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gammadust

"Opening up Arma 3 to paid user-made content" - How?

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Not sure how you came to that conclusion. Contracted work most definitely requires deadlines. Evidently you've never done contracted work before.

Are you sure I haven't?

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Exactly, you have nothing to prove otherwise. Contracts by definition are legally binding terms that govern the conduct of business and related fields, to be short. So... A paid modder, or not paid modder, is not under any contract to provide a service or quality for his or her product. So let's say that the allowed paid people to sell their stuff on Steam, and provided a contract to produce quality material in the interests of X game. THAT would define a standard to be set by the company (Since it's for their product) and therefore could be reneged should the modder or seller not provide content to that standard, correct? Fact is if they're going to open it up and take their chances, such as now for unpaid mods. I have no legal obligation to provide an update to my mod as I'm not contractually bound by anybody to do so. Hence, if BIS said in their contract "You will update your mod according to these terms, you will update it every two weeks if needed." And I fail to deliver they can revoke that contract. Or Eagle Dynamics (in past experience) saying "We need you to provide textures for X product" and for a particular module, I have to do so, until I'm told by Eagle Dynamics employees (Lead Texture Artist, Cthulu himself, whoever) that I have fulfilled my end of the deal, and so on. If I fail to then my NDA is revoked and so on, so it behooves me to fulfill my end of the deal, so if they come back and for some reason accuse me of not doing it, then I would be shit out of luck and can't find more work. But since you can't do that in any form or fashion given user created content, the idea of a contract is a moot point and totally irrelevant given the way modders operate in the first place and would end up being totally unfeasible. SO if you charge for a mod and act like a jackass about it, then why would I download and purchase your mod? So again, there is no point to a contract that may not be fulfilled other than maybe not using proprietary data or not allowed to resell licensed data (which in itself is prohibited by the EULA), and therefore I would have to readjust my mod, maybe remove some things, charge for free, and then charge for whatever is actually my content.

It was a nice discussion for a day but you have a good one okay?

Edited by EricJ

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Exactly, you have nothing to prove otherwise. Contracts by definition are legally binding terms that govern the conduct of business and related fields, to be short. So... A paid modder, or not paid modder, is not under any contract to provide a service or quality for his or her product. So let's say that the allowed paid people to sell their stuff on Steam, and provided a contract to produce quality material in the interests of X game. THAT would define a standard to be set by the company (Since it's for their product) and therefore could be reneged should the modder or seller not provide content to that standard, correct? Fact is if they're going to open it up and take their chances, such as now for unpaid mods. I have no legal obligation to provide an update to my mod as I'm not contractually bound by anybody to do so. Hence, if BIS said in their contract "You will update your mod according to these terms, you will update it every two weeks if needed." And I fail to deliver they can revoke that contract. Or Eagle Dynamics (in past experience) saying "We need you to provide textures for X product" and for a particular module, I have to do so, until I'm told by Eagle Dynamics employees (Lead Texture Artist, Cthulu himself, whoever) that I have fulfilled my end of the deal, and so on. If I fail to then my NDA is revoked and so on, so it behooves me to fulfill my end of the deal, so if they come back and for some reason accuse me of not doing it, then I would be shit out of luck and can't find more work. But since you can't do that in any form or fashion given user created content, the idea of a contract is a moot point and totally irrelevant given the way modders operate in the first place and would end up being totally unfeasible. SO if you charge for a mod and act like a jackass about it, then why would I download and purchase your mod? So again, there is no point to a contract that may not be fulfilled other than maybe not using proprietary data or not allowed to resell licensed data (which in itself is prohibited by the EULA), and therefore I would have to readjust my mod, maybe remove some things, charge for free, and then charge for whatever is actually my content.

It was a nice discussion for a day but you have a good one okay?

If you sell a product you enter a legal contract with your customer, at least in the EU, I understand it´s different in the US.

Simply said, what Valve and their partners already do with Greenlight and Early access is boderline illegal in the EU. If anybody would bother to sue them for it they would be in deep shit (they already have trouble with the EU because of consumer protection law violations).

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Interesting, which country law is applicable for online international transactions? Not sure, if what you're descripting is the thing in Poland, but sounds, like something wider, than consumer laws, I'm awared of in Poland. Don't know much about this though.

Anyway. If such thing applies here, what such "legal contract" have to contain by defult? How widely it may be modified? You we're talking earlier about some minimal support time etc. I pressume, in your country it applies to things like software, not anything - that would be an absurd. Is this such obligatory part of this "legal contract"? What's the minimal length of such thing in the law, you're talking about? What exactly BI guaranteed to you when you bought (entered "legal contract" with BI) Arma from them? And if you would buy Arma not from them directly, but from some game shop - with who you're entering this "legal contract"? Especially - what time of support (under refund, I pressume) was guaranteed to you by the seller (BI?)?

