Mystcraft and the Minecraft EULA

Geez, guys. You never let things go. ๐Ÿ˜›

I figured I’d finally address this, as I’ve just been ignoring it. Since it’s not going away, and I’m tired of the arguments, I’m going to make a short post on it.

If you’ve not actually read the whole EULA, please do. It’s really not that long. Most people have read one paragraph out of it and think that means no one has any control of anything anymore, and they aren’t even reading the paragraph for what it says, but for what they want it to say.

Given what the EULA says literally:
You may not charge for (especially vanilla) game content.
(Though you can apparently provide ranks on servers (non-mechanical “I’m Cool” indicators) to donators.)
Mojang has permission to do stuff to anything you make publicly distributed.

Most of what the EULA talks about is: “The game belongs to MOJANG, you may not distribute it. Mods are cool. Videos are cool. Etc. Just don’t go being mean, alright?” (Paraphrased)
It’s not a very formally written document. It’s pretty straight forward in what you can and cannot do.

There are two paragraphs which pertain most strongly to mods. One which pertains to all content made for Minecraft, and one which speaks directly on mods. Oddly, everyone likes to skip over the second of those. I’ll start with that one first:

Any tools you write for the Game from scratch belong to you. Modifications to the Game (“Mods”) (including pre-run Mods and in-memory Mods) and plugins for the Game also belong to you and you can do whatever you want with them, as long as you donโ€˜t sell them for money / try to make money from them. We have the final say on what constitutes a tool/mod/plugin and what doesn’t.

This says that my mod is mine, which is really kind of obvious. My code is mine. My work is mine. You cannot copy it and create your own versions of it without my permission.

The quote everyone likes to run around with is this one:

If you make any content available on or through our Game, you must give us permission to use, copy, modify and adapt that content. This permission must be irrevocable, and you must also let us permit other people to use, copy, modify and adapt your content. If you donโ€˜t want to give us this permission, do not make content available on or through our Game. Please think carefully before you make any content available, because it will be made public and might even be used by other people in a way you donโ€˜t like.

Lets go over this in pieces.
I have created content which I made available on the Game: Mystcraft.
Therefore, I must give Mojang permission to use, copy, modify, and adapt that content. No argument there. I knew that. This basically says they can do anything with my mod they like. I even kind of assume that “distribute” is in there, even though it isn’t explicitly mentioned.
This permission must be irrevocable… I think this is obvious, again.
… and you must also let us permit other people to use, copy, modify and adapt your content. And this is also squarely within Mojang’s rights. They have the power to distribute Mystcraft, should they so wish it, and do anything else they want with it, and they can give that ability to, say, Curse. Or, if they felt like it, Lucas Arts. Or even Cyan (which would make more sense). Of course, if any of these groups wanted that permission I think they’d usually come to me first, just to be nice, but technically they only have to ask Mojang. I expect Mojang would tell them to ask me first, just to be nice, but they aren’t required to do that. I’m cool with this. ๐Ÿ˜›
If you donโ€˜t want to give us this permission, do not make content available on or through our Game. Duh?
Please think carefully before you make any content available, because it will be made public and might even be used by other people in a way you donโ€˜t like. This basically says, in the context of Mystcraft, that I can’t dictate the terms of use of Mystcraft. I can’t say you can’t play it a particular way, or that you can’t play it with particular mods. If you make a private modpack, you and your buddies, I can’t tell you what you can and can’t put in it. Mostly it’s a slap in the head to people who are uptight about how their mod is played… I’m not, so I’m cool with this. ๐Ÿ˜› It’s also written as a warning to modders, more than anything, rather than as an affirmation of user rights, so I’m probably reading things into it that aren’t strictly there.

Now, there is one point I want to make really, really clear: No where in that did Mojang say that anyone can do anything they want with my mod. Quite the opposite.
Please think carefully before you make any content available, because it will be made public and might even be used by other people in a way you donโ€˜t like. A lot of people like to point to this line and say it does. It doesn’t. It says people may USE my mod, which I have released publicly, in any way they please. It doesn’t say that people may take my code, or my work, or make demands on me, or do whatever else thing that tramples the implicit and automatic rights I have to my work, which were already affirmed earlier in the EULA, in the first paragraph I quoted. My work is mine, and it stays that way. Please don’t steal my code and say that one sentence in the EULA, written as a warning to people making content, says you can. That’s a quick way to make people stop making mods, guys. Especially when the EULA says you can’t (see first paragraph).

