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04-07-09, 10:25 AM   #741
Satrina
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People making money by creating third party addons to a software package is a very old and established precedent in the industry. There is no legal CYA needed by Blizzard here, because the case law is clear in a number of cases that have come up in the past decade or so. I am pretty sure that this is purely a PR move on Blizzard's part, and the entitlement reaction from a fairly significant segment of the player base has reinforced that pretty solidly to me.

As for gold v. addons... The World of Warcraft in-game currency, which is called "gold", is an artifact of the game that is solely constrained by the game and wholly exists in the game. "Gold" is not a copyrightable concept, nor can it be patented or otherwise protected legally. The limitations on "gold" and how it may be used can be and are restricted by the end user licence agreement that all players agree to at every patch. "Gold" farmers are directly contravening the EULA they agreed to in order to get in and farm said "gold". Interestingly enough, the sellers themselves may not even play the game so there's an interesting legal take on whether there'd be an actual case for Blizzard v. "gold" seller since the seller probably has never agreed to the EULA. Anyway.

Addons are copyrighted works of their authors that exist in fixed form outside of the game ("addons are useless without WoW" is a common argument but is a red herring in the context of legal precedent.) Unless Blizzard can show that they're derivative works, they have no claim at all. It's possible that a judge may lean towards derivative work based on the precedents set on mods for games such as Unreal, but such mods directly modify game play and "game experience", which addons in WoW do not have the power to do. Further, the judge also has to take into account the body of case law and precedent around arbitrary code using an API, which is directly applicable and has been long and well established to explicitly not be derivative work. (Some readers are now going it's not public!, but Sega v. Accolade holds that even if you reverse engineer an API you have the right to use it.) I obviously can't speak for the theoretical judge, but I'd bet that addons would not be found to be derivative.

I've never argued that Blizzard does not have the right to say "no for-pay addons in our sandbox". I personally disagree with their stance since there's no legal basis and it reduces competition, but I do respect their right to set the rules of the playground. As I've said before, there are much better ways they could go about enforcing this than the path they have chosen that already exist within the existing EULA.

There's much more I've said on this over the past weeks that I won't re-type here because Tekkub is already yelling TL;DR! at his monitor, but it's easy enough to find links in this thread to the major points.

No, I am not a lawyer (but I do have an acquaintance that is indeed a copyright lawyer and a gamer who understands what's going on here clearly), and as a long-time consultant I do have my fair share of practical experience with copyright law over the past decade or so. And, as always, I don't even accept donations from users no matter how often they have asked over the years.
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04-07-09, 10:39 AM   #742
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Originally Posted by Satrina View Post
Interestingly enough, the sellers themselves may not even play the game so there's an interesting legal take on whether there'd be an actual case for Blizzard v. "gold" seller since the seller probably has never agreed to the EULA.
I think that's where the Glider case may be relevant. The courts ruled against them based on tortuous (sp?) interference with the EULA even though the bot writers never entered into it.
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04-07-09, 12:03 PM   #743
Tuhljin
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Originally Posted by Satrina View Post
I am pretty sure that this is purely a PR move on Blizzard's part, and the entitlement reaction from a fairly significant segment of the player base has reinforced that pretty solidly to me.
A PR move? I just cannot see that. The whiners who think they're entitled to free addons are vocal, but I do not think they are a majority, and in what way does getting them to whine about entitlement benefit Blizzard at all? They're not any more likely to stay subscribed or buy something else from Blizzard because an addon they didn't want to buy anyway is no longer for sale. If anything, this would seem to be a negative to the PR department.
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04-07-09, 12:11 PM   #744
Shirik
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Originally Posted by Tuhljin View Post
A PR move? I just cannot see that. The whiners who think they're entitled to free addons are vocal, but I do not think they are a majority, and in what way does getting them to whine about entitlement benefit Blizzard at all? They're not any more likely to stay subscribed or buy something else from Blizzard because an addon they didn't want to buy anyway is no longer for sale. If anything, this would seem to be a negative to the PR department.
I'm inclined to believe the "PR" move argument, whether it worked or not. I won't really take sides on what this is supposed to mean, but I would reference the age-old term of the "silent majority." Be aware that it is arguable that a very small percentage of the population posts on the UI/Macros forum (or, for that matter, even knows it exists).
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04-07-09, 12:31 PM   #745
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You think the "silent majority," who doesn't read the UI forums and such, cares that addons can't be sold any more? I don't think most of them even know about the policy change. Hm. Maybe I'll ask my WoW-playing friends about this (though they may not be representative, since while they're not addon authors, a lot of them do work in software).

