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

Maciej Pendolski beholder0x100 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 21 16:35:01 EST 2011

On Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 10:02 PM, Bart Kelsey <elbarto at gmail.com> wrote:
> A generic game engine is a game engine which does not reference a *specific*
> media file, or otherwise expect the presence of that specific media file in
> order to run.

Let's say that I agree (for now :)). Source/binary files are
linked/connected/.. to content files (they are on the same level in
the System which in this situation is an operating system) and so they
must be under compatible licences.

> To clarify the definition, there are a lot of cases where game engines are
> separate from the game "scripts" and media that tell the game what files to
> load and what to do with those files.  A game engine that's separate from
> its scripts and media is generic if you could pass it a completely different
> set of scripts and media and it would still work (albeit as a completely
> different game).


> In these cases, though, the *scripts* that reference the
> media files would trigger the strong copyleft even if the engine does not.

I assume you mean that scripts which are on the same level within a
System (here it is a game engine) are linked/connected/... to scripts
and so they (data and scripts) must be under compatible licences.

> For further clarification, there are some game engines (generally fairly
> simple ones) that don't have a script layer, and instead just load all their
> media files directly.  These engines *would* trigger the copyleft, since
> they make direct reference to the licensed media.

I would say that some game engines are data-driven. I could create a
quite usable RTS game engine which would simply load sets of *.unit
files which would contain unit parameters and which would link to
artwork for them. There could be sets of waypoints for patrols, ...
and *.map files with terrain heightmap and objects list. I could
create that engine to be very flexible (through number of parameters
which could be tweaked).

In this situation I am in position that it is simply yet another
document viewer (I might not even create "example document"). E.g.
Inkscape/.svg will contain sets of objects with parameters, same for
text document file formats, ... So this is the point in which that
"intent" thing and pretty much also "flexibility" would be something
that could be the only way to determine if it is generic or not.

And also what about engines which were for a specific game but then
with enough number of total conversions it could be hard to tell (for
someone not reading any docs) what game such engine was created for
(if any).

If an "intent" is not legally binding (I could not find much about it
after quick googling) then some other mechanism would have to be used.
What exactly could it be? (unless we still clearly disagree on
something here).

I'm not saying that I agree with everything completely (some new
borderline cases appear in my head over and over again and I needed to
think about them for a while) but other than the last point it seams
that I am in an agreement with you.

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