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Recommended License for Current Modders?   
Zzzzoot

Zzzzoot
United States  


  5/5/2019  2

Given the current ongoing discussion about how to handle creations with unclear, missing, or harmful licenses, I thought it might be prudent to decide on a "recommended license" for active/reachable modders to release (or perhaps even rerelease) their content under.

This would be useful for newer modders who are busy learning CAOS and the SpriteBuilder and just want to release their content and see others play around with it. But it'd also be useful for any modder who doesn't want to delve into copyright law. And if widely adopted, it should be good for the community at large.

Now, I am not a copyright lawyer; nor do I believe is anyone part of the community. So I think it's obvious that if we decide to recommend a license that we should choose a generally used license like MIT or Creative Commons or something of the like.

Also, according to wikipedia while the CC license can be applied to software of course, "the Creative Commons recommends Free and open-source software software licenses instead of Creative Commons licenses." Which means allowing derivatives.

Here is a very useful website for software licenses. choosealicense.com

It seems that the first course would be to decide what we care about. And again this would be a recommendation for current/past modders who care to relicense their work, and for current/future modders.

A) Commercial use: Should a company be able to use our mods to entertain their employees on break? Should someone be allowed to use your art or code in a game they sell? Most licenses I can see are open to commercial use.

B) Distribution: Should people be able to file share/publicly post your content? Based on the other ongoing discussion, I think we all already agree to be open to distribution.

C) Credit: Should the same copyright notice be included? Based on the other ongoing discussion, I think we all already agree to require credit/the same copyright notice.

D) Derivation/Modification: Remastering, fixing pixels, changing a single line of code. From what I understand it's all the same legally. Should our content be open to derivation?

E) Same license: Should we require derivations/modifications to be released under the same license?

F) Patents: Should we give up any patents. Software patents are used to close down otherwise open software. Basically, in case the EU, the US, Australia, whatever, decided that someone can patent the idea to an agent, a breed, or a room, should we go ahead and give up our patents to those ideas?

My answers are:

A) Open to commercial use.

B) Open to distribution.

C) Credit required.

D) Open to modification.

E) No strong opinion about requiring same license.

F) Give up our potential patents.

Which kinda means either GNU GPLv3 (long) or MIT (very short) plus a patents clause/section as my choice.

 
Dragoler
Wrong Banshee

Dragoler
United Kingdom  


  5/5/2019

Can mods be licensed though? Seeing as they sit in a legal grey area and rely on a commercial work in order to function at all.

Creator of the TWB/TCB genome base.

 
ylukyun
Chaotic Chimera

ylukyun

Manager



  5/5/2019

Considering you can sell them, I'd say they can be licensed. You'd no doubt run into issues if you used assets from said commercial works. I remember CL allowed third-party mods to be sold only if they used 100% original assets.
 
Zzzzoot

Zzzzoot
United States  


  5/5/2019

So from what I understand, a license in this context is a grant of permission to use certain rights which otherwise belong exclusively to the author. So the question really is, do modders have any rights over the mods they create?

I assume modders have some copyrights over what they've created.

It is very legally gray, but that seems like even more reason to try to clear it up. The way we handle things now can set precedents. If enough people follow our precedent, it could become law. I believe that if it came to court, the current owner of the Creatures copyrights wouldn't have a leg to stand on due to 2 decades of not not enforcing any takedowns. I don't care enough about being able to distribute my free mods to do much research into that; but that is the law as I understand it.

But basically, if we have the right to distribute our mods and modify our mods, then we certainly have the right to allow others to distribute and modify those same mods. Unless there's some very specific wording in the Creatures licenses.

 
Mad_Doodles

Mad_Doodles
United Kingdom  


  5/5/2019

ylukyun wrote:
Considering you can sell them, I'd say they can be licensed. You'd no doubt run into issues if you used assets from said commercial works. I remember CL allowed third-party mods to be sold only if they used 100% original assets.



That was with a specific contract if I remember correctly, and given Creature Labs doesn't exist anymore we don't know how legal that is anymore.


Doodler, painter, baker and ridiculous idea haver.
 
Moe

Moe
United States  

 visit Moe's website: Creatures 2 to Docking Station
  5/5/2019  2

The debate over whether it’s even possible to license them or not is interesting and is definitely a discussion to be had, but it doesn’t actually need to be answered for us to decide on a recommended licensing process going forward.

I don’t want to stop that discussion mind you, so feel free to carry on, but my point is that if the community can at least agree on a set of licensing schemes that allows us to better understand an author’s wishes then we act in good faith when it comes to redistribution, modification, derivative works, etc., even if the license itself is unenforceable in a court of law. At the very least we can establish community etiquette, ya know?

 
Mad_Doodles

Mad_Doodles
United Kingdom  


  5/5/2019

I concur and I think that's more important at this point.

I honestly think a Creative Commons License would be fine, or even just writing up a community agreement stating, as Moe correctly says, our etiquette.


Doodler, painter, baker and ridiculous idea haver.
 
