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Overwolf Blog Post on Scraping CurseForge
09/10/2020 à 21:06
owners of Curseforge
and developers of a
standalone WoW addon manager to replace the TwitchApp
, has released a blog post regarding the perils of
third party tools scraping Curseforge and using their API
, while asking other addon mod managers to reach out to them.
From 2013 until today, our focus was to build a framework for in-game creators. We’ve been fortunate to have some success in that, with many creators making a living by building gaming apps. Read more
. As a framework for in-game creators, we felt like the natural next step for us will be to support mod authors. Recently, Twitch chose us as the new home for CurseForge, and we were honored and excited to get things rolling.
For those who aren't familiar,
refers to extracting data from websites, parsing their data and linking, rehosting, or otherwise using it elsewhere. While some scraping is malicious, such as pulling a database off one website and reuploading it in full on another under their own branding without consent, some scraping such as internet archival websites are generally considered acceptable. While this is a problem in some games, the bigger concern in WoW is the unauthorized use of the CurseForge API, which allows third party addon managers to download addons from the CuseForge database without monetization or regulation.
CurseForge does not have an official API for 3rd parties who want to download files from its servers. The way some addon managers operate today, is by reverse engineering the calls between the Twitch Client and the CurseForge backend. A good analogy is someone reverse engineering the Spotify app to stream songs from Spotify’s servers without receiving Spotify’s or the artists’ consent to do so.
Unauthorized use of the CurseForge API introduces challenges that need solving. Most notably:
Authors did not give their consent to have their creations distributed outside CurseForge
Authors’ earnings will be impacted, as CurseForge has no way of monitoring engagement outside its own ecosystem, and changes are coming to the rewards program
Downloads originated from 3rd party services rely on CurseForge servers and CDN, incurring substantial costs and offering nothing to cover them
In their blog post, Overwolf is taking a hard stance against future use of their database, citing the harm it does to mod authors.
We know that CurseForge has been scraped forever and the team at Twitch has been fighting it and sending C&D letters back and forth. So, why is this a problem?
Putting aside the legal jibber jabber, when you scrape you:
Distribute the authors’ intellectual property without their consent
Prevent us from tracking engagement, and therefore you impact authors’ earnings
There’s a full team working on building and maintaining the CurseForge backend, support, file moderation etc., and you’re using this (and our bandwidth) without consent and against terms of service.
The platform has already
pledged 70% of their ad revenue and subscriptions
going to mod authors, with a goal of
increasing author earnings by 50%
by 2022, and although the blog post doesn't call for any specific action against scraping, it would appear that the two go hand in hand, as third parties scraping would work against that goal. The short blog post closes with a call for mod managers to reach out to Overwolf, presumably in order to join their framework, though as that would be counter to the purpose of many of those mod managers which were specifically created in order to create an alternative to the TwitchApp/Overwolf, it remains to be seen how many will take them up on the offer, or what might happen next if they choose not to.
We’re open to conversation, with
any mod manager
that can address the fundamental issues above. Please shoot it out to email@example.com. Otherwise, we’re excited to finally release the first build of CurseForge to the public on October 20th, and prepare to fully take control in mid November. Help us shape the future of CurseForge together! You’re invited to check out the beta and share your thoughts with us
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