[MUD-Dev] Opinions (even harsh) on Castle Marrach by Skotos?

Christopher Allen ChristopherA at skotos.net
Thu Nov 16 16:11:36 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

-----Original Message-----
From: Shannon Appelcline [mailto:shannona at skotos.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2000 12:29 PM
To: Christopher Allen
Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] Opinions (even harsh) on Castle Marrach by


Thanks for your comments on the Skotos Terms of Service.

I'm suspect that part of your concern has to do with *why* we have any
Terms of Service at all. Pretty much, it's something that we *have* to do
in order to operate a commercial service. We researched numerous other
commercial sites when we were putting together our ToS--Yahoo, Excite, game
portals, and more. Every one of them had a ToS. We looked at their
examples, considered our own needs, and did our best to produce Terms of
Service that was as even-handed as possible. This whole concept of legal
Terms of Service is a pretty far stretch from what you see in the free MUD
community, but as I said its a requirement for doing commercial business.
We've probably all seen the parades of lawsuits naming Yahoo, AOL, and
other Internet communities. Without Terms of Services, we'd be put out of
business with the first one. That wouldn't be fair to anyone associated
with Skotos Tech. It wouldn't be fair to the *players* who have joined our
community. The Terms of Service existing solely to build and protect our
community and our company.

I can definitely understand how they could rub you the wrong way. The Terms
of Service is a legal document and unfortunately our legal system has
reached a point where legal documents are, out of necessity, required to be
written in a very aggressive language. We've tried out best to produce
Terms of Service that are fair to our players, our game designers, and our
investors and hope that the aggressive language of legalese doesn't obscure
that fact.

I wanted to address the three specific concerns you mentioned about our
Terms of Service:

* The requirement to not use someone else's name (point 4): I suppose this
could be restated as "you may not select as your User ID the name of
this by our lawyers to try and address the concern.

* The requirement to not store any portion of the game (poing 6a): You make
a good point regarding caches, and we'll definitely have to ask our lawyers
to address this.

* The issues regarding participatory content: I've already discussed this
in another thread. We've actually tried to preserve the rights of our
customers as much as possible by marking a clear line between Participatory
and Public Content and saying that the rights for Public Content are
recovered by the author if they choose to remove it from our site.

Overall, I think that our Terms of Service are pretty fair to our players.
There *are* a lot of points, but they're necessary to protect our company
and our players. I've done a quick outline of the points of our Terms of
Service below (it's broad and misses a few subtletlies). I'd love to hear
other comments on anything that seems unfair or strange. I'd also be happy
to address any questions about *why* certain points are necessary.

1. Skotos produces online Games and Services.

2. You must be 18.

3. Accessing the Internet is your responsibility.

4. You must register an account with us; you must choose an account name
that isn't fraudulent, isn't vulgar, and doesn't violate anyone's
intellectual property; you must choose a password for your account; you
must give us correct registration data; if you don't give us correct
registration data, we can turn off your account.

5. You're licensed to use our Games and Services only at our Site and only
for your personal entertainment.

6. You can't:
      a. Steal our games
      b. Let other people use your account
      c. Send offensive/illegal/harmful information through our site
      d. Harm minors
      e. Impersonate people
      f. Forge documents
      g. Disrupt the games
      h. Disrupt our servers or networks
      i. Break the law
      j. Harass people
      k. Collect info on other customers.

7. We have specific rules regarding content:
      a. You agree you have rights to use any Participatory Content you
submit & that it is your responsibility. Skotos can reuse your
Participatory Content.
      b. You agree you have rights to use any Public Content you submit &
that it is your responsibility. Skotos can reuse your Public Content until
you decide to withdraw it.
      c. You agree not to violate the intellectual property of Skotos or
its licensors.
      d. Although we don't monitor content, you should know that we might
if we're forced to. Your content is your responsibility.
      e. Our content should only be viewed by folks 18 or older.
      f. Content is transferred over networks and may be modified to
transmission requirements.
      g. We're not responsible for the content of sites we link to.

8. We do not take unsolicited submissions. We require solicited submissions
to be submitted via specific forms and to include a signature.

9. What is done with your account is your responsiblity.

10. You understand that you may not have privacy on the Skotos service &
that Skotos may make disclosures to law agencies if it has to. [This is to
be followed by a more in-depth privacy policy soon that better outlines
what things will be kept private and from whom.]

11. There is no 11.

12. We're free until January, $9.95 thereafter. We may changes these rates,
but we'll warn you first.

13. You agree to obey your local laws & to obey laws about exporting
information from the US and from your home country.

14. Skotos and its Games and Services are owned by Skotos.

15. We can't make promises about our site being up all the time.

16. Our maximum liability is case of a lawsuit is what you've paid to
Skotos in the last year.

17. We can't be responsible for indirect damage.

18. You won't hold us responsible for your breaching this agreement or for
your content.

19. Either of us can terminate this agreement at any time.

20. We can change this Terms of Service, but we'll let you know first.

21. If we don't grant you rights, they remain ours.

22. You can't transfer these rights; if part of this agreement is
unenforceable, you agree to abide by the rest; even if we don't enforce a
provision, we still get the rights to do so in the future; a failure on our
part doesn't terminate this agreement; this agreement is subject to the law
of San Mateo County, CA; if there's a legal case regarding this agreement,
the winner also gets his costs and fees; send us notices regarding this at
our address; we'll send you notices regarding this at your address; this is
the whole agreement.

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