The Ultima 9 Product Page on EA’s Origin Store Uses Box Art Made By an Ultima Dragon (Updated!)

If you go to the Ultima 9 page on EA’s Origin digital storefront, you will see this box art displayed there:


Well, as it turns out, this art doesn’t come directly from any of the materials that would have shipped in the game’s box, nor was it taken from the game’s box art. In fact, it is a cropped version of a CD cover — for the game’s soundtrack the Dragon Edition of the game didn’t include a CD inlay for the game disc — made by Jens “Daimos Dragon” Hoenscheid. You can see it, and the other CD covers that Jens made, in the gallery at the top of this article. (He quite graciously provided the image set for this article.)

No credit for Jens appears on the page at the Origin store, and one wonders just how whoever put that product page together went about selecting box art. Is it so hard to find correct Ultima 9 box art online?

The First Age of Update: Jens did a bit more digging, and his guess is that EA probably took the image not from him directly, but from a collection of fan-made game covers that were put together for the GOG releases…which of course make use of Jens’ artwork for the Ultima 9 cover.

12 Responses

  1. ultramind says:

    Questions… questions… How legal was it for them to rip off Daimos’s work, w/out credit, no less?? Since Daimos created it for a CD, how legal was that?

  2. Jens Hoenscheid says:

    I did not created it for any CD. I did it since the Dragon Edition came without a cover inlay. The guy who made the CD took my work from “The Wayward Avatar” (a now discontinued ultima-site) and modified it. The Wayward Avatar had a small gallery of homemade u9-cover-inlays.

  3. Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

    How was it licensed? In the US any created work is implicitly copyrighted, and is in fact difficult to legally release to the public domain. The Creative Commons CC0 license is an attempt at that.

    So, even if it was just some fan artwork with no stated license, you have a case against whoever uses it without your express, written permission. 🙂 And before you ask, “What would the Avatar do?” remember that were the tables turned you’d be staring at a cease and desist or worse.

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      I would urge caution with respect to any potential legal action. For one, the work in question is a derivative of a copyrighted (by EA) piece of art, so they could feasibly come back with a counter-suit on that basis. And would likely win.

      But more than that, I really don’t want EA Legal to look at the fan community more than they currently do. We are in a good position in that respect; I for one would see it maintained.

      • Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

        I couldn’t tell by the images in the article which are EA’s and which are Daimos’s. It’s a derivative work if it has no significant creative modification. The images in this article look very similar, so your assertion that it is derivative may be correct.

        I suppose it’s more a question of whether EA automatically assumes impunitive free use of derivative works. Perhaps they take such things for granted, which is why they were so sloppy choosing a reproduction of their own work and (accidentally?) chose a fan’s?

        I wouldn’t recommending suing EA (or GoG, etc.) either, but there comes a time when the abuse of corporate muscle must at least be considered in a public forum. EA’s IP benevolence aside, “fair use” must be defended. The sword of IP protection cuts both ways.

    • Micro Magic says:

      It doesn’t seem worth it. If someone uses your song in a Toyota commercial, you could sue on grounds that people bought the car because of your song and make a profit. If you sue EA because they used your art as an Ultima 9 cover. I think the risk outweighs the reward. In fact, What would you make off that? A thousand bucks max?

      This community and their justice and law loving.

  4. Not terribly surprised. EA, after all, plagiarized me:

    • Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

      Just read your blog. That’s crazy. I can understand Titans of Ether, but EA? Apparently they need to add lawyers to their dev teams to approve game assets. Make sure they’re not pulling textures from Google Images and stuff like that.

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      I’ve never heard of this before. That’s worth an article.

      • Elora and Warder probably remember more than I do, but I put all of the details in that post. Unfortunately, a lot of the ‘releases’ have been taken own since. But it definitely was a thing that happened. If you want to write about it for humor’s sake, feel free.

  5. Jens Hoenscheid says:

    I am not going to take any legal actions against ea or anyone. Right now I have enough legal trouble with my current employer.
    EA can use my cover, if anyone should recieve credit it should be Denis Loubet.