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Re: GPL on rendered images

> >> a) declare that the images as they are are 'enough' to be considered
> >>    'prefered form of modification' and leave it as it is

> Raul Miller <moth@debian.org> writes:
> > If the 3d models were available, I imagine they'd be the preferred form
> > for modification.
> >
> > Since they're not available, through neglect, I don't see that they're
> > preferred.

On Tue, Dec 14, 2004 at 10:06:45PM +0100, Ingo Ruhnke wrote:
> So deleting the source makes it ok to distribute binary-only?

That's not at all what I said.

Since no one has cared enough about these 3d models -- to the point that
they apparently do not exist any more -- it doesn't seem reasonable to
claim that people prefer to work with these 3d models.

> >> b) consider it a violation of the GPL and no longer distribute it
> >
> > If someone had the 3d models and they considered the sprites to be
> > derived works based on those models, then we'd have to go for option b).
> >
> > But you seem to be saying that this isn't the case.
> Well, so far I don't know a single case where a game released under
> the GPL that was rejected from Debian, however almost none of them
> comes with 'source' for the images that are used in them. So I am just
> not sure how Debian handles such situations in general or if it tries
> to handle them at all.

The transformation from source to binary, as treated in the GPL, is a
completely mechanical process.  In the context of images, this would be
equivalent to taking an image file and rendering it to some device.

The transformations I believe you're concerned about are transformations
between different forms as used by the artist.  In the context of
programs, these would be equivalent to taking the source code as
internally stored in some editor and saving it to some file.

To my knowledge, when we're talking about "source" we're talking about
the files which are saved, and we don't really care about the surrounding
editorial information which might surround the context where that file
is saved -- even if that information might be potentially useful.

In the case of 3d models, we're at a very rudimentary stage of
development, rather analogous to programming in the 1950s.  If those
models had better tools associated with them, I'd worry about this more.

In other words, when our rendering environments and physics
implementations are robust enough that we think of them in "turing
complete" terms, we'll probably have tools where the source/object
distinction becomes relevant.  Right now, you're just talking about
different editor formats.  ("layers" vs. "flat image" is roughly
equivalent to the distinction between a word processor format and a text
editor format -- the source is the source in both formats.  3d models
vs. sprites, without a robust and standardized environment to do the
rendering, is like the distinction between manual pages and source code.)

I'm not saying that the cases you're talking about are never going to
be significant, but right now they all seem fairly trivial.


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