The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => General UQM Discussion => Topic started by: Death 22 on August 11, 2010, 10:39:36 am



Title: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Death 22 on August 11, 2010, 10:39:36 am
A scumbag called new_earth_software is selling UQM on eBay, for example here (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170523968557) and here (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170525348965).
Looking at this guy's feedback, he seems to be selling nothing but freeware! For sub-$10 prices. I guess there's one born every minute...


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Novus on August 11, 2010, 11:57:52 am
To be fair, getting a truckload of good freeware on a disc may even be worth the money to some people, especially if they are having trouble finding good stuff or their Internet access is somewhat limited. In the case of UQM, the GPL allows distribution of the code in this manner. The non-commercial clause in the content licence, CC BY-NC-SA, is:
Quote
You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.
Here, Section 3 is what permits you to distribute the work and derivatives thereof. A good lawyer might be able to make a convincing argument that the price, being as low as it is, is merely to cover the costs of collecting the software and disc duplication, although I'd say it's pretty clear that "private monetary compensation" is clearly involved.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Alvarin on August 11, 2010, 03:02:57 pm
Consider that some regions don't have unlimited internet service- they pay per Mb of download/upload. For these people such service would really be worthwhile.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Death 999 on August 11, 2010, 04:21:29 pm
I'd still say it's unethical to sell this without noting a place it can be acquired for free. Not illegal.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Kzzrn on August 11, 2010, 04:44:51 pm
Reminds me of a time a while ago when I saw someone on EBay actually sell an empty windows folder for, IIRC, $20.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Alvarin on August 11, 2010, 06:45:01 pm
Wow... Were there bids on that?


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Death 22 on August 11, 2010, 09:54:36 pm
I'm surprised nobody's up in arms about this... :P Anyway, I have sent the guy a message, wonder what he will say.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Admiral Zeratul on August 11, 2010, 10:13:24 pm
I find it despicable that someone is selling something which should otherwise be free, though personally I am not surprised something like this happened. As long as there are people to fall for these schemes, there will be people taking advantage of them.
...I'd imagine he would get along well with the Melnorme, at least.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Anthony on August 12, 2010, 12:31:55 am
I've seen stuff on Amazon as shady as this.  Someone has been copying Wikipedia pages and selling them as a book on Amazon.  Someone made a book about a bunch of devs that make games for Activision.  It was suspicious to me so I looked up the ratings for that publisher.  That had some bad ratings revealing this.  Wikipedia text is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike and does not necessarily

I've noticed those eBay auctions too.  This user is selling other free software such as GIMP, Tux Racer, Battle for Wesnoth and even Open Office.  According to the GPL, selling GPL license software is allowed, provided they state that it's covered under the GPL.

To be fair, getting a truckload of good freeware on a disc may even be worth the money to some people, especially if they are having trouble finding good stuff or their Internet access is somewhat limited. In the case of UQM, the GPL allows distribution of the code in this manner. The non-commercial clause in the content licence, CC BY-NC-SA, is:
Quote
You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.
Here, Section 3 is what permits you to distribute the work and derivatives thereof. A good lawyer might be able to make a convincing argument that the price, being as low as it is, is merely to cover the costs of collecting the software and disc duplication, although I'd say it's pretty clear that "private monetary compensation" is clearly involved.

Agreed.  The seller is also getting star ratings with each item sold.  Here's what the COPYING.txt states regarding the UQM content, if anyone's interested:

Quote
   The content -- voiceovers, dialogue, graphics, and music -- are
    copyright (C) 1992, 1993, 2002 Toys for Bob, Inc. or their
    respective creators.  The content may be used freely under the
    terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
    2.5 license (included below, and also available at
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/).  The content
    may also be copied freely as part of a distribution of The Ur-Quan
    Masters.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Admiral Zeratul on August 12, 2010, 01:04:44 am
I've noticed those eBay auctions too.  This user is selling other free software such as GIMP, Tux Racer, Battle for Wesnoth and even Open Office.  According to the GPL, selling GPL license software is allowed, provided they state that it's covered under the GPL.
I am sure there are plenty of worse examples than this. I recognize the legitimacy of selling freeware disks as previously mentioned in this thread. It's still pretty slimy if you ask me... I don't care how many star ratings this "New Earth Software" guy has. The fact of the matter is that he is blatantly claiming Ur-Quan Masters and other free games as his own. He never even bothered to link to the UQM sourceforge page. Beyond providing limited internet users with a less expensive alternative, it is clear that he intentionally left out that link in order to make more sales. What he is doing is intellectually dishonest at the very least!
So, no, I don't think it should be allowed.  ::)


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Anthony on August 12, 2010, 02:09:49 am
I feel the same way.  People shouldn't be making money off of this.  I have nothing against companies such as Ubuntu or Mozilla selling discs of their own products; the money spent in this case would go towards the development of their respective products.

