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Author Topic: Releasing modules and the CC license  (Read 21467 times)
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MightyE
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« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2009, 07:12:35 AM »

I probably need to clarify something I said above.  The exemption only permits you to maintain the code of a module as closed source for yourself only.  You cannot distribute it under a different license for reasons detailed earlier in this thread (namely I'm not that allergic to the idea if the module author is acting in good faith, except that bad-faith authors would be able to exploit this to shred the license to little bitty bits, and so because we repeatedly run into bad-faith authors, we cannot allow it).
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« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2009, 09:01:11 AM »

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work#The_fair_use_defense_in_derivative_work_cases
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In Sega Enterprises, Ltd. v. Accolade, Inc., the court excused Accolade from copyright infringement liability on fair use grounds. Nintendo and Sega produced video game consoles for playing video games. Each stored the games in plastic cartridges that provided game data to the consoles. By way of analogy, the Sega hardware console's platform differed from Nintendo's, as a Macintosh platform differs from that of a PC. Hence, a video game cartridge that works on one system does not work on the other. Sega and Nintendo sought to license access to their hardware platforms, and each company developed software "locks" to keep out cartridges that did not have the proper "key." Accolade sought a license from Sega for its key, but negotiations broke down over price. Accolade then decided to reverse engineer Sega's lock and key system. To do so, it had to download (copy) all of the computer code from Sega's product and disassemble it (translate it from 1s and 0s to a human-intelligible format). Accolade succeeded and began to market new video games that it independently wrote, which were capable of being operated in Sega consoles. This led to copyright infringement litigation, in which Sega alleged that the downloading was improper copying (reproduction) of Sega's code. The court held that Sega was trying to use the copyright in its computer code to maintain a monopoly over the sale of video games, to which it was not legally entitled. Accolade downloaded the computer code only to ascertain how the lock worked, so that it could make a key that would permit its games to work in Sega consoles. The court held that such a use was fair use: "We conclude that where disassembly is the only way to gain access to the ideas and functional elements embodied in a copyrighted computer program and where there is a legitimate reason for seeking such access, disassembly is a fair use of the copyrighted work, as a matter of law."

So they tried to find out, how the mechanics of a system worked, to make their products compatible withe the system. Sounds familiar? And guess what, the court concluded that they had that right and were allowed to sell those games without any licensing by Sega.

If a piece of Software is written and compiled for a specific operating system, it uses this operating systems' API, but still the copyright holder of the operating system cannot tell me under which license I have to release my code.

You can use and reimplement interfaces as much as you want even according to the US-Copyright law. Otherwise SCO would not have failed in court so miserably and Microsoft would have shut down Wine and ReactOs long ago.
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« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2009, 09:05:26 AM »

I'm really not sure how Sega vs Accolade applies here...  Huh
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MightyE
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« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2009, 10:13:03 AM »

There are two reasons for this decision:

The court held that Sega was trying to use the copyright in its computer code to maintain a monopoly over the sale of video games, to which it was not legally entitled.
That is not the case with us.  We actively encourage others to produce modules.  We went out of our way to set it up so that it was as easy as possible for people to do exactly this.

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Accolade downloaded the computer code only to ascertain how the lock worked, so that it could make a key that would permit its games to work in Sega consoles. The court held that such a use was fair use: "We conclude that where disassembly is the only way to gain access to the ideas and functional elements embodied in a copyrighted computer program and where there is a legitimate reason for seeking such access, disassembly is a fair use of the copyrighted work, as a matter of law."
Again, you don't have to disassemble our code to create a compatible product, we give you everything you need including many examples. 

These were the criteria which they used to dismiss a copyright violation suit.  Their claim was, "Accolade was not allowed to download this, the act of downloading it was the copyright violation."  I'll bold this not because I want to shout it, but because I think it's probably the most important realization to take from this post (and I do tend to wax on the opposite side of perspicacity [for which I believe there is not a word]): Copyright has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.  The claim from a license violation isn't that of copyright, it's that of contract law. 

