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Thread: Blizzard's New Add-on Policy?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eisen View Post
    Even though it's legally in their right to cancel any addon at any time means I'm happy about the possibility that they will start doing so.
    It's a shame when, like Blizzard, companies abuse licenses and terms of service/use to trample all over the customers' rights. The ToS/EULA give Blizzard the right to ban any user at any time, and now with this policy they grant themselves the same right to take action against any addon at any time.

    This feels dangerously too much as Blizzard attempting to claim intellectual property of addon codes. Blizzard should be trying to encourage addon developers, instead of detering them.


  2. #22
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    Nah, don't read more into it than there is. The elite squad of lawyers is not ready to pounce on the first person that steps out of line. That's just the heavy weight backing up the assertions (though there are some potentially scary scenarios in software copyright law that could happen if they ever did go to litigation with the wrong judge.) I'm thinking it's more a lazy CYA move rather than the legal team spending actual time coming up with a reasonable SDK/API agreement.
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  3. #23
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    Aren't several really good addons accepting Paypal donations for their work?

    Am I missing the point here?

    Rating Buster, which I love accepts paypal donations on download page for the mod at wowinterface.com
    RatingBuster : WoWInterface Downloads : Data Mods

    I'd be surprised if Blizzard didn't have a legal staff that rivals the number of developers they have. Businesses become about court battles it seems once they reach a certain size. From the semiconductor industry, I know that pretty much any argument of infringement usually at least gets heard in court. There is no reason to believe that at least in the US that pretty much any claims Blizzard chooses to make about their IP wouldn't have a very high chance of being upheld.

    I'm not taking sides on this issue. I will say that in this case where they provide the API to their product, they kind of have the high ground.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalken View Post
    "I'll let the dragon hit me in the face, you stab it in the ass."

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satrina View Post
    Nah, don't read more into it than there is. The elite squad of lawyers is not ready to pounce on the first person that steps out of line. That's just the heavy weight backing up the assertions (though there are some potentially scary scenarios in software copyright law that could happen if they ever did go to litigation with the wrong judge.) I'm thinking it's more a lazy CYA move rather than the legal team spending actual time coming up with a reasonable SDK/API agreement.
    It might be. In fact, it probably IS, just what you think.

    But the specific wording of it gives them a right to do far more, should they ever decide to do so. And like I said, I hate vague legal documents. I like to know where I stand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Molohk
    This feels dangerously too much as Blizzard attempting to claim intellectual property of addon codes. Blizzard should be trying to encourage addon developers, instead of detering them.
    I wouldn't go that far. I don't think they're trying to "steal" code.but WoW IS their IP. They do techically have a right to protect their IP from outside code that could be detrimental to the operation or sale of that code. Honestly it's private sector so they pretty much have as much rights as they pelase -within the domain of the game and its own code-. They can't control other's code, but they CAN judge who gets access and who doesn't. It's absolutely withint their right.

    I just don't have to like it.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eisen View Post
    I wouldn't go that far. I don't think they're trying to "steal" code.but WoW IS their IP. They do techically have a right to protect their IP from outside code that could be detrimental to the operation or sale of that code. Honestly it's private sector so they pretty much have as much rights as they pelase -within the domain of the game and its own code-. They can't control other's code, but they CAN judge who gets access and who doesn't. It's absolutely withint their right.

    I just don't have to like it.
    I'm not a lawyer but it seems logical that the copyright holder has the right to decide whether or not to charge for their work. It seems a bit insulting that Blizzard wont respect the rights of developers who put so much time into developping addons.

    I'm pretty sure Blizzard is not preparing a move against every single addon developer who violates their extremely vage ToS/EULA, I believe they're just setting up the legal framework to include addons in their self-given right to ban anything they want whenever they want.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molohk View Post
    I'm not a lawyer but it seems logical that the copyright holder has the right to decide whether or not to charge for their work. It seems a bit insulting that Blizzard wont respect the rights of developers who put so much time into developping addons.

    I'm pretty sure Blizzard is not preparing a move against every single addon developer who violates their extremely vage ToS/EULA, I believe they're just setting up the legal framework to include addons in their self-given right to ban anything they want whenever they want.
    OK, let's apply your theory in real life.

    Go to a supermarket and try to sell something in their parking lot. You'll be kicked out fast.It's not that they're disregarding the hard work of the developer, it's that they don't want their game use as a vehicle for someone else's monetary gain.

