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

Matthew Lagoe cyberempires at gmail.com
Wed Dec 21 15:12:22 EST 2011

I have been watching this back and forth a bit and honestly even if they
manage to keep some/most of there back-end code closed, by some
legalise-programmer-fu all the art would still end up becoming covered
under CC, as such in my honest opinion this is more arguing a matter of
magnitude, getting all the art in skyrim made CC would be a major win in my
honest opinion, sure the engine would be some nice icing on the cake, but a
win is a win.

On Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 12:07 PM, Bart Kelsey <elbarto at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 2:50 PM, Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:
>> My point, illustrated by the examples I gave, is that the actions
>> performed by the software are not enough to identify it as "generic
>> software".
> I honestly don't see where you're coming from.  None of the examples you
> gave are of programs that are intended to load one specific file.  They're
> all meant to view certain types of files.  (For the record, I'm not
> pretending not to understand what you're getting at -- I really don't see
> where my distinction doesn't obviously cover these cases.)
>> > 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".
> Lacking any sort of outside scripts that tell the engine what to do with
> the files it loads, the engine is still assuming it's going to be getting
> specific files.  Just because it's not referencing those files by name
> doesn't mean that it's not intended to load them.
>> 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.
> This is very true, but depending on the engine, the data may be hidden,
> obfuscated, encrypted, checksummed, etc, to prevent that.  Certain engines
> leave their data open with the intent to make it replaceable.  In these
> cases, the engine is generic.  You aren't allowed to obfuscate your code
> under the GPL (or in later versions, use DRM or other measures to prevent
> changes from working) -- preventing that here as well would solve this
> issue as well.  If an engine is *truly* moddable from the ground up, it's
> generic.  Otherwise, it's not.
>> > 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?
> I mean this varies from case to case.  Sometimes you stick a bunch of
> scripts in a directory (or pass a game script or data tree to the engine at
> the command line) and the script tells the engine what data to load and
> what to do with it.  Some engines are just hard-coded to load certain
> files.  The former case is a clear example of just bundling the data with
> the engine, so the engine wouldn't be covered.  The second case is
> referencing specific files, and in that case the engine would be covered as
> well.
>> > 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.
> Judging by what you said above, I'm guessing we're referring to different
> issues.
> 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.
> The idea here is to have a license that protects artists who want to
> create works to be included in FOSS.  Sure, anyone can GPL the scripts, but
> at the moment people could rip the art out of the game and implement a
> proprietary game using share-alike art.
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