However, if I wanted to, I could bring a copyright claim not for the creation and distribution of the module itself (unless it was for another reason), but for the use of an unlicensed copy of the game.  If anyone other than you used the game once it entered the status of license forfeiture (you have installed and activated the rogue module), you're now distributing (or publicly performing, depending on how you want to call it; I think both would have legal merit) my copyrighted work without my consent, and that is a violation.  It could be that if my hand were forced, and you were selling / giving away modules which were in contradiction with the licensing, that I would have no available action against you (at least not from a copyright perspective), but I would against anyone who ran your modules.  They in turn would have course for action against you.

Anyway to get back to the point, as case law this not only doesn't apply here, but it's also pretty out of date.  Today the same action above would have come down in Sega's favor because Sega would have invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

And even still it fails to apply because as I think I mentioned once or twice, we specifically exempt modules from being covered under the license given they meet criteria which is analogous to the Accolade cartridges (those carts didn't require modifications to your Sega unit, and didn't have any cross-cartridge dependencies).

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If a piece of Software is written and compiled for a specific operating system, it uses this operating systems' API, but still the copyright holder of the operating system cannot tell me under which license I have to release my code.

I think you have the cause wrong.  An operating system that tried to dictate terms like this would not be very attractive to developers.

You're pointing at what you believe is a tear in the licensing fabric - a hole through which bad guys can enter.  What you're not noticing is that there's a big grommet around the space that you presume would have a hole if there wasn't already one on purpose.  It's all still moot.
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Rushyo
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« Reply #34 on: March 27, 2009, 10:43:10 AM »

First of all, thank you for taking the time to read and reply to my post. I do greatly appreciate it!

Writing a module using the game hooks automatically makes it a derived product whether or not you copy & pasted any code out of the original.  In fact you could rewrite the game completely from scratch and it would still be a derived product since it was based on the original.  Derivation has no requisite for containing a part of the original, it only has to be based on the original.

No it doesn't. Open Office, which uses the interfaces developed for Microsoft Word, does not come under Microsoft Word licensing. Simply because I write an application that uses the Win32 API, Microsoft do not get the right to say what I can do with the application. If I write something for a GNU OS, it does not have to come under the GPL! Another example is Samba, developed by reverse engineering Windows protocols. Wine falls under this too.

Microsoft's lawyers get defeated in European courts for this stuff on a regular basis. They've been forced to pay out billions for wasting the court's time with dodgy licenses.

If I rewrote the game completely from scratch then it would be a derived product. But writing something that is a unique concept in its own right (such as that which goes into a module) is not a derivation. It is not derived from the core code.

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The only way this would actually happen is if the second game with identical code hooks was derived from LOGD - and thus the chain of derivation is in tact, and licensing is preserved.  This is just another way of trying to play license down the lane, and it doesn't absolve you of the responsibilities set forth in the license.

EU law provides that anyone can reverse engineer an application for the purpose of interoperability. There is a major caveat: Only the parts of the program necessary for interoperability (i.e. the interfaces) can be reproduced. e.g. Module hooks.

"...[W]here disassembly is the only way to gain access to the ideas and functional elements embodied in a copyrighted computer program and where there is a legitimate reason for seeking such access, disassembly is a fair use of the copyrighted work, as a matter of law." -Sega vs Accolade, US precedent

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Whew, it's a good thing we don't ship this in a box then!  LoGD's license is not a shrink wrap license in the legal sense (if the term "shrink wrap" can be said to be a legal term).  More specifically this is a click-through license which you are presented with repeatedly throughout the process of acquiring the software, and which appears on the bottom of every single page while you're playing the game.  Shrink wraps are not enforceable because you cannot prove that the user even noticed the license terms on the back of the box.  People tear into packaging then discard it.  This is precisely why most companies have transitioned to click-through licenses.  You cannot say you were unaware of the license when you clicked "I agree to the terms of this license."

It has to be said, I never have. See my earlier example of 'friend outlines some interfaces'. I only became aware of the licensing terms after I began my work.

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Anyway, none of this has been tested in a court of law, but every major software manufacturer in the world (before you get into really heavy enterprise stuff where they have you sit down with a paper contract and a meatspace lawyer) uses the same approach. 

It has been tested, plenty of times, in the EU at least. I wish I had appropriate literature to prove this.

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The only defense for violating a license is, "I was not aware of the terms of the license,"

No. There are other defences for violating a license. In particular, where it conflicts with statutory or constitutional laws. A license is not a contract and thus relies entirely on copyright law for enforcement.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=%22license+is+not+a+contract%22&btnG=Google+Search&meta=

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I'm not sure what your point is.  The applicability or not of the term "Open Source" is irrelevant to this discussion.

