With the release of Blizzards Warcraft 3: Reforged, this was seemingly a step forward for Blizzard after their terrible PR moves last year with their massive negative moves against Blitzchung, and their support of China in the Hearthstone Controversy. You could only hope and pray that Blizzard could keep its nose out of the ground and keep walking a straight and narrow path, but with their new policy, they’re seemingly back at square one.
Let’s get the major focus out of the way, is Reforged Any good? No, it seemingly has downgraded graphics, bugs and glitches galore. The game seemingly launched broken, which is at this point an expected issue for games in this era. But what became the focus was Blizzards new policy change on Fan Made content, which includes maps.
Their New Policy Says:
“Custom Games are and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Blizzard. Without limiting the foregoing, you hereby assign to Blizzard all of your rights, title, and interest in and to all Custom Games, including but not limited to any copyrights in the content of any Custom Games. If for any reason you are prevented or restricted from assigning any rights in the Custom Games to Blizzard, you grant to Blizzard an exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, unconditional, royalty free, irrevocable license enabling Blizzard to fully exploit the Custom Games (or any component thereof) for any purpose and in any manner whatsoever. You further agree that should Blizzard decide that it is necessary, you will execute any future assignments and/or related documents promptly upon receiving such a request from Blizzard in order to effectuate the intent of this paragraph. To the extent you are prohibited from transferring or assigning your moral rights to Blizzard by applicable laws, to the utmost extent legally permitted, you waive any moral rights or similar rights you may have in all such Custom Games, without any remuneration. Without limiting Blizzard’s rights or ownership in the Custom Games, Blizzard reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to remove Custom Games from its systems and/or require that a Custom Game developer cease any and/or all development and distribution of a Custom Game. Please note that your Blizzard account can be subject to disciplinary action in event that you do not comply with Blizzard’s request or this Policy.“
To sum this massive Policy up, Anything you create using Blizzards Cuatom Games function, is not owned by you anymore. All rights, and if Blizzard decides to use your Map as a DLC map,funds, go to them, not you. You don’t get a cut of the earnings from said map. You gain absolutely nothing, they don’t have to pay you, they don’t have to even credit you as the original creator. They also cracked down on maps based off of other IP (Intellectual Property) from content like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Any IP that is not owned by Blizzard Entertainment.
Now the elephant in the room of this is the question: “Can Blizzard do this?” And the answer is a depressing, Yes. Blizzard has every legal right to allow and enforce this new policy, does this mean that this policy should exist? No, they shouldn’t, but it’s not illegal. It’s immoral, but not illegal under any law. Now this isn’t necessarily a surprise, many games have license agreements you have to agree to to even play said games. Now this policy does not extend to donations.
In another excerpt from the New Blizzard Policy reads as follows:
“Blizzard recognizes that the time and resources needed to create a Custom Game can sometimes be substantial. Accordingly, Custom Game developers are permitted to fund their development costs through donations, subject to the following restrictions”
This part of the Policy focuses on users supporting other users through things that are not related to Blizzard, let’s say a user on the Game creates a map, and many people wish to support said creator through donations. The creator can set up a way for users to donate to him? That is not directly related to Blizzard, Patreon is one, of few that have been used. Essentially you can support the creator, but you cannot support the creator by, buying the maps from them, Blizzard obviously doesn’t want that, but you can support the creator from donations if that is what you’d like to do.
There is much more to this issue legally, I would recommend a more law based overall look to this issue, this was more of a simplified look into the issue. If you really want a headache of a time, look at this from a legal perspective. If this is just another Blizzard Blunder, 2020 is not starting off good for them.