3ds Max vs. Maya EULA, what does it mean in practice for the end user?

loocas | 3ds Max,opinions,software | Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

max_maya_packshots.jpgEULA stands for End User Licence Agreement and everyone that has ever at least intended to install a US manufactured software must have met this caluse’o’law. So what’s so special about 3ds Max’s and Maya’s EULA that I should write about it? Well, first of all, EULA is, arguably, completely void in other countries outside of the US, especially Europe, due to its nature. That’s not only my own opinion, but also a lot of actual lawyers agree on the same argument.

But I’m no lawyer so, that’s not what I want to write about. What I want to write about are some significant differences in those two softwares’ EULAs. As you probably know by now, 3ds Max and Maya both belong to the same company, Autodesk, after, not long ago, aquiring Alias’ intellectual property. Here, let me quote one main difference that made me write this post:

1.9 “Territory” means the country in which You acquire the Software, unless you acquire the Software in a member country of the European Economic Area (“E.E.A.”), in which the case “Territory” means the E.E.A.

And then goes:

3.2.9 Use Outside of Territory. You may not Access the Software or User Documentation outside of the Territory.

So, what does this mean? This, in practice, means that I CANNOT buy 3ds Max in the US, for example on eBay (which is also prohibited by the way), and get it shipped to the EU and use it here. I’d violate the licence agreement and therefore render my licence invalid. So, in the end, I’d end up with a $3,495 USD worth pirated software! Now, why would I want to buy Max in the US and use it in the EU? Don’t we have local resellers here? Sure, we do, the only difference is $2,981 USD (+ tax) that I have to pay EXTRA to get THE VERY SAME product, with THE VERY SAME functionality, THE VERY SAME support and in THE VERY SAME language (i.e. no localization)!

So, what about Maya? It’s a software with a very similar functionality from the very same company. What about its EULA?

1.9 “Territory” means the country in which You acquire the Software, unless you acquire the Software in a member country of the European Economic Area (“E.E.A.”), in which the case “Territory” means the E.E.A. If you acquire the Software in a member country of the E.E.A., specific license terms and conditions are stated in Section 9.9.

The E.E.A. is actually specified in the EULA:

9.9 Notwithstanding the terms and conditions of this Agreement, if you acquire the Software in a member country of the E.E.A. the following applies:
(i) the phrase “at the Original Site or at Your site(s) within five (5) kilometers of the Original Site” in Section 2.1 is deleted and “in Your Territory’ is substituted therefor;
(ii) the phrase “at the Original Site or at Your site(s) within five (5) kilometers of the Original Site” in Sections 2.2.1, 2,2.4, 2.2.5, 2.2.6 and 3.2.4 is deleted;
(iii) the phrase “at the Original Site and/or at Your site(s) within five (5) kilometers of the Original Site” in Sections 2.2.2, 2.2.3 and 2.4 is deleted;
(iv) the phrase “at the Original Site” in Section 2.2.3 is deleted;
(v) the phrase “at the Original Site or at Your site(s) within five (5) kilometers of the Original Site” in Section 3.1.2(a) first paragraph is deleted and “within Your Territory’ is substituted therefor;
(vi) the phrase “away from the Original Site or Your site(s) within five (5) kilometers of the Original Site” in Section 3.1.2(a) last paragraph is deleted and “outside of the Territory” is substituted therefor;
(vii) Section 1.12 “Original Site” is deleted; and
(viii) Section 3.2.9 is deleted and the following substituted therefor:
“3.2.9 Use Outside of Territory. You may not Access the Software or User Documentation outside of the Territory.”

and the most important (for the comparison) paragraph says:

3.2.9 Use Outside of Your Original Site. You may not Access the Software or User Documentation at any site except at the Original Site or Your site(s) within five (5) kilometers of the Original Site.

So, again, in practice, this means that I CAN purchase Maya in the US for $6,995 USD (Unlimited) and use it here in the EU! So I don’t have to spend the extra $4,629 USD for THE VERY SAME product, with THE VERY SAME functionality, THE VERY SAME support and in THE VERY SAME language (i.e. no localization)!

This is especially surprising considering that the two softwares belong to the same company and perform the same in the field of CGI. This tiny little difference in the EULA means a lot, not only to companies, but mainly to freelancers and smaller studios alike! The money don’t grow on trees and you have to make the money to pay for the software. Especially with the rates that radically differ in the US compared to the EU (you can basically make more in the US for tha same amount of work than in the EU).

Now, tell me, Autodesk, how, really, are we supposed to help you fight the piracy of your software outside of the US?

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