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Old 02-24-2005, 10:56 AM   #41
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I recall reading an interview done on some of the original Diku team on Orion's own site, perhaps someone could just get in contact with them and try to settle this little dispute once and for all.  Although I must wonder if even a definate answer from one of the Diku team will settle the qualms of either side.
It won't. The argumentation goes like this: "The Diku team has botched up their licence and they have no say in the matter any more."
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Old 02-24-2005, 12:04 PM   #42
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Well, I can already tell you that KaVir's correct about the ownership issue: the license itself doesn't explicitly transfer ownership to anyone (the mention of the University doesn't serve this purpose), and the copyright record number he provided gives their names as the owner of the copyright interest.

Regarding unenforceability due to the impossibility of fulfilling a clause in the license, I couldn't say generally without some research on the matter. However, in this case I think it's pretty easy to sidestep the issue completely; the plain language of the document says that "you must send us a message"; it doesn't state anything about the need for the message to actually be received or acknowledged in any way in order for the license to have been fulfilled.

At any rate, I just emailed the Lexis rep at our school to find out if it would be possible for me to include the source materials as PDF files that I dig up with my research, so people without access to legal databases can still read for themselves to judge the accuracy of my findings. I'll probably get started on this thing in a couple days or so.
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Old 02-24-2005, 12:04 PM   #43
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TheTrollCap wrote:
Come now KaVir, give credit where credit is due. Lusternia although of the same engine and mediocrely different features, has quite the storyline. Estarra has created an imaginative and immersive world,
Quite possibly, but if someone took a Diku mud, created new areas, added a few new classes and skills, than claimed to be something amazingly new and original, they'd be laughed off the forums (I've seen it happen).

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Originally Posted by
I recall reading an interview done on some of the original Diku team on Orion's own site, perhaps someone could just get in contact with them and try to settle this little dispute once and for all. Although I must wonder if even a definate answer from one of the Diku team will settle the qualms of either side.
Oh I've spoken to the Diku team at some length (or at least, the two of them that are still active) - I wouldn't have tried to defend their interpretation if I didn't know what that interpretation was.

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Hephos wrote:
It would also bring fourth some very nice aspects imo. Such as making (some) people able to live off their games which would make games overall more well developed as more fulltime jobs in the community would be available.
People can do that as it is - it's just that they have to have the skill and dedication (or the money and dedication) to actually create a mud from scratch. Nobody's putting a gun to your head and forcing you to use the Diku code.
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Old 02-24-2005, 12:33 PM   #44
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People can do that as it is - it's just that they have to have the skill and dedication (or the money and dedication) to actually create a mud from scratch. Nobody's putting a gun to your head and forcing you to use the Diku code.
Hmm you are missing the point. Of course people can do that as it is. Without the license it would be easier, and more people could do it. Not just skilled people, or rich people, but your kid next door that has a vision or the rest of the 95% of the mud developers that could never pull something like that as it is.
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Old 02-24-2005, 12:43 PM   #45
 
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Feb. 24 005,11:20)
People can do that as it is - it's just that they have to have the skill and dedication (or the money and dedication) to actually create a mud from scratch. Nobody's putting a gun to your head and forcing you to use the Diku code.
Yeah, there are dozens of publicly available (and free) mud servers that have licenses amenable to commercial exploitation. There are even commercial muds running on them. The Eternal City for example runs on the ColdC server.

And really there are only ~70 Dikumuds running today. Most Dikurivatives are running under several additional licenses. For example, there are ~300 CircleMud derivatives running under a license that is quite explicit IRT commercial use and donations.

I'd wager very few people download Diku, as it no longer even compiles on modern Unix systems.
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Old 02-24-2005, 12:59 PM   #46
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Oh I've spoken to the Diku team at some length (or at least, the two of them that are still active) - I wouldn't have tried to defend their interpretation if I didn't know what that interpretation was.
Yeah. A number of people in this thread are pretending that the DIKU team ran into a room like the legendary runner of Marathon, handed the license over, and collapsed dead. They've spoken at length on this topic (including their disgust at exploitation of the kind promoted on this thread) and their intent was made clear. Disputing their intent is rather moot in light of that.
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Old 02-24-2005, 01:45 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by (Tyche @ Feb. 24 2005,17:43)
Yeah, there are dozens of publicly available (and free) mud servers that have licenses amenable to commercial exploitation.  There are even commercial muds running on them.   The Eternal City for example runs on the ColdC server.  
Actually that's also a very good point.

