On ‘Terms of Service’ in gaming, generally

Thoughts on what this really means any my general astonishment that anyone just swallows it and clicks through…

11.1.3 In connection with the use of [game] and the Online Service ONLY and subject to the terms of this EULA, you may and are granted a limited, non-exclusive license and right to use the software that forms part of [game] and the Online Service to communicate with other users of [game] using the Online Service and post, transmit, communicate and to make available User Content. The applicable parts of [game] and the Online Service may only be used for such User Content. By doing so you hereby grant to [publisher/game developer] an unrestricted, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use and make available any such User Content in any manner or media.

That paragraph is killing gaming for me.

I am no longer willing to:

– pay for your product,
– pay for every pixel of progress IN your product,
– pay for every point of access to content within your product,
– pay every other player (be that in social currency, time, etc), AND,
– having utterly no hope or recourse that anything I create as a result of access to your product might put any of that payment back into my pocket, ever.

As derivative as any such content is, it did not have to be. It’s designed to be. I disagree that full usurpation of creative license is reasonable; particularly given the reality that most of these products are collaborative building and social engineering games that, by definition, will always produce emergent content.

A fact the company requesting that massive concession acknowledges by including concepts of ownership in the product itself – “credit” of an individual character and/or customer account with “creating”, “making”, or “designing”, et al content.

Not to mention all of the data gathered as a customer plays with such products[1].

Authorship matters everywhere in the world and it is people, not companies, who create things[2].

So, on top of everything else, you want me to not only give you my money, but give you all money that I might ever make from creating content in your product.

Like, you’re not even TRYING to share it. You’re all Brooklyn casual, sniffing and shuffling and sizing me up as a chump who is too dumb to figure out how badly you’re trying to cheat me; enjoy your product while everything I create (and most things I do) are data points from which untold billions are now made in industries around the world.

I am under NO illusion here, but the Internet is a wild place and stranger things have happened; besides, why shouldn’t I reap some benefit when YOU profit from something that ME|MYSELF|I did? You blithely assert that to even ACCESS your product I must first resign any and all rights, forever and ever, amen.

Um, no.

I realize I’m well ahead of “the curve” on this one, but it’s never been anything other than a pain in my ass, so it’s hardly something I’d willingly choose these days. That said, the sheer, continuous hubris of corporations and the people who create them on matters of unilateral respect for intellectual property and authorship|creator-ship is like viscid, bloody writing on the wall.

This is the agentic being, justifying the means to an end, recursive as a fractal, that bouncing figurative “buck”.

Worse, this is a blatant example of the culture of containment thriving. You know, the ugly bit of humans that is still a fearful, hungry primate, and a neurochemical junkie? That beast who, seeing someone happy with a grain of rice, feels compelled to have it for themselves… force of law, digital dominance in a post-war world. I suspect historians will look back upon this time and call it the first of the truly digital wars.

In this culture war over privacy, productizing people, etc, “We the People” have been batting a big, fat ZERO.

I ponder in this moment how humanity might recover its promise and progress when it seems so much is mired in these convenient (check)boxes – greedily gathering up everything to later decide which can bring the most profit!

It’s the new slavery, you know. Subtle and veiled in plausible deniability, the implicit, the unstated and, therefore, not subject to debate.

It’s the new Railroad Town, too.

The new Railroad Chit should be coming soon. Probably Amazon, but perhaps some disruptor who also sees the low-hanging fruit that I do in this moment[3].

Which is why I am writing this… maybe I’m a flake, maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m stupid, maybe I ought to hit a bong… all I know is what I believe, what I feel, smell, think, taste, and see… I’m tired of being so broke when all you companies are making money off of me.

Guess it’s time for that refund. I can’t even try the game without agreeing to the above, opening quoted user agreement.

Given my persona, you’d think a post like this would get someone’s attention… but it won’t. When enough people agree, it will be obvious. Until then, I talk with my wallet, post my frustration here, and then…. move on.

(afterthoughts follow)







[1] – This industry of data analytics is just beginning to warm. This one is the elephant in the room. Corporations are trying to get there before consumers and even congress “figure out” the long-term ramifications. Kind of hard to fool everyone, all the time, though it isn’t impossible, either.

[2] – No, your company is not a person, even if you did grease up enough congress to get them to ink a piece of paper saying it is. The irony that we began with Shakespeare (who wisely cautioned what to do with lawyers), and here, now we stand (in a time and place where lawyers “die” to become congress-folk, consultants, and cronies)… the metaphor is an inelegant stretch for rhetoric; just wanted to see if I could make it… clearly it doesn’t work, even I groaned.

[3] – Had I the energy to do more than contemplate this, I would. Wish I could find a patron or employer to help but since that seems more and more to be like wishing yourself into slavery, eh… pass.