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Thread: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

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    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    Hi Guys,
    Forgive me my ignorance, but I'd like to ask you (and I think this thread is a right place to ask such thing) what happens to the content of the mod if the owner / creator etc. has just disappeared from forum? In real life he might be unconcerned, might just give up on modding, might be dead or whatever.
    What are the rules - and what can Curia do if they limit the developments of the other mods?
    cheers
    JoC

    Split from an unrelated discussion in the Prothalamos - Flinn
    Last edited by Flinn; June 12, 2019 at 07:26 AM.
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    Flinn's Avatar ehhhhh.. You don't say???
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    Default Re: [Discussion] What can the Curia do for Total War Center?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    Hi Guys,
    Forgive me my ignorance, but I'd like to ask you (and I think this thread is a right place to ask such thing) what happens to the content of the mod if the owner / creator etc. has just disappeared from forum? In real life he might be unconcerned, might just give up on modding, might be dead or whatever.
    What are the rules - and what can Curia do if they limit the developments of the other mods?
    cheers
    JoC
    The Curia has nothing to do with that, but in any case I'll give you a general answer

    it depends on what rules the modder stated about the use of their material; it it's free for use, everybody can use that, if it's free only after given authorization, then I'm afraid no new mods could be made out of it, if it's not free for use at all, it's the same story etc etc. Modding is a sort of chain, because no one really uses material that they created at 100% as new, so the so called "permissions" are usually inherited from the previous makers (such as "my material is free for use as long as the mod that uses it is also free for use") and such; normally modders that know that are going to retire clearly state what's the situation with the permission related to their mods/tools/etc, very rarely they simply disappear in the thin air. Another important point is that once a permission is given it could not be withdrawn, you cannot for example say "my mod is free for use" and then retire all the permissions once one or more submods or mods have been developed bases on it (though it's possible, AFAIK, to state different permissions for different releases of the same mods).

    Less or more this is all, if I missed to mention something I'm sure someone else will fill the gap

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    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: [Discussion] What can the Curia do for Total War Center?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flinn View Post
    The Curia has nothing to do with that, but in any case I'll give you a general answer

    it depends on what rules the modder stated about the use of their material; it it's free for use, everybody can use that, if it's free only after given authorization, then I'm afraid no new mods could be made out of it, if it's not free for use at all, it's the same story etc etc. Modding is a sort of chain, because no one really uses material that they created at 100% as new, so the so called "permissions" are usually inherited from the previous makers (such as "my material is free for use as long as the mod that uses it is also free for use") and such; normally modders that know that are going to retire clearly state what's the situation with the permission related to their mods/tools/etc, very rarely they simply disappear in the thin air. Another important point is that once a permission is given it could not be withdrawn, you cannot for example say "my mod is free for use" and then retire all the permissions once one or more submods or mods have been developed bases on it (though it's possible, AFAIK, to state different permissions for different releases of the same mods).
    Why I'd assume that Curia does have something to do with it are the default rules. I think most modders don't express any particular wish on many aspects of their work, eg. for how long they should assert their "moral rights" (and indeed - if modding is a chain of modificaitions, what part of the work is related to that "moral rights"?).
    The default rule (decided by Curia) may be that "unless it's stated otherwise, everybody is free to use material". Or maybe "unless it's stated otherwise, nobody can use the material for 10 years, but later is free to use - unless explicitly forbidden" etc. Or maybe "nobody can use the material unless he asked in the relevant forum and waited at least 2 months for the answer" etc.
    Is there a general rule saying "unless it's stated otherwise, nobody can ever use the material"?
    Besides, I think that it's quite common that modding team simply disappear in the thin air. People die or people don't care anymore, and they don't care to grant permission while leaving - what results in so much wonderful work being wasted. The orphan work phenomenon is obviously well-known also in modding - and I'm asking what are the rules made by Curia for such situations?
    Last edited by Jurand of Cracow; June 12, 2019 at 06:18 AM.

