[cc-community] Strengthening the CC-BY-SA copyleft with respect to code

Bart Kelsey elbarto at gmail.com
Wed Dec 21 14:31:19 EST 2011


I think there are several ways this problem might be addressed.  I'm not
sure which one would be the best, but I don't think the fact that there are
multiple ways of looking at it means that we should toss this whole
discussion out.  What we ought to be doing is weighing the pros and cons
(and feasibility) of each one.

Here are several possible responses, each with their own merits.

1) Let them do it.  It's silly and inconvenient, and that alone might be
enough to deter people.  You can concoct edge cases like this to get around
the GPL as well, but that doesn't render the whole license useless.
Accessing every single file through a layer of fluff like that is
inconvenient enough that most of the time people just won't do it, the same
way that you can finagle around linking GPLed code from non-libre code.

2) Base it on intent.  In this case, it's very clear that the *intent* of
this loadme.txt file is just to get around the requirements of the
license.  Intent can be legally murky, but again that's generally an
effective deterrent.  What is *not* legally murky is the idea of "bundling"
other programs along with this program -- since those programs aren't
specifically referenced, bundling is absolutely fine.  Also, if you're
releasing your engine under a libre license, you're also completely in the
clear.  So this hypothetical license, even if based on intent, would still
clearly grant the rights listed in the definition of free software.  Things
would only get murky when you push back against the intent of the license.

3) Make sure the license requires share-alike provisions all the way up the
chain.  This is probably the least viable option due to all the different
licenses already out there, but I think it's at least worth considering.
If loadme.txt references the media in question, it has to be covered by
license with a strong copyleft.  Then, loadme.txt is loaded by the engine,
which triggers the sharealike provision on loadme,txt, which means that the
engine has to be under a strong copyleft as well.

Bart



On Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 2:08 PM, drew Roberts <zotz at 100jamz.com> wrote:

> But what if the setup was: load whatever file you find in the loadme.txt
> file.
> Then in that file the engine creator put the actual name they wanted
> loaded.
> Is this really far from just having the engine load that particular file
> itself?
>



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