My DH and The Boy have played an online multi player game, Shaiya. They found it about 2 years ago. They started playing as a way of bonding and spending time together. At times they got irritated with each other, and actually had arguments. While it seemed silly and trivial, at the time, now I can see that it was an opportunity for them to learn how to communicate with each other even when they are angry or at least disagree.
About 6 months ago the server they went through, Aeria Games, started to allow the players to raise the prices in the game to outrageous levels. My DH and The Boy began to become frustrated and irritated with the server and the game masters, actual Aeria Game employees, as far as how they were allowing things to occur.
So my DH and The Boy located another server offering the Shaiya game, Shaiya Evo. They discovered that many of the stalwart players from the Aeria Game version had gone over to this new server and were really happy with how things were being ran. They found that the Shaiya Evo game was run more fairly and allowed the players to advance and purchase items in the game at better prices. It was not an easier version just more user friendly.
About a month ago the whole Shaiaya thing with the two of them began to wane and they went on to doing different things. (Mostly bugging me, grin)
Last night The Boy got to wondering what the prices of the online items at Aeria Games Shaiya were at this point. He signed in and discovered that the madness still continued. He then went over to Shaiya Evo and discovered a letter from Aeria Games, Shaiya. If you click on the link you can read what was written. In response to this letter and Shaiya Evo closing their server someone left this information on the Shaiya Evo forum:
Terms of Service: Section 5 "License to Use wrote:
You may not (a) sublicense, rent, lease, loan, sell or otherwise transfer the Software or the Services (or any part thereof) (b) modify, adapt, reverse engineer or decompile the Software, or otherwise attempt to derive source code from the Software; (c) create any derivative works in respect of the Software or the Service; or (d) otherwise use the Software or the Service except as expressly provided in this Agreement. Title to the Software, and all rights with respect to the Software and Service not specifically granted under this Agreement, including without limitation all rights of reproduction, modification, distribution, display, disassembly and de-compilation and all copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret and other proprietary rights and interests are reserved to AGE or its licensor(s).
Let's break this down:
"(a) sublicense, rent, lease, loan, sell or otherwise transfer the Software or the Services (or any part thereof)"
This is obviously talking about copyright/patent infringement. We'll get back to that in a little bit.
" (b) modify, adapt, reverse engineer or decompile the Software, or otherwise attempt to derive source code from the Software"
This is talking about modifying the Aeria Games Client for your own personal gain. Hacking in other words, which is explained as illegal later in the Terms of Service. This is all that it technically applies to.
"(c) create any derivative works in respect of the Software or the Service;"
You're not allowed to make modded versions of the game. Such as entirely new maps that aren't originally released with the game, or creating new skills, weapons, armor, classes, modes, etc.
" otherwise use the Software or the Service except as expressly provided in this Agreement. Title to the Software, and all rights with respect to the Software and Service not specifically granted under this Agreement, including without limitation all rights of reproduction, modification, distribution, display, disassembly and de-compilation and all copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret and other proprietary rights and interests are reserved to AGE or its licensor(s)."
Here's where we talk about copyrights and patents. Aeria Games has one problem when it comes to this: They do not explicitly own the copyright and patent of Shaiya. SonoV does. The only copyrights that Aeria Games legally own are:
1. Aeria Points: This is a reward program for making charitable donations to Aeria Games to use for items that do not normally drop from within the game. Named after Aeria because it is their company that people are donating to.
2. Website content: This includes the forums, webpage layout, user account management, and what is displayed on the website.
3. Client Code: This only applies to the client that they are currently hosting. Anything pre-dated or post-dated to their current client version is not controlled by Aeria Games. However, they don't even own the copyright and patent to their client. SonoV does, and can, at any time, revoke the contract with Aeria Games for any reason, with or without notice.
SonoV owns, and maintains all master copyrights and patents to Shaiya. Not Aeria Games. The way that these are worded would make the common person see that Aeria Games would seem to own all copyright, however no matter how hard they press, they do not.
The right to make a Private Server is up to SonoV, and that company alone, as they created, modify, and update all versions of Shaiya that are contracted through them.
It does say further down in Section 5, however:
As more particularly described in each applicable EULA, AGE and/or its licensors retain exclusive right, title and interest (including all intellectual property rights) in and to the Software, copies thereof, and all error corrections, bug-fixes, patches, updates, derivative works, improvements, modifications thereto (whether made by AGE, its licensors, you, or otherwise), including, but not limited to, any titles, computer code, themes, objects, characters, character names, stories, dialog, catch phrases, locations, concepts, artwork, character inventories, structural or landscape designs, animations, sounds, musical compositions, audio-visual effects, storylines, character likenesses, methods of operation, moral rights, any related documentation, and "applets" incorporated into the Software. The rights described in the foregoing sentence are the copyrighted work of AGE and/or its licensors and are protected by the copyright laws of the United States, Korea, Japan, international copyright treaties and conventions, and/or other applicable laws. All rights are reserved. The Software may contain certain licensed materials, and the licensors of those materials may enforce their rights in the event of any violation of the EULA.