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As per Steam Subscriber Agreement:

10. APPLICABLE LAW/JURISDICTION

(...)

For EU Subscribers:

You agree that this Agreement shall be deemed to have been made and executed in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and that it is subject to the laws of Luxembourg, excluding the law of conflicts and the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). However, where the laws of Luxembourg provide a lower degree of consumer protection than the laws of your country of residence, the consumer protection laws of your country shall prevail. In any dispute arising under this Agreement, the prevailing party will be entitled to attorneys’ fees and expenses.

I generaly find Valve's conduct towards consumers in positive light. The above is one of the reasons to their credit.

EDIT:

Now regarding mods being sold, and mod authors responsabilities towards their potential clients:

As long as the product delivered is not advertised as one thing and sold another, nothing would be wrong. But authors should keep in mind that there are legitimate expectations in regards to paid-for products. Since this would be in a way a novel market, the closest product that should serve as minimum reference would be a game's DLC, or in Arma's case it's DLC.

In Steam Workshop's Case, AFAICT, the seller is Steam, the contract is between the buyer and Steam (ie. not buyer and mod author), it is Steam's responsability to make sure mod authors don't fail the contract, it is also their responsability to offer garantees to their paying costumers. This is another strong reason in favour of Curation.

Edited by gammadust

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As mod person, I agree curation should be the way forward, but from Steam/BI's pov, there is no way they will do any sort of curation.

1 - it would cost money and eat into profits (why manage it when the community will do it for free with reporting etc?)

2 - Most importantly; Curation implies responsibility. So by Steam/BI curating the workshop, it infers they have legal duty of care over what's on sale there blah blah blah.

But what company in their right mind would take responsibility for "authors" potentially uploading:

1 - stolen IP from other games/films/albums

2 - Pornography or otherwise questionable moral content

3 - Potential security risks (harmful extensions etc).

Potentially, they could have the shirt off their back sued from them if something like that was on the Workshop for even 10 minutes and they were the "curator" (ie person(s) of legal responsibility).

Ok I understand this can happen anyway, but by not curating directly, they can say "we acted when we realised what was going on" and pass the buck.

That is why there will be no contract and no responsibility and no curation.

They will do the minimum required to sell mod authors work, while absolving themselves of any responsibility of the content their marketplace contains.

I would do the same if I was them tbh.

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That is a very interesting point, the consumer enters a contract with the supplier, but who is that? Is it Valve? Is it the mod author? Because if it is the mod author then this whole thing is again, illegal because the mod author would (per german law BGB §246a) be obliged to disclose his full identity to the buyer.

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You pay valve the money. they distribute it and have all the power about the money. Valve has full idendity of the mod author. Where is the problem? If problems come you report to valve.

1 - it would cost money and eat into profits (why manage it when the community will do it for free with reporting etc?)

2 - Most importantly; Curation implies responsibility. So by Steam/BI curating the workshop, it infers they have legal duty of care over what's on sale there blah blah blah.

It's one thing to curate stupid hats for TF2. It's another thing to curate something that can take several days of in depth looking to say if something is or isn't allowed/harmfull, because its too complex for just a quick look. Reactionary curation (means users create tickets in case shit happens, ticket gets looked at) is the only viable way.

I don't understand the fear about harmfull (damaging) things in mods... how often does it happen now? Why would somebody go at lengths to do something harmfull, where the "victims" would have to pay first (and valve having all the power to withheld money and the bank data of the offender)?

Not only would you have to create the malicious thing, in addition you would need actual content to convince people to buy it first and face likely legal consqeuences. It would be much easier to distribute it for free so it can harm as many people as possible...

Edited by Fennek

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It's one thing to curate stupid hats for TF2. It's another thing to curate something that can take several days of in depth looking to say if something is or isn't allowed/harmfull, because its too complex for just a quick look. Reactionary curation (means users create tickets in case shit happens, ticket gets looked at) is the only viable way.

Which is exactly what I said Fennek. I don't believe Steam/BI would curate themselves. They will leave it to the users.

I don't understand the fear about harmfull (damaging) things in mods... how often does it happen now? Why would somebody go at lengths to do something harmfull, where the "victims" would have to pay first (and valve having all the power to withheld money and the bank data of the offender)?

Not only would you have to create the malicious thing, in addition you would need actual content to convince people to buy it first and face likely legal consqeuences. It would be much easier to distribute it for free so it can harm as many people as possible...

Well those are the pitfalls, likely or not.

Personally I think stolen content would be the #1 thing to be uploaded. If I was hosting content, I wouldn't want to be legally liable for someone else uploading stolen textures/models etc, and I can't see steam or BI wanting to be either.

Also, fyi "Potential security risks" != malicious software.

