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Is Approved Server Monetizers an effective measure?

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The further my current A3 content project progresses towards the finish line, the more I start into looking how to license my content upon release.


However, something keeps my will to publicly release at an all time low for quite some time: Being exploited by monetized gaming communities. I am not talking about the communities that rely on donations on merit, but those that actively sell ingame items, rights, privileges and general advantages for real money.

I absolutely do not wish to enable this behaviour at all, and I fear that my upcoming content (Several tens of European themed structures as well as a terrain) will only enable these types of communities further.

Luckily BI has regulated these communities somewhat by introducing the Approved Server Monetizers for both Arma 3 and DayZ.

At first this made me think that BI has this issue of mine firmly covered and got my back on this:

I can simply release my content with the extra bit of info stating that it is not to be used on monetized servers at all and I will not need to worry any further about having my work exploited for money. But then I looked into that list of approved Arma 3 servers and I wondered:

Is this list of Approved Server Monetizers an effective measure?

Because found it to not give me a lot of trust into the BI monetized server system.


For starters, when was a listed community first approved for monetization? And when was it last checked if it still complies with the rules? This info is not present in that list.

Why is this worrying me?
I see here the opportunity for a group to just apply for monetization with a clean server modpack, and once granted approval by BI and added to this list, dig out the illegitimate content (Willfully or by accidental ignorance).
I understand that these communities push out updates regularly, so it will be extremely labour intensive to keep track of all their changes effectively. Especially as each change would need to be checked in depth if it actually does not contain items that would lead to removal as approved monetizers. I have real doubts these checkups are being done reliably. Simply from an economical standpoint I do not believe BI has dedicated a full time person purely on this investigative policing duty. And It will almost certainly be a full time position, especially since this task would need a senior technical developer familiar with the intricate process and all aspects of content creation and scripting, who is also up to date within the community to know who made what in order to be able to spot stolen content.


Ok, so assuming BI is not doing these detailed checks for whatever reason: What if I want to do these checks myself? Or what if I simply don't trust BI or that particular magical allrounder person to do these checks correctly 100% of the time. Mistakes happen, so it's always good to have the larger crowd dig at it to find things that were overlooked. After all, early access was all about that.


But again, the list of Approved Server Monetizers falls short of being any use. There is no list of initially approved content files used by a server or what content each community or their specific servers are currently using right now.

Is BI relying here solely on the good will of the server owners to orderly report their modpacks? Do they count on the players of these communities to call out possible violations from within?


If so, then this is a very bad solution. Why would anyone in these communities become a "snitch"? Most of the time the players have no idea about the origins and legitimacy of the content. All they want is just to play a game. I don't blame them for wanting that.

So assuming BI does not track these content changes accurately and reliably in the first place, and it is safe to assume self policing from within monetized groups does not happen, I am left with one last option:


To go to each of the 100+ approved community websites, go through the various approval programs and stages (some with admission fee) in order to gain access to their addon file repositories so that I may see if they use any content which I do not allow to be monetized. Then having to unpack the files and check if they repacked stolen content.

(So I can start the ever-annoying battle of getting them to actually comply with removing my content from their servers, which in itself is another big issue.)


All in all, the current way things are done by BI with the Monetized Servers cannot be how they seriously intend the monetization programme to work. Especially since it is the duty of the content creator to enforce their own IP rights within Arma 3 (Although the creators themselves directly cannot make money off assets in A3, which only adds insult to injury). So please at least enable us to do this policing ourselves in a realistic and efficient way.


The current list provided is just a gimmick, as it does not enable anyone besides those in each individual community and (presumably) BI to see if they are actually complying with the rules of using only content licensed for monetization. 


I'm asking that BI provides an accessible way for any content creator to independently verify that these groups do not use specific creator's content.


Right now the "Approved Server Monetizers"-System is a black box that requires us to blindly place trust in BI and assume that they are handing things thoroughly.

Simply by going through the process (see above) of what it would take to see if a single server complies with the monetization rules I believe any trust into the "Approved Server Monetizers" list is not justified!


