[MUD-Dev] Ownership of characters

Jasper McChesney jasperm at student.umass.edu
Sat May 4 12:30:18 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Now, I haven't been following these threads concerning ownership
with utter devotion over the last week or so, since I've been busy,
so this may have been suggested at some time or another, but I never
noticed it....

Why not, instead of allowing players to won their characters (as
they want), give him the exclusive right to use it, by contract.
When signing up, the TOS would reciprocate: the game-maker
acknowledges that while the data is his, the right to play the
character resides solely with the player, and at the player's
request (or departure from the game), the character will be

This still makes selling the character online illegal, but
acknowledges some right of the player to manipulate the character
even if it is held by someone else.  I know some players would still
be unhappy with this because the intellectual *idea*, they would
say, should still belong to them.  I don't know if the legal
community would ever care to make such fine distinctions, but maybe
you could word the contract such that the theoretical idea of the
character (which could be applied to any game) belongs to the
player, the instance of the character in a specific game belongs to
the game company, and the right to use that instance resides with
the player again.  I know that's a little convoluted, but I hope I
made myself clear.

Would something like this work?  Would anyone do it even if it

Jasper "Asmaul" McChesney 
jasperm at student.umass.edu / jasp.javanet at rcn.com

"War is the form nostalgia takes takes when men are
hard-pressed to say something good about their country."
			       -Don Delillo, White Noise
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