License Discussion

Discuss things relating to this site or the community at large here.
User avatar
Kigen
Site Admin
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:08 am
Location: Right behind you....
Contact:

License Discussion

Post by Kigen » Sun May 08, 2011 7:54 pm

I've been researching the whole notion that plugins are considered derivative works lately. So far what I've seen is that extensions of functionality that do not incorporate the original work are not.

Argument for that plugins are derivatives:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLAndPlugins

Argument against:
http://www.law.washington.edu/lta/swp/l ... ative.html Example 4.0.

I would like to discuss with anyone willing the validity of GNU's argument that because a program shares memory space with another that it is to be considered a derivative work.

I find that GNU's approach to this matter makes no sense what-so-ever.
Image

User avatar
Kigen
Site Admin
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:08 am
Location: Right behind you....
Contact:

Re: License Discussion

Post by Kigen » Sun May 08, 2011 8:12 pm

Also, before discussion begins I would like to set ground rules. Any post must remain on topic (i.e., no "just don't use sm then", etc). Everything must remain civil. No name calling, cussing, etc. Any information posted in this thread is not legal advice. It is just discussion on a topic for which forums were built for. :D
Image

User avatar
asherkin
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:42 pm
Contact:

Re: License Discussion

Post by asherkin » Sun May 08, 2011 10:40 pm

Even ignoring the whole plugins aspect, there is another clear cut one:
SourceMod's include files are licensed under the GPL, the code from these are included into the compiled binary.

User avatar
Kigen
Site Admin
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:08 am
Location: Right behind you....
Contact:

Re: License Discussion

Post by Kigen » Sun May 08, 2011 11:00 pm

http://linux.slashdot.org/story/11/03/2 ... tive-Works
Richard Stallman (rms@gnu.org) wrote: I'm not sure what your project is designed to do, so I don't have an
opinion about how it stands regarding the GPL. However, I've talked
with our lawyer about one specific issue that you raised: that of
using simple material from header files.

Someone recently made the claim that including a header file always
makes a derivative work.

That's not the FSF's view. Our view is that just using structure
definitions, typedefs, enumeration constants, macros with simple
bodies, etc., is NOT enough to make a derivative work. It would take
a substantial amount of code (coming from inline functions or macros
with substantial bodies) to do that.
Image

User avatar
Kigen
Site Admin
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:08 am
Location: Right behind you....
Contact:

Re: License Discussion

Post by Kigen » Mon May 09, 2011 12:42 am

Interesting reply by BAILOPAN.
David Anderson <dvander@alliedmods.net> wrote:This is our issue tracker, and this is where we discuss AM-related issues.

Your quote from RMS is entirely irrelevant. Headers have nothing to do with it.
GPL is inherited through "works based on" and plugins are works based on
SourceMod. I also direct you to this ancient, orthogonal entry in the GPL FAQ:

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLAndPlugins

AlliedModders owns the copyright to SourceMod, and is also the de-facto
distributor of its releases. Please understand: discussion on whether plugins
need to be GPL'd is a dead end. It doesn't matter if the moon crashes into the
ocean and humanity reverts to a primitive, post-apocalyptic hunter-gatherer
society in which law is meaningless. As long as we are distributing SourceMod,
we will protect our users' rights and safety by refusing to even load plugins
which are not GPL compliant.

We've inherited a three-step process from AMX Mod X:
(1) If possible, remove links to binaries, and save them locally for
reverse engineering.
(2) Contact author to reach an understanding.
(3) If no understanding can be reached, block the plugin from loading
and decompile the binary to check for stolen code/backdoors.

KAC is a great plugin, and clearly people like using it with SourceMod. I'm not
really sure where these licensing problems are coming from, or what the actual
issue is here. If you truly, irrecoverably disagree with our decisions, it
sounds like you should move away from SourceMod. I and others would be sad to
see that happen, but it would be more productive if the license is going to
continue being an issue for you.
Image

User avatar
Kigen
Site Admin
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:08 am
Location: Right behind you....
Contact:

Re: License Discussion

Post by Kigen » Mon May 09, 2011 1:26 am

David, this appears to be a fairly hostile approach to my discussion. I am not implying that I would release KAC on SourceMod closed source. As I stated earlier development for KAC on SourceMod has ended.

The quote from RMS was in reply to asherkin's post.

Yes, AlliedModders LLC does own the copyright to SourceMod. As such it has to conform to what copyright law allows. As such AlliedModders LLC does NOT own the copyright to plugins (like KAC). CodingDirect LLC owns the copyright to KAC. The reason for this is that KAC is a separate work under copyright law. So what gives AlliedModders LLC the right to dictate how other works are distributed? KAC is not a derivative work of SourceMod under copyright law. So under copyright law the GPL has exceeded its bounds.

At least these are my opinions.

