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Copypasting vs. GPL/CC 3.0 reuse or adapt – your thoughts


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As I understand some of you (mainly Spring and Judith) are not very happy to share their work if others can then re-adapt re-use and alter the work.

 

 

As someone who has contributed literally thousands of free TDM assets and hundreds of prefabs for mappers to use, I take significant offense at the suggestion that I am "not very happy to share my work".

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Guys....that's enough. Stop.

That wasn't a case of someone getting upset because a bug was fixed, though. It was because Melan gave Bikerdude permission to fix a bug, and instead he redesigned the mission. I think everyone is i

Some people have mentioned the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism, and it is worth making clear that these are entirely different things. Copyright infringement is just copying s

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Are there TDM rules about using other people's work? I know about the CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 license but does TDM have its own rules about using other people's work? Where are these rules posted? If there aren't any rules, why not? It seems like a rather straightforward concept that this type of project would have rules/guidelines surrounding this critical area.

 

Also, I've read a lot of opinions from various members about rules which is great but I think it would be especially helpful to hear the rules from the TDM team member who is in charge of this project. Actually, I've been reading these forums for years but I'm still unclear, does TDM have a project lead or is it comprised of team members who all have an equal say about this project?

 

I ask these questions not to extend this hotly contested topic but from a desire to resolve or the very least to get some clarity on this matter by knowing what is TDM's official position on using other people's work.

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All this being considered, the FM is still WIP. It is my humble understanding that the aforementioned section of the map can still be modified to the point where it won't resemble the copied part. Ergo, either it is removed or modified to indiscernible/negligible similarity in regards to the initial complaint and become eligible for release for the satisfaction of everyone. Among other things, it seems to have been the original intent.

Exactly.

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The ability to re-use other people's work is what makes Creative Commons and Open Source so great. Don't give up on this easily.

 

Absolutely. As you said, the problem is more of a moral/cultural nature. And it's generally not a problem at all, as 99,9% of the community has natural sense of decency, and can extrapolate the general rule of "don't be a dick" to the context of using shared work. The current problem is how to stay in that framework, and yet be able to defend yourself from repeated acts of distrupting the status quo, and the trust among members of the community.

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I think it worth for future cases to define what is "beeing a dick" to the context of using shared work.

 

Whould I consider it a dick move if parts of my mission are blatantly copied by another author into his/her mssion even without asking me for permission?

No, not necessarily! As long as the author credited me as the original author of the copied sections I would be fine.

However if the way the author presents his mission suggestes that he created the copied mission parts in the first place I do consider it a dick move.

 

Would I consider it a dick move to see my mission bug fixed and beeing worked on without my permission?

Again it depends on how it's done. If anybody wants to re-release my missions everybody shall be fine to do so. But I then would expect them to use a slightly different name for the mission (e.g. "Fan Mansion Heist (Re-release)" or "Fan Mansion Heist (Bug-fixed version)") and do not put me as the author. People should make clear that it's a derivative work of their own based on my mission.

However if somebody re-releases my mission on the very same name so that people looking for my mission would not be able to find my original work I do consider it a dick move.

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Are there TDM rules about using other people's work? If there aren't any rules, why not?

 

 

We've talked about these types of issues repeatedly. In fact, I found a post back in May that was referring to exactly the same issue that started off this discussion.

 

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/19415-mission-modding-topics/

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18924-securing-assets/

 

The overall conclusion has always been that we're a community of mature individuals who behave like adults, so we don't need to make hard and fast rules. But that's clearly not working anymore.

 

the TDM team member who is in charge of this project

 

 

There is no team member who is "in charge" and never has been. Decisions are typically made by team consensus behind the scenes, with admins/department leads having slightly more say. However, there are precious few of those still active and even fewer who want to get involved with more Bikerdude drama again. We have always relied on the community act in an adult manner, and in general they come through. But if we can't even agree on whether blatant copying and pasting map sections without any attempt to get permission is a "bad thing", then maybe clear rules are needed.

