IP Rights WRT Software

SLAM: debunk creationism, pseudoscience, and superstitions. Discuss logic and morality.

Moderators: Alyrium Denryle, SCRawl, Thanas

What rights do End-Users have to licensed work they have purchased?

1. Do whatever with the information you've been sold
6
55%
2. Only as expressly laid out in the EULA, as it was originally sold
3
27%
3. Only as expressly laid out in the EULA, subject to change at any time by the vendor
0
No votes
4. On the whim of the creator(s), as long as it's communicated by someone with authority
1
9%
5. Only "implied" intent*
0
No votes
6. Your options suck / I don't care
1
9%
 
Total votes: 11

User avatar
TheFeniX
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3873
Joined: 2003-06-26 04:24pm
Location: Texas

IP Rights WRT Software

Postby TheFeniX » 2016-12-19 01:04pm

What rights do I (the end-user) have to the software I have purchased from a vendor?

A few caveats:
1. I'm not talking about legal ramifications, but from an ethical standpoint from both the creator and the user. Blizzard, Beth, whoever obviously will be ruthless in fighting unintended use of their software because they have to protect their property rights. But I'm wondering if they even have that right or if they should be forced into a system where they feel they have to fight.

2. Selling or profiting off the vendor's work is out no matter what. This obviously doesn't apply to content sold specifically to be resold, such as Engine licensing like for Havok Physics: it's meant to be resold. For example, I can't rip models from a game and put them in my own commercial game, even if I made enough changes to that original work to make them unrecognizable.

3. Vendors obviously have full rights to do whatever they want on their servers. Just as I could host a server where I console "kill" anyone who attacks my character. Server-side scripts and other such content also apply, since I don't have a copy of that data, hence it was never "sold" to me.

*The 5th poll option is a bit confusing, but it boils down to: if you're playing..... Counter-Strike: the objectives are clearly laid out, so technically turning it into a Deathmatch style game is going against the original intent. But I've actually ran into this argument with a developer (of a Source Mod) because we weren't playing "his" game right. So, it was really a combination of 4 and 5. Also, really more of a joke option.

I've been thinking about this off and on after the Skyrim paid mods (where Steam forced you to accept a new EULA, overriding one from years ago), the Overwatch porn "stuff," and even thinking back to Galaxies Reborn. Nostralius (a private World of Warcraft Classic server) being brought back after Blizzard sued the last one into Oblivion made me really think about this.

At what point does the creator lose the right to say how their product is used? Where do we draw the line? Let me come up with a few examples, most/all of which will be gaming related.

1. People are making porn using models ripped directly from Overwatch and exported into SFM. This is generally the one people frown upon the most. I'd say because "porn is icky" but it could also be that models are a much more visible representation of creation than anything else. However, I have a problem with this because that attitude can affect other areas where you can't "see" the creators work.

2. Same as 1 but these model rips are only used to create comedy videos. Or, I just describe the characters exactly as they appear physically in my written fanfiction either for comedy or sex acts.

3. Users modify an .ini file (a glorified text file) to grant access to data the developer has locked on the disk and planned to unlock later with paid DLC (Mass Effect: Prothean Squad Member).

4. Same thing as 3, except these changes only disable/enable graphics functions the developer did not add in-game options for such as Godrays, SSAO, V-Sync, etc and is done to improve either fidelity or performance.

5. Same thing as 3 and 4, except this change enabled high-res textures or Havok Physics: options the developer had planned (or maybe not) to implement, didn't, but left all the files on the disk.

6. Gaming company pulls the Master Server for an old game, this makes multiplayer non-functional. Users modify the .ini files to point to a new Master Server they now run. (Battle.net for Starcraft 1, for just one example).

7. Same thing as 6 except either the original .exe is modified and recompiled OR a secondary .exe is used to launch the original with additional instructions.

I lump all these (either correctly or incorrectly) into just about the same group. You either have the right to use software you have a license for as you see fit or you don't. Saying I can modify an .ini to make the game run better, but can't use the same process to unlock content you already sold me the data for isn't a valid argument. The "ease" of changing that data isn't relevant to me. Even then, you might have to fine-tune multiple variables to get the performance you want, but unlocking content in some games is an easy as setting a "0" to "1." The only place the creator has rights to control this is on their own end, such as their matchmaking or dedicated servers.