A sharper tongue might claim this list to be merely security theatre.


So, how can you build this trust?

- Tell us more info about the monetized servers
- Tell us when they started monetization
- Tell us when you last checked they weren't in violation
- Tell us their complete list of used addons that you last verified so we can at least see if our stuff is in there that you may have overlooked. (So without going through their registration-/paywall to check ourselves)


Additionally I think it is absolutely unacceptable for these communities to keep their addon-packs so secretly tied away behind an onion of checks and registrations. This way we have no way to easily do the check to see if they use content (repacked, renamed, modifed or just simply copied) that they have no rights to doing so with. We can only rely on BI's word that they are all good. Since we have no way to check if BI's "word" is actually true, that list of Approved Server Monetizers is completely useless.


I suggest that an extra condition to be approved for monetization must be the requirement of a login-free full speed complete download of the client side (!) addon pack the server is using (The Steam Workshop would create beautiful synergies here by providing a DMCA option as well as letting these communities directly use the official uploads of content. How neat would that be?).

Server only mods are of no concern to content creators who want to check if a group is monetizing their content.


Am I seeing this wrong, or is my logic here in order? Do others see the the "Approved Server Monetizers" list also as useless?

Edited by mondkalb
Fixing typos.
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43 minutes ago, mondkalb said:

Am I seeing this wrong, or is my logic here in order? Do others see the the "Approved Server Monetizers" list also as useless?

You are right. The list as it is now is pretty much useless. Also little details are known on what makes a community suitable to be approved. What are the conditions to approve a community for monetisation? Is it just their word to enforce the rules given by BI or what...?

Registering a community should not be the only part in this process, also the server that they are using should be registered with a valid adress and port, also shown public next to their registered community name.
As @m1lkm8n said, we do lack a system of reporting violaters that are on that list, but what about unregistered communities that are monetising their server, further more with content that is prohibited to be monetised?

I just realized this already is avaliable...

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I quite agree @mondkalb


But luckily a lot of these communities with illegaly monetized servers are hostile against each other. You might receive a lot of emails and PMs from players and server admins reporting illegal use of your content, because thease people actually go through the onion of registrations and paywalls to cook the goose of their rival server.


And sure, this is just a little bit helpful while the complete approved server stuff is still a big blackbox for us.

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On 9.7.2017 at 12:05 AM, mondkalb said:

Tell us their complete list of used addons that you last verified so we can at least see if our stuff is in there that you may have overlooked.


How about just adding a very simple rule to the monetization rules:

"You have to publish a publicly available list of all mods you are using. And references (preferably screenshots of conversation with the mod Author) to your monetization permission. You also have to constantly keep that list up to date. Failing to comply with this simple rule will make you loose your monetization license"
Very simple..


Let's see how it's looking one year after this Thread was created.

Sadly.. The above idea will never work at BI's current stance. Because right now BI is in the "Please fix the violation in the next couple weeks if you have time for it, thanks" stance instead of the "You now violated the rules over a dozen times. You now loose your license" stance.

We are handling servers which literally broke rules a dozen times or more. And they still continue not caring and BI also doesn't seem to really care about their own rules. This is just a kick in the mod makers backend.

Having to police our IP ourselves is already bad enough. But that even if we are doing that, nothing is happening at all. That is far worse.


Also.. That this community that I'm talking about here, openly said (after being confronted about it in the Arma Discord) that they never even read the monetization rules and didn't know what is not allowed. I mean. How is it even possible that people who didn't even read the rules get approved? Something is seriously wrong here. And even though they already got reported a couple times, they still get through with the "we didn't know" lie and BI is also believing them and letting it slide as an accident...

I mod this game for fun. Not to waste time chasing idiots who can't read simple rules. And that's really taking my fun away and making me invest lesser time into it.

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It is a difficult problem to handle no doubt.Valve and limitations of workshop management side (exposed to BI) add to that.

Still I wonder if you can serve a legal notice also to BI for their part in effectively still tolerating this abuse.

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