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Re: [Fwd: Memo on video game thumbnails]

Ben Finney wrote:
> >          Given the potential of infringing acts by a downstream user
> > of the thumbnails distributed by Debian, we recommend that Debian
> > distribute the images under the same license under which it
> > distributes the underlying game code.
> I'm confused by this. The preceding section just finished by saying:
> > Debian will, thus, not be able to distribute the thumbnails images
> > under a "free" license which would have allowed downstream
> > developers to use the thumbnails for any purpose.
> Doesn't this contradict the recommendation that Debian "distribute the
> images under the same license under which it distributes the
> underlying game code", if (as is supposed to be the case for all
> packages in 'main') that license *is* a "free" license?

My interpretation of the above is that you have two justifications
for distributing these images:
(1) fair use
(2) the game's license

If Debian were to distribute under (1), that would mean that downstream
recipients could only use the images for "fair" purposes under US
copyright law. That is a severe limitation and would certainly contradict
the idea that everything in main is free as in freedom.

Therefore the SPI lawyer recommends (2). A screenshot from a GPL game
may be considered to be covered by the GPL as well, so it can be 
distributed and used under the GPL's terms and conditions regardless
of the purpose. 

That does mean that a screenshot from a nonfree game cannot be
included in Debian main.

BTW, my opinion is that under Berne using a small screenshot as part of
an overview or discussion of computer games is a permissible quotation.


IT lawyer, blogger and patent attorney ~ Partner at ICTRecht.nl legal services
        http://www.arnoud.engelfriet.net/ ~ http://www.iusmentis.com/

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