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Command & Conquer Official Modding Guidelines
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Banshee
Supreme Banshee


Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 9:57 am    Post subject:  Command & Conquer Official Modding Guidelines
Subject description: Philadelphia, we have a problem!
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Hello everyone! First of all, congratulations to the Command & Conquer franchise for its 25th anniversary. I think that my first experience with a Command & Conquer game happened around 1997 or 1998... and it was with Red Alert 1. At that time, I didn't enjoy it at all. My English skills were far more limited than today and I had no clue regarding what was going on with the story of the campaign. I've started to become a Command & Conquer fan about 1 year later with C&C 95. My first internet access came later than that. So, I'm one of those people who never had a clue when Command & Conquer started and I am trusting Jim Vessella on this anniversary date (September 26th).

The same Jim Vessella has posted that, as a celebration of this memorable 25th anniversary of the franchise, they have released a Modding Guidelines that explains how they authorize (or not) the usage of assets from any Command & Conquer game in mods/games, as long as they follow their guidelines.

I won't post Jim's message on reddit, I will just skip it to the modding guidelines itself:


Quote:
Command & Conquer™ Franchise Modding Guidelines

EA appreciates the passion that our players and community members have for our games. In particular, we celebrate the Command & Conquer community Mods that have helped fans engage in our C&C games for decades. Members of the C&C community have asked us what community Mods they can create and distribute. This Policy applies to all modifications, alterations, or extensions of the C&C video games and universe, including add-ons, modified UI and new levels, maps and updates. EA does not object to your use of the C&C video games, including the C&C Remastered Collection, in your community Mods, provided you comply with the following guidelines.

Not for commercial profit:  Community Mods are just that, Mods focused on coming together over a shared passion, not a money-making venture. Your Mods must be non-commercial and distributed free-of-charge at this time. Therefore, Mods cannot be sold, licensed, rented for a fee, nor can the Mod contain features that would support monetary transactions of any type. Mods may not be used to advertise any goods or services.

In addition, your Mods must not be used to solicit donations, except as follows: EA recognizes that the time and resources needed to create Mods can sometimes be substantial. Accordingly, Mod developers are allowed to fund their development costs through donations, subject to the following restrictions:

-  Requests for donations must be limited to the Mod website or distribution site and not appear within the Mod gameplay itself.

- Donors may not be provided with any in-game special advantages, such as private access to a Mod, special levels, graphical markers, special text, abilities, units, maps, etc. That is, all users must be able to play the same Mods without having to pay extra to do so.

- Donors that are corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, etc., cannot be listed in the credits section of a Mod; only individuals may be listed.

Respect the rights of others: Your Mods must not infringe any copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret or other intellectual property right of any third party and will not include content that is unlawful, tortious, defamatory, obscene, invasive of the privacy of another person, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, racist or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate. EA requires that Mods not include any material that would not be allowed under the age ratings for any applicable C&C game(s). The C&C franchise usually has an age rating of ESRB T (Teen) and PEGI 16+, and similar ratings from other ratings boards around the world.

No EA affiliation: You must include the following statement prominently at the top of your website and in at least one root-level license file in any source-code repositories for your project (e.g., a README file or equivalent): “EA has not endorsed and does not support this product.” Do not promote your Mod in a way that suggests that it’s endorsed or approved by or affiliated with EA in any manner. Do not use EA artwork, logos or trademarks (including game logo treatments, the names Electronic Arts, EA or “Command & Conquer” or the logos or names) to promote your Mod. However, you may state that your Mod is for Command & Conquer and/or for a specific C&C game or expansion pack in the franchise (e.g., “Command & Conquer,” “Tiberian Dawn,” “Red Alert,” “Renegade,” “Generals,” and/or “Kane’s Wrath,” as applicable).

Safety & integrity. Your Mods must not jeopardize the integrity of the gameplay or harm the experience of others and must not interfere with or disrupt any of EA’s services, servers or networks, such as by introducing malware or by circumventing any of EA’s content protection measures for its services. To maintain the integrity of C&C and ensure the best possible gaming experience for our players, EA reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to revoke permission to use, distribute or make Mods at any time, to disable any Mod within C&C and to take disciplinary action against players who take part in any of these activities.

Intellectual property ownership; license from EA: C&C assets, including game code, art, music, and all other content, are and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of EA (the “C&C Assets”). To the extent any C&C Assets are used in Mods, EA grants the Mod creator a revocable, limited, non-exclusive, non-commercial license to use the C&C Assets solely in connection with, and as a part of, the Mod and subject to the terms of this Policy. Your Mod must not include any music files from any C&C games. EA reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to revoke this license at any time.

