Microsoft has updated its "Game Content Usage Rules", describing what gamers can legally use in terms of gameplay footage, screenshots, music and other elements from Microsoft video games.
The list, found on the Xbox website
, details various scenarios and caveats that the company says users must take note of before using assets from games like Halo
in their videos and for other entertainment purposes.
On items featuring assets from Microsoft games, for example, users must now include the following clause either on a website containing the content, or at the start of a video, with a link to the rules:
"[Name of the Microsoft Game] © Microsoft Corporation. [The title of your Item] was created under Microsoft's "Game Content Usage Rules" using assets from [Name of the Microsoft Game]. It is not endorsed by Microsoft and does not reflect the views or opinions of Microsoft or anyone officially involved in producing or managing [Name of the Microsoft Game]. As such, it does not contribute to the official narrative of the fictional universe, if applicable."
Elsewhere, the newly stated rules say that the names of Microsoft's video games may not appear in the title of videos, on YouTube or otherwise.
"For example, we don't object to 'Red vs. Blue'. We don't object to 'Operation Chastity'" the rules state. "But we do object to 'Halo
[insert the title of your Item here]'". Having Microsoft game titles in the video title can potentially confuse consumers, says Microsoft.
Notably, the rules also state that if a user creates something new in a Microsoft game's universe using Microsoft's assets, this automatically grants Microsoft a license to use the content "without obligation to pay you anything, obtain your approval, or give you credit."
"This means that if you add to the game universe or expand on the story told in the game with 'lost chapters' or back story or anything like that, distribution of your story or idea may appear in a future game without any compensation to you," says the company. "It also means we can put your Item on a Microsoft site or property like Halo Waypoint
if we want to."
The full rules can be read over on the official Xbox.com website
Frank O'Connor, director at Microsoft subsidiary 343 Industries, responded saying that
these guidelines "have been out there for months," and added, "The language isn't designed to stop kids streaming their games, or covering their costs, it's designed to stop big companies from using somebody else's IP to run a business."