Mojang hints at crackdown on "pay for perk" Minecraft servers
Minecraft is pretty popular, but it's also kind of a time sink. To get around this, some servers allow impatient players to pay for perks, letting them essentially buy their way to the top, or to whatever measure of "victory" they aspire. The only problem is that this runs contrary to the terms of the Minecraft EULA, which forbids monetization of content created by Mojang, as well as mods and plugins. "You can do whatever you want with them, as long as you don't sell them for money / try to make money from them," it states. "We have the final say on what constitutes a tool/mod/plugin and what doesn't."
It's the kind of thing that people generally click past and ignore, but that may not be an option for much longer. Mojang looks set to begin cracking down on Minecraft servers that allow players to pay for perks.
Developer Erik "Grum" Broes recently emphasized in a chat that server owners are not allowed to make money from the game without permission. As noted by Reddit, Broes called out WoodyCraft for offering perks on its servers in exchange for "donations," saying that regardless of the fact that most of those perks are based on plugins, "You cannot make money with Minecraft without our permission."
That doesn't mean the end of donations, as Broes acknowledged that they're allowed by the Minecraft EULA. "But we'll most likely hack down on the fact that most people give 'perks' for donations—which under almost all laws makes it a purchase," he explained. "You cannot 'give' people ranks based on an outside payment. It's really simple, money you spend outside of the game cannot reflect inside the game at all."
He also said that a new EULA with changes "that should be enough to tame the bad stuff" is likely on the way, although he added that the updates should actually give more rights to server operators than the current one. And in cases where particularly egregious offenders refuse to modify their ways, Broes said Mojang would take a tiered response: "We'll ask nicely and then send really mean lawyers. :)"
It's safe to say that the reaction to Broes' statements hasn't been universally positive. It costs money to run Minecraft servers, after all, and offering something above and beyond basic access is an effective way to attract support. Even so, Broes' stance is firmly backed by none other than Minecraft mastermind Markus "Notch" Persson. "I have no idea what's happening with eula, I've been home with a bad cold. But basically, you can't charge for our game. Duh," he tweeted earlier today. "You can charge for hosting servers, but not for gameplay features."