How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

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maqifrnswa
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How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

Postby maqifrnswa » July 27th, 2010, 9:30 pm

Sandbox has allowed thousands of people to become game and content creators as well as develop a community that is sharing their work and work loads. This is a phenominal education experience in both the technical aspects of game design as well as the social legal aspects of programming (specifically open source programming).

While there are many great tutorials on how to create maps and modes, there are occasional posts like these:
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1046&p=7116&hilit=licensing#p7116
Obsidian wrote:
Out of curiosity, what are you licensing this under?

Or, are you not using a license to begin with?
License? No.

Why? Do you think I should license it?


viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1478
Why does the new release of sauerbraten has all the characters of platinum arts? and also has alot of platinum arts textures and it also has an rpg mode now platinum arts has nothing special why did you did this platinum?


This is a tutorial on software copywrite and licensing as it pertains to content created with Platinum Arts Sandbox Gamemaker.


Copyrights:
Whenever you create something that is publishable, you own the copyright to that work. So once you make your first texture or model you can put the following with it "Copyright 2010, Joe Sandbox <email@address.com>" (the email address is optional). When you have the copyright, no one can use your work without your permission. This gives you a lot of "power" in allowing how others can use your work. You can give people permission to use your work under certain conditions that you choose. This giving of permission is "Licensing."

Licensing:
Why should you license your work? Most importantly, it makes sure that your work is used the way you want it to be used. How should you license your work? Well, luckily for us, lawyers have donated time and written some very solid licenses that we are free to use for our own software (for example, the creative commons licenses http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses, which is used for the quotes below). The basic questions that you have to ask yourself: "Will allow other people to share my work with others? Will allow others to edit/modify my work (commercially/non-commercially)? If someone modifies my work, should I make them release it under the same rules I gave them?" Below is a list of choices you could use starting from most permissive to least permissive.

Public Domain:
Releasing your software into the public domain isn't really a license, it's just giving up your copyright. If you chose to release content into the public domain, anyone can use it for any purpose. Pros: it's simple and your work can be shared anywhere Cons: you lose control over your work

Permissive licenses:
If you want your content to be widely used, you can choose a permissive license such as the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. "This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered, in terms of what others can do with your works licensed under Attribution." Examples of software that uses a permissive license is the Cube2 engine that Sandbox is based on as well as the enet library (they use a variant of the zlib license). Pros: Widely usable by anyone, including for-profit companies. Cons: You may not have permission to use improvements or changes to your content that other people have made.

"Copyleft" licensing:
If you want your content widely used, and you want to make sure that you are allowed to use someone else's modifications to your work, then you can use a license such as the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license (CC-BY-SA). "This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use." In the interest of full disclosure, this is my favorite license. This is a powerful license, it requires that anyone who modifies (or makes derivatives) of your work can do it for whatever reason (even if backed for commercial reasons), but they must license their changes under the same terms. While this allows commercial use, it is practically limited to non-profit organizations since they have to give away a license to the content for along with the content. This is probably the "best" license if you'd like the widest usage base, the most people contributing/improving your work while maintaining that you can use the modifiations people use. You need this or a more permissive license to be included in the main repositories of Debian, Ubuntu, or Edubuntu. Pros: wide use and improvements by many groups, including commercial development, and all changes/tweaks to your code will also be made available in this permissive license. Cons: Your work could be used commercially, although if it is, a license to use and modify the content is included with the content (so people can share it with each other for free, legally, even if they "bought it." That's why commercial companies generally avoid this license)

Non-commercial licenses:
If you like the above license but want to make sure that your work is only used non-commercially, see the Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license (CC-BY-NC-SA). "This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature." Pros: Wide spread usage and modifications, and your work will not be used commercially. Cons: many software projects (such as Ubuntu/Edubuntu) are legally allowed to be sold, even though you can download it for free. Therefore, if you use this non-commercial license, your work cannot be included on their CDs since those projects give a license to people who download their CDs to sell them. You are legally allowed to download Edubuntu, burn it onto a CD, and sell it.

Restrictive licenses:
You also can have more restrictive rules on whom can use your software and what they can do with it. For example, you can make sure that no one is allowed to use or distribute your work unless you give them permission (which you could sell). You also could use the Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
(cc by-nc-nd) license. "This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, allowing redistribution. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially." Pros: you retain lots of control, possibly make money. Cons: it will have limited use in the community

Warranty:
This isn't necessarily part of licensing, but if you are producing something besides static content (i.e. scripts or programs), you can put a statement like this with your license/copywrite. This way you are explicitly not liable against data loss. "This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE."

How to license:
If you choose a CC license from above, make the following README.txt (or LICENSE.txt) file and add it to your package:
"Copywrite 2010, Joe Sandbox
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA."
Replace the "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License" with the license you choose and the correct link.

If you choose another license, replace the text with the license you choose.