  4. #4
    Flinn's Avatar ehhhhh.. You don't say???
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    Default Re: [Discussion] What can the Curia do for Total War Center?

    Ok let's go by steps, first things first; the Curia does not decide what the rules of the site are (the Terms of Service, or ToS; this is the paragraph related to "using modders' work without permission"), but rather it's the Moderation and Hex (with GED, the site owner, on the top of both) that have the final word about a new or modified rule, so no need to mention the Curia.

    Second, there are clear rules about (see the Modding Guidelines) that states what is what is not allowed to do with other people material (mods/models/scripts/tools etc).

    Third, it's impossible to outline all the potential cases of permission's issues, in case of doubts the site provides an arbitration, usually carried by the Modding Hex (formerly it was Gigantus, but as he retired now the position is actually currently vacant, with Tango12345, who's as well a Mooderation Hex (Overseer) that is taking care of checking controversial situations if requested to. In simpler words, if two modders (or teams) do not achieve to agree on permissions' issues, they can contact the Hexagon Council for further actions.

    Also, I'm splitting this thread to a new one in the GD because it does not really pertain in here

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    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: [Discussion] What can the Curia do for Total War Center?

    Thanks Flinn. This answers my question:
    not utilize their material, nor modify their base material in any way, without their permission, unless said material has been declared as "free to use resource" by them.

    In my opinion this is too restrictive and this kills modding of the older games in the TWC. I think this should be relaxed somehow and perhaps the Curia should do something about it.
    JoC

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    Flinn's Avatar ehhhhh.. You don't say???
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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    In my opinion this is too restrictive and this kills modding of the older games in the TWC. I think this should be relaxed somehow and perhaps the Curia should do something about it.
    The Curia can propose amendments to rules, but they are always subject to Hex approval (or veto, seeing it the other way around); I don't suggest using the Curia though for such a request, it's not going to be an effective method and will probably end up in nothing, and for a simple reason if you ask me: the rules about "using modders' work without permissions" have been in place for ages, and I'm sure that most of the people agree with them because they are fair and reasonable rules. Besides there could be legal implications which I'm not aware of (I'm not a modder myself, sad but true), that could impact what can and cannot be modified in relation to them. It's an old minefield, filled with half exposed mines and half triggered traps ... I'm sure you get what I mean

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    Thanks Flinn.
    My pleasure ; I'll point Gig to this, I'm sure he can add further layers of insight because he has been the alpha male of modding for ages

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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    Quote Originally Posted by Flinn View Post
    Less or more this is all, if I missed to mention something I'm sure someone else will fill the gap
    You actually forgot to mention one thing.

    Always, credit the original author, whether it's for the original mod and/or for a modding resource it doesn't matter, and most modders always do that even if it isn't necessary and that will often seen as a courtesy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    In my opinion this is too restrictive and this kills modding of the older games in the TWC. I think this should be relaxed somehow and perhaps the Curia should do something about it.
    Is it too restrictive? I think not, instead one should always ask for permission and if everyone did that one would never know what can happen.

    Any member, citizens included, can suggest a change in the ToS, but it's what Flinn said it's up for moderation to decide and GED always have the final saying.


    I also want to point out a relative new term in the TES modding community that began to emerge soon after Skyrim came out in Nov 2011 and that's called Stewardship. If a modder have decided to retire then the actual modder can give a mod to a site or to someone else the final permission by declaring the mod falls under Stewardship like what I have for my Skyrim Map Markers mod.
    Last edited by Leonardo; June 12, 2019 at 08:23 AM.
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    Gigantus's Avatar The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it
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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    I am of two minds:

    - As a modder I would like to be able to gain access to material that hasn't outright be denied to be used if I cannot reasonably obtain that permission.
    - As a former admin it's simply 'no permission, no use'

    That said I could see some initiative to 'downgrade' permissions of mods from 'ask for permission' to 'give credit' for mods that are 'dead' - eg all efforts have failed to obtain a response in matters of permission. As this is a basic stance of the site it will require not only hex but also GED to weigh in on it - afaik the curia will have no say in this beyond working out a proposal to be reviewed by hex\owner because of the basic site policy involved.



