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Author Topic: BSD License for future LotGD Development  (Read 9588 times)
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Kira
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« Reply #45 on: June 21, 2011, 08:43:03 PM »

Aye. Well said, though I'd say many members of group 2 don't quite fit that generalization (myself among them).

Many people fit groups 2 and 3 so it's hard to pin down everyone.  Most of the people in group 2 that directly affect motivation for a license change are as I described I think.
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Kendaer
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« Reply #46 on: June 21, 2011, 10:42:31 PM »

I too like the current license, but I see that many others don't. Is there a way to keep the current license but grant exceptions from the license holder (Eric/MightyE) in cases like Joe's?

It's actually not just Eric who'd need to grant an exception to the license.  It literally is everyone who contributed to the core as all of them released their work into the core under the CC license and any of them could technically object to someone getting an exception to something like this.  Given how much work Kickme (and the DPrime team as a whole) has done since Eric and I released the code to them, they would definitely need to agree as well.

[Kendaer: I forgot about the 5 post requirement, but I still wanted you to know how important your contributions are to me and everyone else here, though I'm sure you have been told countless times.]

No worries, and I appreciated it.  I contributed to the code because it was something I enjoyed (and I got to poke at Eric a bit Smiley Smiley Smiley ). 
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« Reply #47 on: June 22, 2011, 12:40:11 AM »

I am against switching. While the BSD license does seem like a good option, it's not really the best for the LotGD community(for the most part) like to work. Besides, the current one works as is. I say that we keep the current CCL, but add in exceptions to what has to be released. Not too many exceptions, just some general guidelines and if the changes meet those guidelines, they can be kept for personal use only, but if they don't meet those guidelines, then they must be released.

Or we could have the community vote for or against someone keeping their changes to themselves, but the first option sounds better as it is never changing.

No matter what happens, it's not really going to affect me because I release everything I code. I may not release it immediately once it's done, but I still end up releasing it.
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Paradox_pm
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« Reply #48 on: June 22, 2011, 01:42:25 AM »

Like I said, we could release it under a more "free" license when it's just used as a game engine. Any game that uses other features (characters, background, story) should be under the CC.

Guys, believe me, it's VERY hard to write your own license. You must be an experienced lawyer to. Sad
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« Reply #49 on: June 22, 2011, 05:23:40 AM »

I refrained from weighing in to this thread the first time around because my opinions weren't really thought through enough for debate.  They probably still aren't, but there's lots of activity now, so my two cents' worth...

I'm not overly keen on seeing the license changed to BSD-style; what I would like is for it to be possible for CavemanJoe to be able to iterate his way to DragonBones through DragonScales, rather than having to cleanroom it.  I think that everyone here is aware of how much he has contributed to the community and how we would benefit from him continuing to be able to do so.

So I'm not after a license change to do away with the Share-Alike part.  I'll admit that I'm not convinced that it has led people to contribute who might otherwise not have done so, but then again Paradox_pm may be proving me wrong there. *chuckles*

I had hoped that an exemption could be granted to CMJ for this purpose, presumably by MightyE and possibly a small number of others.  Kendaer's recent post suggests that this may not be possible, although I'm sure that the irony is not lost that such a license shift would be possible if LotGD used a BSD-style license in the first place.

This potential loss of ability to change the license is troubling to me.  The best resolution I can think of is to make a kind of abandonware declaration, stating that full rights to any core code will be considered to revert to MightyE (or someone...) after a certain cooling off date, unless some contributor objects in that time.  It feels dubious legally, however.


(I've been considering the issue of money, which was also raised and I think is a reasonable concern.  I don't have much sensible to say about it yet, though.)
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Kendaer
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« Reply #50 on: June 22, 2011, 08:09:42 AM »

Like I said, we could release it under a more "free" license when it's just used as a game engine. Any game that uses other features (characters, background, story) should be under the CC.

Guys, believe me, it's VERY hard to write your own license. You must be an experienced lawyer to. Sad

Unfortunately, to do something like that you'd really need to completely separate the engine pieces from the story features and release them separately.  If that was the case (or even doable), we'd probably not be having this discussion as at that point it would be possible to replace all of the story pieces in a modular way and thus not require any changes to core files to do so, so the CC license with the module conditions would work as it was intended. Smiley

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Kendaer
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« Reply #51 on: June 22, 2011, 08:28:17 AM »

I refrained from weighing in to this thread the first time around because my opinions weren't really thought through enough for debate.  They probably still aren't, but there's lots of activity now, so my two cents' worth...

