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Doom3 add-on legal issues

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Recently I have downloaded and played add-on for UT2004 Alien Swarm by Black Cat Games. At this moment they work on Alien Swarm for HL2 and they are going to release it in two versions - free and commercial with more stuff in it. It's not a new game, it's a total conversion. I wrote them e-mail with question about legal issues with Valve and they haven't replyed yet :( That's the reason Im here :) Do I have to ask permission from iD to make an add-on for Doom3 and sell it (original IP, no assets will be used from original Doom3)? Do I have to pay royalties (I think I have to)? Any legal paperwork involved? Who to contact to? Thanks!

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You would have to license the engine, just as they are going to have to license the HL2 engine, unless they have come to some special arrangement with Valve. The license determines cost and royalties.

I'm sure it will easily be in the several hundred thousand $ range, and possibly still include a royalty.

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Usually in the fine print of any game EULA, you wil read that --

1) You cannot make mods for profit.
2) Any mods you do make become their property.

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Quote:
Original post by Vampyre_Dark
Usually in the fine print of any game EULA, you wil read that --

1) You cannot make mods for profit.
2) Any mods you do make become their property.


(2) Surely that can't be legal! If you create something, some EULA won't rob you from rights to it.
(1) Secondly I don't think any law would forbid you to sell your mod, no matter what the EULA says. You just can't bundle the original game with it, or use any of the content from it (including ANY resource from the SDKs). Or employ any trademarks you don't have rights to in marketing your product.

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I don't think they have bought engine license. But who knows....
Check this out http://www.blackcatgames.com/swarm/
It's just add-on. You don;t have to have source code to do that. Maybe it's a special type of license?

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I have doubts about #2 as well.

But #1 is perfectly legal. You cannot sell a mod without express permission from the developers of the engine. Regardless of whether or not you use your own art content, when it's all said and done the mod is for that engine, using their SDK, which you don't have permission or license to use for a moneymaking project. Plus it would be highly unlikely you would do a mod without using their tools.

I've never heard of mods becoming the property of the engine developers (#2). That seems highly unlikely.

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Quote:
Original post by FlowingOoze
Quote:
Original post by Vampyre_Dark
Usually in the fine print of any game EULA, you wil read that --

1) You cannot make mods for profit.
2) Any mods you do make become their property.


(2) Surely that can't be legal! If you create something, some EULA won't rob you from rights to it.
(1) Secondly I don't think any law would forbid you to sell your mod, no matter what the EULA says. You just can't bundle the original game with it, or use any of the content from it (including ANY resource from the SDKs). Or employ any trademarks you don't have rights to in marketing your product.


I didn't pull that out of my ass. I've modded more than a few games in my time, and it's always there. You used their tools, which have these conditions in their EULA.

The second condition is simply there to further enfore the first.

Looking at one EULA right now, the only way you keep sole possession of your work is if you serve it for play, but don't distribute it. (Allowing the publisher to own it and make changes, and package and sell it)

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I have never heard of that either (that mods become the property of the engine's developer) but then I haven't read an id/Valve EULA lately either.

As for the first point it is correct. The engine is copyright of the original developer. Using that engine to create a new game would constitute a derivative work and as such ANY distribution without the developers permission would be breach of copyright. Most developers don't mind distribution if it is not commercial and so the EULA usually allows non-commercial distribution. However they don't want people making money off their engine so commercial products are not allowed without a license. Licenses for the latest id engines cost around $350,000. I believe you can arrange a royalty only deal (you only pay a royalty, not the $350k) but it would be 50%! In either case you need to talk to id/Valve/the Developer.

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Why do you need an engine license to do a mod - isn't the whole point of a mod that you don't change the source?

All those mods for quake can't have sold enough to justify a huge fee like that, surely?

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