Workshop Paid Mods

Not about OpenMW? Just about Morrowind in general? Have some random babble? Kindly direct it here.
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Greywander
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Greywander » 27 Apr 2015, 00:23

Indeed, it's not like mods are the only things that work like this. Art and code theft are already issues people have to deal with, but that doesn't stop them from creating and sharing it, or from taking action against thieves. An easy solution would be to use a well known standardized license for your mod or asset, although I'm not sure whether Creative Commons or something like GPL/MIT/BSD would work better. I suppose actual mods are technically software, so GPL/MIT/BSD or similar would be more appropriate, while assets like 3D models, textures, or sounds would be more CC.

Also, it's important for people to understand that just because something is distributed under a noncommercial license, that doesn't mean you can't still contact the license holder and get permission to use it for commercial purposes. There's a difference between trying to shut down or stifle commercial activity, and simply wanting to maintain control over how your work gets used commercially. Like I said, deal with people ethically and honestly, and they'll be more willing to work with you.

This isn't an argument about Capitalism vs. Communism, or Commercialism vs. Art, it's about intellectual property rights. The fear of exploitation is valid, and we're seeing it even now, within days (if not minutes) of paid mods becoming a thing. And while paid mods might be a new idea, it's not really different from a lot of other paid vs. free content floating around the web. Attach a proper license to your work and enforce it as you are able, and things should be fine. (On that note, the Steam Workshop might need some tweaking, for example refunding people who bought stolen content and banning thieves for life (don't you have to give personal info to upload a paid mod?). Fortunately, thieves are unlikely to see any money with the minimum $400 in sales required to get paid.)

While I'd certainly like to see a full game made for OpenMW that was free and open source, a commercial incentive might help get something out sooner, and could lead to the creation of a free game that used some of the same assets.

EDIT: Looking at the FAQ on the Open Source Initiative website, it seems like Open Source Software cannot restrict how people use the software. So yes, since OpenMW and OpenMW-CS are Open Source, people will be able to make and sell mods using them. If you want to stop someone from using your mod in a commercial work, then use a copyleft license like GPL. For non-software assets, use a Creative Commons Non Commercial license. I think. I'm not a lawyer or copyright expert, but I think I got it right.

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psi29a
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by psi29a » 27 Apr 2015, 08:09

GPL and similar licenses are for software only. Generally, if you create assets, you want something like the creative commons license and dial it in to your liking.

If you DO NOT expressly state a license, then the default happens... meaning ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No one has the right to use your work without express permission by you. It is then UP TO YOU to set the terms, as in, a license like the CC.

When in doubt, ask. :)
The Berne Convention states that unless explicitly stated otherwise, all rights are reserved. Further, a copyright law may not require any formalities as a condition for copyright protection.
http://www.iusmentis.com/copyright/allrightsreserved/

And if case you missed it, here in blue, are all the countries signed to the Berne Convention:
Image

SquireNed
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by SquireNed » 27 Apr 2015, 17:39

See, I don't actually mind paid mods, but there needs to be a coherent effort taken to protect third-party content creators from other third-party content creators. With parties like the SKSE creators coming out with a laissez-faire approach to others using their work, here's the brief list of why I actually kind of like paid mods.

1. Legitimization of third-party content creators. This is crucial because we see some truly idiotic mod-related IP cases, and while modders have always almost been in the right when it comes to copyright (the exception being IP-related projects, like Aliens mods for games that don't originally incorporate Aliens IP, which can be considered infringement, though it's still worthless to do so), they have often been hit with C&D or otherwise that stems from an unenforceable contract or misinterpretations of copyright law.

