Monthly Archives: March 2012

Why a Trenchcoat Can Be Suspicious, But a Hoodie Cannot-Do Minorities Have Too Much Influence On American Culture?

Over the past couple of days there has been a lot of outrage over the tragic death of Trayvon Martin that happened at the hands of a Hispanic man by the name of George Zimmerman.  More recently, however, there has been quite a controversy about whether wearing a hoodie should be considered suspicious, and whether there are racial connotations that go along with considering a black man “suspicious” because he is wearing one.

Being a minority, I can’t help but wonder why the outrage? Why aren’t we outraged when schools ban trenchcoats in mainly white schools because people think that white boys wearing trenchcoats are going to “Columbine” somebody? You may say, well, in the Columbine case the killers were wearing trenchcoats while in this case it was the victim that was wearing the hoodie.  And that would be a very valid point, however, what about all the crime committed by people wearing hoodies?  Why isn’t a piece of clothing that is usually employed by criminals to conceal their identities in the commission of a crime not valid grounds for at least a shadow of suspicion?  Don’t get me wrong, I myself used to sport a few Linkin Park, Slipknot, and POD hoodies back in high school.  I am by no means saying everyone that wears a hoodie is a criminal.   The question I am posing is: Why can’t an article of clothing that has a known use as a criminal instrument by some, be valid grounds for a heightened suspicion of someone?

To put it a different way: When we see a ban on trenchcoats in mainly white schools because they _can_ be used to conceal weapons as in Columbine, we don’t think twice about it.   But when we entertain the idea that someone walking in the middle of the night wearing a hoodie _could_ be attempting to conceal his or her identity, suddenly it doesn’t sound quite as right.

Why exactly this is the current situation in our country, I have no idea.  Perhaps in our zeal to avoid discrimination and stereotyping we have created a culture of hypersensitivity.   Maybe we’re just too sensitive these days because of what we consider past and present injustices against our races, ethnicities, peoples, or however we choose to associate. Whether this hypersensitivity is warranted is a question that is up for debate, and I don’t presume to bring the answers.  My goal is only to put forth the questions and hopefully give us another angle to reflect upon.

Your Rights Under The Eve Online EULA – How CCP May Be Shortchanging You

If you read the EULA once or twice, you get the feeling that it hasn’t been revised as a whole in a long time. Not only is it riddled with inconsistent provisions, but it even has provisions that CCP stopped abiding by years ago. But just because CCP has decided it doesn’t want to live up to its end of the bargain, doesn’t mean you no longer have the rights given to you by the EULA.

Take Section 2(A):

A. Establishing a New Account
Upon establishing a new Account, you will be entitled to play EVE for up to thirty (30) days without paying the subscription fee (the “Trial Period”). If your Account is not terminated in accordance with the procedures set forth below within that thirty (30) day period, you will be charged the subscription fees as described during the registration process when you established your Account.

I don’t know how long its been since you got 30 free days on establishing an account, but these days you don’t get any free days when you start an account(except whatever trial offers are ongoing at the time). If these provisions were to be enforced, by establishing an account, CCP must provide you with 30 days of game time. Do note that establishing an account and purchasing a software license are separate under the EULA per 1(i).

Section 3: ACCOUNT TRANSFER / CHARACTER TRANSFER

You are not permitted to transfer your account to another person. If you wish to discontinue your account please refer to section 6. of this EULA. You may transfer a character from your account to another account, either belonging to you or another person. This transfer option is available from the EVE Online Account Management web site https://secure.eveonline.com/login.asp and is subject to fees and the following limitations: You may not offer to transfer characters except your own, or act as a “broker” or intermediary (for compensation or otherwise) for anyone wishing to transfer or obtain characters. The transferee will obtain all rights to your character in a single transaction, and you will retain absolutely no control or rights over the characters, items or attributes of that character. You may not transfer any characters whose attributes are, in whole or in part, developed, or which own items, objects or currency obtained or acquired, in violation of the EULA.
Any character transfers or attempted transfers not in accordance with the foregoing terms is prohibited and void, and shall not be binding on CCP. A transfer or attempted transfer of a character is entirely at the risk of the parties to such transaction. CCP is not liable to any person (whether transferor, transferee or otherwise) for any acts, omissions, statements, representations, defaults or liabilities of the parties in connection with such a transaction.

Section 3 allows you to transfer characters as long as (1)their attributes are not developed in violation of the EULA, and (2) own items, objects, or currency acquired in violation of the EULA. In Eve you cannot develop your attributes by botting, botting is completely unrelated to developing your attributes since in Eve its a time-based process. Yet, there’s a new Eve policy in place where if they catch you botting they lock the character to your account permanently. It would seem that your botted character, as long as it no longer has currency or objects obtained through botting, should be allowed to transfer. By not letting you do so, CCP is violating its side of the bargain that you entered into.