Just imagine you bought a car with a switch that improved gas mileage. But, right next to it was another switch that enabled the already installed MP3 player that was fully-functional but disabled because they wanted to sell you that option after 5 months. And they did this so they didn't have to send a technician out to install it if you decided to purchase it. Do you think you'd need to pay $x just to be allowed to flick that switch?

The model ripping thing is a bit "new" because it's taking content from one game and putting it into another "game." But exactly how is this different from people writing fanfiction? Yes, typing a series of words describing a character is "easier" than recreating the polygons and textures for one, but as I said, the "ease" of the "theft" doesn't move me.

I either have the right to use the content I was sold for use as I see fit for my own non-profit use, or I don't. I believe I have that right. You can bring up the EULA all you want, but you sold me data bits. There's an implicit understanding here: just like when I buy a book. Outside of fancy hardcopies or first editions: the paper isn't worth much of anything. It's the words inside, and you have no right to keep me from striking out what I don't like and writing whatever I want in the margins. I just can't go around selling copies of my ending where Dr. Grant Kung-fu kicks the T-Rex into the ocean then rides a Raptor off into the sunset. I can however post it on my blog.

You don't have to make it easy for me nor do you have to help me, but you have no basis to tell me to stop messing with what you sold me as long as I'm not making money off what I'm doing. This idea holds true in a lot of areas, but with software it's suddenly "whoa whoa whoa! You don't actually OWN that!" And I think that's a complete load of bullshit.

NOTE: I'll be out of town for a few days on business. I'll have my laptop, but I'm about to spend 18 hours in a vehicle dealing with the world's most annoying coworker, so..... I'll keep up the best I can. Also, I figured this for SLAM due to the content, but it could also fit into G&C. So, sorry if it needs to be moved.

User avatar
Alyrium Denryle
Minister of Sin
Posts: 21731
Joined: 2002-07-11 08:34pm
Location: The Deep Desert
Contact:

Re: IP Rights WRT Software

Postby Alyrium Denryle » 2016-12-22 01:14pm

A combination of 1 and 3, really. For things that are more or less standalone (like statistical software), I should be able to do whatever the fuck I want with it, provided that I am not copying and reselling the program (even as modified). I SHOULD be able to post what I have done to the base program for other users to implement. In other words, the program should actually be sold, not licensed.

For things that require multiple users to function (Like MMOs), at that point I really am operating a licensed product and it makes sense that the terms might change from time to time (say, if the developers did not conceive of cyberbullying at the time of development and decide to prohibit it at a later date in order to improve user experience). If I elect not to agree to the new terms, I should be refunded any purchase price etc.
GALE Force Biological Agent/
BOTM/Great Dolphin Conspiracy/
Entomology and Evolutionary Biology Subdirector:SD.net Dept. of Biological Sciences


There is Grandeur in the View of Life; it fills me with a Deep Wonder, and Intense Cynicism.

User avatar
Civil War Man
NERRRRRDS!!!
Posts: 3404
Joined: 2005-01-28 03:54am

Re: IP Rights WRT Software

Postby Civil War Man » 2016-12-22 05:20pm

With regard to multiplayer games, there's also the problem if the modification gives a player a competitive advantage over another who doesn't make the modification. That's a bit of a grey area, though. For WoW as an example, the devs are fine with mods that fiddle with the UI or give you information about boss abilities, but not ones that trivialize gameplay (like a mods that basically play the game for you, or mark areas for you to stand to avoid mechanics during boss fights).

Even then, there was the recent drama between a group of players and the devs about the max camera zoom distance (Fenix is already pretty familiar with it, but I'll elaborate for those who don't keep track of WoW drama). For a long time, there was a console command that allowed players to increase the zoom distance, and with the latest expansion the devs severely limited it, at one point disabling the command entirely. They claimed that players who used the command had an advantage over those who didn't, because being able to zoom out further increased their field of vision and allowed them to notice mechanics that otherwise would be off-camera. This didn't sit well with many players who deal with motion sickness, who complained that the closer zoom distances Blizzard was pushing made them so nauseous that it made the game completely unplayable for them.

