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    Thread: Discussion about the rights of the modders on their work

    1. #1
      TXU Consultant Jakesnake5's Avatar
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      Default Discussion about the rights of the modders on their work

      Quote Originally Posted by borgrel View Post
      its true, there is nothing wrong with ES borrowing good work if they have permission to do so.
      From what I understand, Egosoft has ALL the permission to use whatever mod they want in their games.

      Remember: It IS their game.

      By certain rules, any modification to a game becomes the property of the game maker.

      By that logic, Egosoft doesn't really have to ask permission.


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      Elder Administrator Aragon Speed's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jakesnake5 View Post
      From what I understand, Egosoft has ALL the permission to use whatever mod they want in their games.

      Remember: It IS their game.

      By certain rules, any modification to a game becomes the property of the game maker.

      By that logic, Egosoft doesn't really have to ask permission.
      Very true, but Bernd has better manners than that.


    3. #3
      TXU Sr. Member borgrel's Avatar
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      Jakesnake: wow that's rough

      i guess its a good thing that 90% of the good/great coders are willing to support open source.


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      TXU Hero Syklon's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jakesnake5 View Post
      From what I understand, Egosoft has ALL the permission to use whatever mod they want in their games.

      Remember: It IS their game.

      By certain rules, any modification to a game becomes the property of the game maker.

      By that logic, Egosoft doesn't really have to ask permission.
      I think a case could be made for either side, but I haven't heard of any actual court case, so there is no actual legal precedent, and hopefully there will never have to be. It also depends how much of a modification it is. Things that could be proven to be useful outside of the game engine, such as original art/sound assets and the like would certainly have a very good case to belong to the creator.

      Luckily game developers are generally smart enough to recognize that if talented people can make a great mod, they can also help make a great game, and end up hiring them.

      Note: Half of my family are lawyers, but this is not legal advice.

      And this goes completely off-topic from the rest of thread.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Aragon Speed View Post
      Very true, but Bernd has better manners than that.
      Bernd has always listened to the players and modders... then gone on and used things in his next game...

      Apart from being a gentleman (which I can vouch for first hand), he has a very keen business brain, and a way of giving us what the majority wants...

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      Junior Super Moderator Sartorie's Avatar
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      Interesting train of thoughts here ^^ but I think you have to actually differentiate between the idea / concept behind a mod and the actual work like models / scripts / texts / music etc.

      Ideas are free (or they should be ...)

      If you base your work on work from someone else or not does not matter as it never means (unless stated somewhere of course) that the rights to the derived work go to the author of the work yours is based on. But if the author of the work yours is based on does not allow (or no longer) your usage of his work you cannot rightfully use your derived work (any longer) but neither can the author of the original use your work unless you allow it.

      That aside, I find if pretty clever to pick up any good ideas that people already like from mods and add them into the new game


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      I split the topic so we can discuss about this quite interesting topic without going off topic.



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      TXU's resident chatbox text fiend....... Tritous's Avatar
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      I believe there is some very very strong precident for this. I don't have examples to hand, but depending on the company there have been various accounts of fanfiction, fan mods and fan spinnoffs being:
      1) Stolen (without permission), taken (giving credit), or used (with permission and credit) by the company for future releases. This isnt so common since usualyl the owner have their own plans in mind.
      2) Shut down (often resulting in huge loss of public standing and sometimes some court cases over material which is claimed to be context independant). There was a huge row over this with a couple of startrek rpgs although I believe the rpgs involved had been trying to make money out of paramount owned material and they were subsequently sued.
      3) Encouraged but ignored as in the case of especially FPS games where mods are offered support, but naturally have nothing to do with any future games and are purely optional
      4) Encouraged and considered where fan content is used as indication of customer demand and desires. Often happens with a lot of smaller companies who only do a small series

      Any of these 4 may be entirely within the rights of the company depending on what the user agreement states. Forum agreement. It is worth noting, however, that at no point in the forum user agreement does Egosoft claim ownership over any material on their forums. This is very unusual and leaves a huge legal grey area over the matter. Equally, scripts hosted off the forums on personal sites are not covered. I'm too tired just now to look at the game's EUA, perhaps someone has a copy of that more to hand?

