Curse and WoWInterface working together to help protect our authors and other site-users

Recently Curse and WoWInterface got together to come up with a solution for an ongoing problem. The problem in question is WowMatrix. The reasons they are a problem are many:

  • WowMatrix violates author copyright and intellectual property rights:
    • They redistribute addons without authors' permissions;
    • When they first started they would scrape the legimate sites for addons then upload them to their own site in addition to deep-linking from the sites;
    • They edited authors' files to remove donation requests and links to their home sites, etc.; and
    • They have failed on many occasions to honour authors' requests to remove addons from their application;
  • In a lot of cases the files served to users have been many versions out of date. This leads to authors having users complain about bugs, bugs that were fixed days or weeks ago in versions that are available on the legitimate sites, causing problems for both the authors and for the end-users;
  • Until the community raised a hue and cry, WowMatrix didn't even supply the authors' names as to who wrote the addon, let alone provide a link to where the addon was legitimately hosted;
  • WowMatrix leeches from the legitimate hosting sites without permission, let alone compensation. Originally, they scraped our sites so they could upload addons to their own site without permission, in addition to deeplinking from our sites. They have finally stopped hosting the addons on their own site, but they still deeplink from our sites, using our resources to run their program. Curse and WoWInterface use a lot of bandwidth every month which costs a lot of money. The way we pay our bills is through site ads, which are directly dependent on users viewing them, and premium memberships. WowMatrix bypasses our download pages, and, as a result, people are not viewing the ads. Of course, this means the ads aren't generating any revenue to pay for the bandwidth. At the rate they were going, if they were allowed to continue using our resources without any compensation, they were going to drive us right out of business. Not only are they stealing our bandwidth and preventing us from being able to recoup that loss, they also have their own ads all over their site and application. They are directly profiting from the stolen bandwidth; and
  • Due to the massive resource drains they put on our sites, we have all experienced heightened loads and weaker performance, especially on patch days. During those days they download so much from our sites that sometimes we have a hard time keeping up to the demands; thus causing legitimate users to experience problems accessing our sites. That's just flat out unacceptable.

For months now, both sites and multiple authors have been trying to come up with solutions to the problems caused by WowMatrix. However, WowMatrix just keeps ignoring authors' requests to remove their addons from their application, working around the protections we have put in place, and proving repeatedly that they have no intention of ever becoming responsible, legitimate members of the community. Instead, they choose to continue to leech off the community. Well we, Curse and WowInterface, have gotten together and between us we believe we may have found a solution to prevent them from pulling authors' addons from our sites to redistribute without permission and stealing our bandwidth any longer. Unfortunately we cannot release details on the solution, so as to keep it viable.

"Yeah yeah yeah, blah blah, get to the important question: What does this mean for me, your sites' user?" For the majority of users it should be completely transparent, you should not notice any difference whatsoever, other than improved site responsiveness during patch days. We hope that we will be able to revert the changes made to our sites eventually, if WowMatrix ever stops violating authors' copyright and ceases stealing our bandwidth and other resources.

If you were previously using WowMatrix to keep your addons updated, please use our official updaters (Curse, WoWInterface). You may also mark addons as favorites on both WoWInterface and Curse in order to be alerted when they are updated.

Kaelten
Administrator, Curse & WowAce

Cairenn
Administrator, WoWInterface

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  • Avatar of Kaelten Kaelten Apr 15, 2009 at 19:52 UTC - 0 likes

    Brimmstone: yeah, so they'd have to have people opt in to their service same as we do.

    End result, the universality of their app is done for.

    WowAce.com & CurseForge.com Adminstrator
    Check out my new addon, OneChoice, it helps you pick quest rewards faster.
    Developer of Ace3, OneBag3, and many other addons and libraries
    Project lead and Mac developer for the Curse Client

  • Avatar of Brimmstone Brimmstone Apr 15, 2009 at 18:50 UTC - 0 likes

    @Drool: I'm pretty sure grabbing copies of the addons from Curse, etc, would result in a whole bunch of DMCA takedown requests from authors.

  • Avatar of Drool Drool Apr 15, 2009 at 18:44 UTC - 0 likes

    I wish people would stop blaming Curse and WoWInterface for WowMatrix's improprieties...

    NEWSFLASH!