It's just that there could be some legal technicalities that could complicate things such as the GPL.  These auctions could be flagged for removal.  However, from my personal experience, flagging is one of eBay's downfalls.  Of all the things I've flagged a very logn time ago, I don't recall any of them being taken down before the auction's end date.  TFB still owns the SC2 content and is simply allowing the UQM team to use and distribute it for a non-commercial purpose.  It sounds sufficient enough to show that the eBay auction is violating the content's CC license.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Death 22 on August 12, 2010, 02:13:23 am
OK, I guess I didn't know what the dev team's attitude is towards sellers - some projects are quite keen to shut b*stards like this down.
Anyway, I've emailed the guy and suggested he add a link to the project's site - I'm not holding my breath for a response though :P


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: ziper1221 on August 12, 2010, 03:03:45 am
I sent him a nice mean email...  :'(


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: ziper1221 on August 12, 2010, 05:28:24 am
here is his response:
We mainly charge for distribution and CD preparation and packing, not for content. Also, the Ur-Quan "code is released under the GNU General Public License" - the graphics/sound content is added for free either on the disc or separate download.

In general what we're providing for people is a service of receiving the program on a real CD disc (instead of just an internet download file) that even comes with an easy to use front-end installer. A lot of people just prefer to have their programs on a real disc like this, something they can hold and keep on the shelf. They feel that's worth a few dollars. In the auction listing at the bottom I clearly state that all the software is available under open source Public Licenses.

Most people looking for software on eBay aren't advanced computer/internet users, and that's part of why they prefer a real CD with the easy installer menu. Also, they appreciate not having to search through all the very low quality junk out there to eventually find the "good ones" (some people are actually afraid to touch any file downloaded online!), so they're glad I have gathered a good collection for them as a service. Lastly, they probably would have never discovered most of the programs offered, so this marketing effort actually extends the opportunity to experience the quality programming developers around the world have done to many more people - it's larger exposure in the end, and leads to a larger install-base, which is good for everyone.


and, at the bottom of the ebay page it says:
eBay Policy Compliance

I am authorized to market and sell all of the software programs included in this listing under the terms of the GNU Public License, the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) or the Mozilla Public Licence.

This original eBay auction has been written and formatted by myself, including making my own original screen captures, in full accordance with eBay policies and regulations.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Admiral Zeratul on August 12, 2010, 06:20:11 am
Just a bunch of bologna, I say. His defense is full of hot air, at best. He still never linked to the UQM sourceforge page. If he gave the proper credit and linked to the UQM sourceforge page, then I might take his claims seriously. He did not.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Death 22 on August 12, 2010, 08:02:43 am
I got the same response:

Quote
We are mainly charging for distribution and CD preparation and packing. In general what we're providing for people is a service of receiving the program on a real CD disc (instead of just an internet download file) that even comes with an easy to use front-end installer. A lot of people just prefer to have their programs on a real disc like this, something they can hold and keep on the shelf. They feel that's worth a few dollars. In the auction listing at the bottom I clearly state that all the software is available under open source Public Licenses.

Most people looking for software on eBay aren't advanced computer/internet users, and that's part of why they prefer a real CD with the easy installer menu. Also, they appreciate not having to search through all the very low quality junk out there to eventually find the "good ones" (some people are actually afraid to touch any file downloaded online!), so they're glad I have gathered a good collection for them as a service. Lastly, they probably would have never discovered most of the programs offered, so this marketing effort actually extends the opportunity to experience the quality programming developers around the world have done to many more people - it's larger exposure in the end, and leads to a larger install-base, which is good for everyone.