Conclusion:
Let's look at those two question from the introduction:
Why license your content? Licensing is important since it sets the rules on how people can use your content. That is important since Sandbox is an open an collaborative project, your work can help others (and you can use other people's work too!)

How did Saurbraten get sandbox content? Sandbox content was licensed in such a way that allows others to download and use for non-commercial (and/or commercial use, depending on the content). Sandbox get's its engine from Saurbraten through the Cube license, and Saurbraten gets Sandbox content through the CC licenses. This way everyone gets more work done faster and produces better work in both projects!

Hirato
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Re: How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

Postby Hirato » July 28th, 2010, 2:37 am

very well written, consider this stickied

just to note an IMPORTANT point, we will NOT under ANY circumstances accept sandbox contributions under NON-COMMERCIAL or RESTRICTIVE licenses.
to put it simply, those types of licenses are absolute pains and hinders our ability to be legally included in linux distros (companies behind linux (such as RedHat and Novell) are for profit) and assorted publications (ie, gaming magazines).

on a second note. To the question about "sauer content". the content was from sauerbraten; it was always sauerbraten's. While sauerbraten doesn't contain any of our content, we contain plenty of theirs (license permitting). Regardless the point from the post above is still valid
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esequiel14
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Re: How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

Postby esequiel14 » August 3rd, 2010, 11:18 pm

Hirato wrote:hi

can we copyright a map?
check out my video tutorials and sandbox coolest maps in http://www.youtube.com/user/Esequiel14

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Re: How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

Postby offtools » August 4th, 2010, 7:22 am

thank you, very good post. it should be also moved into the wiki.

offtools.

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Re: How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

Postby siimvuss » August 5th, 2010, 10:04 am

this already is in wiki :)

maqifrnswa
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Re: How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

Postby maqifrnswa » August 6th, 2010, 7:49 am

esequiel14 wrote:can we copyright a map?


First the legal disclaimer: this is just friendly advice, if you're serious about trying to write your own licenses, you should consult your IP laywer ;-)

If you created the map, then yes, you own the copyright on the map. And you can license it how ever you'd like.

That topic is interesting (how do you license the output of another program):

"... copyright law does not give you any say in the use of the output people make from their data using your program. If the user uses your program to enter or convert his own data, the copyright on the output belongs to him, not you. More generally, when a program translates its input into some other form, the copyright status of the output inherits that of the input it was generated from. [Meaning the content creator owns the copyright and can license it] ..."

Taken from: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLOutput
[That quote is licensed too!
Copyright © 2010 Free Software Foundation, Inc.,
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.]

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Re: How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

Postby offtools » August 7th, 2010, 8:44 am

hi,

i'm not sure but i've heard crtitics about CC licences, they are not so proven than for instance GPL or other Free Software Licenses. Are there other Licenses appropriate for content / game content, which includes Copyleft? Btw: Is Debian accepting CC as license?

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Re: How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

Postby arcones » August 7th, 2010, 6:11 pm

I've already looked through this topic but it's definitely worth going over a second time. I'm bookmarking this for further reference :)
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maqifrnswa
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Re: How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

Postby maqifrnswa » August 25th, 2010, 2:37 pm

Sorry for the delay:

offtools wrote:hi,

i'm not sure but i've heard crtitics about CC licences, they are not so proven than for instance GPL or other Free Software Licenses. Are there other Licenses appropriate for content / game content, which includes Copyleft? Btw: Is Debian accepting CC as license?


Debian accepts CC licenses as long as they are not "NC" or "ND" meaning non-commercial or no-derivative. CC-BY and CC-BY-SA are OK to use. Debian requires that you don't discriminate against fields of use, and since their CDs (or derivatives such as Ubuntu) are legally allowed to be sold, you have to allow commercial use. (Of course they are only sold for about the cost of the CD media they are printed on since anyone can download the data for free). For all practical purposes, the "SA" (share-alike) clauses in the CC licenses effectively restricts the use to non-commercial work since companies don't like giving away permissive licenses for free, which CC-BY-SA requires them to do.

As for other licenses for content with copyleft, you can check out:
Free Content license http://artlibre.org/licence/lal/en
and the licenses here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison ... e_licenses (a good rule of thumb is to be GPL and/or DFSG compatable because most open source software will probably have some license with similar requirements).

I'm not familiar with using GPL for art or content, but it might work for them too. If you use GPL, it is generally accepted now to use "GPL version 2 or greater" in order to give people the opportunity to use it with newer or older software libraries, games, etc.

You're right that the CC licenses have not been legally tested much yet. Wikipedia is currently using CC licenses (CC-BY-SA), so there is a growing precedent out there.

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Re: How to license (and copyright) your Sandbox content

Postby goldstylez » December 31st, 2010, 3:57 am

"Copyright 2010, Joe Sandbox <email@address.com>" is "joe sandbox" a name or an example?
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