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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessWriting an EULA for a game/community centered around user-generated content?
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Author Topic: Writing an EULA for a game/community centered around user-generated content?  (Read 8110 times)
Matt Thorson
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« on: March 12, 2009, 04:16:14 PM »

What's the best way to go about this and do I even need one?

Basically the game is online and browser-based, with database integration for public sharing.  Think YouTube, but instead of videos you watch, it's game content you play.

I guess the things I would think it has to convey correctly:
1. The user retains rights to their level designs, but the assets used within (the pre-made graphics, gameplay code, story and theme) are the property of their creator(s).
2. I'm allowed to use any user-created content to advertise the game/community.
3. The user who created the content is responsible for any offensive material they create and any damage it may cause to any viewer of the site (?).  Basically I can't get sued for someone making a level shaped like Muhammed or whatever.
4. Users are responsible to know and obey the rules, and any content can be removed at any time with or without warning by the site staff.

I really don't even know where to start.  Do I need to use certain language for it to be acceptable legally?  Do I even need to worry about an EULA?  What's the worst that could happen if I don't include one?  Shrug Web 2.0 is such a legal gray area (though I'm not exactly educated on the subject).
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 04:22:19 PM by Matt Thorson » Logged

barrye
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2009, 04:50:06 PM »

EULA is necessary for any service and product provided to customer. This is the contract between you and your customer playing your game.
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Matt Thorson
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2009, 04:54:55 PM »

EULA is necessary for any service and product provided to customer. This is the contract between you and your customer playing your game.

I know what an EULA is, but an EULA for a web 2.0 application (ie: one based on user-generated content) is especially tricky it seems and I'm not sure what I need to say exactly to cover myself.
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Snakey
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2009, 07:50:47 PM »

Sounds like you really need a lawyer perhaps?
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Matt Thorson
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2009, 08:02:23 PM »

Sounds like you really need a lawyer perhaps?

Yeah, I was afraid that'd be the only (trustworthy) solution.  Was hoping there'd be someone here with experience or knowledge on the matter  Gentleman
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 08:08:29 PM by Matt Thorson » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2009, 12:38:08 AM »

Sounds like you really need a lawyer perhaps?

Yeah, I was afraid that'd be the only (trustworthy) solution.  Was hoping there'd be someone here with experience or knowledge on the matter  Gentleman

If you seek legal advise, go to a lawyer.

Random people on an online forum are unlikely to know better, and if someone does, YOU are likely not knowledgable enough to weed out the good advise from the bad advise.
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Matt Thorson
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2009, 01:50:03 PM »

Sounds like you really need a lawyer perhaps?

Yeah, I was afraid that'd be the only (trustworthy) solution.  Was hoping there'd be someone here with experience or knowledge on the matter  Gentleman

If you seek legal advise, go to a lawyer.

Random people on an online forum are unlikely to know better, and if someone does, YOU are likely not knowledgable enough to weed out the good advise from the bad advise.

Oh, I wouldn't take anyone's word here as gospel for something so serious.  Just wondering if anyone has any experiences to share with writing EULAs, pitfalls, whether doing it a certain way was worth it for them, etc.
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GregWS
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2009, 02:53:18 PM »

Sounds like you really need a lawyer perhaps?

Yeah, I was afraid that'd be the only (trustworthy) solution.  Was hoping there'd be someone here with experience or knowledge on the matter  Gentleman
My grandfather is a recently retired lawyer (and real life English gentleman  Gentleman).  I don't think he had too many cases related to this kind of thing, but I'm sure he'd know where to look, or at minimum have a very basic knowledge of it.

Just let me know if you'd like me to ask him about it; I'm sure he wouldn't mind.
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Matt Thorson
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2009, 04:07:39 PM »

Sounds like you really need a lawyer perhaps?

Yeah, I was afraid that'd be the only (trustworthy) solution.  Was hoping there'd be someone here with experience or knowledge on the matter  Gentleman
My grandfather is a recently retired lawyer (and real life English gentleman  Gentleman).  I don't think he had too many cases related to this kind of thing, but I'm sure he'd know where to look, or at minimum have a very basic knowledge of it.

Just let me know if you'd like me to ask him about it; I'm sure he wouldn't mind.

That'd be cool!  Just ask him what special things I should be careful about, in writing an EULA for a game based on user-generated content.

I'd really appreciate it man Beer! Thanks!
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GregWS
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2009, 06:46:27 PM »

Yeah, no problem man.  I'll try and give him a call this weekend.  Smiley
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Jamie W
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2009, 10:13:55 AM »

I'm interested in this too, EULA for game with user generated content..

If you're ok with it, could you post on here what your Grandfather says?
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SteveHarris
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2009, 12:58:10 PM »

Would it not be a good idea to read through an EULA for an already released game?
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Jamie W
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2009, 01:12:09 PM »

Would it not be a good idea to read through an EULA for an already released game?

Well, it's an idea Steve. However, I doubt it's a generaly common situation; it's specifically for games that allow for user generated content to be hosted on the games' site, and downloaded and played by other users.

That's the situation in my case, I imagine it's quite simular to the OP too?

Are there any existing games you can think of that share this model? Maybe their EULA's would be a start.
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Lynx
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2009, 01:28:57 PM »

I dunno, look at whatever Spore did?
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SteveHarris
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2009, 02:44:55 PM »

Quote
Are there any existing games you can think of that share this model? Maybe their EULA's would be a start.

Sorry that's what I meant Embarrassed
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Matt Thorson
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2009, 04:15:10 PM »

I suppose that for my project, which is more of a community website with a game embedded, looking at the EULAs for YouTube and YoYoGames might be a good idea.

If you were doing something where the users plays a game, and within the game you go online and share content with others, Spore would probably be better.
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GregWS
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« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2009, 06:12:26 PM »

I'm emailed my grandfather about it, and will probably just forward you the reply (assuming he's got advice about it, and I'm still incredibly unsure whether or not he will).

I suppose that for my project, which is more of a community website with a game embedded, looking at the EULAs for YouTube and YoYoGames might be a good idea.
I think this is a really good idea.  If nothing else, it will definitely put you on the right path.
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Snakey
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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2009, 11:12:06 AM »

http://www.underdevelopmentlaw.com

Try asking Mona. She's helping a lot at GameDev
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mona.adele
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2009, 12:00:07 PM »

http://www.underdevelopmentlaw.com

Try asking Mona. She's helping a lot at GameDev

Speak of the devil and she shall appear. I actually wrote about this (http://www.underdevelopmentlaw.com/2008/03/using-an-eula.html) a while back. Generally speaking it's always a bit dangerous to rely entirely on another site's EULA. Those were mostly drafted by attorneys who probably knew their specific client's needs. Also bear in mind that an EULA is useful only to the extent that you are willing to enforce it.

That being said, some things to keep in mind/talk to your lawyer about:

1) protecting your IP, including preventing others from unlawfully distributing or reproducing your code/graphics/etc.;

2) including a license to use the UGC of others for promotional purposes;

3) limitation of liability;

4) obviously, the limitations and permissions of the license you're granting for use of your website/game;

5) retention of rights by the user as to their own level design, etc.
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Mona A. Ibrahim, J.D., LL.M.
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Under Development: business and legal blog for independent game developers
http://www.underdevelopmentlaw.com
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