I'm not overly keen on seeing the license changed to BSD-style; what I would like is for it to be possible for CavemanJoe to be able to iterate his way to DragonBones through DragonScales, rather than having to cleanroom it.  I think that everyone here is aware of how much he has contributed to the community and how we would benefit from him continuing to be able to do so.

So I'm not after a license change to do away with the Share-Alike part.  I'll admit that I'm not convinced that it has led people to contribute who might otherwise not have done so, but then again Paradox_pm may be proving me wrong there. *chuckles*

I had hoped that an exemption could be granted to CMJ for this purpose, presumably by MightyE and possibly a small number of others.  Kendaer's recent post suggests that this may not be possible, although I'm sure that the irony is not lost that such a license shift would be possible if LotGD used a BSD-style license in the first place.

This potential loss of ability to change the license is troubling to me.  The best resolution I can think of is to make a kind of abandonware declaration, stating that full rights to any core code will be considered to revert to MightyE (or someone...) after a certain cooling off date, unless some contributor objects in that time.  It feels dubious legally, however.


(I've been considering the issue of money, which was also raised and I think is a reasonable concern.  I don't have much sensible to say about it yet, though.)

Don't get me wrong, the license *can* be changed.  It's just a more involved process than myself or Eric stating it can be done.  The bulk of the code in the core when we turned the code over to Dragonprime was ours.  There were small bits from others, but we'd gotten their agreement when we changed the license from GPL to CC.  There were very few changes to the (official) core post-CC which were not done by Eric or myself, and the bulk of those that weren't done by him and I were adding new module hook locations to allow more module functionality.  If you were to start with the last release that Eric & I provided, and remove the modules completely, then only his and my agreement would be needed.  I don't know who has been doing the code changes (other than Kickme) since the code went to the DPrime team, so they would also need to answer that question and grant or obtain agreement from those code contributors.    Again, I am completely ignoring the modules for the moment as those have many more/varied authors.

To bring this back into practical terms, the way I would suggest moving forward would be to work toward stripping the 'story' elements out of the core and distributing two packages (logd-engine and logd-world for lack of any more creative names).   If that were doable and done, there would be no real reason to replace the license on the packages as I pointed out in my previous post and you'd end up with the world that was originally intended.  I don't know how much effort that would be (just for the record) but I suspect it's not small, but in the end CMJ would be able to contribute back core changes (as he already is doing) but keep content changes completely private and the engine distribution alone would just be the engine.

That would leave CMJ with just the hurdle of the NC aspect of the license.  To be fair, I'm so far removed from active LoGD development at this point that I could care less if he makes a buck using code which I originally wrote, but if I were still actively involved, I'd probably be a tad miffed (or at least want some royalties :p Smiley )
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Kira
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« Reply #52 on: June 22, 2011, 09:24:02 AM »

  I've got a small question about the current copyright.  If someone changes the source and is forced to release that code, can they also be forced to contribute that code to the core or do they have the choice to say, no that code isn't for your core release?

 If code in the core has been released without someone's wishes then that's a concern to address with a new copyright also.  One that can be addressed.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 09:28:39 AM by Kira » Logged

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Paradox_pm
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« Reply #53 on: June 22, 2011, 09:37:30 AM »

I think the choice is up to the core team.
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CavemanJoe
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« Reply #54 on: June 22, 2011, 10:25:37 AM »

If we stick with the current license, will I be able to use my new Items and Commentary system in DragonBones / DragonScales under a BSD license, given that I originally wrote it for LotGD?
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« Reply #55 on: June 22, 2011, 01:01:35 PM »

 I've got a small question about the current copyright.  If someone changes the source and is forced to release that code, can they also be forced to contribute that code to the core or do they have the choice to say, no that code isn't for your core release?

 If code in the core has been released without someone's wishes then that's a concern to address with a new copyright also.  One that can be addressed.

Well, they are required to make their changes available under the same license (ie, the CC license).  Because of that license, it would be perfectly acceptable to use that code as part of a new core release licensed under the same terms.   It only becomes a problem when you try to change the license at which point the person could say 'no, I released it under the CC license, and I am unwilling to have it moved to a different license'. At that point the core team would be required to either 1) keep the license which is compatible with the code that was released and used OR 2) remove that code from the core at which point they could release it.  By releasing code under the license, you are giving blanket permission for anyone who abides by the terms of the license to use/reuse/modify/re-release the code AS LONG AS they continue to abide by the terms of the license they received your code under.