    As for the second part...honestly they have ALWAYS had the right to ban anything they want. Their IP is essentially private property, and they have a right to choose who or what has access at any time.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by kolben View Post
    Aren't several really good addons accepting Paypal donations for their work?

    Am I missing the point here?

    Rating Buster, which I love accepts paypal donations on download page for the mod at wowinterface.com
    RatingBuster : WoWInterface Downloads : Data Mods
    But that's on the download page. Which most people never go to again, unless there's a bug that makes them look for a new copy. What they're talking about is having donation notices in-game - for example, ckknight's addons all have a button for donations. That kind of thing wouldn't be acceptable under this policy.

    It's asking in-game that they have the problem with.

    I'd be surprised if Blizzard didn't have a legal staff that rivals the number of developers they have. Businesses become about court battles it seems once they reach a certain size. From the semiconductor industry, I know that pretty much any argument of infringement usually at least gets heard in court. There is no reason to believe that at least in the US that pretty much any claims Blizzard chooses to make about their IP wouldn't have a very high chance of being upheld.

    I'm not taking sides on this issue. I will say that in this case where they provide the API to their product, they kind of have the high ground.
    That's what I'm saying. Blizzard could very well, at some point, say "OK, this mod author wouldn't listen, so no more mods for anyone", make it so no mods could run anymore at all, and there's really nothing we as users could do. Blizzard's really got the power here, whether we as users or authors or whatever like it or not.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eisen View Post
    Go to a supermarket and try to sell something in their parking lot. You'll be kicked out fast.It's not that they're disregarding the hard work of the developer, it's that they don't want their game use as a vehicle for someone else's monetary gain.
    I don't think your analogy is valid. Developers aren't selling their addons in "blizzard's parking lot", they're using their own means of distribution. This commercial activity is taking place in the devs' own marketplaces outside Blizzard's realm of control.

    The logic that dictates: "it's their IP, so they can do whatever they want with it" is wrong. Intellectual Property grants developers certain rights, but it does not grant them the right to place whatever you want in your own licenses. Customers also have rights and liberties, and developers cannot use licenses to violate them.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molohk View Post
    I don't think your analogy is valid. Developers aren't selling their addons in "blizzard's parking lot", they're using their own means of distribution. This commercial activity is taking place in the devs' own marketplaces outside Blizzard's realm of control.
    By that logic, you can almost legitimize gold selling. Since the purchase takes place outside wow, the only part in game is the end result of the purchase.

    The logic that dictates: "it's their IP, so they can do whatever they want with it" is wrong. Intellectual Property grants developers certain rights, but it does not grant them the right to place whatever you want in your own licenses. Customers also have rights and liberties, and developers cannot use licenses to violate them.
    Perhaps, but read the ToS/EULA. Essentially, Blizzard has almost unlimited rights of who or what they allow to access their property. And every time you click on "I accept" you're agreeing to let them.

  10. #30
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    Gold is an intellectual property construct of Blizzard's. They are well within their rights to dictate exactly how it is handled in or out of game, so there is no useful analogy there. The same cannot be said about an addon that is the creation of an author. How they handle addons in game is up to them, no argument. Out of game is not their concern. As I said, if they want to say "we'll disable your addon in game if you sell it", well, that's up to them and within their ToS/EULA and while people will bitch, it's all good.
    Last edited by Satrina; 03-23-2009 at 06:02 PM.
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satrina View Post
    Gold is an intellectual property construct of Blizzard's. They are well within their rights to dictate exactly how it is handled in or out of game. The same cannot be said about an addon that is the creation of an author. How they handle addons in game is up to them, no argument. Out of game is not their concern.
    How can gold be an IP of Blizzard's? If it were, they could sue any game that uses gold, silver, or copper currency for stealing from them. Now, if they had named it berivium or something, you'd have a point.

  12. #32
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    In-Game gold, as it is a component of the game as programmed by Blizzard, is IP of Blizzard. This doesn't mean Blizzard has exclusive rights for any representation of gold >.<

  13. #33
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    The label applied to the currency is irrelevant. The attribute of said currency in that it is a creation of Blizzard that is wholly within the game construct is the relevant part.
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  14. #34
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    I'm still not seeing the point, though. Gold is gold. Blizzard didn't create the idea of gold as a currency in video games, any more than Doom created the idea of a shotgun as a weapon in a video game.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mhoram View Post
    I'm still not seeing the point, though. Gold is gold. Blizzard didn't create the idea of gold as a currency in video games, any more than Doom created the idea of a shotgun as a weapon in a video game.

