Discussion in 'Site Discussion' started by Paillan, Jan 29, 2020.
I mean, we have seen how terrible blizzard is at handling PR issues like Honk Kong and Refund release...
I would say you can pretty much make sure that your fans attack the game for being a TOS adquisition.
Not encouraging to do it though.
Some LATAM Editors need this information translated to Spanish...maybe...
BTOW, thanks for sharing your Laws Knowledge to us.
It really useful for the community
The real flow is like this, but regarding the specific IP field, the most important here, of Copyright
1. You created something worthy of Copyright (substantially more unlikely than you think).
Copyright ownership exception? Yes/No (see your copyright law about ownership and exceptions, 99% of possibility that the exceptions doesn't apply here).
a.1) No; general rule applies: owner of copyrights is the material author (modder).
a.1.2. Has Blizzard enforced his contractual right to materialize an assingment/license over your rights? (this include bullying you into saying that they are the owners) Yes/No
a.1.2.1. Yes; you must materialize the act as it is a contractual obligation born by accepting the contract, can you actually do it? Yes/No
a............1. Yes (you haven't either renounced your rights or assigned/exclusive licensed to another person); contact a lawyer so to proceed to negotiate the assignment. You should get paid for that. Blizzard could even offer you to work for them as employee. In it this exact last case (work relation) then maybe an exception to ownership will apply in the end as i noted on point a.
a............2. No (you did the above); contact a lawyer but because you could/will get sued and/or bullied.
a.1.2.2. No; proceed to continue mapping if you want. Or else. In the meantime, Blizzard might use your IP or not. If you get too cocky or combative ("that IP is mine bro"), maybe they do as in point a.1.2.
a.2) Yes; exception applies (low chance for that to happen, i would say 0%, but see please see your law): ownership of copyrights is Blizzard's by virtue of accepting the contract, unless voided the point "1.Ownership" of the Custom Game Acceptable Use Policty in court . Contact a lawyer if you want to do it so.
2. You don't (very likely), maybe one day you will get to point 1 (see above).
Don't discuss the aspect of the enforceability of the EULA. It is enforceable unless you challenge it in court and knowing what you are doing. This really has nothing plausible regarding the acceptation of the EULA/Policy. If you claim ownership over a map made with the Editor, then you get the notice of all the legal contracts on the installation of the program itself. Which is to say, if you made a map, you used the Editor, and if you used the Editor then you know what are the rules.
That's not how it works. Using 3rd party tools you can make a map without ever touching the world editor.
Please be more concise about those cases. Are you sure you're talking about a generality of cases?
The first time one executes the World Editor the legal advertisement of rights appears. Then the sound of a peon saying "ready to work". This happens even if you execute the old jassnewgen pack instead, which was arguably the most used Wc3 World Editor enhanced version.
You also get a mention of the custom modding tools and applicable rules on the regular Blizzard's EULA. This document appears on your interface on the proccess of installing the program, so there is little possibility of you not knowing the rules as the fact of having WC3 installed and all other related programs (ie. World Editor) means you had access to the content of the rules.
Isn't the w3x and w3m file format only possible regarding a Blizzard game? How are you gonna protect your IP interest regarding a file with a format that can only be possible in this context, in a way that separates it from a Blizzard game. It's like saying you are trying to protect "A custom game of warcraft 3" but then implying that you "don't know what wacraft 3 is at all".
Note that you could still challenge the EULA itself, even if you clearly accepted it, thus being a binding contract. What i'm trying to say is that unenforceability of the EULA will not come from you saying that you didn't know its existence or that it isn't a binding contract, but rather denying the value of some of its clauses because of X,Y,Z reasons.
You talk about touching the world editor when I was talking about not touching the world editor. I guess I should have been more clear, when I say world editor I don't mean the vanilla world editor only.
Nice joke, most people (over 90%) don't read any of this stuff. No need to ask for source, just search for 'how many people read eula' or something and you will find this number.
Proprietary format - Wikipedia
This argument would've made more sense if you had used file formats like war3map.w3i as example instead of .w3m/.w3x, which is basically a .zip file.
I won't deny the fact if you make a .w3x file it is obviously intended to be used for warcraft III, but this does not mean that blizzard automatically gains all rights to this file and its contents simply because it's a proprietary file format. If I make a wallpaper for my desktop, then decide to use it as a loading screen, convert it to .blp, does blizzard now own my image? No.
About reading the contracts:
As you may now, people don't even read their work contracts. People hardly ever read their lease contracts. Peopla hardly ever read contracts at all. These are often redactated by lawyers with lots of legalease. People don't care too much about contracts EXCEPT the moment they must to hold unto something as they get into trouble. Does the fact that nobody reads the contracts make a valid excuse in court? "But mr Judge my client didn't read the contract". The FIRST thing your lawyer will do is precisely read the contract. The FIRST thing Blizzard's lawyers will do is also reading the contract.