 

I'm just sorry that a brand-new mapper's mission has been tainted by behaviour they had nothing to do with.

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The overall conclusion has always been that we're a community of mature individuals who behave like adults, so we don't need to make hard and fast rules. But that's clearly not working anymore.

 

I remember when issues like this had come up the first times, we actually sat down and formulated general decency guidelines in order to avoid future "misunderstandings". Back then, I always assumed the role of a mediator, trying to reduce the negative impact of all that drama. It clearly didn't work out as hoped for. Today, seeing how many people already left, I am not quite sure anymore if Biker's positives still outweigh the negatives.

 

Sorry man, but that's just how I feel. I have become almost inactive around here, because everytime I log in, it's the same $%!§.

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We've talked about these types of issues repeatedly. In fact, I found a post back in May that was referring to exactly the same issue that started off this discussion.

 

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/19415-mission-modding-topics/

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18924-securing-assets/

 

The overall conclusion has always been that we're a community of mature individuals who behave like adults, so we don't need to make hard and fast rules. But that's clearly not working anymore.

 

 

There is no team member who is "in charge" and never has been. Decisions are typically made by team consensus behind the scenes, with admins/department leads having slightly more say. However, there are precious few of those still active and even fewer who want to get involved with more Bikerdude drama again. We have always relied on the community act in an adult manner, and in general they come through. But if we can't even agree on whether blatant copying and pasting map sections without any attempt to get permission is a "bad thing", then maybe clear rules are needed.

 

I'm just sorry that a brand-new mapper's mission has been tainted by behaviour they had nothing to do with.

 

I can appreciate why TDM team members would be reluctant to make "hard and fast rules" but as you have stated, those lofty ambitions are clearly not being fulfilled. I wish you luck in deciding what to do about this situation, because I don't see any easy answers to this mess.

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As a programmer, I don't mind pieces of my code to be reused without any permission/tribute. And many programmers do so. But programming is technical thing, not an artistic one, and nobody sees the code when running the program :D I see that the question is much more sensitive for artists.

One objective reason to discourage copy/pasting maps is that it leads to lack of variety in FMs in the end, which is not good regardless of what we feel about it.

 

Looking through the beta thread, Bikerdude really said that the copy/pasted sections are going to be changed. But somehow he (i.e. Bikerdude) forgot to do so. I think it would save a lot of nerves if (copy/paste + modify) without getting prior permission was simply forbidden: this path leads to issues too easily. Given that all of us are separated from each other by a monitor screen, such issues often blow up.

 

Or it was intended that the original FM author had to change the copied sections? Oh, that assumption was a serious mistake!

I had one such story on my job. I created a branch and temporarily uncommented one ifdef in build script. Then I handed the branch over to my collegue, who finished work and merged it back to trunk/develop. Without rolling back my temporary change, since he did not knew about it :o As a result, the CI server blew up and stopped working for several days. Luckily, we never talk with the guys who had to fix all the mess, but we got some negative feedback indirectly :D And we had to change things so that no one needs to comment/uncomment that ifdef anymore.

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I haven't come up with anything in TDM yet, but I have made some missions using dromed. I will say, I can't see any situation where if my work was copied pasted and then used without it being brought to my attention first that I'd be OK with it. Even if things were moved around and changed afterwards. Something like that just seems lazy, and I can't see any positive twist on it. These missions are supposed to be personal creations.

 

That said, I don't think Biker was maliciously trying to steal anything or do anything unethical. I do believe his intentions were good, and I think sometimes he just doesn't think of the ramifications of what he's doing and how it will be perceived. He's usually doing something like this while helping someone else out, not just creating his own mission. So again, intentions are good even if the methods are questionable.

 

From what i understand, there's a bunch of modular and prefab stuff available now for the mod, so there's really no good reason to copy and paste from anyone else anyway. Unless you're just completely out of ideas, in which case, you should probably not be doing any editing anyway.

