Author Topic: game licence (need help)  (Read 9199 times)

morphy_richards

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game licence (need help)
« on: October 18, 2012, 02:34:57 PM »
Hi everyone,

I am contributing to a roguelike game and I am now preparing a short game licence. Is there someone out there with at least little knowledge in this field and enough English skills to read through game licence and tell me if everything is fine?
I'd appreciate any kind of help.

XLambda

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2012, 03:19:09 PM »
Hi everyone,

I am contributing to a roguelike game and I am now preparing a short game licence. Is there someone out there with at least little knowledge in this field and enough English skills to read through game licence and tell me if everything is fine?
I'd appreciate any kind of help.

Why not use one of the existing licenses? Most people are using either BSD or GPL.  They have been used for decades and are tried & tested.
Anyway, just a suggestion. I'm neither a native speaker nor a lawyer, so I can't really help you with this one.

morphy_richards

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 07:11:26 PM »
Using already existing licenses was my first guess. However, other people contributing to the project have specified in details which they allow and which they don't (this doesn't correspond to most licenses' core). Moreover I personally find this old-school licenses to be too long and vague to provide simple information.

chooseusername

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2012, 11:19:32 PM »
The known commonly used licenses are safe for the end user to rely on.  Back before they were available, people used to write up their own custom licenses with custom clauses.  It was a horrible time.  Years on, project which had been adopted and developed to a large extent would find themselves prohibited from doing something modern and reasonable sounding.

But it's your code  :)

guest509

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 06:53:35 AM »
  I am an attorney, maybe the only one around here, I'm not sure.

  My advice is to go with an existing license. If you guys want something more specific, figure out why you might want it that way, decide how important it is, then just get over it.

  Sorry if that sounds rude, but you are a fool if you try to write your own. I'm not this impolite, in general, but when I go into attorney mode I think it best to be smack in the mouth blunt.

  The reason existing licenses are so convoluted and hard to understand is that they are full of what I like to call "magic words". These are words of power. Words that have been raked over time and again by various courts and authorities. Their meanings are paragraphs long, with case histories and definitions vetted at the highest levels.

  If you write your own it WILL NOT mean what you think it means when a court of law is done dissecting it. Even a native speaker will not write one correctly. You need someone that knows the correct phrasing. Phrasing that will hold up in court. That person will cost you money. I assume that since you are coming on here asking for advice you don't have that money.

  It'd be a waste to hire a lawyer anyway, he'd spend his time convincing you to go a standard route. Then, if you disagreed, he'd be more than happy to paste you together a convoluted license that STILL no one would understand, but might hold up in court.

  I don't even know how to do a license correctly, but I know enough to tell you without a doubt that you should not do your own. The end result will be nonstandard, hard to understand, might chill creativity and distribution and ultimately it won't hold up in court the way you think it will.

  International intellectual property law is the specialty you are looking for. For reference I did low level family and criminal law. Very low level.

guest509

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2012, 06:57:28 AM »
  You know you COULD just tell us what you want to have happen, and this community could then recommend a license that more or less fits your needs.

  That way I can save the lectures and you'll be helped for real!  :-)

Tapio

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2012, 08:08:45 AM »
There are many license picker tools in the internet that let you answer some questions and then suggest an existing license for you. Here's a couple:

http://home.ccil.org/~cowan/floss/
http://www.opendawn.com/choose/

Also, not all licenses are long and complicated, e.g. the popular MIT and BSD licenses are only a couple of paragraphs, though they are very permissive.

In any case, an open-source project should have a single, common license that all contributors are forced to follow - that will make everything easier and also makes sure other projects could use the code. Otherwise you could just keep the game proprietary, but I doubt that is what everyone wants.

I suggest you contact all the contributors and discuss about a license that suits you all, leaving custom license out of the equation. The best choices are most likely: BSD, MIT, Apache license v2, LGPL and GPL 2 or 3.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2012, 08:10:57 AM by aave »

Krice

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2012, 09:43:49 AM »
The reason existing licenses are so convoluted and hard to understand is that they are full of what I like to call "magic words". These are words of power. Words that have been raked over time and again by various courts and authorities.

