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

Christopher Allen ChristopherA at skotos.net
Fri Nov 17 12:42:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

KevinL wrote:
> (Still debating whether to sign up for playing or not - I'm not
> even qualified to know whether "
>        You hereby grant Skotos a perpetual,
>        irrevocable, non-exclusive, sub-licensable,
>        worldwide, royalty-free license to use, reproduce,
>        modify, adapt, publish, distribute, publicly display
>        and perform any and all of your Participatory
>        Content in all media now known or later
>        developed.
> " would mean they can harass me for taking ideas I've had on
> Marrach and building my own mud areas or not.  It's almost
> getting so a prospective game developer shouldn't
> play anyone else's games, for fear of legal ramifications.)

Travis Casey wrote:
> Since it's non-exclusive, that means that you can grant rights to it
> to others as well.  Nevertheless, I find this license *extremely*
> offensive and heavy-handed.  By this, if I login to Skotos and create
> an interesting character, they have the right to publish books, make
> movies, etc., etc., with my character, without ever paying me a dime.
> Depending on what they're defining "Participatory Content" to be, it
> could be even worse.

As we say in the Terms of Service: "Participatory Content. As part of our
interactive approach, Skotos provides you with certain opportunities to
submit your own ideas, text, graphics, plots, characters, feedback and other
materials while you participate in the Games, bulletin boards, chat rooms
and other activities in the Site or Services (collectively, "Participatory

The problem that we are trying to deal with in this section is that you as a
player are creating a character amidst other people who are also creating
content, in an environment where we have created content. Punzel is writing
poems about Viola and Martel, and other characters that are not her own.
Tara is creating sketches and portraits of people on her web site.

In less then a month we have a half a dozen fan web sites up on Castle
Marrach, 30 or so poems published, many of which mention other players or
player generated situations. We have people who want their portraits to show
up in the game (in the Active-X client you can look at some objects and a
new web window will pop up -- go the portrait gallery on the second floor)
and want their poems bound into books in the game.

How do we accept such content into the game, build plots around them,
incorporating ideas suggested in poems that we never thought of before,
etc., without some rights to that content? As the game grows in popularity,
what if someone wants to write a book based on Castle Marrach and publish
it? We obviously invested in the creation of Castle Marrach and have the
right to allow or disallow such a derivative work, but to do we have to tell
the author to leave out all the personalities of all the players in the

As it says in our banners, we are an "online storytelling community." This
doesn't mean we are the only one telling stories, every player is a
storyteller as well. It is our game, we created the world, however, we are
willing to let the world grow and change based on what happens because of
player actions. Isn't that what every player dreams of, to change the world?
With participatory content, we can be less proprietary and selectively allow
ideas from outside grow and strengthen our own.

That is why we have the concept of "Participatory Content" in our the Terms
of Service.

-- Christopher Allen

.. Christopher Allen                                 Skotos Tech Inc. ..
..                           1512 Walnut St., Berkeley, CA 94709-1513 ..
.. <http://www.Skotos.net>               o510/647-2760  f510/647-2761 ..

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