Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Postby fr1tz » 07 Nov 2015, 19:11

Just a heads up: I'm going to change the license from MIT to GPLv3 while I'm working on some stuff that I'd rather not have MIT'd. The stuff is not directly related to TOL but part of the same repo. Eventually I'd like to have some stuff GPL'd while the bulk will still be MIT'd. Hopefully someone here knows more about this, but as far as I know the easiest way to do that is to put the whole thing under GPL while offering parts (or in this case large chunks) optionally under MIT. But it's just going to be all GPL for now. I don't know, but if nobody has a problem with that it might make sense to keep it that way for simplicity's sake.
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Re: Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Postby Julius » 08 Nov 2015, 10:09

It's mainly a question of outside contributions, as long as it is all yours you can switch it back and forth as much as you like. Generally I don't foresee any major objections from this community, and I doubt many other people will have issues unless you are actually making improvements to the engine itself. In that case it would be definitely preferable to keep those things MIT.

But now that you teased us with additional stuff, please explain ;) Is it related to the tactics prototype you showcased a while back?
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
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Re: Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Postby fr1tz » 08 Nov 2015, 16:47

The stuff is for a new game. It's basically a computer-driven tabletop game (even though it can be played over the internet). Imagine a bunch of people huddled around a single screen cooperatively controlling the units on screen with their smartphones.
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Re: Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Postby Julius » 09 Nov 2015, 03:24

Ahh sounds cool (but not for me). You think people will "steal" the code if it isn't GPL though?
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Re: Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Postby fr1tz » 09 Nov 2015, 04:15

Julius {l Wrote}:Ahh sounds cool (but not for me).

Hey, don't rule it out before you've given it a try ;) But seeing as nobody (including myself) has actually played it (since there's not enough there to actually play anything) I have no clue how it will turn out. Might turn into something really cool. Might be a total waste of time. Or anything in between.

Julius {l Wrote}:You think people will "steal" the code if it isn't GPL though?

Depends. I think (hope) the design of the game (which is still top secret ;)) enables it to be both very accessible and very complex, go smoothly from very easy to very hard, be interesting for virtually any player count (single player, 2-10, to the possibility of having a game with thousands of players) and offer a stream of revenue to its publisher (smartphone angle). Now if I'm wrong about that, then not using the GPL will not cause anyone to "steal" anything. But if I happen to be right, then covering the whole game under the MIT license will tremendously accelerate it being killed by clones/derivates that actually have a budget and man- and marketing power behind them.
TL;DR it's just a case of "better safe(r) than sorry" :)
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Re: Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Postby Wuzzy » 10 Nov 2015, 18:48

But if I happen to be right, then covering the whole game under the MIT license will tremendously accelerate it being killed by clones/derivates that actually have a budget and man- and marketing power behind them.
TL;DR it's just a case of "better safe(r) than sorry" :)

Yes, it is true. MIT license does not have a clause which forbids that.
But, well, GPLv3 does not prevent that either. Someone with such resources could still do that, i.e. fork it and be more successful than TOL. The big thing which changes is that it is forbidden turn the fork into non-free software. The entity would be allowed to charge amount of money, but this would basically be meaningless for the community, because anyone could legally distribute a copy for free.

But I think with GPL this scenario is unlikely to happen. While “commercialism” and free software do not exclude each other directly, in practice they rarely come together (at least from my perception). Especially if copyleft is involved.

The GPL also has a danger which all copyleft-based licenses have. It is legally incompatible with a number of other copyleft licenses. It is (as far I know) not legally possible to combine stuff under different copyleft licenses, unless they are legally compatible. For instance, if someone wants to combine CC-BY-SA 4.0 stuff with GPLv3 stuff to create new stuff, that would be illegal (correct me if I am wrong). In these cases my guess is that you still have very good chances to negotiate a different license for your project, because the intentions are basically the same. But you may be out of luck if you can't find the copyright holder anymore. But I am not 100% sure about this copyleft thing.

In any case, I am not a lawyer, do your own research and make sure you read the license text first before you make a decision. ;)
Last edited by Wuzzy on 10 Nov 2015, 18:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Postby Akien » 10 Nov 2015, 18:55

Well there are examples of GPL games being forked just to sell them, like FlightGear (I knew other example but can't find them again, so I wouldn't be surprised that some try to sell rebranded STK), but in most cases it was done illegally as the GPL source code was not redistributed with the game, etc.. But that doesn't prevent people from being tricked into paying for your game by dishonest people.

Still, with MIT people can fork your game and selling it as a proprietary game, so indeed it's much easier for them to "steal" your work.

Personally I don't have anything against you changing license for GPLv3, copyleft rules :D
May I ask why you want to put a totally different game in the same repo though? Do you want to share some of the code? Wouldn't it be better to make it a kind of library if so, and initiate it in both repos as a submodule?
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Re: Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Postby Wuzzy » 10 Nov 2015, 19:04

Akien {l Wrote}:But that doesn't prevent people from being tricked into paying for your game by dishonest people.


Well, the GPLv3 also demands attribution as far I know, so this makes it even harder.
Yet you absolutely CAN legally earn money for GPLed software for which you have not contributed anything, as long as you do not violate any of the terms, which include attribution. The challenge is to find people who are actually willing to pay. ;)
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Re: Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Postby fr1tz » 10 Nov 2015, 19:17

Akien {l Wrote}:May I ask why you want to put a totally different game in the same repo though? Do you want to share some of the code? Wouldn't it be better to make it a kind of library if so, and initiate it in both repos as a submodule?


I suppose that would be "cleaner", but it would also introduce lots of overhead and make development and releases more complicated. Plus I always meant for TOL to enable totally different games to be played using the same client, all the groundwork for that is there (albeit crude in some places), but nothing yet that illustrates how to implement another "game" (if you look at the drop down menu in the "Play" -> "Host" GUI you'll see that there is only one game to choose from currently). Using the same repo "fixes" that gap.
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Re: Change of license from MIT to GPLv3

Postby Wuzzy » 10 Nov 2015, 22:33

Just a quick note here: If you decide to use GPLv3, I suggest you use phrasing like “GPLv3 (or later)” to avoid possible problems if in the future there appears a later (and incompatible) version of the GPL.
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