In USA where you guys have that strange money making law system.

morphy_richards

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2012, 09:59:14 AM »
I'm very glad that someone took my question seriously.

After I read what Jo said I have to agree with him; I was trying to bypass all this long documents for a common gain but it doesn't mean it might end up good.

Ok, here's how situation looks, people contributing to game have different requirements:

Code:
* yes for using it for other project/game (no credits needed)
* yes for forks/similar games (credit required)
* no for commercial usage

Tiles:
* yes for modification/additions for game purposes (credit needed)
* yes for forks (credit needed)
* no for anything else (including commercial)

Graphics:
* yes for in game usage/modification (no credit)
* yes for forks (credit needed)
* yes for private usage
* no for commercial

Music:
* only for specified in game purpose (credits included)

Game is free
I don't have money nor time to fight with law-related issues
game is sweden-poland-usa-germany co-op


What would you suggest?
Also: many thanks to everyone for suggestions/advices!

Robobot

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2012, 10:48:27 PM »
I guess by "in game usage/modification" you mean usage in your game? I don't really understand that part, especially the "no credit".

In general Creative Commons licenses are better suited for assets, than the classic "code" licenses. A variety of CC licenses and information are available at http://creativecommons.org. They are well known and familiar to a lot of people, possibly including your artists. If one license does not fit perfectly, it would probably be more advisable to talk to the contributors and see if a compromise can be reached, rather than to make up a new one.

Code:
* yes for using it for other project/game (no credits needed)
* yes for forks/similar games (credit required)
* no for commercial usage
Noncommercial "open source" licenses are rare, at least I don't know any. Such a license would certainly not fit the open source definition. You could use a noncommercial CC license, but a classic open source license would be better suited, if you want people to actually use your code. The "fear" of commercial exploitation of open source projects by other people is mostly unfounded.

Tiles:
* yes for modification/additions for game purposes (credit needed)
* yes for forks (credit needed)
* no for anything else (including commercial)
I don't quite get the "yes for forks"/"no for anything else". Does fork mean a fork of the tiles, or the game? In the long run there could be arguments if a derivative work could still be considered as a fork. "Game purposes" means only for your game?
Otherwise CC BY-NC-SA would fit quite nicely. Reuse/modification is allowed for noncommercial purposes, as long as the resulting work is covered by the same conditions and credit is given.
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

Graphics:
* yes for in game usage/modification (no credit)
* yes for forks (credit needed)
* yes for private usage
* no for commercial
Same as above, CC BY-NC-SA.
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

Music:
* only for specified in game purpose (credits included)
CC BY-NC-ND, only allows copying, but no modifications or usage in other games.
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

XLambda

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2012, 09:46:05 AM »
Code:
* yes for using it for other project/game (no credits needed)
* yes for forks/similar games (credit required)
* no for commercial usage
Noncommercial "open source" licenses are rare, at least I don't know any. Such a license would certainly not fit the open source definition. You could use a noncommercial CC license, but a classic open source license would be better suited, if you want people to actually use your code. The "fear" of commercial exploitation of open source projects by other people is mostly unfounded.
What about the GPL? Sure, it's not 100% non-commercial, but it would force every forker to keep it open-source and freely available.

guest509

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Re: game licence (need help)
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2012, 08:29:10 AM »
The reason existing licenses are so convoluted and hard to understand is that they are full of what I like to call "magic words". These are words of power. Words that have been raked over time and again by various courts and authorities.

In USA where you guys have that strange money making law system.

Generally American laws are about as convoluted as everywhere else (with many GLARING exceptions). It's our legal process, the process by which someone seeks redress by the courts, that is so utterly corrupted and contemptible I cannot even begin to think of a way to fix it.