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Author Topic: The licenses  (Read 5687 times)

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Offline croxis

The licenses
« on: January 27, 2010, 01:18:44 PM »
Now is a good time as any to think about the licenses for the game code and art assets.

I think it is safe to say that we don't want the game commercialized. Dealing with who gets paid what would be a nightmare.

I very very strongly encourage looking into getting into the main linux repositories. It would give us a lot of exposure. To do so will require us to have our software be free, as in beer and freedom. The code and art will need a license that allows derivative work. Content makers can still release their extra content under whatever terms they want, but for the core, vanilla game it needs to allow for other people to take it and use it and modify it (while giving credit).

So for code: GPL-3 (Most companies have a non-gpl use policty, they wont touch it. Anyone who does any derivative work onthe code will have to give credit to use and provide their own sources upon request).

Content: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike, derivative works must credit origional authors, and must also use this license for their work.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 01:10:19 PM by croxis »

Offline Trias

Re: The licenses
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2010, 05:06:41 AM »
Not that it is any of my business since I'm not contributing any content, but I would reconsider the non-commercial tag for the CC license for the comment. Non-commercial for creative commons means that the content may not be distributed through any commercial channel.  This would include any big download site like cnet or zdnet, even smaller sites that are non-profit by have banners would be off-limits.

This could hamper the distribution of the game if it ever takes off, since there will be hardly any third party option for providing the download bandwidth.

Offline croxis

Re: The licenses
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2010, 09:01:08 AM »
However I do not want the possibility of derived content being sold but attributed, which could happen without the nc tag.

There is also plenty of hosting available if needed. Sourceforge(as much as I hate it), Google Code, etc.

Offline Trias

Re: The licenses
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2010, 05:24:24 PM »
However I do not want the possibility of derived content being sold but attributed, which could happen without the nc tag.
Well, it could in theory, but the derivative work would have to be released under a CC license as well, allowing free redistribution. This is what the share alike clause is for. Any derivative work is always going to be available for free. The worst thing that can happen is that somebody tries to make a buck with a service involving the material (such as shipping it on a cd), this is not a bad thing per se.

Note that GPL and other open source licenses do not generally contain a non-commercial clause. The non-commercial clause is unnecessarily restrictive, and in that sense not well suited for a project with potentially many contributors. The many purpose of the cc nc license is for individual artists to release their material to the public, while still having the option of requiring royalties of other artist remix their work or when their song is used in a tv show etc.

Another problem is with using cc nc sharealike is that you cannot combine the work with available cc sharelike materials. (Since cc with and without nc are not compatible)

Quote
There is also plenty of hosting available if needed. Sourceforge(as much as I hate it), Google Code, etc.
Sites like sourceforge and google code are in principle commercial ventures. (Although the economic gain for the underlying companies is somewhat indirect. If at some point in time the LEX was to include a banner Citymania could not be offered through the LEX.


Of course, this is your (and the other developers') call to make. I just wanted to point out some of the downsides of using the CC non-commercial license, and how that license could hinder the project in the future.

Offline croxis

Re: The licenses
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2010, 05:38:59 PM »
See I don't read that in the licence.

Offline Trias

Re: The licenses
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2010, 04:21:20 AM »
See I don't read that in the licence.

I'm not real sure what you do not read in the license.

For clarity I'll quote the relevant clause in the legal text:

Quote
You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation. The exchange of the Work for other copyrighted works by means of digital file-sharing or otherwise shall not be considered to be intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation, provided there is no payment of any monetary compensation in con-nection with the exchange of copyrighted works.

Of course, it is somewhat open to interpretation when something is "primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation".

But typically, distribution through any site that has banners is considered to fall under this banner. (Although on some distribution platforms it is unclear who is doing the distribution.) Distribution through something like the LEX DVD definitely falls in this category.

If you do decide to go the nc route, it might wise to figure out a way that the rights can be waived easily by the project in the case that the "project" wants to engage in some semi-commercial activity, for example to offset some costs of hosting a site or distribution. This could be done by having the contributors transfer their copyright to the project, and having the project license it as cc by-nc-sa. But that would require "the project" to be a legal person.

Anyway, I really do not want argue for any specific licensing scheme, as this is quite clearly none of my business. My main motivation here is to spark some discussion among the actual contributors to make sure everybody is on the same page. It would be shame to see this project hurt by the consequences of this decission at a latter stage. Especially since the share-alike nature of the licenses forces the project to stay with their choice after it has been made. (Unless of course all contributors agree to a license change, but as the project progresses it will become more likely that some previous contributors are unreachable, that is the nature of open source projects.)

The key question to ask is: "What situations are prevented by cc by-nc-sa, that are not prevented by cc by-sa? Do the project contributors want to prevent these?"

Offline croxis

Re: The licenses
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2010, 01:14:09 PM »
Unless there are serious objections, I changed the license as we do not yet have any content in game.