Re: Liscensing and Copyrights

From: Sammy (samedi@DHC.NET)
Date: 09/24/97

On Wed, 24 Sep 1997, Jeremy Elson wrote:

> I've been thinking about this issue since I saw the original mail, and
> my inclination (believe it or not) is to say that a completely
> independent module that includes no CircleMUD code may be exempt from
> following the license.  I have a feeling that bringing a piece of code
> under the license just because it uses Circle's structures may be too
> strict of an interpretation.  (And as for the macros -- well, I
> suppose someone could just write their own macros to do the same
> thing as Circle's macros, but what would be the point?)

From what I've been reading about copyright law (in legal books, not in
r.g.m.d. :P), even the macros would be fair game unless you can prove
beyond a doubt that they cut and pasted (rather than typing the macro name
in themselves).  If you want to protect the macros you'd need a trademark,
which would silly.

> An analogy might be: are file format under the license?  If someone
> writes an offline creator program that produces output in the
> Diku/Circle format, I think that the program itself is still not under
> the Diku/Circle license and could be sold (providing, of course, that
> it doesn't contain Circle code for things like database parsing).  I
> think writing a plugin module for use with Circle that just uses
> Circle's structures is close to the same thing.

You can't copyright a format, tho you can copyright a written description
of the format as in building.doc.  I think that if it's a 100% original
code module you wouldn't be able to challenge it legally so long as they
aren't including any of your work in their distribution.

> I'd be interested in hearing arguments on this point, but my first
> inclination would be that an independent plugin module for Circle
> might indeed be saleable.

I agree.  I think that if someone can find a market for some commercial
add-on to circle, they should go for it, so long as they don't break the
letter or the spirit of the license (I suppose that's open to
interpretation), but I hope everyone will realize that circle is meant to
be free.

I for one have (tiny) hopes of one day turning my mud coding talents into
extra income, but I'm starting from scratch.  Most of the new ideas and
code I've posted to the list in the past month or two have been the result
of my reinventing wheels and I plan on continuing to share anything I
think is useful.


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