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  1. #1
    Ultimate Member rastorize's Avatar
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    Internet Cafe and Game License Advice

    A few of us were thinking of opening an Internet Cafe...about 30 PCs...mostly for LAN gaming. We own the PCs and hardware.

    So my question is about the PC games and how they are licensed.

    Let's say I buy (for example)
    30 copies of Quake 3,
    30 copies of HL/Counter Strike,
    30 copies of RTCW, etc...

    I then install 1 of each game on each PC...30 PC's...3 games on each PC legally purchased. There would also be a server hosting the games.

    I then open the doors of my Internet Cafe...30 folks sit at the PCs and start playing whatever game they choose that I have installed.

    Is it legal for me (in the US) to charge a fee to use these PCs and the software that is on them on? In a sense, I am renting time on my hardware...but are there legal issues associated with the software that they would be using on my hardware?

    Are there legal issues associated with the End User Agreements of video games that does not allow this?

    Does anyone have any suggestions, ideas or advice?

    Thank you all in advance!

  2. #2
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    Hmm, I've been thinking about this also. I think you might want to read the License Agreements that nobody ever reads. Or if you can find a tech support number for the game maker you can ask them about it. I'm sure most game makers follow the same rules on it.

    I think with most games as long as you own a copy of a game you can host it and play it at the same time.

  3. #3
    Ultimate Member rastorize's Avatar
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    We've called a few companies (Blizzard is one) and they've suggested purchasing site licenses upwards of $10,000 or more depending on the game title. But to me, I would think that we would only need 30 copies for the 30 computers (1 for each PC)...we don't need a copy of the game for each individual that walks through the door?

    Perhaps the companies would like us to think that each person needs to have a licensed and registered copy of the game to be legal...licensed to the indivual not the PC it is running on. We want to use one legal copy on one computer and share the hardware (for a fee) among several people...does this sound right?

    Are licenses for each person...or for each computer? Any ideas?

  4. #4
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    O.... i should know this... I wrote a business plan for a cyber cafe, and i believe that you just need one copy of the game. (for each computer)... the charge isnt for them playing the game, but for them using the computer at all...

    it might be a problem if you try to charge them 30.hour to paly half life and 20.hour to play ... etc.
    like making them pay a premium for playing the game.

    i would cunsult the lisecning agreements.


    Blaze

  5. #5
    Ultimate Member Xtreeme's Avatar
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    Blazer06-that sounds dead right to me.
    R.I.P. TKOP
    You will always be in our hearts and thoughts. God bless.

  6. #6
    Ultimate Member HeadBand's Avatar
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    to me it dosent seem any different that a lan party that charges a fee
    Hey who turned sigs on?

  7. #7
    Ultimate Member rastorize's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your replies!

    I just read the license agreement for Quake 3 (Activision) which states that I shall not do the following acts:

    1. rent the software
    2. sell the software
    3. lease or lend the software
    4. offer the software on a pay-per-play basis
    5. distribute the software by any means
    6. exploit the software or use it for any commercial purpose
    7. reverse engineer, etc
    8. translate the software
    9. reproduce or copy the software
    10. publicly display the software
    11. prepare or develop other works based on the software

    Do you think #6 above would be an issue? And what does #10 mean?

    BLAZER06 sounds right...since I would be renting the time on the hardware and not the software...it should be legal.

    A person would sit down at the PC and play any game on that PC...there wouldn't be a charge for any specific game, just the time they spend on the PC.

    A CyberCafe is different from a LAN party right? Isn't a LAN party where you bring your own PC as opposed to a CyberCafe where we supply the PC? Does that sound right?

    Anyone else have an opinion based on Activision's License Agreement above?

  8. #8
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    if your still questionable tomorrow i can call a few places up, and check for you.

    its for example letting them use windows.dont look at it as a game, but as a program


    Blaze

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member Vagabond's Avatar
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    Number 6 does sound like it could be an issue but i like the way Blaze put it so if you had legal copies on all puters and someone walks and you charge per computer time not game
    you are not making money buy renting the game or software you are making money (technically) off of the hardware and internet connection....

    you may want to check with a law person though

    You know dog spelled backwards is god.....

    coincidence ..... i think not.

  10. #10
    Ultimate Member Vagabond's Avatar
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    BTW
    how did you guys come up with location and possible target demographics??

  11. #11
    Ultimate Member twistedbrntucker's Avatar
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    Quoting Epic Games

    Can I use Unreal Tournament or Unreal Tournament 2003 in a retail PC network-gaming setting?

    If you want to use Unreal Tournament in retail PC network-game establishments all we ask is that you follow a few simple rules: 1. This applies only for retail establishments dedicated to PC network gaming. 2. You may not use our games in arcade or amusement park settings or in conjunction with arcade-style cabinets or pods. 3. You may use the demo version of only up until the time that the full retail version is available in stores from which point onward.... 4. You must have one legally-purchased full retail copy of the game on-hand at all times for each machine that the game is being played on. 5. You can not resell the game or a computer with the game installed on it and 6. We reserve the right to amend or change these rules from time to time. It is your responsibility to stay in compliance with these rules. The best way to obtain the copies you need is to purchase them from a software retailer or major online games sales site. Sorry but we will not provide written permissions or license agreements for these kinds of activities.


