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  • 01/16/19 04:25 PM

    Unity Updates Terms of Service in Response to Developer Backlash

    News

    khawk
    • Posted By khawk

    Unity follows up last week's Improbable controversy with an update to the Unity Terms of Service Section 2.4, concluding that Improbable is no longer in violation of the Unity ToS and licenses have been reinstated.

    In a blog post detailing the Unity ToS update, Unity co-founder and CTO Joachim Ante, outlines the new updates to the controversial 2.4 clause and reaffirms Unity's commitment to providing developers with an open platform.

    Quote

    Over the last week there was much confusion, and untrue statements were raised which we refuted. But most importantly we listened to you, our community that felt that the End User License Agreement (EULA)/Terms of Service (TOS) was too restrictive.

    When you make a game with Unity, you own the content and you should have the right to put it wherever you want. Our TOS didn’t reflect this principle – something that is not in line with who we are.

    The blog post goes on to say that a developer can use any 3rd party service they would like - but it's possible, if the 3rd party service is not an official partner - that Unity will not be able to support it for you.

    Quote

    Some of these services will be supported, others will not.

    The distinction is that with a supported service, we understand the technology. We make sure the service and Unity work better together for developers. We also ensure that the supported service always runs well on the latest version of our software, so we can help future proof your project in Unity and ensure access to the latest tech.

    These changes also mean Improbable is not in violation of the ToS, but Unity makes it very clear that they are not a Unity partner:

    Quote

    But we do not consider them a partner, and cannot vouch for how their service works with Unity as we have no insight into their technology or how they run their business.

    We know Improbable was in violation even before the December TOS update and misrepresented their affiliation with us. 

    On Twitter, GameDev.net has asked Unity for clarification on the criteria for being a partner and how Improbable failed that criteria. Presumably, Improbable violated one of the three items in the new Section 2.4:

    Quote

    Unity developers are free to use any service offered to Unity developers (each, a “Third Party Service”).  Unity does not have any obligation to provide support for any Third Party Service provider or Third Party Service under this Agreement.

    Third Party Service providers may not, without Unity’s express written permission: (1) use a stylized version of any Unity name, trademark, logos, images or product icons, or other Unity-owned graphic symbols; (2) use a product name confusingly similar to a Unity product or that could be construed by Unity developers as being a Unity product or service; or (3) create or use any marketing materials that suggest an affiliation with, or endorsement by, Unity.  All use of Unity’s trademarks must comply with Unity’s Trademark Guidelines.

     

    Previous news and discussion:

    https://www.gamedev.net/news/unity-tos-changes-impact-improbables-spatialos-potentially-thousands-of-devs-r728/

    https://www.gamedev.net/news/in-light-of-unity-tos-changes-epic-games-and-improbable-reaffirm-commitment-to-devs-r730/

     

    Edited by khawk



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    As we said on GameDev's Discord (that everyone should join!) what really happened here is that Unity tried to strong arm a company for a license fee, didn't get it, and then lost the ensuing PR war when they tried to force the issue. While the resolution is probably a good thing and makes Unity a more transparent business, it's alarming that things went this way in the first place and that Unity tried to leverage someone that hard. Improbable really came out on top by being savvy with social media and forging a strong alliance with Unreal and Tim Sweeney to back them up on it.

    I'm not inclined to the charitable interpretation of Unity making a mistake here or Spatial doing something that was actually an offense. I think Unity wanted a cut from a certain class and thought they could get it.

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    And still no mention of ToS section Improbable broke a year ago. :P

    Their trademark guidelines also say not to use 'Unity' as a noun: https://unity3d.com/legal/branding_trademarks

    But literally everyone does: game developers, YouTube tutorials, Unity's own website, this blog post even does. :P

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    @FRex well, the only one that changed was 2.4, before they were in violation, now they are not..  I'm guessing that it was 2.4..  Just a guess.  lol ;)

    The problem is, they were only in violation according to Unity's interpretation of their TOS, so they made it more explicit in December.  That didn't work out for them.   haha..  Now we have a much better 2.4.  I think everybody won here..  Except maybe Unity themselves.  I'm fine with that.

    Edited by Septopus

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    They got asked about this on Reddit and this is their answer (from Unity_John):

    Quote

    We feel they were in violation both on a technical level and with marketing. We asked them to certify to us in writing that they were not in violation. They did not provide this written certification. They then changed their implementation with a new GDK. We again asked them to certify this was not in violation of our TOS. We asked they do this in writing, and they did not. They also, in our view, used Unity trademarks / brand in their marketing materials and on their website in ways that suggested a partnership, that did not exist.

     

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    Sounds reasonable to me, the ads I saw leading up to this were certainly suggestive of some kind of partnership.  I assumed there was one in place.

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    It appeared only today and feels like an excuse to keep claiming "Improbable started it" or to justify how their "community" shits at Improbable, Epic, Sweeney, etc. for last 5 days. Even on this forum a Unity employee claimed it's a conspiracy.

    Even he/they made a passive aggressive comment about Improbable just now: https://old.reddit.com/r/Unity3D/comments/agn89u/join_john_riccitiello_and_joachim_ante_for_an_ama/ee7jsgz/

    Real rich coming from John Riccitiello: https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/04/09/ea-voted-worst-company-in-america-again/#435b40597aeb

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    FRex

    Posted (edited)

    I have no stake. I'm genuinely pissed at them for this after all these years of "democratization of gamedev" marketing which I also fell for and recommended them to people. The toxic parts of their community who jump to their defense no matter what don't help one bit. Insults towards developers during email drama was my main reason for deleting my account back then despite Unity handling it mostly okay.

    This forum is also only 'real' social media-ish account I have so what I said here is 100% of my online ouput about this. I don't have Twitter or Reddit accounts and I use my YT one just to manage subscriptions.

    Edit:

    CEO just said "I understand the curiosity, but out of respect for all involved, we won't be getting into more details." to a question about details of the original 'over a year ago' ToS breach.

    And someone else just pointed out this video about SpatialOS from Unite 2016 on Unity's YT channel where it literally says they are running thousands of Unities in the cloud and had no problem with that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffWaRbYXxRc

    Jesus. :P

    Edited by FRex
    why forum using

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    FRex

    Posted (edited)

    3 hours ago, Promit said:

    GameDev's Discord (that everyone should join!)

    I can't find any discussion of Unity in any #channel. :ph34r:

    Can you point me to that? Seemingly no one uses the forum to chat about this.

    This comment also didn't merge with my last one like they usually do and I have no idea why (sorry).

    Another tough question where Joachim's answer is "IDK  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯": https://old.reddit.com/r/Unity3D/comments/agn89u/join_john_riccitiello_and_joachim_ante_for_an_ama/ee7g0x7/

    Edited by FRex

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    2 hours ago, FRex said:

    Their trademark guidelines also say not to use 'Unity' as a noun

    If you Google 'Trademarks are adjectives' you will get tons of links stating that that is proper use and one could lose a trademark if not used in that fashion.  The examples I have seen given are: Elevator, Kerosene, Corn Flakes, Yo-Yo. Apparently they had their Trademarks revoked because they were advertised as nouns or fell into use as nouns. Nobody I know says 'Walmart store' so maybe it's time to revoke Wal-Marts trademark.

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