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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantus View Post
    That said I could see some initiative to 'downgrade' permissions of mods from 'ask for permission' to 'give credit' for mods that are 'dead' - eg all efforts have failed to obtain a response in matters of permission.
    That's exactly what purpose the Morrowind Modding History (MMH) has.

    Every hosted mod on MMH can be improved as long the permission the author have stated here is not violated (often by the general concensus of the modding community).
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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    I think one point is completly left out of this.. Simply general rules about intellectual property and author's right, and also the TOS from the place where you post your mods, such as Steam (most mods for modern TW games are hosted on Steam anyway).

    This may vary from country to country, and the Curia has nothing to do with it.

    I'm not sure BTW if the site is "governed" by a specific country laws, good question.

    But as said before, I think "better safe than sorry", and try not use a mod without asking permissions first.

    In the case of a "dead" mod, I would do the following:
    - Create a new mod
    - Clearly state that due to inactivity of the mod auhtors for X months, you decided to update it, link to the original, and that your update is "temporary" until the original author comes back.
    - If possible, split your mod in two:
    -- a simple update of the original (where you could fix some tables to match the latest update of the game from CA)
    -- a "complement" pack where you put all your addition and put all the stuff which is your only (like new textures, new lines in tables).

    This way, if the author comes back, it is much easier to know what "belongs" to who, and avoid issue such as we have seen recently with SFO, where the original author and the guy who took over are "fighting"
    Last edited by Steph; June 13, 2019 at 06:51 AM.

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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantus View Post
    - As a former admin it's simply 'no permission, no use'
    There you have your answer folks... It wont get any more ironclad then that... (Bolding and "grey out" mine, btw).

    - A

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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    Quote Originally Posted by Steph View Post
    I'm not sure BTW if the site is "governed" by a specific country laws, good question.
    Any site out there is governed by a country laws, where the server is located, and for TWC it's the law in the US.
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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    To throw a small wrench into the situation, how about the creation of submods; same work, tweaked for improvement or otherwise change with the same acknowledged core, no policy made that addresses that in particular?

    Would circumstances change, or would the simple response be "no excuse"?

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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    It is essentially covered here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Modding Guidelines
    Modding teams and individuals agree to recognize the work of other modders and teams and not utilize their material, nor modify their base material in any way, without their permission, unless said material has been declared as "free to use resource" by them. In any case, credit is to be given where it is due, for any material used in a public project that was created by others. Failure to acquire permission for third party material used in a public mod will result in warnings, as per the site's rules, and additional penalties at the discretion of the site administration.
    Bolding is mine...

    - A

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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    Quote Originally Posted by CommodusIV View Post
    To throw a small wrench into the situation, how about the creation of submods; same work, tweaked for improvement or otherwise change with the same acknowledged core, no policy made that addresses that in particular?

    Would circumstances change, or would the simple response be "no excuse"?
    Exactly what Axalon said, you need to ask for mod permission from the original author.
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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    Usually mods specify whether sub mods are allowed or have a specific section where submods go.
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    Gigantus's Avatar The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it
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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    Quote Originally Posted by z3n View Post
    Usually mods specify whether sub mods are allowed or have a specific section where submods go.
    It was my view that unless objections are stated by the author of a mod that sub mods are permissible. A sub mod by definition requires the original mod installation to build on and edits existing files as well as adding new, original files. The original mod's author is free to stipulate restrictions regarding sub mod's use of the original files - see TATW's statement in that regard. Sub mods have to be 'hosted' within the original mod's forum structure.