    More info:
    Mark Rein,
    Vice-President, Epic Games Inc.
    email: mrein @ epicgames.com


    Last edited by twistedbrntucker; January 8th, 2004 at 01:41 PM.

  12. #12
    addicted DVNT1's Avatar
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    Interesting issue.

    My thoughts: buy the software license (one per computer). Then clearly state that the Cafe usage charges are are to cover access to your network (don't even have to say Internet IMO) and that they may use whatever software is already on the PCs (which would include Quake3 and whatever else).

    If you do that, then just don't mention Quake 3 in your advertising so it isn't being used for "commercial" purposes.

  13. #13
    Ultimate Member rastorize's Avatar
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    Thanks twistedbrntucker...very helpful...

    ...and actually, thanks to everyone for all your replies...if there's one place I can always turn to for info...it's here.

    Vagabond...deciding on a location was simple: find a town that is 'boring' with little or no entertainment for young people...the target audience would mostly be teens and young adults (and adults who play games too)...then find a physical location near a high school or other high traffic area...

    I used to be a high school teacher and my computer lab was always full of kids playing network games after school...but of course I couldn't charge my students ;-)

    We're somewhat new to this idea, and so we're still in the planning stages...I think we have the software licensing issue solved now though, thanks to all of you.

    Does anyone think that if they lived in a "boring" town, they might head over to the local LAN party and pay (a small fee) to play your favorite games with your friends? I know alot of people have broadband and could do the same thing at home...but what about playing in the same room as your friends...with cool lighting and videos on projector screens and music...and food...and ???

  14. #14
    Ultimate Member Xtreeme's Avatar
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    Sounds cool. Best in metro areas. Big citys have enuff but places like where I live it would be crowded non stop! DSL and anything above 56k is $ here. So cafe would rock. Loacality is certainly a key point to how well it will do.
    R.I.P. TKOP
    You will always be in our hearts and thoughts. God bless.

  15. #15
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    http://www.steampowered.com/?area=cybercafes

    for Half life and its mods On Steam,which in a few months will be the only way to play it.(on steam I mean)

  16. #16
    Ultimate Member Vagabond's Avatar
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    yes i would When Jedi Knight first came out we would go into the computer imaging dept at my grad school and with the help of the Comp imaging Dept head we would all play on 19 in flat screens and had our own servers to boot...
    it was lots of fun we would bring in some beer and food and hang out all eve... then HL and we continued now that we are not inthe same area he still hosts games for us BF, HL will be HL2, and may go retro and try a little Quake againn LOL

    need food and stuff could be fun...

    GL
    You know dog spelled backwards is god.....

    coincidence ..... i think not.

  17. #17
    addicted DVNT1's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting forum for you (related to Gaming Centers http://www.igames.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?forumid=2

  18. #18
    Ultimate Member rastorize's Avatar
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    Awesome replies everyone...thank you - especially ACE and DVNT1...great resources you gave.

    So now my conclusion is that there does need to be some sort of licensing for the games in an Internet Cafe'...

    Consider this scenerio in a court of law that a friend of mine came up with:
    CAFE: “Your honor, we do not charge anything for the games, but only for the computers. Therefore we are not exploiting the software.”

    JUDGE: “So what you are saying is, that the customers who pay you to use computers, are interested in the use of the hardware, not the software?”

    CAFE: “Yes your honor, that’s correct.””

    JUDGE: “If that is true, would it also be correct to say that the users would still be interested in using the computers if the software was not installed and available for them to use?”

    CAFE: “Well, no. We need to have the software installed on the computer because that’s what our customers are there to do…play the game (software)”

    JUDGE: “So now I am to understand that you customer’s interest in using the computer, is based in part on the software that is available to them on the computer. An that if you remove the software, interest in using your “computer rental” services would likely decline, correct?”

    CAFE: “Well…yes your honor.”

    JUDGE: “Then it is also true, that at least a portion of the interest in your “computer rental” services, and therefore a portion of your commercial profits, are due to the use of the plaintiffs software product?”

    CAFE: “Well….yes your honor.”

    JUDGE: “Then by virtue of the fact that you are using the plaintiff’s software to commercially profit, you ARE exploiting their product and you ARE using it for commercial purposes. Bailiff, take them away!”

    Any thoughts on that scenerio??

    Also, thanks Vagabond and Xtreeme for your input as well. SO...now it's off to see what it'll cost us to license the games we want to use...

  19. #19
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    Even if you do license it in properly, they will probaly never find out or care. But if they do find out, they might just explain to you some things and make you start paying money for whatever.

  20. #20
    Hey, atleast you're buying a copy of the game for EVERY computer. All the internet cafe's I go to share 1 CD-key for like a row of computers...

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