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Rules of Conduct Updated

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Nexus, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. Nexus

    Nexus Site Support
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    Hello everyone,

    We wanted to let you all know that we've completely re-written the rules of conduct. There are very few additions, but as you read them you will notice that each rule now has a number of explanations and examples of what is and isn't considered acceptable on Stratics.

    Please take time to review the updated Rules of Conduct as they will be going into effect on April 4th, 2016.

    Rules of Conduct

    We've also linked the Trade Forum rules to the Rules of Conduct with an Addendum, please if you make use of the Trade Forums review these rules as well.

    Trade Forum Rules
     
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  2. kelmo

    kelmo Old and in the way
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    Oh good. I thought this was directed at me for a moment... *winks*

    I did review the RoC. It is an awesome makeover of the same rules we have always operated under. :thumbup1:
     
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  3. Tjalle

    Tjalle Grand Inquisitor
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    "
    Prohibited Activities
    Stratics users may not use our website(s) to engage in any of the following activities:

    • Conduct any commercial activities on Stratics:
      • RMT or selling virtual goods for any real world currency.
      • Contracting to or hiring other users for out of game activities paid with in-game currency or items.
      • Contracting to or hiring other users for in-game activities paid for with any real world currency.
      • Sale or trade game accounts for any game is prohibited.
    • Engage in any activity which would be in violation of the laws of the United States of America, the States of New York and Illinois, where our servers are located, and the State of Washington where Gamer's Gambit, LLC. is registered.
    • Engage in any malicious activity through the use of the services provided on Stratics."

    And yet we have a number of Stratics users that use Stratics as a forum to sell stuff for gold only to then sell the gold off-Stratics for real life money.
    I cincerely hope that with the new RoC we will see a tougher stance taken against this.

    If they want to sell their gold for RL cash off-Stratics, make them sell their items as well off-Stratics.

    If Stratics really want to be against RMT, be against it. Don´t be half-against it...
     
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  4. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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    My favorite part is that you've separated the goals from the rules. I think some of the squishier parts of the prior version stemmed from a failure to distinguish between the two.

    Meanwhile, they're certainly comprehensive! Drawback is that the length may discourage users from reading/re-reading the rules. On the other hand, the best covenants between any two parties--a person and a person, citizens and a government, a community and community owners--are designed to protect both parties, and I think precision does exactly that.

    From one rando's perspective, well done.
     
  5. Nexus

    Nexus Site Support
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    I'd agree with this statement, when we realized how long it would wind up being to accomplish our goal with a revised RoC, we decided to use the collapsible buttons to break the entire thing up into more palatable sections rather than facing people with a wall of text.

    The big reason for the length though was we didn't want to leave too much to interpretation. Of course, it's would be impossible for us to write an RoC that covers every possible issue that could crop up. But we wanted to make sure the most common things were spelled out to make sure there was no confusion and to clear up some grey areas that have cropped up over time.

    You know ideally that would be great, but it comes with a couple of problematic concerns.

    First off our sphere of influence only extends to data coming into and off of our servers, we've no right or authority to try and tell people what they can do on another site. Secondly if we banned anyone we could identify as having engaged in RMT on another site either from Stratics as a whole or access to the Trade forums, we'd be removing the ability for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to acquire and enjoy the Rares and other in game commodities these individuals commonly trade in, or our community would simply go else where to do their business.

    This leaves us with a decision to be made do we take an "iron fist" approach? I could name off the top of my head a number of individuals we'd have to bar form the site, a number of which have and continue for the most part to helpful and valuable members of our community, and we'd be doing this based on observations on activities they engage in else where. They are respectful enough of our rules to keep it off Stratics and for that at least I personally can give them some credit. This approach would simply lead to a majority of trade eventually shifting to another site, and decrease activity here on Stratics.