      As all scripts are inherantly designed for use in an egosoft used game, it would probably mean they hold the rights to all scripts and mods as are. However, any truely original content, once made context free, would remain Intellectual property of the author.

      Still, egosoft seem to put huge faith in their community and as such really have never needed any legal clauses I guess. They seem to have a side category where they take in fan opinion, but make it as easy as possible for fan expansions, including a process for signing of scripts. Legalities aside, I'd say a script or mod belong neither to egosoft nor to the creator: I think they belong to the community they've been given to, and that is a part of the beauty.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Tritous View Post
      2) Shut down (often resulting in huge loss of public standing and sometimes some court cases over material which is claimed to be context independant). There was a huge row over this with a couple of startrek rpgs although I believe the rpgs involved had been trying to make money out of paramount owned material and they were subsequently sued.
      The main issue with that one is generally that the mod is based on already existing intellectual property not related to the original game (which makes it an external source with the infringed IP rather than the game developers shutting them down). I haven't heard of any mods with entirely original work being shut down, although I would be interested to know if there has been. Generally speaking there's usually very little to be gained by a game developer shutting down a mod to their own game.

      If they wanted to, as Sartorie points out, most likely the Developers could shut down a mod, but they wouldn't be allowed to outright steal the mod content to use as official content, assuming it is separate enough from the original game content to be distinct, and the modders actually feel like taking them to court them over it.

      Since its already been revealed that I've been doing some work on X3TC, I'd to avoid any confusion by saying I think Egosoft has a great stance towards nurturing their community. I wish more game developers would act similarly.

      Last edited by Syklon; 20-08-2008 at 07:03 AM.

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      I can definately give an example of that at least.

      It was a case of a Star Trek RPG. There have been massive amounts of Trek fanfic over the years, I've been involved in several of the works myself and even ran several. This example caused major alarm and worry among a group of some 90-100 rpg leaders who banded together in a general discussion/advice group where we could debate exactly these sort (and the more droll matter of recruitment) of issues: For a while the whole lot was having problems because a single one of them started charging for the participation in their RPG.

      Paramount, almost understandably, came down on them with the sort of force that only a company of its size ever could, but also wiped out a few dozen other quite innocent others too. Most of these were simply text based PBeM RPGs, very original works simply with a common history of their universe; a bit of spare time hobby, but Paramount for a while started to sue just about any fanfic they saw and this was hugely bad publicity.

      After a while they gave up but many had de-contexted themselves (although losing some of their integrity in the process). A few had hovered under the radar and a few more restarted. It's a bad example of a company who turned on its own market.

      I think a lot of Egosoft's power is that there are probably 3 times as many volenteers helping to expand the Egosoft games with new content as there are actually Egosoft staff :P. Call it them cunningly getting free manhours out of their customers no less, but it does have the power of bringing the company closers to its customers than any other game i've seen to be sure. They created the dream, they created an engine, and they invited us to become part of it and as you said: some of that content is now being made part of the next in the series.

      Here's a spanner in the works though: The XTM ships; their models are truely works of art but are they based on the IP of egosoft? are they truely original works which have simply been put into the context of the X universe? There are plenty of other aspects of mods and scripts (the ideas for many of the entertaining BBS ads for example) which really do contain original streaks and this is why there is so much grey to debate.

      Say the XTM team wanted to raise the funds for the server, rather than by donations, but by selling posters and coffee mugs with images of the Valhalla on them, mousemats with a pirate galleon on, and just for good measure a protoype portable holographic projector that displays a full 3d image of a boron swordfish. If they didnt call it Boron but just called it the swordfish, is that legal? How about if they changed the colour? How about if they did it using the 3d mesh render directly and not using the game to render it?

      Last edited by Tritous; 20-08-2008 at 08:10 AM.
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