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Re: Alternatives to Creative Commons

(Please CC me on replies)

Hi Ben,

> > As some background, the works we are licensing are graphics for a
> > game. These are mostly created through 3D modeling. For this, mostly
> > Blender files are rendered into the pcx bitmap format. These pcx
> > files are sometimes manually post processed, and sometimes pcx files
> > are created directly.
> > 
> > Now, we are considering GPLv2, since the game itself is licensed as
> > such. In GPLv2, section 3 is the "if you distribute binary, you must
> > also distribute source" clause. However, this is worded such that it
> > is only applicable when distributing the work in "object code or
> > executable form". Since we're working with graphics, it is higly
> > unlikely that this will ever be the case, so section 3 will not be
> > applicable to our case normally. Is this indeed correct?
> This is one of the ambiguities in the GPLv2 as applied to software
> that is not programs (and even some programs). As you note, it depends
> on the interpretation of “object code”, which is never defined in the
> license.
> The GPLv3 is much better on this point: its §1 clearly defines both
> “source code” and “object code”:
>     The “source code” for a work means the preferred form of the
>     work for making modifications to it. “Object code” means any
>     non-source form of a work.
> The GPLv2, however, leaves the definition of “object code” open to
> interpretation. It would be inconclusive in any given instance until a
> court ruled on particular acts; not a desirable state of affairs.
> It's interesting to note that, terminologically, the GPLv3
> interpretation of these terms is not incompatible with the GPLv2; a
> specific licensor could argue that what they mean by those terms in
> the GPLv2 is what the GPLv3 explicitly defines them as.
> > So, in effect this means that using the GPL for our graphics will
> > ensure that the graphics will stay free and available form
> > modification, in whatever format the original authors supplied them.
> > It will not prevent possible misuse of the graphics, but that is not
> > a real problem (and somewhat harder to prevent, thouh GPLv3 might do
> > a decent job).
> The GPLv3, with its explicit and clear deliniation of “source code”
> and “object code” that would be easy to interpret for the graphic
> files you're talking about, would be a much better fit.
> I see two basic options for you to better use the GPL for the work.
> One:

> Re-license the entire work under the GPLv2, and clarify your grant of
> license to use the simple definition of terms from the GPLv3. This
> would have a license grant something like:
I guess you say relicense here, because this added clarification becomes in
fact part of the license itself? I guess this might cause problems when
including other GPL'd code, which does not have this clarification and thus
is a different (possibly incompatible?) license.

However, discussing this further is rather pointless, since there is no single
copyright holder for the project, and relicensing the game is not feasible.

What would perhaps be an option is to include this clarification nonetheless,
but (explicitly) not make it a part of the license, but say "this is how the
copyright holders of the graphical content interpret the GPL". Then, this
would just declare how we interpret the GPL, and how we would be defending it
if it ever came to court. Not sure if this is worth it, though.

Also, I'm not so sure that this simple clarification is enough either, since
there are multiple formats that are preferred for modifications. Which format
that is, depends on the actual sprite in question, the sort of changes you
want to make, the personal preference of the artist making the change, etc.

In short, I think it is better to avoid the matter alltogether and not try to
make section 3 apply to this work. This automatically happens when you apply a
strict interpretation of "object code and executable form". Since not applying
section 3 is not really a problem for us, I mainly want to confirm if this
interpretation of the GPL is in fact an acceptable one.

> Re-license the entire work — program, graphics, and all other
> software — under the GPLv3. This will benefit from better definitions
> that can clearly apply to all software, without needing extra clauses
> in the grant of license.
Again, this is not an option for use.

> Hope that helps; thank you for wrestling with these important issues.
Thanks for providing feedback!



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