The person who wrote the code (the copyright holder) could ALSO license it to someone else under a different license, but just as with the GPL *OR* the BSD license, once something is released for use under those licenses, any code with a *compatible license* may take, use and re-release it without further input.

The issue here is that the CC is a more restrictive license than the BSD one, so while someone could take BSD licensed code and add it into CC licensed code (as long as attribution/etc was maintained and the provisions of the BSD license followed!) it is not the case that CC licensed code can be taken and placed into a BSD licensed project *except* by the author of the code.

(note, the GPL has the same 'more restrictive' property than BSD, but CC is actually more restrictive in this case than GPL due to the clauses about public performance of the work which were necessary for what Eric and I wanted to achieve)

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Kendaer
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« Reply #56 on: June 22, 2011, 01:07:04 PM »

If we stick with the current license, will I be able to use my new Items and Commentary system in DragonBones / DragonScales under a BSD license, given that I originally wrote it for LotGD?

Yes, since you are the author and thus the copyright holder, you have full permissions to use YOUR work in any way you choose.
If other people had contributed released changes to your code you would need their agreement to license it to you under the terms you wanted (or the assignment of their copyright).  A license does not restrict the original author of a piece of code in any way.   It only restricts others who are not the original author.

Basically a license grants to other people a subset of the rights you have as a copyright holder as long as all of the provisions of the license are maintained.  If those provisions are not maintained, they must either 1) relicense the code under a different license, 2) stop using the code, 3) come back into compliance with the original license.

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Kira
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« Reply #57 on: June 22, 2011, 02:50:19 PM »


Well, they are required to make their changes available under the same license (ie, the CC license).  Because of that license, it would be perfectly acceptable to use that code as part of a new core release licensed under the same terms.   It only becomes a problem when you try to change the license at which point the person could say 'no, I released it under the CC license, and I am unwilling to have it moved to a different license'. At that point the core team would be required to either 1) keep the license which is compatible with the code that was released and used OR 2) remove that code from the core at which point they could release it.  By releasing code under the license, you are giving blanket permission for anyone who abides by the terms of the license to use/reuse/modify/re-release the code AS LONG AS they continue to abide by the terms of the license they received your code under.

The person who wrote the code (the copyright holder) could ALSO license it to someone else under a different license, but just as with the GPL *OR* the BSD license, once something is released for use under those licenses, any code with a *compatible license* may take, use and re-release it without further input.

The issue here is that the CC is a more restrictive license than the BSD one, so while someone could take BSD licensed code and add it into CC licensed code (as long as attribution/etc was maintained and the provisions of the BSD license followed!) it is not the case that CC licensed code can be taken and placed into a BSD licensed project *except* by the author of the code.

(note, the GPL has the same 'more restrictive' property than BSD, but CC is actually more restrictive in this case than GPL due to the clauses about public performance of the work which were necessary for what Eric and I wanted to achieve)



So anyone that changes the source code in anything past 0.9.7 is legally caught "by the balls" by the current copyright when it comes to the core team using the person's code in the core release with or without their blessing?  If the copyright were to be changed anyone unhappy with their forced contribution could refuse to move their work to the new copyright and remove it from the core release?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 03:04:13 PM by Kira » Logged

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« Reply #58 on: June 22, 2011, 06:20:54 PM »


Well, they are required to make their changes available under the same license (ie, the CC license).  Because of that license, it would be perfectly acceptable to use that code as part of a new core release licensed under the same terms.   It only becomes a problem when you try to change the license at which point the person could say 'no, I released it under the CC license, and I am unwilling to have it moved to a different license'. At that point the core team would be required to either 1) keep the license which is compatible with the code that was released and used OR 2) remove that code from the core at which point they could release it.  By releasing code under the license, you are giving blanket permission for anyone who abides by the terms of the license to use/reuse/modify/re-release the code AS LONG AS they continue to abide by the terms of the license they received your code under.

The person who wrote the code (the copyright holder) could ALSO license it to someone else under a different license, but just as with the GPL *OR* the BSD license, once something is released for use under those licenses, any code with a *compatible license* may take, use and re-release it without further input.

The issue here is that the CC is a more restrictive license than the BSD one, so while someone could take BSD licensed code and add it into CC licensed code (as long as attribution/etc was maintained and the provisions of the BSD license followed!) it is not the case that CC licensed code can be taken and placed into a BSD licensed project *except* by the author of the code.

