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LordVorontur

Beta announced!

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Exactly, so an NDA is actually really only "worth" the "value" of the Beta Access, which is ermmm... well... an individual thing.

It just makes a bit of a mockery of the "you can't say if you are in Beta or not" clause, because.. well ..so what.. why does it matter just saying that you are in?

If you do not "value" you Beta access the sanctions involved in an NDA are pretty meaningless.

Now if you were in Beta and released, for example, some exclusive screen shots, or some such, I guess Turbine could be a bit more ruthless, but again, I wonder what "damages" they could claim through a legal process.

Well they would not get much or anything through the legal process, they could give you a perma ban

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Here is an excerpt from a worrisome post made by Sapience in the ROI forums (emphasis added by me):

It is extremely disheartening how many players we have had to remove from the Isengard beta, including one entire kinship.

Is that to say that every single member of that kinship was ( a ) invited to beta and ( b ) broke the NDA? If one of those conditions was not met, the punishment given to the whole is unmerited. I sincerely doubt that the whole of a single kinship received beta invites, and I am sensing some unlawful heavy-handedness.

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Here is an excerpt from a worrisome post made by Sapience in the ROI forums (emphasis added by me):

Is that to say that every single member of that kinship was ( a ) invited to beta and ( b ) broke the NDA? If one of those conditions was not met, the punishment given to the whole is unmerited. I sincerely doubt that the whole of a single kinship received beta invites, and I am sensing some unlawful heavy-handedness.

Could have been a 1 man kinship

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If that was the case, then the statement is grossly mis-leading, with it's only perceived intent as to cow the playerbase. If it was a one-person kinship, then there would have been one invitation to that player.

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I used to be in beta, but then they opened up the Mirkwood beta and I had to wait several weeks before I was given access to it, at which point the beta was already filled with idiots who only wanted to see new content. I got about three days of playtime. Also, it was only afterwards that I found out that Isengard was to be renamed Palantir and the initial statement that active Isengard testers would be invited back in was false. They can stuff beta programs after they pulled that stunt on me. I put too much work into testing and reporting bugs to be treated like that.

The kinship was probably two or three folks who posted their screenshots to a kinship forum. I find it hard to believe they would invite 20+ people from the same kinship (unless that kinship is one of the mammoth kinships that take everyone in).

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Even so, and if that was the case, Turbine would have to prove that both/all three members of that kinship were ( a ) invited to participate in the beta and ( b ) complicit in the violation of the NDA. There can't be a guilt-by-association approach for this.

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Actually, thinking about this from another angle, I could see where it is more likely, but I need some information, since the last beta I participated in was far before the Isengard and Palantir programmes.

Can kinships be created on Bullroarer?

If so, then it is more likely that an entire kinship broke the NDA, but it would still have to be proven that all the members were complicit.

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In the Preview Programme, everyone tends to be in the same kinship for ease of communication. On these semi-public betas, you usually see people form kinships among their friends.

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This is the quote from Sapience in the same thread that gets me:

Individuals who post those things will be subject to the enforcement of their NDA agreements. I'd also caution that if you read the community guidelines, any person who posts a link or reposts any materials that violate the NDA are also subject to action against their accounts. [emphasis added]

What the heck? How can they possibly make everyone a party to an NDA that they never signed and may never have read nor even heard of in many cases?

:?

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If you were in the free to play beta, you got a code for 500 points at the end as long as you had logged in at some point.

I doubt they would try and sue you for saying you were in beta, but they'll still kick you out before you get the chance to say anything else.

500 TP was nice, but not the reason I stolled towards Eyes & Guard tarvern last time. This would be enough reason for anyone to join the Beta, just log in once and that's it. Well there's the whole client downloading thing...

I also can't believe you would be sued just for saying you're in Beta. I think the NDA is mostly for scaring people into not blabbering about unfinished product and give people false expressions.

Edit:

Okay, maybe they do take the NDA more seriously, but still, saying you're in (here) will most likely result to nothing more than being removed from the Beta. They can keep their blasted Beta for all I care. :P

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What the heck? How can they possibly make everyone a party to an NDA that they never signed and may never have read nor even heard of in many cases?

