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Last updated on Oct-18-2019 Download

"Licensing" Advice

"Licensing" Advice
by on (#59226)
As I'm getting close to the first proper release of NTRQ, I wanted to get some kind of freeware/GPL licence in place. I've read through (and understand) the GPL licence but something that concerns me is where it permits commercial exploitation of the software. This is something I would like to at least say I don't allow (of course, preventing it is another story).

Is GPL the best model in this case? Is there some other licence I should look at that is a better fit? In essence;

a) do what you like with it as long as you don't try to commercially distribute it (unless I give you permission)
b) don't modify it unless you clearly state that it's been modified
c) make sure I'm credited if you plan to redistribute/modify it
d) don't misrepresent it as your own work
d) no warranty

by on (#59227)
Maybe http://creativecommons.org/choose/
Re: "Licensing" Advice
by on (#59228)
neilbaldwin wrote:
As I'm getting close to the first proper release of NTRQ, I wanted to get some kind of freeware/GPL licence in place. I've read through (and understand) the GPL licence but something that concerns me is where it permits commercial exploitation of the software. This is something I would like to at least say I don't allow (of course, preventing it is another story).

The GNU General Public License is a copyleft license. This means that if others can commercially exploit NTRQ in a given product, you get to commercially exploit their version of the product under the same terms. For example, if Sivak's next game (let's call it BK2) uses a GPL music engine, then Sivak has to provide source code for BK2, and you can lawfully make and sell a total conversion mod of BK2 as long as you distribute source code. See also FSF's view on commercial exploitation.

Quote:
a) do what you like with it as long as you don't try to commercially distribute it (unless I give you permission)
b) don't modify it unless you clearly state that it's been modified
c) make sure I'm credited if you plan to redistribute/modify it
d) don't misrepresent it as your own work
d) no warranty

b) c), d), and d) are pretty much the same as the zlib license. If you want a license like that of zlib, but you want to limit distribution of copies for a fee, consider the license of PhyreEngine.

@thefox: The last time I used Creative Commons license chooser, it asked if the work was a computer program, in which case it would usually recommend one of the GNU licenses.

by on (#59230)
Thanks gents. I'll do some more reading.

Out of interest I had a look a the Creative Commons link and it came up with this;

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/

which is not far off but it doesn't clearly make a distinction between using NTRQ player and music data in your commercial product and actually selling on NTRQ as a commercial product itself.

Maybe I need two licences? One for the editor and one for the player code?

by on (#59231)
In this case, you could release the player under the zlib license and the editor under some sort of non-free license. And if you are interested in getting a cut should someone distribute copies of your program for a fee, make a uniform-royalty licensing offer on your web page. But then don't be surprised if someone makes a competing editor.

by on (#59233)
Apparently CC doesn't recommend using their licenses for software: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Frequen ... oftware.3F

by on (#59234)
tepples wrote:
In this case, you could release the player under the zlib license and the editor under some sort of non-free license. And if you are interested in getting a cut should someone distribute copies of your program for a fee, make a uniform-royalty licensing offer on your web page. But then don't be surprised if someone makes a competing editor.


Hmmmm...

I need some opinions then. Personally I don't wish to make any money from the project (hence setting up a charity donations link on the website). I don't care and would actively encourage people to modify the code as long as it's not misrepresented. What I can't square in my head is that someone could sell for profit what I spent 6 months creating when I'm giving it away for free. Of course, a bit of text in a text file is not going to stop anyone but I'd least like to be able to distribute it with a clear message of what I, as the author of the work, deem allowable.

This is horrible :(

by on (#59239)
So, with the GPL, if the cost of distribution is negligible (i.e. the internet), then people can't really profit off the distribution and "getting it legitimately for free" is better than paying money for it.

Counterargument 1: what happened with the hackmii installer. So they put a giant boilerplate on start that said "if you paid money for this demand it back"

Counterargument 2: Intrinsically, putting a rom into a cart will cost money, which makes the distribution have an intrinsic cost. Are you ok with people selling carts at cost? Does "at cost" include payment for their time? How much are they allowed to charge per hour? and so on.

In your situation I'd either use CC-NC-BY (despite what CC says) or the GPL (and maybe preempt the cart argument by finding someone to distribute the software in cart form)

by on (#59242)
http://sam.zoy.org/wtfpl/

(Yes I'm serious -- because, quite honestly, people are going to do whatever the hell they want regardless of what license is used. The rate of people violating GPL, for example, has increased; hey man, I'm gonna sue these guys in... Romania... who live in small shacks and steal power from city light posts.... oh...)

by on (#59243)
I agree so much koitsu.