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And really there are only ~70 Dikumuds running today.
By "Diku" I was also refering to its derivatives, which are also bound by the same licence.

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Most Dikurivatives are running under several additional licenses.
True, although AFAIK only Circle elaborates on commercial use.
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Old 02-24-2005, 03:56 PM   #48
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A simple command of English lets one see that the licence actually states "You may under no circumstances make profit on *ANY* part of DikuMud in any possible way", and a simple usage of a dictionary shows that one "possible way" of defining profit is "a valuable return : GAIN".
Exactly, gain. If your expenses are greater than or equal to your revenue, you have gained nothing. I'm willing to bet you they don't consult the dictionary on a term that's so frequently used in contract law. Traithe had said something about there possibly being a fixed legal definition of profit, but he didn't know for sure.


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So "nothing", then.  Unless you count hiring someone to write a codebase for you, then licensing it to other people for 5-digit figures plus royalties.
I could start with creating jobs (you know, something of tangible benefit to the world), but I think I won't even bother elaborating.

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So I did a quick search - my mistake!  Apparently there are only four IRE clones.  Hopefully Traithe will be able to do something a bit more original.
Heh, says the guy who was earlier bragging about 100 people running a clone of Godwars.

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Of course you have a vested interest - otherwise you wouldn't bother.
Only if you consider "the truth" a vested interest. If that's the case, then yes, I do have one. I don't really care which way the research comes up, as I've got no agenda one way or another. You're the one with the stated agenda. I'd just like to feel like the mud world has gotten a valid opinion on the issue.

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Originally Posted by
http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html

"5) "If you don't defend your copyright you lose it." -- "Somebody has that name copyrighted!"

False. Copyright is effectively never lost these days, unless explicitly given away."
Well, I'm glad you were able to dig up a quote on a website, but this is why I'd like an expert opinion to give a detailed answer specifically tailored to this issue. I'd suggest that the law is a lot more complicated in practice than what may be gleaned from that kind of site.


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You mean "If the licence says I have to send an email, and that email bounces, does that mean I don't have to follow the licence any more?"?  Come on, are you honestly telling me you believe that?

Your licence requires that the mud owner pay you a large amount of cash.  Do you think that, if they send you the cash and for some reason your account refuses the payment, they are free to ignore your licence from that point on?
No, I don't -believe- anything regarding this. It's a question.  I've not got my mind made up by any means. I'm not a lawyer, and I'm definitely not a lawyer who specializes in contract law. Again, this is why an expert opinion would be helpful. A former partner at our law firm advised us that the DIKU license doesn't prohibit revenue, just profit, but it was just an offhand reading not a detailed formal opinion.

Given that you've never read our license document, I think it's funny that you'd event comment on it. Of course what you write wouldn't work, because the license is written to prevent that kind of possibility.

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6. What's the definition of profit likely to be used?

7. If profit is defined as revenue, is there any basis for MUDs to collect revenue to pay for server costs or personnel costs or whatnot?
I believe these two are the crux of the situation.
What's interesting about this is that it's pretty hard to imagine any sort of middle-ground on a layman's reading of the license, at least. If revenue is prohibited then anyone taking donations is possibly a license violator, though I suppose it comes down to the interpretation of what making revenue "on any part of DIKUmud" means. This, of course, would be horrible for hobbyist text MUDs generally, as it means the big ones would have to find another way to cover their server costs. And of course, if one kind of cost is allowed, I can't imagine a justification for not allowing another kind of cost: personnel costs. And then we're back to profit rather than revenue, in which case the only way to prove someone like Medievia is violating the revenue/profit clauses in the DIKU license is to look at their financial statements.

--matt
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Old 02-24-2005, 04:01 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by (Hephos @ Feb. 24 2005,09:51)
Imo, why don't the diku team just remove the license and make everyone use it as they wish... thats a nice thing for the mud community. To settle the stupid arguments would just be great enough for me I don't see them earning money off the license anyways, or in fact earning or benifiting from having it at all. How many muds really use their valhalla thing, or will be in the future?

