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

Mike Linksvayer ml at creativecommons.org
Mon Dec 19 12:54:31 EST 2011

On Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 12:10 PM, Maciej Pendolski
<beholder0x100 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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.

Ok, I re-read your initial message on this, which I copied to this
list at http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/cc-community/2011-December/006328.html

AFAICT (which doesn't count for much!) your understanding is correct,
but not a case for permitting only compatibility (in whatever form)
from BY-SA->AGPL rather than BY-SA->GPL. If you're releasing works
under BY-SA, you're already not requiring licensees to distribute
source, so only permitting "export" to AGPL doesn't add any
protection. If you really want to require that someone providing a
service and modifying the source to same give users remotely
interacting to have access to game art source, it seems like you need
to be using AGPL from the beginning (not that I know how AGPL behaves
in such a case; I doubt anyone has done the analysis, but at least
your intention is clear). To the extent BY-SA->GPL compatibility in
some form enabled, it helps you, given GPL->AGPL compatibility. Am I
still missing something?

Thanks for your detailed thoughts on this!

More information about the cc-community mailing list