    Our other option is to concern ourselves with what happens directly on Stratics. Selling items for in game gold or platinum on Stratics is allowed, what they do with the gold later on another site, we can't nor do we have any right to attempt to control. Otherwise as I mentioned people would just do it entirely elsewhere, and at least here we have a means to curb a measure of the exposure to it for the overall community.

    It's a balancing act. Are we against RMT as an organization, absolutely, but we realize we can't stop it from happening else where. So we're limited to dealing with what happens within our sphere of influence and hope that others do so within theirs, otherwise it becomes a lose lose situation for Stratics and above all else doing what is best for the site is our priority.
     
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  6. Alex"Drake Iron Heart"CS

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    I got a small question, Ive read the rules but you only speak about US Law, what about European Law or even the laws in the independent countries?
    US Law and EU law sometimes contradict themselves, I can see people exercising the rules of the country where they live (Ex: Germany, Spain, UK, Etc) or even EU law which overcomes all law imposed by one single country....
    I do understand the team is US based but, under law and any lawyer can agree to this, people from outside US, cannot be held accountable by US Law and less if they are not a US Citizen.....

    About banning accounts and IPs.... piece of advise, thats near enough impossible, Use a VPN and some software and you have overcome this situation and can make multiple accounts each time and keep trolling or breaking the rules.... I can advise different ways if you want a solution for this but PM for that.


    Whats the rules about the staff looking into people PMs? Does it break rules with any laws in any countries about personal data act? Or even Privacy concerns?


    Heres some food for thought, Just throwing a few ideas and comments of top of my head, will elaborate more when I get home from work


    Thanks
     
  7. Nexus

    Nexus Site Support
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    Ok for Part 1) Our Terms of Service states that by using the site you are binding yourself to US Law concerning arbitration. That's all I can really say about that, people have the option to visit Stratics or not. If they visit, they have agreed to be bound by our ToS.

    Part 2) Yah I get the issues with Banning IPs and I agree. We've explored a number of options and they simply aren't good, they risk a certain amount of collateral damage. One thing I will say, as we see Spam Bots showing up using Proxy services, We've been banning those Proxy's IP ranges. We've seen a 25-30% decrease in SPAM showing up daily, and eventually it's likely we'll wind up hitting the majority of the proxy services our ban evaders are using.

    Part 3) PM's have always been governed by the RoC, we occasionally receive reports complaining about content in a PM a user received. This rule is just us publicly stating if we receive a report we can at our discretion review the entire Conversation to assure proper context. We have a legal right to and it is possible in some cases a legal requirement to be able to access content stored on our Servers, that's undeniable, laws concerning privacy that apply all deal with transferring the information on those servers to outside parties.
     
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  8. Tjalle

    Tjalle Grand Inquisitor
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    Thank you for your thorough answer, Nexus.
    I don´t agree with it but I respect it nonetheless. ;)
     
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  9. Nexus

    Nexus Site Support
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    Honestly it's a debated issue even among the Leadership Team, for every solution we can come up with, a potential for new problems crops up.
     
  10. Alex"Drake Iron Heart"CS

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    Thanks for the great responses and clarifications
    And sorry before hand for the comments I am writing but I am very much law orientated and I know a lot about these issues....

    Great to see that you have seen the same issues I could see with the banning of IPs and the problems that VPNs can cause.

    Can someone exercise their rights to see all that they have posted and what is stored in the servers from their convos in general chat or PMs? And can they ask to have it deleted in the case they decided to leave Stratics for whatever reason? This is really just a bit of a stupid question but it just carries on with what I was saying about the privacy concerns people may have.

    Now I also have a few queries in mind that I am sure most the team already came across but would like to see the view of the team on it,

    If you can monitor what everyone writes in PM, arent you worried that you just going to push it off Strats and make everyone do their deals in ICQ or any other form of communication that cannot be checked/policed by you? Pretty much anyone that wants to sell gold for RL money, just have to exchange ICQs or details and then all these illegal actions you are trying to catch on will become invisible to the whole community, Strats, UO devs etc..... making it a even more of a black market than it is?