It was a separate discussion, more for academic sakes.

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However, in my opinion we meet the definition of "Open Source" because our source is open (see what I did there?)  It might not be FOSS depending on what definition of Free you choose (it's certainly free as in beer, it's arguable whether the CC license qualifies as free as in speech; RMS would say no, but most non-zealots would probably disagree).  If you disagree then assign any label you want, it doesn't really matter to me.

I used the term Open Source Definition deliberately. It doesn't particularly bother me whether it is or not. I generally license under almost exactly the same terms as LoGD does for all my work anyway.

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We originally launched under the GPL.  It didn't provide the protections we required since its protections only attach when the product is distributed in a binary form.  Web pages aren't served to users as a binary.  When the GPL was written, there was no consideration given to this sort of technology because this stuff was still either theoretical or nobody really understood that it would become a whole new distribution mechanism.  It could be the GPL v.3 has the protections we require, I haven't really looked into it.  But I do know that CC-By-Nc-Sa does, and so I don't really see any reason I'd want to transition away from that.

"Can I use the GPL for something other than software?

You can apply the GPL to any kind of work, as long as it is clear what constitutes the “source code” for the work. The GPL defines this as the preferred form of the work for making changes in it."

Though, I'm sure you have looked at this in more detail than me. Personally, I tend not to use the GPL either. It gets a little fuzzy in certain areas.

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I want exactly three things from game admins: Credit for my (and others') work, access to their local modifications (except for the conditions where we explicitly grant immunity, as I've discussed here several times and as is discussed here: http://lotgd.net/about.php?op=license), and for them to not sell the product we produced.  That's it, I'll give you thousands of hours of work and lifeblood if you agree to those things.  If you don't agree to those things, then I think you have found the wrong project.

To be honest, although I've not used the LoGD license in my modules I use one almost identical. It just proves more relevant protection for a developer in the UK. The CC license used in LoGD does not account for British law and, thus, might well not protect my work by the local laws.

I'm generally a 'spirit of the contract' kinda guy... but I do dislike people saying I don't have rights that I do. As a European citizen I am certain I retain the right to re-license the works I develop as I see fit.

I'm not being confrontational (at least, not intentionally). I certainly have no intention to do anything I believe might possibly harm the original intent of your license. But, I think it's reasonable I reserve the right to do what is legal under the laws that I follow.

A moral objection would hold far more weight with me than a legal one, if there is such an objection. For reference, my modules are released under Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

American licensing laws do not transition intact overseas.. and over here, there are many precedents for such cases being squashed. Microsoft get laughed out of court on a regular basis for trying to enforce US-style copyright law over here.

Addendum:

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If anyone other than you used the game once it entered the status of license forfeiture (you have installed and activated the rogue module), you're now distributing (or publicly performing, depending on how you want to call it; I think both would have legal merit) my copyrighted work without my consent, and that is a violation.

I'm getting a little light headed with all these concepts flying about, so I won't argue with your general point. However it would not be your "copyrighted work". It ceases to fall under your copyright as soon as they create a derivation. One cannot claim ownership of derived works.

What you are proposing is anti-trust and in itself illegal. Microsoft cannot dictate what applications I am allowed to run on Windows. They cannot tell me I cannot use Word because I run Open Office. They have tried quite a lot to argue this in EU courts and the EU courts response every time has been to tell them "you're wrong".
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 11:22:44 AM by Rushyo » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: March 27, 2009, 01:57:02 PM »

It does sound like you know more about EU regulations than I do.

No it doesn't. Open Office, which uses the interfaces developed for Microsoft Word, does not come under Microsoft Word licensing. Simply because I write an application that uses the Win32 API, Microsoft do not get the right to say what I can do with the application. If I write something for a GNU OS, it does not have to come under the GPL! Another example is Samba, developed by reverse engineering Windows protocols. Wine falls under this too.