I am one to lean on the side of allowing it so people can play it, especially since zoom distance doesn't really give much, if any, of an advantage, despite what the devs claim. But it does raise a question of whether a modification that fixes a major problem in the game, but provides a competitive advantage over players who don't use it, is kosher, and if not, what percentage of players would have to be affected by the problem before it is.

For #6 and #7 specifically, I'd definitely say players have a right to make the modification to designate a new Master server. In effect, by shutting down their server, the developers are ending support for the software, and so as far as I'm concerned I consider the client program to be pseudo-open source, where you can do pretty much whatever you want with it as long as you don't make a profit off of it.

User avatar
Alyrium Denryle
Minister of Sin
Posts: 21731
Joined: 2002-07-11 08:34pm
Location: The Deep Desert
Contact:

Re: IP Rights WRT Software

Postby Alyrium Denryle » 2016-12-22 06:43pm

1. People are making porn using models ripped directly from Overwatch and exported into SFM. This is generally the one people frown upon the most. I'd say because "porn is icky" but it could also be that models are a much more visible representation of creation than anything else. However, I have a problem with this because that attitude can affect other areas where you can't "see" the creators work.

2. Same as 1 but these model rips are only used to create comedy videos. Or, I just describe the characters exactly as they appear physically in my written fanfiction either for comedy or sex acts.


Any of these would be acceptable use as far as I am concerned, so long as they are not for-profit productions they fall under fair use as far as I am concerned.

3. Users modify an .ini file (a glorified text file) to grant access to data the developer has locked on the disk and planned to unlock later with paid DLC (Mass Effect: Prothean Squad Member).


Provided they never unlocked it? Go ahead.

4. Same thing as 3, except these changes only disable/enable graphics functions the developer did not add in-game options for such as Godrays, SSAO, V-Sync, etc and is done to improve either fidelity or performance.

5. Same thing as 3 and 4, except this change enabled high-res textures or Havok Physics: options the developer had planned (or maybe not) to implement, didn't, but left all the files on the disk.


Fuck it have fun

6. Gaming company pulls the Master Server for an old game, this makes multiplayer non-functional. Users modify the .ini files to point to a new Master Server they now run. (Battle.net for Starcraft 1, for just one example).

7. Same thing as 6 except either the original .exe is modified and recompiled OR a secondary .exe is used to launch the original with additional instructions.


I see no reason why this should not be permitted.
GALE Force Biological Agent/
BOTM/Great Dolphin Conspiracy/
Entomology and Evolutionary Biology Subdirector:SD.net Dept. of Biological Sciences


There is Grandeur in the View of Life; it fills me with a Deep Wonder, and Intense Cynicism.

User avatar
TheFeniX
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3873
Joined: 2003-06-26 04:24pm
Location: Texas

Re: IP Rights WRT Software

Postby TheFeniX » 2016-12-22 07:47pm

Civil War Man wrote:With regard to multiplayer games, there's also the problem if the modification gives a player a competitive advantage over another who doesn't make the modification. That's a bit of a grey area, though. For WoW as an example, the devs are fine with mods that fiddle with the UI or give you information about boss abilities, but not ones that trivialize gameplay (like a mods that basically play the game for you, or mark areas for you to stand to avoid mechanics during boss fights).
If Blizzard wanted to make keybinds against the rules, I'd be ok with that because it's their server. I wouldn't touch the game with a 10-foot-pole, but whatever. However, if I hacked together my own server (not using any assets they didn't provide to me), then that's my decision. The entirety of WotLK (scripts aside) is there on the disks. If I found a way to hack together a single-player game, "costing" Blizz my $15 a month, is that kosher? How about if I ripped the "GET OVER HERE YOU IDIOT" sound bite from the WoW data on my PC and used it as a ring tone? If I did that same thing with pet battle music? How am I looking now?

Legally, I'm pretty sure that's a grey area. But ethically? The data exists on my PC. Data you sold me usage rights for. I find that software companies are essentially able to enforce their own laws by making certain actions illegal based on some language. I don't believe that's how things should work.