It would also bring fourth some very nice aspects imo. Such as making (some) people able to live off their games which would make games overall more well developed as more fulltime jobs in the community would be available. It would widen the text based community... More commerciallity = more people will get into the community, more possible advertisment to attract non text-based people, more financial means overall, more competition (=better games).
I couldn't agree more Hephos. I'm perpetually unsure what the objection is to people making money in a way that doesn't take anything away from you. Is it ego? I honestly have no idea. But what you write is dead on. Allowing more people to focus their energies on text by freeing them from worrying about day jobs would be a huge boon to the text community. And as you say, it's not like valhalla is making anyone any money. Releasing a codebase even with commercial restrictions is a cool thing to do, but it'd be a lot more helpful to the community if they were released without that kind of prohibition. What I would have done in their shoes is release it without commercial prohibition and just say that you owe a flat royalty percentage on any revenues earned in connection with the codebase (obviously with much more legalese involved). That way they still benefit and people are free to commercialize. (Although given that Medievia is still operating without any hassle from DIKU, it's pretty clear people can commercialize already, whether that violates the license or not.)

But, I don't actually know if it's possible for the license to be released. I dunno how that works. Is that a retroactive change of the contract terms? I suspect that could be gotten around if the DIKU team just released a signed statement stating that they will never take action against DIKU offenders, but I don't know. Definitely a question for the IP lawyers, not me.

--matt
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Old 02-24-2005, 04:05 PM   #50
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Oh I've spoken to the Diku team at some length (or at least, the two of them that are still active) - I wouldn't have tried to defend their interpretation if I didn't know what that interpretation was.
That's an interesting point aside from the license. If you did grant that one party to the license contract could validly interpret it while the other couldn't, then are 2 members of the team enough? How is copyright ownership split up in terms of control? What kind of legal arrangement do they have among themselves in terms of control? What if another member disagreed? How does control get divvied up in the probable absence of a passable legal agreement between them?

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True, although AFAIK only Circle elaborates on commercial use.
Yeah, both Merc and ROM, for instance, just say you have to follow the DIKU license and make no mention of revenue or profit or whatnot beyond that.

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Old 02-24-2005, 06:05 PM   #51
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Sarapis
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Originally Posted by
That's an interesting point aside from the license. If you did grant that one party to the license contract could validly interpret it while the other couldn't, then are 2 members of the team enough? How is copyright ownership split up in terms of control? What kind of legal arrangement do they have among themselves in terms of control? What if another member disagreed? How does control get divvied up in the probable absence of a passable legal agreement between them?
Try
http://copylaw.com/new_articles/collab.html

or any of many similar links. The music community, in particular, seems to be aware of this issue.

To find more, one of the key search terms you're looking for is "joint work" copyright. Add things like license to narrow it down to the specific types of rights you're interested in.

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Old 02-24-2005, 06:48 PM   #52
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5-->
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Stilton @ Feb. 24 2005,17[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]5)]Sarapis
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Originally Posted by
That's an interesting point aside from the license. If you did grant that one party to the license contract could validly interpret it while the other couldn't, then are 2 members of the team enough? How is copyright ownership split up in terms of control? What kind of legal arrangement do they have among themselves in terms of control? What if another member disagreed? How does control get divvied up in the probable absence of a passable legal agreement between them?
I was curious enough to call our primary business lawyer about this. She is not an IP specialist per se in that she deals with all sorts of entrepreneurial business issues, but has dealt with IP issues, particularly software copyrights and licenses, extensively.

So what she said is this (obviously, this is all under American law here):

1. Assuming the DIKU guys don't have a formal written agreement between them governing issues regarding ownership of the copyright, then the five of them each have a 20% share in the copyright.

2. In the absence of said agreement prohibiting this, any of those owners could issue a new DIKU license under any terms they wanted. They would have to account to the other owners if they made any money off the sale or license of the DIKU code or copyright though.

So basically, unless the DIKU guys have a formal agreement governing the ownership of the copyright, each of them can make his own decisions on licensing issues. It'd be interesting (just on a hypothetical level), to see them issue different licenses, though that doesn't really help the ROM and Merc users, whose licenses point to the current DIKU license, if rather vaguely (ie they don't specify which DIKU license, though there's only one in existence currently that I know of).

--matt
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:14 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Feb. 24 2005,20:56)
Quote:
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So "nothing", then.  Unless you count hiring someone to write a codebase for you, then licensing it to other people for 5-digit figures plus royalties.
I could start with creating jobs (you know, something of tangible benefit to the world), but I think I won't even bother elaborating.
The question was what you have contributed to the mud community. Hiring someone to give up their current mud and work on a different one really makes little difference to anyone else.

