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Tracking licenses for media/gamedata in TDM


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When talking about a possible libre version of TDM (https://forums.thedarkmod.com/index.php?/topic/22346-libre-version-of-tdm/) it seems we believe all media/gamedata included in TDM is licensed CC-BY-NC-SA.

I am not familiar with how the process of adding new media/gamedata works today; I have seen files uploaded to the bugtracker which developers then commit to SVN, but I don't know if there are other ways.

It may be a good idea to implement a process that when new components (media/gamedata included in TDM) are added, the contributor is asked to be explicit about the license (a choice which may defaults to their previous preference, for usability). It won't fix the past, but it may help in the future.

This will make it easy for contributors to add future data under a more permissive license if they choose. Libre media can be added and its license can be tracked, rather than assumed to be CC-BY-NC-SA.

I suggest looking at how Wikimedia Commons has implemented this: the contributor state the source and license at the time the data is uploaded. This can be done either by providing urls or by saying "It's my work and I choose this licsense".

The first step could be to add a way to keep track of each filepath in SVN, author, license, sources. Start by setting the value for each file's license to "(default/legacy CC-BY-NC-SA)". Possible implementations for a user interface for new additions are:
* Use our own wiki, which runs Mediawiki (same as Wikimedia Commons). I see several benefits of this, but we also need a way to accept uploads of batches, not just single files.
* Look at how other open source projects have solved this. There may be more appropriate solutions available.
... but I'll leave the implementation open. Suggestions are very welcome!

If the author of each file already in SVN can be tracked, then it may be possible that the author is willing to give a blanket permission for all their past files in one statement, and all their files in SVN can be updated in one commit. A productive contributor willing to release some of their work under a more permissive license could make a big change.

If Dark Radiant would support letting mappers search media/gamedata by license (does it already?), it would make it easier for mappers to create a completely libre mission, which would help facilitate a TDM-libre release. If I understand things correctly.

This post does not address all details and it may contain misunderstandings or assumptions, but it's a start.

Also relevant:
* Is there a compiled and maintained list of recommended or deprecated resources for mappers to use?


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It is much easier to assume that we have single license for assets and all the contributors agree to distribute under it when they donate their stuff to the project.
Otherwise you have to track metainformation for thousands of files, and surely there will be some errors made during tracking.

If I don't care about the "TDM-libre" story, why should I bother?


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10 hours ago, stgatilov said:

It is much easier to assume that we have single license for assets

True. And this is (evidently) not a dealbreaker for current contributors. But some of them may appriciate the option to release some of their contributions under a less restrictive license.


10 hours ago, stgatilov said:

track metainformation for thousands of files

That is a valid objection, and it would be too cumbersome to do it manually and file by file. A starting point is to assume all current files are "(default/legacy CC-BY-NC-SA)", and I mentioned "uploads [and licensing] of batches". We may look at how (and if and why) other projects do this. Wikimedia Commons is one example.


10 hours ago, stgatilov said:

If I don't care about the "TDM-libre" story, why should I bother?

Even if "TDM-libre" does not happen, the option itself may attract new media/gamedata contributors who only want their work under a less restrictive license. It seems unlikely that anyone would reject working on a project because it offers both options.

This is not something I would advise implementing in a haste, but rather that we consider costs and benefits as well as choose implementation wisely and future proof.

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@stgatilov: You also mentioned some relevant things here:

"Maybe start with finding who are these "we" people who want to change the license to assets?..."

So far I only know of myself. Others are free to agree or disagree. (It may be worth keeping in mind that the population of current TDM contributors is not a representative sample of the population of all potential contributors. Anyone who has already joined did so accepting the current conditions. If we offer options, more may want to join.)

"As a programmer, I definitely do not want to maintain any additional packages."

I understand. And since I can't do it myself it will never happen unless someone is willing to help.

"And I do not want to get entangled into any kind of licensing questions."

The strength of any collaboration can be evaluated by its ability to harness the talents and interests of each contributor. Any open source project, where everyone participates by their own free will, will have a hard time compelling any of its participants into doing something that does not interest them.

Edited by Fiver
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You've had almost 20 years of random people submitting assets to the mod. Would be nice to assume everything is done properly, but what are the chances that some things weren't?

I don't know if it's even possible to find that out at this point.

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I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.


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On 1/23/2024 at 2:08 PM, Fiver said:

Maybe start with finding who are these "we" people who want to change the license to assets?

Depending what happens with the legal status of content produced by generative AI, some contributors might not only want to but be legally required to distribute their assets under a more permissive license. We have already seen AI generated textures in at least one FM.

There is precedent from the US copyright office that all such works are automatically in the public domain and asserting any kind of copyright claim about them is fraud. That includes CC-BY-NC-SA, as all copyleft licenses still depend on asserting ownership over the work in order to set conditions on its use. Even CC0 is not actually the same thing as public domain.

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It's an asset flip, the same face, nose, lips, even marks around the eyes, just the different hair :D


I played the game ages ago and recognised her immediately, so others will too. Just remove it, it's cringe.

Edited by peter_spy
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Re: "Heather"

As I recall, Kingsal was gonna work on a replacement but he hasn't had a chance to work on it yet. We would gladly accept any offers of a replacement asset. I believe the story is that the asset was on an open free model site credited to a personal account. Sadly, this is a risk for any asset we don't create in house.

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Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:




(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Integrating CC0 or public domain assets is trivial because those "licenses" impose no restrictions whatsoever, allowing you to integrate and re-license those assets under a more restrictive license like CC-BY-NC-SA. So there is no need to call out or identify CC0 or public domain assets, just integrate them with the rest of the mod and you're done.

Including CC-BY-SA or other CC variants requires more care because those licenses don't allow re-licensing, meaning they have to be preserved as-is — i.e. you can't legally impose a "non-commercial only" restriction on an asset whose author chose to release it with a CC license which allows commercial use. If these assets were integrated they would need to be recorded somewhere along with their specific licenses.

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