Of course there's a big difference with each scenario here compared to LoGD.  Addressing each in turn. 
OFFICE: the corollary would be if I said you can't run LoGD and another web game on the same server. 
WIN32 API: Microsoft does not choose to try to restrict what you do with their product.  Their product is a platform, doing so would have shut them out of competition a long time ago.  In fact SAP has draconian licensing terms about what you may and may not do in terms of licensing and distribution for add-ons to the various SAP products, that's the corollary here, and they have won numerous lawsuits in this arena.
GNU OS: Same thing, apps on an os use the OS's API, and to be competitive an OS must not try to restrict what is allowed to run on it.  At least in the US, the DMCA and other modern legal constructs have been used successfully to shut out certain undesirable software (see for example Blizzard vs WoWGlider).
Samba: This is similar to the the Sega v Accolade case discussed earlier in that it deals more with the legality of reverse engineering than anything.  It's also a very different legal climate today for this stuff than it was a few years back.  It wasn't in Microsoft's best interests to interfere with this product as it added value to their products directly, and they were getting it for free.
WINE: This is some conglomeration of the principles in Samba & W32API

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Microsoft's lawyers get defeated in European courts for this stuff on a regular basis. They've been forced to pay out billions for wasting the court's time with dodgy licenses.
I'm only familiar with punitive damages related to anti-trust proceedings.

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If I rewrote the game completely from scratch then it would be a derived product. But writing something that is a unique concept in its own right (such as that which goes into a module) is not a derivation. It is not derived from the core code.
API's are permitted to have licensing requirements.  You can see it all over the place: http://www.google.com/search?q=api+licensing

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EU law provides that anyone can reverse engineer an application for the purpose of interoperability. There is a major caveat: Only the parts of the program necessary for interoperability (i.e. the interfaces) can be reproduced. e.g. Module hooks.
And the corollary here is if you wrote a different game that provided the same module API, I wouldn't be able to tell people they can't run a module on that other game's API.

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"...[W]here disassembly is the only way to gain access to the ideas and functional elements embodied in a copyrighted computer program and where there is a legitimate reason for seeking such access, disassembly is a fair use of the copyrighted work, as a matter of law." -Sega vs Accolade, US precedent
(emphasis mine)

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It has to be said, I never have. See my earlier example of 'friend outlines some interfaces'. I only became aware of the licensing terms after I began my work.
Just because your friend failed to detail the license terms, doesn't absolve you of their obligations.  If you've been programming for a while, you should realize that there is always a license with how you can use someone else's work.  That license might be "I place no restrictions on you," or it might be something more restrictive.  If you should reasonably be expected to anticipate a license, you should discover what that license is in advance of committing any time to it.

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Anyway, none of this has been tested in a court of law
It has been tested, plenty of times, in the EU at least. I wish I had appropriate literature to prove this.
I'm not aware of this, it is my understanding that every time such a case has come before a court, it was settled out of court before a ruling was made.  At best this is a murky area in contract law.

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The only defense for violating a license is, "I was not aware of the terms of the license,"
No. There are other defences for violating a license. In particular, where it conflicts with statutory or constitutional laws. A license is not a contract and thus relies entirely on copyright law for enforcement.
You're absolutely right, I spoke hastily.  "The license attempts to restrict in a way which is illegal, or which ignores legal rights that supersede license parameters," are valid ways to violate a license.  I'm not convinced such a scenario exists here.

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I'm not sure what your point is.  The applicability or not of the term "Open Source" is irrelevant to this discussion.
It was a separate discussion, more for academic sakes.
Cool, so long as we're clear =)  For sure that's a worthwhile discussion to be had, but it does murky the waters here a bit unfortunately without contributing too much.

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"Can I use the GPL for something other than software?

You can apply the GPL to any kind of work, as long as it is clear what constitutes the source code for the work. The GPL defines this as the preferred form of the work for making changes in it."
Unfortunately the GPL's protections specifically kick in to protect against distribution of a binary (whatever you consider that to be, a gray area depending on the media; and in the case of LoGD an almost nonexistent area).  Back in the heady days of 0.9.7, we had a guy who was violating the spirit of the license in a big way.  We tried to show him the error of his ways, and he pointed out that the GPL protects the original author when the third party distributes the binary.  He wasn't distributing a binary, he was serving up a web application.  It never existed in binary form except in RAM in his server's chassis; and thus it wasn't being distributed.