It shouldn't be too hard to shut the UQM auctions down? But it's up to the devs really.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Novus on August 12, 2010, 08:54:58 am
Quote
the graphics/sound content is added for free either on the disc or separate download.
Quote
In general what we're providing for people is a service of receiving the program on a real CD disc
I don't think the "non-commercial" clause in the content licence allows this, but it does say that distribution is disallowed if done in "any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation". He's arguing that the distribution is not primarily for profit. If you want to stop him, prove that he is in this for the money.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: fossil on August 12, 2010, 10:23:02 am
I don't think the "non-commercial" clause in the content licence allows this
This is completely moot, as the COPYING file clearly states
Quote from: COPYING
The content may also be copied freely as part of a distribution of The Ur-Quan Masters.

The CC NonCommercial clause was chosen so that we do not start seeing the Kzer-Za advertising beer on TV, nothing more. The content was always intended to be completely free within the confines of the game itself and the mods, forks, etc.

The eBay seller does not violate any licensing conditions as long as he supplies the source code or an offer for the source code with his distribution. Also, for my part, I do not see any compelling ethical problems with his conduct, but others may disagree. Users that can find or download UQM off the net will do so, and those who cannot (or not bright enough to find us) can buy the disk off of eBay. The seller is also not required to advertise the fact that the games are "free". Consider the fact that the seller takes responsibility for the content "sold" in at least the form of eBay ratings.

Have you ever seen printed Linux distro disks? Do they say that Linux is free? If you are over 30 years old right now, do not tell me that you have never paid for some Linux distro disks, or never borrowed friend's distro disks that he/she paid for!

As for "making money", the asking price barely covers the CD production costs (taking labor into consideration), unless he had them mass-produced, which I really really doubt. If you are wondering, he sold 2 copies in the past month and a half -- hardly a profitable endeavor  ;)
I would just like to ask everyone not to overreact and start spamming, flaming or otherwise harassing the seller en masse. There is no need for that.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Death 22 on August 12, 2010, 11:24:44 pm
Aren't you bothered by the fact that he's making money off someone else's effort, and not even giving them credit for it??


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Alvarin on August 12, 2010, 11:56:58 pm
He's mostly making money of his own effort, I think.
Adding credits info would be good and maybe moral thing to do, but not extremely necessary.
The new player's enjoyment of the game, I think, is good enough a reward.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: fossil on August 13, 2010, 12:12:04 am
Aren't you bothered by the fact that he's making money off someone else's effort, and not even giving them credit for it??

Not at all, not me anyway. Others might be.
When he starts making a 1000 USD per month, I'll ask for royalties for everyone involved ;D
Also, how much credit do you think the engineers of your cell phone got? Or your computer? Isn't the manufacturer making money off of their efforts without giving them credit?
IMO, the recent attempts at 100% perfect credits for games and movies have gone overboard. Once they begin crediting their kindergarten teachers... well, then it will be complete. But this is not the thread for philosophical IP discussions.  ;)

The new player's enjoyment of the game, I think, is good enough a reward.
That is a good way of putting it. Another way of thinking about this is advertisement explicitly paid for by the users, instead of by the vendor. I will not decline such advertisement until it crosses the line (not sure where the line is though).


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Death 22 on August 13, 2010, 12:51:41 am
Also, how much credit do you think the engineers of your cell phone got? Or your computer? Isn't the manufacturer making money off of their efforts without giving them credit?

I don't think that is the best analogy - they were paid for their work, and probably in licensing fees too.

IMO, the recent attempts at 100% perfect credits for games and movies have gone overboard. Once they begin crediting their kindergarten teachers... well, then it will be complete. But this is not the thread for philosophical IP discussions.  ;)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not some IP enforcement fanatic. But I feel disgusted when I see someone trying to make a profit (it might only be a few bucks a DVD, but it's still a profit) off other people's work. To put it in a different way: You chose to give it to the world for free, how dare he try and charge folks for it?!

Anyway, since I'm not a dev I don't have a right to enforce anything if the actual contributors couldn't care less about it. But I know of a number of free emulation projects (MAME, for example) that quite proactively shut down eBay sellers using their work for commercial gain, which is why I brought this to your attention in the first place...


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: fossil on August 13, 2010, 02:22:15 am
Anyway, since I'm not a dev I don't have a right to enforce anything if the actual contributors couldn't care less about it. But I know of a number of free emulation projects (MAME, for example) that quite proactively shut down eBay sellers using their work for commercial gain, which is why I brought this to your attention in the first place...

And I appreciate it, thank you. I also only speak for myself here, not the entire dev team.

To put it in a different way: You chose to give it to the world for free, how dare he try and charge folks for it?!

