GNU Software License : Why do I need to copyright my GMS game, before releasing it as Open Source?

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by Lord KJWilliams, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. Lord KJWilliams

    Lord KJWilliams Member

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    I need a second opinion about releasing a GMS game, as open source under a GNU Software license. I went to GNU's website to read their information on this, and what does not make sense, is that they suggest that I copyright my software before I register it with GNU as open source, in the USA ( since I live in the USA ).

    see:
    https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-howto.en.html

    At the section bold titled : Miscellaneous , they state :

    How do you violate a open source license ( its just like a public domain license except it has the code for anyone to use )? Secondly, why would you register the copyright? Does GNU software license make sense as a open source license, or is there another way for releasing open source software?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. 00.Archer

    00.Archer Member

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    Thanks for making this thread. I'm also looking into releasing GPL software so hopefully we can learn from each other.
    I personally really like the GPL, but unfortunately it's incompatible with GMS by design (unless you release source code and binaries under different licenses). As it is now, if you want to keep the share-alike nature of the GPL in your game, you could consider using the MPL 2.0 for your project.

    It depends on the license. Some, like the GPL, requires that all derivative works are also free and libre open-source software.
    MIT/BSD licenses offer no such protection.
    In case someone violates your license, it gives you more protection. Though, you are probably fine as long as you can reasonably prove you're the author of the software.
    Yes, it does!
    Yes, there are. You could release it under licenses like MIT, BSD or Apache. Those licenses, in contrast with the GPL, do not require the resulting software is released as free software.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  3. Yal

    Yal GMC Memer GMC Elder

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    Under US law, you automatically have the copyright of everything you create (as long as you don't do it with stolen intellectual properties, like using Mario sprites in your games). Releasing something as open source (or rather, copyleft, CC0, or whichever term is the most appropriate for the release in question) means you expressively give up your copyright on the work. I.e., you had the copyright, but by releasing the thing in the public domain, you don't have it anymore. This means your automatic copyright can't conflict with the opensource release, because you explicitly gave it up.

    (Also, I'm not a lawyer, so this doesn't constitute legally valid advice, etc etc)
     
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  4. Justice

    Justice Member

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    I haven't learned anything about IP law since taking a copyright class in law school, but I think both Yal and 00.Archer are right. In the USA, you automatically get copyright once your work is created in a fixed form (which includes software that's saved to memory). Generally, you'd only register a work if you want to be able to sue someone who violates your copyright. Although you don't need to register, registration makes it easy to prove that you created the work first and own the copyright. It also allows you to get statutory damages as opposed to having to prove that you've been harmed.

    I don't see the point in copyrighting something you're releasing as open source unless you expect that someone would either pretend it was theirs or do things that aren't allowed by the license (like making commercial, closed-source work based on it), and it's going to make you so angry that you think it's worth spending money to sue them. Which isn't likely.

    I'm copyrighting my game (in the next couple weeks, actually!) but only because I could theoretically (very theoretically) make way more money suing American pirates and demanding statutory damages than through actual sales, I'm a vindictive person, and I can sue in state court for the costs of filing. Even then, it probably wouldn't be easy or worth it, but what the heck, it'd essentially be a hobby if I wanted to try.
     
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  5. rIKmAN

    rIKmAN Member

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    Ahhh America, the only place on Earth where suing is a hobby! :p
     
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  6. Samuel Venable

    Samuel Venable Time Killer

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    I'm pretty sure if you were to try to license a GM game as something like GPL for example that can't be done because the GPL would imply you'd be providing the C++ source code to your game's runner, i.e. the game executable's source code is not the same thing as the GML in this context.
     
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  7. 00.Archer

    00.Archer Member

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    I don't think the issue here is that you'd need to provide the resulting C++ code. The issue would be that you can't link GPL'd software with proprietary software (which the GMS engine is). To do this but retain some copyleft, you'd need to use a license that allows static linking, but requires you to share any modifications that you make. Mozilla's MPL 2.0 and the wxWidgets licence are such licenses.

    I don't think releasing something as open-source necessarily equals to giving up your copyright. For example, if you release a GPLv3 software, it's your ownership of the copyright that allows you to sue people who turn your software into a proprietary program. It also allows you to relicense the program if you so desire (for example, selling it under a different license for someone else).
    I think your point is correct for CC0, since it's very close to public domain (literally "No rights reserved").
     
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  8. GMWolf

    GMWolf aka fel666

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    Any modifications you publish. You can do whatever you like with the code as long as you don't then distribute it.

    The GML source code does not contain any proprietary intellectual property. It's only after you compile it that it does.
    (You can't copyright a language)
    So just so long as you distribute the source GML code, but not the compiled executable it should be fine.


    It's a similar story with c++. C++ itself isn't proprietary so it can be used for opensource projects. However a compiler like MSVC is so you can't really distribute the compiled code unless you have an license to do so(which, you would have, probably).
     
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  9. 00.Archer

    00.Archer Member

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    Thanks for the correction. It's an important distinction. You're not required to publish changes if you never shared the software in the first place.
    I've thought about doing exactly that before (distributing GML source code under GPL, but binaries under a different license).
     
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  10. Lord KJWilliams

    Lord KJWilliams Member

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    But GML would be the only code I would be supplying in a open source listing and it would only be used and modified if another person has GMS - which is the point. I have a game that I want to share as open source, so that other people can take it and modify it for making similar works that could be better. I just want to do this with only one game idea I have.
     
  11. Lord KJWilliams

    Lord KJWilliams Member

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    Thats what I have in mind , distributing GML source code under GPL, but binaries under a different license - in my case Freeware .
     
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  12. 00.Archer

    00.Archer Member

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    Perhaps you could use GPLv3 license, with an exception that allows the user to distribute modified versions built with the proprietary GM engine, as long as they released the source code under the same license.
     
  13. Lord KJWilliams

    Lord KJWilliams Member

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    What if I used sourceforge.net , instead of GNU ?
     
  14. 00.Archer

    00.Archer Member

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    I'm afraid I don't understand the question. sourceforge.net is a website for hosting source code, while GNU is an operating system project, which created many things (including the GPL license).
     
  15. Lord KJWilliams

    Lord KJWilliams Member

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    Doesn't sourceforge.net have their own open source license which is independent from GNU ? Which is what I thought.
     
  16. 00.Archer

    00.Archer Member

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    As far as I know, they don't have their own software license, nor they have a default license for projects hosted there.
     
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  17. BattleRifle BR55

    BattleRifle BR55 Member

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  18. Justice

    Justice Member

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    Now considering changing my handle to The Modern Warthog.
     

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