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Recently release Warcraft III Reforged's EULA includes this passage:

  1. Ownership Custom Games are and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Blizzard. Without limiting the foregoing, you hereby assign to Blizzard all of your rights, title, and interest in and to all Custom Games, including but not limited to any copyrights in the content of any Custom Games. If for any reason you are prevented or restricted from assigning any rights in the Custom Games to Blizzard, you grant to Blizzard an exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, unconditional, royalty free, irrevocable license enabling Blizzard to fully exploit the Custom Games (or any component thereof) for any purpose and in any manner whatsoever.

"Custom games" refers to maps created in their map editor, with all the geography, design, special code to handle custom logic, potential custom graphics and sound assets. I'm also told that StarCraft II map editor's EULA is mostly similar.

This, apparently, is their way to combat previous "DotA case", when extremely popular custom map for original WC3 evolved into entire new genre of MOBA, while Blizzard failed to recognize and acquire it and entered said genre far beyond their competition.

I'm under impression, that no EULA for a content-creating tool can bind me to give up my rights to authors of tool - after all pretty much all the electronic content ever produced is created with tools of somebody else's making - IDEs, graphics and sound editors, etc. This EULA, however, explicitly says that I "assign all of my rights", which in addition to giving Blizzard full royalty-free use, would also prevent me, the author from later remaking the map/game on another engine - be it some licensed one, or completely my own.

So, would such claims in EULA fly in court? I'm interested in USA and general EU answers.

  • That's an unusual clause for an EULA. Normally companies just go straight for the exclusive, perpetual license, which is a lot easier to defend than a copyright assignment. – Mark Feb 4 at 3:20
  • @Mark: There two things Blizzard could reasonably claim: (1) If a game would contain any of Blizzard's content, it would be a derivative work in which Blizzard would have a copyright interest (even if not full ownership), and (2) Blizzard may claim that it is offering the software at a discount to people who grant Blizzard license to use any material developed therewith. I think the license is probably trying to wrap those things together even though the way it's worded would imply that people who use Blizzard's software to develop derivatives of their own original work would... – supercat Oct 26 at 17:39
  • ...forfeit all rights in the original work, rather than merely loosing the ability to enforce their interests in the derivative works against Blizzard. – supercat Oct 26 at 17:40
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The EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) is a contract you sign with Blizzard in order to use the game. You agree to the contract when you sign; you agree to Blizzards ownership of your custom games. If you don't agree to the contract stipulations, don't sign.

I'm under impression that no EULA for a content-creating tool can bind me to give up my rights to authors of tool...

You're wrong. If you sign the contract, you are legally bound to follow the agreement in that Blizzard owns your custom games. Some EULAs for software and games are less demanding; but Blizzard is free to make any stipulations in their contracts, as long as they are not contracting for anything that is illegal (specific laws vary by jurisdiction). If you don't like it, don't sign.

...would such claims in EULA fly in court?

In what way? You can go to court to challenge the terms of the contract and Blizzards ownership of your work; but you signed the contract, so what would be your argument? You didn't read the EULA?

If you break the contract - take your custom game elsewhere that you developed on their platform - Blizzard could cancel your contract, kick you off the platform and possibly take you to civil court (depending on jurisdiction). That may be against their better PR judgement, but they probably do have more money and lawyers than you do.

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    There are plenty of things you can put in an EULA that are not enforceable. The fact that it's written in an EULA you clicked "agree" to doesn't necessarily make it true. – user253751 Feb 3 at 12:01
  • So, if they write "you give us your firstborn" I'd have no arguments as well? Hardly sounds true. – Oleg V. Volkov Feb 4 at 14:09
  • @OlegV.Volkov Read "as long as they are not contracting for anything that is illegal." – BlueDogRanch Feb 4 at 15:39

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