2. Financial incentive to support modding. While it is unlikely that companies will entirely shut down free modding, they now have a reason to include increased flexibility for gameplay and content modifications. I look at a game like Microsoft's (Microsoft's!) Dungeon Siege (and Dungeon Siege 2, but not Dungeon Siege 3) as being an example of a game with absurdly good mod support; its mod support is in some ways better than some of the Elder Scrolls, as core engine code is itself modifiable (including things like the camera), and it can be edited with very few tools (the TES:CS and GECK have always been too obtuse for me, though I actually like the OpenMW CS). Dungeon Siege's mod support was explicitly created for commercial interest; it was made by a lot of the former developers of Total Annihilation, which gained a long life span and greater appeal through modding.

3. Support to modders. This last part is a little dubious, I will admit. There are going to be issues with content appropriation, and there aren't any signs that the previous voluntary donation system was an epic failure for providing some modicum of financial support. I think adding in pay what you want options (as Steam is planning on doing) will help with this, and preserve some of the free modding that people are claiming will die as a result of this.

Chris
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Chris » 27 Apr 2015, 23:53

SquireNed wrote:1. Legitimization of third-party content creators. This is crucial because we see some truly idiotic mod-related IP cases, and while modders have always almost been in the right when it comes to copyright (the exception being IP-related projects, like Aliens mods for games that don't originally incorporate Aliens IP, which can be considered infringement, though it's still worthless to do so), they have often been hit with C&D or otherwise that stems from an unenforceable contract or misinterpretations of copyright law.
What do you mean by "legitimization"? Mods that rely on someone else's IP is just as much of a no-no as before. Actually it'd be an even bigger no-no if the person is selling it.

You can actually expect an even bigger crackdown on mods that rely on others' IP, because whereas before they'd turn a blind eye to some of it as free advertising, they'll instead want to be paid for that advertising once they realize they can be.
2. Financial incentive to support modding. While it is unlikely that companies will entirely shut down free modding, they now have a reason to include increased flexibility for gameplay and content modifications.
Money doesn't come from nowhere. If game makers in general put more effort into making their modding tools pleb-friendly, they're going to want to see a return on that extra work. And we'll be the ones to pick up the cost.

Modding already provides financial incentive, as it vastly increases the game's longevity. People are still buying Morrowind to this day, and much of that is due to the wealth of mods available. The game may be from 2002, but it's not stuck in 2002. But imagine if those mods were put behind a pay wall. Suddenly it's less attractive because not only would have have to buy the game, but you'll also have to buy the mods to update it.

TES already straddles the line when it comes to mods making the game. I'm sure most people here have some must-have mods for Morrowind, Oblivion, and/or Skyrim, and playing without those mods removes a good bit of the enjoyment. So for future titles you can look forward to having to pay more after buying the game to get it into a state that you find most enjoyable. It's like mini-DLC on steroids.
3. Support to modders. This last part is a little dubious, I will admit. There are going to be issues with content appropriation, and there aren't any signs that the previous voluntary donation system was an epic failure for providing some modicum of financial support. I think adding in pay what you want options (as Steam is planning on doing) will help with this, and preserve some of the free modding that people are claiming will die as a result of this.
Steam already has a pay-what-you-want option for mods, but it's up to the modder to set the price range. But even if Valve forced it for all mods and had it to go ludicrously low, that wouldn't really help matters considering the size of the cut Valve takes. As it is, a single mod selling for $5 can be a bit on the pricey side (considering the number of mods a person typically has, if several of them were that much..), and Valve won't give the modder anything until it sells 80 copies at that price, where they'll then give $100. Lower the price, and it'll need to sell more before the modder gets their $100. This is by no means a viable method for supporting modders financially. If you really want to support modders, donations work much better since it all goes directly to the modder, and it doesn't create a pay wall.

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Mistahtokyo
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Mistahtokyo » 28 Apr 2015, 02:00

Looks like it's all ogre! Paid mods are gone, at least for the time being.
http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/151699 ... -workshop/

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Okulo
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Okulo » 28 Apr 2015, 06:29

Valve came out with it first, right after Bethesda explained why they were totally going to have paid mods. Shit has been moving a bit too fast for Beth, it seems. :)

ezze
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by ezze » 28 Apr 2015, 06:39

Since the discussion become fairly deep please avoid the use “Intellectual property,” it makes no sense and it is confusing.

