A few legal notes about modding

Dear Community,


lately there are more and more questions from you regarding copyright and licenses and individual problems, which we try to clear up with the following information. This concerns three main topics:

Private mods and O3d files

Unfortunately, we had to put you off again and again on this topic, because we also disagreed internally and had to do some research first. Some of us have already used a converter to view the mesh files of his favorite bus, to eliminate errors, to find out the correct positions or simply to see if the developer has worked neatly. :P So what are the problems with these o3d files? The main difficulty is that the format is neither standardized nor open and there are only unofficial converters. However, there is no copy protection behind it, just binary encoding - think of it like converting a .jpg file to a .bmp file or creating a PDF file in Word. Both are image/text formats, but encoded differently. O3D files are just mesh files, stored and compressed (at the binary level) in a different format that cannot be read by conventional text editors like Notepad.


For this reason, we have now decided to relax the way of dealing with it a bit, for example, showing private modifications is allowed again - even if it is obvious that the mesh has been interfered with. The second point is that you do it privately for you. What you do with the files privately on your PCs is not something we can check, nor is it any of our business in principle. We draw the line here at the forwarding or public upload of these files. We assume in this case that no permission is available! We will continue to punish the following things that we still do not want to see here:

  1. Cracking payware add-ons (or other paid content), sharing/uploading of and helping with such (cracked) files and showing them (e.g. in form of screenshots). This concerns, for example, buses that were created from converts and uploaded publicly (e.g. Citaro 2K). As there are obviously no permissions in these cases, we consider this content illegal and continue to not tolerate it on this platform.
  2. Unauthorized uploading of modified files (see also the next section) is also illegal without permission - no matter if payware or freeware. For uploading content that does not originate from you, but has only been modified by you, you need permission from the author, which you have to prove when asked by the inspectors! For bus mods we recommend to pack your own mesh files separately and to provide the files to be modified as self-build instructions. (see below)

Please also refrain from passing on material "under the table", unfortunately there have been enough cases where it has spread publicly.


Summary: Showing private mods and asking for help will be allowed here as long as no rights are violated and you do it privately for you.

Modifications to payware / freeware

Again and again there are users who upload modifications to already existing content, for example map AddOns, timetable mods, new lines etc. The most beautiful and greatest things come out of this - and what would OMSI be without its numerous modifications. Nevertheless, some things have to be considered when publishing. Modifications to existing content are considered "derived works" in our opinion. Even if you modify certain things, the original work, such as the original map, remains the property of the original creator! Please make sure to get permission from the author before uploading if you include modified files or original files. This includes files of the map editor, meshes, timetable data & Co. For repaints based on other repaints, this also applies.


By the way, we don't differ between payware and freeware - basically every content creator has a right to his creations, no matter if they are sold or provided for free. If you have only modified a small part of a map or the like, you can upload only the parts you have modified or added without any risk to yourself, so you are on the safe side. Especially with payware extensions you should only upload what is really yours! Unaffected by the topic remain instructions for self-installation (Example: "Insert in the file A from line B the following text ..."), because in that case no original files are distributed.


If we receive reports, our Filebase inspectors will have to check and ask you for permission. If you cannot provide this, we will remove the file if necessary. We will then try to find a solution with you, for example to remove only individual parts and make them available as self-assembly instructions. You are also welcome to contact the inspectors in confidence before publication if you have any questions or are unsure about the topic.


Summary: If you want to modify and upload existing content, get permission from the author.

Kooperationen

We have recently observed an increase in difficulties and problems with collaborative projects involving multiple people. Classic examples are mapmakers collaborating with repainters or object creators. These collaborative projects are very popular in the community, because the quality is improved and everyone can contribute their expert knowledge. We find it all the sadder that some projects fail because of the human component, for example when the collaboration is terminated. Often the project can then not be continued because approvals were given verbally "in confidence" and nothing was written down. Our hands as the WebDisk team are tied when it comes to such problems. If nothing is written down, we cannot verify what private conversations took place and what was agreed upon. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you put all agreements and approvals in writing, for example in a kind of contract with date and signature.


Summary: Create clear conditions for cooperation projects and document all agreements and approvals in writing

Beta tests

Beta tests are a nagging issue that is closely related to this topic. It happens again and again that content from a closed beta test is passed on to the outside. This leads to frustration on the part of the authors, which is why some mods remain private. Even if the attraction is of course great to distribute material to friends or acquaintances - perhaps even bragging about exclusive things - this is not allowed. In all clarity: Who uploads or passes on something publicly without permission of the author, makes itself if necessary according to the copyright law criminal. In all clarity: Who uploads or passes on something publicly without permission of the author, makes himself criminal. He also betrays the trust that was given to him by the author.


Also, asking for (public) beta testing or offering to be a beta tester is generally not welcome in the community. There are reasons why authors decide against a public beta - and they don't choose beta testers at will. Being a beta tester takes more than just being a player. A good beta tester has checklists, tries out all the features thoroughly, reports any bugs, no matter how small, perhaps knows the content from real life, and above all: he is discreet and trustworthy.


At this point we can only appeal to you, content creators, to choose your beta testers carefully and to sign a contract of confidentiality or similar. If you are looking for beta testers, you are also welcome to ask experienced users who have already completed larger projects if they can recommend someone or perhaps have a desire to do so themselves. We appeal to the beta testers not to pass on any data from private tests, not even to close friends or family members - because you can never be sure whether this person will pass it on again in turn, thus forming a chain.


Summary: As content creators, choose your beta testers carefully. As beta testers, be careful not to share material under the table.


We hope these notes make things a little clearer for you, and that it is clear for the future how and why moderators intervene on the above topics.


Best regards

James

by order of the WebDisk team.

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