I’m Not Paying For A Licence, CCP

With the news that CCP is preparing to create a commercial licence for Eve (and presumably Dust) that applies to those who use Eve IP in a money making way, a new storm has erupted. The fuss, it seems, is about the proposal to force blogs to licence the content of they are in any way monetised. (There’s also the aspect of forcing non-monetised blogs to acquire a non-commercial licence, which is a bit stranger.)

I have to admit though, that when I first heard about this earlier today it seemed like it was simply about applications that used the Eve API to get data out of the system. Evemon being the first example. The mention of websites only made me think of the kind of sites that extract data to present to visitors. Zam, and some of the WoW item websites came to mind there. A blog wouldn’t come into that category because there is no direct link to the CCP API.

For someone running a Eve fansite that gathers data from the API, $99 is a hassle, but isn’t really that onerous. After all, a player avid enough to be running a dynamic fansite is likely to be running one or more accounts on Eve. An extra $8.25 a month isn’t going to break the bank.

The only thing that seems to indicate that non-linked websites will need to be licenced is this statement in the FAQ.

Will corporation and alliance websites require a commercial license?

No, private websites do not need a license. However, if you have an external facing part of the website that uses the EVE IP you will require a non-commercial or a commercial license, depending on your use.

I don’t know if corporation and alliance sites actually access the Eve API, I wouldn’t have thought they did, so this seems to indicate that at least these kind of sites need a licence. However, there is no mention of blogs here, at all. There’s a lot more emphasis on Apps.

Having said that, look at this update on the announcement from CCP.

Feeback thread discussion

thank you all for your input so far. Based on your comments, I feel I should step in to clarify a few things and address some concerns.

1) The blog represents the first draft of what our bizdev department is thinking of in terms of the license agreement. We published it to get feedback from you guys. This is not the final word on the matter and we want to build this service up with you so that it’s fair and empowers you to build these applications and services which better the game.

2) Regarding this clause: Q: Will services for in-game currency require a commercial license? A: Yes, if you require any sort of payment for your services you will need a commercial license. I’ve spoken to Biz Dev and this is something that might be revised, possibly to exclude ISK payments. I’ll let you know as soon as I know more.

3) This project is not about CCP making money. Whether we charge $100 or $50 or $10 for a commercial license won’t make a big difference to our balance sheet. $99 is the lowest that we estimated that we could reasonably go and still justify the cost of the service. If this is too high for app developers, this is something that could possibly be revisited.

4) Nothing is set in stone. We’re willing to reconsider anything you deem unfair about the program. Donation and ad supported ventures is a tricky thing to allow without any sort of a commercial license though and that’s a legal slippery slope. Whether that license needs to be $99 per year is something we might reconsider.

Please help us by continuing to give constructive feedback into how you want this service to be since our motives are really to empower 3rd party development and not to try to squeeze money out of starving programmers.

Our Biz Dev department will give us some more answers and clarify ambiguity. Rest assured this will change to suit your needs and our aim is to make you want to develop software and services for EVE and not to throw obstacles in your way.

It’s not time to panic. Yet.

The quote above clearly states that the proposal is a work in progress. It’s highly likely that CCP will moderate the rules so that small time websites and blogs that take a few screenshots and talk about Eve and Dust won’t be required to pay $99 a year for a licence. I imagine the various news sites like Massively, Rock Paper Shotgun, and the like will also be exempted. CCP relies a lot on the buzz about their game. They’d hardly want the gaming blogs to start ignoring them.

Still. If they do decide to try and force bloggers with a bit of Adsense or a donation button into paying for a licence. Well, good luck with that. They’ll spend way more than $99 in chasing down each blog that doesn’t get a licence. How much does a lawyers letter cost again?

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: CCP App Monetization | Why it’s good for gamers

  2. epic.ben

    Stropp! CCP is clearly aiming at third-party apps here, not fansites, blogs, etc., that will just use screenshots, etc. I think that’s being blown out of proportion. In the end, if CCP gives developers a way to make a few bucks on their apps, the inevitable result is that we’ll see more apps, of higher quality, even if we have to pay a buck for ‘em. But if you seriously play EVE Online, why wouldn’t you pay a dollar for something that makes your life that much easier (like EVEMon does)?

    It’s a brilliant idea.

    Reply
  3. Stropp (Post author)

    I did indicate that in the post. I think the problem simply lies in the language CCP used to announce the proposal. There is ambiguity there that talks about websites, and some have taken it to include blogs.

    I haven’t. I reckon CCP will clarify this shortly as they continue to refine their wording.

    As for licencing apps. No problem with that. It seems very similar to Apple’s developer licencing for IOS apps. It would be nice if CCP didn’t have to use a commercial licence, but as I said it’s not particularly onerous.

    Reply
  4. epic.ben

    I agree there – the way they handled this process is a bit of a mess. Poor wording and probably even worse timing. For a company as PR savvy as CCP (IMO), it’s a little surprising.

    Reply

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