 

I do think it's going a bit far though to talk about encrypting and protecting pk4 files, and wondering if your work is covered under some public domain ruling (sorry, not real familiar with that stuff). Especially when that fear leads you to the extreme situation of just not releasing anything period because you think it will be stolen. This is all supposed to be for fun, and a hobby, and no money is exchanging hands. I think this community is more than capable of policing itself. And I don't think this practice is so rampant that it's out of control and can't be monitored.

 

So in short - Copy and pasting from missions is bad, unless A) it's from your own mission or B) you get permission first. That's just common sense and common courtesy, IMO.

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But somehow he (i.e. Bikerdude) forgot to do so

 

 

sometimes he just doesn't think of the ramifications

 

IMO you're treating Biker like a retarded cousin, who's allowed to do much more, because he got a nervous breakdown and spent several years in a psych ward. I'm not sure how's that going to help with anything.

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As far as I can see/am concerned, the issue is when the situation appears to be like this:

ed2.png

 

Regardless of intention, it looks like plagiarism. During my studies I was warned repeatedly against plagiarism, and one fellow student in the second year was facing a possible expulsion level disciplinary action because he'd forgotten to correctly cite a significant portion of one area of his work. Plagiarism is not a joke, avoid the hassle and either cite, or do your own work. That way forgetting something doesn't lead to this mess, where people are discussing whether or not someone who's been here from the very start should get the boot.

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IMO you're treating Biker like a retarded cousin, who's allowed to do much more, because he got a nervous breakdown and spent several years in a psych ward. I'm not sure how's that going to help with anything.

I was just trying to show you how easily the things could result in the particular situation.

No evil intent, no disrespect to other people and their work; just carelessness and lack of thought.

 

That's why I vote for comminuty guidelines to be strictly against copy/pasting.

Making it clear and well-known that everyone is strongly against any type of copy/pasting (without prior agreement with author) would convince everyone that this "shortcut" is not an option.

I don't tell my students "copy/pasting solutions is bad, and you understand, we are all grownups here...", I tell them "we consider copy/pasting as going against our trust, and so we punish it increasingly hard without second thought". And these are students in 3-5 years of university, they are older than a TDM mapper could potentially be.

 

And I vote against any technical/legal things like encryption or different license.

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No evil intent, no disrespect to other people and their work; just carelessness and lack of thought.

 

This is the thing I'm having trouble with understanding, especially in this example. That's why I compared it to not knowing that stabbing people is bad. But, the misunderstanding here might come from knowing or not knowing how these locations are made and with what. For example, in Thief 3 there are the whole buildings you can use as a base, to add your doors, windows, and the like. So nobody argues that someone stole the exact shape of a building from someone else. But in this case, buildings are made from single wall modules, and the curb line is made from individual pieces. Pretty much only reasonable use case would be, if Biker wanted to make an FM taking place in the same part of town where A New Job was, for sake of some continuity. But that would mean leaving most of the layout intact.

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Regardless of intention, it looks like plagiarism. During my studies I was warned repeatedly against plagiarism, and one fellow student in the second year was facing a possible expulsion level disciplinary action because he'd forgotten to correctly cite a significant portion of one area of his work. Plagiarism is not a joke, avoid the hassle and either cite, or do your own work. That way forgetting something doesn't lead to this mess, where people are discussing whether or not someone who's been here from the very start should get the boot.

 

 

I was just trying to show you how easily the things could result in the particular situation.

No evil intent, no disrespect to other people and their work; just carelessness and lack of thought.

 

That's why I vote for comminuty guidelines to be strictly against copy/pasting.

Making it clear and well-known that everyone is strongly against any type of copy/pasting (without prior agreement with author) would convince everyone that this "shortcut" is not an option.

I don't tell my students "copy/pasting solutions is bad, and you understand, we are all grownups here...", I tell them "we consider copy/pasting as going against our trust, and so we punish it increasingly hard without second thought". And these are students in 3-5 years of university, they are older than a TDM mapper could potentially be.

 

And I vote against any technical/legal things like encryption or different license.

