Licensing and mod portal

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T1017
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Licensing and mod portal

Post by T1017 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm

I am curious on how licensing and the mod portal works.

The mod showcased in Friday Facts #311: Industrial Revolution by Deadlock989 has a licence that specifies that commercial use is not permitted and:
"This INCLUDES commercial/monetised social media activities such as taking donations from YouTube or Twitch streaming, etc." Edit: (*The mod author changed the LICENSE.txt after the discussion took place, so the quoted sentence is no longer in there.*)
This is very restrictive to content creators

To my recollection there is no warning about licences when entering the mod portal.
The mods just install. So having restrictions on the mods that are more severe than on the game itself is something that likely very few people would know about.

Are we expected to install a mod through the game, exit or alt tab, browse the mod folder for a licence document, read it, look up on the internet what the different licenses mean (which includes reading a lot of language that are difficult to interpret for people who aren't experienced with licences) and then modify mod selections to make a series with on YouTube or stream?
What about updates to mods? - Can licenses be changed when mods are updated? Because that will be very difficult to keep track of.

There was a discussion about this earlier (in KatherineOfSky's discord channel), which made a lot of interesting points and questions about this licence.
Are people who haven't monetized their YouTube channel allowed to use the mod pack in videos they upload?
Are you allowed to have a monetized channel, as long as you don't receive donations? (because it's specified)
Can mod creators put as many restrictions as they want? Like not being allowed to share videos or stream at all?
And in the extreme: not be allowed to even play it without consent from the creator?


Someone asked out of curiosity:
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And Bilka from the Factorio developer team responded:
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The post that Bilka is referring to with "Well, there was said that "we're fully behind it". Most likely nobody but me even read the license, so that is simply untrue" was:
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What if you make content without knowing about this, what kinds of repercussions are there?
Are you breaking copyright law?
I asked Bilka from the Factorio developer team who was part of the discussion
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I could have broken copyright laws easily because I had no idea mods weren't considered part of the game itself:
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I thought that everything in the game - including browsing mods (from inside the game) would be considered part of the game itself
Breaking copyright laws from checking boxes inside the game itself is not intuitive to me.

I would love some clarification here, because if we are expected to go through the files on every mod we want to use for content creation, that is very important to know.
As a part of the Factorio community and as a content creator, I would also like to know Wube's stance on these kinds of restrictions because it opens up for mod creators being able to demand a cut from popular streamers or YouTube creators for instance.

Please note that this post is not about discussing the morals of anything - it's about clarification and a bit of PSA :)
Last edited by T1017 on Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by eradicator » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:12 am

First of all: If i come across as rude then that's because the ignorance and demands you show in your post are so disturbing that it's hard to stay polite.
T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
I am curious on how licensing and the mod portal works.

The mod showcased in Friday Facts #311: Industrial Revolution by Deadlock989 has a licence that specifies that commercial use is not permitted and:
"This INCLUDES commercial/monetised social media activities such as taking donations from YouTube or Twitch streaming, etc."
This is very restrictive to content creators
The "content creator" of that mod is Deadlock989, not you. You're the content *user* here.
T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
So having restrictions on the mods that are more severe than on the game itself is something that likely very few people would know about.
Remember btw that the price for wube allowing you to stream the game is currently 30$ (buying the game). How much would you be willing to pay to mod authors for that right?
T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
Are we expected to install a mod through the game, exit or alt tab, browse the mod folder for a licence document, read it, look up on the internet what the different licenses mean (which includes reading a lot of language that are difficult to interpret for people who aren't experienced with licences) and then modify mod selections to make a series with on YouTube or stream?
Yes. That is exactly what you are supposed to do. If you want to make money from the stuff that *other* people made for free then the least you can do is read the license. (I'm all for showing it ingame, but you still have to read and understand it yourself)
T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
What about updates to mods? - Can licenses be changed when mods are updated? Because that will be very difficult to keep track of.
Very generally speaking licenses can not be retroactively changed, only possibly canceled, like any other contract. That means if you downloaded version X with license A, then you can use version X with license A forever (unless the license specified a time or condition of expiration). If the next version of the mod comes with a different license, then you have to adhere to the new license when using that next version.
T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
Can mod creators put as many restrictions as they want? Like not being allowed to share videos or stream at all?
And in the extreme: not be allowed to even play it without consent from the creator?
Sure. They *made* the thing. Unless there's a law in your country that says otherwise they can forbid anyone they want to play the mod. If the license allows for it then even retroactively. And they don't even have to give a reason for it.
T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
I could have broken copyright laws easily because I had no idea mods weren't considered part of the game itself:
[...]
I thought that everything in the game - including browsing mods (from inside the game) would be considered part of the game itself
Breaking copyright laws from checking boxes inside the game itself is not intuitive to me.
There is an old latin phrase "ignorance of the law excuses not". It is your duty as a citicen to know the law. However annoying that may seem to you. However difficult it might be. If you want to change *that* you need to go into politics.
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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by eradicator » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:12 am