Also, just because its GNU's opinion that plugins that are dynamically linked into SourceMod are derivative does not make it so. That is a decision that the courts and the people of this country are the ones to make. Not GNU, not AlliedModders, not CodingDirect, and not me alone.
http://www.law.washington.edu/lta/swp/law/derivative.html wrote:The following thought experiment demonstrates the absurdity of the GPL approach. Imagine taking the Firefox source code and modifying it in such a way that it is encapsulated in a plugin, called Fireplug. Common sense and the law tell us that Fireplug is a derivative work of Firefox, based simply on the fact that Fireplug incorporates all or most of the Firefox codebase. Now, when we plug Fireplug into Firefox, we essentially have a Firefox browser running within a Firefox browser. And depending on the Firefox plugin architecture, the GPL drives us to incompatible results. If plugins are dynamically linked, Fireplug is a derivative work. This is the right result, but the reasoning is exactly wrong. Fireplug is a derivative work because it incorporates and is substantially similar to Firefox, not because of a decision made by the designer of the Firefox plugin architecture. On the other hand, if plugins are launched as separate programs, then Fireplug suddenly is not a derivative work, even though this result is counter the common sense result above. Clearly, the mechanism of a given plugin architecture are analytically unhelpful and misleading in answering the derivative work question.
Image

User avatar
Kigen
Site Admin
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:08 am
Location: Right behind you....
Contact:

Re: License Discussion

Post by Kigen » Mon May 09, 2011 1:39 am

http://ar.to/2010/01/set-your-code-free

Not everything in the article I agree with. But a good read none-the-less.
Last edited by Kigen on Mon May 09, 2011 4:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Replaced quote with link
Image

User avatar
Kigen
Site Admin
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:08 am
Location: Right behind you....
Contact:

Re: License Discussion

Post by Kigen » Mon May 09, 2011 2:43 am

http://www.chipbennett.net/2010/07/20/w ... -case-law/

Interesting article in regards to this issue. Through the scope of WordPress and themes.
Image

User avatar
Kigen
Site Admin
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:08 am
Location: Right behind you....
Contact:

Re: License Discussion

Post by Kigen » Mon May 09, 2011 3:01 am

More research into the Game Genie case I found that the similarities to this situation makes it the most relevant argument.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Galo ... rica,_Inc.

Basically Game Genie acts as a plugin to Nintendo's game console. As it has to act as a cartridge in order for the Nintendo system to accept it. The key points in the case was if the Game Genie itself contained Nintendo's copyrightable work. Which the court found that it did not.

The same applies to dynamically linked plugins. Dynamically linked plugins do not contain enough material to be considered derivatives of the application they are designed to plug in to. The GPL does not apply, in whole or part, to SourceMod plugins in general. Because they are not derivative works.
Chip Bennett wrote:Galoob appears to establish the clear precedent that, in order to be derivative, a work must incorporate the copyrightable content of a protected work in some concrete or permanent form. Of particular note, the Game Genie product was designed to be wholly dependent upon the Nintendo video game console/cartridge system, interacted with this system in the same way that the cartridge itself interacted with the console, and was combined as an inseparable whole with the console/cartridge system at runtime, by the end user.
Last edited by Kigen on Mon May 09, 2011 6:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed link
Image

databomb
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 10:33 am

Re: License Discussion

Post by databomb » Tue May 10, 2011 8:53 am

The lack of case law on this matter offers no concrete answer to the question of if all plugins are derivative works. The GPL position says they're derivative works while copyright and case law offer various legal tests to determine the status of a work, which don't always agree with the GPL.

Whether a work is substantially copied has been a driving factor for the cases that have come before the courts. The Midway and Nintendo cases both involve trying to change certain aspects of how video games operate. The implementation directly affected the outcome in both. In the Midway case, the circuitry was copied onto a new chip with a minor modification. In the Nintendo case, the Game Genie changed small portions of code on-the-fly while indiscriminately allowing all other code unabated. The Midway case was ruled as having substantially copied and was thus a derivative work while the Nintendo case was ruled not to have substantially copied.

Here's the original Nintendo ruling - (the last few paragraphs before the Fair Use section): http://www.law.uconn.edu/homes/swilf/ip/cases/lewis.htm

I personally think that plugins become works based on SourceMod when a 'substantial' portion of the plugin relies on code which is under the GPL. Currently, it seems all or nearly all SourceMod plugins would be works based on SourceMod. But if one made a MetaMod:Source plugin to accomplish some of the main tasks and chose not to license that under the GPL then it might be possible for sub-modules of a SourceMod plugin to be released under a different license than the GPL as they no longer would use substantial portions of code under the GPL.

Like Bailopan already mentioned: what offers even more clarity and avoids these conflicts within the community altogether is releasing the entire program as a MetaMod:Source plugin which offers the flexibility of picking a different license entirely. Especially since there is no clear answer to the derived works question, this just seems the best route for KAC.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests