We’re updating our EULAs, Brand and Asset Guidelines, and Website Account Terms today, as well as releasing some brand-new Commercial Use Guidelines. I know that’s an intimidating first sentence but you don’t need to panic. If you want to jump in at the deep end, view all of our legal documents at account.mojang.com/terms and minecraft.net/terms
The majority of the changes won’t affect most of you, but we think it’s worth trying to explain the reasons behind them. The changes go into effect on November 20.
How our Commercial Use Guidelines affect videos and streams
Though we’ve explained the ways you can make money from Minecraft in the past, our Commercial Use Guidelines represent the first time the rules have been laid out in a formal way, and in multiple languages.
Again, there’s nothing to worry about here - you can still monetize your servers and videos. The most significant change is that, if you decide to restrict your stream to paying users, the video must be made available for free 24 hours after the original broadcast date. Just like all user-created Minecraft videos, you’re free to monetize your work with ads, if you please.
We’re happy for you to make money for your hard work and to feature an exclusivity period for dedicated fans, but we don’t like the idea of permanently restricting Minecraft content to a select group of players. That’s not in the spirit of the game.
How the new Commercial Use Guidelines affect sales of hand-crafted Minecraft things
Minecraft inspires lots of people to create lots of cool things. Considering the nature of the game, it’s no surprise that people create bespoke, real-life items and want to share them with the world. We’re OK with you doing this, but for obvious reasons we need to include a few caveats: your designs must be unique, you can only make 20 versions of each individual item, and you can’t make over $5000 from sales each year.
There’s a lot more to this, so if you’re selling real-life items inspired by Minecraft we strongly recommend you check the full Commercial Use Guidelines.
First: indemnity. The old terms used to say that anyone who caused us legal trouble would have to pay us if the issues cost money to fix. Now, you don’t have to pay us. Instead, new terms say that we’re no longer responsible for any of your damages. This is Microsoft’s policy, and since we’re not in the habit of suing our customers, it seems like a good idea to us.
Next, arbitration and class action waiver. This change only applies to U.S. residents. Lawsuits can take a long time and can be expensive. Microsoft moved to an arbitration policy beginning in 2011, which makes potential issues simpler, faster, and less expensive to to resolve on an individual basis. That’s a very simplistic way of describing what an arbitration policy is so, if you’re interested, read Microsoft’s explanation.
Third-party owners complaining about stuff
The agreements now state where IP owners should send complaints if they find an IP infringement on our servers or websites. For example, if someone is linking to an illegal download link from in-game chat on a Realms server, they know who to call; it’s us. This doesn’t affect YouTube videos, third-party servers, or anything else you’ve created. Any complaints about those things will need to be sent elsewhere.
Thanks for reading, people! Be good! Follow the law! Eat your greens!
Owen - @bopogamel