Sony Owns Everything You Make in LBP; That's Kinda-Sorta-Maybe OK

In case you haven't yet drowned in the deluge of new releases this month or aren't busy looking for backmasked verses fof Leviticus in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, some news about alterations to LittleBigPlanet's EULA have floated to the service, revealing a curious phrase highlighting exactly who owns the things you create in Sackboy's PS3 paradise.

Protip: Not you.
You Make It...
The exact line goes (emphasis mine):

10. USER MATERIAL

You may have the opportunity to post, stream or transmit pictures, photographs, game-related materials, music, home video content or other information through PSN to share with the PSN community. We may provide you with content to use in the creation of User Material. User Material created by you will belong to you, although any content provided by us will still belong to us and/or our licensors as explained in Section 7 above.

You authorise us, our affiliated companies and other PSN users, to use, distribute, copy, modify, display, and publish your User Material throughout PSN and other associated services. You also authorise us and our affiliated companies, without payment to you, to license, sell and otherwise commercially exploit your User Material (for example, selling subscriptions to access User Material and/or receiving advertising revenue related to User Material), and to use your User Material in the promotion of PlayStation products and services. You must not commercially exploit User Material without our consent. You waive any moral rights you may have in your User Material. By posting, streaming or transmitting User Material you represent and warrant that you have all rights necessary to use, post, stream and transmit such User Material and to grant the rights set out in this paragraph."

Sounds ominous, does it not? In fact it's already miffed some of the more privacy-concerned citizens, and with good reason. But there are points to be made in favor, or at least justification of such action by the big black monster that is Sony's legal department.

For one, in an age wherein one buys licenses rather than content, this was inevitable. Control must be maintained, especially in an environment that is arguably more open than any other console game to date, and this is naught but a step towards that end.
...They Own It.

This was slated in the stars to happen, but at what cost? Is there an incentive for a user to create an awesome level when, essentially, Sony owns everything that will result? There's a relatively clear contradiction in the quote above, to boot. "User Material created by you will belong to you," and yet "must not commercially exploit User Material without our consent." Wait, what? Didn't they state back in July that you could sell your levels for teh moneyz? I guess not.

Captaining the good ship Obvious, this is a campaign-funding level change of heart on Sony's part, and sure as hell it scuttles any notion of the "LBP Millionaire" along the lines of a Second Life Realtor. Fine. It may well have been a poor idea in the first place, letting a user PayPal off his Fantastic Fabulous Furry levels, at least without Sony getting a piece of the pie. But again, we ask, why should we bother, then? I'm thinking that question can't really be answered until after LBP drops.

But hey, let's look at the brighter side. I'm of the impression that Sony's been getting a (largely deserved) bad rap of late, but that's just the console warrior in me.

I took a look at the quote, gave it some thought, and made the "well, duh!" assumption that this section is in there because Sony does indeed intend to make mad bank on your blood, sweat, and sackboy stuffing. What I took away from it was this:

At its most basic level, Sony reserves the right to copy-paste assets you create using the in-game tools for use in future commercial DLC or "official levels.

Remember the awesome pirate ship from that early early trailer, back when no one even believed that such shit was possible in a console game? Let's say you made it. According to the above, it's possible for Sony to take it, and put it in some future "Pirates of the Carribean" promotional DLC. At the least, they might put it in a future trailer, promo vid or an E3 presser to tell us that yes, the PS3 has games.

Hey, in a best-case scenario, Sony and Media Molecule might take your awesome level and put it in a "greatest hits" pack that auto-hearts some of the most creative levels. That's a decent thing to do, given how most artistes have such a high view of themselves that they'll tag all of their flat-plane-covered-in-electricity-with-rocket-skateboard levels as "brilliant" and "creative". LBP's community-based promotion system is fun, but once the deluge begins it will quickly prove awkward and unwieldy, mark my words, and this may well be a nice workaround, as well as a way to quickly allow the best of the best to float to the top.

Admittedly, I'm being optimistic about this. In the words of a perceptive Escapist forums user, "it's about creating an environment that encourages creativity which means better levels and fun for everyone. When you don't give the artist any rights to their work, you inhibit that creativity."

Taking the cynical view, all this just means that Sony can now take all your stuff, say it's theirs (it is, technically), and sell it. But out of respect for everything that Media Molecule has wrought, everything that games such as LBP represent, and the niggling little whispers of the console warrior sitting on my shoulder, I'm not yet about to cancel my preorder. All we can do now is hope and pray that a giant multibillion-dollar conglomerate will decide to award its fans another small mercy.