    *sighs*

    I'ma take responsibility for derailing this entire discussion.

    Let's replace the word "gold" with "Blizzard's Wow-specific in-game currency"

    Problem solved.

    Anyway I think the point I was trying to make is that WoW and its UI are also Blizzard's property, and they have a right to who can access it, modify it, and most importantly, make money off it.

    Im not saying I agree with it, since I'd like to see mod developers prosper. But I can't see Blizz being out of their rights for wanting to not allow something into their game that someone else is getting money for.

  16. #36
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    @Whoever doesn't like Rule #1:

    You're making money off their product, and they aren't getting a cut. Whether it's a penny or a billion dollars, they aren't making anything off your coding.

    Sorry, but I work for a company that has export controlled software (I.E Civilian/Military Applications) and I've been through legal garbage enough to know that Blizzard can tell you what you're allowed to do with their software as long as you're paying for your subscription.

    If you don't like it, don't pay.

    At first I freaked out when I found out what Warden does with your system, but I accepted it and don't leave any chat windows or banking information open while I play WoW.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eisen View Post
    *sighs*

    I'ma take responsibility for derailing this entire discussion.

    Let's replace the word "gold" with "Blizzard's Wow-specific in-game currency"

    Problem solved.

    Anyway I think the point I was trying to make is that WoW and its UI are also Blizzard's property, and they have a right to who can access it, modify it, and most importantly, make money off it.

    Im not saying I agree with it, since I'd like to see mod developers prosper. But I can't see Blizz being out of their rights for wanting to not allow something into their game that someone else is getting money for.
    Oh, stop sighing.

    That definition works better.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nunes View Post
    You're making money off their product, and they aren't getting a cut. Whether it's a penny or a billion dollars, they aren't making anything off your coding.
    Neither does Adobe off of Photoshop plugins, yet many people make their living writing and selling them. Same with Poser, and any number of other software packages with reasonable SDK/API agreements that govern third-party addons and plugins. None of them have any legal problems, and neither would Blizzard.

    With that, it's absolutely true that Blizzard can say you are not permitted to run for-pay addons in their game. Nobody's arguing that, since you can't. And again for the record, I've never accepted money for any addon I've written - all of this has no effect on me whatsoever. The semantic difference is in saying that an author cannot distribute their property as they see fit. The potential ramifications in copyright law precedents are awful (or if you look at it the other way, the blizzard guideline as written may be legally unenforceable), as opposed to just saying "we'll disable your addon if you are selling it". That's my point.

    edit: Also see Roana's post earlier. The whole thing could well be unnecessary policy anyway since they could simply deem a for-pay addon as a commercial venture and hence against the EULA to begin with, and as such unauthorised.
    Last edited by Satrina; 03-23-2009 at 07:23 PM.
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  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satrina View Post
    With that, it's absolutely true that Blizzard can say you are not permitted to run for-pay addons in their game. Nobody's arguing that, since you can't. And again for the record, I've never accepted money for any addon I've written - all of this has no effect on me whatsoever. The semantic difference is in saying that an author cannot distribute their property as they see fit. The potential ramifications in copyright law precedents are awful (or if you look at it the other way, the blizzard guideline as written may be legally unenforceable), as opposed to just saying "we'll disable your addon if you are selling it". That's my point.
    What they can probably do, however, is to base their claim on the fact that you used their client to develop the software and thus limit what you can do with that. Remember that they claim ownership rights in your characters also.

    I'm curious, though, whether these constraints will hold up under the law of various European jurisdictions also, which can be quite a bit different from US law when it comes to these things (by which I mean to say that I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if French or German courts looked at these things quite a bit differently than US courts).

  20. #40
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    There are tools to write addons outside of the game that check your xml and have function completion and stuff. You can write completely out of the game, you just can't debug effectively. I'm not sure if that argument would hold up or not - it's one of those things that could make for... interesting precedent in copyright law.

    Canada and the US have similar enough copyright laws, but a very good point about Europe... and how about China!
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