Abide by all other EA rules: These guidelines supplement and don’t supersede any other EA rules that apply to your Mod, including the GPL license terms and conditions under which we have distributed our C&C Remastered Collection DLL source code and the EA User Agreement, which are specifically incorporated into this Policy. In the event that the terms of this Policy are in conflict with the terms of these other EA rules, the terms of this Policy will supersede and govern. For clarity, Mods constitute “UGC” as that term is defined in our EA User Agreement.  

Please remember that EA does not pre-screen, endorse, or specifically support any C&C Mod. Please use Mods with caution and understand there may be a risk.

Thank you for your interest and we hope you continue to enjoy our games. Any requests or questions regarding these guidelines and the topics they cover may be submitted to PermissionRequests@ea.com.



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The whole idea of these Guidelines is to clarify how EA legally handles user-created content created with C&C assets. The implied message here is that they want you to create mods, but they don't want to have legal problems with them, they don't want users being forced to pay to play mods on their best experience, and EA does not want to have any sort of association with any mod. Regarding their sudden aggressive instance with the distribution of music, EA was once sued by a singer of a song featured in Tiberian Dawn because a community member has made a fan patch for the game that enabled it in the Jukebox. Fortunately, the singer has lost the process. I don't think Frank Klepacki would do what this singer did, taking into account his history, his own passion for the C&C franchise, and his own contribution to the C&C community mods. It is not clear, however, if this event is their sole motivation for this sudden change of attitude regarding music distribution.

Take these Modding Guidelines with the same consideration that you have with the end-user license agreement from these games when you mod them. Focus on the points from the previous paragraph and always credit EA for their assets, even if you (and someone else) modify them. This is our informal advice, really. It is impossible to have legal terms that validate mods in the way we do here (and anywhere in the world). There will always be grey areas in these cases and situations where some terms might eventually be violated. Derivative works are something that always falls into grey areas. Who has ownership of what? What are the minimum requirements to consider some work as a derivative work of something and not simply a copy? The impossibility of writing legal terms that takes into consideration all modding activities seen in the internet is a problem without a solution, due to maths restriction which I will not go into details here. That's why being orthodox and radical about manners is dangerous. Another fact that must be taken into consideration when Guidelines like this one are created is that most mods will not be updated to follow these Guidelines because their authors are gone for good. For these reasons and the lack of human resources to be proactive, PPM will have a reactive instance on this matter. If EA lawyers consider one or more mods hosted here to be problematic or harmful for the company, please, contact us and we will take their downloads down as soon as possible.  

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If you take the whole text by the book, letter by letter, we will have to place most of our mods offline, because they will certainly violate some random term.

- The use of some game extensions may interfere or disrupt with EA content protection measures. Some people may interpret that standalone mods could do the same thing. Although the games they were released on were eventually turned into Freeware, they are still sold on Origin.

- Some mods distribute or modify music from other C&C games. Stripping down this ability from them might ruin their experience. And developing utilities to extract these assets not necessarily is something that is done in a night since modders are not necessarily good programmers nor have necessarily have music creation skills to recreate alternative interpretations of these songs.

- A myriad of mods has no message explicitly mentioning that they are not affiliated with EA and they won't have it because their authors disappeared... some of them are no longer among the living people.

- Many mods use EA artwork for their logos and Command & Conquer on their names.

- Intellectual property restrictions are something that we apply when whoever owns the assets has explicit politics to legally hunt those who use them illegally, but it is very hard for us to track these things. We have even seen C&C games created by Chinese companies and officially endorsed by EA to use intellectual property from third-party companies, like Blizzard, without their consent and monetizing it.

- Words like "Your Mods must not jeopardize the integrity of the gameplay" are probably focusing on the creation of mods with cheating purposes. But would badly balanced mods be interpreted as mods that jeopardize the integrity of the gameplay? And even if someone makes mods for cheating purposes (which I have seen a bunch done for the Remastered Collection already), what would the problem of distributing it for offline usage only? Or even for multiplayer, as long as all players involved have access to it and are aware of its contents? Personally, I don't download this kind of thing, but I have no prejudice against those who do it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And I could go on and on and on about the problems that we could have with these terms, but I will go straight to the point: Modding is all about having fun and provide a fun experience to the community. And regardless of any awkward term in these Guidelines, we should keep this spirit.

Key Words: #News #CommandAndConquer #EAModdingGuidelines #RedAlert1 #TiberianSun #Firestorm #RedAlert2 #YurisRevenge #CommandAndConquerRemastered #RedAlert1Remastered #Renegade #Generals #ZeroHour #TiberiumWars #KanesWrath #RedAlert3 #OpenRA 

Last edited by Banshee on Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:05 pm; edited 1 time in total

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CCHyper
Defense Minister


Joined: 07 Apr 2005

PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee, as much as I appreciate the concern for these new Modding Guidelines, but they were not put in place to disrupt the community or close down and project in particular, in fact, quite the opposite.