In all cases, what's wrong with having a disclaimer in readme.txt which says basically what you want to allow people to do and not to do with your distributed project ? I don't see why it would be necessary to use a license someone else made when you can easily made your own.

by on (#59244)
i've actually been meaning to ask you about this, Neil. it's beyond generous of you to make NTRQ available for free (well, hopefully for a donation to a great cause). however, there's certainly a lot of guys/gals out there in the chiptune scene that are going to want to have it on a cartridge to use with their NES in both live and studio situations. right now their only option for this is to buy a PowerPak (which i'd surely suggest) or to have one of the repro sites or someone make a custom cart for it. unfortunately, the sceners tend to be cheapskates (not all of course, but a fair number of them) and will opt for the less costly route almost every time. i think this is where you may run into trouble with people producing and selling carts without your permission, and most likely without paying for it (the software) in any way. to be fair though, the scene has been very protective of Johan Kotlinkski (LSDJ) and Oliver Wittchow (Nanoloop), so we can only hope they'd do the same for you by making sure that a buyer had donated to the cause before getting a cartridge.

i'm wondering though if it's possible to set something up with RetroZone to have some nice high quality carts produced and sold to those that would want them? seems they're not very into the ROM being released for free if they're trying to sell carts, but some people are going to want a cart version either way so it only makes sense to have it available for them. i don't think the free ROM would be much of a deterrent in a case like this. it's easy to get the LSDJ ROM (free or legit), but everyone still wants it in cart form. i think that if NTRQ were available on a cart for $30-40 you'd be able to sell a ton of them and put your profits right into the charity. this would also save people the trouble of going through another party to have their carts made, and i think they would be very grateful for it.

any thoughts on this idea?


[sorry guys, i've been meaning to register here, and this seemed like a good time to do so.]

by on (#59246)
@ Koitsu, Bregalad

You know, I had an hour long car journey earlier and being stuck in "rush hour" traffic gave me time to contemplate. By strange coincidence I'd come to the same conclusion - it doesn't matter what text I include with the ROM, somebody, somewhere is going to do something nefarious and it's not worth losing sleep over. It's not even like I can "enforce" any type of licence anyway, apart from pointing a finger, shaking a fist, calling someone names on an internet forum.

C'est la vie.

Thanks for chipping in and helping clarify my thoughts.

:)

by on (#59247)
@ jbuonacc

There's a guy who goes by the name of Mute City who says he's willing to produce carts of NTRQ and also someone over on chipmusic.org (who's name escapes me right now).

However, I'm still to be convinced this could be a workable solution.

Someone else suggested getting in contact with bunnyboy about the possibility of a simplified PowerPak (single mapper support for example) but I've not had the time to get around to it. If anyone knows him and wants to rattle his cage it would be interesting to see what he has to say on the subject.

At the very least I should be getting a couple of points on every new PowerPak that's sold (joking!) :)

by on (#59249)
No problem Neil. :-) That conclusion is what I came to myself as well -- and why I release my softwares under the 2-clause BSD license. It's pretty straight-forward; Wikipedia goes over the "extra" details.

I don't mind my code being used in commercial or proprietary stuff, nor do I demand reimbursement in such cases. I consider the BSD license pretty fair/realistic, that's why I use it. Otherwise, WTFPL is what I'd go with.

by on (#59250)
Bregalad wrote:
In all cases, what's wrong with having a disclaimer in readme.txt which says basically what you want to allow people to do and not to do with your distributed project ? I don't see why it would be necessary to use a license someone else made when you can easily made your own.

Because it complicates matters when a non-lawyer wants to combine two works, one of which uses this original license. Thus, you should use a well-known license if you want to minimize problems of this sort.

As for the GPL allowing commercial sales, given that all the source material must be available along with the product being sold, it will have to be pretty good to persuade people to pay for it even though they can get the source material for free. By prohibiting this sort of thing, you (neilbaldwin) might eliminate opportunities for making it more widely available and valuable to people. A person selling something based on it is investing his own capital and time into the project, and not taking from you in any way, so I'm puzzled by the desire to limit such things. If you allow them, you free yourself from having to do them yourself. If I could write some code and have someone else do the work of putting it into a hardware product so that more people could benefit, I'd love it. But I'm not claiming you should think like me, just trying to illuminate the reasons I feel this way.

by on (#59254)
blargg wrote:
As for the GPL allowing commercial sales, given that all the source material must be available along with the product being sold, it will have to be pretty good to persuade people to pay for it even though they can get the source material for free.

Unless the game is structured so that only the code is free software, and the data that the program uses (tiles, maps, sound effects, music) is under a non-free license. In fact, I seem to remember a commercial total conversion of the GPL version of id Tech 3 (the Quake III Arena engine) distributed as an "aggregate" consisting of a free program and non-free data in the same package, which is explicitly allowed by the GPL.

by on (#59257)
I definitely don't like the modern way of doing things. I find it really sad that we have to waste time with all this bureaucracy when it could be much better spent on creative works. To me this license thing was a big demotivator the last time I tried to release something.

by on (#59278)
neilbaldwin wrote:
... Someone else suggested getting in contact with bunnyboy about the possibility of a simplified PowerPak (single mapper support for example) ...


ahh, right, i wasn't thinking of the fact that the optimal solution would be to have a way of transferring saves from the cartridge for backup. obviously this wouldn't be an option with a regular cartridge. not sure if a custom simplified PowerPak would be a possibility or how cost effective it would be, so maybe the traditional PowerPak would be the best way to go. glad i have one, can't wait for the release of NTRQ(!!).

by on (#59284)
tepples wrote:
blargg wrote:
As for the GPL allowing commercial sales, given that all the source material must be available along with the product being sold, it will have to be pretty good to persuade people to pay for it even though they can get the source material for free.

