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

drew Roberts zotz at 100jamz.com
Wed Dec 21 19:43:01 EST 2011


On Wednesday 21 December 2011 18:17:54 Bart Kelsey wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 6:01 PM, drew Roberts <zotz at 100jamz.com> wrote:
> > On Wednesday 21 December 2011 15:07:49 Bart Kelsey 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.
> >
> > And if it is generic according to your terms, you propose that the
> > licensed "art" be usable whether the engine is FOSS or not but if it is
> > not generic but specific, you propose that the license on the "art"
> > prohibit its
> > use in such a case. Correct?
>
> That sounds right.
>
> > > > > 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.
> >
> > If I read you right above, this would allow the art to be used in FOSS
> > and non-FOSS generic code but only in FOSS non-generic code.
> >
> > I will restate my general BY-SA strengthening proposal in slightly
> > different
> > language than the one I used recently.
> >
> > I propose that we activate the SA provisions not on the creation of an
> > adaptation of the work but on its "inclusion" in any work that itself
> > gets a
> > copyright. (I think this covers it but I need some back and forth
> > discussion
> > with interested parties to work the idea out. We can do this by not
> > granting
> > any of the provisions of the license (on of which is the making of copies
> > for
> > instance) unless this happened.
> >
> > In this statement of the idea, SA would kick in like this:
> >
> > For an adaptation, the adaptation must be SA too.
> >
> > For non-adaptation inclusion, the meta-work and all included parts of the
> > meta-work would need to be Free but not necessarily BY-SA.
> >
> > Let's take the case of code and BY-SA art as we have been discussing.
> >
> > BY-SA art can be included in any copyrighted work so long as that
> > copyrighted
> > work and all of its parts are Free. Some parts may not be copyleft
> > though.
> >
> > BY-SA art can be bundled in ways that no work of copyright is produced.
> > say a
> > random collection of art where it sits together with non-Free art and
> > other non-Free works where there is no meta-work that is copyrightable.
> >
> > BY-SA art cannot be used in ways where there is a meta-work that is
> > non-Free
> > or (is this possible) where there is a Free meta-work but where the
> > meta-work
> > contains non-Free "sub" works.
> >
> > Why is this not a clean way to strengthen BY-SA?
>
> That sounds like it would accomplish the same thing I'm aiming for,
> although it's a potentially major change to the way the license works, so
> I'm not sure how palatable it would be to everyone else.  I don't
> necessarily want to attach what I'm talking about to CC-BY-SA, because then
> people will dismiss it because "we don't want to make a major change to the
> license".  It's a valid issue, regardless of whether the existing license
> is changed or a new one is created.

This is exactly how I want BY-SA to work though. If for no other reason that 
BY-SA photos want/need similar protection (strength of copyleft) to BY-SA 
music. Well, exactly like this or in a fashion that gets the same job done.

all the best,

drew


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