I mean, anyone who played Jedi-Outcast remembers the "saber down = no attack" rules a lot of servers ran. Would LA or Raven Games have any right to say "you can't do that."? What if they put it in the EULA: "You run a full force deathmatch only server or you fuck off."

Same with WoW: I own the expansions. What moral reasoning do they have to stop me from cobbling together my own server using the assets they sold me? I can't think of many other retail sellers that can dictate HOW YOU USE what they sell you, as long as you aren't using it to make a profit without permission or for crime. But they can't just make something a crime by forcing you to accept an EULA you only get to see AFTER you've bought them game. And until recently: you could not return PC games without a lot of hassle.

For #6 and #7 specifically, I'd definitely say players have a right to make the modification to designate a new Master server. In effect, by shutting down their server, the developers are ending support for the software, and so as far as I'm concerned I consider the client program to be pseudo-open source, where you can do pretty much whatever you want with it as long as you don't make a profit off of it.
What if they still ran their own master server, but these players didn't want to deal with it? Should companies have the right to force users to play on their service (even if offered for free) because they own the actual rights to the software?

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
3. Users modify an .ini file (a glorified text file) to grant access to data the developer has locked on the disk and planned to unlock later with paid DLC (Mass Effect: Prothean Squad Member).
Provided they never unlocked it? Go ahead.
They did unlock it. I think it was part of the first DLC. Enabling the Prothean Squad member via the INI edit did not give you access to his missions (because that had to be downloaded): but his model and AI was already on the retail disc. So, you could select him as a squad member even though it made no sense in the context of the game that you could.

If you don't mind me asking, and if you have time: what's you reasoning for why you find these uses acceptable? I've kind of developed an echo chamber over the years: my friends and family (who care to talk about this) generally tend to agree with me or not know enough to debate it. Even if you agree, I'd look forward to reading some justifications because I find more than a few people who believe companies own all the rights and you're just a tourist. However, their arguments usually boil down to "hdurrr, your entitled thinking you own things you paid money for." They also tend to use the EULA as justification for the EULA.

User avatar
Elheru Aran
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11228
Joined: 2004-03-04 01:15am
Location: Georgia

Re: IP Rights WRT Software

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-12-23 01:37pm

IIRC: You can basically do a lot of things with the game, as long as you aren't mining its basic data for commercial use. Modifications for your own use and/or free use by other users are fine, but if you started slapping a price tag on the mod, that would be another matter.

Servers are more of a grey area as you're setting what rules the game is played by on your server, and some companies like that less than others. If you really wanted to make a legal argument of it, you probably could, but unless you have more money than the game company, you're likely to be starved out before you get anywhere.
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.

User avatar
Alyrium Denryle
Minister of Sin
Posts: 21731
Joined: 2002-07-11 08:34pm
Location: The Deep Desert
Contact:

Re: IP Rights WRT Software

Postby Alyrium Denryle » 2016-12-24 11:35am

If you don't mind me asking, and if you have time: what's you reasoning for why you find these uses acceptable? I've kind of developed an echo chamber over the years: my friends and family (who care to talk about this) generally tend to agree with me or not know enough to debate it. Even if you agree, I'd look forward to reading some justifications because I find more than a few people who believe companies own all the rights and you're just a tourist. However, their arguments usually boil down to "hdurrr, your entitled thinking you own things you paid money for." They also tend to use the EULA as justification for the EULA.


Unlocking a character who was never included is a bit different from unlocking a character who was. In the latter case, you are basically stealing something. In the former, you are restoring something that was lost or discarded that could add to the artistic value of the game (and yes, games are a form of art, sometimes even mass-cooperative art).

And this principle holds generally. Most of these boil down to "Am I stealing if I do this, or am I doing something else?"

Take the porn or other uses for in-game models (Red vs Blue comes to mind). In those case, if I do them, I am basically creating fanfiction or some other form of derivative artwork, and so long as I do not make a profit off of them directly (sometimes even if I do actually, if the work is original enough. Paintings of various characters in traditional japanese style, I am looking at you)

Enhancing user experience (graphical tweaks in your example) is the same way. Am I harming the devs in any way? No. Not at all. The same goes for certain other types of mods; like modding expanded homosexual romance options into Dragon Age:Origins*.