Unless the game is structured so that only the code is free software, and the data that the program uses (tiles, maps, sound effects, music) is under a non-free license. In fact, I seem to remember a commercial total conversion of the GPL version of id Tech 3 (the Quake III Arena engine) distributed as an "aggregate" consisting of a free program and non-free data in the same package, which is explicitly allowed by the GPL.


My personal take on artwork assets, is that I don't want my original work to be used by a monied/corporate interest, but have no qualms whatsoever if they modify the artwork, then use their own modified artwork for commercial purposes. (As long as they explicitly state that the work is derived from my free sources, and RESPECT those free sources.)

This would let them leverage my content for their financial gain, without claiming ownership of my own property.

My reasons for this kind of protection, is that I do not want my work to end up being a hostile commodity; I don't want the free artwork I release to be used as evidence in a copyright violation claim against me. (this CAN happen if you release to the public domain, rather than license! This is especially true if you release under a psuedonym like most internet artists do. Just try taking your original artwork to Kinkos to get it printed, if it is copyrighted under a psuedonym! HA!)

I am with Tokumaru on the whole "I really wish I didn't HAVE to license" issue. It is my opinion that there are just too many people all to eager to produce something then demand extortionate remitture for that work, and even more that are busy trying to find ways to snooker you out of your own work, to do the same. I would much rather have it so that if I released something to the public, the spirit of that release would be observed, and respected.

If I could be sure that any works I released to the general public as part of the public domain, would REMAIN in the public domain, and not get IP controls enacted upon it, then have high price IP lawyers attack people who use my work as source material for IP property violations, I would DUMP 3D models and pixel art creations on the public domain, like I was emptying a kitchen dustbin. (See Disney and EG, "Sleeping Beauty", or "Beauty and the Beast"; These stories were Public Domain, were scooped up by Disney, "Disneyized", Monetized, and now if you make a competing cartoon, it had better deviate STRONGLY from their story line, or else their lawyers will eat you alive. There is no restriction against a corporate interest doing the exact same thing with contemporary artwork or musical scores being scooped up, tinkered with slightly, then "enforced" with an iron cudgel, preventing the original artist from working with his/her own creation further.)

The added effort of trying to sort out which license is best suited to what material, how to ensure that the properties are respected the ways you want them to be, and all that SHIT, is VERY de-motivating.

I strongly suspect that it is one of the main reasons why there are so few prolific "Free" artists out there. It is just too hard to release for free.

I am very much against "perpetual exclisivity" of such assets. Current copyright is very intractible if you want to create a work that draws inspiration from an existing work, without the Copyright Cronies coming out of the walls like a swarm of angry bees. (look at the paranoia that Takumaru has over Sonic(C), and his tribute. It is very sad that he has to worry about such things.)

I don't want to tell people how to use or license things that they create; that is their perogative. Many people feed themselves with their work. I just wish that people would stop purpetuating a climate which is hostile to artists that WANT to produce product for free.


Wow.. That ended up being a red-faced rant...

Sorry about that. I just feel VERY strongly about this issue. didn't mean to create a wall of text like that. :(

by on (#59287)
i guess i might ask "what's the worst that could happen?" in a case like this if someone weren't to give much thought to the details of licensing? and even if it came to that, what could really be done about it?

in regards to Neil's proposed stipulations:

neilbaldwin wrote:
a) do what you like with it as long as you don't try to commercially distribute it (unless I give you permission)
b) don't modify it unless you clearly state that it's been modified
c) make sure I'm credited if you plan to redistribute/modify it
d) don't misrepresent it as your own work
d) no warranty


has something like this ever really presented itself as an issue? i'm aware of several cases in the world of music and art where someone has passed off another person's work as their own, but has this ever really happened much (if at all) with homebrew games or software (especially for outdated systems)?

(i guess i could see a case where someone could modify the front end or some other details of a program like NTRQ to look a unique product, while re-using the main bulk of it, and selling it as their own. but again, i'm not sure i can think of a case where this has actually happened. even still, might releasing the source code be 'encouraging' something like this to happen?)

by on (#59288)
I know that ReactOS had it's code literally stolen before, and rebranded under a closed source project called "Ekush." They also tried to rip off Freetype, Wine, and pals.

had these projects been public domain instead of GPL (and appropriate licenses), they would have gotten away with it.

by on (#59289)
Wierd_w wrote:
If I could be sure that any works I released to the general public as part of the public domain, would REMAIN in the public domain, and not get IP controls enacted upon it, then have high price IP lawyers attack people who use my work as source material for IP property violations, I would DUMP 3D models and pixel art creations on the public domain, like I was emptying a kitchen dustbin.[...]

Sounds like you want the GPL. It ensures that everyone has the freedom to use and modify the work, so long as they too make it freely available under the same conditions.

