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Re: Friking Shark videogame legal issues



Cleto Martín Angelina <cleto.martin@gmail.com> writes:

> In legal terms, source code is not a problem because is licensed under
> GLPv3.

What is the exact text granting license to the work?

> However, I do not know how I should consider the sound effects.
> "License.txt" talks about this:
>
> "Sounds effects are modified versions of sounds purchased at
> www.sound-effects-library.com.

The terms of use at that site do not grant explicit permission to modify
and redistribute, so without some other license from the sound effects
copyright holder it seems the game author is in violation merely by
redistributing the derived work.

> You can use these sounds for playing Friking Shark but if you plan to
> package and distribute the game you must replace them or contact
> www.sound-effects-library.com for explicit permission."
>
> IMHO, this is not DFSG compatible.

Definitely not.

> However, this note was written by Friking Shark upstream author
> because he didn't know what kind of license should be set. In fact, he
> sent me some emails where sound effects author said that "there is not
> need to include license".

The copyright holder in the sound effects might not understand what was
being requested, or may not understand what their site's license text
says.

Either way, it's not clear what “there is not need to include license”
means; it certainly isn't explicitly granting any permission to do
anything.

> Obviously, sound-effects-library.com has a Terms of Use[2] where it is
> indicated that sound may be modified, but:
>
> "The audio samples shall remain the property of Sound Effects Library
> Limited or its Library partners and are licensed, not sold to you for
> use on your audio equipment."

That's not a problem in itself, so long as the license terms make the
work free software.

Unfortunately that seems to be far from reality.


Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> writes:

> For reference, here are the terms of use currently shown at
> <URL:http://www.sound-effects-library.com/terms.asp>:
>
> =====
> Terms & Conditions
>
> Sound Effects Library Limited End User License Agreement
>
> Please read the terms of the following License Agreement before using
> any of these audio samples.
>
> By using any of these audio samples, you agree to become bound by the
> terms of the License Agreement. If you do not agree with the terms of
> the License Agreement, do not use any of these audio samples.

Dubious. Copyright does not, as far as I know, give the copyright holder
any power over what you do privately with your legitimately-obtained
copy of the work; so this is a clumsy over-reach.

What does “using” entail? What actions are intended to be covered by
this clause?

> Sound Effects Library Limited or its Library partners guarantees that
> all its samples offered on this Web site have been created and
> recorded specially by the Sound Effects Library Limited or its Library
> partners, and any similarity to any other recording is quite
> unintentional.

Doesn't fit in a Terms Of Use nor a License, but never mind.

> 1. The audio samples shall remain the property of Sound Effects
> Library Limited or its Library partners and are licensed, not sold to
> you for use on your audio equipment.

Weird punctuation, but this appears to just assert they hold copyright
(as though it were property, but that's just a framing issue).

> 2. A right to use the audio samples is granted to the original
> purchaser (end-user) of the product (the Licensee)

What actions does “use” entail? Perform? Redistribute? Derive from?
Other uses?

> and is NOT transferable.

Attempting to deny permission to redistribute under at least the same
license terms. This makes the work non-free.

> 3. The Licensee may modify the audio samples. The audio samples may be
> used for commercial purposes within musical compositions or
> soundtracks subject to section 7 below.

What actions does “use” entail? Appears to imply permission to
redistribute for commercial purposes, but is not explicit and I wouldn't
want to rely on that.

> 4. This license expressly forbids resale or other distribution of
> these audio samples, either as they exist on this Web site, or any
> modification thereof. You cannot sell, loan, rent, lease, assign or
> transfer all or any of the audio samples to another user, or for use
> in any competitive product or competitive web site.

Restricts redistribution for a fee, making the work non-free.

Restricts field of use, making the work non-free.

> 5. Licensor will not be responsible if the contents of these samples
> do not fit the particular purpose of the Licensee.

A warranty disclaimer wedged in place of a license clause. Clumsy, but
seems to have no effect on the work's freedom.

> 6. Provided the particular audio samples have been purchased from this
> Web site and from no other source, use of the audio samples in
> isolation such as in video game soundtracks or web sites or library
> music clips (where they appear in isolation or as stand-alone sound
> effects) is permitted subject to clauses 1 to 5 above.

What actions does “use” entail?

> 7. For the purposes of creating so called "library music" clips or so
> called "production music" clips intended for commercial exploitation,
> the included audio samples may only be used "in combination" with other
> sounds within musical compositions. […]

What actions does “use” entail?

> 8. Music tracks are royalty free and NO further payment is due however
> you MUST complete a cue sheet if they are for broadcast or public
> performance and submit it to the sound effects library.com. A cue
> sheet can be downloaded here and sent via fax or mail.

Imposes a requirement to contact the copyright holder when performing
the work in public, making the work non-free.

The rest of the terms appear to have no effect on the work's freedom.


So, these terms fail to make the sound effects free software:

* No explicit grant of permission to redistribute for any fee or no fee.

* No explicit grant of permission to distribute derived works for any
  purpose.

* Appears intended to be a grant only to a single party, without
  explicit grant of permission to redistribute under at least the same
  license terms.

* Imposition of a requirement to contact the copyright holder.

The license text also suffers overall from the unclear term “use”, which
could entail a great range of actions under copyright law but we can't
count on knowing which of them is intended by this copyright holder.


As far as I can tell, Debian has no license to redistribute this work
under any terms. The game author may not even have any license to
redistribute their modified work.

I would recommend that the game author get a widely-studied well-known
free-software license from the sound effects copyright holder (e.g.
GPLv3+ or CC-BY-SA-3.0). Until then prudence dictates they should cease
redistributing those works in the game.

-- 
 \      “If sharing a thing in no way diminishes it, it is not rightly |
  `\      owned if it is not shared.” —Augustine of Hippo (354–430 CE) |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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