Section 6(B)(ii):

ii. Termination of EULA
CCP may terminate the EULA, close all your Accounts, and cancel all rights granted to you under the EULA if: (i) you fail to pay the subscription fee when due; (ii) CCP is unable to verify or authenticate any information you provide; (iii) you or anyone using any of your Accounts materially breaches the EULA, makes any unauthorized use of the System or Software, or infringes the rights of CCP or any third party; or (iv) CCP becomes aware of game play, chat or player activity under your Account that is, in CCP’s discretion, inappropriate or in violation of the Rules of Conduct. Such termination shall be effective upon notice transmitted via electronic mail, or any other means reasonably calculated to reach you.
CCP reserves the right to terminate any and all other Accounts that share the name, phone number, e-mail address, internet protocol address or credit card number with the closed Account. Termination by CCP under this section shall be without prejudice to or waiver of any and all of CCP’s other rights or remedies, all of which are expressly reserved, survive termination, and are cumulative. You will not receive a refund of prepaid subscription fees for a termination pursuant to this section.

The issue with this provision is clear, CCP very seldom notifies anyone who has been banned. If you’ve received a temporary ban, you might get a message when attempting to login that you are banned for X number of days. However, on a permanent ban, you receive a standard “Incorrect username/password” message. By not providing notice, CCP has not effectively terminated your account, yet you are unable to access the service you have paid for. Chances are you will be entitled to a refund from the time you were banned, to the time you received notice.

What Can You Do About It?

The first thing to realize is that CCP has a direct remedy at hand if it thinks that you had violated the agreement(they ban you).  But what remedies do you have?  The easiest and most effective remedy for the user is instituting a chargeback.  If you paid in advance for 6 months with paypal or credit card and CCP has terminated your account in violation of the EULA, contact your payment provider and have them chargeback the account.  Not only will you get your money back, but the vendor(CCP) will be charged an additional fee for the payment provider having to investigate the chargeback.

There is nothing illegal about doing this, you have rights under the contract just like CCP does, and just like CCP you are entitled to remedies when the contract is breached.  Also, even if for whatever reason CCP was to sue you, its damages are limited to breach of contract damges(your 6 months worth of money that you would have lost anyway if you didn’t do a chargeback)  and as long as you make a reasonable attempt to settle the claim you won’t have to pay CCP’s attorney’s fees even if you lose.

He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone – How You Could Be Breaking The Eve Online Eula, Without Knowing It

If you read the EULA once or twice, you get the feeling that it hasn’t been revised as a whole in a long time. Not only is it riddled with inconsistent provisions, but it even has provisions that CCP stopped abiding by years ago.

Lets take a quick look at the Sections that you may be violating.

Take the preamble to provision 2:

YOUR ACCOUNT
You may establish only one (1) account for each copy of the Software licensed. If you wish to establish another Account, you must obtain another license for the Software (you may be able to do this by purchasing another boxed version of the Software or from the EVE Online web site http://www.eveonline.com).

What CCP is saying here is that if you want to create multiple accounts, you need to buy(or obtain) more copies of the software license. Do note that establishing an account and obtaining a new license are mentioned in the same sentence, therefore common sense dictates that you do not obtain a new license simply by creating a new account. Its clear that CCP is aware that the majority of its player-base has multiple accounts with a single license of the software, yet this provision still remains embedded in the EULA.(More about this later)

Section 7(A):

A. Specifically Restricted Conduct
(1) You may not take any action that imposes an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on the System.

The clear wording of this provision is to put the players in violation for creating excessive load on the system. Note that it is written in the alternative, the conduct is not required to impose an unreasonable and disproportionately large load on the system, but rather, ether one will do. Undoubtedly, any time a huge blobfest goes down in null there is a disproportionately large load on the system for the alliances involved as compared to the rest of the active Eve population. Are we all EULA violators?

Section 7(A)(3):

You may not use macros or other stored rapid keystrokes or other patterns of play that facilitate acquisition of items, currency, objects, character attributes, rank or status at an accelerated rate when compared with ordinary Game play. You may not rewrite or modify the user interface or otherwise manipulate data in any way to acquire items, currency, objects, character attributes or beneficial actions not actually acquired or achieved in the Game.

This is perhaps the most universally discussed EULA provision, and with reason, the entire clause is full of ambiguity and overbreath. For starters, “other patterns of play that facilitate acquisition of items…” covers everything from dual-boxing, to engaging in group warfare for more efficient pvping(facilitation of acquisition of items). I have deliberately left out the “at an accelerated rate” clause in order to maintain neutrality and avoid all the “OMG BUT THE SPIRIT OF THE EULA” stuff. Whatever “the spirit of the EULA” is, no one knows for sure, but its not something I want to spend time theorizing about. If the “accelerated rate” wording was given any weight, a botter botting 4 hours a day is not acquiring items at an accelerated rate, while a legit player tripple boxing for 6 hours a day might be. Which side do you fall on?