Edit: Also, I thought earlier that we were generally agreed that the legal dept had something to do with this. If it was just a PR thing, why didn't the CMs and/or UI devs comment on it, at least during the first few days?

Last edited by Tuhljin : 04-07-09 at 12:35 PM.
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04-08-09, 01:40 PM   #746
Shefki
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Clarification

I received thee following email today:

From: WoWUI <[email protected]>
To: Shefki <******@******.***>, WoWUI <[email protected]>
Date : Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 10:25 AM
Subject: RE: Clarrification on Add-on policy?

We will block for-pay addons from functioning with World of Warcraft, we have no intention of claiming copyrights over all addons.

Regards,
WoW UI team
Which is the clarification I had been seeking. Thought I'd pass this along to you guys. This is sufficient enough to mitigate the risk I was concerned about, I should be back working on addons soon.
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04-08-09, 01:51 PM   #747
Shirik
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Originally Posted by Tuhljin View Post
You think the "silent majority," who doesn't read the UI forums and such, cares that addons can't be sold any more? I don't think most of them even know about the policy change. Hm. Maybe I'll ask my WoW-playing friends about this (though they may not be representative, since while they're not addon authors, a lot of them do work in software).
Think about it for a second and realize that because the majority of people won't care about this policy, this is a way for Blizzard to change the community a fully open-source community. That's PR by my definition. They don't gain anything except a change in the community.
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04-08-09, 10:11 PM   #748
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Originally Posted by Shirik View Post
Think about it for a second and realize that because the majority of people won't care about this policy, this is a way for Blizzard to change the community a fully open-source community. That's PR by my definition. They don't gain anything except a change in the community.
There's another term for it: social engineering. GG marginalizing the minority!

Open source communities should be nurtured, not imposed. And they'd been doing a fine job of it before all this. If the policy isn't going to affect the majority of the people, then why bother?
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04-09-09, 12:18 PM   #749
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Did the name of the topic get changed so people wouldn't be able to recognize what it's about?
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04-09-09, 12:21 PM   #750
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04-09-09, 12:24 PM   #751
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Cog, come on, you know me better than that. I can't believe you even just suggested that. Anyone who has an interest in this still knows what the thread is about, they've been following it for weeks, just like you have. It's still linked from the main news post. You know what EULA and ToU stand for. Pretty obvious what UADP stands for, if you've been following the whole issue. I decided to abbreviate it "just because". I don't know why, just felt like it. /shrug
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04-09-09, 01:14 PM   #752
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Originally Posted by Cairenn View Post
Cog, come on, you know me better than that. I can't believe you even just suggested that. Anyone who has an interest in this still knows what the thread is about, they've been following it for weeks, just like you have. It's still linked from the main news post. You know what EULA and ToU stand for. Pretty obvious what UADP stands for, if you've been following the whole issue. I decided to abbreviate it "just because". I don't know why, just felt like it. /shrug
In short, yes.
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04-09-09, 01:30 PM   #753
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I was kinda wondering why it was changed myself. Now knowing it was "just because" makes it even worse than what I was thinking before.

"Just because" is the normal excuse I used to give when I broke up with some dumb chick. The real reason would've hurt her feelings too much, or would've made me feel like more of an ass than I already felt I was. "Your sister is a better kisser" is much better substituted by "just because".

Sorry, I'm a guy. I'm a cynical basta** and it's how my brain operates.
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04-09-09, 01:38 PM   #754
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Well dear, I'm a girl, and we really do do things sometimes "just because". But since it seems to be an issue, I'll change it back.
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04-09-09, 01:45 PM   #755
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Sorry for confusing effect with motivation.

