Q. Why are people so against paysites?
Because the aim of EA/Maxis in providing tools to create custom content was to promote FREE sharing of custom content. By using these tools (and community-created tools such as SimPe), to make money, paysite creators are not only violating EA’s EULA and copyright law, but destroying the community spirit. Pirate Lorelei puts it very eloquently:
It is also rather rude, to be honest, to take a tool that was given free to the community at large to create items you intend to sell. That is not why SimPE was offered to us. The creator offered if for free, and does not even accept donations, much less sell it, because he wanted everyone to make content that was likewise free.
Q. Is it legal to distribute other people’s custom content without permission?
EA have confirmed that it is:
I can certainly understand your frustration over this issue, as it probably is not always clear whether EA is interested in pursuing these sorts of cases. However, I can assure you that, legally, Electronic Arts owns the rights to all material created from our engine, and that the sharing of said material for free on community sites is completely legal, even if it is material that some players are attempting to sell. If you would like to submit a list of these pay sites, I will be more than happy to pass it on to the EA Legal team to review.
EA Rep Fenris
See Nouk’s site
Q. But hosting a site costs money! How else can I raise funds to cover the costs?
If you’ve set up a site in the first place, it obviously means you can afford to. Okay, I’m going to have a bit of a rant here. Please get it into your head: it is not the duty of the Sims community to pay for your costs. No one is asking you to quit your job to spend all day making custom content. It’s not a legal obligation to put all of your custom content online either. If you’re so selfish to only provide CC (of which you don’t even own the copyright) to those who can afford it, maybe you shouldn’t put your work online in the first place. If people like you and your stuff enough, they will give a voluntary donation to help your hosting costs.
Besides, it’s possible to set up a fansite for free. There are plenty of free hosts (although likely you’ll have to put up with ads). You can do what I’ve done: set up a site on any of the free web hosts and put your pages there, then host your download files on a site like box.net. Images can be hosted on photobucket. Or shop around for a cheap hosting company. Failing that, just host the download files as torrents. Another easy option is just to host your files on an established site, like MTS2, InSim, etc, or ask the Wicked Nouk Family if they have space for you. In no way is it ever necessary to charge for custom content. There is simply no excuse!
Q. I created my custom content from scratch! Doesn’t that mean copyright belongs to me?
Actually, no. While you can lay claim to any textures/meshes that you made entirely from scratch, once you put it into a package file, that package file is the property of EA. Now, you can stop someone extracting your textures/meshes and using them, because they are yours, but once they are in the package, you lose the rights to forbid distribution (within the package).
Why? Because once your work goes into a package, there will ALWAYS be elements of Maxis’s proprietary coding in there that tells the game that your file is a hair/bed/carpet etc. That is how the game knows what to do with your file. When you create a mesh, you are still having to clone a Maxis object. Without that Maxis code, which is copyright to EA, your file would essentially be useless. EA has given the community rights to use the code and distribute files containing that code, but they have not given us rights to charge for the code or assert copyright over the code (hence All Rights Reserved). By charging for that code, you are violating copyright law. See Money Better Spent for more on this.
As for textures/meshes that are based on Maxis’s own, I’m guessing the copyright here would still belong to EA.
If you are using other people’s copyrighted photos for your textures without permission, then this is an entirely different kettle of fish. In any case, copyright would certainly NOT belong to you! And those artists who dare to charge for such work and stick a copyright symbol next to it are shameless hypocrites!
Still want to charge for your stuff? Then only sell the raw object/texture file and make sure it’s entirely your own work. No one can have a go at you for that. Or better still, apply to EA for a license.
Q. I want you to remove the torrent list from your site. Copyright is mine and I say no filesharing!
Unless and until EA tell me that torrenting paysite custom content is wrong and unlawful I will continue to torrent. As for copyright, please see above. In any case I am not taking credit for anyone else’s work, I never torrent free content and the artist names are very clearly labelled in the torrent. My aim is only to provide the pay-content for free to those who cannot and do not wish to give their money to paysites – why should anyone be forced to give money to an illegal site? I myself am making no gains from this. If you make your content free I will remove it from the torrent list and delete the files from my hard drive. Until then, they stay.
Anyhoo, you say that you need to charge for content to help pay for bandwidth, but hey, guess how many gigs of bandwidth I’m saving you every month? Lots, lemme tell you. As Pescado says – if it pees you off, then you know why I’m doing it.
Q. Great! So in that case you won’t mind if I torrent your stuff?
Personally, I don’t care. Heck, I’ll even help with the seeding. If I was deluded enough to think there was that much demand for my stuff, I’d have torrented it myself.
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