Monday, June 22, 2015

The Latest On Eve Online Twitch Stream Giveaways

On Friday, CCP turned the heat up a notch on a simmering controversy concerning raffles, drawings, and other giveaways of in-game items by those streaming EVE Online related content on Twitch. Eve Radio's DJ Wiggles received a reply to a ticket he submitted in April and recorded the result on Friday's edition of New Eden Update. Lead GM Lelouch indicated Wiggles could broadcast the correspondence:

Date: 4/27/2015

Hi. Just dropping you guys a petition as the topic came up on my radio show I do each week on Eve-Radio and the question was "what is the legal standpoint of player created sites doing giveaways for in game items" this is in regards to player/fan sites giving either a) subscribers (via Twitch/Pateron/etc.) an extra chance at winning the items in game or b) a subscriber only giveaway that they can win in game items.

If I'm allowed I will talk about the reply or if not can you give me something I can say to the listeners of the show.

I am also dropping this as a email to legal@ccpgames.com to cover all bases

Thanks

Wiggles

************************************************************************
Date: 6/19/2015

Hello, I sincerely apologize for the delay in responding to your ticket.

CCP's policy on monetization of videos can be read at the following website:
http://community.eveonline.com/support/policies/monetization-of-videos-policy/

While the exact scenario you mentioned isn't explicitly covered in the above policy, it sounds too close to RMT for us to sanction. My take on this is that it's essentially not really a "giveaway" if the user has to pay real money in some fashion (subscription, donations) to be eligible, that sounds more like RMT than an actual giveaway.

My advice to Twitch/Youtube users would be to stick to advertisement monetization instead of tying giveaways into donations. Those that want to do giveaways are welcome to do so as long as any viewer is eligible and no payment in real life currency is asked for.

You are welcome to share this with your listeners.

Best regards,
Lead GM Lelouch
CCP Customer Support | EVE Online | DUST 514.

A quick glace at the EVE Online End Users License Agreement (EULA) shows the most applicable section that applies to the in-game item giveaways is Section 6B:
B. Selling Items and Objects

You may not transfer, sell or auction, or buy or accept any offer to transfer, sell or auction (or offer to do any of the foregoing), any content appearing within the Game environment, including without limitation characters, character attributes, items, currency, and objects, other than via a permitted Character Transfer as described in section 3 above. You may not encourage or induce any other person to participate in such a prohibited transaction. The buying, selling or auctioning (or any attempt at doing so) of characters, character attributes, items, currency, or objects, whether through online auctions, newsgroups, postings on message boards or any other means is prohibited by the EULA and a violation of CCP's proprietary rights in the Game.
When reading the EULA, one must remember that CCP publishes additional policies to clarify the meaning of the EULA. As noted in GM Lelouch's reply to Wiggles, that policy is the Monetization Of Videos Policy.
Monetization Of Videos Policy

We at CCP know that our EVE Online® and DUST 514® players are some of the most creative, imaginative, and hard-working people, both in the games and on their own time. Often, we are asked if people may upload gameplay or other fan-inspired videos to YouTube or similar websites, and if they can monetize those videos by participation in the website’s ad share revenue.

We are pleased to formally announce that YES, you are welcome to upload your game-related videos so long as the videos are freely available to everyone (i.e., there is no charge, subscription, or “premium access” fee required to view them). Additionally, you may monetize your videos by way of YouTube’s “partner program”, Google’s Adsense program, or any similar advertising revenue sharing model, provided the third-party advertisements do not interfere with a viewer’s access to the video. You may not, however, use any EVE or DUST 514 videos to advertise products you are selling unless you are an authorized CCP distributor (and even then, you may only sell authorized CCP products). 
Reading through CCP's video monetization policy, I do not see any exemptions for Twitch streamers from the requirement to abide by Section 6B of the EULA. Subscription-only giveaways of in-game items falls under the "or any other means" catch-all in the final section. In the same vein, Section 6B prohibits the sale of raffle tickets for real-life cash in order to win in-game prizes. I fail to see the difference if all the tickets are purchased with real-life cash or if a streamer gives out extra raffle tickets to subscribers; real life money is exchanged for a greater shot at winning an in-game item.

Up until today I hesitated to bring up the relevant sections of the EULA because of the possibility of special rules that only Twitch streamers knew. We saw that occur with the uproar over SOMERblink's ISK laundering scheme in October 2013. SOMERblink's scheme worked because, at the time, player affiliates fell under the Game Time Code resellers' agreement, which exempted them from the EULA. From what I observed over the past few months I thought that Twitch streamers fell under a hidden set of rules. GM Lelouch's response now leads me to believe no hidden set of rules exists and that Twitch streamers must follow the EULA like all other players.

4 comments:

  1. 1. Giveaways are not the selling, buying or an auction of an item.
    2. Twitch subscriptions do not limit the viewers' access to the stream. Thus would fall under activities allowed.
    So unless a Twitch streamer is selling, buying, or auctioning items it would be OK under current CCP policies.

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  2. If that is the case, then why is CCP saying otherwise?

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  3. TMC does subscriber-only giveaways. Also, I have heard of plans to do giveaways exclusive to people who donate to streamers' Patreons.


    Also, from the way CCP historically has ruled on raffles, if any raffle tickets are acquired using real money, that also constitutes unsanctioned RMT. I've seen a couple of streams that give out extra tickets for subscribing, which would probably run afoul of CCP's rules.

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  4. I've never seen them do any giveaways that require you to give money. They typically have other requirements, such as following the channel (free) or having spoken in chat within the last X minutes (also free, if you're not counting brain cells lost) but nothing that gives an unfair advantage by paying money. It's also worth noting that the items given away are typically not in-game EVE items but rather items from other games or actual physical items IRL.

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