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

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Wed Dec 21 18:53:20 EST 2011

On 21/12/11 20:07, Bart Kelsey wrote:
> 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.)

Sure. :-)

My point is that the concepts of "specific files" and "generic editor"
seem like they define objects or ways that objects act or are acted on
but in fact they define *intentions*.

> 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.

Then Word is intended to load specific files. It always uses the same
structure, they just have different names and modified contents. :-)

> 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.

"True moddability" is again a definition of *intent*.

> 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.

Varying from case to case where the same actions are performed or the
same objects are involved reduces the certainty and thereby the value
and the likely adoption of the CC licenses.

> Judging by what you said above, I'm guessing we're referring to
> different issues.

OK, sure. I'm not trying to drag this off topic. :-)

> 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.

I am *entirely* sympathetic to the aim, but I think that is overreach
compared to the power afforded to other artists.

- Rob.

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