Amazon’s new game engine has a ‘zombie clause’

Finally, some Legal Fun

Normally, the Amazon Web Services Terms of Service is an interminable slog of legalese and jargon, a veritable Dagobah-esque mire only decipherable by super ambitious law-school kids. And with the addition of Amazon’s new Lumberyard game engine come new rules to follow, including a clause that lays out Lumberyard usage in the case of a zombie apocalypse.

Yes, nerds sure do love their zombies, even going so far as to legally define a zombie apocalypse for the sheer purpose of a joke you would only notice if you bothered reading the Terms of Service. That’s the kind of commitment I can get behind.

The clause can be found in point 57.10, restricting the use of Lumberyard in “life-critical or safety-critical” systems, like “medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat.” Basically, Amazon is covering its ass in the event someone builds, say, a self-driving car using Lumberyard and the car ends up killing a whole bunch of people.

Of course, you can throw all that out in the event of “a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.” This epidemic will need to be defined by the Center for Disease Control, or a “successor body,” like that one guy from the first season finale of The Walking Dead.

So, hypothetically, a scrappy band of nerds could use Lumberyard to program robots (military use in connection with live combat) to fight zombies, and it would be legal as defined by Amazon’s terms of service. I call this hypothetical film…Lumber(ing)yard. You’re welcome, Hollywood.

Mike Cosimano