Monday, January 27, 2014

Minecraft's EULA gets less hazy

The latest ruckus involving Minecraft modders was resolved yesterday when Mojang developer Grum had a dialog on reddit with EnDeLe, who posts on MCF under the name EnzerDeLeo. In the course of this exchange it was discovered that Mojang's Marc Watson responded incorrectly to a question that EnDeLe asked him last month via Twitter.

The question that EnDeLe asked was whether the section of the EULA titled 'Content' referred to mods. Marc answered incorrectly that it did.

As we found out from Grum, to Mojang content means what players create while in-game moving blocks around. The EULA says "…you must also let us permit other people to use, copy, modify and adapt your content" because anything a player builds gets downloaded by the server onto other player's computers, and of course anyone playing on that server can modify anything.

The 'Content' section of Minecraft's EULA is four paragraphs and does not cover mods.

In contrast, mods only get a couple of mentions:

First in the section Using Our Game:
If you've bought the Game, you may play around with it and modify it. We'd appreciate it if you didn't use this for griefing, though, and remember not to distribute the changed versions of our software. Basically, mods (or plugins, or tools) are cool (you can distribute those), hacked versions of the Game client or server are not (you can't distribute those).
And then in the section Ownership Of Our Game And Other Things:
Any tools you write for the Game from scratch belong to you. Modifications to the Game ("Mods") (including pre-run Mods and in-memory Mods) and plugins for the Game also belong to you and you can do whatever you want with them, as long as you don't sell them for money / try to make money from them. We have the final say on what constitutes a tool/mod/plugin and what doesn't.
There are still unresolved questions about how the EULA pertains to mods, but yesterday's conversation cleared up Mojang's earlier miscommunication.

EnDeLe has played a major role in clarifying questions regarding Mojang's EULA; the Marc Watson tweet I wrote about last month was in response to a question from him.

[Some material in the first paragraph was moved from the first update to yesterday's story at the request of EnDeLe.]

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