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A moral objection would hold far more weight with me than a legal one, if there is such an objection. For reference, my modules are released under Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales.
No doubt (though I think you mean ethical), unfortunately there's not much recourse against unethical behavior unless there's a law dealing with that specific type of ethics.  Being an asshat isn't against the law unfortunately, so we don't really have the luxury of issuing a license whose terms are "don't be a dick."


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If anyone other than you used the game once it entered the status of license forfeiture (you have installed and activated the rogue module), you're now distributing (or publicly performing, depending on how you want to call it; I think both would have legal merit) my copyrighted work without my consent, and that is a violation.

I'm getting a little light headed with all these concepts flying about, so I won't argue with your general point. However it would not be your "copyrighted work". It ceases to fall under your copyright as soon as they create a derivation. One cannot claim ownership of derived works.
That's not quite right.  I always retain copyright status on the portions of my work which remain in the derived product.  To be fair, in the quote of mine you listed there I'm diving far into a hypothetical, imagining a way that I could use a copyright claim to shut down a violation, so I can't say I've really thought this out to its full logical conclusion. 

My point is that you're distributing my copyrighted work each time text I authored is delivered to a game player.  So if you're doing that in a way that I say you can't, then it violates my copyright.  If you're running code which violates the license, the license says I revoke from you my authority to distribute or publicly perform my works.  The game and derivative games (games whose code started from my code) therefore always retain my copyright on the portions which are either unmodified, or trivially modified (you can't put a comment on the end of every line and consider it a modification which would assign you full copyright ownership, just like you can't translate a book into a different language without breaking copyright; you have not materially changed it even if the characters used to represent it have been changed).

If someone created a true from-scratch game which borrowed no code, only ideas from LoGD, and this game provided a compatible module API, I might have a hard time calling that a derivative work, even if you did substantially study LoGD.  This is probably the most compatible way to compare the reverse engineering scenarios to LoGD's ecology.

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What you are proposing is anti-trust and in itself illegal.
Anti-trust requires that I'm trying to unfairly squash competition.  I don't think that claim can be made against anyone who provides their full source code for free, let alone who has been seen to actively encourage competition by providing an API to facilitate that competition, such as LoGD's module system.

Closing thought
This discussion is about the opportunities and limitations of the LoGD license.  There's certainly room for discussion RE: "Are software licenses enforceable," and if the answer to this question is "No," then all other discussion is useless as this assumption would trump anything that can be said on the other side of the argument.  Therefore for the sake of this discussion I assume that they are enforceable where they do not violate other law (such as limiting fair use).  So in this sense I consider discussion about enforceability of software licenses to be a tangent and not a way to meaningfully progress the thread at hand.
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« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2009, 02:43:36 PM »

"Therefore for the sake of this discussion I assume that they are enforceable where they do not violate other law (such as limiting fair use)."

I believed the bulk of the discussion (and the point of contention, as far as my position is concerned) is that a software license cannot restrict what I can do with a module developed by me, in light of EU law. I would not like to let it lie as a moot point because I have already released modules under (very slightly) different terms than those set out by the license under discussion.

Thus, I cite Article 81 of the EC Treaty (ex Article 85):

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1. The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market:
[...]
(b) limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment;
[...]
The provisions [above] may, however, be declared inapplicable in the case of:
[...]
 - any agreement or category of agreements between undertakings;
[...]
which contributes to improving the production or distribution of goods or to promoting technical or economic progress, while allowing consumers a fair share of the resulting benefit, and which does not:

(a) impose on the undertakings concerned restrictions which are not indispensable to the attainment of these objectives;

Thus the exception of 'there was a license' does not apply because the restricting clause is not indispensable in achieving the goal of improving the product running on the servers.

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I am not necessarily allergic to what you're suggesting if what you have in mind is a less restrictive license which does not provide an inroad to circumventing the core license.

At what point do you believe a license becomes able to circumvent the core license? A module developed using the API is a stand-alone good in itself and its licensing terms cannot 'backtrack' onto the core license, can they? I cannot reasonably see any circumstance under which that could occur. If you tried to mold a module in the image of the core code, the core license would apply to all segments of the module which were derived from the core code.

