CCP announced a controversial change to EVE’s Terms of Service today, amending Article 8, the section on impersonation. According to Game Masters, this was done merely to clarify existing rules, but players found the new terms to be vague and ambiguous. The change added the following rule to the ToS:
You may not impersonate or falsely present yourself to be a representative of another player, group of players, character or NPC entity.
This has understandably created a lot of confusion among the EVE community. Like many details in the EULA, the conditions are not completely clear and could be interpreted in different ways. Under these terms, it sounds like recruitment scamming on behalf of a corp you are not in will now be illegal. For example, a character in corp A would break the ToS by scamming someone with the offer of entry into corp B. With "representative" being poorly defined, the legal status of recruitment scamming for the corp you are in is also in question. In short, what would break the ToS after this update is unclear, at least in the creative minds of EVE players.
GM replies have been rare and as unhelpful as the news bulletin itself. Lead GM Grimmi replied to a thread on the forums asking for clarification on the topic:
Impersonation has been prohibited for a long time.
The EULA clearly states that:
“No player may use the character name of another player to impersonate or falsely represent his or her identity”
A similar clause has been in the EVE Online Naming Policy for a good while:
“c. No player may use the character name of another player to falsely represent his or her identity. Player created corporation and alliance names also fall under this policy, as do names of any other in-game entities.”
The TOS update is therefore nothing new, merely a clarification of what has been policy for ages.
Recruitment scams using your own corp/alliance are fine, claiming to be working on behalf of players/groups of players you're not affiliated with is considered impersonation and a violation of our policies.
There is some contradiction in Grimmi’s post; according to the EULA quotes he linked, only impersonation by means of character, corp, or alliance names was unauthorised, while the new text seems to implicate straight up lying. Scams that went unpunished prior to this change now appear to be in violation of the ToS, suggesting that this new iteration of unlawful impersonation is in fact new. Some have speculated this was caused by a recent scam involving PIZZA members using the official EVElopedia to pose as alts of Chribba, which resulted in the theft of several supercarriers and permanent bans for those involved.
The ToS update implicates more scams than simple recruitment ones, though the extent of the limitations remains uncertain until CCP clarify on the update further. Meanwhile, speculation about the intent and effects of the change continues, despite the repeated locking of EVE Online forum threads.
Ali Aras, the CSM8 Vice Secretary, says in the comments,
The CSM has been following this issue and pressed CCP for clarification after the initial post went up. We still have questions following the GM update to the thread, and will continue to pursue those questions until the limits of the policy are clarified.
At 22:24, CCP Guard posted:
Hey everyone. It's evening here in Reykjavík, our senior staff are presumably at home with their families and it may take until tomorrow to get this all cleared up in an official manner.
I can assure you that this is intended in the best way, as clarification of policy that's been in effect for a long time so I hope we have your patience until office hours tomorrow. Nothing bad will happen in the meantime.
If it turns out that this change to the wording is actually too far reaching, goes against its intended purpose, or is somehow confusing things rather than clarifying them, that will be taken care of...trust me. If it turns out to make sense despite the worries you guys have, proper explanations will be provided.
I want to give the people responsible for drafting the policy a chance to read your posts and address the matter. Agreed?