Malkin

Malkin
Australia  
Manager


 visit Malkin's website: Malkin's page at CWiki
  5/5/2019  1

The Creative Commons says that you can use a CC license for software documentation (hello, Creatures Wiki...) and separate artistic stuff like game art and music, if desired. (source)

My TCR Norns
 
Zzzzoot

Zzzzoot
United States  


  5/5/2019  1

Our mods seem to be a bit more artistic than pure software but the CC recommends not using their licenses for software. I miswrote my original post a bit.
 
Malkin

Malkin
Australia  
Manager


 visit Malkin's website: Malkin's page at CWiki
  5/5/2019

Yeah, I was curious to check it out because a lot of our mods need graphics and sounds to work. (And a lot of stuff that's Creative Commons is Share-Alike).

My TCR Norns
 
Zzzzoot

Zzzzoot
United States  


  5/5/2019

Should we perhaps look into recommending two licenses? One for "code and executable software" and the other for "images, animations, documentation, etc."

I don't really like that because it adds complexity, but it may be a good option.

 
Malkin

Malkin
Australia  
Manager


 visit Malkin's website: Malkin's page at CWiki
  5/5/2019

Focusing on what you *can* do with licensed art and sounds would probably make things easier in terms of recommending multiple licenses for specific purposes. :)

Another concern I have is that the GNU GPLv3 and MIT licenses emphasise the use of your real name: which would not fly for parents of younger people, who might have a rule like "Facebook and your real name is for your real friends, pseudonyms are for sharing dank memes about pokemons." A lot of younger people want to make their mark on the game and learn to make stuff for Creatures, too. After gamergate, I looked at my personal information online in a different way, too. There's probably not a good answer for this one, but I think it's worth being aware of.


My TCR Norns
 
Zzzzoot

Zzzzoot
United States  


  5/5/2019

That is a problem I hadn't considered. Minors can't agree to any terms and conditions at all, can they, much less grant licenses; it'd all have to be done through their parents. And a lot of kids' parents unfortunately wouldn't want to use their own real name either. That is a problem and makes it a lot murkier. Plus some adult modders wouldn't want to put their real name publicly either.

I think you're right, it's not a solvable problem if we want to follow any legal framework. The author has to be confirmable.

We could recommend allowing modders to use a pseudonym in our "community etiquette". But that would make those licenses hold basically no legal water, from what I can tell. But again, maybe a consistent pseudonym could provide some legal help. I don't know. Hmm

 
Mad_Doodles

Mad_Doodles
United Kingdom  


  5/5/2019  1

I honestly think what was being discussed in the other thread was fine:

A) Archive: Yes/No/Under Certain Circumstances
B) Patches: Yes/No
C) Remaster/Remix: Yes/No

Obviously, it'll want more words, but we don't need anything too complicated.


Doodler, painter, baker and ridiculous idea haver.
 
Zzzzoot

Zzzzoot
United States  


  5/5/2019

The MIT license is really really short and covers all of that. Along with like 2 or 3 other things.

https://choosealicense.com/licenses/mit/

 
Mad_Doodles

Mad_Doodles
United Kingdom  


  5/5/2019

Can it be tweaked for those who don't want to allow modification?

Doodler, painter, baker and ridiculous idea haver.
 
Malkin

Malkin
Australia  
Manager


 visit Malkin's website: Malkin's page at CWiki
  5/5/2019

Mad_Doodles wrote:
I honestly think what was being discussed in the other thread was fine:

A) Archive: Yes/No/Under Certain Circumstances
B) Patches: Yes/No
C) Remaster/Remix: Yes/No

Obviously, it'll want more words, but we don't need anything too complicated.



The benefit of using a more universal license would be that it would still work even after the people who are interested in it have left the community, because you could lean on the community of that license to help interpret it. There was an OCSC license, but it wasn't well-used outside of the German CC.


My TCR Norns
 
Zzzzoot

Zzzzoot
United States  


  5/5/2019

The MIT License can't be tweaked, but the CC licenses "can" (to the extent that we need). They're just a lot longer. MIT is 3 paragraphs, while the Creative Commons are about 2 pages each.

But there's the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License. That allows archiving mods, but not patching, remastering, or selling. Which sounds perfect for those who don't want modifications.

I don't think there's a legal way to easily separate pathing from remastering; but I think most who don't want remastering also wouldn't want patching.

 
Malkin

Malkin
Australia  
Manager


 visit Malkin's website: Malkin's page at CWiki
  5/5/2019  1

Zzzzoot wrote:
That is a problem I hadn't considered. Minors can't agree to any terms and conditions at all, can they, much less grant licenses; it'd all have to be done through their parents. And a lot of kids' parents unfortunately wouldn't want to use their own real name either. That is a problem and makes it a lot murkier. Plus some adult modders wouldn't want to put their real name publicly either.

I think you're right, it's not a solvable problem if we want to follow any legal framework. The author has to be confirmable.

We could recommend allowing modders to use a pseudonym in our "community etiquette". But that would make those licenses hold basically no legal water, from what I can tell. But again, maybe a consistent pseudonym could provide some legal help. I don't know. Hmm



There seems to be a concept called "moral rights", which includes "the right to be identified" (even pseudonymously) as the creator of a work. I can't quickly find something which discusses moral rights and pseudonyms and applies it to video games, but "moral rights" have apparently been an international thing since the Berne Convention of 1928, and therefore should be widespread.


My TCR Norns
 


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