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Bug#68256: License problems with TinyMUSH

The TinyMUSH package is not DFSG-free, and probably never can be (at least,
not without a near-complete rewrite). Speaking as someone who has been
involved with the source code various TinyMUSH servers for ten years, who
lives with one of the listed authors of the 2.2 version, and who is one of
the two authors of the 2.2.4 'Unoff' versions - there are vast amounts of
code involved whose copyright is, at best, murky, and more often, almost
completely untraceable.

I can document code in the 3.0 codebase which was clearly taken from the
Unoff branch (with our blessing, mind you) - but the copyrights don't
reflect this (for that matter, there is only one major copyright file,
which makes it utterly unclear what parts of what files might have whose
copyright on them). All in all, things are messy at best, and I wouldn't
trust that it is even possible to properly obtain permission for any
relicense at this point.

Beyond that, the following text is taken from the copyright.h file in
the current 3.0 release:

* TinyMUSH 3.0 Copyright
* Users of this software incur the obligation to make their best efforts to
* inform the authors of noteworthy uses of this software.
* All materials developed as a consequence of the use of this software
* shall duly acknowledge such use, in accordance with the usual standards
* of acknowledging credit in academic research.
* TinyMUSH 3.0 may be used for commercial, for-profit applications, subject
* to the following conditions: You must acknowledge the origin of the
* software, retaining this copyright notice in some prominent place.
* You may charge only for access to the service you provide, not for
* the TinyMUSH 3.0 software itself. You must inform the authors of any
* commercial use of this software.
* The authors have made no warranty or representation that the operation of
* this software will be error-free. The authors are under no obligation to
* provide any services, by way of maintenance, update, or otherwise.

The last part of the third paragraph is blatantly non-DFSG-free, and
I would raise serious questions about any relicense statements by the
authors, given that the codebases they have derived from had an even
stricter license WRT commercial use.

To the best of my knowlege, there is nothing in any of the licenses
involved in any version of TinyMUSH which would prevent distribution, even
in patched binary form, so it should be fine for non-free (though, frankly,
I'm not sure it would be a worthwhile endeavor - and I currently run dozens
of games based on the code tree).
Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>                                        ,''`.
Debian GNU NetBSD/i386 porter                                        : :' :
                                                                     `. `'

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