I agree that IP laws are in direct violation of physical property rights. They dictate what you can do with your own property, and erroneously treat copies of ideas as a scarce resource. They aren't even meeting their mandate, to advance science and the arts, so they should be eliminated and never brought back.
Quote:
I know that ReactOS had it's code literally stolen before

Wow, all their backups got stolen too? They should have kept some copies at the developers' houses or something.

by on (#59290)
blargg wrote:
Wow, all their backups got stolen too? They should have kept some copies at the developers' houses or something.


Don't be silly. They stole the code, in that they removed the copyright notices, removed the copy of the GPL, and then closed the source for their "fork", and claimed it all as original work.

However, they didn't change anything except the bootup screen, and so a binary comparison of the compiled binaries gave it away. (100% matches on major system files does not happen by coincidence.)

As for GPL for graphics and art-- Yes, if there was such a thing. You can't release "Sourcecode" for artistic works. (sorry, my brain meats stay inside my head. ;))

by on (#59292)
tokumaru wrote:
I definitely don't like the modern way of doing things. I find it really sad that we have to waste time with all this bureaucracy when it could be much better spent on creative works. To me this license thing was a big demotivator the last time I tried to release something.


Yup, you're spot on. This really isn't the "modern way of doing things", I might add. It's just that everyone has become so paranoid and self-centred -- the "what if someone..." + "how dare someone..." combo. Everyone wants money. Everyone's paranoid of the other guy, and everyone's out to get everyone else. There's one country in the world you can thank for this, and that's the United States. If there's one thing we do well, it's make shovels and create unnecessary political or legal layers for things that don't need it.

Licensing is just another topic for OCD nerdfucks to argue and flex virtual nuts over. Anyone who tells you "well it's all because of legalities and lawyers, only they understand it" is full of shit -- if you have enough money and time you can accomplish whatever you want with an attorney.

It's why the WTFPL is so hilarious, yet so applicable at the same time. :D

by on (#59294)
Since we're talking about licensing, maybe someone can clear-up something about the GPL since I saw so many interpretation of it (I'm guessing Tepples must have the answer about this one).

Let say someone makes a module that is GPL. I decide to use this module in my program. My product could become a commercial one. I mention the fact clearly that I'm using their module. Does that mean my program becomes GPL and must give away the code or only the modification to the module, if any? That's one part that I see too many contradiction on the subject.

by on (#59299)
jbuonacc wrote:
neilbaldwin wrote:
... Someone else suggested getting in contact with bunnyboy about the possibility of a simplified PowerPak (single mapper support for example) ...


ahh, right, i wasn't thinking of the fact that the optimal solution would be to have a way of transferring saves from the cartridge for backup. obviously this wouldn't be an option with a regular cartridge. not sure if a custom simplified PowerPak would be a possibility or how cost effective it would be, so maybe the traditional PowerPak would be the best way to go. glad i have one, can't wait for the release of NTRQ(!!).


Actually for years I have been advocating use of a USB/RS232 adapter (through the controller port) for this kind of stuff. No need to spend $100+ on a special cartridge when a multi-use adapter can be built with $3-$8 cost of parts. Especially since IMHO a direct link is far beyond preferable to swapping memory cards back and forth any time you want to load/play new songs!! In fact, lately chykyn designed a better type of controller port adapter and I'll be testing it out a prototype of it here soon. It would be a lot better than the asynchronous adapters I'd built a long time ago, and cost roughly the same to make.

by on (#59303)
Memblers wrote:
jbuonacc wrote:
neilbaldwin wrote:
... Someone else suggested getting in contact with bunnyboy about the possibility of a simplified PowerPak (single mapper support for example) ...


ahh, right, i wasn't thinking of the fact that the optimal solution would be to have a way of transferring saves from the cartridge for backup. obviously this wouldn't be an option with a regular cartridge. not sure if a custom simplified PowerPak would be a possibility or how cost effective it would be, so maybe the traditional PowerPak would be the best way to go. glad i have one, can't wait for the release of NTRQ(!!).


Actually for years I have been advocating use of a USB/RS232 adapter (through the controller port) for this kind of stuff. No need to spend $100+ on a special cartridge when a multi-use adapter can be built with $3-$8 cost of parts. Especially since IMHO a direct link is far beyond preferable to swapping memory cards back and forth any time you want to load/play new songs!! In fact, lately chykyn designed a better type of controller port adapter and I'll be testing it out a prototype of it here soon. It would be a lot better than the asynchronous adapters I'd built a long time ago, and cost roughly the same to make.


Do it! DO IT!