You can create a vulnerability without trying to be malicious. See this BIS link about shittily coded extensions...

Edited by Das Attorney

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So the companies don't want to be responsible for content but are ok making money off of if. .. something about a gravy train from pages in this thread past... lol

obviously no mod dependencies or do they pay royalties... obviously this is income so I'm sure modders will declare as income for tax purposes... so 25% of mod payment less tax... if bis breaks a mod with an update who is responsible... no one? Too bad so sad?

You paid for what it was when u transfered payment... modders would have no responsibility to keep mods working despite accepting payment??

This is gonna be a total success LOL

my understanding is that if a mod is pulled due to infringement then it is not visible but still available to people who already got ibtl. How is that ok... really it's because no one wants to handle the refund. ie loss of revenue already received...

And if that is then broken with an update it is gone because it cannot be updated altho it really should have been pulled and refunded in the first place

to be fair...

If bis said they will Curate and valve will distribute mods at a

25% bis, 20% valve, and 55% modder rate

AND

bis will curate for that 25%

AND

Mods would have to go through a transparent process comprising _x approvals all shown online as each mod was approved at each stage

AND THEN

was priced according to a bis pricing model

that is a different story...

Edited by CosmiC10R

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As mod person, I agree curation should be the way forward, but from Steam/BI's pov, there is no way they will do any sort of curation.

1 - it would cost money and eat into profits (why manage it when the community will do it for free with reporting etc?)

2 - Most importantly; Curation implies responsibility. So by Steam/BI curating the workshop, it infers they have legal duty of care over what's on sale there blah blah blah.

1. Agree.

2. Of course Valve excuses itself from any responsability. We all know the infamous disclaimers.

Legal arguments:

5. THIRD PARTY CONTENT

In regard to all Subscriptions, Contents and Services, that are not authored by Valve, Valve does not screen such third party content available on Steam or through other sources. Valve does not assume any responsibility or liability for such third party content.

...and:

D. Representations and Warranties

You represent and warrant to us that you have sufficient rights in all User Generated Content to grant Valve and other affected parties the licenses described under A. and B. above or in any license terms specific to the applicable Workshop-Enabled App or Workshop page.

BUT:

7. DISCLAIMERS; LIMITATION OF LIABILITY; NO GUARANTEES

Prior to acquiring a Subscription, you should consult the product information made available on Steam, including Subscription description, minimum technical requirements, and user reviews.

FOR EU CUSTOMERS, THIS SECTION 7 DOES NOT REDUCE YOUR MANDATORY CONSUMER RIGHTS UNDER THE LAWS OF YOUR LOCAL JURISDICTION.

my emphasis

It is sufficient to Valve, given the huge share of market EU represents, to take its Consumer laws seriously. They cannot simply dismiss the legal issues they may incurr being the exclusive platform of such "user-generated content" market. Also, let's observe that Valve provides the exact same contract to Steam users both as content consumers and content providers!. Valve cannot expect to conflate these positions by applying a contract, as if dealing with a content consumer exclusively. Legally they will be distinct by a matter of fact. But legal arguments can only get very grey indeed.

But what company in their right mind would take responsibility for "authors" potentially uploading:

1 - stolen IP from other games/films/albums

2 - Pornography or otherwise questionable moral content

3 - Potential security risks (harmful extensions etc).

Keep in mind we're on the parts of the Steam Subscriber Agreement that relate with the user as a content provider now (arguably the consumer here can be said to be Valve, to the extent that it paid for and owns the content). Usage of such content by Valve cannot be outside the law. Using that content lawfully is their responsability even when they can deflect part of that responsability to the content provider via the contract. Probably there isn't much legal precedents but if we can borrow an example from the Distribution business:

consider a consumer that buys an out of date product, the distributor is liable in sofar as it didn't make sure the product was fit for consumption, unless for instance, it is found that somehow the producer mislabeled (=misrepresented) the date. The fact that the distributor and producer signed a contract where there are disclaimers does not affect the consumer which may totaly be a third party to that contract.

We can see a chain of liabilities that is not bidirectional, and is inverse of the chain of consumption. How in each intermediate step legal contracts regulate the relation between the parties cannot, presumably, invert the relation.

So in 2/3 it is the consumer (end-user) that is supposed to be protected against, but in 1. it is third party providers that are interested in being protected, notably in some cases entities external to the contract between Valve and it's costumer (ie mod authors which don't like Valve's terms and don't surrender their creations). Obviously Valve's contract does not cover latter cases and is still liable by what happens in their platform, it is then in their own best interest to protect themselves as consumers of violating content being uploaded.

