Several well-known modders and teams have announced their intentions to boycott the upcoming Simraceway website, not wanting to see their content become part of the site’s questionable concept. The group, including teams like CTDP, GSMF, Apex Modding and known modders like Erale and dmatzies, won’t be giving Simraceway permission to use their modding work in any way.
To understand this matter, a little bit of background knowledge is needed. rFactorcentral.com, a well-known community website will cease to exist in 24 days, making room for a new website called Simraceway. What looks to be a normal name/design change is much more significant as the new site is run by a different owner. While rFc was run by a community member, the new website has been taken over by an outside company called Ignite Skill Gaming who have “invested” in rFactorcentral.
As the term invested suggests, these people aren’t hobbyists like you and me but have a business interest in our community. Since running a free website does not provide significant enough profits to be interesting for a big company, their plan relys on running paid online-events much like rFc has been running at the end of 2008. And this is where the whole isue is getting extremely problematic:
A) Simraceway is trying to lure modders into submitting their stuff on their site, enabling them to use their mods in their races and make profits with them. While claiming to wanting to support the modding community, they´re planning to use material they didn’t create nor own to follow their business interests. Criticism from modders who are unhappy with this approach has been ignored, thus leading to the boycott by the mentioned teams.
B) While their plans can be criticized from a moral point of view, they may lead to serious legal troubles too. Simraceway claims they want to help modders make money with their mods, not realising that this is not possible in a legal way. Modders are only left alone by the rights owners because stuff is distributed free and not done business with. As soon as somebody starts doing commercial stuff with (for example) Formula One mods, the involved parties are in severe danger to face legal action – A problem that Simraceway is either not aware of or does not care about..
While the concept of paid online races can sound tempting for many sim racers, please keep in mind that such stuff can’t be done without the permission of the people who created the content that will be used. Remember that none of us would have anything to race with if it wasn’t for the modding community. An outside group of people who don’t care about the community is trying to exploit the goodwill of people that spend thousands of hours on stuff that we are allowed to enjoy for free, solely for making profits.
The sim community is backed by a network of modders and sites that work for free or on a donation basis, fueled by the passion for sim racing. This balance is what keeps the community intact and healthy – A balance that is threatened by the above mentioned plans. Make up your own mind about this issue and decide whether or not it’s something that should be supported…
Update: Since this story has been posted, several other teams have joined the boycott, including Racing Line Developments, Enduracers, Com8 and RPMT. It’s good to see the community standing together in a matter of such importance.
Update 2: Two days and over 120 comments later, this message has spread over countless community sites and almost all major rFactor mod teams have joined the boycott and voiced their concerns. Menawhile, Simraceway has reacted, posting a statement to answer some of the raised questions.