It's worth a shot, don't you think?
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1 Comments
Posted by unangbangkay
In case you haven't yet drowned in the deluge of new releases this month or aren't busy looking for backmasked verses fof Leviticus in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, some news about alterations to LittleBigPlanet's EULA have floated to the service, revealing a curious phrase highlighting exactly who owns the things you create in Sackboy's PS3 paradise.

Protip: Not you.
You Make It...
The exact line goes (emphasis mine):

10. USER MATERIAL

You may have the opportunity to post, stream or transmit pictures, photographs, game-related materials, music, home video content or other information through PSN to share with the PSN community. We may provide you with content to use in the creation of User Material. User Material created by you will belong to you, although any content provided by us will still belong to us and/or our licensors as explained in Section 7 above.

You authorise us, our affiliated companies and other PSN users, to use, distribute, copy, modify, display, and publish your User Material throughout PSN and other associated services. You also authorise us and our affiliated companies, without payment to you, to license, sell and otherwise commercially exploit your User Material (for example, selling subscriptions to access User Material and/or receiving advertising revenue related to User Material), and to use your User Material in the promotion of PlayStation products and services. You must not commercially exploit User Material without our consent. You waive any moral rights you may have in your User Material. By posting, streaming or transmitting User Material you represent and warrant that you have all rights necessary to use, post, stream and transmit such User Material and to grant the rights set out in this paragraph."

Sounds ominous, does it not? In fact it's already miffed some of the more privacy-concerned citizens, and with good reason. But there are points to be made in favor, or at least justification of such action by the big black monster that is Sony's legal department.

For one, in an age wherein one buys licenses rather than content, this was inevitable. Control must be maintained, especially in an environment that is arguably more open than any other console game to date, and this is naught but a step towards that end.
...They Own It.

This was slated in the stars to happen, but at what cost? Is there an incentive for a user to create an awesome level when, essentially, Sony owns everything that will result? There's a relatively clear contradiction in the quote above, to boot. "User Material created by you will belong to you," and yet "must not commercially exploit User Material without our consent." Wait, what? Didn't they state back in July that you could sell your levels for teh moneyz? I guess not.

Captaining the good ship Obvious, this is a campaign-funding level change of heart on Sony's part, and sure as hell it scuttles any notion of the "LBP Millionaire" along the lines of a Second Life Realtor. Fine. It may well have been a poor idea in the first place, letting a user PayPal off his Fantastic Fabulous Furry levels, at least without Sony getting a piece of the pie. But again, we ask, why should we bother, then? I'm thinking that question can't really be answered until after LBP drops.

But hey, let's look at the brighter side. I'm of the impression that Sony's been getting a (largely deserved) bad rap of late, but that's just the console warrior in me.

I took a look at the quote, gave it some thought, and made the "well, duh!" assumption that this section is in there because Sony does indeed intend to make mad bank on your blood, sweat, and sackboy stuffing. What I took away from it was this:

At its most basic level, Sony reserves the right to copy-paste assets you create using the in-game tools for use in future commercial DLC or "official levels.

Remember the awesome pirate ship from that early early trailer, back when no one even believed that such shit was possible in a console game? Let's say you made it. According to the above, it's possible for Sony to take it, and put it in some future "Pirates of the Carribean" promotional DLC. At the least, they might put it in a future trailer, promo vid or an E3 presser to tell us that yes, the PS3 has games.

Hey, in a best-case scenario, Sony and Media Molecule might take your awesome level and put it in a "greatest hits" pack that auto-hearts some of the most creative levels. That's a decent thing to do, given how most artistes have such a high view of themselves that they'll tag all of their flat-plane-covered-in-electricity-with-rocket-skateboard levels as "brilliant" and "creative". LBP's community-based promotion system is fun, but once the deluge begins it will quickly prove awkward and unwieldy, mark my words, and this may well be a nice workaround, as well as a way to quickly allow the best of the best to float to the top.

Admittedly, I'm being optimistic about this. In the words of a perceptive Escapist forums user, "it's about creating an environment that encourages creativity which means better levels and fun for everyone. When you don't give the artist any rights to their work, you inhibit that creativity."

Taking the cynical view, all this just means that Sony can now take all your stuff, say it's theirs (it is, technically), and sell it. But out of respect for everything that Media Molecule has wrought, everything that games such as LBP represent, and the niggling little whispers of the console warrior sitting on my shoulder, I'm not yet about to cancel my preorder. All we can do now is hope and pray that a giant multibillion-dollar conglomerate will decide to award its fans another small mercy.

It's worth a shot, don't you think?