Again, this question is more for intellectual curiosities sake than anything. I'm not disputing the merits of your decision to adopt this approach.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 02:53:19 PM by Rushyo » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2009, 04:34:14 AM »

Any alternate license for a module provides a gateway to completely circumvent the root license.  This is because a module may not depend on changes to the core - but may make changes to the core.  You could have a module whose whole purpose is a core patching module, but may contain no code from the core.  If you can distribute that module under any license you wish, then you can effectively distribute an alternately licensed game core, just one that depends on starting with the original core.

This is why although I'm not necessarily allergic to the idea of alternately licensed modules, I don't think it can be permitted without effectively releasing LoGD under the public domain.

You missed a key phrase in the article you cite (emphasis mine):
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The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the common market, and in particular those which:
This article deals specifically with the effect on competition.  This is in effect anti-trust legislation.  LoGD's licensing isn't anti-competition, it's pro-competition.  It says that you have to share your technological advancements.  The license is designed to keep others from carving out their own anti-competitive space.

This article doesn't apply because I'm not trying to limit who can participate in LoGD's development process; rather I'm trying to prevent other people from doing this.  My API is not secret: reverse engineering case law does not apply. My API does not limit who may use it: therefore anti-trust case law does not apply.
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« Reply #38 on: May 20, 2009, 11:17:27 AM »

Just seeing this thread, and I don't think Kendaer's selling of his Captcha module was specifically addressed, but brought up by DaveS.  What criteria did he meet that let him sell that module?  I don't have the mind for the legal restrictions and I rely on those that do to serve as an example for what I can do.
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« Reply #39 on: May 20, 2009, 09:49:11 PM »

Just seeing this thread, and I don't think Kendaer's selling of his Captcha module was specifically addressed, but brought up by DaveS.  What criteria did he meet that let him sell that module?  I don't have the mind for the legal restrictions and I rely on those that do to serve as an example for what I can do.

Apparently the captcha module was able to function as a standalone program.  Never having seen the code, I really cant confirm that though.

The biggest factor that allowed Kendaer to sell it is that as one of the two original authors who issue the license, he is not bound by the license in his own use of the code.  So, if he were so inclined, he could sell any module he wanted, provided it was his own work.

So, unfortunately, the captcha module really isnt a good benchmark for applying this rule.
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« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2009, 10:44:39 PM »


Apparently the captcha module was able to function as a standalone program.  Never having seen the code, I really cant confirm that though.

The biggest factor that allowed Kendaer to sell it is that as one of the two original authors who issue the license, he is not bound by the license in his own use of the code.  So, if he were so inclined, he could sell any module he wanted, provided it was his own work.

So, unfortunately, the captcha module really isnt a good benchmark for applying this rule.


ye are correct. the captcha module is completely standalone from the core. it was written to be used on a website such as a forum, a blog, a game, etc.

it is not contingent on being tied to LoGD in order to function.
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« Reply #41 on: May 21, 2009, 07:25:38 AM »

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The biggest factor that allowed Kendaer to sell it is that as one of the two original authors who issue the license, he is not bound by the license in his own use of the code

Just because Kendaer wrote the game does NOT exempt him from the license; in fact, my impression is that he would work to stay clearly within the license.  He cannot write a module that depends on the lumberyard and then sell it.  He cannot write a module that requires dwellings to be installed and sell it.  In fact, my understanding is that Kendaer is under the same restrictions as everyone else is at this point.

The reason the captcha module was okay to sell and there was no questions about this is precisely because of what Elessa stated:

Quote
it is not contingent on being tied to LoGD in order to function.
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« Reply #42 on: May 21, 2009, 08:20:42 AM »

You can't sell a module unless you're assigning ownership (and hence giving up your own right to it).  You can hire a module to be created on your behalf, and you can keep it private as long as you're the only person using it (and it matches the other criteria for keeping it private).  Within US law, such things are called works for hire, and the hiring party retains all of the same rights to the code as if they had written it themselves. 

When you're selling your own work, it has to be to a single customer, and you have to give up your own rights to it (effectively you are transferring ownership, which is what enables the exemption to remain).  Effectively it's work for hire where the work is performed without solicitation, and the hire happens after the fact.

Whenever two people are using the same module, it falls into the CC license.

Is it possible to transfer ownership to a group of people, ie: Dragonprime? 

If so, would it then be possible for someone to "buy" a module from an author, under the agreement that ownership would be transferred to Dragonprime?  Basically, it would serve as a 1 time fee by an author to release a module to the community.
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