T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
As a part of the Factorio community and as a content creator, I would also like to know Wube's stance on these kinds of restrictions because it opens up for mod creators being able to demand a cut from popular streamers or YouTube creators for instance.
This is the most disturbing part of your post. *All* the mods on the portal are free of monetary charge. People spend hundrets or thousands of hours on making them, yet the only people who ever recieve money for it are parasitic self-claimed "content creators" who simply *play* the mods others make. They get the money from monetization / donations for it, and never pay a cent to the people who spend ten times more time on making the mods in the first place. And the worst part is that many of them seem to suffer from the delusion that mod authors should thank *them* for "advertising" a mod in their stream, all the while failing to notice that their stream wouldn't even exist without the work of the mod authors and wube. All the while failing to understand that their "advertisement" gets not a single cent to the mod authors.

How about you view that statement of yours from the other side. Your youtube videos are free? So clearly everyone should have the right to copy them into their own channel and make money from them! How does that feel to you? Notice something?

To any other youtubers who read this: Consider how much of your income was made possible by free software ("mods") and how much of it you gave back to the creators of that software. Then decide for yourself if you're a parasite or not. And use the chance to stop being one. And if you're one of the good ones already, then help spread the word to others that abusing free modders with a bossy attitude is bad for the community.
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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by T1017 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:34 am

I agree with you on the part of me being ignorant.
That is why I am asking.

You are wrong in assuming that I am expecting anything or that I am making any demands.

I just want clarity, so I don't overstep.
Which... again... because I don't know - I am asking about.

I don't understand the hostility here.
"ignorance of the law excuses not" - completely agree, so I don't understand the outrage because I ask to learn.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by quyxkh » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:01 am

T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
And in the extreme: not be allowed to even play it without consent from the creator?
That's not "the extreme", that's the basics of copyright. "License" is legalese for "consent". You're not allowed to play Factorio without Wube's consent, which you obtained by paying for a copy. Paying for a copy has a long history of litigation over the understood rights that gets you, the implicit terms of the license, because nobody wants to have to pore through a fucking contract to watch a movie or play a game or read a book, so legislators have codified what sale of a copy means and courts have gone through all the corner cases anybody got worked up enough about to literally make a federal case out of (hence e.g. DVRs and first sale).
I would also like to know Wube's stance on these kinds of restrictions because it opens up for mod creators being able to demand a cut from popular streamers or YouTube creators for instance.
Wube might have a "stance" on this, but it's not their content. It's not their call. You get whatever license the mod author gives you. You didn't pay anything, so you don't get any of the implicit rights, and even if you had paid the implicit rights do not include public performance. If you don't like the terms offered, don't take the deal (the mod on the mod author's terms for free, oh my!). Abide by the terms or break the law. Wube's "stance" on the terms other people offer on licenses for their work has about as much import as mine. It's not their call. But they do say what terms mod creators who post mods on their servers are _presumed_ to offer if they don't specify one themselves, and they do say that. It's CC-BY-NC 4.0. That carries the noncommercial restriction you're demanding an accounting for. It's about the minimum license grant that makes hosting mods for free download work at all. Anybody determined enough to be a dick about it could take them to court over (as in, demand a full, legal accounting for) that presumption, because as a first-order approximation anybody can sue anybody for anything, no matter how ridiculous.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by T1017 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:00 am

