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Isn't it illegal to charge people for mods?

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Quote:
Original post by stargate3216
I have been wondering how it is that Counter-Strike seems to be able to charge people to by it. If fact, it has even gone retail. It's that copyright infringement?


no. because the half-life engine was set up such that it was legal to mod the engine and distribute it. The original counter-strike was free. The Counterstrike Source is actually owned by Valve, who own the Half-life engine so they can do whatever they want with it.

Generally when a mod is sold, either the authors of the mod own the engine or they pay money to the people who own the engine so that they can sell it.

-me

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Well counter-strike was developed by a team of people who at the time of its creation were not ran or operated by Valve. It wasn't until after seeing the success of counter-strike that valve decided they wanted to purchase (for lack of a better phrase) the team who developed counter-strike.

Although valve did not "own" them until later, it was not illegal for the counter-strike developers to mod the game, because valve allowed them to, in their license.

Now, besides valve, some games ARE illegal to modify. If someone tried to make a MOD of final fantasy XI w/o square's approval, that would be copyright infringement. It all boils down to what licenses you have with a particular developer/publisher. I hope that makes sense lol.

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Wouldn't this only be copyright infringement if you're distributing copyrighted materials/code? If, for example, your Mod consists of a program that makes various changes to the game's resources, without including any of the originals, that does not constitute copyright infringement. You're not distributing anything you didn't write. It might violate some sort of EULA, but it's questionable how enforceable something like that is.

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Generally if a game has mod tools the licence states that any mods made with them must be distributed for free. If you wish to sell a mod you'll have to get in contact with the game's developer and work out some licencing (e.g. if you wanted to sell an HL2 mod you could either just directly licence the Source engine or contact Valve and negotiate a lower price licence that doesn't include the engine source code etc).

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Quote:
Original post by superpig
It's illegal unless you got permission to do it from the developer/publisher of the game you're modding.


Why? I don't think there's a legal argument there, and there's certainly not a moral argument.

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Quote:
Original post by Eyrian
Why? I don't think there's a legal argument there...

Of course there is. A mod is clearly a derivative work, and only the copyright owner has the right to create derivative works.
Quote:
Original post by Eyrian
...and there's certainly not a moral argument.

Why not? Valve did most of the hard work, what right do you have to profit off of it?

CM

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Quote:
Original post by Conner McCloud
Of course there is. A mod is clearly a derivative work, and only the copyright owner has the right to create derivative works.


I think that depends on the nature of the Mod. How much of their content you use, and so forth. I don't know how much legal precedent exists on this front (And would greatly appreciate being forwarded to some).

Quote:
Original post by Conner McCloud
Why not? Valve did most of the hard work, what right do you have to profit off of it?


Because I'm only selling the hard work that I put into the mod. To use it, you still need to buy the game, which only Valve has the right to sell. I have a corresponding right to sell something I made. It's like selling a case for an iPod.

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Sorry, to clarify: I'm talking about games that are sold standalone (like CS) or are not total conversions (like, AFAIK, CS). If your mod is both a total conversion, and you're not trying to pack the game engine in with it, then I'm not sure where things stand from a legal point of view.

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Well there are unofficial add-ons for various games that I have seen for sale which I guess you can class as mods. Though I'm pretty sure most mod tools given away by developers have a clause in the licensing that says you can't use anything developed with these tools commerically.

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On the one hand, it's potentially a derivative work and would be under the original author's copyright. On the other hand, the end product is largely original in terms of what is distributed. Plus, it could count as an interoperable product, and the right to create interoperable products - and even to use reverse engineering to create such products - tends to be protected. Given that Half-Life seems deliberately designed to facilitate mods, and that such mods do not damage Half-Life's market position, I expect such a mod would be considered as fair use. It's important to note that even if they didn't charge for it, the legality position would not be different.

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I am programming for a mod that will eventually be sold through steam, so depending on what deal you get with the developers it's very legal (or illigal).

This of course prevents us from using any of valves work such as graphics.

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Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
It's important to note that even if they didn't charge for it, the legality position would not be different.

It could be different. Whether or not the work is sold is a consideration when determining fair use. All else being equal, a free work has a better chance than a non-free work.

There are arguments to be made both ways, its up to the courts to decide unless Congress steps in. Which, given their track record, we probably don't want. Personally, I remain firmly of the opinion that it should be illegal for one key reason. A huge argument against software patents is that software is already protected by copyright law...allowing something like this without permission is a huge run around of that logic.

CM

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Quote:
Original post by Conner McCloud
Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
It's important to note that even if they didn't charge for it, the legality position would not be different.

It could be different. Whether or not the work is sold is a consideration when determining fair use. All else being equal, a free work has a better chance than a non-free work.


Yes, that comes under the "purpose and character" clause of the fair use consideration. But on the other hand, a free alternative to an existing commercial program is more likely to damage the commercial program's market share, covered by the "effect upon the potential market" clause. As you say, there are arguments to be made both ways. The main point I wanted to make was that the law (in the US and UK at least) doesn't explicitly make a distinction between free and non-free where it comes to legality, except that it can be taken into account. Some people mistakenly think that some copying is legal until you start charging for it whereupon it becomes illegal, and I wanted to emphasise that this isn't actually the case.

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And some/many game manufacturers actually encourage both commercial and free addons/mods.

Microsoft for example actively works with companies creating addons for their Flight simulator line, providing them with early access to new versions of the product and SDKs (under NDA of course).

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<quote>"I am programming for a mod that will eventually be sold through steam, so depending on what deal you get with the developers it's very legal (or illigal)."</quote>


what mod youworking on?

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