:)

by on (#59308)
Wierd_w wrote:
I know that ReactOS had it's code literally stolen before
blargg wrote:
Wow, all their backups got stolen too? They should have kept some copies at the developers' houses or something.
Wierd_w wrote:
Don't be silly. They stole the code, in that they removed the copyright notices, removed the copy of the GPL, and then closed the source for their "fork", and claimed it all as original work.
Well, you did say "literally stolen". I wouldn't even call this figuratively stolen, since the ReactOS team didn't lose the ability to build their program. If my car is stolen, I have to arrange alternate transportation. If an unauthorized copy of it is made, I don't care (as long as they change the license plate on the copy, that is).
Quote:
As for GPL for graphics and art-- Yes, if there was such a thing. You can't release "Sourcecode" for artistic works. (sorry, my brain meats stay inside my head. ;))
Aren't the graphics files the source code (especially for non-bitmap types, like vector/3D)?
Banshaku wrote:
Let say someone makes a module that is GPL. I decide to use this module in my program. My product could become a commercial one. I mention the fact clearly that I'm using their module. Does that mean my program becomes GPL and must give away the code or only the modification to the module, if any?
If you use GPL code in your program, your program must be licensed under the GPL as well. But note that commercial use doesn't violate the GPL. The GPL isn't anti-money, it's pro-freedom (for users, that is). That's why using GPL code in your program obligates you to make your program free as well. The authors of the module don't want it contributing to non-free programs, so they use the GPL.

by on (#59311)
Quote:
Well, you did say "literally stolen". I wouldn't even call this figuratively stolen, since the ReactOS team didn't lose the ability to build their program. If my car is stolen, I have to arrange alternate transportation. If an unauthorized copy of it is made, I don't care (as long as they change the license plate on the copy, that is).

Well in fact it sounds quite possible to literally stole code. If a thief comes into my house takes my computer and all USB keys that lies around with backups in them, I'd be left with a ~6 month old backup on family's PC (which sucks).
An on-line backup would be an option so that even if my house explodes I could still continue to develop, but it'd be even much more risky that people steal it.

by on (#59312)
Oh lord, my head is now spinning :shock:

I'd settled on the 2-clause BSD license but now blargg has me thinking about GPL3 again.

LOL maybe I just won't release it.

:)

by on (#59314)
neilbaldwin, is it a cure for cancer? If not, try the 2-clause BSD license. If it works out badly, at least you know for sure what not to use in the future. Regardless of how it works, it'll give you experience to base your next license decision on (it's easy to imagine all sorts of situations and worry about the license addressing them).

Bregalad, exactly. That's literal code theft, and a very bad thing if you lack a backup. The thief might not even have wanted the code, but got it along with your computer when he stole it.

by on (#59315)
blargg wrote:
If you use GPL code in your program, your program must be licensed under the GPL as well. But note that commercial use doesn't violate the GPL. The GPL isn't anti-money, it's pro-freedom (for users, that is). That's why using GPL code in your program obligates you to make your program free as well. The authors of the module don't want it contributing to non-free programs, so they use the GPL.


So your software become GPL and you have to release the source then. hmmm.. I will need to read more about it to understand the ins and out. Some software I don't mind at all to release the code but if for some reason one of them I need to not release because of a contract or something, I was not aware of that part. So that why some people were saying "becoming infected" by the GPL. That felt strange as a comment but I can see why now. And I can now see why Nintendo doesn't want any GPL for commercial games.

by on (#59316)
Remember that the license has absolutely nothing to do with what you yourself can do with the code.

That said, the usual sort that'd try to exploit something commercially without asking are also the sort that you probably don't have the time, resources, or ability to bring to task for it -- hong kong shops and whatnot, or a shovelware set-top box type thing. For things I would bother releasing, I tend to go with the simplified BSD license. The GPL isn't really designed for handling things like hardware ROMs or verilog stuff though.

@Banshaku: it depends entirely on how that module is used by your code (specifically if it falls under the linking clause or not), and whether the module is the GPL or LGPL. You can link to LGPL code without having to open your entire project, but to satisfy the license you must provide your code in a form that can be relinked against other versions of the LGPL'd code. Usually, a dynamic linked binary satisfies that. For GPL code, about the only way to include it without opening your program is for the interaction to be completely walled off, process pipe style.

by on (#59318)
again, what's the worst that could happen?

as far as i can see, neither LSDJ nor Nanoloop states any sort of license agreement and nothing has come of it. of course Nanoloop is protected due to the saving scheme (the free ROM 'demo' won't save via flash cartridge or emulation) and while i'm sure there's been a number of people who have used the full version of LSDJ without paying for it, i'm not sure how much of an issue this has been. then again, you're not trying to sell NTRQ, but (as far as i can tell) only suggesting that people make a donation to cancer research for its use.

the main problem i could see coming up is people selling it on a cartridge for (possibly obscene amounts of) pure profit. but again, you could most likely take care of this yourself so that it wouldn't be an issue. i don't really see any need for you to release the source code though, that might just be leaving the door open for possible trouble.

sorry if i sound counter-productive, i just see licensing as paranoia which is generally without need. if i release an album for free on the net, does it *really* make any difference if/how i license it? people are going to do what they will, and just how would i go after someone in Bulgaria that decided to sample it anyway?

by on (#59327)
Banshaku wrote:
So your software become GPL [if you incorporate GPL'd code] and you have to release the source then. [...] So that why some people were saying "becoming infected" by the GPL.

