Re: Jeremy, how do you feel?

From: Jeremy Elson (
Date: 08/25/94

I haven't been logging on as frequently as usual due to the normal end-of-
summer madness, so forgive the delay in responding to this.

> 	Recently, I recieved an offer of a site to run my modified circle 
> 2.2 on.  This particular site is a commercial internet access provider.  
> They have a system that they offer sites to some muds knowing that a 20 
> person limit will be put on the game at any particular time.  In order to 
> get on after the 20 person limit is filled, you must either wait for 
> someone to get off, or pay a fee to the internet provider to gain 
> access.  I used to play a DikuMUD at that had a similar 
> situation, and I did not think the DikuMUD creators had a problem with 
> this.  But in order to protect me and the provider, would the above 
> situation break any part of your license?  And/or would you have a 
> problem with a modified Circle going up under these conditions?

As others have stated, this is in violation of the DikuMUD license and
thus is disallowed.

Remember, the license is there for several reasons.  For one thing, here
at JHU, it is my understanding that any software developed under the
auspices of JHU must be used only for non-commercial purposes.  Doing
otherwise could jeopardize the non-profit status of the University.
It seems likely that DIKU has similar provisions, which is why they say:

   You may under no circumstances make profit on *ANY* part of DikuMud in
   any possible way. You may under no circumstances charge money for
   distributing any part of dikumud - this includes the usual $5 charge
   for "sending the disk" or "just for the disk" etc.
   By breaking these rules you violate the agreement between us and the
   University, and hence will be sued.

Note that the Diku creators are concerned with THEIR agreement with THEIR
University, which likely stipulates that software written at DIKU must be
used in a non-commercial manner.

Now, I am certainly not trained in law and thus the above several paragraphs
could be completely incorrect.  But they do reflect my (possibly incorrect)
understanding of the strict legal reasons behind the license.

However, the license has a deeper purpose in my opinion.  As others have
noted, many people have put hundreds if not thousands of hours into the
creation of DikuMUD and CircleMUD.  It was written as something to enjoy
and as an educational tool, but not as a cash cow.  It's not reasonable --
from a policy standpoint -- to allow charging, say, $5 "just for the disk",
or $3 "just for the use of the terminals".  If that is allowed, where does
it end?  How do I know someone won't come along tomorrow and say that they
spent so much money on fancy terminals, that they are justified in charging
$20 "just for the use of the terminals"?

I really don't want to become embroiled in legal battles over CircleMUD.
If that happens, the spirit of the MUD will truly be lost.  While I have
sympathy for those without sites, finding a site by charging for the MUD
is still unacceptable.  Just be patient -- the price of computers and
network connections will only go down.


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