Dissecting the EULA of the mod tools

Started by Giftheck, October 14, 2017, 07:07:45 AM

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October 14, 2017, 07:07:45 AM Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 11:27:03 AM by Gistech
So, with recent... events, I figured it was best to dissect the EULA.

So, let's begin with this first statement.

QuoteThe computer program, printed materials or on-line or electronic documentation, if any, and other components and all copies of such materials as such as may be modified or updated that are being released including, without limitation, the level editor for the computer software game (the "Game") entitled Star Wars Battlefront  (collectively referred to as the "Software"), are the copyrighted property of LucasArts, a division of Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. and/or its affiliated entities or divisions, and its licensors (collectively referred to as "LucasArts").  The Software is non-exclusively licensed (not sold) to you, and LucasArts owns and/or controls all copyright, trade secret, patent and other proprietary rights in the Software.  LucasArts may make improvements or updates to the Software at any time and with or without notice to you, which may be made available to you as LucasArts may determine. 

For all intents and purposes, we can assume these rights would have been absorbed back into LucasFilm once the studio shut down, so read "LucasArts" as "LucasFilm.

QuoteAll rights not specifically granted under this Agreement are reserved by LucasArts and, as applicable, their licensors.  You may not:  (1) except as may be required in connection with the installation of the Software, copy the Software; (2) distribute, rent, lease, sublicense or otherwise commercially exploit all or any portion of the Software; (3) modify or prepare derivative works of the Software, except as otherwise may be specifically allowed herein; (4) reverse engineer the Software, derive source code, or otherwise attempt to reconstruct or discover any underlying source code, ideas, algorithms, file formats, programming or interoperability interfaces of the Software by any means whatsoever, except to the extent expressly permitted by law despite a contractual provision to the contrary, and then only after you have notified LucasArts in writing of your intended activities; (5) remove, disable, or circumvent any proprietary notices or labels that may be contained on or within the Software; (6) export or re-export the Software or any copy or adaptation thereof in violation of any applicable laws or regulations; or (7) commercially exploit the Software.

Technically this clause alone forbids us from creating any large-scale mods of the game, like Main Play Mod, Battlefront Legacy, Battlefront 1.5 etc. However, LucasArts, and by extension LucasFilm, have tolerated this so long as we don't 'overstep our boundaries', so to speak.

However, counter to this is the following phrase:

QuoteRules Governing New Levels:  LucasArts is under no obligation to make any features in the Game that will allow you to create New Levels.  If  LucasArts determines, in its sole discretion, to make such features available, then the following will apply: "New Levels" are data that modify, add to, or substitute for data in the Game, thus modifying, adding to, or replacing levels provided by LucasArts in the Game, and may also include saved games, and scenarios created using the skirmish features of the Game.  New Levels may be permitted by LucasArts, in its sole discretion, subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement and the following additional conditions:

This allows for the modification of the game, which is given a different term over a custom map (run from Addon). Let's take a look at these conditions.

Quote(1)     New Levels may work only if used in combination with the retail version of the Game, and may not work with any demo or Original Equipment Manufacturer (generally known as "OEM") versions of the Game.  New Levels may not be designed to be used as a stand-alone product.

I don't think anybody's going to argue with this one. I'm sure we all own a retail copy of the game from which we run mods from. I'd doubt mods could even be created for a demo version, TBH.

Quote(2)     New Levels may not modify any COM, EXE, DLL or other executable files. 

Here's a sticking point, because in order to run SWBFSpy, we have had to modify the executeable. On top of that, there is an entire discussion thread here about how we might go about improving the game exe. I wonder if this rule could be considered 'defunct' given the age of the engine and the fact support has been completely dropped for the title.

Quote(3)     New Levels must not contain any illegal, scandalous, illicit, defamatory, libelous, or objectionable material (as may be determined by LucasArts in its sole discretion), or any material that infringes any trademarks, copyrights, protected works, publicity, proprietary, or other rights of any third party or of LucasArts. 

Pretty self-explanatory. The intriguing thing about this clause is that it explicitly says we can't violate the copyright of LucasArts, but this is not explained very well. Does this mean they're saying we can't use content inspired by their other works? I'm pretty sure it's not, otherwise it would exclusively say this.