About the file things you are saying.
The reverse engineering thing you are pointing out is about copyright and not plain contracts. Reverse engineering is allowed as general rule on copyright systems, fair use if you would, because copyright systems doesn't care about functions of programs but rather the creative expression that program it may have. We all can try to reverse engineer the game and deduct all the function of the games without touching the copyright system, not just because of interoperability reasons. But the moment you publish in the market a game called "Warcraft 4" with such information is when not even reverse engineer will save you from the easiest copyright lawsuit of all time.
But guess what, the EULA says you can't reverse engineer. If you have payed some attention of what i said you will note that that clause of the EULA is a contractual clause and not part of the copyright rights. Reverse engineering the game would be contractual breach and not copyright infringenment. I hope you are starting to differentiate between "contract"/"copyright". I doubt this will even appear on the Wikipedia but you can try a Blizzard case that explains such difference (MDY v/s Blizzard). I also hope you stop just vomiting concepts.
What i'm talking about in my post are pressumptions that settle the fact that we all know and have accepted the EULA and that is hardly unlikely that you could prove otherwise if you try to defend your IP on a custom game. I really thought i was clear. You can't just reclaim IPs relating a custom map and say that you didn't know shit Blizzard and its EULA or its Editor. I'm not saying that Blizzard owns the w3x or w3m file format, i said that because such format is from Blizzard's software it would be clear (unless you prove your points) that you used some of its software. Since to install the WC3 game and plenty of their other stuff you will get a blatant notice of the existence of the EULA, it is clear that you atleast know that it exists.
Edit: Also, my friend, a computer file is not a "thing" like ie. a pistol. There is no property right over such file. Information is not a thing in fact. What we all can do with information is a contract ("i show you this piece of information only if you/as long as you do X,Y,Z). Software licenses like the EULA is precisely this. There could be aspects and acts over such piece of information that touch copyright or even other IP (ie. patents), like ie. distribute the software. Can we do things regarding IP right if such rights are present? Yes if we have the respective IP license from the author. Now understand the difference of "licensing information" and "licensing an IP right". Information is not IP. License contracts over software, and thus the term "license" itself, date from 1960 when IP was not even used (EDIT, just to clarify i'm clearly refering to the software market), generally speaking. If you are misguided you will identify the term license with "IP license" and you are kissing corporation asses because of your ignorance. But now you know the truth. Copyright protection is much much more intense than contractual protection, so for corporations it is only right to confuse you into thinking that everything is IP and that the term license is about IP, or that whenever the term license an IP is implicated. Remember the reverse engineering case i just said.
Remember, information is not a thing either. Information can give you some IP tho (repeat with me: information is not IP, but it can give me some IP). Maybe that information is contained on a real thing, and you bought that thing, like a CD-ROM.
I never stated that not reading the EULA is a good excuse to use in court. I was merely pointing out that your statement 'there is little possibility of you not knowing the rules' is incorrect.
I will learn to differentiate between contract and copyright when you learn to differentiate between reverse engineering a file format and a video game.
Ok so we cannot reverse engineer the 'Platform' or anything related to it. But how do they define this 'Platform'?
And even if reverse engineering the file formats was prohibited by the EULA, why would I care? There have been others before me doing it, did Blizzard take any action against them? Why is HiveWE not shut down? What about vexorian's map optimizer, or BLP lab. They work with a proprietary file formats after all.
I don't even know why I need to defend my argument here when you think anything I'm doing or have mentioned in my last post is in any way related to reverse engineering the entire game and then calling it Warcraft 4 (or Drakecraft since I need to avoid copyright after all).
Don't underestimate wikipedia. MDY Industries, LLC v. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. - Wikipedia.
I thought I already made it clear that proprietary file formats do not imply usage of their software.
Do you perhaps need an example? Oh wait, I already gave you one. Unless you want to argue that converting a .png/.jpg/whatever image to BLP1 somehow requires using Blizzard's software.
Wasn't this your comment regarding my argument that is very unlikely you ignore the EULA in court? I don't know the purpose of your comment then other than nitpick things, using Wikipedia, for the sake of it and failing doing so on a constructive way. Did you even took your time to read my post?
Wikipedia is good enough but you can't base all your sources and comments on it. Wikipedia talked about the MDY case but to really inform yourself you should read the sentence otherwise you are eating what others chewed for you.