    Trolling/Abuse - I can see where you guys are trying to get with this but..... Its incrediably open to abuse this system, we all know roughly who the difficult people are and what they do, but this is a double edged knife as no one is innocent in a conflict, even if they have been abused, taking it or giving it, as mr goodshoes can also have a bad day and create a problem where there is none...

    • Continually attempt to derail or redirect a thread off topic. -- Everyone has their own views and there own way of expression, who sets the bar at what Is correct or incorrect? I do know staff members are friends with players, so there is soo much for biased choices by the staff, although we all live in a world that we think everyone will do correct but truthfully not always happens. What if the staff are the ones guiding the convo off rail and not a player?
    • While you may discuss in-game problems in general terms, these should not be written in a way that makes concern(s) identifiable to any individual(s). Disputes or grievances should be taken to private channels; if you need clarification as to the proper channels please contact a moderator or administrator.
    • Attempts to dodge this rule through pointed implications, or veiled accusations may at the discretion of the moderation staff be considered a personal attack and action taken accordingly. --- OK, Once again, who sets the bar? What if someone is calling someone a cheater and can prove it? By what you are saying, if you put anyone or mention anything that maybe be wrong ingame , as someone cheating with a programme, that is a personal attack towards the cheater by another player, so will it be enforced and allowed or will the same rules apply that you cannot reveal who cheats as you cannot mention the player?

    CONTENT - So we are no longer allowed to say Irish jokes? :p So a group of friends cant openly share jokes any more in any chat, as someone may get offended? How is this enforced? Ive read the limitations but it then means it closes all banter and full convos that may appear on the thought that anyone might get offended. Maybe you call someone lazy, for some might be just a laughing thing then for someone else I can mean a direct attack....
    Who says also what is correct or incorrect? Some people are more sensible than others.....

    Posting of spam content is prohibited, spam is defined by Stratics as:
    • Excessive off-topic threads.
    • Repeatedly posting nonsensical messages.
    • Flooding the forum or a thread with similar messages.
    • Post-count farming.
    • Messages without content.
    • Spreading out a single message into multiple posts rapidly
    So if someone wants to sell a rare, cant they post it on every shard where there is people who trade? Or is this not considered Spam? A little more clarification can be done here... Also dont the forums have a limit of how many posts per minute some can make? That would be a much easier way to stop some spam.


    Trade forum rules, so you got 48 waiting time between bumps, what if the topic is a hot one and 100 messages/offer for the item are made and the prices for each item have to be updated due to the high interest of the item, This can perfectly destroy people wanting to trade in forum due to the waiting time to update/bump a thread. I realise that you making it fair, but there is also people selling stuff super over priced which make their thread dont move, but to the correct trader, you have hindered their business and may just push him off Strats to make the deals...


    Conducting any of the following commercial activities on Stratics is prohibited without permission of the Senior Leadership Team:
    • RMT or selling virtual goods for any real world currency.
    • Contracting to or hiring other users for out of game activities paid with in-game currency or items.
    • Contracting to or hiring other users for in-game activities paid for with any real world currency.
    • Sale or trade of game time or other game codes.
    • Sale or trade of game accounts for any game is prohibited.
    Very nicely put, I agree with this 100% but dont think anyone is stupid enough to write these things on a post for selling codes, Golds etc.....

    Privacy
    Stratics takes the privacy of its users seriously. In order to support and protect user privacy:

    • You may not post or distribute chat logs or the contents of private conversations/IM threads/SMS messages unless the participants of those conversations have given their express consent for you to do so.
      • Private messages sent through or posted on Stratics are still subject to the Stratics Rules of Conduct and Terms of Service. Stratics reserves the right for the Senior Leadership Team to review any reported conversations sent through our private message system as needed to ensure context of reported violations.
    • You may not post any form of real life information of another user on Stratics.
      • Examples of real life information include name, address, IP addresses, phone numbers, IM contact information, un-publicized email addresses, employment or financial information.
    • You may not openly discuss warnings, thread locks, or bans publicly without the consent of a member of the Stratics Leadership Team.

