RPG MAKER 2003 QUESTION OF LEGALITIES

Posts

LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Yes, it's a standard EULA. That's not the same thing as them prosecuting people for it.

Although I'm not fluent enough in Japanese to tell you if the RM2K3 license agreement is meaningfully different, the license agreement for XP/VX/Ace reads: "Licensee shall not reverse engineer, de-compile, or disassemble the Software."

This means that, for example, technically, scripting in RPG Maker VX Ace is able to be prosecuted under the same section of the EULA. However, "Make your own game that works however you want!" is the entire selling point of RPG Maker. They know that if they prosecuted people for modifying the software, no one would buy the software. Therefore, it's something they've decided to not pursue.

I don't have a "source" for the fact that they've never prosecuted anyone for this. All I have is that when you search Google for prosecutions of people using the English RPG Maker patch, all you get is forum topics like this one and Phoenix Wright fangames.

It's a civil issue, not a criminal one, so if Enterbrain doesn't do anything about it then the issue is settled, whether or not they legally have the authority to.

Edit: As a similar legal example, the EULA of World of Warcraft makes it illegal to collect data from the game client in the way that database sites like Wowhead and Thottbot do. However, instead of trying to shut them down (like some other MMOs did), Blizzard decided instead to link to them on the front page of the official World of Warcraft website and embrace that the fansites were making their game more popular. So the EULA gives the developer certain rights, but it is their choice whether or not to use them.
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
author=LockeZ
This means that, for example, technically, scripting in RPG Maker VX Ace is able to be prosecuted under the same section of the EULA.
Um, no it doesn't. Scripting is not reverse engineering, de-compiling, or disassembling the software. Those terms have specific technical meanings and programming using a public API exposed to you through the engine's interface by Enterbrain most certainly does not fall under that.

Whether it's likely that Enterbrain will prosecute you for breaking the EULA is irrelevant to the question of whether or not it's illegal. It is illegal.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
"Illegal" in a civil case isn't the same thing as "illegal" in a criminal case. It doesn't mean you could be arrested, it just means they have the ability to sue you. But having the ability to sue you doesn't mean they will. So my point is, regardless of what terms you use to categorize the action, no one minds and nothing bad will happen, which is what laws are really about.

You're correct that it's easy to argue that scripting doesn't count as reverse engineering - but could you then argue that applying the english patch does? Figuring out how keyboard input works and writing a new script to replicate that functionality plus add new options isn't exactly reverse-engineering, but it's sure as hell a lot closer to reverse-engineering than applying an IPS patch that someone else made.
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
You're correct that it's easy to argue that scripting doesn't count as reverse engineering - but could you then argue that applying the english patch does?
Yes. Applying an English patch would count as reverse engineering as it requires hacking the executable. Using RM2k3 in English in any way, shape, or form is breaching the EULA and so, to answer the original question of whether or not it's allowed to sell a game made with it even if there's all original content, the answer is a resounding no.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
They've been allowing it for the last eleven years.

And no, using the patch doesn't require you to hack the software. The fact that the patch exists means someone else did, but... that was eleven years ago, and the statute of limitations for civil cases in Tokyo (where the EULA specifies that all cases related to it must be presented) is five years. So that particular hack can no longer be legally prosecuted.
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
author=LockeZ
They've been allowing it for the last eleven years.

And no, using the patch doesn't require you to hack the software. The fact that the patch exists means someone else did, but... that was eleven years ago, and the statute of limitations for civil cases in Tokyo (where the EULA specifies that all cases related to it must be presented) is five years. So that particular hack can no longer be legally prosecuted.

"Not prosecuting" != "allowing"

And your logic doesn't hold up. By that logic, you're not infringing copyright by downloading a movie that was ripped years and years ago, since the statue of limitations on the act of ripping it has run out. You're still illegally modifying your copy of the software, even if you didn't devise the technique of doing so yourself.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
In the case of a movie, distributing the copyrighted work is illegal. The five year statute of limitations starts at the time when the movie was illegally distributed to you.