It's only an infection if you view freedom as a disease, as many IP holders do. If you use a proprietary library in your program, you will also have to adjust your program's licensing and likely pay the company as well.

by on (#59331)
I don't see freedom as a disease, just refer to the comments I read in the past. I didn't know GPL went that far since I never had to deal with it. There is some case that code cannot be released (contract, etc). I would be more than happy to mention and promote the fact that I'm using X library/module/source etc and release any update to the module, if any. It doesn't mean that I can open the rest of the code.

I don't think I ever used in a commercial product any GPL code. I will just have to make sure I don't do it by accident then. I just definitely need to read and understand it then. Thanks for the information.

Back to the original thread, licensing seems a pain in the butt now after reading that thread ;)

by on (#59333)
It's amazing to me how people can scoop up ideas from the public domain and then sue others for coming near there own derivative of it. You would think someone could defend themselves by simply referring to the original public domain idea, but that would make too much sense for some.

The only solution I believe is for the majority of us to suck it up for a bit and just pour free stuff into the public domain, let the bastards have their greedy hands on it all, and let their own avariciousness cause their downfall by drawing the attention of everyone towards what they are doing. If we keep being afraid of putting our stuff in the public domain they'll always be just under the radar for anyone to take notice, so we should play to their vice and let them get caught red handed. Until then, we'll keep being paranoid and everyone's creativity will have to suffer because of it.

Or maybe all my idealistic Latin authors are getting to me, haha. Adiuva viros bonos! Si coniungimus, deinde malos superare possumus.

by on (#59337)
Banshaku wrote:
There is some case that code cannot be released (contract, etc). I would be more than happy to mention and promote the fact that I'm using X library/module/source etc and release any update to the module, if any. It doesn't mean that I can open the rest of the code.

The GPL doesn't care of the cause, simply the effect: curtailed user freedom. Authors of GPL code don't want to help projects that restrict users simply for the benefit of the authors (e.g. making a product scarce to inflate its value, giving the authors power over users, etc.). They want users to have all the same options as the author does regarding improvement and distribution of the code. You have to decide what principles you value, and choose projects accordingly. If you are OK working on a closed-source project, you can't used GPL code on that project, even if you'd prefer for it to be open. By working on that project, you're helping bring another closed-source program into existence, clearly at odds with the GPL's purpose.

Quote:
I don't think I ever used in a commercial product any GPL code. I will just have to make sure I don't do it by accident then.

Again, the GPL isn't anti-commerce; it's pro-freedom. You can sell products incorporating GPL code (and many companies do this). The idea is that the product itself isn't unncessarily restricted. If you want to commercialize it, you'll have to do so without artificial restrictions that are there simply to raise its value on the market.

It's generally pretty simple to choose a license: Modified-BSD (i.e. public domain), GPL/LGPL, or something proprietary. There are variants, but those are the main categories. Modified-BSD style is if you don't really care and just want to avoid being sued for bugs in your code. GPL style is if you want to leverage the value of your code in achieving wider social goals. I know the Creative Commons licenses are another group that also aim for wider social goals. And then proprietary is when you want to keep the source closed and be paid by developers who use it. All but the first require alignment of your project's license, since it must fit in with the wider goal of the library's license.

Apologies for repeating these points so many times; for some reason lack of knowledge of the GPL bothers me. :)

by on (#59338)
I just got done reading up on these licenses, and I think the zlib license is pretty nice:

Don't claim you wrote the original software
Modified versions of the software need to be indicated as such
Don't claim the modified version is the original version
Use of the software may be acknowledged, but it's not required

Plus the usual "don't sue us for bugs that may be in here" disclaimer.

However, this license allows for commercial distribution. I'm wondering if it'd be possible to add another clause for the license, restricting unconditional commercial distribution.

I personally don't mind if someone uses my stuff in a game they sell (see: Sivak), but this particular license doesn't prevent authors from adding additional conditions, just as long as the present ones aren't removed. So I'm thinking the addition of a "Don't use this code for something commercial unless I give you permission" wouldn't be a big deal, would it?

by on (#59339)
Wierd_w wrote:
My personal take on artwork assets, is that I don't want my original work to be used by a monied/corporate interest, but have no qualms whatsoever if they modify the artwork, then use their own modified artwork for commercial purposes. (As long as they explicitly state that the work is derived from my free sources, and RESPECT those free sources.)

Then a "permissive" license like CC-BY or the FreeBSD license or the GNU All-Permissive License is for you. They ensure you get credit, at least in the copyright notice (e.g. "portions copyright 2010 Joe Bloggs").

Quote:
The added effort of trying to sort out which license is best suited to what material, how to ensure that the properties are respected the ways you want them to be, and all that SHIT, is VERY de-motivating.

I strongly suspect that it is one of the main reasons why there are so few prolific "Free" artists out there. It is just too hard to release for free.

I thought this was exactly the sort of problems that Creative Commons licenses were supposed to solve.

Quote:
However, [a non-free fork of ReactOS] didn't change anything except the bootup screen, and so a binary comparison of the compiled binaries gave it away.