    So if I know my mate is called Ex: Larry, I cannot call him by his name? I think here the issue is , if I know the person by real name I already have his consent to call him by name or this gentleman is stupid enough to be spreading his real name which then makes him vulnerable..... and people cannot be held accountable for that, if you managed to work out his real name or am I in the wrong here, In a bit of a muddle here tbh...

    Language Restrictions
    English is the predominant language used on Stratics and it is preferred posts be composed in English. Posts in other languages are subject to the same rules, and if translations imply or reveal that a poster is attempting to evade the rules by posting in another language, the infraction will be treated more severely

    Sorry this is just stupid imo, what If you dont speak English? or English not your 1st language but a message can be read to the person or group that understands the language you are writting. Cant the Strats team translate what was said in that case using a translator programme?
    Do remember there is lots of nationalities on UO and also on the forums, maybe you can create a special area for non english speaking customers..?
    Although I can write and read in English, its not my first language but I do not discreminate anyone for not speaking my native language, seems here a tad discrimination can take place for not using English, as long as it dont break the ToS/RoC, can it be allowed and not questioned?



    Allowing others to access your user account:
    • Users are responsible for the security of their account information.
    • Accounts may not be transferred, loaned, or given to other users.
    • Users are responsible for any content posted by their accounts.
    Are the IPs going to be kept to know who is logging on from where? What is you log in from multiple PCs, will the server pick up on that?
    I dont see much use in someone lending someone else Strats acc, nothing really to be gained from it
    and probably it does take place but you cannot see it as it dont affect anyone or anything.



    USERNAME LIMITATIONS

    Ok, we are all here English speaking people, so if someone creates an account with the name Mr **** for example, will that be banned, as **** is short for Richard? Or even a harder one a German player, Frederik Kuntz, as very common German surname?


    Sorry if some of my questions are views may seen as I am criticizing or trying to find the 5th leg to a cat, but they are all valid points which I am sure many have thought but cause of time or dedication or cause they just not bored at work like I am, are not asking them.

    I hope we can see the points I make and get the answer/clarification many will probably want or dont.



    Thanks for your time and dedication.
     
  11. Nexus

    Nexus Site Support
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    Let me just say everything is evaluated on a case by case basis, with the boundless limits of the human imagination it would be impossible to create a set of Rules that would be absolutely perfect. These rules are to hopefully deter certain activities so we don't have to issue warnings to users, and to close off frequently abused loopholes from the past. You're right there are some situations where handing out a warning is not justifiable, and that's where we take context and the history of the poster into account, we also state that:
    With the Language limits. We aren't out to bash someone who doesn't have English as a primary language, it's just asking that if you do know English we'd prefer you to use it. It is also meant to convey for example, if 99% of your posts were English, and you instantly switched to make a single post in German for what is clearly you willfully violating another section of the RoC we'd take serious issue with it because you tried to use the shift in language to disguise it.

    We also have an entire section of the forums where the primary languages are Japanese and Korean, we're not asking them to instantly switch over to English either. Across our staff we have access to people who are fluent in several different languages, I know personally Mrs. Nexus speaks fluent Spanish as well as English. We have others on staff who have access or can personally can translate Japanese and German among other languages for example. Even with that, having a preferred language (English because 80%+ of our Traffic is from the US, UK, and Canada), if it is respected gives the potential for the broadest number of conversation participants.



