The second-generation development kits for the Oculus Rift have begun shipping, and developers found a rather troubling piece of legalese in the documentation.
"You may use the headset to develop commercial software intended solely for use with the headset, provided that you may only distribute such software via distribution channels that have been approved by Oculus in writing," the licensing portion of the manual stated. This was bad news; no one wants to be told what they can and can't do with the games they create, especially not by a company that has been acquired by Facebook.
The issue was quickly cleared up.
"That line is from a pre-announcement hardware/software license that was only meant to be distributed to a few very close business partners," Oculus founder Palmer Luckey wrote on Reddit. "We accidentally copied it into the DK2 manual's terms and conditions in our rush to get the DK2 SDK and documentation out the door on time, woops! The line has been fixed, and we added a section to the Ownership paragraph to explicitly clarify the rights of developers."
The updated language makes the case of software ownership much clearer. "As between you and Oculus, you shall own all right, title, and interest in any content that you create using the Product," it states. The offending language has been removed altogether, according to the edits Luckey posted to Reddit.
One of the advantages of the Oculus Rift over hardware like Sony's Morpheus is that it's open; developers are safe to create whatever they'd like and release it however they please. This has led to some amazing, free demos that use characters and properties that would never be approved for official release. Oculus has been quick to address any claims that the open nature of the product may change under Facebook's watch.