    WowMatrix could fix this in a blink, if they would only shell out for their OWN hosting space and serve addons from there.

    Hell they could even consider manually grabbing (or with the aid of Curse Client) a cache copy of all addons and re-host them quite easily - again, without asking author's permission. (I'm not suggesting they do that, but they could potentially, if they wanted to fix their broken client now and make their customers happy.) And I wouldn't put it past them to try, but the question is, will they make as much ad revenue if they had to splash out on file servers too? They might prefer to start preying on WoWUI instead!

  • Avatar of Seerah Seerah Apr 15, 2009 at 18:15 UTC - 0 likes

    Again, just to make things clear, just because you can read the code does not mean that it is open source. It just means that the source is readable. Open source is a type of license.

  • Avatar of Seerah Seerah Apr 15, 2009 at 18:13 UTC - 0 likes

    @Serial211: Umm... free and non-obfuscated does not equal open source. Please get your terms straight and research before posting stuff like that in the future, please.

  • Avatar of Brimmstone Brimmstone Apr 15, 2009 at 18:11 UTC - 0 likes

    @Serial211: Addons have always been open-source because there's no way to actually close the source to prevent it from being read. It's not a pre-compiled language. The closest that you can come to closing the source is obfuscation, which is exactly what Blizzard mentioned in their new policy.

    That said, just because something is open source doesn't mean the author doesn't have any rights to it. Library books are open source aren't they? Everybody can just go read them. Does that mean you can just go print copies of your favorite book and sell them? Of course not.

    Regarding the "distibution agreement", as far as i know, Curse does not have any distribution agreements with authors. They are free to host addons on Curse or any other site. I don't imagine that WoWInterface has any distribution agreement either. All the companies are trying to do is protect their livelihoods and keep food on the tables of their employees.

    Lastly, would you have even tried using the Curse client again if you weren't forced to? I think not. Heck, the only reason you signed up for an account was so you could whine on the forum.

  • Avatar of Serial211 Serial211 Apr 15, 2009 at 17:44 UTC - 0 likes

    So Blizz has a new policy that requires the addons to be open source. your going to tell me there is a non distribution agreement on every single "open source" addon on this site??? i will agree to a point with your bandwidth issue but the intellectual property is a joke. this is open source people do we all know what that means ? you cant say that you cannot distribute open source.

  • Avatar of OpusKroakus OpusKroakus Apr 15, 2009 at 17:43 UTC - 0 likes

    Essentially the sad thing is that there was no reasonable solution negotiated between the parties. Call me cynical but if the only issue was author's rights nothing would have EVER been done. But goodness gracious as soon as money is involved then things happen. I keep wondering, if wowmatrix sucked then they would have no users and then there would not be a problem. Obviouly that's not the case here...So to WOWace and WOWi good for you for finally figuring out how to stop them. Once you finish patting your selves on your back why don't you go about fixing issues in your own software to make it more popular.

  • Avatar of ciara1013 ciara1013 Apr 15, 2009 at 17:25 UTC - 0 likes

    The sheer amount of entitlement here is astounding. Wowmatrix was stealing, plain and simple. The software was set up in such a way that it leeched bandwidth from the sites without any sort of compensation. Do all you folks complaining not realize that if that continued the sites would be forced to shut down due to operating overhead? Then no one, including Wowmatrix users, would have ANY addons.

    Believe it or not, you are NOT entitled to an updater at all. You are not entitled to anything. The addon authors make things for free. The sites host them for free. The ads pay for the operating costs of the site. You're not paying for anything. Be grateful that there are coders out there who are willing to write, debug, and update the addons we all love, and that there are admins willing to run the sites to compile them in one or two easy to find places.

  • Avatar of enkil80 enkil80 Apr 15, 2009 at 17:03 UTC - 0 likes
    • @Serial211
    • yes, bandwidth was being stolen, if someone comes to your backyard and uses your hose to give your water to the neighbors while they make money by putting adds, and you tell them to get lost and they just go "nah".
    • Curse its paying to distribute the addons, authors are spending time (time = money) to make them. The least thing you could do it get it in the legal way and donate to the real ppl behind the addons, not that thief holding your hose.

Facts

Date created
Apr 13, 2009
Last updated
Apr 13, 2009

Author