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Re: Bug#68256: License problems with TinyMUSH

On Sun, Aug 17, 2003 at 06:31:00PM -0400, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> On Sun, 2003-08-17 at 15:21, Joel Baker wrote:
> > The TinyMUSH package is not DFSG-free,
> Agreed. There are some additional problems:
> > * 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.
> Fails the desert island test (though the desert island test originally
> was modifications, so this may be even worse).

That being the most glaring problem, and the reason it caught my eye (on
scanning some archived ITP stuff for other reasons).

> > *
> > * 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.
> Unclear, but I don't see a problem here as long as its interpreted
> reasonably. It is possible that if interpreted less nicely, this would
> contaminate other works (for example, are data files used with the
> package covered?)

Context: the derivatives of TinyMUD are all "game" servers which provide
a virtual world for people to interact in. The context in which this was
almost certainly meant would, in fact, cover data files - the "world" which
was developed using the server as an organizational tool.

I don't claim to speak for the author's intent, but I would *not* assume
that their intent would not contaminate data files; historically, this
clause has been assumed to by many people involved in the development/user

> > *
> > * 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.
> Informing thing again.


> > 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 
> No. Nothing in that license gives us permission to modify, copy, or
> distribute that software. By default, we don't have those permissions.

Hmmm. I would bet that they did an exceedingly poor job of wording an
intent that includes other license texts which occur previously in the full
file (which are more benign; more or less being a 3-clause BSD license,
under which the modifications from 1.x to 2.0/2.2 were released).

The origional 1.x licensing is also... messy, so I wouldn't assume even
a 2.0 or 2.2 release would be DFSG-free, short of someone doing a lot of
legwork to demonstrate otherwise (author contacts, etc).
Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>                                        ,''`.
Debian GNU NetBSD/i386 porter                                        : :' :
                                                                     `. `'

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