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WoW UI AddOn Development Policy discussion thread - Page 30 - WoWInterface
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03-27-09, 04:45 AM   #581
spiel2001
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Originally Posted by buffed View Post
blue-post about carbonite:



Source
Note a key word in that statement... "We currently have no intention..."
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03-27-09, 09:16 AM   #582
Maul
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First, I do not believe any addon author has the "right" to sell their addons.
US Copyright law would disagree with you there. If you own the copyright to a works, it is your right to sell it or not. Blizzard agrees with you, it seems, and the danger here that some are seeing is that Blizzard can set a precedent that flies in the face of copyright laws. Their wording is just dangerous to intellectual property rights, even if it only affects a small group of addon authors currently.

If would be better if Blizzard said something along the lines of -

"We recognize the right of authors to sell their addons, but we reserve the right to ban the addon from the game if we feel the sale of an addon is damaging to our game."

Originally Posted by buffed View Post
blue-post about carbonite:



Source
The policy is directed at addons and addon authors. So users are pretty much okay in this. Right now, Blizzard is not putting the responsibility of knowing if an addon violates the new policy or not on users, but on addon authors.
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03-27-09, 09:26 AM   #583
Ratheri
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I think the emphasis should be like so:

Well, let's back this train up a bit. We currently have no intention of taking action against players who use or used pay-to-play UIs.
In other words, the players who chose to use an addon are not responsible for the way an author chooses to distribute their work. They aren't stupid enough to piss off paying subscribers. Unless those subscribers write addons...


P.S. - Maul, I love your donation thing in your sig =D
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03-27-09, 09:40 AM   #584
Tuhljin
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It's not like addons are the first addition-to-something-else that a company prevented a 3rd party from selling - in effect, or out-right legally. Blizzard has sole discretion as to what their software and servers will allow to run and what would be breaking the EULA. I'm not saying I think they should go about with an iron fist all the time (and I don't believe they're the kind of company that would do that when it's not called for), but I'm also not going to agree with certain groups who have the tendency to revile "Big Blizzard" because they dare try to control their bread and butter.

End result? There's no such thing as the "right" to sell addons that will actually run on Blizzard's software. Shorthand: No such thing as the "right" to sell addons (as far as most users are concerned).
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03-27-09, 09:42 AM   #585
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Originally Posted by Tekkub View Post
No, people still have issues with the "principals" of all this, mainly that Blizzy can declare you can't charge for your addons, even if they weren't doing it in the first place.
Yes, it is completely principle. Rather than type it all out, my thoughts on it all are here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/th...0098&sid=1#186

These past days have been very interesting. It's amazing how many people have no trouble with theoretically making your living off of Photoshop, but would be dead set against it being via WoW. There's a great deal of mistaken assumption driving that, though.

It's not like addons are the first addition-to-something-else that a company prevented a 3rd party from selling - in effect, or out-right legally.
Absolutely true. It's just the way they're going about it that some people have a problem with (and by some people, I don't mean Carbonite who has a vested interest in a specific outcome)

End result? There's no such thing as the "right" to sell addons that will actually run on Blizzard's software.
That's still not true by copyright law until a judge somewhere says it isn't, or Blizzard gets an enforeceable term in to prevent it. Blizzard could easily craft an API agreement that says "in exchange for permission to write addons for WoW, I agree not to sell them" (plus about a page of other legal crap). It's just a variation on the viral GPL concept. Perfectly legal and happy, without getting into copyright issues. The problem is grandfathering the large body of existing work but hindsight is 20/20, so they need a different way.

Last edited by Satrina : 03-27-09 at 09:50 AM.
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03-27-09, 09:52 AM   #586
Tuhljin
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Originally Posted by Satrina
End result? There's no such thing as the "right" to sell addons that will actually run on Blizzard's software.
That's still not true by copyright law until a judge somewhere says it isn't, or Blizzard gets an enforeceable term in to prevent it. Blizzard could easily craft an API agreement that says "in exchange for permission to write addons for WoW, I agree not to sell them" (plus about a page of other legal crap). It's just a variation on the viral GPL concept. Perfectly legal and happy, without getting into copyright issues. The problem is grandfathering the large body of existing work but hindsight is 20/20, so they need a different way.
So you're saying Blizzard is required by copyright law to support old addons? That's simply not true. They can do practically whatever they want going forward: They could disable addon support entirely. They could limit it to a whitelist. They could scan the addon code and look for the word "Tuhljin" and make the client immediately exit to the desktop if it's found. Would those things be going too far in my opinion? Sure, but it's perfectly legal.

