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Old 05-12-2002, 12:06 PM   #1
Neranz Laverani
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Unhappy

Area usage rights has been a bone of contention between mud owners and builders for a long time.  This issue is further aggravated when the builders and owners part on bad terms.  This thread is an attempt for administrators and builders to draft a clear usage statement.  All mud owners would benefit from having usage statement that is freely available to builders.  Builders who work on a mud without one, would benefit by submitting one before working.

Here are the initial points that I wish to raise:

1.  When a builder submits an area to a mud, they are giving the owner permission to use that area for that mud only.
   a.  Publication rights are given to a mud, not a person.  The owner cannot use it on any other mud without seeking additional permission from the builder.
   b.  The builder may not request removal from the mud that the area was given permission for unless the owner of the mud has violated any of the usage clauses.  Violations include:

(list violations as clearly as possible, below is an example based on this post)
       i. Removal of area credits from any area without permission from the builder.
       ii.  Using the area on any other mud without further permission from the builder.
iii. Distributing the area to any another mud without further permission from the builder.
       iv.  Making the area publicly available for download without further permission from the builder.

(Choose one of the twos, the first one is most common, the second would be for muds that wish to have a unique world)

2.  As the copyright holder, the builder retains the right to redistribute the submitted area as they wish.

2.  The builder consents that they will not distribute the area to any other muds, persons, or make it publicly available.  The mud owner must still abide by the limitations set forth in the rest of this document.

3.  The mud owners retain the right to modify the area or make derivitives.  All modified or derived areas must retain credit to the original author.  The original author must still be contacted if the mud owner wishes to publish the modified/derivative area on another mud or distribute it in any form.

4.  All muds using the area must credit the original author.  The credit may only be removed at the author's request.  If the author requests the credit to be removed, the author may not like changes brought about by modification, credit will be given to Anonymous.  The original credit will never be usurped by people who modified the area.

This was just a first pass at publication issues.  Feel free to make suggestions and alterations as you like.

Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge
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Old 05-12-2002, 12:26 PM   #2
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Maybe it's obvious, but perhaps something about area file retrieval by the builder?  Something like...

5.  The builder agrees that he/she will receive a copy of the area upon completion.  The builder is then responsible for retaining the relevant file(s) as subsequent requests for the file(s) are handled at the mud owner's discretion.

This is just to assist in matters where the mud owner gives the builder a copy, months go by (or even if they don't) and a mud owner has made modifications, then all the sudden the builder has lost his copy.  The builder then wants you to give him another copy... Your modified copy since you might not have an original (thank god I backup like crazy, I'm generally willing to re-give the original to the builder but I dislike giving out work that's been modified in any significant way).

In any case, great stuff Neranz!

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Old 05-12-2002, 02:00 PM   #3
Neranz Laverani
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How about:

5. Upon submission of a completed area, the mud owner will provide the builder with a copy of the area before the area is modified or revised. The builder is then responsible for retaining the relevant file(s) as subsequent requests for the file(s) are handled at the mud owner's discretion.

(the additional phase is because of this after thought)

6. The original builder is not the sole copyright holder to modified or revised works. All modified or revised works require the permission of the original author and the modifier/revisee.

The issue (#6) gets sticky when you consider what kind of work is necessary to gain recognition, i.e., an editor does not get copyright rights over a story when correcting grammar and spelling. When does it stop being editorial and start being revision?

Again - first passes
Editorial - balancing mobs and objects
Editorial - correcting typos and grammar
Revision - modifying descriptions excluding the above
Revision - adding rooms, mobs, or objects

We could really use the input of someone who has studied copyright thoroughly.

To be honest, as far as copyright goes, the ideal solution would be to submit changes required outside of those listed as editorial in perview to the author. We do not live in an ideal world though.

7. The mud owner reserves the right to assign modification of submitted areas to another builder. Modification may include correcting errors and imbalances in the area as well as revising the area.

Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge
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Old 05-12-2002, 04:47 PM   #4
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(Choose one of the twos, the first one is most common, the second would be for muds that wish to have a unique world)
Why not define it as both?

2. As the copyright holder, the builder retains the right to redistribute the submitted area as they wish. Unless the Owner/Mud has set and said guidelines for building a unique world.

Unique world being defined as:
A world where no stock code or areas can be found unless great modifications have been made to said code or areas. (Unique should be further defined but I will leave that to you)
In that case refer to next:

2. The builder consents that they will not distribute the area to any other muds, persons, or make it publicly available. The mud owner must still abide by the limitations set forth in the rest of this document.

