasonably sure of another one in the series by offering to pay more then I'm 'investing' in my future entertainment, not my pension plan, but future entertainment.

    It has the side benefit of being able to extract astronomical amounts of money (10 grand for a game) from people who have astronomical amounts of money and nothing to do with it. That money won't trickle down on it's own in some supply side voodoo, you need to create a product (fly out to meet the developers, get a statue of yourself in the game!) to sell at an extremely high margin. The rich guy gets some novelty and ego padding out of it, and the rest of us might get a game.

  • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:35PM (#41430249)

    'Deliver of offer refund' is one of KickStarter's tems of service for Creators. If you, as a Backer..

    1. feel that the product has not been delivered and there's no hope of it being delivered.
    2. want a refund (as opposed to just writing it off as a donation / loss)
    3. are unable to get a refund from the Creator

    A. Talk to your credit card issuer. Explain the situation - have them void the charge. It's then Amazon's problem to square out with KickStarter. This may not be an option available to you.
    B. Talk to a lawyer. Basic contract law is likely to apply - but, again, talk to a lawyer. If you or your lawyer would need assistance, go google Hanfree and Neil Singh.

    I do very much implore you to consider whether you want to go down that road. There's quite a few projects I backed who have not (yet) delivered, some going for a year now. But most of the Creators tend to be communicative and explain what the speed bumps are and what the timeline looks like. Others I pledged such a small amount that it's simply not worth it for me to bother with it. ( In the Hanfree case, the Backer is a lawyer and sued out of principle because it wasn't just his $$, but a combined total of $$,$$$ apparently being lost that rubbed him the wrong way. )

  • Re:What? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:45PM (#41430327)

    I don't know if they would be unnecessary. The situation would fall back to standard copyright fare. You'd then have to consider whether sites such as YouTube can be held accountable ("contributory" or "vicarious" liability) for the claimed material being available through their service.

    I'd imagine those sites that cite compliance with the DMCA do feel it's a godsend given that there's very little burden on them.
    I'm sure it doesn't feel like a godsend for the next mother making a video of their child dancing to some music and getting hit with a DMCA complaint.
    The rights holders - I'm not sure, they seem to have a love/hate relationship with it.

    I'm not a lawyer, and certainly not a U.S. lawyer, though - you'd have to check with one to figure out if the DMCA on the whole has been a positive or a negative influence on copyright / free dissemination of information.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"