Blizzards New Policy on Addons – a Shared Topic.

I have been slack in my Shared topics,  but  it was ActuallyBRK’s  farewell that prompted me to write something on Blizzards new Policy on Add ons

Why was the loss of another great blogger my inspiration.

Wow /Life/Work balance – and this is relevant to add on developers because they put real time into writing and maintaining a add on, for the most for free. – as do bloggers. 

The Joker said in the Dark Knight “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”    But what happens if what you do isn’t your own work and ideas

The 1st thing my friends say to me when I talk about my blog is – ” Oh you could make money from that”  I know some bloggers do – be it through ads, banners,  mechandise.  At this point I don’t plan to.  I don’t think I am a big enough ‘product’ to be worthy of any form of commercialisation.   I don’t put the work in to my blog that those who are worthy of such commercialism/market do.  I don’t want to put that much time in.

As a blogger I do look to people of BRK’s ilk as inspiration & motivation, the  cornerstone bloggers,  bloggers with a brand name built over time to become an regonised authorithy, a source of information and entertainment, but he did this for free, and that free came with a cost.  Time – and time not spent in places that matter more.

Do you think if BRK could cut out work – and make a living off blogging/playing wow that his decision would have been different? Would he had been able to achieve a better Balance?

This relates back to the New add on policy  – because the developers aren’t getting paid by Blizzard – they do this for the love – ‘for free’  some of the more premium add ons required payment.  Others asked for donations –  our bloggers don’t charge money for the service and information that they provide.  Heck between us, and other fan sites  we make a better user manual then Blizzard ever has.

The new policy states  that  the add ons  must be “be free of charge, may not solicit donations, and their code must be completely visible. – Could this rule then be applied to bloggers who have paypal donation buttons on their blogs?

I don’t use any add ons  that require payment.  I also have never donated to an addon developer. while  the purist approach of no add ons to keep the game real is appealing,   it is also not practical for raiding seriously. none the less,  the developers applied real life skill to an creative idea and circumstance that belonged to someone else.

There’s the catch – Is it right for someone to profit from someone elses creative ideas without a formal agreement of some compensation to the owner of the copyrighted material.

I don’t believe so. 

Blizzard are generous with their creative commons licence – because of this I can blog about Wow,  I can use pictures of my toon, make banners and post screenshots without fear of copy write infringement, but when it comes down to it,  I own nothing – I have no copy-write over anything I produce that’s directly related to Wow.    Nor should I.

There are some fiction Authors that disallow any fan fiction ( Anne rice) ,  others that set rules ( Elizabeth Moon) and some that have been taking other people to court ( JK Rowling) because people are cashing in on her ideas.

It is well within the Authors right under copy-write laws to protect, and control their own ideas.  

I acknowledge that developers put a lot of real time and real skill,  into their add ons.  However Some of the these developers are obviously making enough money – and achieving enough notoriety to come to the attention of Blizzard  Unfortunately by targeting the larger known ones that are probably making a tidy sum by now,  a blanket policy is also catching the little ones. 

While you can’t solicit donations for your WOW mod.  You are still allowed to self promote yourself as a product. Use the notoriety gained by your Wow add to launch yourself to places  where your own ideas, and copywrite can be applied.

While I don’t look at this blog as a commercial venture  – I get to write about something I love, I’m also writing regularily which any writer will know is a great habit to keep – I am constantly thinking how to present an idea,  does it makes sense, I am  becoming a better writer because of it ( forgive my spelling sometimes please) . I’ve been at it for over a year. I think I am getting what I need from blogging, and I hope that I will continue to use this blog as a stepping stone as motivation, and practise to be doing the things for which the ideas and creative elements are 100% my own.

I don’t think Blizzards policy is unfair.  They are looking after their own commercial interests,   but we all love our add ons.  It will be a pity  if we lose some, or all because of this new policy, but I hope that the ones who do it for the love continue to do so,  and that they look at ways of marketing themself, so that they can use the experience, and skills they applied to making a Wow add on, to something orginal that can make them even more money.

9 Responses to “Blizzards New Policy on Addons – a Shared Topic.”

  1. 1 azande April 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Just a small correction if you don’t mind…. Mod authors are still allowed to ask for donations, they just can’t solicit them in-game.

  2. 2 AShadowPriest April 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I think the solution for mod authors is to post a link in-game to the support page for the mod, and there have a paypal link for users who wish to donate… I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Blizzard to ask mod authors to not make a living off of the game, either. It’s just how IP goes.

    That said, I think that asking for some sort of compensation of any degree is also entirely appropriate for the mod authors to do, as long as it’s a bit more discreet than, say, Carbonite.

  3. 3 Brajana April 1, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    I would certainly encourage more donation asking on their websites (which is still allowed). I understand why Blizzard is making this decision, they don’t want a model like Carbonite to get out of hand. The legality of it is too fuzzy, and they are trying to prevent themselves from getting caught up in something an addon author might do to a customer. Blizzard doesn’t want to have anything to do with it.

    While I don’t think it’s so harmful to ask for donations in-game, I can also understand that reasoning. Blizzard doesn’t post ads in the game, and they don’t want anyone else to do it either.

    Most people don’t donate to addons they use. I don’t think this is going to hurt the authors that much, other than the ones who have been charging for it.

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