Licensing thoughts (GPL)

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Alex
Posts: 8
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
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 20:24

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
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 08:36
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
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 17:19

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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