Licensing thoughts (GPL)

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Alex
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 20:24

Licensing thoughts (GPL)

Post by Alex » Sat Apr 14, 2018 15:22

Okay, so I'm not a lawyer and you should take everything I say with a grain of salt. These are potential issues I'm seeing.

In the GPLv3, section 6, it says:
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
Basically, every time you distribute printed copies of the cards, you must also distribute the source files for those cards alongside the cards. So if you send me a deck, I should expect a CD containing the source files for all the card art, or a written offer to download it with specific instructions on how to do so.

Next, the GPL says:
The “source code” for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it.
The GPL was written with software in mind, so this is quite difficult to interpret. Do raster images (ex .png) count as the "preferred form"? Apparently this clause was written to prevent people from sending printed copies of source code alongside a work, but I don't know how it applies to art.

I would argue that the preferred form of a digital illustration is a layered xcf or kra file, or an svg if it's a vector graphic. I would argue that a .psd is not a preferred form because it's a proprietary format which requires proprietary software to edit. This is, at the very least, against the spirit of the GPL. I would suggest asking artists to use GIMP or Krita to create their works, otherwise people without Photoshop will be prevented from enjoying the benefits of libre art.

Finally, I've seen a few places say that all the artwork is licensed under GPLv2+, but I think this is unclear in the wtactics/art GitHub repo, which shows the license text for GPLv2 in many places while merely referencing GPLv3. I think maybe we should include both versions of the full license text, or link to both versions.

I also think it's worth considering using CC-BY-SA instead of GPL for Arcmage. It has generally the same properties as the GPL, it's compatible with the GPL (so BfW art will still work fine) but it doesn't distinguish between "source forms" and "object forms" of the work. The only additional requirement is that you prominently give credit the author of the work.
Alex
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Re: Licensing thoughts (GPL)

Post by Alex » Wed Apr 25, 2018 00:42

Regarding Battle for Wesnoth's assets: https://wiki.wesnoth.org/Wesnoth:Copyri ... tributions
All visual and audio assets are licensed under either the GNU GPL v2 or later, or the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0. While existing contributions may be under the GNU GPL v2 or later, the goal is for all future contributions to be made under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
So, a number of them are CC-licensed, and it's BfW's goal to make them all CC licensed. I think we should do the same. GPL comes with a lot of baggage for art and I think it's worth asking the author(s) if the work can be licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0 instead.

Interestingly, they also address this concern I had:
For visual and audio assets that are licensed under the GNU GPL v2 or later, we interpret "preferred form of the work for making modifications" as the modifiable form that the author chooses to provide us for the source tree.
It's a vague interpretation that could mean any file that can be reasonably modified.
Desttinghim
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Location: Utah

Re: Licensing thoughts (GPL)

Post by Desttinghim » Fri May 25, 2018 01:23

Not sure why I haven't posted here yet.

I completely agree with this. CC-BY-SA is a better way to license artwork than the GPL. Richard Stallman clearly designed it for software, and I believe he has said on occasion that software like games should be distributed in two pieces - the software, and the copyrighted artwork/story/audio. I respect a lot of the ideas that Stallman has, but I disagree with him on that point.

I am not a lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt.
Denshi
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Re: Licensing thoughts (GPL)

Post by Denshi » Sun Jun 17, 2018 21:10

I also think that all assets (with the exception of program code) should be ported to a CC-BY-SA license or a similiar one (Wesnoth has already started this process).
While I like the GPL's implication that everyone who shares a card must also share its template, it's neither practical nor in any way helpful if you want people to share their cards. The GPL simply isn't meant for this.

I think it would be a good start if those who want to participate in this license port declare that they license their works under GNU GPL v2 or later and CC-BY-SA 4.0, so the change can be as smooth as possible.
This decision however has to be made by everyone who contributed to this project individually or their contribution would not be available under the new license. I—who hasn't made any significant contribution to this project yet—hope that those who have, will make a decision in the project's favor.
I believe he has said on occasion that software like games should be distributed in two pieces - the software, and the copyrighted artwork/story/audio.
With Stallman, you have to consider which war he is fighting. His prime goal is for users to have control over their computing. Because he mostly thinks of computers as tools, he did—for a long time—not care about games(because they have no practical purpose). This changed when companies started to put malware into games.
According to an article on gnu.org(which I did only skim, so I might be wrong) he is not happy with current copyright laws: He only demands “functional works that you use to do a practical job in your life” to be fully free and is ok with art to be restricted for some time (he mentions 10 years as reasonable, but not 75 or 95).
I think that's pretty reasonable.

Anyway, another thing I'd like to point out is that the card templates should contain license (and authorship) information. Is this already planned?
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snowdrop
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Re: Licensing thoughts (GPL)

Post by snowdrop » Mon Jul 30, 2018 20:54

alex wrote:Basically, every time you distribute printed copies of the cards, you must also distribute the source files for those cards alongside the cards. So if you send me a deck, I should expect a CD containing the source files for all the card art, or a written offer to download it with specific instructions on how to do so.
Most people/companies wouldn't make that reading. One example is Linux - or almost any software - you getting a distro on a CD doesn't mean that you on the same CD must get the source code to everything within that distro, even if it all was just GPL in theory. Keyword here is what "convey" means. Most interpret is at making the source easily attainable and one having the obligation to share the source.