(note, the GPL has the same 'more restrictive' property than BSD, but CC is actually more restrictive in this case than GPL due to the clauses about public performance of the work which were necessary for what Eric and I wanted to achieve)



So anyone that changes the source code in anything past 0.9.7 is legally caught "by the balls" by the current copyright when it comes to the core team using the person's code in the core release with or without their blessing?  If the copyright were to be changed anyone unhappy with their forced contribution could refuse to move their work to the new copyright and remove it from the core release?

Nothing to do with post 0.9.7.   Even pre-0.9.7, if someone released a change to the core under the GPL it could be incorporated into the core.  When Eric and I tightened the license to the CC, we actually went and talked to the few people who had up until then contributed core code changes and explained our reasoning.   It has nothing at all to do with 'caught by the balls' and all to do with 'following the rules of the license'.

In all cases, as long as you follow the rules of whatever license the code is released under, anyone who follows those rules is free to use that code.

What is *not* permissible under any license is releasing it in a way which removes protections that the license provides.

For instance, if CMJ released Dragonbones under the BSD license, I could come in, take his code, and use it in a commercial product which I then sold and never release any changes to the code as long as (in the source code in my repository) the code which he wrote had his name attached to it.   That attribution is all that is required to be compliant with the BSD license.

The CC provides protections to prevent that.   If you make a patch to code that is under the CC, you are required to make it available if you publically perform the work.  If you release the patch, *because the code being patched is under the CC*, then the patched code *likewise* is under the CC.  You cannot choose to release your patch under the BSD license (for example) because it contains parts of my original CC licensed code and is thus a derivative work.

Similarly, if the code was under the GPL and you released a patch, that patch would be under the GPL as well.

The problem with the GPL in respect to web games is that it doesn't actually provide the correct protections.   The point of the GPL was that if you modified and distributed changed binaries, you were required to distribute the modified sources as well, which allowed the original developers to incorporate those changes into the original *if they saw fit*.

The CC license provides the same protections as the GPL in that regard.  It ALSO provides that requirement for distribution if you 'publically perform' a modified work.   This last bit is why the CC is better than the GPL for web-based games.

In a web-based system, you are never releasing the binary, so you were never bound by the requirements to release your changes to the source code back into the wild.   Effectively you got to circumvent the desired and expected protections 'for free'.

If the license on LoGD was changed to something which provided the exact same set of protections (and possibly more) as the CC, the original authors of various patches would not be able to prevent their code from being used in the core.   The license sets a *MINIMUM* set of requirements that must be met in order to use a piece of code, not an *exact* set.

It's only when you try to change the license to something which offers *LESS* protections (ie, changing the CC (or the GPL) to BSD) that the original authors of patches could object because at that point you are no longer offering the same protections in the new license which was offered in the old and thus are not obeying the rules that you licensed the code under.

Hope this clears up some misconceptions that you seem to have.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 07:03:59 PM by Kendaer » Logged
MightyE
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« Reply #59 on: June 22, 2011, 07:05:16 PM »

So anyone that changes the source code in anything past 0.9.7 is legally caught "by the balls" by the current copyright when it comes to the core team using the person's code in the core release with or without their blessing? 
That is the price of benefitting from the thousands and thousands of hours of work the rest of the community put into the code before someone else comes along and spends a couple of dozen hours customizing some encounters.  As I said before, the fact that 0.9.7 doesn't enforce this is an oversight on my part because of a misunderstanding in how the GPL works.  Specifically the GPL does not attach to PHP scripts since it attaches when you "distribute binaries," which is not something which is done with PHP scripts.

Your sentiment is absolutely spot on though, this is totally unfair.  Here people like me spent 30-40 hours a week for years working on this in our spare time, and the reciprocal code received falls far short of this mark.  We understood that getting into it, just as you should have when you read the "SHARE ALIKE" aspect of the license.  I even attempted to write this in plain English so that it would be clearly understood.

This argument by you and others that all code sharing should flow in only one direction strengthens the idea that the BY-NC-SA license is the correct one.  It says to me that if not forced to, too much of the community would hoard their changes for themselves.

Honestly the selfishness level of saying you shouldn't have to share your meager amount of work with those who have shared so much more with you is appalling.  I don't mean to pick on you specifically Kira, it's obvious several people have this belief, you just embodied it so succinctly with your 'by the balls' speech. My one-year-old daughter sometimes doesn't like to share her toys with Daddy who gave them to her either, but at least I can put her on time out when she's being selfish.
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