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to ... alProperty

Personally as free software advocate my position is pretty much the usual, if you convince people giving money to you: great. But stating absurd rights on digital media is insane and unpractical.

SquireNed
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by SquireNed » 28 Apr 2015, 08:20

ezze wrote:Since the discussion become fairly deep please avoid the use “Intellectual property,” it makes no sense and it is confusing.

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to ... alProperty

Personally as free software advocate my position is pretty much the usual, if you convince people giving money to you: great. But stating absurd rights on digital media is insane and unpractical.
As much as I love GNU and the open source movement*, IP is an important legal concept, and their whole "words to avoid list" really amounts to little more than attention grabbing and pedantics. More importantly, the use of IP in the context of this discussion does apply to things other than just copyright.

Basically, the argument is that by loosening control on their IP (both in terms of the copyright, but also when dealing with the fact that modders will be using the game itself as an advertising vehicle and therefore potentially cross over into the realm of trademark, and for moral rights where such things would apply to published software), we will see improvements in the realm of intellectual property laws. Basically, by acknowledging that first-parties are not the be-all end-all when it comes to modifications of their work, and formally codifying terms and conditions for third-parties to modify others' original content, we move toward a more open and enlightened basis for copyright and other IP law.

* Yeah, I know they want to be called the "free software movement", but I'm lumping them in with the larger FOSS community because I can.

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psi29a
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by psi29a » 28 Apr 2015, 08:31

ezze wrote:Since the discussion become fairly deep please avoid the use “Intellectual property,” it makes no sense and it is confusing.

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to ... alProperty

Personally as free software advocate my position is pretty much the usual, if you convince people giving money to you: great. But stating absurd rights on digital media is insane and unpractical.
You can't wish IP away, please read my post above because more than likely, your jurisdiction is also covered by the Berne Convention.

You can't just use someone else's work without their permission. If there is no permission to give, then you can't use it. If they have explicitly stated that you may use their work, you may do so but under their rules. In OpenMW's case, it is the GPLv3.

Your rights stop where mine begin.

K0kt409P
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by K0kt409P » 28 Apr 2015, 09:21

SquireNed wrote:IP is an important legal concept
psi29a wrote:You can't wish IP away
You are both missing the point. "Intellectual property" tries to lump together a number of loosely related legal terms, such as copyright, trademarks, and patents, into a single concept. The ideas covered by "intellectual property" are different enough that the result is vague and confusing, bordering on meaningless. The FSF simply recommends using each of those terms on their own instead of talking about "intellectual property".

What is more interesting is the reason why someone would want to lump these concepts together, and why they would choose to call the combination "intellectual property". It is clearly an attempt to draw an analogy to property rights, i.e. the idea that if I make or buy a physical object, that object becomes my property and I have the right to do with it as I please. Property rights are extremely deeply ingrained in our culture, but do not translate directly into the world of immaterial objects. Unlike physical objects, information can be copied infinitely at virtually no cost once it has been created.
psi29a wrote:Your rights stop where mine begin.
And where is that, exactly? It is often the case that your rights and mine conflict, and that is where we as a society must step in and decide whose rights trump whose. The Berne convention would have us believe that the consumer of "intellectual property" has no rights whatsoever, other than what the author deigns to grant her. This is not an obvious state of affairs, but a very real encroachment on the consumer's right to study and understand a piece of information, to modify it to better suit her needs, and to share it with her neighbors to help them in turn. Conversely, if the consumer were allowed all these rights in full, that would be an encroachment on the author's right to control her creation. Copyright law is not a trivial matter; the current implementation leans heavily in favor of content creators over content consumers, but it is far from obvious that this is the best way to do things.

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