 

One thing is citing in academia (where especially if it is not your final thesis, rules might not be so strict), basically means commenting , voicing your own opinion and something else to is to pretend to write a Master's degree thesis/ph.D where you presumably want to do something real serious and you invent new methods, new scientific approaches, systems etc. But here the FM is still WIP and nothing is final.

 

At the moment Bikerdude says he wants to remedy the situation. So, waiting for that.

 

Of course claims to invoke the banhammer without rules against this infringement is too rash - nulla poena sine lege.

 

I think we're all learning and it is good to have the discussion if the aim is to maintain quality. Criticism keeps us with a down to earth approach in life.

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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I have question about TDM stock assets - can I modify e.g. material definition (and/or texture image) and add it with comment "oryginal file by yyy, modyfied" or is it "locked" in oryginal form until I contact the author? Same for edited sounds, scripts..?

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It's also worth considering what license actually applies to a map file. Just because the mod assets are released under a CC license, does not mean that an individual mapper's map file is automatically required to use the same license, if that map file does not directly include prefabs or other sections of map that are protected by a copyleft license. If a map file does not include any CC prefabs, it is likely to be considered an entirely original work, in which case the default position (if no explicit license is given) is all rights reserved. In this case, plagiarising this map could indeed be a case of copyright infringement, although the usual IANAL disclaimer applies here.

I was wondering about that myself. TDM's LICENSE.txt refers to 'maps, textures, models, def files, audio assets, and all other non-software components of The Dark Mod'. That invites the question of whether maps not distributed with the mod are to be considered 'components' of it. Also: 'These licenses are applied in a good faith belief that the copyright holders, as listed in AUTHORS.txt, have implicitly agreed to license their contributions in this manner.' Not everyone who's ever released a map is listed in that file. (I'm not, and some of my scripts/defs are in the core mod.)

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Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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I was wondering about that myself. TDM's LICENSE.txt refers to 'maps, textures, models, def files, audio assets, and all other non-software components of The Dark Mod'. That invites the question of whether maps not distributed with the mod are to be considered 'components' of it. Also: 'These licenses are applied in a good faith belief that the copyright holders, as listed in AUTHORS.txt, have implicitly agreed to license their contributions in this manner.' Not everyone who's ever released a map is listed in that file. (I'm not, and some of my scripts/defs are in the core mod.)

 

Logical deduction probably leads us to believe that as long as these maps are accessible in the mission server list/mission downloader, they are part of TDM. That's how I understand it.

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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Some people have mentioned the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism, and it is worth making clear that these are entirely different things. Copyright infringement is just copying something without permission, whereas plagiarism is copying it and claiming to be the author.

 

True, so in this case it's not about copying assets, but copying level design, or asset arrangement.

 

 

If a map file does not include any CC prefabs, it is likely to be considered an entirely original work, in which case the default position (if no explicit license is given) is all rights reserved. In this case, plagiarising this map could indeed be a case of copyright infringement, although the usual IANAL disclaimer applies here.

 

There cases like mine, or e.g. Epi, where we're using custom assets almost exclusively. In my case it's actually 100% custom models and textures, no AI, probably not even UI / lightgem. If I understand this correctly, this special case might enable me to restrict the use of map file content more than GPL/CC? I'm fine with other people using my models, and they're protected from being sold by GPL/CC. I just want to restrict copying or reusing asset arangement / level design, to avoid situations like this one. Although that still doesn't protect level design of mappers who use TDM stock assets.

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I have question about TDM stock assets - can I modify e.g. material definition (and/or texture image) and add it with comment "oryginal file by yyy, modyfied" or is it "locked" in oryginal form until I contact the author? Same for edited sounds, scripts..?

 

If it's a stock asset, distributed with the mod, you are free to modify it and include the modified version in your map bundle provided you maintain and comply with the terms of the mod's Creative Commons license. You are not required to obtain permission from the original author, but you must give attribution (i.e. not claim that it is your own original work), and adding a comment along the lines you suggest is almost certainly a valid way of doing so.

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