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™‚

20 thoughts on “Mystcraft and the Minecraft EULA”

  1. I think a large portion of the patron hate comes from people wanting Mystcraft. They likely perceive that either the dev builds only have minor bugs or balance changes, or are totally complete and you’re just spending months of “testing”. Its a silly view. But its also one you, personally, do not help since you only ever seem to talk about balance changes or minor issues. I never see a tweet about an untraceable crash bug you’ve been fighting for two weeks. I think THAT sort of info might help that issue.

    Not that you should have to change your mannerisms to lower complaints about a free mod. But I suppose if you want to lessen complaints from the greedy masses who want things now-now-NOW, you could demonstrate WHY these builds are in closed, semi-private releases.

    I do love the detailed EULA analysis though. I can think of a half dozen modders who could benefit by linking to this page ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. Or just everything people to grab the latest test build like a lot of the “top” mods have been doing for years.

      Most of them have prevented or reduced the “its crashing! its broken! report spam by making their mod state on in-game chat (quite often in bright yellow) that the mod is alpha/unfinished and bug reports will be ignored.

      Then there are ones like IC2 who have recently switched to a bug tracker like Mantis, so that bug reports can be better organized, and repeated/useless reports can be filtered out and closed relatively easily (instead of having to trawl several threads and constantly clean it up).

      I just hope modders don’t use the “testing” thing as an excuse to try get more income on Patreon. As a player, and a mod developer for other games, I’ve noticed over the years that some kind of expectation to recieve “donations” for making Minecraft mods has arose and in the last 3 months alone seen a number of lesser mods simply stop because they weren’t getting any money.

      Modding should not be about money, it should be about trying to make a game better because you love it. But its really getting stupid now. We have mods like NEI putting Patreon buttons in-game, like they’re trying to shove the darn crap down out throats in exchange for money.

    2. To be honest, it’s not a good EULA summary. But he does claim he isn’t a lawyer, but a compsci.

      I will say this about “Early releases” and modding though, because modding isn’t like releasing a game. Early release for a game is where you’re allowing people to buy a product early, with of course notifications stating that this is an early release and not a final product. The issue is, mods aren’t games. They’re modifiations of an existing product. You can’t sell them at release, so how can you feasibly, under Mojang’s EULA, charge for an early release for something you’re not allowed to charge for anyway?

      As a side note, I am a final year law student and I am doing contract law and EULA’s are problematic. Depending on where the end user is, parts of the EULA (or in some cases all of the EULA) contradict local laws, which take precedence. Paetron for early access is not something I would advise any mod dev to consider, in the case that Mojang decides to take legal action against them for this. Early access or not, you’re still charging money for the use of a modification. Hell you can label it anything you want, if Mojang decides it’s a mod, and you’re forcing people to “donate” (which really isn’t a donation) for it, Mojang would be well within their rights to persue any monies you’ve made from such and punitive damages. This is why I say I would never advise this kind of “early release” situation, because while Mojang has enough money to easily take legal action, most mod devs simply don’t have the funds to defend against such and in such an event would be placing their financial well-being at risk.

      1. Just to further on that, the issue arises from the donation being directly tied to the “early access”. It is a contract, one party gives a donation, the other party supplies access to the mod. It would totally different if the access was not conditional on donation, such as saying “If you’d like to donate, thank you, I’ll hangout with you on Google Hangouts (apparently this is a thing lately), if not it’s ok”. But since the donation is required to access the mod (early access or not), it becomes a contract between the two parties.

      2. He’s not forcing people to donate for the mod. He’s offering the not-fully-tested dev builds as a thank you for folks that donate. A) Why should other people get the same thank yous as people that are donating to help the modder justify the time they spend? and B) If he were only allowing donators access to the full releases, then your argument here would hold water. However, you can easily get the public builds, which have all the bug fixes of previous dev builds, right here on the website. I just did and I haven’t donated a cent. (Sorry XComp, I love your mod, and my girlfriend loves it even more. Keep up the great work.) I do not, in any way, feel obligated to pay for the mod, though. And I don’t even have to go through an link to get it! Keep being awesome, XComp!

  2. Interesting analysis, and of course – great mod.

    I’ll make this really short. I think the point of the new EULA is that Mojang doesn’t want users treated differently because of how much money they pay/donate/contribute. You are so very much entitled to charge for your mod, or have a Patreon or whatever you want, but when you start treating users differently depending on how much money they give, I’m reasonably sure that falls well within “sell them for money / try to make money from them”. As I feel indepted to you for making this great mod, I will not report this to Mojang, and I will not write another word about it.

    Kind regards,


  3. Well spoken.

    Now focus less on posts like this and give me a 1.7.10 version. (Joking for anyone that doesn’t know me)

  4. Amen, you sir, are gracious for gifting the community with some of your revelations. I really hope you don’t get too much flak for it. I’m one of the first people to jump to arms over intellectual property, licensing and other legal issues. But Mojang. Is doing the right thing. They are looking after themselves, but more than that their also looking after their community first with this. Unfortunately people have a skewed perception of reality. Most likely due to other corporations and abuses of the law. But the law is not always your enemy.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to explain this. It helped me to understand the situation. I fully support them. And you! I really had not payed any attention what so ever to the issue much at all. Until I read this. So your post was the first opinion I’ve heard. (other than other opinions on other Eula issues over the web).

    I fully concure with your opinion.