quyxkh wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:01 am
T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
And in the extreme: not be allowed to even play it without consent from the creator?
That's not "the extreme", that's the basics of copyright. "License" is legalese for "consent". You're not allowed to play Factorio without Wube's consent, which you obtained by paying for a copy. Paying for a copy has a long history of litigation over the understood rights that gets you, the implicit terms of the license, because nobody wants to have to pore through a fucking contract to watch a movie or play a game or read a book, so legislators have codified what sale of a copy means and courts have gone through all the corner cases anybody got worked up enough about to literally make a federal case out of (hence e.g. DVRs and first sale).
Sorry, by extreme I meant the extreme end of the licence spectrum, not that it was extreme behaviour or anything like that.
quyxkh wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:01 am
T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm

I would also like to know Wube's stance on these kinds of restrictions because it opens up for mod creators being able to demand a cut from popular streamers or YouTube creators for instance.
Wube might have a "stance" on this, but it's not their content. It's not their call. You get whatever license the mod author gives you. You didn't pay anything, so you don't get any of the implicit rights, and even if you had paid the implicit rights do not include public performance. If you don't like the terms offered, don't take the deal (the mod on the mod author's terms for free, oh my!). Abide by the terms or break the law. Wube's "stance" on the terms other people offer on licenses for their work has about as much import as mine. It's not their call. But they do say what terms mod creators who post mods on their servers are _presumed_ to offer if they don't specify one themselves, and they do say that. It's CC-BY-NC 4.0. That carries the noncommercial restriction you're demanding an accounting for. It's about the minimum license grant that makes hosting mods for free download work at all. Anybody determined enough to be a dick about it could take them to court over (as in, demand a full, legal accounting for) that presumption, because as a first-order approximation anybody can sue anybody for anything, no matter how ridiculous.
The sentence you are quoting is referring to Wube promoting a mod through their FFF and that mod has a very strict license.

I feel on the responses that I came across as entitled in the OP and I would like to clarify that it is not my intention to demand anything or criticize anyone here.
My concern is that as a player who interact with mods through the game itself, I have no idea what licenses I am agreeing to.
Before all of this, I didn't know they had custom licenses at all.
There is a thread suggesting a tab in the mod portal where you can see the license or the license.txt here which might be a nice solution.

I am not in any way opposed to mod makers protecting their property and I am very grateful for creators making mods available.
This is not an attack on mod makers, Wube or anyone else - this is curiosity and me trying to inform myself to be less "ignorant"

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by Nova » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:41 am

Of course does the author have the right to restrict mod usage - but that doesn't change anything about how bad I think it is. That's just one of the disadvantages of a system where we give (nearly) all rights to the author. On the other side this enables a huge amount of freedom and other advantages, so I'm still pretty glad Wube does take such a stance on Mods.

One question... where exactly do you see the sentence that explicitly denies stuff like youtube / twitch? "This INCLUDES commercial/monetised social media activities such as taking donations from YouTube or Twitch streaming, etc."
I did look at the linked license, in the licences file in the mod itself, can't find it.
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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by T1017 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:05 am

Nova wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:41 am
Of course does the author have the right to restrict mod usage - but that doesn't change anything about how bad I think it is. That's just one of the disadvantages of a system where we give (nearly) all rights to the author. On the other side this enables a huge amount of freedom and other advantages, so I'm still pretty glad Wube does take such a stance on Mods.

One question... where exactly do you see the sentence that explicitly denies stuff like youtube / twitch? "This INCLUDES commercial/monetised social media activities such as taking donations from YouTube or Twitch streaming, etc."
I did look at the linked license, in the licences file in the mod itself, can't find it.
I just want to point out something from the first post:
T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
Please note that this post is not about discussing the morals of anything - it's about clarification and a bit of PSA :)
It's not about bad or good. The post was to make it clear how it all works.