Its early and I did a horrible job of voicing that opinion but I hope it helps, and gives you the general idea of what I'm trying to say.
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Old 05-12-2002, 05:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
2. The builder consents that they will not distribute the area to any other muds, persons, or make it publicly available.
That requires a signature from the builder - and if the builder is a minor, they can later opt out of it.
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Old 05-12-2002, 06:53 PM   #6
Neranz Laverani
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ May 12 2002,3:55 pm)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
2. The builder consents that they will not distribute the area to any other muds, persons, or make it publicly available.
That requires a signature from the builder - and if the builder is a minor, they can later opt out of it.
That brings up a whole slew of other questions.

1.) If you have something like this at the bottom:

Only persons of age 18 or older may enter into this agreement. By signing and returning this document, I am stating that my age exceeds 18.


____
Signature Date

Does that protect you from a minor lying about their age? Or would you have to go as far as having the builder have a signed, notorized document to ensure the age of the builder?

2.) Inversely, if the builder must be 18 to agree to the contract, must the mud owner be 18 as well? At a guess, I would think not because the mud owner is not the one releasing any rights here.

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Old 05-12-2002, 06:58 PM   #7
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Cerise,
I understand the point that you are trying to make. I listed them seperately because the desires of the owners will vary and I do not think that one agreement will address the needs of all muds. #2 is a good example where two different statements will be used differently by different muds.

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Old 05-12-2002, 07:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
1.) If you have something like this at the bottom:

Only persons of age 18 or older may enter into this agreement. By signing and returning this document, I am stating that my age exceeds 18.

____
Signature Date

Does that protect you from a minor lying about their age? Or would you have to go as far as having the builder have a signed, notorized document to ensure the age of the builder?
It wouldn't protect you if they lied, because it's not YOUR rights that need protection - it's theirs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
2.) Inversely, if the builder must be 18 to agree to the contract, must the mud owner be 18 as well? At a guess, I would think not because the mud owner is not the one releasing any rights here.
Right. If the mud owner was under 18 then they could opt out of the contract as well. However the contract is the only thing giving them permission to use the area - so they would have to remove it.

Another problem is that you're talking about a specific contract, rather than a regular license. A contract represents an agreement between two people - and a mud isn't a person. So if the original owner decides to leave the mud, that area would have to be removed.

Also, how do you define the point at which the mud is no longer the same mud? If I change it over time, will the contract become null at a certain point? If I rename the mud, is the contract voided?
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Old 05-12-2002, 08:02 PM   #9
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-shrug- I don't see what the big fuss is, honestly, about distributing areas.

If a MUD has a unique world, you'd think they'd have modified their area variables - and, inversely, how the areas save. A unique world, such as mine, has rendered areas utterly incompatible with any other ACK! not using my code.

-D
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Old 05-12-2002, 08:15 PM   #10
Neranz Laverani
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When I am talking about protecting the mud owner, I am talking about confirming that the person they are dealing with is indeed 18 and will not later pull the rug out because they are a minor. I understand that a minor cannot be held to a contact. I was curious if there was any way that the age could be confirmed legally, i.e., by having the document notarized?

Setting aside the portion of number 2 that requires signature, there has to be a way to address that the area is being given permission to be used on the mud. Graphics companies or artists sell graphics to companies for use on their websites, not to individuals in the companies. When the point of contact leaves, that sale is not void.

The last point was something that I was wondering too. Do you have suggestions? While it is useful to know what could go wrong, it would be more useful to know possible solutions as well. I don't necessarily know how to solve the problems, that is why I asked for help.

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Old 05-12-2002, 09:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Neranz Laverani @ May 12 2002,1[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]0 pm)]6.  The original builder is not the sole copyright holder to modified or revised works.  All modified or revised works require the permission of the original author and the modifier/revisee.

The issue (#6) gets sticky when you consider what kind of work is necessary to gain recognition, i.e., an editor does not get copyright rights over a story when correcting grammar and spelling.  When does it stop being editorial and start being revision?

Again - first passes
Editorial - balancing mobs and objects
Editorial - correcting typos and grammar
Revision - modifying descriptions excluding the above
Revision - adding rooms, mobs, or objects

We could really use the input of someone who has studied copyright thoroughly.