    One last thing with the PM bit. It's not exactly us monitoring PM's we'd rather not do that. We do have participants in conversations who have reported another party in a conversation with them on occasion. Usually this happens as a result of someone PMing another user in order to harass them. The Post report itself only shows the exchange that was reported, not the entire thing. We generally ask for the reporting member of the conversation to add one of the Administrators to the Conversation using the PM system, in some cases the person who started the PM sets it so other parties can't add us, and they won't add us so we can review it. It is in this case where we'd go in an use an alternative method to access the PM. This isn't something we'd let any moderator do either, reports on PM's go directly to the Administrators to review.
     
  12. Alex"Drake Iron Heart"CS

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    @Nexus Thanks for the reply and hope I didnt wind anyone up, just was stating a few ideas.
    PS: With all respect, Thanks Mrs. Nexus for speaking Spanish!! HEHEHE :cool:

    Thanks again for all the time and dedication the team puts in and sorry for any inconvenience or better say pain in the ass I can be!!! Lol:pirate:
     
  13. Alex"Drake Iron Heart"CS

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    PSS: Can you clarify if I can make Irish jokes?
     
  14. The Craftsman

    The Craftsman Lore Master
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    There was never anything wrong with the original ToS, therefore no need to radically change them. The problem previously was the moderators themselves, which thankfully to the must needed moderator purge is now no longer a problem. The current bunch (bar the odd one) seem pretty good.

    One part which seems to be ommitted is that EA gets the final say on anything they want deleted or locked. Whilst Stratics will deny this, a recent incident shows that this is still true, with EA/Mesanna pulling the strings and stratics bending over and taking it rather than allowing a valid discussion to take place. Very poor.
     
  15. kelmo

    kelmo Old and in the way
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    *smiles*
     
  16. Captn Norrington

    Captn Norrington Stratics Forum Moderator
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    This is simply not true.

    Although we will do our best to protect the developers from personal attacks and that type of thing because they are members of the community, we have no official affiliation with EA or Broadsword in any way and make our moderating decisions completely independently of what the UO staff may want. We value the developers interactions with the community here on Stratics and sometimes, as is to be expected, some of our decisions may align with what the developers want but that is not only because a developer wanted it.

    I have personally rejected reports from developers because the thing that was reported did not break an official Stratics rule. When I see a report from a developer I give it equal consideration as I would a report from anyone else. If it is valid, I will take action on it just like I would for anyone else. If it is not valid for whatever reason, no action will be taken.
     
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  17. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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    I don't volunteer here anymore, nor do I have any lingering connections with EA/Broadsword or Stratics. From an objective perspective, what @Captn Norrington says is an accurate reflection of Stratics' policy/approach to handling developer requests during all the years I worked here.
     
    #17 Taylor, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
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  18. Endrik

    Endrik Sage
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    This very specifically forbids the sale and/or purchase of virtual goods with real money and vice versa. However, it also very specifically does not prohibit any posts relating to real-life goods for sale for real life money. For example; lets say someone makes an awesome Hat of the Magi replica, and would like to let people on Stratics know that it is up for sale; is that a problem?

    Would it be possible to create a thread or even a forum that is specifically for people to post real-life items for sale outside of the game economy? According to the verbiage above, it seems like this should be allowed.

    Any feedback or insight you guys can provide would be greatly appreciated. :)
     
  19. Nexus

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    Actually we did this on purpose, we don't want to be caught in the middle if someone gets scammed for real life money. There are risks and obligations that come with creating an online market place, we simply don't want to deal with it. Dealing with Virtual Items for Virtual currency is difficult enough at times, and this isn't an additional risk and potential hassle we want to be involved with at this time.

    Now I will say this will be something that's re-evaluated from time to time, as more games are entering the market that allow RMT etc. but it will be on a title by title basis.
     
  20. Endrik

    Endrik Sage
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    Thanks Nexus, but I think I need to clarify: According to the rules I quoted, posting an external site that sells RL items is allowed. For example, if I am selling real-life physical t-shirt that says "I love Champ Spawns" on e-bay, Etsy, or my own personal website, then posting a link to that website in a Stratics forum WOULD be allowed. Since I am not selling digital goods for RL money, or RL goods for digital currency, I would not be in violation of the rules as they currently stand.