(Hell, even if you're right and patching it is illegal - I patched this version of RM2K3 on this computer in 2006. Statute of limitations has worn out for that too. Selling the game is not against the EULA, so the time limit doesn't restart again for that, right?)

...And yes, "not prosecuting" and "allowing" are exactly the same thing. What do you think laws are? They're a list of things that can be prosecuted.
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
Selling the game is not against the EULA

That's not how EULAs work. A EULA has to explicitly grant you the right to sell your game. Source on it saying that?

(Hell, even if you're right and patching it is illegal - I patched this version of RM2K3 on this computer in 2006. Statute of limitations has worn out for that too. Selling the game is not against the EULA, so the time limit doesn't restart again for that, right?)

Nope. You didn't break a law by patching your RM2k3 - you broke the EULA, which means you have no right to use it in any way whatsoever.
Patches aren't allowed. Anything that messes with the scripting of the program is not allowed. Recently someone asked in the official forums about using scripts to get around the limitations of the trial version and the answer was, as it's always been, that using any way to change the inert programming of the RM software is illegal and not allowed.

Now, they aren't going to go gung-ho on asses in the case of people like Cherry who edit now-defunct software but you can bet your tits that if someone were to try to sell a game using said old software - especially altered versions of it - and they heard about it, there would be trouble.

Just because they don't chase down people in the English community for editing the software and using it for free, doesn't mean that when money enters the equation that'll stay the same.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Just downloaded the Japanese trial version of RPG Maker 2000. It says that the trial version does not allow you to sell your game, but that if you create a game in the trial version, the right to sell it is granted upon purchasing the full version of the software.

The licenses for RMXP, RMVX and RMVX Ace all say the same thing as RM2K. I would assume that RM2K3 probably matches.

Download official Japanese trial versions, RTPs, and update patches from tkool.jp here.

I was hoping the update patch for 2K3 included a copy of the license agreement, but it doesn't.

You're correct that once the EULA is broken, the license to use the software is automatically terminated. You're also required at that point to either send the software back to Enterbrain or send them a written letter certifying that you have destroyed it - an amusing example of how no one at the software companies actually ever cares enough to enforce these things to the letter, and you probably shouldn't take them too seriously.
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
You're correct that once the EULA is broken, the license to use the software is automatically terminated. You're also required at that point to either send the software back to Enterbrain or send them a written letter certifying that you have destroyed it - an amusing example of how no one at the software companies actually ever cares enough to enforce these things to the letter, and you probably shouldn't take them too seriously.

"Your Honor, I was aware that I was illegally using software to make my product, but I just figured that, since the EULA is kind of, y'know, silly, that that might make it okay to ignore it and flagrantly break copyright law. I'm off the hook, right?"
Thiamor
I assure you I'm no where NEAR as STUPID as one might think.
63
Sailerius, you're beating a dead horse. Illegal, yes. But no one is going to do anything about it. They probably would if you were selling games on it, but not by using patched versions of the game.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Yeah, I concede that it's technically against the terms of service. My main argument is just that laws don't make something wrong, they just make it possible for someone to prosecute you for doing it, and Enterbrain has a history of ignoring people selling games made with slightly modified versions of RPG Maker as long as they paid for the software (possibly because seeing those games selling for actual money motivates more people to buy RPG Maker).

I have seen english RPG Maker 2000 games for sale before, for example, in the old days before Steam. And all you have to do is look at Steam to find a few dozen RPG Maker games where they've changed things that they're not technically allowed to change, like rewriting the "hidden" RGSS scripts such as keyboard input and text drawing, or applying the 4 line text box patch to RPG Maker XP.

