Over on Xbox.com, Microsoft has posted a list of rules for using content from their games to “make things like machinima, videos, and other cool things (your “Item” or “Items”)”. It makes sense, given the complicated nature of intellectual property, but – oh, while we’re on the subject of intellectual property, Microsoft is also quick to remind users that they don’t have any.
Most of the rules cover obvious things like pornographic content and reverse engineering, but under the heading “What if I create something new in your universe”, Microsoft prescribes the following:
Distribution of your Item in any form constitutes a grant by you of a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide, license to Microsoft and any of Microsoft’s partners or users to use, modify and distribute that Item (and derivatives of that Item), and use your name if we choose to, for any purpose and without obligation to pay you anything, obtain your approval, or give you credit. And this license to Microsoft survives any termination or expiration of these Usage Rules. This means that if you add to the game universe or expand on the story told in the game with “lost chapters” or back story or anything like that, distribution of your story or idea may appear in a future game without any compensation to you. (Sorry, but our lawyers tell us we need to do this in order to avoid frivolous lawsuits getting in the way of making more great games.) It also means we can put your Item on a Microsoft site or property like Halo Waypoint if we want to.
So, basically, there’s a whole bunch of rules restricting what you’re allowed to do with Microsoft’s stuff, but they’re allowed to do whatever they like with yours. So just, like, FYI, that sexy Gears of War fan-fiction you wrote could be turned into a Kinect dating sim and you wouldn’t get paid for it.
You’d think Microsoft had more important things to consider here, like banning dubstep soundtracks on Halo gameplay videos, but apparently not.
In other news, reports from around the globe today suggest that nobody bothered reading the rules, anyway.