To be honest, as far as copyright goes, the ideal solution would be to submit changes required outside of those listed as editorial in perview to the author.  We do not live in an ideal world though.

7.  The mud owner reserves the right to assign modification of submitted areas to another builder.  Modification may include correcting errors and imbalances in the area as well as revising the area.

Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge
Ok, you have a problem here.  If the builder allows the owner to make derivatives, copyright law still assigns copyright ownership of the material to the author.  So clause #6 would would be contrary to copyright law.  Moreover, if the builder allows the owner to make a derivative, and then the owner retains rights over the derivative, the owner no longer has to pay attention to the other clauses.  In other words, your clause #6 is essentially a loophole that allows the owner to make a derivative and escape any other contractual obligations.

Which is another point:  in order for there to be a contract, there has to be consideration from both parties.  There are also other contractual issues with your license, but I don't really have the time to get into them at the moment.
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Old 05-13-2002, 12:21 AM   #12
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While I certainly agree that an agreement is important to both the builder and the owner after reading Cerise's comments in an earlier post there needs to be some give and take on both sides.  It should have a few caveats in the one you are asking about Neranz to allow for some of the contingencies below.

Adminstratively a zone that is part of a MU* can not always be easily deleted since an integral part of many zones, addies of the builders change with no forwarding addie.  Deletion of objects or mobs in a published zone can wreak havoc on both pfiles and other zones when they are cross-utilized between zones.  Once a zone is published, it should retain the original author credited as well as become the property of both the author to use as they see fit AND the original MU* and its potential derivative to keep using it.

I posted a Builders Bill of Rights on <a href="http://mudworld.inetsolve.com/TMJ/ad...f_Rights.php3" target="_blank"></a> quite a while ago which shows my feelings about the subject on behalf of builders.  I really think some leeway and rights need to be given the owner and add greater support to some standard agreement as Neranz is formulating.

Psst, Neranz, we need it for ImmU when you're done!

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Old 05-13-2002, 02:04 AM   #13
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Mason,
instead of posing problems, could you try building solutions from the intent?  This is something that is meant help both builders and administrators, so input that helps would be appreciated.  I knew the wording was not right, that is why I asked for help.

The core intent:
1.)  To prevent mud owners from using builders' areas on multiple muds without the builders' permission.
2.)  To state that builders cannot request the removal of areas  just because they are out of sorts with the mud administration.  Owner's need to have some assurance that as long as they don't violate the stated rights, the area cannot be removed.
3.) To state that builders can request the removal of areas if the mud owners do something like distribute the area without the builders permission.
4.) To state that mud owners have the right to modify the area.  No area is perfect or completely balanced upon submission, changes must be made.
5.) To provide a builder with a copy of the area.
[start edit]
6.) To state that credit to the original author may only be removed at said author's request. There is no reason that a mud owner should remove area credit.
[end edit]

The icing:
To ensure that people who make serious modifications get credit too, just like the authors of Diku derivitive codebases receive credit with the Diku team.

The sprinkles on the icing:
To have a second similar agreement but with the difference that builders are refrained from submitting areas to multiple muds.

Please help me build something that the community can use.

Thank you,
Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge


P.s.
On a side note, after talking to a notary, I do know that in the U.S. you can have age verification be part of the notary signature block.  At least for U.S. citizens, age can be confirmed.
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Old 05-14-2002, 07:48 AM   #14
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At the request of Iluvatar, here are my thoughts on the license (note that this is NOT legal advice, just my opinion):

Firstly, I would recommend you re-word the agreement to make it clear that it's the builder who is giving permission to the mud (ie a license) for the area to be used, rather than the mud assuming the permission of the builder.  For this reason it should also be made clear that the builder should email the license to the mud with something along the lines of "You may use <insert title of work here> by agreeing to and abiding by the following terms and conditions".  The mud owner should reply to the email with something like "I agree to your license".  Both parties should archive their emails (and better yet, agree to them in a publically archived place, so neither party can deny making the agreement initially).

Regarding point (1a), you should also remember that most muds are not legal entities.  There is no clear definition of the "mud", and so I wouldn't recommend licensing the area to the mud - it should be licensed to a person, *for* use on a mud.  However that in itself is going to cause problems, as I mentioned in the discussion previously - if the mud changes name, is it still the same mud?  If all the staff leave, is it still the same mud (and in this case, the person who agreed to the license will no longer be working there!)?  If the mud undergoes major changes (in both theme and code), is it still the same mud?  Obviously it would still legally be a derivative, regardless of how much was changed, but would it still be considered the same "mud"?  

