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Mojang struggles to refine Minecraft monetization rules

The company is making an exception to the Minecraft EULA in response to a torrent of complaints from fans about the legal agreement's stricture against making money from the game.
Last week, Mojang announced that it was modifying the Minecraft end user license agreement to permit server operators to make money from the game -- as long as they followed Mojang's rules. The change comes in response to a torrent of complaints from Minecraft fans about a portion of the game's EULA that prevents users from making money from the game by charging for things like server access or cosmetic in-game items. "Someone saw that the EULA says you can’t charge for these things, and asked one of the people working at Mojang about it. That person said that yes, it is indeed against the rules, and then everything exploded," reads a recent entry on Notch's personal blog. "A lot of people voiced their concerns. A few people got nasty. Someone said we’re literally worse than EA." The new exception governs how players may monetize their Minecraft servers by, say, selling ad space or charging people for server access. The folks at Mojang claim they don't want the Minecraft EULA -- which includes a clause forbidding users from making money off the game -- to stop server operators from covering their costs in a non-exploitative manner. "People running servers are a huge part of what makes Minecraft so special, and they need to be able to pay for the servers," wrote Notch. "So we came up with all sorts of ways this could be done without ruining the 'you don’t pay for gameplay' aspect of Minecraft we all find so important." It's an interesting example of how license agreements may need to change as the business of games evolves, and Mojang is upfront about the fact that they may continue to modify or change the game's EULA as necessary. Yesterday, the company published a follow-up Q&A post that confirms the changes will be effective as of August 1 and addresses a number of player concerns about the business of operating a Minecraft server.

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