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All content by Kyle E. Mitchell, who is not your lawyer.

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Dreams Creates a Commons?a video game for making video games

Dreams is a new game for PlayStation 4 that gives players an approachable, interactive way to build three-dimensional games of their own. It ships with a limited built-in campaign, but that guided experience serves largely to teach the game’s toolkit. Them main attraction is a kind of built-in app store slash asset store experience, through which gamers can play and share the creations of other “dreamers”, as well as change and build upon them.

I’m stealing time here and there to investigate Dreams. I suspect I’ll have far more to say about it. But to start, a few notes on the intellectual property terms of the early-access license agreement for the release:


You may have the option to create content such as pictures, photographs, renderings, videos, animation, sounds, music, game play, game related materials, or other information (“User Material”) through the Software.

That’s the point!

To the extent permitted by law, you grant SIE an irrevocable, transferrable, sublicensable, royalty-free and perpetual license and right to use, reproduce, distribute, display, perform, translate, transmit, publish, and prepare derivative works of your User Material in all media formats and by all distribution methods (now known or hereafter developed), throughout the universe, in connection with the Software and the business of SIE (and its partners, successors, and affiliates), for any purpose, including for promoting, advertising, selling, and re-distributing the Software (and derivative works thereof), without any further notice to you.

Broad permission to Sony to do pretty much whatever they want with your work. Aggressive, but not surprising.

In addition, you grant each user of the Software a non-exclusive, perpetual license to access your User Material through the Software consistent with your share and privacy settings, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display, perform, translate, transmit, publish, and prepare derivative works of your User Material as permitted by the functionality of the Software and PlayStation Network (subject to the terms of this agreement).

Within the walled garden of people who also buy and play Dreams, this is essentially a very broad permissive license. It’s an IP demilitarized zone!

Note, however, the mention of “your share and privacy settings”. And from what I’ve seen, the game itself offers players a kind of Creative Commons-style wizard to express their preferences on attribution and remixing.

No compensation will be paid to you or any third party with respect to the use of your User Material, as provided herein. You acknowledge that you have received good and valuable consideration from SIE for the license of the rights in your User Material.

As in open source, Dreams’ walled garden is also a money-free zone. At least for dreamers, as opposed to for Sony and the creators of Dreams itself.

You hereby waive, to the extent permitted by law, all claims, including any moral or patrimonial rights, against SIE and its affiliates or any third party’s use of the User Material.

More protection for the hosts.

By creating, posting, streaming, transmitting or providing SIE any User Material, you represent and warrant that your User Material does not infringe on the intellectual property or other rights of any third party and is not obscene, defamatory, offensive or an advertisement or solicitation of business and you have the appropriate rights to use, create, post, distribute, transmit and provide User Material and to grant SIE the foregoing license. You must cooperate with SIE in resolving any dispute that may arise from your User Material.

Now here is something we don’t see much in open source, except, to a limited extent, under Larry Rosen’s Open Software License and Academic Free Licenses.

Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome by e-mail.

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