Statement on UMC content licensing changes

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Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby vultraz » May 20th, 2017, 12:22 am

Last year, we released a proposal detailing plans to allow the use of Creative Commons licenses in mainline and on the add-ons server. The topic generated much heated debate, and sadly it was put on the back burner for awhile. We're happy to announce we are finally actively implementing some of the changes we talked about.

As of the writing of this post and the release of 1.13.8, we are henceforth allowing the use of any Creative Commons (CC) license for music and art on the add-ons server.

In order to specify the licensing for a specific work or group of works:

[...] graphics and audio explicitly denoted as released under a Creative Commons license either in a) a combined toplevel file, e.g. `add-ons/My_Addon/ART_LICENSE`, or b) a file with the same path as the asset with `.license` appended, e.g. `add-ons/My_Addon/images/units/axeman.png.license`.


Here's what that means for you as a content creator:

  • You now have access to music or art resources from sources outside Wesnoth, as long as they are licensed under a CC license and you are allowed use of them.
  • All code (WML, Lua, etc) assets must remain under the existing GPL licensing. These updated changes only apply to music and art resources.
  • All existing music and art will remain under GPL licensing. This change does not retroactively alter the licensing terms of any add-on.
  • The GPL will remain the default licensing option unless an explicit licensing file is provided for a specific resource or piece.
  • You are in no way required to re-license any of your music or art creations under a CC license of your choice. For those who do, however, we recommend CC BY-SA 4.0. It most closely resembles the GPL, so it will allow people to use your work much as before, providing they credit you.
  • If you see no explicit license stating an asset is under a CC license, assume it is licensed under the GPL as usual.

We understand that most UMC authors share assets freely among themselves. In fact, that was a major point in the debate as to whether to allow the use of more restrictive licenses such as CC BY-ND (non-derivative, one cannot edit). We hope you all take the time to check for any additional license files when borrowing assets from other add-ons, and adhere to the restrictions - or lack thereof - within. In general, please take the time to credit the authors (or, lacking info on them, the source add-on) of assets you borrow. This is a general requirement of most of the CC licenses, including BY-SA, and crediting authors or sources is good practice even for assets that do not have special licensing.

Also, add-ons which make use of the CC Non-Commercial (NC) license variant will not be able to be included in Wesnoth's iOS port, which will come with popular add-ons bundled in. This is due to the iOS port costing money to buy, which is a significant source of income for Wesnoth, and as such clearly falls under "commercial activity".

We hope these changes will allow you all to make even more varied and unique content. Feel free to ask any questions, but let's try to avoid any debate on merits of one license over another.

Thanks.
Last edited by Pentarctagon on September 24th, 2017, 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added part about iOS and CC NC
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby The_Gnat » May 20th, 2017, 1:49 am

This is an interesting and good change! I wonder what should i do to indicate a image is under a CC license?
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby Pentarctagon » May 20th, 2017, 6:35 am

The_Gnat wrote:This is an interesting and good change! I wonder what should i do to indicate a image is under a CC license?


From the other thread:
Now, we will not force this choice upon UMC creators. All WML and Lua will continue to be licensed under the GPL, and art, such as portraits and music, will continue passively to default to the GPL. Those who do wish to take advantage of the new licensing options may use two methods to mark the various licenses — a toplevel text file (for example, LICENSES or ART_LICENSING) that clearly enumerates all use of CC licensing, or alternatively, files placed individually with each asset using the same name as the art file with a suffix such as .license appended.


Also, moved to the Users' Forum so more people will see this.
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby vultraz » May 20th, 2017, 7:56 am

The final wording regarding licensing files was changed slightly in the final text. I've updated the first post with the version that appears when uploading an add-on. Sorry I forgot to post it from the get-go. :P
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby The_Gnat » May 20th, 2017, 8:02 am

So for example, a file next to my Frankenstein portrait named Frankenstein.cc-by-nd

Would that work?
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby vultraz » May 20th, 2017, 8:22 am

Naming it "Frankenstein.license" would be acceptable. Keep in mind, though, that this must be an original work by you if you intent to license it under a CC license (especially ND).
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby pyndragon » May 20th, 2017, 9:06 am

vultraz wrote:Naming it "Frankenstein.license" would be acceptable. Keep in mind, though, that this must be an original work by you if you intent to license it under a CC license (especially ND).