Section 7(A)(5)

You may not engage in any conduct that results in an Account containing items, objects, currency, character attributes, rank, or status that are inappropriate for the level or rank of the character contained in the Account, including without limitation arranging, making or accepting transfers of items to a character without adequate consideration, thereby augmenting or aggregating items in an Account and increasing its value for an Account sale.

Pay close attention to the highlighted part. Consideration is a contract term that refers to something of value given by a promissor to a promisee in exchange for something of value given by a promisee to a promissor. It could be a promise to do or not do something, it could be payment, etc. What this provision says is that you cannot give someone else items without accepting “adequate consideration” in return. Mind you not just consideration, not just something of value, but something of adequate value so as to maintain the net value of the exchange close to 0. Now ask yourself, how often in the world of Eve Online, do people give other people, alliance mates, corp mates, etc, items of value for nothing or close to nothing?

Section 7(C):

Compliance with Rules of Conduct
You agree to observe and abide by the Rules of Conduct as may be amended by CCP from time to time. The current version of the Rules of Conduct may be viewed at http://www.eveonline.com/pnp/terms.asp, and are incorporated in the EULA by reference.

This provision is particularly hilarious. Its saying that the rules of conduct are incorporated into the EULA, meaning that when you sign the EULA you agree to abide by them as well. So we go to the rules of conduct and find the interesting tidbits…

Code of Conduct-Incorporated By Reference:

Section 5 of the code of conduct states:

You will report out-of-game issues regarding harassment, such as threatening phone calls or correspondence, to your local law enforcement officials or Internet provider. CCP will not reveal personal information about its subscribers to unauthorized individuals. We are not responsible for actions taken by our subscribers that occur outside the jurisdiction of our game servers or web site.

Ever been harassed on a forum or received hate email in regards to Eve Online? Didn’t report it to your local authorities or ISP? You are in violation of the Eve Online EULA.

Section 10 of the code of conduct states:
You may not market, sell, advertise, promote, solicit or otherwise arrange for the exchange or transfer of items in the game or other game services unless it is for in-game sales of in-game services or items.

This section seems to invalidate the entire services for ISK industry such as KB hosting, poker, and many other things I can’t think of right now.

Section 11 of the code of conduct states:
The advertisement or sale of out of game goods and services not directly related to EVE online is prohibited. The only out of game goods and services which can be advertised or sold are the following: EVE forum signature creation, website and third party voice communication server hosting or EVE Time Codes.

This section makes an exception for Eve time codes, “website and third party voice comms” and eve forum signature creation. Poker for ISK is neither website communications, nor third party voice communications, nor Eve forum signature creation.

Back to the main EULA-

Section 10(A):

For each valid Account you maintain, you may install a copy of the Software on, and access the System from, a single computer or Game platform, and from a secondary computer if you so choose. You must purchase a separate license to the Software for each additional Account you register; e.g., if you have 2 Accounts, you must have 2 licensed copies of the Software. You may not use more than one Account with a single licensed copy of the Software. You may make one (1) copy of the Software for backup or archival purposes.

Have you purchased a copy of the Eve Online license for every account you own? What exactly is CCP actually doing, and does it conform to what the EULA is saying?

Section 10(B):

License to Access the System to Play the Game
Upon establishing a valid Account, and subject to your continued compliance with the EULA, CCP grants you a limited, non-exclusive, revocable license to access the System, and to access and use the Game Content and User Content (each as defined below), in order to play EVE online. You may download (and, to the extent permitted by the System, make a single copy for your own purposes in playing the Game) and exchange Game Content and User Content exclusively via a valid Account, solely to play the Game, for purposes permitted by, and in a manner consistent with, the EULA.

…So…by Section 10(A), you need to purchase a separate license per valid account you create and per section 10(B), CCP grants you a license upon establishing a valid account…which one is it CCP? And more importantly, are you violating the EULA by not having license copies for each of your account, or are you not violating the EULA because Section 10(B) gives you a valid license just by creating an account?

Section 10(C):

You may not copy, distribute, rent, lease, loan, modify or create derivative works of, adapt, translate, perform, display, sublicense or transfer any information accessible through the System, including without limitation, any part of the Game Content or User Content, or any item, object or character in your Account, except that, solely to the extent permitted by the System, you may modify certain Game Content and User Content only for your own purposes in playing the Game.

Going back to killboard hosting example, killboard data is clearly either game or user content(or both). Copying, distributing, transferring, adapting, or displaying such content runs afoul of this section.

So now that I’ve walked you through the EULA, which side did you end up on, are you a violator?