So to make things more clear you are saying that because reasons, reclaiming IP rights to a custom map of wc3 has nothing to do with wc3 software and its EULA as "thats how it works" as a wc3 map could be separated from WC3 and its editor on a technical or logical level that i still can't buy in. Well, this is my problem then. But keep in mind that i try to give more concrete examples on every of my substantiations but you still didn't gave me a concrete case, a concrete example of how you can use such 3d party tools (which one, how, what it does) in a way that it doesn't "touch" the editor or touch WC3 at all, which was my entire point. How you can create a case on which a judge will say: this guy that created the map X clearly doesn't know the EULA, thus didn't accepted it, so such contract is not binding for him.
Maybe you are affected about the topic of the ownership of files (not formats) and in which case you should see my post above. I didn't implied, at all, that Blizzard owns the map file in your computer. My theory is that they don't even own IP rights just by virtue of the EULA (the thing you are all fearing and repeating everytime). This was the thing intended on my primitive post, but somehow i had to speak with you about reverse engineering file formats.
Your comment which I replied to was not in the context of court.
Of course if you ever need to go to court, you'd be stupid to ignore/not read the EULA, but before that, like I said, nobody reads that stuff.
I'm not nitpicking, if there's a part of your post I don't reply to, I either agree with you or I cba to argue about it.
Since you asked for a concrete example: I write the map script in C#, my library handles all the proprietary file formats that I need, and if I want a nice terrain (my maps usually don't but still) I can use HiveWE. This is what I mean by not 'touching' the world editor. I literally never need to run it. Microsoft visual studio is the only thing I need.
You're still thinking in terms of using the world editor to create maps. Even if I am fully aware of the EULA and agreed to it, that doesn't stop me from doing whatever I want using my own toolset.
The EULA doesn't affect me at all, I'm merely trying to reason why it doesn't affect me. Which is third party tools.
You kinda brought up this topic yourself though.
Well, as you said, in 99% of the cases people won't be creating something that is truly copyright worth... so this whole thread was mostly to make sure people kept modding by keeping them informed that this will most likely fly past them (probably didn't work anyway cause reforged is terrible beyond TOS, but what can you do)
All the thing i post assume realistic outcomes or atleast things that are plausible, which is the only thing i care about.
Now you are giving concrete examples which was the thing i thought you would present at first.
Are you aware that your case is not generalized in the practice of modding? It is still interesting nontheless as you are cautious in truly not even touching the world editor. You bring about the topic if a Custom Game is such only if it is produced with the World Editor software or not. Note that the using ie. JassNewGen you still get noticed about the legal rights of Blizzard.
The EULA says this "Custom Games includes all content created using the Game Editor(s)" somewhat in your favor.
But the following is not in your favor or in favor of HiveWE author: "Derivative Works: Copy or reproduce (except as provided in Section 1.B.), translate, reverse engineer, derive source code from, modify, disassemble, decompile, or create derivative works based on or related to the Platform". Blizzard doesn't even need to expressely prohibit derivative works or mention the World Editor, since by law he is the unique person that can do such works over each of its creations. The World Editor is software and is protected as code and potentially as audiovisual results, and we don't recieve a derivative works license with the EULA. HiveWE is arguably a derivative work of World Editor (discutible). Note that HiveWE is on an entire different level from, let's say, simple modding tools that the World Editor has nothing to do about as a product (ie. model converters, model editors). HiveWE is a game editor, World Editor is also a game editor. Note that Blizzard will most likely don't do anything to the HiveWE author unless he does something blatantly douchy. One thing kind of douchy would be not putting the advertisement of rights of Blizzard when executing such program. The JassNewGen author (Vexorian) didn't do that as i said before and the NewGen program was arguably another derivative work of the World Editor.
So the legal tradeoff is not being binded by the EULA but you put yourself and HiveWE author on potential copyright infringenment cases, should you/HiveWE author atempt to assert rights on your creations (which is the practical aspect of all this), and you atleast as a third party of the contract. This is kind of worse since copyright system has more remedies and more aspects that can significate more lose of money should you lose the case.
Regarding custom game creation ("modding"), if Blizzard sues you and the plaint says "contractual breach" you could atempt presenting your "i'm not binded" case or atleast try it as in your case the EULA is not clear. Much stronger arguments point to the nature of the EULA as adhesion contract, a contract that we didn't have opportunity negotiate, and that contains clauses that nobody on good faith would draft or that are otherwise abusive or pernicious to users like even implying a free assignment of IP rights, which i say could hardly occurs the facto or by pure virtue of accepting the EULA.
Prohibiting by contract things like reverse engineering and making "works (programs) related to the platform", things that are allowed by copyright, should Blizzard asserts copyright claims using that same EULA precisely as antecedent (that we know prohibits RE) is a possible good case of copyright misuse.