Regarding point (1b), I would change "Violations include:" to "Violations include, but are not limited to:" (I believe it has a stronger legal meaning).

Point (2), I would change to something like: As the copyright holder, the builder retains all rights granted them under copyright law, including the right to copy, distribute, license, display and make derivative works based upon the work in question.

You have a second point (2).  Anyway, as I pointed out previously, this second point (2) is not legally enforcable without a signature.  I can, however, see two possible ways around this.  The first is to make some of the clauses conditional (for example, the license could state that the mud owner cannot distribute or use the areas in other muds UNLESS the builder allows the area to be used elsewhere).  The other possibility is to make sure that the areas are themselves derivatives of the mud owner's own storyline - which would then allow the mud owner to apply license conditions of his/her own (at least, unless the theme-specific stuff was later removed, but that would at least stop the area being used elsewhere without being changed by the author).  Of course this would require the mud owner to have written up an extensive storyline and world background for the builders to base their areas upon.

In point (3), I suggest that you clarify the definition of "credit".  I'm sure you wouldn't want the mud owner to get away with just making some vague comment about the author in some obscure extra description in a hidden room within the area.  I would suggest that the area authors get listed alongside their areas in the appropriate "area list" (but what if the mud doesn't have a publically available list?  I always liked the idea of a location-based credits command which listed the author of the area you are currently in, but that would require coding - perhaps it would be sufficient to add the author to the standard in-game credits for the mud?).

Point (4) - I suggest that the author can later request that credit be put back, otherwise I can see some nasty "he said..." "no I didn't!" arguments.

Point (5) sounds fine.

Point (6) - if someone creates a "new version", then yes, their additions would be copyrighted to them, as long as they make the area different enough from the original to be regarded as a "new work", or it contains a substantial amount of new material (obviously they wouldn't have any ownership over the previous work though - that part would still belong to the original author).  However (as it stands) nothing in your license grants permission to create derivative works.  Furthermore, do you actually WANT that right to be given?  Do you really WANT someone adding a pimp, Darth Vader and papa smurf to your serious-themed area, and for other people to look at the credits and think "wow, that builder just doesn't know how to stick to a theme"?  If you do, I suggest you require the derivative author to follow the same license, otherwise you might end up with a single area which follows several licenses.

Along the same lines, I suggest you also add the "right to make copies for the purpose of backups".

Point (7) - see point (6).  Also take a look here.
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Old 05-14-2002, 10:38 AM   #15
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Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it.

I think you are right in the fact that creating derivitive works would not be a good idea. I had the term confused. I do want the copyright holder to grant permission for editorial revisions and modifications to the area. Every area that I have read has needed at least one stat fixed for balance reasons. Generally the newer the builder, the more stats need fixed. Then there are other matters: altering the area so bring it closer to the muds theme, fixing typos and grammatical errors.

The portion about the copyright holder being able to request removal of their name is in case the revisions turn the area into something that they are not proud of. Stating that they can have it re-added is a good idea. I took that for granted, but someone trying to bend the rules would not.

Who the license is given to is indeed a sticky problem. Any long running mud has undergone administration changes. I don't think there is any way to do this without creating some loopholes. It might have to fall to creating the least loopholes. I am beginning to get the feeling that freeing something of loopholes may be as easy as securing any box that is hooked up to the internet. Try as you might, someone who is very determined, deliberate, and persistant would get through.

Too bad we do not have some form of third party arbitration available in the mudding community for disputes before taking it to court.

Thanks again for your help. I am going to mull over what you said for a couple of days and have another go at this.

Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge
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Old 05-14-2002, 09:57 PM   #16
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Thanks KaVir, wonderful suggestions and some I'm sure we'll incorporate.

A Builder's Guild heirarchy would be perfect to negotiate and archive stuff for both owners and builders but that's a failed plan so far and on the back burner.

If we could all join wits and hands and get ImmU off the ground, we could have a Builder's Guild within a year as well as a functional training and certifying site for builders.