This was put in place by EA and Jim Vessella to ensure the modding community has clear guidelines in which EA can protect and enforce its intellectual property (as any games company has the right to do so). There have not been any formal communications from EA in almost 10 years in regards to the C&C modding community, and Jim wanted to set this right once and for all, and along with all of the Community Council made sure that all areas of the community and their projects were safe and justified within the guidelines.

And, to add weight to the intention behind EA and Jim with these guidelines, they actually removed a whole section in regards to any executable community patches or extensions at the request of our concern regarding projects such as CNCNet, Ares, Thyme, TTScripts, and so on. I think that's enough to show a willingness to work with the community, not against it. These projects fall under the "Extensions" item as mentioned in the opening paragraph if anyone is interested.

Jim Vessella also cleared up the item about the music from other C&C games used in community mods. Although EA is not going to come after a particular project, they hope that the modders and creators of existing projects that use such music consider alternative ways to fetch these assets if possible. To quote him from his Reddit reply;
"At the end of the day, these freeware releases have been out there for so long, and honestly happened under some strange processes. While the music for these is a grey area, EA is not all of a sudden going to clamp down on projects related to these releases, and in fact, we've done our best to try and empower projects like Open RA and CnCNet over the past two years. We still would prefer mods for these titles to import the music from a legit copy of the game."

Some people in the community have also expressed concern about using the "Command & Conquer" name in their mod. As long as it is clear that the mod or project is an "extension" of an C&C title and not trying to pass off itself as a legitimate C&C title or making the player assume it has been developed and released by EA, they should be absolutely fine.

Existing projects are fine, there is no need to panic. Although EA will not be using these guidelines to target any project, they trust that the community and these mods/projects operate with good and fair intentions.

All in all, this is mostly to protect the C&C Remastered Collection assets from being misused in a commercial capacity, which was already made clear before these guidelines by the Steam Workshop policy.

The clear statement that needs to be echoed across the community in regards to these guidelines is;
"Don't read too far into these guidelines, EA is not going to start coming after projects or mods", full stop.

But people seem to be missing some key additions within this modding policy;
• Mods and projects can now legally accept donations, as long as there is no in-game benefit to the player over standard players.
• The freeware release of C&C, RA, and TS has been acknowledged their use of assets in community mods.
• EA has acknowledged and are happy for binary patching projects such as Ares and TTScripts to continue.
• Existing projects are fine, there is no need to panic.

If anyone has any specific further questions, I would be happy to help clarify them.

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G-E
General


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to agree with CCHyper here, there has been a void of anything that could clarify what is and isn't acceptable to EA for so long, anything said now will seem restrictive. The wild west got a laissea faire sherriff, that's all.

It seems like they are worried people will create monetized and/or walled communities of C&C forks that they will not have input over, and could potentially spoil the experience for new players... not sure how much of a viable threat this is, but given the Chinesium Ares variants, perhaps they are not entirely without merit.
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Allen
Cyborg Specialist


Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Location: C:\Westwood\ TechLevel=12

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder how much of a leg EA would have to stand on thanks to Galoob vs Nintendo.
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Banshee
Supreme Banshee


Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CCHyper wrote:
Banshee, as much as I appreciate the concern for these new Modding Guidelines, but they were not put in place to disrupt the community or close down and project in particular, in fact, quite the opposite.

This was put in place by EA and Jim Vessella to ensure the modding community has clear guidelines in which EA can protect and enforce its intellectual property (as any games company has the right to do so). There have not been any formal communications from EA in almost 10 years in regards to the C&C modding community, and Jim wanted to set this right once and for all, and along with all of the Community Council made sure that all areas of the community and their projects were safe and justified within the guidelines.



In this news post, I haven't said that EA had any bad intentions regarding the creation of these guidelines. I do believe their intentions were good. But the initiative itself could be a source of problems. As I said above, it doesn't solve the doubts and uncertainties that it is designed to solve and clearly forces additional responsibilities for sites like PPM that receives and hosts countless user-submitted content that uses or modifies C&C assets. Such responsibility might be very expensive for the human resources we have here, which we only have conditions to comply if we act in a reactive way. And I felt I had the obligation to say that in this news post.



CCHyper wrote:
Jim Vessella also cleared up the item about the music from other C&C games used in community mods. Although EA is not going to come after a particular project, they hope that the modders and creators of existing projects that use such music consider alternative ways to fetch these assets if possible. To quote him from his Reddit reply;
"At the end of the day, these freeware releases have been out there for so long, and honestly happened under some strange processes. While the music for these is a grey area, EA is not all of a sudden going to clamp down on projects related to these releases, and in fact, we've done our best to try and empower projects like Open RA and CnCNet over the past two years. We still would prefer mods for these titles to import the music from a legit copy of the game."