May i ask you how you test your maps though?
EDIT: Just to not double post.
Paillan, the analysis above should be done to every possible kind of copyrightable content, not just the custom game in its entirety. This applies to model meshes, skins, code, icons, literary aspects, etc. All these things are arguably copyrightable content and on some is very easy to notice if they are original (or not) in respect of any kind of Blizzard assets and content.
I would say it is still possible to find even complete maps that are completely original from the WC3 games or other Blizzard Games. Sure if you make a campaign that actually says "Arthas v/s Uther" and you use them models, etc, your game has very few copyrightable aspects. This is also the case of lots of assets here that are around the Hive (ie. a model with an original mesh but that uses WC3 skins, a icon altough different is based on prexisting Blizzard icon). But i saw some maps that show off impressive originality, using custom icons, models, UI, literary aspects, with gameplay that has nothing to do with WC3, etc. Then you have code. Note that the programming language of Jass is not copyrightable in itself should anyone had that doubt.
I have already made a post about this topic two months ago: Dont make mods, boycott Reforged [EULA Update]
Still wondering what a real lawyer would have to say about it.
HiveWE was made from scratch, so by definition it is not a derivative work.
Not sure how you made the jump to copyright here. I also find it hard arguing too much about the legal part of all this, when it obviously depends on what country you live in, and my beloved wikipedia doesn't have english pages for most of the stuff that is specific to my country.
Anything that doesn't touch the warcraft API (common.j) I can potentially write unit tests for and test within visual studio, otherwise I test same as everyone else, by running the game.
Copyright law is armonized internationally, so you can even know very the basics and really a lot just by consulting any WIPO documents. Maybe Wikipedia has some of those or a good 10 minute read entry about copyright which might be more of your palate.
Did HiveWE author used reverse engineering tho? If you reverse engineer the editor and use the information obtained to do, let's say a word processor (or nothing at all), then copyright law doesn't give a fuck. If you reverse engineer the editor and you make a "product" similar to a copyrighted work , then you... then you know what that means. It could mean copyright infringenment possibly. Here you are not doing a derivative work but a copy. If you somehow prove that is not a copy or that the copy was minimum or other bullshit, the case would turn into unjust competition case, should the author decides to monetize and create competition. But he should be aware of that. Are you noting that all of this is because you are trying to create the fact/fiction that you didn't read or accept the EULA, which doesn't even do what you think it does? I'm not even joking about possible copyright case or an unjust competition case (this last one not really IP related). If you decide to play alone, without the contract and beign a true rogue, then all these IP suits becom tempting (what about a trademark suit because of using the term "HiveWE" and "World Editor 0.6"). Still, you got the very same Blizzard v/s MDY case as an example of a dude playing alone with its 3d tool (a bot of WoW), not fearing Blizzard and even challenging them, and atleast winning regarding the copyright aspect. But he still losed on the tort law side.
Know also that protection of software products by copyright is not just code or the program aspect. A "software" like the World Editor has the code/program aspect, but it also has assets, UI skins, icons, etc. It also entrails a particular screen display that is protected as a separated work but i only now U.S. cases about that (as early as 1982 and onward, mostly regarding videogames), so maybe your system doesn't care too much about such things.
Is HiveWE purged from such aspects? Can it be reasonably purged from every Blizzard aspect at all without becoming a completely different thing, like a game engine itself that will not even work for wc3 maps? I'm just nitpicking here, but i opened it and it has ie. the terrain skins of Wc3. Even though the program is 3d party it uses those skins as bare minimum, otherwise it will turn unto a proper game engine separated from Wc3. All these things, even not that important, make the perfect excuse to still enforce something against the author. And here it will not be the EULA but copyright rights which are far worse.
But i guess you are right on the fact that users of such program are kind of sheltered and i highly doubt anything will happen even to the author, unless something blatantly detrimental happens. But this conclusion also applies to people that decide to play with the EULA.
Most third party tools acquire game data (like skins, models etc) from the game itself (MPQ/CASC) and don't redistribute anything. I've never used HiveWE but I'm pretty it's the same there. So no copyright infringement in that regard, as the user needs to have their own copy of the game.
HiveWE says that it doesn't need a Warcraft III installation. But it either needs the files to be acquired by the user somehow or actually have them as assets on the program itself. On that first case, i hope you know that such act is still copy of data but in contrast of people that have acquired the game legally or even just having it installed, that often have the legal right to reproduce that data for the sole purpose of executing the program (essential step), people that just have them on their computer by other means would not apply to such defense.
Separate names with a comma.