So my own guess is that you don't break the GPL by getting a deck of playing cards byt not, in that deck, getting the sources. And just as you stated, IANAL....
I would argue that the preferred form of a digital illustration is a layered xcf or kra file, or an svg if it's a vector graphic.
Yes, I don't see how it could mean anything else for anyone that understands the basics of how an illustration is created. It means that layers etc should be intact in a way which makes sense, and if possible, in accordance with what personal style the artist happens to have. Some use layers properly, others use them very chaotic ; ) In either case, as long as the artist doesn't make anything intentionally harder to modify, I think what can be done is done in regards to raster art. 3d-files etc in blender for example, or raster art, is much easier to understand how well and what a source is. When applied on raster this can really only be broken down to layer usage due to the format.
. I would argue that a .psd is not a preferred form because it's a proprietary format which requires proprietary software to edit. This is, at the very least, against the spirit of the GPL.
I would argue a PSD is indeed a preferred form if PSD is what the majority of pro artists use and if that is a format that is industry standard, which it is. Imagine we find a format that is all the way GPL, and an artist that uses it. It is small and obscure, so what good is it if only one single software can open it, and 99% of the worlds artist cant work in it because they don't master that software? That, if anything, defeats the purpose of the GPL....

I do however agree with you ethically, and in theory, I would personally prefer if all artists used open formats, which sadly they don't. That said, I'm forced to have a pragmatic stance...

I would suggest asking artists to use GIMP or Krita to create their works, otherwise people without Photoshop will be prevented from enjoying the benefits of libre art.
Finding good artists that are willing to work for us and which we can afford and that can replicate the style is a pain in the ass and almost mission impossible. (Try, I have, for several years...)

Giving those artists instructions of how to practice their job won't do. 99% of the pros out there don't use GIMP, for a good reason, and even if they could learn they won't just because one client wishes it. We're not in a position to have such demands.

Again, in theory I agree and understand: If we had to candidates and both were of equal skill and equal cost, I would personally pick the GIMP-one.
I completely agree with this. CC-BY-SA is a better way to license artwork than the GPL.
This will happen, as Nico and I chatted today and he raised your thoughts.
(At the time when the project launced BfW wasn't CC, so, I couldn't really re-license it then.)
I think it would be a good start if those who want to participate in this license port declare that they license their works under GNU GPL v2 or later and CC-BY-SA 4.0, so the change can be as smooth as possible.
This decision however has to be made by everyone who contributed to this project individually or their contribution would not be available under the new license. I—who hasn't made any significant contribution to this project yet—hope that those who have, will make a decision in the project's favor.
In regards to our art:
To avoid exactly mess like that and problems with hunting down people all over the world/years that have passed the project has always had a clear clause stating that I can re-license it however I want given that 1) the work has been original work that was contributed to the project and 2) the new or additional license is also open source. So, no need for permissions: All art assets that are original work for us is something the project owns and can license however it wants.

(When coming to assets from BfW nobody can ever touch their license except those guys, and how they do it is their problem).
Anyway, another thing I'd like to point out is that the card templates should contain license (and authorship) information. Is this already planned?
Giving credit isn't really necessary within the GPL, but is for social reasons, and more so for legal with a CC-BY-version. :) Giving it on site, documents etc is something I think is standard and appreciated. However, as an avid card player I have never seen it given on a card itself, info about who created that template....

Template is considered original art for the project, like any other artwork. It is credited(?), but has had many, many, contributors. Some adjusting 3 pixels, some working on it for weeks. I think Nico did a great job with credits on the arcmage site...
ngoeminne
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Re: Licensing thoughts (GPL)

Post by ngoeminne » Sun Aug 05, 2018 21:54

Hey folks,

As you all know I'm not really in to all this Licensing stuff. It is important, but it also takes up a lot of energy we could/should put into other stuff. I do think we need a clear stance, and abide the lic we're using from others (bfw).

That being said, after a discussion with snowdrop, we're moving to CC BY SA 4, with older artwork pieces being also also available under GPLv3 (as we're not able to revoke such).

Finally we updated the github artwork repo.
- clear naming conventions
- additional tags
- removed wrongly committed pieces (that were from bfw instead of our own original art)
- updated the license information
- and the most important one for me : added some new pieces that were laying around in the dust and some new ones that both Alex and Snowdrop commissioned

Also, at the arcmage license information page I've included more detailed lic info on the templates, faction logo's, arcmage rules, arcmage card texts and the arcmage software.

Hope all this is sufficient, and we can now focus again on the progress of the development :-)

As always, kind regards,
and thanks for the input/suggestions/remarks,
Nico
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