Just to clarify: it need not be an original work so long as the copyright holder releases it under that CC license. If it's an original work it's just easier because you only have to ask yourself.
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby oooo » May 20th, 2017, 11:02 am

vultraz wrote:...
  • All code (WML, Lua, etc) assets must remain under the existing GPL v2 or later licensing. These updated changes only apply to music and art resources.
...


But [Policy] Rules for the official add-ons server (2014-06-13) refers to GPLv3, and does not specify a version number of GPL.
So I guessed we could chose any versions of GPL.
(UMC authors could nullify a COPYING.txt in addons if they had not explicitly stated that a UMC licensed by GPLv2.)

Do you mean to reject any GPLv3+ contents now?
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby vultraz » May 20th, 2017, 1:04 pm

You're right, I made an error there. GPL v2 or later licensing applies to the main game itself, and our policy does not dictate the same restrictions for UMC content. I've corrected the original post. Thanks for pointing that out :)
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby Wayirr » October 20th, 2017, 6:35 am

While I do not mind GPL-compatible CC licenses, such as CC0 and CC-BY-SA, I do not think that allowing ND and NC licenses was a good idea.

Point one: you cannot simply download all add-ons you want without reviewing their content, if you use them for commercial purposes, such as iOS port or arcade kiosk anymore.

Point two: what if you find a resource in other add-on which you want to modify a little, in order to make it fit and it's suddenly under ND? Either, you didn't read license file: people rarely care to read legalese, and modify it anyway. Then while you did it in good faith (maybe UMC author didn't read this announce), you can still fall under copyright violation. And if it was not ND, but NC, then you might render your add-on non-free by accident, which is not nice too, either.

Or you did read license, and then you release that you cannot include the resource. It would mean that search for fitting resources becomes more troublesome, since you have to both look at picture (which can be easily done through units.wesnoth.org ), and to its license, which cannot be easily done, you will have to download whole add-on.

May I suggest to review this policy and allow only CC licenses without NC and ND clause?

Or at least, a new "tainted" flag should be added to add-on server configuration, so the player might see whenever add-on contains non-free content before downloading it, and filter it in interface, so such add-ons are not displayed.
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby pyndragon » October 28th, 2017, 5:55 am

Wayirr wrote:Or you did read license, and then you release that you cannot include the resource. It would mean that search for fitting resources becomes more troublesome, since you have to both look at picture (which can be easily done through units.wesnoth.org ), and to its license, which cannot be easily done, you will have to download whole add-on.


As a UMC developer, I understand what people dislike in this regards. It definitely is more effort. But to put it succinctly: I believe this is a good thing. Just stuffing random assets into a campaign, while popular, probably isn't legal, since the copyright notices of the art are rarely preserved, a requirement even of the GPL; and even if it's legal, it's morally reprehensible to use those assets without crediting the creators. I want UMC creators to spend a bit more time researching their resource choices.
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby Wayirr » October 28th, 2017, 10:26 am

You didn't understand my argument, it seems. Problem with finding fitting resource arises. Even if you are ready to credit the author properly, and going to do it anyway, after this change you will have to download whole addon you wanted to take resources from only to discard it after reading its license and finding out it is proprietary. Or even worse, it could mean tainting your add-on with illegal resources accidentally.

Crediting the authors is not the problem here at all. The problem is with licenses which prohibit commercial use and/or derivative works.

Problem can be mitigated by making a new flag in add-on server, which allows to clearly see whenever add-on contains proprietary assets or not before downloading it and option in interface, which hides such add-ons.
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Re: Statement on UMC content licensing changes

Postby Pentarctagon » October 28th, 2017, 11:15 am

It is something that has been mentioned, and that I do hope happens eventually. As with every feature though, somebody has to code it, and Wesnoth has been chronically short of developers for a while now.
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