I woke up this morning to a big explosion of drama that has spanned across Twitter, Reddit, and MCF. Now I am not an english major and have never been a very good writer so bear with me as I digest the arguments presented and try to make sense of this mess.
This all began with a twitter conversation by Marc_IRL and Wylkervids
@Wylkervids They can restrict access by not releasing it publicly.
— Marc Watson (@Marc_IRL) January 23, 2014
Marc again is not a lawyer but began interpreting the EULA from his position as Customer Service Manager. He is required to understand the EULA so he may answer question that arise (and have arisen). The statement “They can restrict access by not releasing it publicly.” is a reply to a question about modders restricting access to their mod via “IYO (In your opinion) can a modmaker restrict access or distribution to a mod”. Simple personal opinion. The stance that Marc takes is common sense. Modders should not be able to restrict the access/distribution to their mod. BUT, since Mojang has been late in game to addressing modding in general and the issues that arise with it, does their argument or stance have any merit when it comes to the modding community? Lets look at the core issue at hand before answering the question.
Modders and user have been at odds with each other since the age of RP2 and eloraam. Does the Modder “own” his content? That can be legally debated. But do we even need to go that far? As a community, we have done great things but we have also made stupid mistakes. Copyrights/macilious code/and modpack permissions has permeated through the amazing content modders have produced for the community. Is all of this really needed to have an enjoyable experience in Minecraft while protecting the original content produced by modders?
Lets look at the Minecraft EULA
Any tools you write for the Game from scratch belong to you. . Modifications to the Game (“Mods”) (including pre-run Mods and in-memory Mods) and plugins for the Game also belong to you and you can do whatever you want with them, as long as you don‘t sell them for money / try to make money from them. We have the final say on what constitutes a tool/mod/plugin and what doesn‘t.
This gives modders the rights to their content. What they make belongs to them. It is theirs. They made it.
If you make any content available on or through our Game, you must give us permission to use, copy, modify and adapt that content. This permission must be irrevocable, and you must also let us permit other people to use, copy, modify and adapt your content. If you don‘t want to give us this permission, do not make content available on or through our Game. Please think carefully before you make any content available, because it will be made public and might even be used by other people in a way you don‘t like.
This gives Mojang global permission to any “content” added to the game and allows to to give permission to users of the game to use, copy, modify, and adapt the content with IF THEY PERMIT IT. Again Mojang has the final say. In my opinion this applies solely to resource packs. Unless a lawyer comes in and clarifies what “content” applies to, whether that being being just the artwork/textures/sounds of mods or if it includes the compiled code as “content”, we can sit around all day just circlejerking as to what it actually applies to.
Any content you make available on our Game must also be your creation. You must not make any content available, using the Game, that infringes the rights of anyone else. If you post content on our Game, and we get challenged, threatened or sued by someone because the content infringes that persons rights, we may hold you responsible and that means you may have to pay us back for any damage we suffer as a result. Therefore it is really important that you only make content available that you have created and you don‘t do so with any content created by anyone else.
This part right here PROTECTS modders content that they create. People cannot rip off mods that are “their” creation. You can take someone elses mod and modify it to make your own derived work, but in the end this clause protects modders rights. Mojang has the final say but modders still do have a say because it IS their content as defined above.
Now for the questions that everyone is wondering,
- Can modders copyright their mod? Yes. Because they have right to their mod as provided by the Minecraft EULA. Proof in EULA #4
The EULA is subject to any legal rights you might have. Nothing in these terms and conditions will limit any of your rights that may not be excluded under law
- Can modders put “malicious” code in their mods? While the EULA is not clear on this, Marc has hinted at a change to the EULA in the future to render this illegal.
- Can modders have “modpack permissions” Yes and No. The modder has his rights and copyright to his content/mod. But again the modder can only enforce this by going through legal channels, if they so wish. However, in the EULA #2 and #4 stated above, their seems to be a contradiction. Modders have rights via the Copyright Law but modders must also give permission to Mojang to permit other users to “use, copy, modify, and adapt their content”. This is the grey area.
So in conclusion,
So Mojang is basically trying to police the community without getting its hands dirty, so instead of screaming and yelling at modders that they are unhumane and “part of the problem”, We need to come together to work out plain common sense (Work out common sense, what is this?).
- Respect for modders/content-creators and crediting them. They put a lot of hard work into coding a mod for a game that has been hastily and poorly coded. They want you to enjoy the content they create and make the game that you play even more fun.
- Modders should not be restricting access to their mods and imposing limitations on users through strict copyrights, malicious code, and “modpack permissions” because of certain users with bad intentions. We should not let these users foul up the experience we’ve enjoyed for so long.
Not that bad right? Was that so hard? Of course it was.
We can fight and argue all day to the people that will of course oppose common sense for their own goals and beliefs. What this community wants is mature, respectful people that can work together. Whether you are a modder or a user.
We can all get along. Lets stop the yelling, accusations, and petty crap. Yes there are bad eggs in both camps. Modders and users alike, but thats life. Lets approach this issue as a community.
Moral of the story?
Everybody has rights, respect them, and use common sense.