They should have used a source code shuffling program like the one I'm going to release with the next version of Concentration Room ;-)

Quote:
You can't release "Sourcecode" for artistic works.

"Source code" is the editable file. In the case of a bitmap image, this would be a lossless layered file such as .xcf or .psd.

Banshaku wrote:
Let say someone makes a module that is GPL. I decide to use this module in my program. My product could become a commercial one. I mention the fact clearly that I'm using their module. Does that mean my program becomes GPL and must give away the code or only the modification to the module, if any?

It depends on how you "use" the module. If you use the module only through a documented stream-style interface, such as a pipe or socket, the GPL FAQ considers this to be aggregation of two programs, not combining modules into one program. Otherwise, your program becomes GPL.

And as blargg pointed out, you can still distribute copies of a GPL program for a fee. Red Hat Enterprise Linux contains GPL code, yet it is distributed for a fee.

Bregalad wrote:
If a thief comes into my house takes my computer and all USB keys that lies around with backups in them

Then I'd be two weeks behind. Ever since my laptop died, I've been keeping daily backups of my project files on a USB stick, and now I switch sticks at a relative's house every 2 weeks. Off-site backup helps deal with FBI raids, natural disasters, etc.

blargg wrote:
neilbaldwin, is it a cure for cancer?

The only cure for cancer is to forbid having sex in the first month of fall (northern hemisphere) or spring (southern hemisphere). I wholeheartedly recommend against this :P

Banshaku wrote:
And I can now see why Nintendo doesn't want any GPL for commercial games.

Popular copyleft licenses such as the GPL explicitly do not "infect" basic system libraries.

blargg wrote:
If you want to commercialize it, you'll have to do so without artificial restrictions that are there simply to raise its value on the market.

Is there any way to do this for, say, a video game? The typical model for commercializing free software is to sell related services, but games that do not rely on a network typically don't need related services.

Drag wrote:
I'm wondering if it'd be possible to add another clause for the license, restricting unconditional commercial distribution.

You'll have to be careful with this clause. Distributing a copy on CD-R in return for a blank CD-R is "commercial distribution" under the strictest definition. If you want zlib with some restrictions on commercial distribution, then as I said before, start with the license of PhyreEngine. You could always add a copyleft clause, as Sleepycat Software did with the FreeBSD license to make the license of Berkeley DB, to break the business model of anyone who would take your code proprietary.

by on (#59343)
tepples wrote:
Is there any way to do this for, say, a video game? The typical model for commercializing free software is to sell related services, but games that do not rely on a network typically don't need related services.


For current games, I don't think you can use any kind of these licenses. There is so many NDA, shelf live of product, trade secrets etc etc (headache) that you wouldn't be able to use such a license (GPL). Just my opinion (but now we're derailing the main thread, again ;) )

by on (#59344)
The general use of (L)GPL code with commercial games hit one of these four categories:

GPL engine/code, proprietary data. -- Essentially what the old idTech engines do now.

Proprietary engine and data, dynamically linked with LGPL support libraries. This is what Loki did to release games on linux using SDL. The CD also tended to contain a static linked binary to smooth out libc distribution issues. Any modifications you make to the LGPL portions have to be released with source, and endusers must be able to use different versions of the LGPLd libraries.

Built with GPLd tools, but not linked against them -- what almost every single platform other than the xbox 360 does. Build with the GCC toolchain, everything else is proprietary or one of the first two options. GCC, binutils, flex, and bison all have explicit exceptions for generated programs, such that the GPL doesn't apply. Bison used to be more restrictive, but someone realized that that made it pretty damned useless.

Find the copyright holders and negotiate a deal under a different license, or take advantage of a Dual License thing. In this case, the code you're using is avaliable under the GPL, or, for a fee, a license that allows one to link/modify/etc without releasing source.

As for the no GPL on nintendo thing, whether their libraries would be covered by the system lib exception is moot, as the entire API would still be exposed.

by on (#59350)
tepples wrote:
Is there any way to do this for, say, a video game? The typical model for commercializing free software is to sell related services, but games that do not rely on a network typically don't need related services.

Include a nice color manual, perhaps a numbered, limited cartridge release, and access to a private forum where you can give input for future games. Just some random ideas. These will contribute actual value that players will appreciate.
Drag wrote:
However, [the zlib] license allows for commercial distribution. I'm wondering if it'd be possible to add another clause for the license, restricting unconditional commercial distribution.

I highly recommend using one of the common licenses. Avoid uncommon ones, and especially avoid ones you write/modify yourself. Anyone using your work will thank you for it, because the common ones and their cross-compatibility is documented in many places. Note that it might be best to first craft what your own license would look like, then see how close one of the common licenses comes.

by on (#59362)
Tepples:

Yeah, that is the sort of thing that the CC licenses try to resolve, but again, "Which" CC license are you referring to? That's the issue. The ambiguity causes confusion, and leads to additional work that an artist really doesn't want to do. To me, artwork is a bit like talking; if you needed to hunt down a suitable license for everything you wrote down, or said to friends, would you be more, or less talkative?

