[cc-community] CC-BY-SA 4.0 (and other CC-*** 4.0 licences) vs. computer game content

Maciej Pendolski beholder0x100 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 13 15:10:28 EST 2011

> In particular, I think it is missing that GPLv3 addresses "User
> Products" -- see https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#Tivoization
> -- rendering the specific 4.0 suggestion (AGPL only rather than GPL
> compatibility) moot.

> However, desire for some non-software creators to license their works
> under terms disallowing "tivoization" could be added as a rationale to
> http://wiki.creativecommons.org/GPL_compatibility_use_cases ...
> discuss.

My understanding is that an "User Product" (in section 8) would be a
"gaming console" in this situation IF there would be any [A]GPLv3 code in
it BUT in this kind of a device it is not the case. It is simply an
audio-video player (audio and video streaming) with a gaming controller
attached to it to send commands. In this situation both client
software/content and server software/content are "executed" in a remote
"server" centre. So my question here is not about "tivoization" (although
it would be nice to be able prevent it in CC-BY-SA 4.0 IMO) but about a
section of AGPLv3 which says about remote interactions.

[A]GPLv3 (section 0):
"To "convey" a work means any kind of propagation that enables other
parties to make or receive copies. Mere interaction with a user through a
computer network, with no transfer of a copy, is not conveying."

If I understand it correctly it means that playing a multiplayer game in a
situation as above would be a "mere interaction" because game (content and
code) would not be copied to the user machine, only an output of a software
execution would be received. So [A]GPL does not "help" here.

AGPLv3 (section 13):
"Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, if you modify the
Program, your modified version must prominently offer all users interacting
with it remotely through a computer network (if your version supports such
interaction) an opportunity to receive the Corresponding Source of your
version ..."

In my understanding this part of section 13 overrides anything before
itself in a licence text. If a game is a multiplayer game then it is
designed to be used remotely (a client is communicating with a server). If
there would be a client machine with client code and a server machine with
server code then it this section of AGPLv3 should work nicely (unlike
GPLv3) (but there could be some loopholes anyway).

In a situation mentioned at the beginning this is not exactly the case.
Both client and server code is running on in a remote "server" centre BUT
players are still interacting with a software which is designed to have
network/remote interactions (a multiplayer game) so it would seam to me
that even here an AGPLv3 licence would offer benefits over GPLv3 licence.

This is why I would prefer CC-BY-SA 4.0 to have "export" to AGPLv3 rather
than GPLv3 and also to have similar provisions (similar to part 1 of
section 13 of AGPLv3) so that "export" to AGPLv3 would make more sense (so
that licences would be more similar).

On the other hand though, I'm not sure if section 13 of AGPLv3 would make
any difference for content (content by itself is not interacting with users
directly) so it might be that I'm writing all of this just to learn more
about [A]GPLv3.

Of course please correct me if I have gotten it all wrong.
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