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So I did a quick search - my mistake! Apparently there are only four IRE clones. Hopefully Traithe will be able to do something a bit more original.

Heh, says the guy who was earlier bragging about 100 people running a clone of Godwars.
Not bragging - simply pointing out that you claim "Your ignorance of successful mud development is astonishing, though that's not surprising" is unsupported by the facts.

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What's interesting about this is that it's pretty hard to imagine any sort of middle-ground on a layman's reading of the license, at least. If revenue is prohibited then anyone taking donations is possibly a license violator, though I suppose it comes down to the interpretation of what making revenue "on any part of DIKUmud" means.
Well obviously they couldn't stop you accepting donations through your website - the licence applies to DikuMUD, while the website (unless has Diku code or areas printed on it) falls outside the scope of the licence. This is also the view stated by the Diku team.
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Old 02-25-2005, 05:52 AM   #54
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Well, there's good news and there's bad news.

The good news is that I heard back from the Lexis rep a little earlier, and I'll be able to distribute all the cases, statutes, secondary source materials, etc. that I dig up along with my research findings. I'll probably just put the whole thing up on the SoI website and turn the legal case cites into links to the proper PDF files so you can read for yourself.

The bad news (sort of) is that I just found out my partner and I made it into the next round of the school's crimlaw moot court competition - which means my free time over spring break has just taken a considerable hit, due to the practice obligations. Plus, depending on how far we make it the competition lasts for most of March - so I may be pushing back the timetable on this thing by about a month or so.

Hopefully I'll still be able to scrape enough free time together before then to get this thing rolling, but we'll see how it goes.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:04 AM   #55
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The question was what you have contributed to the mud community. Hiring someone to give up their current mud and work on a different one really makes little difference to anyone else.
In the interests of ending this pointless squabbling, I'll just leave it at this: A job and a hobby are not the same thing, nor do they contribute the same thing to a community. One feeds people, sends people's kids to college, pays mortgages, and so on. If you want to disagree with that, go ahead. It's not even worth a discussion. There's a reason rl communities care about job creation and not hobby creation, frankly.

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Well obviously they couldn't stop you accepting donations through your website - the licence applies to DikuMUD, while the website (unless has Diku code or areas printed on it) falls outside the scope of the licence. This is also the view stated by the Diku team.
Brings up an interesting question then: What if you charge just for stuff that's not part of DIKU. IE you don't charge for access or any abilities that's part of DIKU, but instead you charge for virtual items, for instance, which you create. Your creations are not part of DIKU, though they are derived from DIKU. I'm not a lawyer, obviously, and I suspect that issue's never really been dealt with before in courts in any other medium. Seems like it'd still be staying in bounds of the license though.

--matt
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Old 02-26-2005, 05:57 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Feb. 26 2005,06:04)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
The question was what you have contributed to the mud community.  Hiring someone to give up their current mud and work on a different one really makes little difference to anyone else.
In the interests of ending this pointless squabbling
No squabbling, just a simple question of what you've contributed to the mud community. No need to be ashamed if the answer is "nothing" - a lot of people have contributed nothing. Of course such people don't usually throw stones in their glass houses.

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Brings up an interesting question then: What if you charge just for stuff that's not part of DIKU. IE you don't charge for access or any abilities that's part of DIKU, but instead you charge for virtual items, for instance, which you create.
If your mud is a Diku derivative, then it is bound by the Diku licence. If you moved your (completely original) creations to a different medium then you could charge for them; an entire scratch-written area written could be sold without any problems because it's an original work and (when not integrated with Diku) falls outside the scope of the Diku licence. But when integrated with Diku, the game and areas become a combined work, and therefore have to follow the Diku licence conditions

Take the Intel C++ Compiler as one of many examples - they allow you to use it for non-commercial purposes. You can use your code on a different compiler, or sell the source code, but you couldn't sell the executable.

This is also the same reason why the LGPL was created - to quote from their licence "The reason we have a separate public license for some libraries is that they blur the distinction we usually make between modifying or adding to a program and simply using it. Linking a program with a library, without changing the library, is in some sense simply using the library, and is analogous to running a utility program or application program. However, in a textual and legal sense, the linked executable is a combined work, a derivative of the original library, and the ordinary General Public License treats it as such."
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