The mod author changed the LICENSE.txt after the discussion took place, so it's no longer in there. (I'll add that to the OP)

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by Bilka » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:16 am

T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
The mod showcased in Friday Facts #311: Industrial Revolution by Deadlock989 has a licence that specifies that commercial use is not permitted and:
"This INCLUDES commercial/monetised social media activities such as taking donations from YouTube or Twitch streaming, etc." Edit: (*The mod author changed the LICENSE.txt after the discussion took place, so the quoted sentence is no longer in there.*)
Bit confusing wording there, the license had already been changed when you made this post.
I could have broken copyright laws easily because I had no idea mods weren't considered part of the game itself:
I thought that everything in the game - including browsing mods (from inside the game) would be considered part of the game itself
This makes me curious how you thought that would work: If mods are part of the game, that would mean that Wube would have all rights to them, literally own them. No custom licensing at all. I certainly wouldn't want to release mods only for Wube to own them; my mods are my IP, not Wube's. So my question here is: Did you really think mod authors handed over all their rights to their mods to Wube, or did you just not think that far?
I'm an admin over at https://wiki.factorio.com. Feel free to contact me if there's anything wrong (or right) with it.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by Optera » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:50 am

If Wube took ownership of mods that legally would make moders self employed contractors. We all would start billing Wube for every man-hour we put into developing and supporting our mods.

As for streamers making a buck for playing with my free mods, your post almost makes me wish i never had made an generous exception for streaming in my license and instead had written in that i take 20% of any income from using my mods.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by T1017 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:48 am

Bilka wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:16 am
T1017 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:53 pm
I could have broken copyright laws easily because I had no idea mods weren't considered part of the game itself:
I thought that everything in the game - including browsing mods (from inside the game) would be considered part of the game itself
This makes me curious how you thought that would work: If mods are part of the game, that would mean that Wube would have all rights to them, literally own them. No custom licensing at all. I certainly wouldn't want to release mods only for Wube to own them; my mods are my IP, not Wube's. So my question here is: Did you really think mod authors handed over all their rights to their mods to Wube, or did you just not think that far?
I am surprised that a representative of Wube would spending time asking rhetorical questions to ridicule a member of the community like this.
I have several times stated that I don't know how any of this works and that is the reason I ask.
Three posts above yours, I clearly state the answer to your question:
T1017 wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:00 am
Before all of this, I didn't know they had custom licenses at all.
That some people here spend their time insulting me for not knowing how mod licensing works feels just absurd to me.
Optera wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:50 am
As for streamers making a buck for playing with my free mods, your post almost makes me wish i never had made an generous exception for streaming in my license and instead had written in that i take 20% of any income from using my mods.
I'm sorry if my post comes across in a negative way to you.
Would you mind explaining why it does? There is so much negativity here that I don't get

I have always valued the work of mod creators.
I am just trying to find out how the licensing works.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by Bilka » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:53 am

T1017 wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:48 am
I am surprised that a representative of Wube would spending time asking rhetorical questions to ridicule a member of the community like this.
I have several times stated that I don't know how any of this works and that is the reason I ask.
Three posts above yours, I clearly state the answer to your question:
T1017 wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:00 am
Before all of this, I didn't know they had custom licenses at all.
I'm not a "Wube representative". I'm a person with opinions. My own opinions. That also goes for the discord screenshots above. And my FFF part. If you want a Wube-representative answer, try to reach out to Wube using official channels, such as the support email.

Thank you for answering the question though. I did not mean to ridicule you, and I am sorry that I did. I will try to find better wording in the future.
I'm an admin over at https://wiki.factorio.com. Feel free to contact me if there's anything wrong (or right) with it.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by KatherineOfSky » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:17 am

Bilka, I am glad you will modify your words in future because I was shocked at how you treated my friend and member of the Factorio community. When you have a pink name, respond on the official forums, and have the phrase "Factorio Staff" under your name, you ARE a Wube-representative and ARE giving official responses; that's how the community sees them.

