The Ultimate Site of Worms Armageddon

Worms: Armageddon => General discussion => Topic started by: CyberShadow on February 28, 2020, 07:53 PM

Title: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: CyberShadow on February 28, 2020, 07:53 PM
Hi all,

There is an important problem that, as a community, we need to solve probably sooner than later.

After a map author uploads a map to wmdb.org, the map is then made available for viewing, downloading, and playing through services such as HostingBuddy (!map, !wmdb).

The problem: we (wmdb.org and other service providers) are not actually allowed to do any of those things with any maps uploaded ever. Why? Because the map authors never gave us permission!

Pragmatically it is obvious - why would someone upload a map to wmdb.org if they didn't want people to download and play on their map? However, pedantically, that's how it is.
In most jurisdictions, every creation is copyrighted by default, and no copies (this includes transmission over network) may be made without the author's permission.
As such, technically speaking, there is nothing preventing someone from uploading their map on wmdb.org, and then saying "Why are you distributing my map? I never gave you permission!" and then taking legal action against us.

Another reason for why we should try to solve this problem is that at some point wmdb.org may be succeeded by a better service, which integrates directly into the game.
For this to become a reality, we need to have all our paperwork straightened out and be sure that we are legally allowed to redistribute uploaded maps.

So, there are two parts to this topic:

The remaining elephant in the room is maps which have a large amount of copyrighted artwork (from other games, cartoons/anime, etc.). I'm not sure what to do with it. I don't think it qualifies as fair use.

Any thoughts / opinions on the above? Especially if you are a map maker or are familiar with IP law.

By the way, I think TUS has the same problems, but it's not up to me how TUS wants to address them.
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: Kradie on February 28, 2020, 11:04 PM
The remaining elephant in the room is maps which have a large amount of copyrighted artwork (from other games, cartoons/anime, etc.). I'm not sure what to do with it. I don't think it qualifies as fair use.

Any thoughts / opinions on the above? Especially if you are a map maker or are familiar with IP law.

By the way, I think TUS has the same problems, but it's not up to me how TUS wants to address them.

I am not an expert on licensing but as longest author doesn't profit from the source material, it shouldn't be an issue? They are after all in low quality of 112 colors. Inferior to its intended purpose.
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: CyberShadow on February 29, 2020, 12:10 AM
They are after all in low quality of 112 colors.
This is a temporary technical limitation of the current versions!
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: XanKriegor on February 29, 2020, 06:59 AM
None makes profit from making maps nor playing them. When someone uploads a map, the whole purpose is to make it possible for others to have them and play them. Who can complain about profit and distribution?
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: Cleroth on February 29, 2020, 03:51 PM
The remaining elephant in the room is maps which have a large amount of copyrighted artwork (from other games, cartoons/anime, etc.). I'm not sure what to do with it. I don't think it qualifies as fair use.

Any thoughts / opinions on the above? Especially if you are a map maker or are familiar with IP law.

By the way, I think TUS has the same problems, but it's not up to me how TUS wants to address them.

I am not an expert on licensing but as longest author doesn't profit from the source material, it shouldn't be an issue? They are after all in low quality of 112 colors. Inferior to its intended purpose.

Common misconception. Whether you profit or not is irrelevant. Copyright violations are copyright violations. You're not allowed to use someone else's copyrighted work.
Quality is also irrelevant. It's derived from the original work or bears enough resemblance.
Generally this kind of stuff would fall under fair use. So long as you comply with DMCA requests, it should be fine. Minecraft and such games also have loads of copyrighted works that can be downloaded.
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: Korydex on February 29, 2020, 04:21 PM
Maps like this (http://www.wmdb.org/585) will be licensed too? :D
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: Sensei on February 29, 2020, 06:39 PM
Maps like this (http://www.wmdb.org/585) will be licensed too? :D

I just hope dulek hosted a chally on this? If not - he should!


there is nothing preventing someone from uploading their map on wmdb.org, and then saying "Why are you distributing my map? I never gave you permission!" and then taking legal action against us.