    Keep in mind, these rules look like they were developed specifically to govern virtual transactions. But this means that they do not address the sale of physical, real world goods for real world currency. I think that is a good thing. And I do not think that Stratics would take on any liability for members posting notices about (non-virtual) items that are for sale on other established market places. Those market places (such as etsy, ebay, or weebly) would still have all the normal liability, none of it would impact Stratics, becasue the transaction would be performed through those other sites, not on Stratics.

    As another example, it should be totally within the rules to open a thread and say "Hey everybody, looks like there is a first edition box-set for sale on Ebay here: 'hyperlink'. It should also be allowed to say "Hey everyone, my grandmother knitted this awesome beanie that looks like a Helm of Insight, check it out on Etsy here: 'hyperlink'.

    Since neither of those examples include either digital currency or digital goods, they would both be allowed under current rules. And I think that is a great thing. I just wanted to be sure everyone is on the same page. :)
     
  21. Nexus

    Nexus Site Support
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    You would be advertising, which is still a commercial activity.

    Maybe I should explain the way these are structured a bit. The major Bullets are the actual rules, the sub-bullets are commonly seen examples, or limitations on those rules. If we were to try and include every possible example the RoC would have been 12 pages long!
     
  22. Nexus

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    Let me add something to that last reply.

    We'd evaluate things like this on a case by case. If it was something you randomly stumbled on browsing E-bay, it might get an OK pass from us. But if you said it was your Grandmothers knitting caps that looked like the helm of insight, we'd probably have an issue with it, same deal for a shop front you created for t-shirts. In the latter case you're promoting a family members commercial activity.
     
  23. Endrik

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    Thanks again for the additional replies Nexus! I am going to ask a few more questions, but please take them in a spirit of seeking clarification; I am certainly not trying to be confrontational. :)

    You seem to be coming from a perspective that "advertising" is not allowed, but from what I can tell, there is nothing in these rules that prohibits it. After all, it is completely legitimate to advertise that you or a guild-mate is looking to buy or sell something in game in the trade forum. This is basically advertising for your own gain. And there is nothing in these rules that indicates advertising for commercial activity is restricted.

    Once again, Stratics does not need to facilitate the transaction, and they can simply include the same stipulation they use for the trade forum; basically; we are not responsible for any deals that go poorly.

    Now, all the other rules should apply; people should not be able to spam or flood the forums with posts about old toasters, used cars, jamberry, avon, essential oils, or any other non-UO related items. However, I think it would be awesome to have a place where we, as UO fans, could look (and post) UO-related goods that are for sale through other sites. Once again, the stipulation could be "buyer be ware" and "Stratics takes no responsibility for facilitating transactions". But I think it would be great to have the ability to post some of the stuff I make that other people might be interested in, and I would LOVE to see some of the stuff other people make or have available that I might be interested in.

    jmho
     
  24. Nexus

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    It's the perspective that advertising for financial gain is part of the Commercial process. With Ultima Online, trading in game items does not create any real tangible gain for either party. You don't own the pixels you're trading, usage of those pixels has been granted to you by EA, as has the right to trade those pixels with other players, but not ownership.

    Additionally all rights to Ultima Online are owned by EA, unless you've received consent from them to create goods that are UO related there is the risk of Copyright infringement. From a legal standpoint, we simply don't even want to be at the fringe of that.
     
  25. Endrik

    Endrik Sage
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    There are plenty of things that would not violate copyright such as Ankhs, plate armor, swords, dragons, elves, etc. However, I will let the issue go as you have made it clear where Stratics stands, regardless of the wording in the rules. Thanks again for taking so much time to talk this out with me. :)
     
  26. Nexus

    Nexus Site Support
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    No problem, that's what the thread was for, so people can ask for clarification.