Last edited by Tuhljin : 03-27-09 at 09:55 AM.
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03-27-09, 09:57 AM   #587
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That's not what I said at all. Everything you wrote there is correct and is the essence of what I am arguing for - a means to control addons that doesn't involve copyright issues. What I was saying is that the API license agreement would work to prevent for-pay addons, but grandfathering it to the existing body of addon code would be problematic.
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03-27-09, 10:03 AM   #588
Tuhljin
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Please clarify. I'm not grasping how you can on one hand say what I just posted is correct and on the other hand argue that Blizzard can't do whatever they want with older addons, including refusing to allow them to run.
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03-27-09, 10:10 AM   #589
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There's a great deal of mistaken assumption driving that, though.
I think that is true for a select few of both sides of the argument.

My favourites thus far are:
  • Blizz are claiming ownership of all addons.
  • failure to abide by them may result in measures up to and including taking formal legal action.
    = Blizzard are going to sue everyone in sight.
  • Lua was created by Blizzard.
  • This new policy means Bliz are communist and greedy at the same time.
  • Addons are some how a special case compared to other programs.
  • This is all an evil plot by Blizzard to be able to steal addon code and to disable addon functionality.
  • Being pro new policy makes you spineless.
  • Addons should be free because I don't want to pay for them.
  • Only good can come from for sale addons.
  • Blizzard blocking your addon from functioning affects your IP rights.
  • All addon authors are against the new policy.
I'm sure theres some more which I've failed to mention.

Last edited by Slakah : 03-27-09 at 10:40 AM.
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03-27-09, 10:11 AM   #590
Satrina
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The part you're not grasping is that I never have never said this:
Originally Posted by Tuhljin View Post
Blizzard can't do whatever they want with older addons
I am all for Blizzard controlling what addons run in the game client, whether it be because the author is selling it and they don't want it, or simply because the author's name is Satrina. Their playground, their rules.

My single and sole problem is that the current policy as written basically says "you may not sell your addons". Read the link I posted a few posts up for that, I am not going to type it all out again.

I then used an API license agreement as an example of how they could use a GPL-like construct to ensure that addons are free. I then said that since there is a huge body of existing addon code out there, simply saying "you're all subject to this license" is not an easy thing to do, so they need to effect the policy they want in some different way.

That isn't to say that they cannot just say something like here's an API license agreement that all new addons and new releases of existing addons are bound to. Any older addon that is not bound by this license agreement is unauthorised and subject to be disabled in the game client. That'd work too.

Edit: Or hell, I'm not a contract lawyer so maybe they can just say here's an API license agreement that you're all bound to and it would stick.

Last edited by Satrina : 03-27-09 at 10:15 AM.
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03-27-09, 10:17 AM   #591
Tuhljin
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That isn't to say that they cannot just say something like here's an API license agreement that all new addons and new releases of existing addons are bound to. Any older addon that is not bound by this license agreement is unauthorised and subject to be disabled in the game client. That'd work too.

Edit: Or hell, I'm not a contract lawyer so maybe they can just say here's an API license agreement that you're all bound to and it would stick.
This is what I was getting at. The terminology used may be off (it's probably not really a "license agreement"), but in any case, they can say your addon is subject to their terms whether you agree to anything or not because all users on their actual servers must agree to their conditions to play. There's no issue with grandfathering (legally speaking) because they control all the official servers.

Last edited by Tuhljin : 03-27-09 at 10:21 AM.
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03-27-09, 10:27 AM   #592
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Right! So they have a EULA that stands right now, that they can modify and we have to agree to every patch. Change the EULA to support their desires and it's all good. They already have a clause in the EULA as it exists (2.B) that says "unauthorised mods or third-party software may not be used". Addons are by definition third-party software. Seems a lot simpler than the path they have chosen, no?
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03-27-09, 10:32 AM   #593
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What I would be interested to see is Bliz blocking all mods with the funky wowmatrix file in it (iirc it's called wowmatrix.dat). It certainly wouldn't stop them, but it's always fun to annoy em.
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03-27-09, 10:35 AM   #594
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Originally Posted by Tuhljin View Post
This is what I was getting at. The terminology used may be off (it's probably not really a "license agreement"), but in any case, they can say your addon is subject to their terms whether you agree to anything or not because all users on their actual servers must agree to their conditions to play. There's no issue with grandfathering (legally speaking) because they control all the official servers.
Yes, it is a license agreement. Unfortunately. You all know from my previous posts, where I stand (on the author's side). I won't continue to argue validity.