References:

Steam Subscriber Agreement

Supplemental Workshop Terms – Revenue Sharing (this should be specific to the game - this case Skyrim - should serve as example)

Arma specific:

Arma 3 End User License Agreement

BI's Tools End User License

Curation is not exacly a legal term. Curation in the sense i used it (and as Valve applies it in their own in-house games) is more related with their intented bare minimum quality and artistic direction, less with IP violations/disputes.

The above inside the spoiler would be all but necessary if it wasn't for the negligent stance Valve's adopting. If Valve did not want to sell the cake and eat it too, and would instead opt in good faith to share the responsability for the market they are creating, we would be discussing much more interesting issues. How could the pitfalls such inovation would bring could be prevented from the get go. I'll dispense enumerating here but think of all those which are not legal in nature. I'd rather be thinking of those which before assuming a conflict of interest, assume normal confluence of interests even if there is an monetary/merchandise exchange involved. Not all business naturally reaches the point of conflict of interest.

I would do the same if I was them tbh.

Nothing wrong in a business protecting itself but if it lets its legal department lead the decisions in their projects, they will get the expected...

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You pay valve the money. they distribute it and have all the power about the money. Valve has full idendity of the mod author. Where is the problem? If problems come you report to valve.

It can´t work that way. If You say that Valve is the one who has the power and who is to contact if there is a problem, then it is also Valve who bears all the legal responsibility, something wich they obviously don´t want and have stated not to do. In that case the Mod seller is the only one remaining and he has to disclose his personal information according to the law (Fernabsatzgesetz).

If someone was speculating on selling mods he better have a legal expenses insurance, because without that it can get really expensive really fast. If someone sues you for something it can put you in a deficit you´ll never make up by selling mods.

Video from Super Bunnyhop on the whole thing

Simply spot on.

Edited by Tonci87

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There are probably a lot of ways in which monetizing user generated content can be successful (I still think the game can't cost $60), but at the end of the day, I think that if nothing else changes except that a bunch of mods suddenly cost money, that's not going to be very appealing to customers.

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It can´t work that way. If You say that Valve is the one who has the power and who is to contact if there is a problem, then it is also Valve who bears all the legal responsibility, something wich they obviously don´t want and have stated not to do. In that case the Mod seller is the only one remaining and he has to disclose his personal information according to the law (Fernabsatzgesetz).

If someone was speculating on selling mods he better have a legal expenses insurance, because without that it can get really expensive really fast. If someone sues you for something it can put you in a deficit you´ll never make up by selling mods.

Video from Super Bunnyhop on the whole thing

Simply spot on.

I have to admit, after watching that video, my jaw almost dropped. Ironically, like so many of the concerns and questions about what could happen if the monetization thing here came true actually exploded into major issues right there, in real time, kind of removing speculation of at least what "could" happen.

I have a few basic issues that come to mind after seeing that video:

1: If such a system were to be implemented, the result *must* be an improvement to the overall gameplay experiences by the average user that does make use of quality/popular missions,mods, and addons. Another words, if the result ends up giving monetary gain to certain modders, mission makers and addon makers but at the same time it ends up actually hurting the game itself and causing more negativity that positivity to users, then it is not worth it. Also, if it ends up damaging the modding community, Imo, it's not worth it.

2: In all reality, if this was already attempted by a major company, and failed horribly due to a vast volume of problems, from abuse and theft to rip offs and complexity, and a ton of other issues.. can this really even be truly done "right" at all?

3: What would the legalities really be? Because if what Tonci87 said becomes true with monetized content here, then who is going to risk getting sunk by a lawsuit in an area that seems to be pretty vast with potential grounds for a lawsuit (like if someone was dead set on suing, they might be able to find something even if in all truth no harm was ever done).

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If this is attempted, "again" the backlash would be horrible.

Note that the skyrim modding scene took quite the hit after what happened, I wouldn't want the arma modding community to suffer the same fate.

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2: In all reality, if this was already attempted by a major company, and failed horribly due to a vast volume of problems, from abuse and theft to rip offs and complexity, and a ton of other issues.. can this really even be truly done "right" at all?

There have been plenty of successful paid modding systems implemented in other games. A few flight sims do it in what I would consider to be a very bad way, but which seems to be pretty successful. Valve has done it in a number of their own games in very clever ways that make it much more appealing.

Personally, I can't think of a good way to do it in either Skyrim or Arma.

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Video from Super Bunnyhop on the whole thing

Simply spot on.

It's amazing how they couldn't see what's going to happen obiviously. Pay-what-you-want or quick-and-easy-donate-button are the only ways to make this right. Otherwise everything just goes crazy because there's nobody to watch the legal side of things if content is stolen, quality is met etc. etc. And if Valve wants to take a huge cut with the game devs, then they can forget the whole thing. Even in games where the paid user content is successfull like Dota and CS, those contets are just ridiculous and only cosmetic small stuff.

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