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Friday, March 15, 2019

Fortnite EULA Update: You Don't Need an Ace Attorney to Understand It

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - You just need a parent, basic reading comprehension, or KoopaTV!

Back in the days last year when you could use the Nintendo Switch's Video Capture on Epic Games's Fortnite, I wrote a scathing article about how much I dislike Fortnite. Topping the article was a Video Captured 30-second YouTube clip of the end-user license agreement and how bad it was visually presented. I didn't think that video would get any views outside of that article. And until today, I was right. But now this video has nearly 6,000 views and counting.

I'm not asking you to watch that video. There's nothing interesting there. What is interesting is the comments section of that video, which now has over 100 comments on it. If that was on KoopaTV's comments section, all of them would be in the running for our monthly “worst comment of the month” award in our newsletters. 

I'll get to why the video suddenly has views and comments in a moment, and explain what is really going on in case you're concerned for your Fortnite existence (scroll down for a summary of the game's EULA written in plain English!), but among the worst comments that represent the fear in people's hearts:

“I accepted and it says I have a pay a 10,000 dollar fine”
“Same I suddenly got scared I didn’t want to go to court so I pressed accept”
“sorry i cant understand...will i pay money ?”
“did it work, I’m really shitting myself I don’t wanna lose my skins”
“so i click accept ???”
“If i accept i lose all my stuff?”
“do I need to pay $10,000?”

There's a lot more where those came from. Apparently since I uploaded a video of me scrolling through part of Fortnite's end user license agreement a year ago, I'm now an expert that kids trust on all of their Fortnite legal matters. Well, I won't fail you guys. Here's what you do.

Press Accept if you want to play Fortnite. Press Decline if you do not want to play Fortnite.

I redownloaded Fortnite just to see what everyone is freaking out about. Surely enough, before I could play it, the end user license agreement re-appeared, looking quite different. I declined it because I don't want to play Fortnite. Here's what happened:

Fortnite version 8 title EULA declined login failed banana suit
Is Fortnite celebrating KoopaTV's 5-year bananniversary? That was soooo ten months ago.

You won't be able to play Fortnite unless you accept the agreement. If you decline it, you can easily go and open it back up and accept the agreement.

I believe this is the part of the agreement that most concerns people. Since Epic Games took notes from me on making the EULA text have much better contrast against the background, perhaps they should take notes on what they're doing to terrify their userbase:

Fortnite season 8 arbitration costs $10000 EULA end user license agreement
“We’ve put this up front (and in caps) because it’s important:” was a mistake. Just bolding it is good enough.

People's eyes glaze over walls of text that is YELLING AT THEM IN ALL-CAPS on message boards and social media. They do the same for an end user license agreement, despite it being the part that Epic Games wants you to read the most. But they do see that $10,000 number and get scared. It turns out that the Fortnite userbase doesn't even know what arbitration means, and they really do need their parent or guardian there to help them read the end user license agreement. (In fact, the end user license agreement instructs kids to have their parent or guardian with them when reading it.)

Simplified Summary of the Fortnite End User License Agreement

Here's what you're agreeing to when you read the Fortnite EULA, section-by-section:
  1. Epic Games is letting you play Fortnite. You do not own the rights to Fortnite.
  2. Don't hack into the game's code. Don't cheat.
  3. Epic Games may update Fortnite with software patches without your permission.
  4. You can buy V-Bucks with real money. V-Bucks aren't refundable back to real money. Don't use your parent's credit card, or anyone else's credit card, without permission.
  5. You can use Fortnite as a way to creatively express yourself. When you do so, Epic Games may use your creations however they want without paying you for it. For more information on this kind of license, see this article about when Nintendo did that on Miiverse. Also, don't infringe on other people's rights.
  6. If you give Epic Games feedback about Fortnite, they're free to do what they want with that feedback, and you don't get credit for if they implement it.
  7. Epic Games owns Fortnite.
  8. Epic Games makes no guarantees that the software will be glitch-free, and if something bad happens as a result of you playing Fortnite, that's your risk.
  9. If you violate the end user license agreement, and there's monetary damage involved because of that, you must pay Epic Games.
  10. You can terminate your agreement with Epic Games by uninstalling Fortnite. You won't get any refunds if you do that. It also terminates if you break the agreement terms, and then Epic doesn't have to let you play Fortnite.
  11. Epic Games operates under the court system of North Carolina of the United States.
  12. If you have an issue, you're encouraged to contact Epic Games customer support. If that fails, you can go to arbitration, meaning a neutral third-party will listen to you, listen to Epic, and come up with a binding resolution that you two must follow. You cannot sue Epic Games and go to a court with a jury and judge, especially not a class-action lawsuit (you and several other gamers all sue Epic together). If the fees involved are under $10,000, Epic will pay everything for you, even if they win.
  13. Please don't violate American laws with regards to Fortnite, and if you're a terrorist, don't try to play Fortnite.
  14. Epic Games may amend the agreement without telling you. The fact you keep playing Fortnite means you agree to the latest version of the agreement, even if you haven't read it.
  15. Each Fortnite player has to agree to these terms. You can't agree to it, and then say your friend agreed to it because you did.
  16. Definitions section.
  17. If the law where you live contradicts with this agreement, the law has superiority. The agreement was originally written in English. The agreement represents everything you need to know.
  18. Epic stores user data of PlayStation users. Microsoft and Apple have nothing to do with your playing of Fortnite.
By the way, don't take that summary above as legal advice from KoopaTV. Be sure to read the whole agreement before agreeing to it. If you end up wishing you disagreed with it but agreed to it because you only read that KoopaTV summary, then you can't sue KoopaTV.

...See, isn't legal language a pain in the butt? That's why Epic Games (and their lawyers) had to write so much stuff. No one wants to go into a court case, especially not Epic. That's why they want to go through arbitration. It's an out-of-court cheaper resolution that will usually side with them, despite the claim they're neutral. Though I'm not sure why anyone would have a justifiable basis to sue Epic Games anyway.

To review, you don't have to pay Epic Games $10,000 to play Fortnite. It's still free-to-play. You only give them money when you want to by buying non-refundable V-Bucks. And when you buy it, you need to be using your own money.

Now please stay out of trouble. 

Ludwig was amazed this whole day about the deluge of activity on this video, and how kids would go to him as their source of information over their parents... just because he uploaded a 30-second video of him scrolling through an old version of the Fortnite EULA uploaded just to criticise the lack of contrast between the background colour and the text colour. If the bar to be considered an expert on the Internet is set that low, then what does the entirety of knowledge contained within KoopaTV's web pages make him? Anyway, if you have any questions on this subject, Ludwig would be happy to answer you.

Canadian trial lawyers want to ignore the bit about not suing Epic Games, and tries to sue them for Fortnite being too addictive.
Fortnite's audience clearly can't read a EULA. How did anyone expect them to sit through a virtual town hall about race in America?
In-game EULAs and privacy policies are out of control, like Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.


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