If your question is "Is this technically against the Terms of Service?" the answer is yes. But if your question is "Will I get in trouble for this?" the answer is no, unless they change their unofficial policy of tolerance. (And if you do get in trouble, it'll be a C&D, not a lawsuit, unless you're raking in uber mad cash.)
I have never seen a game made with Rm2k3 for sale. Are there any games that I should know about? Because it seems like the fact that nobody has heard of them is a good case for why Enterbrain hasn't lifted a finger in those scenarios. They are, afterall, a Japanese company with pretty tenuous ties to their English-speaking market, so selling a game made with the engine and being caught are two entirely different things.

Sailerius is pretty obviously correct here. Whether or not you want to try to market illegal software is up to you, but either way it is illegal. LockeZ is also correct in stating the worst that will likely happen is a lawsuit, and even that is extremely unlikely given the cost of the suit vs. potential sales from the game.

But if you aren't worried about breaking the law, why bother trying to buy a Japanese Rm2k/3 license? You are just as at fault with a modified engine and no Japanese license as you are with one.
Thiamor
I assure you I'm no where NEAR as STUPID as one might think.
63
I guess what I'll do is use 2K3 to be the Manga reader of sorts, then, and before it gets super popular, use what money I have to create it's own program for it rather than using RPG MAKER.
I've seen a couple of attempts in the past, but those disappear quite fast, so I imagine somebody steps in and shuts them down (assuming they verified it's using illegal versions). How it's done, and what the process is for it, I don't know.

I don't really see the point, though. There's far better game editors for making a commercial game. That's not to say I don't like RM2K/3, because I do, but it just seems impractical to sell a game for it.

Then again, I've got me enough free games to last me for the rest of this life, and probably a good several years in the afterlife. Once I run out I'll find a way to haunt the forums for more games.
Thiamor
I assure you I'm no where NEAR as STUPID as one might think.
63
It's mainly because I'm used to RPG MAKER, since how easy it is to add in images to load up via events, I can make a system integrated into the manga pages, to be used as a manga reader program of sorts.
LockeZ... you're allowed to edit the scripts in Ace and XP. You're not allowed to crack into the actual engine itself but changing the scripts to edit your game is allowed.
It's the difference between scripting ala Yanfly vs plug-ins ala Cherry. Cherry, not allowed (technically), Yanfly, allowed. Using Ruby is allowed for changing things like, oh, 3 lines of text or text drawing/keyboard changing. As long as they are using scripts to work with the engine and not actually cracking the engine itself to change it.

(Another example of this would be using anything to hack around the limitations of a trial version. That's not allowed (confirmed recently in a thread on RMW) Using ruby script to make something in-engine is fine.)
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
The only difference between using RGSS to get around the trial version limitations and using it to get around any other limitations the engine has (like the lack of a side-view battle system) is that they sell a version that gets around the trial limitations. There's absolutely no technical or legal difference. Yet if you use RGSS to bypass the trial version limitations, it's against the terms of service?

It therefore follows that all RGSS scripting is against the terms of service; the only difference is that they only enforce it if they're losing sales.

This is actually a super common thing in software terms of service. They make it literally illegal to use the software in the way it's intended, so that they can later prosecute anyone they want. They only intend to prosecute troublemakers, but it's easier to just give themselves the ability to prosecute anyone at all so they don't have to deal with people trying to skirt the edges of the rules. Clever, really.

Unfortunately the result is that it's sometimes unclear what they do and don't want you to actually do. But the bottom line is their bottom line. If you're costing them sales, they'll stop you. (Keeping that in mind, it's very possibly they might stop you from selling games in RM2K3, even if you make a legal Japanese game with the Japanese version, simply because they don't sell it any more and want people to buy the newer versions.)
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
You should probably not try to argue about the technicalities of programming if you don't know anything about what you're talking about.

(Also, technically speaking, there is nothing in the EULA against breaking the trial version limitations as long as you do it with scripting. However, RMW will probably still ban you for trying, because it's against their rules (which are distinct from the EULA).)