    Where the editing of existing material is concerned it is assumed that permission is given (author's restrictions apply) but that the permission is for the use in the sub mod only and edited material may not be further distributed without explicit permission. Should the sub mod wish to be a 'stand alone' at some later stage then all permissions assumed given under the sub mod approach will be void and have to be obtained from the author (possibly a third party) for the purpose of using them outside the 'parent' mod.
    New, original files by the sub mod author are not affected by this.

    A sub forum for those sub mods is normally established if justified by the number of sub mods and\or their traffic. Major sub mods may get their own, dedicated sub forum based on the same criteria.
    Last edited by Gigantus; June 13, 2019 at 10:11 PM.



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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    Quote Originally Posted by Steph View Post
    I think one point is completly left out of this.. Simply general rules about intellectual property and author's right, and also the TOS from the place where you post your mods, such as Steam (most mods for modern TW games are hosted on Steam anyway).

    This may vary from country to country, and the Curia has nothing to do with it.

    I'm not sure BTW if the site is "governed" by a specific country laws, good question.

    But as said before, I think "better safe than sorry", and try not use a mod without asking permissions first.

    In the case of a "dead" mod, I would do the following:
    - Create a new mod
    - Clearly state that due to inactivity of the mod auhtors for X months, you decided to update it, link to the original, and that your update is "temporary" until the original author comes back.
    - If possible, split your mod in two:
    -- a simple update of the original (where you could fix some tables to match the latest update of the game from CA)
    -- a "complement" pack where you put all your addition and put all the stuff which is your only (like new textures, new lines in tables).

    This way, if the author comes back, it is much easier to know what "belongs" to who, and avoid issue such as we have seen recently with SFO, where the original author and the guy who took over are "fighting"
    A country's laws have nothing to do with modding. Contrary to what some modder want to believe they do not have exclusive rights to their mods once published for public use. The only protection you have is via a gentleman's agreement among modders to not use another modder's work without permission or credit and the terms of Service agreement as per websites/ forums. There are NO legal percussion or legal action that can be taken for using another person's mod.
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  19. #19
    Gigantus's Avatar The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it
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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    To expand on that - this 'gentleman' approach is fairly wide spread which helps enforce this agreement in the absence of legal recourse. Any of our partner sites will (and have in the past) support a valid claim of 'use without permission'.

    From what I hear (can't confirm) Steam and ModDB support this approach as well.



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    Leonardo's Avatar Reborn Old Timer
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    Default Re: Questions about permissions for "dead" mods

    Quote Originally Posted by PikeStance View Post
    A country's laws have nothing to do with modding.
    Actually, a country laws has to do with modding, because the server for TWC is located in the US and thus US laws applies for TWC to follow and the same thing also applies for hosted mods on TWC Download.

    Quote Originally Posted by PikeStance View Post
    Contrary to what some modder want to believe they do not have exclusive rights to their mods once published for public use.
    The only thing CA cannot take away from you are the resources you have created from scratch for a mod. But CA can prevent your mod for being redistributed as CA owns every modification for their games.

    Quote Originally Posted by PikeStance View Post
    The only protection you have is via a gentleman's agreement among modders to not use another modder's work without permission or credit and the terms of Service agreement as per websites/ forums.
    That's pure nonsene as a gentleman's agreement doesn't exist among modders, instead it is the GPL that covers that and the official EULA of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by PikeStance View Post
    There are NO legal percussion or legal action that can be taken for using another person's mod.
    Yes there are legal aspects regarding modding.

    Let say you have a created something from scratch, a modding resource if you will, and you have stated in your permission that nobody can use your resource without your explicit permission.

    Now, let say somebody else are using your resource in a mod for personal use and later decide to release it then you can take action against the individual for copyright infringement in court if you wish.

    I know Ponti is a lawyer, perhaps he can share his insights in this.
    Last edited by Leonardo; June 16, 2019 at 05:56 AM.
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