  5. Your mod, your rules. Great mod, great rules.

    Thanks for the gift you’ve given us mate ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Wiki: “Selling is offering to exchange an item of value for a different item. The original item of value being offered may be either tangible or intangible. The second item, usually money, is most often seen by the seller as being of equal or greater value than that being offered for sale.”

    I do understand not wanting to release the unfinished mod, but if that is the real reason it is even worst to make us pay for something you where afraid of releasing for free.

    Your $25 Patron donation page clearly explains, “Everything in the lower tiers, plus access to the Mystcraft Dev builds, once the milestone is hit…”

    Meaning the only thing im paying $20 extra for on a $25 donation is the dev build (lower tier is $5) to me that is selling the mod for $20.

    Mod is amazing and i can’t wait to use it, its the way its being offered at the moment i don’t like.

  7. Dear Haters, can I suggest you actually do as XComp has suggested here and (carefully) read the whole of the EULA. I have now, and while I’m no lawyer, I could be very much forgiven for stating that the only rights you are granted are (paraphrasing) that you can (a) play the game, and (b) produce YT vids and livestreams (and monetize those, if you want). Mojang have not transferred any specific rights to you otherwise regarding other peoples IP (and remember, MC mods are the author’s IP, not Mojang’s). I’d further argue that since MC mods are not “distributed” on or within the game (yes, that clause. They leverage MC Forge or the other one I can’t recall the name of… those two, along with maps, saves and resource packs are directly covered by that clause), they aren’t necessarily subject to that clause.

    Now, should a mod developer choose to make their primary IP (their source code) public open source, you may choose to fork it, change it, or whatever, but only under the terms and auspices of whatever license they (the mod author) has chosen to release it under. The compiled mod (JAR file or ZIP archive) must necessarily be public to be usable in the game, but if the source code that the compiled mod is produced from is not open source, well then you are a member of the general public are entitled to no more or less than what the developer chooses to release to you by way of a compiled mod. You have no automatic right to developer or testing builds, and should a developer choose to leverage such builds to make a little money, more power to them!

  8. You’re incorrect about making money from a mod being a “grey area”. While Mojang might not actually enforce their own EULA, its does state pretty damn clearly that you are not allowed to make any money from a mod. I mean its right there in the paragraph you quoted:

    “as long as you donโ€˜t sell them for money / try to make money from them”

    Accepting donations and having a Patreon tied to your projected is exactly that, making money from it. Again, Mojang might not enforce it, but the wording is very clear there that “selling” AND “making money from” are two separate statements. Personally I could really care less, but from a legal standpoint accepting donations is a clear violation of the EULA.

    I would also say that it seems funny that since selling “early access” became a big thing more recently, mod updates have grinded to a halt. Seems to me that a lot of modders aren’t selling access to bug filled alpha releases, but rather they are selling early access to perfectly playable releases that are more than sufficient for public release. That also wouldn’t be much of a grey area….

  9. Sorry dude. The EULA says “as long as you donโ€˜t sell them for money / try to make money from them”. You are violating the second part of it by directly tying the patreon money to the patrons’ early access of the mod. You are making money directly from a minecraft mod. Couldn’t be more clear.

  10. First… thank you for the mod, you clearly put a LOT of work into making it, and making it well. I love how many people on the internet have nothing better to do than fight with the un-deserving individuals like yourself over issues like this.

    A very nice analysis of the Eula, and for the most part I think you are spot on. I am to tired to continue to think logically so I will end by thanking you for the mod again… ;~P THANKS ;~) SMS {so many smileys} ;~P :~D

  11. this is a great analysis on the EULA and I am (currently) just a user of mods but I am planning on making a mod myself. and I only find it fair that modders ask for donations or that modders put their downloads under adfly links to get a little bit of income for the time they put into the mod.
    all i ask is that you do not put donating options ingame but i haven’t seen that in mystcraft as of yet *looks at the openblocks piggy bank*

    all of that aside this mods has always been awesome (i’ve been playing with it since the easy symbol gathering) and if i had the money i would give you some for the good work. and to encourage you to go on with it

  12. Ok so i was reading this… REALLY long btw ๐Ÿ˜› lmao and i was like.. really? he shouldn’t have to post this… why people have to be such idiots stop trying to make life easy and deal with it the easy way isn’t always the best i think its fine. Your getting donations and so you “reward” them not sell them the latest version thats not complete yet but they can still have some fun and maybe even help u by mentioning something that might be hard to notice like in blood magic if someone was helping the blood magic people by donating and got the latest version and they were testing out the alchemic chemistry set they might have been able to tell them that theres a dupe bug but i don’t think blood magic does that… anyway zachary the smart-ass out..

  13. Speaking about the EULA, While I agree with your overall statement, I believe you’re misunderstanding the full meaning of 2 lines:
    “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.”
    This probably isn’t speaking of 3rd party companies, like Curse, Hasbro, or Cyan.
    Any mod they adapted ( they the 3 or 4 they have already done so with) would become Vanilla Minecraft and as such it would be modded by anyone that wants to change the balance or make it easier or to add content to the Mystcraft part of Vanilla.
    The lines merely say you should expect your code to be modified, added to, rearranged,
    by any modder in the community. BUT, not until Mojang LLC, has adapted and released it.

  14. Nice post.
    While it can be perceived as whiny by someone, it actually helped me to understand some of game license aspects. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.