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Red vs. Blue ScreenshotIf you’ve missed them, there is an excellent series of posts up over at Law of the Game on recent changes to the machinima policies from Microsoft (publisher of Halo, Perfect Dark, Shadowrun, etc.) and Blizzard (publisher of World of Warcraft). In sum, both companies, though particularly Blizzard, have clarified how and when they will license images and sounds from their games to users who want to use the game engines to make movies. Law of the Game’s coverage is informative, and the analysis is insightful. Well worth your click.

Though World of Warcraft is the only one of these games that VB regularly covers, free-form virtual worlds are about to penetrate the traditional game market (one is rumored to launch for the PlayStation 3 on October 11). And with HBO paying “a six-figure sum” for a movie shot in Second Life, machinima in virtual worlds is quickly becoming big business. The policies companies like Microsoft and Blizzard set now for games are likely to have a big impact on future policies in virtual worlds as well.

New to all of this, and wondering what machinima is? Watch the first episode of the popular Halo machinima Red vs. Blue (screenshot above). It is only about two and a half minutes long, and it is incredibly funny. Fair warning — there’s some cursing, in case you’re at work.

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3 Responses to “Blizzard, Microsoft Clarify Machinima Rules”

  1. on 12 Sep 2007 at 1:51 pmTony

    I love RVB! I’m curious, would fair use apply for something such as them since they are pretty much a parody? Or could it be argued from that point since you are using the actual program?

  2. on 12 Sep 2007 at 2:03 pmBenjamin Duranske

    I’d argue that one either way, Tony, but I like your take on it. The parody argument is a particularly good argument re: RVB since — particularly in the linked video — they’re actually commenting on the Halo universe itself.

  3. [...] Different approaches were taken by different software vendors. Last month, two major software vendors, Blizzard Entertainment and Microsoft released their policy regarding Machinima made with their engines (via Vitrually Blind). Whilst Blizzard, the proprietor of World of Warcraft allows almost any use of the content, as long as it is non-commercial or actually distributed for free, Microsoft’s license was a bit vague regarding use of Machinima as it stated “You can’t sell or otherwise earn anything from your Items.” (also see); meaning that the possibility of embedding a Machinima clip in a Google-Adwords affiliated blog means that you “otherwise earn” something from your items (the legality of earning from other’s items is even more problematic. [...]

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