As to the topic: a high percentage of games very much control how mods are made and allowed to be distributed. For example, many EULAs prohibit modders from charging for mods. (Reference here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mod_(video_gaming)) Mod-makers are using the modding API, code, assets, etc. from the original game, and thus may indeed be required to follow the rules and licensing of the original game, and is therefore it is an astute question to ask.


To some of the other posters in this thread: I do not understand the hostility here. T1017's posts are asking for information, which I would like to know myself. If there are restrictions on mods, I want to know that so that I can ask permission, or comply with any other rules before creating video content.

There seem to be some very strong negative feelings from modders toward streamers that I have not been aware of until this thread. If being paid is important, has anyone approached streamers about the issue? If someone asked me to post their Patreon/Paypal link in my descriptions, I would do so without hesitation. If there is an upfront fee, I would be happy to discuss it.

Since many of the questions have been answered, can we get an official dev response on the question of being able to see the license in game?

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by Klonan » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:24 am

KatherineOfSky wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:17 am
Since many of the questions have been answered, can we get an official dev response on the question of being able to see the license in game?
I've been made aware of the discussions and will be bringing it up within the team this week.

As for my personal view, I wholly support the streamers/youtubers and their right to produce the content and monitize it,
This is also the official policy for the base game Factorio that we state on our terms of service.

Furthermore if a mod author, or really any member of the Factorio community, would start issueing copyright strikes or takedowns against Factorio content,
I would take that as an outstandingly hostile act against the game and community, and would fully stand behind the content creator in an effort to resolve the problem.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by KatherineOfSky » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:27 am

Klonan, thank you for your response. I look forward to hearing what the team comes up with.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by eradicator » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:16 pm

____________________
T1017 wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:34 am
You are wrong in assuming that I am expecting anything or that I am making any demands.
If so: great. The second part of my answer was supposely phrased towards a more general group of people, not you specifically, and not you at all if you don't feel yourself as a part of that group.
T1017 wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:34 am
"ignorance of the law excuses not" - completely agree, so I don't understand the outrage because I ask to learn.
That's easy. Your original post (that you replaced with an edited version now) used phrasing that - to me at least - suggested that you felt unhappy about the fact that mod authors have all the rights to their mods. You might not have intended this, or you might not even be aware of this, but that doesn't change how other people percieve your words. And i percieved you as having asked "Why do mod authors have the right to restrict streamers from monetizing videos of their free mods?", which is not a question that i can answer "without discussing the moral". Equally you seem to have percieved my answer as more aggressive than it was intended to be.
____________________
KatherineOfSky wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:17 am
Bilka, I am glad you will modify your words in future because I was shocked at how you treated my friend and member of the Factorio community. When you have a pink name, respond on the official forums, and have the phrase "Factorio Staff" under your name, you ARE a Wube-representative and ARE giving official responses; that's how the community sees them.
While i have to agree that the <my-own-person>/<wube-staff-member> dualisim of staff members making all their posts from the same account poses certain difficulties, i don't see anything but dry and neutral answers by Bilka. The problem is that the question asked in this thread suggest that @OP seems to have an astonishing lack of basic legal procedures that i'd personally not expect from any adult member of society. Imagine any adult asked you "Why am i not allowed to beat people up if they say something i don't like?" - could you answer that with a straight face?
____________________
Klonan wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:24 am
Furthermore if a mod author, or really any member of the Factorio community, would start issueing copyright strikes or takedowns against Factorio content,
I would take that as an outstandingly hostile act against the game and community, and would fully stand behind the content creator in an effort to resolve the problem.
This is a bit puzzling. Let me try to understand that with a hypothetical example:
  1. $ModAuthor makes a $Mod and publishes it under the $StreamingIsNotAllowedLicense (i.e. CC-BY-NC-ND).
  2. Now $Streamer installs the $mod and uses it heavily in a 10 Episode Let's Play series. $Streamer monetizes the series and additionally takes donations.
  3. $ModAuthor is informed of this, and tries to contact $Streamer if they'd be willing to pay for the right to stream the mod.
  4. $Streamer isn't willing to pay nearly as much money as $ModAuthor would like, so they do not come to an agreement.
  5. Now $ModAuthor is left with no other option than to ask Youtube to remove the videos of $Streamer that are in viloation of $StreamingIsNotAllowedLicense.
So in this constellation, you would support $Streamer and shame $ModAuthor for daring to want payment too? Because your answer sounds like you're treating streamers as more important than mod authors. And i sincerly hope i'm just misunderstanding that part of your answer...
____________________
Personally i am also quite pissed (not self-censoring here) how the word "content creators" is generally used in this thread (and according to wikipedia everywher else really) to exlucde mod authors. Why is there so much less appreciation for the hundreds of hours someone puts into *making* a mod, than in the tens of hours that someone spends *playing* the mod in a video stream? I suspect this is simply because making the mod isn't visible. Nobody sees the agony of the mod authors when they spend hours hunting an elusive bug. Or all the time spent into carefully balancing all the recipes. But someone taking 2 second to install the mod and reading the item names alound in a video? Sure that's visible. Most of the time mod authors don't even get a "thank you". This is also btw not a problem limited to factorio, but more of a general lack of appreciation for programmers or any other job that isn't "visible".