I do have concerns about how mods like Dawn of the Tiberium Age, C&C Reloaded, and few others will handle this matter. Also, it is worth mentioning that as soon as EA releases more versions of the same game (I.e.: TD DOS, C&C 95, C&C 95 The First Decade, C&C 95 Uiltimate Collection, C&C Remastered Collection, etc), it gets more complicated for these projects to maintain these terms.


CCHyper wrote:
The clear statement that needs to be echoed across the community in regards to these guidelines is;
"Don't read too far into these guidelines, EA is not going to start coming after projects or mods", full stop.


It is nearly the same as I wrote above, except that I was a bit more radical. When I say to take it with the same consideration as you take EULA when modding a game clearly means to ignore the text. If we take EULA seriously, we can't mod the game. And right after it, I've added to focus on the matters that EA doesn't want legal problems for them, doesn't want mods or some of its features being accessed through paywalls, and that EA must not have any affiliation with your mod. By doing that, makes your mod act on good and fair intentions.


CCHyper wrote:
But people seem to be missing some key additions within this modding policy;
• Mods and projects can now legally accept donations, as long as there is no in-game benefit to the player over standard players.
• The freeware release of C&C, RA, and TS has been acknowledged their use of assets in community mods.
• EA has acknowledged and are happy for binary patching projects such as Ares and TTScripts to continue.
• Existing projects are fine, there is no need to panic.


I do have doubts about some of these being additions or rather an increase of restrictions.

- You can't prevent a site from getting donations, even if it is a site for a project. EA can, through legal means, to try to shut down a site from a rogue project and use these donations in the legal process. Regarding paywalls or mods being commercialized, most of the C&C community did not tolerate it before and worked under the convention that such thing was not acceptable. I guess EA has just formalized that.

- Taking into account our previous instance on the use of assets from freeware C&C games, EA has actually inserted a restriction regarding the distribution of its music. That's the real change I see here, to be really honest.

- EA officially acknowledging binary patching projects is a positive thing. Previously, authorizations had to be granted manually. So, from that perspective, I agree that these Guidelines is a step forward.

- Existing projects seems to be fine now. But EA staff changes, lawyers change, business models change and the guidelines as it is makes many of these mods vulnerable in the future. Sorry if I'm being too much skeptical with that, but I've been in this community for a couple of decades and I've seen this kind of thing happening once in a while.

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Matthias M.
Stealth Laser Trooper


Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is interesting how they forbid micro transactions for mods. They probably want to close a loophole or maybe they learned their lessons. Smile

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TAK02
General


Joined: 28 Jun 2015
Location: It was Damascus.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matthias M. wrote:
It is interesting how they forbid micro transactions for mods. They probably want to close a loophole or maybe they learned their lessons. Smile

You mean I can't release my C&C: Red Alert Rivals? Nooooo...

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Blade
Cyborg Commando


Joined: 23 Dec 2003

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does look like on the face of these guidelines a number of mods listed in the PPM projects section will need to be renamed for including Command & Conquer or one of the game names in their titles and a number of C&C inspired OpenRA mods, including the official mods also appear to fall foul of these guidelines.

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- geno -
Energy Commando


Joined: 29 May 2003
Location: Las Pinas, Philippines

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee wrote:

Do not use EA artwork, logos or trademarks (including game logo treatments, the names Electronic Arts, EA or “Command & Conquer” or the logos or names) to promote your Mod. However, you may state that your Mod is for Command & Conquer and/or for a specific C&C game or expansion pack in the franchise (e.g., “Command & Conquer,” “Tiberian Dawn,” “Red Alert,” “Renegade,” “Generals,” and/or “Kane’s Wrath,” as applicable).


so does this means that in every mod logo or titles must have a descriptor like

"Unofficial Expansion pack"
"Modification"
"A C&C Red Alert 2 Yuri's Revenge Modification"
"A Modification for Yuri's Revenge"
"Remastered Mod"
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^Rampastein
Rampastring


Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Location: Gensokyo

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

- geno - wrote:

so does this means that in every mod logo or titles must have a descriptor like

"Unofficial Expansion pack"
"Modification"
"A C&C Red Alert 2 Yuri's Revenge Modification"
"A Modification for Yuri's Revenge"
"Remastered Mod"


As far as I've undestood it, it's enough that you don't have "Command & Conquer" or the other brands in your mod's logo or other promotional materials. For example, if we called DTA "Command & Conquer: Dawn of the Tiberium Age" we'd violate the guidelines, but just "Dawn of the Tiberium Age" is fine.

If you want to make use of the brand, then you need to explain that it's unofficial, and you still can't make use of any EA artwork (like the official C&C logo) to promote it.
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