Iluvatar, the one with stars in the eyes.
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Old 05-15-2002, 05:26 AM   #17
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I may be crazy, but it's what keeps me alive at times.
Don't ask why or how, because I have no idea...
I sat up the last two nights putting together the terms listed above as well as parts from a "builders bill of rights" I found previously posted on this medium some time ago, as well as a few thoughts of my own.
What I have compiled, and I say compiled because it is by far not a complete work of my own, I dare say I can only take credit for an extremely small portion of this following document.
It still has many bugs to work out, and is posted as a work in progress on the site. When it is complete I would like to have a bit of help in compiling an authors credits for it. Quite a few people have contributed ideas and suggestions to the making of this document. It's not my place to say what is expected or agreed to, but my interpretation of the discussion so far, combined with the 'bill of rights' previously mentioned has brought me to this:

http://www.geocities.com/madness2692...actlicense.txt

A work in progress that might help us see where we are at this time. I could be wrong.. and I make no claims whatsoever of being right. Only that this is my interpretation of what has already transpired on this forum. I eagerly await the final product so that I might replace this temporary I am currently using.

If you will notice, I have also made it possible for the owners of muds to amend the document. Much like the senate NOW can change laws that were made many years ago when the US Bill of Rights was first created. I will be constantly updating this document until it is completed, or a more fitting document is supplied.

I hope I haven't stepped on any toes, but I wanted to express this opinion and perhaps help a few people to see what we have so far(to my viewpoint).
Please offer suggestions on how to improve this document. (or if need be-tell me it sucks and to throw it away )

Cerise
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Old 05-15-2002, 06:13 AM   #18
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Cerise, I looked over your draft and would like to point out a few things that are immediately noticable to me.  I know Neranz said he wanted positive remarks, but the wrong things must be addressed, too.

The first thing that all contracts require is consideration.  If both sides are not giving something up then there is no contract.  Consideration doesn't mean money, just means that something is being traded for something.  Otherwise, you just have a promise, and a promise is not legally binding.  If I promise to give you a million dollars and you accept, you can't sue me for it later cause there was no contract.

Which leads to amendment #2.  The owner can not impose any conditions upon the author because it is the author who is licensing the work to the owner.  This can be seen as a take it or leave it offer.  Which means then, that you can really draft a license more favorable to the builder.

Also, I noticed you say the license goes to the mud, not the owner, but then you say that the owner has to do certain things.  This is slightly confusing.  Choose who it goes to and stick with it throughout your whole license.  I would prefer that the license go to the owner, as he/she is an ascertainable person and not some vague entity known as the "mud."

I also think you try to cover too many scenarios in your agreement.  The language need not be so complex.  You are not handling a merger between two fortune 500 companies, its just a basic license agreement.

Your clause #6 is very confusing.  You have an editorial and a revision and a derivative and a modified version.  I honestly don't know what #6 says.  But what it does seem to say is that the author does not retain rights to his work if it has been modified.  THIS IS ENTIRELY FALSE.  A modified work or derivative is not an original work and does not therefore grant any authorship rights to the modifier.  A correct formulation should be something like "the owner retains the right to modify said work in accordance with the license.  All modifications, revisions, derivatives, etc are governed by copyright law and thus bound to this agreement.  Modifications of the original work DO NOT remove any rights from the author."  

Your license should aim to be short and concise.  You also need to be a little more consistent with your owner/mud issues.  If I can help any more, let me know.
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Old 05-15-2002, 12:01 PM   #19
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I did not mean that I wanted only positive comments.  Critiques are always needed in situations like this; however, critiques only serve to frustrate the process if possible solutions, or at least suggestions, aren't offered at the same time. Your second post contains a mixture of critism and suggestion. It is much more helpful.

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Old 05-15-2002, 02:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Mason @ May 15 2002,11:13 am)
Your license should aim to be short and concise.
As a counterpoint to the developping contract, I submit a short and simple license proposal (trust me for going against the grain from time to time )

1. BUILDER grants MUD a non-exclusive and non-revokable right to use and modify his work ("areas").
2. Rights to distribute BUILDER areas in any way are specifically excluded without BUILDER's explicit consent.
3. Rights to modify areas are not limited. However, modification does not impact BUILDER's copyright.
4. In case MUD has a unique and original theme, areas are deemed derivative work. BUILDER may not distribute areas without the original copyright owner's explicit permission.
5. Transfer of the rights granted by this license to another MUD is only possible if it can be clearly established that it is the only successor MUD to the original licensee MUD. The MUD administrator overseeing the transfer is to inform BUILDER of this change. In any case, the transfer mandates the deletion of the areas from the original licensee MUD.
6. These rights are subject to MUD crediting BUILDER's contribution.

Short and concise, I'd say. Did I leave anything out?
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