(RE: code obfuscation)
Now now, that's just not nice. ;)

(RE: Source code)
Sadly, I do almost all of my pixel art in MS Paint; Thus, no layers. Just bitmaps, palettes, and mental exhaustion. (Recently created a 4k color palette by hand, for instance. Not worth my time, other than the fact that MS Paint lacks good palette support, and I wanted more than 256 colors.)

(RE: "Value Added" for retail versions)
I agree with Blarg on this; Add neat stuff, like a wall poster containing concept art, or a highly artistically rendered game climax moment. (Many game artists also draw or paint.) You could add a pewter miniature, or in the case of your Concentration Room game, A paper travel version on printed cardstock. Things that won't translate well in a scanned copy included in a ZIP file. (Posters often have their images printed using a moire pattern, which causes nasty artifacting when scanned. This is because of the 3-layer stamp lithography technique used for mass manufacture; this is a bonus in this case. Pewter miniatures cannot be digitally transmitted at all, and generic inkjet on cardstock is inferior to a commercially prepaired job that uses quality papers, inks, and coatings.)

A spiffy box to decorate the shelf with is a perk too. (Too many publishers give you a poorly constructed item made from dead trees, which is not very durable.)

Granted, each of those will increase unit price, and including more than one would require you to have a major seller to benefit from economies of scale; But, if you are expecting *VERY LOW* sales volumes, you could include perks that are hand made, rather than mass manufactured. (Airbrushed posters, that are unique, for instance.) You would leverage the artist by saying it is good exposure, and that they can spam their name on the poster to show off their stuff. Pride can be a real leverage point for artists. ;)

by on (#59364)
Wierd_w wrote:
Yeah, that is the sort of thing that the CC licenses try to resolve, but again, "Which" CC license are you referring to?

Whether the artist wants copyleft or non-free restrictions on the work is up to the artist. The free ones are CC-BY (permissive) and CC-BY-SA (copyleft); the no-derivatives and non-commercial restrictions make a work non-free in the GNU sense.

Quote:
The ambiguity causes confusion, and leads to additional work that an artist really doesn't want to do. To me, artwork is a bit like talking; if you needed to hunt down a suitable license for everything you wrote down, or said to friends, would you be more, or less talkative?

Most "talking" isn't intended to be incorporated verbatim into a product.

Quote:
Sadly, I do almost all of my pixel art in MS Paint; Thus, no layers. Just bitmaps, palettes, and mental exhaustion.

If you work without vectors or layers, the bitmap file is the source code because it is the form that you edit. In that way, it's a lot like a program written in PHP or Perl or Python.

Quote:
You could add a pewter miniature, or in the case of your Concentration Room game, A paper travel version on printed cardstock.

Heh.

Quote:
A spiffy box to decorate the shelf with is a perk too. (Too many publishers give you a poorly constructed item made from dead trees, which is not very durable.)

Did anyone ever make keep cases for NES carts? They did for DVDs, mini-DVDs, DS carts, and early Genesis carts.

by on (#59365)
About the physical board game:

That is Milt&Bradley... I would SERIOUSLY check to see if they patented the gameplay motif. MB is a bunch of notorious ass-fucks about that.

However, I wasn't meaning something with that level of complexity for the travel kit. More like what you get in a travel Tarot set; A deck of cards, and a folded cloth square with "areas" defined on it. Not intended for play IN a vehicle, but intended for use in the motel. (or when the power goes out.)

For the NES cart boxes-- I think the design of the cart itself was intended to show the edge of the label on the shelf, (package built into design of product)-- and that the "Spiffy Box" was meant to be the cart housing itself. An additional perk might be to include a felt edge connect protector "tampon", (Fits into the card edge undercut, protects the card edge from getting dirty/dusty/oxide coated, and sticks out a bit with a hard plastic end to prevent it from falling apart from multiple insertions and to allow easy removal. Perhaps I should design one at work today.)

Most of the problem with NES carts was that the labels were just colored glossy paper, which gets eroded over time, and the cart ends up looking like it has leprosy. Making the cart design a little different by insetting the label area 1.5mm, and then shimming the space with clear plastic, or clear epoxy would protect the labels, and make the cartridge art much more durable.

by on (#59367)
Wierd_w wrote:
I would SERIOUSLY check to see if [Ravensburger or MB] patented the gameplay motif. MB is a bunch of notorious ass-fucks about that.

Unlike copyrights, patents expire. Any game mechanic used in a board, card, or video game published prior to 1990 is unpatented by now. Memory(tm) products like original Memory game have been around since 1959 according to BGG, and Wikipedia has an article about a game show with a similar play mechanic whose U.S. TV run started in 1958.

I wonder what it costs to get such feelies manufactured.

by on (#59368)
Depending on the nature of the feelie, there are places like CafePress that will do limited runs of a product for a fairly reasonable fee. (I know CafePress allows "Single Unit" orders. Something many places wont do.)

While most of the items they make are not really applicable to a videogame feelie, they DO offer "paperback book printing" (Manuals!), and poster print services.