Now, if the company shuts down their servers, they are basically one step away from abandoning the IP in general, and certainly that game in particular. It is like someone abandoning a car in the desert, feel free to pick it up and file for a salvage title. It does not give you rights to everything of that make, so they are free to come out with a sequel...

But if they have not, well... such a thing is just ripe for theft, so no new servers for you!

(*)Dont judge me, all the good guys in that game were straight (read: Alastair) and I really really dont want my escapist wizard fantasy to reflect my non-existent love-life that closely. In that case, the devs basically read my optimal mate-selection criteria, created a character to match, and made him straight. It was ridiculous. It needed to be changed.
GALE Force Biological Agent/
BOTM/Great Dolphin Conspiracy/
Entomology and Evolutionary Biology Subdirector:SD.net Dept. of Biological Sciences


There is Grandeur in the View of Life; it fills me with a Deep Wonder, and Intense Cynicism.

User avatar
Civil War Man
NERRRRRDS!!!
Posts: 3404
Joined: 2005-01-28 03:54am

Re: IP Rights WRT Software

Postby Civil War Man » 2016-12-27 12:00pm

TheFeniX wrote:If Blizzard wanted to make keybinds against the rules, I'd be ok with that because it's their server. I wouldn't touch the game with a 10-foot-pole, but whatever. However, if I hacked together my own server (not using any assets they didn't provide to me), then that's my decision. The entirety of WotLK (scripts aside) is there on the disks. If I found a way to hack together a single-player game, "costing" Blizz my $15 a month, is that kosher? How about if I ripped the "GET OVER HERE YOU IDIOT" sound bite from the WoW data on my PC and used it as a ring tone? If I did that same thing with pet battle music? How am I looking now?


I differentiate a bit between single and multiplayer. Since, obviously, multiple people play a multiplayer game at the same time, exploits or mods that give one player an advantage are problematic because it can negatively impact other players. Basically, I find cheating or intentional griefing in a multiplayer setting to be unethical. Not necessarily on par with profiting off of someone else's work, or using it in commission of a crime, since that shoots pass unethical and lands in the territory of borderline or overt criminal, but definitely a dick move.

Single player though? Much fewer problems with that. Cheats and exploits there are on the same level as a mod that turns dragons into Macho Man Randy Savage as far as I'm concerned. Not necessarily my definition of fun, but not unethical.

Hacking together WoW code into a single-player game? Have fun. The $15 per month is for access to the multiplayer servers. May run into some issues if you pirated the code, but even then it's not that big a deal as long as you don't violate the "no profit" stipulation. Same with ripping music or audio for personal use.

I mean, anyone who played Jedi-Outcast remembers the "saber down = no attack" rules a lot of servers ran. Would LA or Raven Games have any right to say "you can't do that."? What if they put it in the EULA: "You run a full force deathmatch only server or you fuck off."


There isn't really anything stopping them from doing that, beyond bad press that might result. But there's also no problem with the saber down rule, since it is basically an etiquette rule that applies equally to everyone on the server and is meant to improve the experience of the people playing it. It's not all that much different from the CS:GO servers that ban the AWP.

What if they still ran their own master server, but these players didn't want to deal with it? Should companies have the right to force users to play on their service (even if offered for free) because they own the actual rights to the software?


I spoke specifically of abandoned games because without something designated as the master server, some or all of the game could be unplayable as a result of the devs shutting down their server. So there's no real ethical quandary when the choices are to modify the .ini or be unable to play.

There isn't anything necessarily unethical about doing it for a game where the devs have a live server, but the company does have a vested interest in having players use their service, for good or ill. Their reasons may include, but not be limited to, a) making money (when the service isn't free), b) concerns about protecting their IP, c) making sure everyone playing the game is using the same revision (more applicable for multiplayer), and d) protecting themselves from potential litigation (for example, if they condone the practice of people running their own servers, and someone makes one in order to do something illegal like steal people's personal information).