Isn't there a choice for authors, after uploading the map (tus or wmdb), to decide whether it'll be private or public?
If author puts public, there's no legal action he can take against you to win the case, I believe.
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: TheMadCharles on March 01, 2020, 11:55 AM
does wmdb have any terms of service? if not, there should be and it should include a clause that says something like "you agree that any maps that you set on public can be used for online games including hosting bots like HostingBuddy"
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: Chicken23 on March 19, 2020, 08:16 AM
does wmdb have any terms of service? if not, there should be and it should include a clause that says something like "you agree that any maps that you set on public can be used for online games including hosting bots like HostingBuddy"

This is a good point.

Also maybe something about that once submitting a map to wmdb you agree to giving up your IP and the property becoming WMDBs?


Cybershadow - alot of this stuff usually becomes an issue if someone does sue and complain about maps being shared, is this really likely to happen as they would have uplaoded the map in the first place?
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: CyberShadow on March 19, 2020, 10:04 AM
does wmdb have any terms of service? if not, there should be and it should include a clause that says something like "you agree that any maps that you set on public can be used for online games including hosting bots like HostingBuddy"
This does not permit other users to download and use maps in their games. An agreement between WMDB and the uploader is insufficient - the content must be licensed to allow it to be used in any applicable way by anyone.
Also maybe something about that once submitting a map to wmdb you agree to giving up your IP and the property becoming WMDBs?
We definitely do not want to assume copyright of uploaded works. Usually that requires the previous owner to sign a document which passes ownership. See e.g. https://www.gnu.org/prep/maintain/html_node/Copyright-Papers.html

Cybershadow - alot of this stuff usually becomes an issue if someone does sue and complain about maps being shared, is this really likely to happen as they would have uplaoded the map in the first place?
Whether it's likely or not, and whether it goes as far as legal action or just vague threats to take it, having our ducks in a row will help avoid trouble later.
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: Anubis on March 19, 2020, 10:13 AM
My maps were actually uploaded without my permission on TUS, I created them but didn't upload them myself. I think it's time to sue TUS... xD
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: TheKomodo on March 19, 2020, 12:17 PM
Whether it's likely or not, and whether it goes as far as legal action or just vague threats to take it, having our ducks in a row will help avoid trouble later.

Agreed.

Growing up, I always thought(about condoms), it's better to have one and not need it, than need one and not have it :/
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: Xrayez on March 20, 2020, 04:01 PM
I raised a similar question 2 years ago about TUS maps as well, so as a game (https://www.tus-wa.com/forums/off-topic/webysteria-fast-paced-artillery-and-roping-game-31397/) developer I'm also concerned.

https://www.tus-wa.com/forums/maps/what-is-the-license-of-uploaded-maps-31692/msg266349/

Having ability to load any kind of map is likely a serious legal issue in and of itself. How can ensure that those maps are not actually distributed by me? For W:A it's not much problem because, well, the activity is quite low and nobody is really aware of such a feature in my opinion. It's a matter of time before someone could take legal action against you... I might be paranoid though. ???
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: MonkeyIsland on March 21, 2020, 07:08 AM
My maps were actually uploaded without my permission on TUS, I created them but didn't upload them myself. I think it's time to sue TUS... xD

The W:A starter mappack has over 8k maps, which was originally uploaded by Mablak. If something happens I'm gonna blame it on him xD

By the way, I think TUS has the same problems, but it's not up to me how TUS wants to address them.

TUS does have the same problem. (it also extracts maps from replays uploaded) I'll follow your footsteps on the licensing.
Title: Re: WMDB's licensing problem - any lawyers in the house?
Post by: Chicken23 on March 24, 2020, 08:33 AM
If there were some legal documents written up (requiring some kind of solicitor service I'd imagine..), could something like DocuSign be using in an uploading process which covers the terms and consent of the map rights to the community/website owner?

It would make uploading maps a bit of a pain in the arse but could be a necessary process? Perhaps in time could be as effective as GDPR/cookie policies?