On the flip side, and this is important, it does give Mojang rights to do basically anything with my mod, and I am perfectly and absolutely OK with this. Mojang deserves those rights, it’s their game.
It can also share these rights with others (like with Curse). I’m, once again, perfectly and absolutely OK with this.

What this EULA doesn’t do is declare that YOU, the user, have been given those rights. Mojang can release those rights to anyone they wish, but the EULA didn’t list anyone it has given them to, and I’ve not seen anywhere (I’ve looked, but if you find it let me know) that Mojang says that users have been given these rights. Note that Mojang must say this, not a single person within Mojang. Mojang as the legal entity.

This long post (sorry, I said it was going to be short, didn’t I?) needs to include the two reasons I keep getting this thrown at me:
“You can’t require permissions” – Said in the context of me requiring permissions for public modpacks. I can’t say what mods Mystcraft is played with, but you better believe I’m going to try to limit distribution. Note also that distribution of mods wasn’t even mentioned in the EULA. I assume Mojang has that right, but that’s actually me assuming it. It doesn’t use that word except in saying that people can’t distribute Minecraft. Technically, the paragraph people like to cite as giving everyone the right to distribute my mod doesn’t even give that to Mojang.
Why am I limiting distribution? I want to limit the opportunity for people to include malicious things in my mod. It’s both for me and for you. I do it for you so there are a number of places declared “safe” for getting a copy of Mystcraft from. We can assert and double check the safety of these packs. On the flip side, this way I’m not liable for if you have problems with an unofficial distribution of Mystcraft.

“You can’t charge for your mod!” – Said about my Patreon reward tier. The main thing here is, I’m not. It’s early access, for starters, to builds which I will never otherwise make public. It’s a reward thing, for people donating, but if you want to be harsh about it it’s a subscription fee to have early access and unlimited access to all of my dev builds (from about 1.6.4). I’ll distribute my mod for free and without limitations when I hit a public release.
Anyone claiming this is apparently citing the “you cannot make money” line (Amusingly, from the first paragraph I quoted; the one that’s usually ignored until people want to make this complaint.). If you want to interpret this as me making money off of the mod (which is to say, selling the mod), then modders shouldn’t be able to have a Patreon tied to modding at all, and yet Mojang hasn’t said a thing to any of us, and we hang out with them.
This is kind of a weird grey area… I’m not allowed to sell my mod -and I’m not- but I can accept donations for my work time. Making a mod is a lot of time and effort, especially something as huge as Mystcraft; receiving money for it is kind of reasonable, especially since it will never reach the amount of money I’d be paid for the same number of hours if it were employed work. Dev builds are one of the best things I have to offer to people donating and supporting me in Mystcraft, and I want to offer something in return.

By and large though, I’m skipping the most important point, and we’ve all kind of missed it. It’s Mojang’s EULA, not ours.
What I mean is, let Mojang deal with it. If you think someone is doing it wrong, report them to Mojang. Don’t complain to me because you think I’m doing it wrong, complain to Mojang. This is because you don’t have the authority nor the proper understanding (neither do I, for the record) to say what Mojang deems in accordance with the EULA. If Mojang comes in and tells me I am doing something wrong and must change something due to the EULA, then I will. In a heartbeat. (Though it may take longer to implement the change, I will start the change within said heartbeat.)
So, please, leave me alone about it, eh? ๐Ÿ˜› Just go complain to Mojang and let the entity of Mojang deal with it.

Stay frosty, everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚ Most of you are awesome.

DISCLAIMER: I’m ca Computer Scientist, not a Lawyer! What do I know of EULAs? Well… I’ve read a lot of them. ๐Ÿ˜› And I actually studied some copyright law and licenses stuff because it’s relevant, so… actually quite a bit. Still doesn’t make me an expert, though. You have to be a lawyer for that.

EDIT: I have been informed that the second paragraph I quoted (“If you make any content available on or through our Game…”) is probably targeted to maps and game saves, according to people inside Mojang. Even better, but I’ll leave the post as is. ๐Ÿ™‚