Bethesda supposedly once tried to offer mod authors the ability to monetize their Skyrim mods, but the outcry from the "we want it for free!" people was so huge that they took the system down again. I'm sure the news coverage was incomplete and there were likely other problems with the system. But to me it was a shock to see active lobbying against paying mod authors on this scale.
____________________
KatherineOfSky wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:17 am
There seem to be some very strong negative feelings from modders toward streamers that I have not been aware of until this thread. If being paid is important, has anyone approached streamers about the issue? If someone asked me to post their Patreon/Paypal link in my descriptions, I would do so without hesitation. If there is an upfront fee, I would be happy to discuss it.
I'll give it a try from the perspective of a low-profile modder (about 9k total downloads). I'll write this from my "i" perspective, but it's meant in a general "any modder" way.

From my perspective your question is already a reversal of reality. You ask to be asked for money, links, essentially favours. You seem to be arguing from a perspective where *you* are the one generously giving to the modder. Imagine this from my perspective: To even *ask* you for anything i have to first *know* that you're using my mod. But i have no easiy way of gaining that knowledge. A modder would have to spend hours on end skimming through a near infinite amount of factorio video to even *find* the streamers that user their mods. You on the other hand know exactly which mods you have installed. So why do you not approach the makers of your favourite mods on your own and offer then some monetary appreciation? (Weird real-world analogy: In the supermarket, do you wait for the staff to ask you to pay, or do you go to the cashier?)

Oh, and btw i ofc have no idea at all on what *order of magnitude* your streaming income even is, so even if i decided to ask you i'd be bound to horribly over- or undershoot my demand. Do you make 1€ per episode, or 10000€?

It all basically boils down to one simple fact: Streamers have found an easy, managed, automatic way to monetize their streams on large platforms. But no such thing exists for modders. The in-game mod portal only supports unpaid mods. Ofc one could try and offer paid mods on patreon or some such platform, but this would mean losing the ease of installing/updataing from in-game. And without the visibilty on the mod portal it's unrealistic to hope to ever get enough people to find a mod. So if i want *anyone* to play my mod at all, there's currently no real alternative to offering it for free on the portal. Some mods have donation links buried in their descriptions, but from what i can tell from the outside (i.e. patreon monthly rates) hardly anyone ever uses those.

