What exactly license licenses?

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Apeirogon
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What exactly license licenses?

Post by Apeirogon »

What exactly GPL, MIT, BSD and other license licenses, idea or current implementation of the idea?

For example, let say that I have project "wanna be another doom port" with Ultra Strict License (USL), with closed sources and such high level of secrecy
that even I not allow know how it works :lol:
Developing it I stuck with the problem "how open up doors using 'use' key". That actually an alias but that not the point.
I also think that gzdoom is a work of a demigods of programming, so I open gzdoom repository and start searching something that can help me. I found there method "void M_OpenDoorWithUseKey()". I copy it to my project and it solved my problem.
But I cant use it as is, because gzdoom released under GPL license (which forbid usage of a project with it in closed source project) and I have USL license (which heavily implied incompatibility with GPL license). And I dont want to change my license.
Question now, what can I do to use it? Change variables names? Change method name? Rewrite it from scratch? Replicate it using some dark magic?

Technically, I know I can copy some part of a code from open sourced project to closed sourced, since chances that someone would actually check how my program and some other program work in memory editor EXTEMELLY small (and Im sure that most companies actually do so).
But Im now more interested in finding the line where "license protected" region ends and begins "it just coincidence/regular programming practice/how would you license bubble sorting algorithm :?: " region, what I can use and what not and how.
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Blzut3 »

Apeirogon wrote:Rewrite it from scratch? Replicate it using some dark magic?

This. Preferably you'd get someone else who hasn't seen the GPL code to rewrite the code based on a high-level description of what the code does, since if anyone knew you looked at the code then it makes it more difficult to prove it wasn't copied.

The license protects the implementation of the idea, but there's no exact line on what constitutes original vs derived code. Things get really complicated when code is simple enough to have only one way to realistically have done something. Which is why the best defense is to just not have seen the code in the first place. But if you did you'd want to try to find a way to rewrite the code so that its structure is significantly different while accomplishing the same thing.
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Chris
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Chris »

Apeirogon wrote:What exactly GPL, MIT, BSD and other license licenses, idea or current implementation of the idea?

You can't copyright ideas, just the particular creative expression of an idea (and then, only the creatively-expressed parts are protected). What exactly counts as "a creative expression" will be up to a judge to determine, though the standard is usually held pretty low.

Apeirogon wrote:But Im now more interested in finding the line where "license protected" region ends and begins "it just coincidence/regular programming practice/how would you license bubble sorting algorithm :?: " region, what I can use and what not and how.

Only one who can answer that is a judge. Otherwise, you'll need a copyright lawyer to give you their legal opinion and who could defend you if someone comes knocking. One of the reasons I've not been able to relicense OpenAL Soft away from the LGPL to a more permissive license, for example, is essentially that; regardless of how much I've changed and rewritten the code, I don't know if there's anything remaining of Creative Labs' original expression that they could still hold a claim to. I'm not a lawyer, so my opinion holds no weight.
Apeirogon
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Apeirogon »

Hmmm...
Okay, maybe someone know some court cases related to the licensing theme, so I can have at least something? Because I cant find any.
Only several cases when someone literally slap new icon on program, change backgrounds a little and named it an "original" product, but that already obvious cases. Or even if such court cases happened, they was solved "by mutual agreement", without general publicity?
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Chris »

Apeirogon wrote:Okay, maybe someone know some court cases related to the licensing theme, so I can have at least something? Because I cant find any.

The basic answer is that the license covers the copyrighted portions of the work being licensed. As for what parts of the work are copyrighted, that depends. Nebulous questions like "how dissimilar must I make something for it to no longer be under the original copyright/license?" can't be answered because it depends on the specifics. Copyright lawyers study this stuff their whole career and are unable to give definitive answers to even detailed copyright/license queries, because a judge can always come to a different conclusion.
Last edited by Chris on Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Apeirogon
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Apeirogon »

Ehhhhhh....its loophole in laws. Because without definite definition, tautology, result of the court can be anything.

For reference, in music industry if you song have more than ten-fifteen (differs from country to country) note in a row which have same tone, pitch, etc as notes sequence from another song, it only then counts as "stealing".
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Rachael »

Apeirogon wrote:Because without definite definition, tautology, result of the court can be anything.

And this is how the judiciary establishes laws - because things are ruled on precedent.
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Darkcrafter »

What kind of copyright subject it becomes if I made a hi-res version of the original doom game graphics, I mean not just upscaled via interpolation and added a layer of dirt to it but contributed enough changes so the original version completely lacks this pixel information?
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Rachael »

Without permission that still counts as a copyright violation - but with permission, I think it kind of goes joint copyright where id Software (or whatever company's work you're basing on) still owns the main copyright, but you also own enough of the copyright that neither id Software nor anyone else can claim your work.

When you have fucked up EULAs like the Warcraft 3 Reforged debacle though, that's a different story, and that's something that actually needs to be challenged in court.
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Darkcrafter »

Alright, thanks.
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Blzut3 »

Apeirogon wrote:For reference, in music industry if you song have more than ten-fifteen (differs from country to country) note in a row which have same tone, pitch, etc as notes sequence from another song, it only then counts as "stealing".

While that may be a general rule, even in the music industry it can't be that black and white. Otherwise there's probably a lot of infringing power/speed metal or similar genres where it's likely a single note could be repeated that many times.

Probably the best rule follow is: If you have to ask where the line between infringing/non-infringing is then you're infringing. A person's intent, as well as the intent of the written law are considered. So "I did just enough to check all the boxes to technically be legal" likely isn't going to be a useful defense even if you could define the exact criteria.
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Apeirogon »

Well, music industry have a lot of greedy persons, who do all to take through the court you home, car and wife after you purr some silly song in your head. And even they have some standards when "purrs" become "copyrighted material".
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Re: What exactly license licenses?

Post by Rachael »

One thing that the government needs to catch up to is that copyright is meant to protect creative expression, not profits. The fact that it continually is being exploited for profit these days make quite clear the flaws in the system that need to be addressed.

Even with minor improvements, the music industry would not be able to copyright a purr.

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