12. Changes to the Terms of Use Agreement or the Game.
Blizzard reserves the right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to change, modify, add to, supplement or delete any of the terms and conditions of this Agreement at any time, including without limitation access policies, the availability of any feature of the Game or the Service, hours of availability, content, data, software or equipment needed to access the Game or the Service, effective with or without prior notice; provided, however, that material changes (as determined in Blizzard’s sole and absolute discretion) will be disclosed as follows: Blizzard will provide you with notification of any such changes through a patch process, or by email, postal mail, website posting, pop-up screen, or in-game notice. If any future changes to this Agreement are unacceptable to you or cause you to no longer be in compliance with this Agreement, you must terminate, and immediately stop using, the Game and the Account. Your continued use of the Game following any revision to this Agreement constitutes your complete and irrevocable acceptance of any and all such changes. Blizzard may change, modify, suspend, or discontinue any aspect of the Game at any time. Blizzard may also impose limits on certain features or restrict your access to parts or all of the Game without notice or liability.
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03-27-09, 10:38 AM   #595
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on the author's side
There's an authors side?
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03-27-09, 10:47 AM   #596
Yhor
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Originally Posted by Slakah View Post
There's an authors side?
Okay, more specifically, the side of authors who understand that this new policy is the devil in sheep's clothing. The potential for damages to copyright law is high. As stated many times before by people far more intelligent than myself, and people with the ability to express this intelligence in a way that is less emotional (anger, disappointment, fear) and more to the point.

Better?
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03-27-09, 10:56 AM   #597
Tuhljin
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Originally Posted by Satrina View Post
Right! So they have a EULA that stands right now, that they can modify and we have to agree to every patch. Change the EULA to support their desires and it's all good. They already have a clause in the EULA as it exists (2.B) that says "unauthorised mods or third-party software may not be used". Addons are by definition third-party software. Seems a lot simpler than the path they have chosen, no?
Emphasis added. And as the bolded part indicates... they're already within their rights to disallow whatever they want right now. I don't see how announcing what the new policy is before a patch comes out is worse than surprising everyone on patch day.
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03-27-09, 11:19 AM   #598
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Originally Posted by Yhor View Post
Yes, it is a license agreement.
I was referring to the fact that addon authors are not really licensing their addons how, say, 3rd parties creating games for a Nintendo console might. An addon author could technically create an addon without agreeing to the EULA (again, stretching that point too far is silly, but it's worth noting here).
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03-27-09, 11:23 AM   #599
Satrina
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Originally Posted by Tuhljin View Post
Emphasis added. And as the bolded part indicates... they're already within their rights to disallow whatever they want right now. I don't see how announcing what the new policy is before a patch comes out is worse than surprising everyone on patch day.
Right. Compare what you quoted of what I wrote with the first part of the new policy: All add-ons must be distributed free of charge. Developers may not create "premium" versions of add-ons with additional for-pay features, charge money to download an add-on, charge for services related to the add-on, or otherwise require some form of monetary compensation to download or access an add-on.

If you read the link I put earlier, this is the exact semantic difference that is the problem. "You may not sell your addon" and "if you sell your addon, we will make it not work in the game" both functionally achieve the same result. The former has copyright law implications, while the latter is a rule of the playground. This is the entire crux of the argument.

Last edited by Satrina : 03-27-09 at 11:26 AM.
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03-27-09, 11:44 AM   #600
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I don't see that the semantic difference here is such a big deal. I mean, the policy refers to "guidelines." It's not steeped in "legaleeze." It doesn't even define what an "add-on" is. The EULA already allows them to enforce these guidelines to a certain degree; the guidelines were only released to formalize things and to mark a shift in policy. Just because it mentions legal action doesn't mean that avenue is available for all infractions or that it will be pursued zealously. (For example, a clear case where legal action may be warranted is significant violation of #3 - "Add-ons must not negatively impact World of Warcraft realms or other players.")

Perhaps in the future, things will be better spelled out. The EULA may be updated. The issues you're referring to may be handled. But as it is now, unless Blizzard goes out of bounds in trying to enforce this (which I'm not particularly worried about), there's no real legal problem here in my view. /shrug
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