LEgal advice: Licensing Open Games

I as many of you, am (starting to) work on an Open Game project. Verge of War project, see signature.

First things first
Although I already did fairly sure made up my mind regarding how to license this game,
with in mind that the game must be open to use and reuse for both commercial and non-commercial projects.
Why commercial? Well, so it is possible to pay the bill, development costs a lot and it is only fair to be able to get your contribution out there and get something in return IMO. Also commercial projects are promising a better future, as in more chance of better improvements in shorter time periods and able to survive.

That said… :rolleyes:

Why bother about Legal?
To license an Open Game project, the legal part is not just quite crucial, it is essential.
You have to take actions, your are bound to take legal decisions. To make sure the work will turn out as intended and isn’t abused or misused (in the case of an Open Game, converted into proprietary for instance)

Which license to use? :eyebrowlift:
There are several licenses out there where amongst a few very popular and well known.
In the case of an Open Game, you rather quickly look at the GPL and the Creative Commons licenses.
I figured after some investigation to use these:
Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 & General Public License GPL 3.0

But up until this day I still ain’t sure about these, and for these reasons:

  • GPL isn’t really intended to protect artwork (models/textures/audio/etc.)
  • GPL is ideal for Open Source programs and tools (code/script)
  • CC is intended for artwork (models/textures/audio/etc.)
  • CC isn’t able to cover programs and tools (code/script)

So a logic conclusion;
Use GPL for the code/scripts, my first pick anyways and Blender already happens to be GPL licensed.
So perfect fit for code/scripts.

For the artwork simply use the CC license. :eyebrowlift2:

The problem
GPL isn’t compatible with the Creative Commons License.
The share-alike of Creative Commons is likely (can and probably will) cause problems.
At one day these licenses may grow apart and can no longer exists in one release.
It is very hard to point out the line where two different licenses divert and what is the contrast that makes a certain part of the Open Game fall under either one of the licenses if not both. :confused:

So it is still not that obvious to proceed as intended.
Now the project actually starts/started, I need to finalize the decision,
and to avoid the risk of having trouble with determining what falls under which license, and the risk of having two licenses which might render incompatible, I am currently revising the initial idea, and am leaning towards using only the GPL license.

This will result in a lesser artwork fit, yet does address most problems. And the GPL license uses “source code” which can be read or seen as the data which withholds the representation of the actual as we perceive it: artwork. :rolleyes:

What do you think is the best way to go?
I am eager to find out about your experiences and knowledge, to learn from and take into account while deciding. :eek:

After quite some reading and researching, I decided to go with the GNU licenses, as follows:

GPL 3.0 for everything, from code to artwork
FDL 1.3 for wiki, manual, et cetera.

These are both GNU licenses so are most likely to stay compatible.
When documentation breaks with the content it probably isn’t a huge problem.
But this prevents fragmentation to the limit.

Benefits with this combination:
No license fragmentation, no future obstructions, easy to track and communicate.
Not the downsides of the Creative Commons licenses (a.o. not everything is 100% securely covered as actual indefinite public)
No breaking (as in diversion of) with the Blender license.
Future proof due to being bound to one license party (GNU / FSF).

After quite some research I found that GPL is the license of choice for Public Open Game projects.

Took quite some time and energy, but I am glad I have a result with which I am confident it is the right choice to make.
For the project in question specific, it will function properly as well, since the artwork is likely to all be made from scratch anyhow, and for script/code the GPL is the most common and already BGE’s license of choice.

Satisfied :smiley:

Hi crumpet

I think the licences depends of the goal of the project. The GPL makes the protected sources available for everyone. Which is fine for Blender as it is GPL already.

The question is what you want to do with artwork. Should it be available for others too? Should the artwork be more protected or less?

You can have a different licences. It just must be clear what licence belongs to what subject.

Just my thought

Thanks for the reply.

I agree that the priority is based on the legal details of what it is the project aims for.

In the case of this project (VoW), the intention is contributing a good complete resource for the general public to use for both commercial and non commercial purposes.
In other word, some free organic-kerosene and a free service for the BGE engine. :smiley:

The major problem is (was) that two different licenses over time may render incompatible.
Creative Commons in this case is developed by an other party then the GNU licenses.
The GNU licenses are more likely to to evolve in the same directions, then the already very miscellaneous Creative Commons.
So based on the current situation, Creative Commons is already fragmented, so in the future it might just get worse.
While the GNU licenses although not specifically targeting artwork, it does fit the load and is already clearly heading one direction.

With GNU everyone knows what the rules are, while with CC already many ppl refer to the CC as a license, but the CC consists of many very different licenses. So confusion is abundant and waiting to cause problems.

Besides this as indeed mentioned before, the GNU licenses are already in use for BGE, so therefor in higher demand and availability, hence a logic next step.

This leaves artwork, but after some research I come to the conclusion that the GPL is equally fitting artwork as the CC licenses do.
WIth the benefit that everything, artwork and code, goes under the same legal terms.
No shady grey areas, everything is GPL.

This creates the opportunity for GNU FDL to use for the documentation, also a GNU license.

So a long story short:

Yes, everything should be available to the general public, this includes artwork.
With few restrictions, in order to protect the future developments, it has to stay Open Source.

(Intention: make it easy (and low cost) for anyone to use the BGE for game development, while giving back to the community)