This is where the misunderstanding of software "freedom" comes in. "Free software" does not necessarily mean "free of charge", it means you have the freedom to use the software in many different ways, not all of which are free of charge. "Open source" does not equal "free" or "free of charge" either. I could give you the complete source code to a program and still charge you for a license to use it. The OSS philosophy has nothing to do with non-commercialism.

I beg everyone, please actually read the GPL sometime. It gives us and you the rights to copy, modify and distribute the work. It does not explicitly give you the right to use the work. Funny how that is, eh?


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Novus on August 13, 2010, 12:09:45 pm
This is completely moot, as the COPYING file clearly states
Quote from: COPYING
The content may also be copied freely as part of a distribution of The Ur-Quan Masters.
Sorry, I seem to have missed that clause. That does put quite a different spin on the legality of any commercial distribution of UQM. Basically, anything goes in the way of money as long as it's still part of some version of UQM.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Death 22 on August 13, 2010, 04:48:03 pm
I know the GPL doesn't prohibit commercial usage. But doesn't it also demand attribution? On that note, I suggested to our friend new_earth_software that he at least include a link to the UQM homepage in his auction listing. His response?

Quote
You have a reasonable point worth considering, and we'll look into that adjustment

...which means bugger all in my book :P


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: Admiral Zeratul on August 13, 2010, 07:45:59 pm
Quote
You have a reasonable point worth considering, and we'll look into that adjustment

...which means bugger all in my book :P

What's worse, he is still pretending to hide his intentions behind corporate jargon. Who is "we", anyway? For all we know, he could be some random guy who lives in his basement while he dreams up ways to rip people off.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: onpon4 on August 14, 2010, 01:37:55 am
I know the GPL doesn't prohibit commercial usage. But doesn't it also demand attribution?

Can someone clear this up? I haven't fully read the GPL, but I have skimmed through it, and I can't find any clause demanding attribution, but someone has told me in the past that it does.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: oldlaptop on August 14, 2010, 03:18:55 am
Quote from: The GNU General Public License, subsection 4, paragraph 1
You may convey verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice; keep intact all notices stating that this License and any non-permissive terms added in accord with section 7 apply to the code; keep intact all notices of the absence of any warranty; and give all recipients a copy of this License along with the Program.

Quote from: The GNU General Public License, subsection 6, paragraph 1
You may convey a covered work in object code form under the terms of sections 4 and 5, provided that you also convey the machine-readable Corresponding Source under the terms of this License, in one of these ways:


    * a) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by the Corresponding Source fixed on a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange.
    * b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a copy of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the product that is covered by this License, on a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source, or (2) access to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.
    * c) Convey individual copies of the object code with a copy of the written offer to provide the Corresponding Source. This alternative is allowed only occasionally and noncommercially, and only if you received the object code with such an offer, in accord with subsection 6b.
    * d) Convey the object code by offering access from a designated place (gratis or for a charge), and offer equivalent access to the Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place at no further charge. You need not require recipients to copy the Corresponding Source along with the object code. If the place to copy the object code is a network server, the Corresponding Source may be on a different server (operated by you or a third party) that supports equivalent copying facilities, provided you maintain clear directions next to the object code saying where to find the Corresponding Source. Regardless of what server hosts the Corresponding Source, you remain obligated to ensure that it is available for as long as needed to satisfy these requirements.
    * e) Convey the object code using peer-to-peer transmission, provided you inform other peers where the object code and Corresponding Source of the work are being offered to the general public at no charge under subsection 6d.

So not only does he need to attribute it, he also needs to either include the source tarball on his disc, or provide a written offer to give any customer a copy of the source.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: meep-eep on August 14, 2010, 11:55:21 am
I don't like it that the guy is preying on the ignorance of his buyers, but the fact that he makes money from it, while the developers don't, doesn't annoy me. The UQM devs knew what they were getting into, as did TFB when they released the SC2 sources under the GPL. We're not doing it for the money, and he isn't depriving anyone of income by selling what we give away for free.
And if it introduces a few new people to Star Control, all the better.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: up turned crafish on September 18, 2010, 03:54:38 pm
this guy is in Massachusetts i could track him down for you guys.


Title: Re: Someone's selling UQM on eBay...
Post by: ziper1221 on September 18, 2010, 04:21:38 pm
see if you can get his ip and geoip it