I bolded "retain" because it is a keyword in this. Aeria Games is not the master Licensor. SonoV is. SonoV licensed the right to HOST the game on their site and through their company. They did not sell any and all rights to Aeria Games, meaning Aeria Games does not own any part of Shaiya in its entirety. They are renting it from SonoV. In-turn, they sub-license it to us to use at our own risk and discretion, without modifying the current version of the client that Aeria Games hosts.
Now, onto the legal stuff:
"Is it illegal to make a private server?
Technically yes, as this violates SonoV's copyright status. Aeria Games has no real legal standing unless it violates their explicit copyrights (Aeria Points and Website).
"Can Aeria Games legally ban or sue me for creating/hosting/playing on a private server?"
Not unless you either do, or aid in of, violate the copyrights that Aeria Games explicitly owns. SonoV, however, can.
However, Aeria Games has placed a loophole in this, conserning themselves. Also located in their Terms of Service:
Terms of Service: Section 12 "Disciplinary Action/Account Termination wrote:
AGE MAY SUSPEND, TERMINATE, MODIFY, OR DELETE ANY ACCOUNT AT ANY TIME WITH OR WITHOUT REASON, WITH OR WITHOUT NOTICE.
This is within Aeria Games' right, as website owners, to do. For whatever reason, with or without notice. This makes it to where they can suspend, modify, or terminate your account on the spot, and there's nothing we can do about it.
Aeria Games also has this to say in their Fair Play Rules:
Fair Play Rules wrote:
3. You may not use any content protected by intellectual property laws or by rights of privacy, unless you own the rights thereto or have received all necessary consents. You shall be solely liable for any damage resulting from any infringement of copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights.
17. You will not create, use or provide any server emulator or any other sites where the Game may be played, and you will not post or distribute any utilities, emulators or other software tools related to the Game without the express written permission of Aeria Games & Entertainment.
18. You will not attempt to play the Game on any server that is not controlled or authorized by Aeria Games & Entertainment.
#3 is a no brainer. Don't violate copyright and patent laws.
#'s 17 and 18, however, are shaky at best. The only legal standings Aeria Games and Entertainment has on this is if someone is using the EXACT client version that they are, usage of the Copyrighted Aeria Point system, or website layout. In other words, copyrights that Aeria Games is licensed to use or actually owns.
If the content on the private servers falls outside of these parameters, Aeria Games has no legal standing in a court of law, and cannot force you to appear in one for such a purpose.
Moral of the story:
SonoV is the explicit owner of all content, copyrights, patents, etc. for the game called Shaiya. Aeria Games and Entertainment has some legal standing, but it is extremely limited to the game itself.
If you want to make, host, and operate a private server, the only real legal way to do it is to:
1. Gain a License to Use from SonoV.
2. Create a system (if you so choose to do) that does not use currently copyrighted materials for a rewards program based on amount donated (such as Aeria Points or SonoV Points).
3. Create a website that largely differs from SonoV's or Aeria Games' layouts, unless you gain their permissions to use them.
4. Do not modify the game in any way, shape, or form without SonoV's permission, in such a way that it could be considered a "new game"
taken from aeria games forum site
if they were serious they would have gotten sonov to back them and they havent
.....just proving a point
Allow me to say that I do not agree with copyright infringement, and I do not know the fine details of this issue at hand. But from the wee part of this that we are aware of it appears that Aeria Games is being one of those overpowering companies threatened by any competition from the smaller guy. Now the catchy thing about this lovely little letter is that other Shaiya servers exist, one is Euro Shaiya. Which supposedly should be in the Aeria Games territory. Yet as far as we can ascertain they did not receive such a letter of infringement.
Now mind you, Aeria Games lists and touts Shaiya as a free to play online game. I do know that Aeria Games charges actual money to purchase points in order to purchase online items that are not available in normal game play.
Shaiya Evo is also listed and touted as a free to play online game. They also sold points in order to purchase online items. Although the reason for purchasing points was simply to get those items faster. The items were available to obtain in normal game play.
As stated in the letter, Evo started to hit Aeria where it obviously felt it most, the pocket book, which I can understand. But if Aeria was running their version of this game better they would not have their players looking for other places to play. And hence forth they would not need to send out a letter.
So I guess I should step off of my soap box and do some crafting. I feel better now that I have said my peace.
I promise my next post will be about crafty type things.