So, Conclusing: Do i make mods for money? No, because i see no realistic way to generate a predictable income from mods (however low). Would i really really like getting money anyway? Oh my yes! Does wube even allowe me to take money for mods that might use re-mixed base game assets? Probably not. Streamers have found a socially and legally accepted way to get paid for doing what they enjoy. Some even enough to make a living of it. Most of them not having to paying a cent for the streaming rights - which a traditional television broadcaster would be asked to buy at a premium. While modders have to deal with a reality where even suggesting that some payment would be nice is met with "shock" and outrage. Call me bitter. Call me envious. But that's my answer. ;p
Author of: Hand Crank Generator, Screenshot Hotkey 2.0
Mod support languages: 日本語, Deutsch, English
My code in the post above is dedicated to the public domain under CC0.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by Seyeght » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:06 pm

I feel like there is a duality here for the term Content Creator, and as someone who has experienced both sides, and supported both sides for a long time in other modding communities, I can say that this isn't the first time that this issue has come up, nor will it be the last.

Modders do have the right to want some piece of the action, although it is my personal experience that they dont realize how small that piece is likely to be. This is not to say that anyone in the modding or streaming community is making large sums of money on that line of work, it just isnt very likely.

So lets look at this from the Modder's perspective. I write a mod, create all the visual and audio assets (or at least make sure that I own or have permission to use) I take the time to put together the experience and debug and support the life and evolution of the mod. If I do a good job I get thousands of downloads and lots of people playing my mod. Beyond that, nothing ever happens... usually. Yes I am making this over-simplistic, intentionally.

From a Streamer's perspective, its always been a grey area as to what is/isn't allowed to be streamed, and yes you are responsible to ensuring that licensing is followed for any content that makes it into the experience you provide. You aren't allowed to play copyrighted music on your stream, this is a similar concept.
Now the issue here is that unless you are willing and knowledgeable about where to look, and how to interpret the legalese of the licences... you might be a little ignorant or lost on what you can/cant stream. To complicate the issue further currently there isn't an easy/direct way to find this information, which is what this post and another are looking to address.

This issue isnt being brought forward by people who want to abuse the system and ignore the licenses, this is being brought forward by the Streamers that care and want to make it easier for others to know/find this information. Even once you know exactly what license that is in place and read through the 10,000 word legal documents about that license, it still isn't always clear that a mod can/cant be streamed. This is partially due to how streams are monetized or monetized on the side, and people usually aren't directly donating/subbing/tipping/ad revenue directly off of the mod or game being played but due to the person playing them. This odd middleground is why it isn't always clear to a Streamer if money that is being made is due to 'them' or the 'game'.

Now let's talk numbers, since that the basis around a lot of what is causing this issue, yes you can stream just about anything you want to YouTube/Twitch/Mixer and many other platforms, and it has made a new dynamic to a lot of games and Modders. Suddenly just about anyone can be 'paid' to play your content, so to speak. Now this 'exposure' to a Modder currently only does one thing, it might drive up downloads for their mod, increasing their number of downloads.
There is a lot of debate on both sides as to if a 'Lets Play' series on YouTube or a Twitch stream will drive up or down the sales/download for a game or mod, and I wont get into that. Most streamers (98%+) are either unmonetized, or they have a potential of earning a paltry amount of income (less than $1000/year) which is why it has become more common for systems like Patreon to support streamers outside of a platform that doesn't bring in enough money to mean anything.

Now in other communities I have seen mod authors use that same Patreon system to rally support for mod development and support, and I support a number of Streamers and Mod Developers through such systems personally. There is also the concept that has been used in other communities that mod authors will get some of the ad revenue from the parent company for the number of pageviews and downloads that their mod gets. Once again this kind of support system is paltry even with an extremely popular and highly downloaded mod on those platforms, so while its a nice gesture its not a living.

Streamers are not begrudging you for restricting their content, at least none that I have talked to about this issue. Mod authors for the most part either dont care or aren't interested in the money aspect for making a mod. That isn't to say that there aren't outliers for both parties.

So how do we move forward?
How can Wube help on this front to make sure that the mod developers get the protections and recognitions they deserve for their hard work and ideas?
How can we make it more obvious the wishes and desires of the Mod Developers when it comes to how they do/dont want their mods to be used when it comes to streaming?
How can we support the hard working individuals that are creating these mods that so many of us have come to use and rely on for so long?

