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Re: Questionable copyright on image file in stormbaancoureur packages

On Wed, Jan 09, 2008 at 03:09:58PM -0500, Barry deFreese wrote:

> In trying to upgrade to the latest upstream for stormbaancoureur for the 
> Debian Games Team, Paul Wise caught the following in the package.

> From /stormbaancoureur-2.0.1/images-stormbaancoureur/README

> "engine.tga
> Rendered from purchased 3D model"

> I contacted the author and received the following response:

> >>#2.  engine.tga.  In the README you state that it is rendered from a 3D
> >>model that you purchased.  That likely makes it non-free for Debian's
> >>purposes.  Can you be more specific with that?  Is it Copyrighted to
> >>someone else?

> >No, the image is copyrighted by me.
> >I purchased the right to make renderings from a 3D model.

> >This 3D model is not included in the game.

> Is this even possible?

Yes, of course it's possible.  Copyrights can be freely bought and sold.

> If he provides copyright are we covered?

His statement that he holds the copyright most likely protects us from
charges of willful infringement under US law.  That's about as much
protection as you get from any upstream; it's still copyright infringement
if an upstream is wrong about the license terms of a work, or if they lie to
us, but we don't generally demand extraordinary proof of ownership from our

In this case, it may be worth asking for further clarification since
upstream's statement is so vague on the matter of the model itself.  I.e.,
did the author buy the copyright to the model, did the model creator
disclaim all copyright on the model, or did the model creator merely provide
a license to the model (in which case we probably need to see that license
to be sure)?

I think it's a given that the image is going to be a derived work of the
model under copyright law, otherwise why would the 3d model have been
relevant enough to even mention?  So the copyright status of the model
itself is relevant to the distributability and freeness of the image.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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