Very simple: it's their website/forum/game. They can remove everyone they do not want. They don't want NDA material leaked, so they will take action against those that post NDA material. They're trying to prevent the situation where I am in a beta, take a load of NDA material, give it to a kinnie and have him post it.

The reason they're likely to remove you from beta once you've publicly stated you're in is peer pressure. Many folk will, after some questions from kinnies and friends, divulge information that's not to leave the test server/forums. Best to remove you right away than have you spill the juicy details over a longer period of time.

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This is the quote from Sapience in the same thread that gets me:

What the heck? How can they possibly make everyone a party to an NDA that they never signed and may never have read nor even heard of in many cases?

:?

In the forum community guidelines it states

20. You may not post, repost, or link to any information covered under a Non-disclosure agreement, including but not limited to spoilers, screen shots, and videos.

http://www.lotro.com/community/700-communityguidelines

So if you post this info on Turbine's forum you have breached the guidelines they have set and they can take action against your account.

If it is posted else where then I dont know what action they could take as it would be hard to identify who posted it especially if they used another user name on a different site

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Very simple: it's their website/forum/game. They can remove everyone they do not want.

Well, yes and no. I understand that Turbine claims that absolute right under their TOS, but the fact that they charge money for their service means that right is not quite as absolute as they wish to claim. At the very least, they might have to return your money (or a portion of it) if they unjustly break their contract with you.

It could even be argued that F2P players have entered into a contract with Turbine by the act of downloading and playing the game. I have seen marketing from Turbine that touts the number of players, so even that act alone has some value to Turbine.

Attempting to enforce non-disclosure on persons who are not parties to the agreement seems like quite a stretch to me. Especially when they may not have any knowledge that such an agreement even exists.

All that said, I realize that they would probably get away with it. Not many have the time nor the inclination to fight over what would be, in essence, a rather trivial matter in the larger scheme of things.

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Well, yes and no. I understand that Turbine claims that absolute right under their TOS, but the fact that they charge money for their service means that right is not quite as absolute as they wish to claim. At the very least, they might have to return your money (or a portion of it) if they unjustly break their contract with you.

It could even be argued that F2P players have entered into a contract with Turbine by the act of downloading and playing the game. I have seen marketing from Turbine that touts the number of players, so even that act alone has some value to Turbine.

Attempting to enforce non-disclosure on persons who are not parties to the agreement seems like quite a stretch to me. Especially when they may not have any knowledge that such an agreement even exists.

All that said, I realize that they would probably get away with it. Not many have the time nor the inclination to fight over what would be, in essence, a rather trivial matter in the larger scheme of things.

Turbine have set forum rules that you mast adhere to if you wish to post there and they have also set out punishments for breaches of the rules. If someone hasn't read the rules or chooses to ignore them then that is their fault. One of the rules relates to posting information that is subject to a NDA

There would be little Turbine could do if the info was posted on an external site since it would be difficult to find out where the info came from, at best they could get the site to remove the information

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Well, yes and no. I understand that Turbine claims that absolute right under their TOS, but the fact that they charge money for their service means that right is not quite as absolute as they wish to claim. At the very least, they might have to return your money (or a portion of it) if they unjustly break their contract with you.

That's the thing. By adding "no (re-)posting of NDA material" to their ToS, they make you at fault. Naturally, when you're genuinely unaware that it is NDA material, you're likely to get off without a hitch. If you intentionally post a whole heap of NDA material, you're likely to face a lifetime ban at minimum. You've breached the ToS, you have given them a reason to terminate the service to you.

And in addition, no one is going to sue over a meagre 30 dollars you might have on your account. The legal fees are typically a multitude of that.

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Actually, NDA's are only mentioned in the LOTRO Community Guidelines, which are "... basic rules of conduct that users of The Lord of the Rings Online™ Forums, My LOTRO, and the LOTRO Lorebook (the "Community Sites") are required to adhere to", but not in the Terms of Service. In that respect alone, there is language that can be seen as contradicting between the two publications.

However, despite such a thing, Turbine can always fall back on good old ToS #4: "TURBINE MAY SUSPEND, TERMINATE, MODIFY, OR DELETE THE ACCOUNT AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON, WITH OR WITHOUT NOTICE TO YOU." That means that they can wave bon voyage to you at their whim, whether that whim is justified/legal or not; of course, there's no clarity as to precisely whose whim that would be.

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