I understand that both sides feel confused and hurt by the ignorance of the 'other' side, but we are one community and the factory must grow. Growth is not always easy or painless, but I think that with the help and support of the community and Wube we can research this and automate it.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by Nova » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:29 pm

Bilka wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:16 am
This makes me curious how you thought that would work: If mods are part of the game, that would mean that Wube would have all rights to them, literally own them. No custom licensing at all. I certainly wouldn't want to release mods only for Wube to own them; my mods are my IP, not Wube's. So my question here is: Did you really think mod authors handed over all their rights to their mods to Wube, or did you just not think that far?
You don't have to hand over all the rights, it would suffice to say something like that every mod on the mod portal has to have the same / similar conditions for streaming / monetization as the base game, done. This of course removes some possibilities, but at least people don't have to study every licence of every mod they would like to use if they just use the easy accessible mod portal.
Legal stuff and licencing is a horrible swamp of traps. Whatever you do, someone will be negatively affected by it. ^^
Greetings, Nova.
Factorio is one of the greatest games I ever played, with one of the best developers I ever heard of. Image

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by Seyeght » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:58 pm

There are also two distinct camps when it comes to a CC NC license.

One side (Including Deadlock) says that you are not allowed to make any direct or indirect monetary gain while playing my pack or sharing that playthrough with others. This leaves a grey area of "'Can I stream it if I and so small of a streamer that I wouldn't make money off of it?"

Another side/perspective is that the license is to ensure that the code/mod is protected from others trying to sell the code or sell access to the mod itself and NOT the experience of someone playing the mod.

Both sides can agree that while it is possible to view anyone playing the mod without payment, the difference between the two perspectives is why a lot of the drama and debate started on wanting clarity on which license is used for each mod, but even knowing that we might still want/need clarity on what the Author's intention is behind choosing that license especially when it comes to NC Licenses and their perspective on if that NC applies to streaming a playthrough that included their mod.

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Re: Licensing and mod portal

Post by Novgorod » Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:29 pm

eradicator wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:16 pm
$ModAuthor makes a $Mod and publishes it under the $StreamingIsNotAllowedLicense (i.e. CC-BY-NC-ND).
I'm wondering why nobody seems to challenge this premise in the whole discussion. I'm not so much interested in a discussion about who "deserves" what for what kind of work, because that's the mootest of all points. We can all appreciate the work of modders, who decided to publish their work for free because it's a hobby. If they want to make it into a job, they are free to do so on the free market of license fees, Patreon support or whichever way. People will either throw their money at it or not, that's the business world. We may also appreciate "content creators" who create their content as a hobby. If they choose to turn this hobby into a business by selling ads, that's their choice and we can participate in it or simply install an adblocker, no big deal. I have no personal stakes in either one.

What I'm more interested in is the actual law. It depends on the country, of course, but most countries have their version of "fair use" laws for copyrighted content and especially in the US it's not just allowed, it's rather encouraged. Transformative work that uses copyrighted material is free speech and no license text can prohibit it because the right to speak freely about something is considered more important than the author's wish to rather have his work not being spoken about, regardless of who makes money with what. This law is essential because otherwise there would be no news articles, no reviews, no public discussion, not even quotes, nothing. Authors would fully control public speech about their works if their license overrides the law and I think I don't have to elaborate more on the implications of that.

Let's plays are almost always considered transformative work (like commentary) and therefore fall under fair use, at least on US platforms (Youtube, Twitch etc.). What the license actually covers is derivative work, e.g. if you make and sell your own game based on graphics or gameplay of this mod (and you'll certainly also get legal problems with Wube in that case) or if you start selling merchandise with graphics from the mod. Merely showing the mod on Youtube with your own commentary is transformative, not derivative, thus it's clearly fair use and the license cannot apply to it. The same applies of course to the content of the "content creators": you can use their videos in your own videos reviewing them, commenting on them, making fun of them or remixing them into a new work of art (maybe the last one not anymore in the EU, I don't know). You're just not allowed to copy and re-publish them (or parts of them) as your own content without any transformative work.

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