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News: Paul & Fred have reached a settlement with Stardock!

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Author Topic: Content license?  (Read 2632 times)
Anonymous
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Content license?
« on: September 15, 2003, 10:01:18 pm »

What is the current status of releasing the game content under a Free Software license?
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Parker
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Re: Content license?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2003, 10:13:29 pm »

That won't happen, see the mailing list archives for info on this.  Basically TFB does not want to release the content under a unlimited free license because then Pepsi could start using their characters in advertisements or something like that.  They want the content to be used for playing the game, and any derivitives of the game, and nothing else as I understand it.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2003, 10:13:57 pm by Parker » Logged
Mika
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Re: Content license?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2003, 10:40:33 pm »

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That won't happen, see the mailing list archives for info on this.

We don't know that for sure. I think the last bit I've heard of this was that Fred and Paul were having different opinions of the license (one preferring more 'free' version than other).
« Last Edit: September 16, 2003, 10:41:03 pm by admin » Logged
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Re: Content license?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2003, 01:38:53 am »

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That won't happen, see the mailing list archives for info on this.  Basically TFB does not want to release the content under a unlimited free license because then Pepsi could start using their characters in advertisements or something like that.  They want the content to be used for playing the game, and any derivitives of the game, and nothing else as I understand it.


Well, if someone creates a commercial, movie, or any other product using the content (with or without modifications), they would be subject to the license, so if the content was released under the GPL or another copyleft license, Pepsi would have to distribute the machine-readable source of their advertisements to every viewer, and allow modification and/or distribution of the advertisement (even for use in a Coke commercial).  Even if they were willing to do this, the overhead of providing the source would discourage most usage of that type, or cause the company to ask (and pay) for alternate license terms from Toys for Bob.

On the other hand, if someone only used an idea from the content (such as an Ur-Quan), without deriving their work from the content, then no copyright license would stop them, even "Only for use with Ur-Quan Masters".  To prevent this kind of usage, Toys for Bob would need a trademark on the names and/or images in the content.  I don't know if they can still apply for one, but this does not affect releasing the content under a Free Software copyright license.  See the AbiWord word processor for an example of GPL software interacting with a trademark.
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Michael Martin
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Re: Content license?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2003, 02:34:45 am »

Since Reiche and Ford seemed to be aware of the appearance of Star Control and the Ur-Quan in various comic strips (as noted on this forum), trademarking seems unlikely.
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Yehat_Sympathizer
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Re: Content license?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2003, 05:06:53 pm »

There is a difference between Pepsi commercials and comic strips, though. Judging from the dialogues in SC2, I would think they won't have a problem with their stuff being used for art's sake, but they might not like it being used for corporate crap.
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Anonymous
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Re: Content license?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2003, 11:41:53 pm »

Unless the comic strip is using the art from the content directly (with or without modifications), the license would not affect them.  Copyright does not cover ideas, only a particular representation of those ideas.  Even a non-free license for the content cannot prevent these uses unless they are based on the content itself, so why not use a Free license.  Also, a Free license will promote wider distribution of the software, and therefore provide more publicity for Toys for Bob.
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Re: Content license?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2003, 02:04:20 am »

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Unless the comic strip is using the art from the content directly (with or without modifications), the license would not affect them.

And even then it's possible that the license could still not affect them. The comic is non-commercial and (obviously) a parody. As such it could probably get away with falling under the "Fair Use" provision of copyright.
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Anonymous
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Re: Content license?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2003, 04:32:48 am »

Another point: the current license, "The content may be copied freely as part of a distribution of The Ur-Quan Masters.  All other rights are reserved.", also prohibits distributing the content seperately from the game itself, such as the seperate download offered on sc2.sf.net.

Also, a license does not need to be an "unlimited free license" to be a Free Software license.  Many licenses have reasonable restrictions on distribution and modification without being non-Free.  While prohibiting commercial usage is non-Free, a copyleft license (which requires that derivative works are also Free and under the same license) generally has much the same effect while remaining Free.

If you need help choosing or constructing a Free Software license to meet your needs, try contacting debian-legal@lists.debian.org.
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Anonymous
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Re: Content license?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2003, 04:11:22 am »

I guess the main point I was wondering about was that the COPYING file in CVS still says:

(Side Note: The content will become more freely redistributable
and reusable in later releases.)

I was simply curious if this was still the case.  If it is, and the issue is simply waiting for this to happen, no problem.  If the plan is for the content to remain permanently non-free, it would be nice to update this note, so as not to get people's hopes up.
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