BTW: I can conceive of legitimate reasons for it to have been so... I was just seeking clarification.
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Last edited by Cogwheel : 04-09-09 at 01:49 PM.
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04-13-09, 10:41 AM   #756
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Originally Posted by Nethaera
On March 20, we released the new add-on development policy to the public as an ongoing effort to help ensure add-on integrity, safety, and quality for the community. Since that time we have been in touch with many UI development communities on what the policy means to them and the continuing development of these add-ons. We would like to announce further that we are providing a sixty-day grace period beginning at the time of the initial release of the policy for UI developers to comply with the new policy. After May 19th, Blizzard Entertainment will begin to enforce the Add-on Development policy, and developers found to be in violation of this policy will be contacted directly.
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/th...37620868&sid=1
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04-13-09, 11:11 AM   #757
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Hmmm... I notice Blizzard is deleting any posts which talk about their new policy. I've caught a few discussions popping up, only to be removed about 5 posts in.

Since that time we have been in touch with many UI development communities on what the policy means to them and the continuing development of these add-ons.
Is this true? Did Blizzard really get in touch with many UI development communities? I hadn't heard anything of the sort.
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04-13-09, 12:27 PM   #758
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Originally Posted by Agnostor View Post
Hmmm... I notice Blizzard is deleting any posts which talk about their new policy. I've caught a few discussions popping up, only to be removed about 5 posts in.
They've been deleting threads that have been being excessively trollish. But I don't think they're doing anything other than normal moderation. The 115 page thread started by Cairien is still there and has been extended several times:
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/th...64747207&sid=1

And my thread about the email I got hasn't been deleted:
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/th...37617656&sid=1

Is this true? Did Blizzard really get in touch with many UI development communities? I hadn't heard anything of the sort.
Some of us got emails. I know of at least two of us that got an identical email (see my thread above). But I'd say their claim to be in touch with many UI development communities is a gross exaggeration.
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04-19-09, 01:12 PM   #759
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Originally Posted by Agnostor View Post
Is this true? Did Blizzard really get in touch with many UI development communities? I hadn't heard anything of the sort.
I have sent three e-mails to the [email protected] address asking very specific questions on policy as it relates to my addon. I have had no reply... The first message was sent just a few days after the policy was announced, the most recent one last week.
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04-19-09, 02:19 PM   #760
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I think this issue can quite easily be related to that of the food service industry, which my boyfriend works in. Pay for add ons are like sit down restaurant style food. People who go to a sit down restaurant are expected to tip a certain percentage, although in most states they are not required to tip. Some people don't like this and either don't tip at all or give a tip very minuscule in size. Most people within the food service industry, or who know someone who works in it have a simple response to this attitude. If you don't want/can't afford to tip decently, don't eat out. Go eat at a fast food restaurant.

The same thing applies to pay for add ons, though I admit the analogy isn't perfect. :-) Pay for add ons are typically of higher quality, because the author puts more effort into creating them. If you don't want to pay for the higher quality add ons, then don't. Use the free ones and quit complaing. I personally have never paid for an add on because I don't feel like I can afford to do so as I am a college student that relies completely on financial aid and the measly paycheck I get from working 10 hours a week. But I also don't complain about how unfair it is that some authors want me to pay for their add ons. It is fair. It's their work and if they think they should get financial reimbursement for the time they put in to make the add ons, then right on for them. I know next to nothing about coding, but I have a couple of friends who do code and I have a general idea about how time consuming it can be.

Personally I think it's stupid that Blizzard implemented this rule, and could possibly result in the creators of the pay for add ons no longer updating these add ons, which could be detrimental to those users who have paid for them in the past, and the community in general. I don't really get why Blizzard made this change in policy, but I do hope that they'll change it back.
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Last edited by PigtailsofDoom : 04-19-09 at 02:20 PM. Reason: I didn't realize there was a language filter here. Whoops. :-)
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