User avatar
TheFeniX
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3873
Joined: 2003-06-26 04:24pm
Location: Texas

Re: IP Rights WRT Software

Postby TheFeniX » 2016-12-27 03:15pm

Elheru Aran wrote:Servers are more of a grey area as you're setting what rules the game is played by on your server, and some companies like that less than others. If you really wanted to make a legal argument of it, you probably could, but unless you have more money than the game company, you're likely to be starved out before you get anywhere.
That's a big part of why I'm trying to stay away from legal arguments. If a billion dollar gaming company wants to crush me and my POS server box: they are going to. But if you release server code for me to run my own box as I see fit, do you have any ethical justification to stop me from doing so?

This is why I harp on the "sex stuff" for lack of a better term: the U.S. loses its shit over this stuff. Like the "Hot Coffee" mods for GTA:SA. It was literally some doggy-style clothed Dry Humping. I've seen worse on an average episode of Scrubs (sorry, been rewatching it on Netflix lately), but damned if Clinton wasn't going to DESTROY THE ROCKSTARS and their interwebs games of violence! Same with Faux news and the "porno game" Mass Effect. These are M rated games, mind you.

I just find it hypocritical for Blizzard to take free advertising on some of the hilarious machinas for Overwatch then be all "oh man, BOOBS! That might rile up the soccer moms! BANNED." To me, fair use isn't "fair use, unless we don't like what you're using it for."

Alyrium Denryle wrote:Unlocking a character who was never included is a bit different from unlocking a character who was. In the latter case, you are basically stealing something. In the former, you are restoring something that was lost or discarded that could add to the artistic value of the game (and yes, games are a form of art, sometimes even mass-cooperative art).
How does that pan though: they sold me the code. Just because they were dumb enough to include the relevant portions on the disc doesn't change that.

And this principle holds generally. Most of these boil down to "Am I stealing if I do this, or am I doing something else?"
Stealing requires me to take something that I don't own. I own usage rights to the code they sold me. That's my rub: their intent to sell/not sell doesn't apply as far as I'm concerned: they screwed up putting it on the disc in the first place. Same as if Sony (or whoever) put the "super-awesome DVD exclusive content blah blah" into the box for the Standard Edition. For a physical example: Ford sells me a Standard Edition whatever with the VIN XDEFGHD. But it turns out VIN XDEFGHD is actually a Ultimate Badass edition, but the papers were already signed.

To me, that actually has SOME justification for backing out on because you can prove a profit loss. Now, here's where my argument can fall apart: what if the opposite happens and the Ultimate badass edition is only the Standard? What if my awesome DVD is actually the standard? What if the code they sold me doesn't work?

Alyrium Denryle wrote:Unlocking a character who was never included is a bit different from unlocking a character who was. In the latter case, you are basically stealing something. In the former, you are restoring something that was lost or discarded that could add to the artistic value of the game (and yes, games are a form of art, sometimes even mass-cooperative art).
How does that pan though: they sold me the code. Just because they were dumb enough to include the relevant portions on the disc doesn't change that.

And this principle holds generally. Most of these boil down to "Am I stealing if I do this, or am I doing something else?"
Stealing requires me to take something that I don't own. I own usage rights to the code they sold me. That's my rub: their intent to sell/not sell doesn't apply as far as I'm concerned: they screwed up putting it on the disc in the first place. Now, what if say... they included Havok libraries on the disc, but they decided to pull them because they didn't want to cough up the money? But, it's all pretty much ready to go, just dummied out?

Civil War Man wrote:I differentiate a bit between single and multiplayer. Since, obviously, multiple people play a multiplayer game at the same time, exploits or mods that give one player an advantage are problematic because it can negatively impact other players. Basically, I find cheating or intentional griefing in a multiplayer setting to be unethical. Not necessarily on par with profiting off of someone else's work, or using it in commission of a crime, since that shoots pass unethical and lands in the territory of borderline or overt criminal, but definitely a dick move.
Good point, but what say, if any, should the creator of the game have on the way I run my server? What if that exploit gives "everyone" an advantage (bunny hopping / dolphin diving)? Should EA/Activision be able force server administrators to run patches that fix these exploits? What about something more on the etiquette side of things: run a script that auto-bans sexist/racist language on any servers? NOTE: I'm not talking about on XBLive or matchmaking "servers" controlled by the company (they obviously have a vested interest there), but on "My racist asshat server #13234"?

