Re: License for Help Files and startup screen

From: Mysidia (
Date: 08/30/01

>         However, there was one sticking point; the GPL has no requirements
> to require that the user of the game (a player) be shown the original
> creators in the login sequence.

IANAL, but: A simple software license can't successfully impose
restrictions on the legal use of software.

That is, licensing is required only to copy and distribute software.

You don't have to be licensed to actually 'use' a program as long as
you don't copy it.

Hence it would be impossible for the GPL to require users of
software to do something with it or prevent them from doing
something to it outside what specifically must be licensed.

Specifically, a license can only restrict copying/distribution.
And unless you are bound by some contract prior to receiving a
copy of the software, the user has the rights to make 'fair use
of a product'.

The implication would be that the 'login sequence' and 'credit screen'
restrictions are only meaningful if you are copying or distributing the

IMO, The Diku license is overreaching and overly vague.

Some items in the Diku license itself are downright confusing:

1. It doesn't specify licensing of deriviative works, it just says
"DikuMUD" throughout.  Usually a license says if/not it's ok to modify
a package and release another package based under the modifications,
and in that case the licensing of that package...

That means if I wanted I could potentially release a modified Diku
package and use the GPL on just my individual custom modifications,
have two licensing options for various bits and pieces within
the same package package and confuse the h*** out of people <G>

2. It lists restrictions 'login sequence' or 'help credits' that
   perhaps make sense for a traditional mud system but -- what if I
   wanted to use Diku code in a non-interactive program?  For example,
   suppose for some reason I liked DikuMud's get_from_q or whatever and
   wanted to use it in something else...

   Or suppose I were making a non-traditional game system where the
   interaction would not be the same as a mud (ie: all text shown
   is handled by the client which is GPL-licensed and only the
   server uses DikuMUD code -- I could potentially suppress the
   output in the client, the requirement would be useless)

   (Actually, maybe not.. the license specifically says
    'DikuMud', which refers to an entire and specific package)

   According to the Diku license i'd have to have to copy their
   huge credits file into my system for some 10 lines of code
   and make some sort of 'help credits' command and a
   'login sequence' of some sort.  Oh yeah, and i'd have to forget
   about using the GPL or something like that on the package too.

   It just so happens it works backwards too, since the GPL
   is designed to protect GPL'ed code from using in software
   that isn't free as Diku clearly isn't.

The Diku and other people who had a part in creating a MUD system
deserve credit for their work, but having a license attempt to
set operating restrictions is ridiculous.


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