It's also not outright saying we can't use it to create things, or use things not based on Star Wars or LucasFilm properties, but rather saying that we have to have the permission of the rights-holder to do so. For instance, there's a Halo mod out there that is perfectly fine to make for SWBF2 because Microsoft allows that usage of their Halo license. However if we wanted to, say, use a clip from a Star Trek soundtrack, we have to seek explicit permission to use it in this setting. This rule applies to everything under copyright: stories, characters, settings, film, music etc.

On the LucasArts part of that clause, it is trumped by the recently-updated EULAs of most LucasArts games, as updated by Disney, which all state that content from those games is okay to use in a non-profit setting (which only covers LucasArts-era titles, some mobile games and titles directly released by Disney - see this topic)

Quote(4)     New Levels may not include any LucasArts sound effects or music files or portions thereof. 

The interesting thing about this one is that LucasArts owned the right to use these but they don't own the rights to them outright: that has always rested with LucasFilm. In essence, it's saying you're not allowed to use any sound used in LucasArts titles. This does, in fact, extend to unofficial projects as well: so for instance, using Star Wars: Battlefront III sounds is as much a violation of this term as using sounds from the 1999 Phantom Menace game. I've ignored this condition under the strict proviso that I credit where I got the sound from and I use as little as I can get away with using. I think this is a rule that can safely be ignored as long as you don't overstep the boundaries (IE no replacing every sound effect in the game with the sounds from SWBFEA)

Quote(5)     New Levels must identify in every description file, on-line description, read-me, and in comments in the New Level code (if new code is added): (a) the name, address, and e-mail address of the level's creators, and (b) the following disclaimer: "THIS LEVEL IS NOT MADE, DISTRIBUTED, OR SUPPORTED BY LUCASARTS, A DIVISION OF LUCASFILM ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LTD.  ELEMENTS TM & (C) LUCASARTS, A DIVISION OF LUCASFILM ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LTD."

I think this one is fair enough, we all do it, or are supposed to, though I might add that we might need to rephrase this now that LucasArts is defunct, so it instead refers only to LucasFilm.

Quote(6)     New Levels may not be sold, bartered, or distributed with any other product for which any charge is made (other than incidental charges for time spent on-line), but rather must be distributed free of charge at all times.

Pretty much self-explanatory: don't sell your mods.

Quote(7)     By distributing or permitting the distribution of any New Levels, all creators or owners of any trademark, copyright, or other right, title or interest therein: (a) grant to LucasArts an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable right to distribute or exploit the New Level by any means or media (whether now known or hereafter invented), and to create and distribute by any means or media (whether now known or hereafter invented) derivative works thereof, and to charge for the distribution of such New Level or such derivative work, with no obligation to account to any creators or owners of the New Level in any manner, and (b) waive and covenant not to assert in any forum any and all moral rights (including, without limitation, rights of paternity, attribution, integrity, and participation), and authorize LucasArts to publish and exploit the New Levels (including any portions and derivatives thereof) in its sole discretion without attributing any of the foregoing to me or identifying me in connection therewith.

Basically, this says that, if LucasArts had wanted to, they could use your ideas without crediting you. It's never happened, as I personally know they consider these things as 'unsolicited ideas', but it's a reminder that your work, at least in this case, is technically not yours.

Quote(8 )     LucasArts may revoke your right or permission to use, distribute or make New Levels at any time and in its sole discretion.

This one's the one that got people worried at the start, but EA have said they have no intentions of excercising this right or forcing LucasFilm to do so.

Everything beyond that is legalese "we're not covering any damage to you or your property" and "we own these rights", so it's not neccesary to include them in this post. But this is a handy little reference for those unsure of the terms of the EULA.
In Progress:
--Star Wars: Battlefront - Anniversary Edition (formerly Star Wars: Battlefront - Legacy Edition)
--Endor: Imperial Base

On Hold:
--Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron For SWBF1

I took a quick look at the SWBF2 tools license and it's identical, so this one could do with being in both SWBF an SWBF2 boards.
In Progress:
--Star Wars: Battlefront - Anniversary Edition (formerly Star Wars: Battlefront - Legacy Edition)
--Endor: Imperial Base

On Hold:
--Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron For SWBF1

Quote from: Gistech on October 14, 2017, 12:13:38 PM
I took a quick look at the SWBF2 tools license and it's identical, so this one could do with being in both SWBF an SWBF2 boards.

Thanks, I suggest you copy it and post it, that way the proper attribution is easily seen.
Quote from: Abraham Lincoln. on November 04, 1971, 12:34:40 PM
Don't believe everything you read on the internet