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

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Wed Dec 21 14:50:23 EST 2011

On 21/12/11 04:47, Bart Kelsey wrote:
> The answer is this:  If the media and the program are not *part of the
> same work*, then it doesn't matter. 

My point, illustrated by the examples I gave, is that the actions
performed by the software are not enough to identify it as "generic

> This should apply in instances
> where someone writes a game or some other program that is *intended to
> load a specific piece of media*. 

This is trivial to work around. If I write a proprietary game that loads
an asset tree I simply have a registry key / command line parameter that
specifies the root of the tree in the filesystem (or the name of the
asset archive file). My proprietary game can now load any media in the
correct format, and is "generic software".

I'd also point out the history of the modding and abandonware scenes.
Particularly MAME, ScummVM, Id's software, and Sim City. Assets and
engines can be swapped even for the most singular works.

> Depending on the situation, that might
> be an entire game engine or it might be just the media and game scripts
> that run on top of that game engine.

Do you mean that this varies from case to case, or that these are
alternative options for consideration as changes to the licence?

> Also, to reiterate, I am not advocating replacing CC-BY-SA,
> necessarily.  If this would be too big of a change to the license, then
> a new license should be created.  I'd really hate for this discussion to
> be thrown out just because it doesn't fit CC-BY-SA.  It's still a need
> that needs to be addressed.

If BY-SA isn't working well *within* game assets or mods, that's a need
that needs to be addressed.

On 21/12/11 18:34, Bart Kelsey wrote:
> Ultimately, what this would ensure is that, even if the media were
> released with a proprietary engine, the engine would have to have an
> open and easily modifiable script layer, so at the very least:
> * The script layer, if it exists, would be under a libre license,
> * The engine would have to be moddable, and
> * The engine could theoretically be replaced with an open source
> implementation.

This could be ensured by the scripts within the game assets being GPL as-is.

To the extent that the script layer has "carnal knowledge" of the
internal data structures of the game engine, the entire game engine
would need to be GPL anyway.

- Rob.

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