User avatar
Civil War Man
NERRRRRDS!!!
Posts: 3404
Joined: 2005-01-28 03:54am

Re: IP Rights WRT Software

Postby Civil War Man » 2016-12-28 12:11pm

TheFeniX wrote:Good point, but what say, if any, should the creator of the game have on the way I run my server? What if that exploit gives "everyone" an advantage (bunny hopping / dolphin diving)? Should EA/Activision be able force server administrators to run patches that fix these exploits? What about something more on the etiquette side of things: run a script that auto-bans sexist/racist language on any servers? NOTE: I'm not talking about on XBLive or matchmaking "servers" controlled by the company (they obviously have a vested interest there), but on "My racist asshat server #13234"?


I don't think there's a really straightforward answer for that. It depends on how the exploit affects the design space of the game, I guess. If it gives "everyone" an advantage, but is such a major advantage that it becomes the only really viable build or strategy, then I think the creator is well within their right to try to stamp it out (a good example being the old Patron Warrior in Hearthstone, though I don't agree with Blizzard's decision to fix it by making Warsong Commander one of the worst cards in the game). If it actually opens up new builds or strategies, the way rocket jumping or the glitch that resulted in the TF2 Spy did, I think it's a good idea for the creator to embrace it.

It's also hard to say, because these days the servers being controlled by the company is the rule rather than the exception. If you set up a server that never communicates with the company servers, so it's only accessible in something like a LAN party, there really isn't much the company can do to stop you from using old builds (as long as you never use the official servers) or not enforcing certain rules in place on the official servers. It is often in the company's interest to discourage setups like that, though, whether the reason is monetary, legal, or simply not wanting the game community to be segmented.

User avatar
TheFeniX
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3873
Joined: 2003-06-26 04:24pm
Location: Texas

Re: IP Rights WRT Software

Postby TheFeniX » 2016-12-28 01:26pm

I think that's the main point: developers and publishers are much more active in their games after release than they've ever been. Sure, MMOs (and even MUDs) have been around forever, but those were one of the few genres where you were "forced" to play a certain way. FPS developers released dedicated server builds of their software and dumped hosting costs off onto the user. Even before that, virtual networks (such as the MSN gaming zone) provided third-party "hosted" content for LAN only games.

EDIT: Hosting costs are a pittance of what they used to be, even though on the consumer end they are still relatively high. But the cost of hardware for large amounts of hosting has pretty much bottomed out.

As we trudge on into the future, we're only going to get more and more into the online only aspects, especially with digital distribution (Steam) being the monolith it is and Origin and Microsoft Live (HA!) moving up the ladder. GOG seems to be the only hold-out. Maybe I'm just mad that the developer has any say in how I run a game after release and it's easily enforceable on their end. And this makes me a bit of a hypocrite. IIRC: Doom and Wolf3D shareware versions were easily "hacked" into becoming the full game (because it was all on the disc). I would have and did shame anyone who wouldn't cough up the money for such a solid game. But now I want to metaphorically punch Bioware in the dick for releasing day 1 DLC that I would happily tell anyone how to access that data without paying.

But, Bethesda could come along right now and break every single mod for Skyrim, Skyrim SE, and Fallout 4 and there's nothing I could do about it but cry on the Internet. I could spend thousands supporting Warframe and get banned for any number of reasons, making the entire account garbage. Diablo 3 is online only specifically because Blizzard wanted to gouge the shit out of us. Overwatch gets compared to TF2 on every level but the one that really matters to me (tick rate aside): I'm forced to play with random assholes using their matchmaking system.

I remember how ruthless we were about many things on our servers, but mainly about racist/sexist comments. You were gone, just poof. Dealing with the XBLive system was bad enough and the lack of any REAL options to deal with it. And now that's bleeding more and more into PC gaming at a level where I'd rather just hack my own servers together and tell everyone to fuck off. Games like Heroes of the Storm and those in the same vein: I only use them to blow off steam.

It's a young mans game I think and I'm just becoming a dinosaur. I'll likely continue to bitch incessantly about FallScrolls games and still buy them on sale because even though their DLCs have become cash-grabs, at the least (for now), when it comes to modifying the code, they're like: "fuck it, whatever." They haven't even attempted to break the mod the enables achievements when you mod.


Return to “Science, Logic, And Morality”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests