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Old 04-30-2006, 12:56 PM   #61
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DonathinFyre wrote:
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Ethics are defined by a specific society's norms, and our text-mmorpg society has vastly decided(and vehemetly defends their stance on this) that making profit on a DIKU derived game, or otherwise breaking the license of the DIKU team is not socially acceptable, or ethical.
You keep claiming this, but fail to provide any evidence. Here's what I see: I see a couple dozen individuals, at most, who attack Medievia (and none of them have any proof or even rudimentary evidence that Medievia makes a profit). On the other hand, I see that Medievia has thousands of people in the MUD community actively supporting them by playing their MUD. The two largest community portals (Mudconnector and Topmudsites) also appear to have no problem with Medievia vis a vis the DIKU license (Medievia is off the TMS voting list for violating the voting list rules, but is still perfectly welcome here according to Synozeer, the site owner.)

Now, it may be that there are thousands of people in the MUD community who are 'against' Medievia, but if there are, well, show them to us instead of continually claiming that the people attacking Medievia are representative of the community.

--matt
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Old 04-30-2006, 12:59 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ April 30 2006,10:13)
 Quite a few other mud developers have publically mentioned Medievia as the reason why they've decided not to release their code - they don't see why they should bother, if someone's just going to strip out the credits and claim it as their own.

The only people who really benefit are those who run completely custom muds, and don't use anyone else's work.  For them, it reduces the viable competition within the community, as less newer stuff is being released.
This is sad to me, and together with the cryptic remarks of Threshold regarding the law as it pertains to IP it constitutes this sort of culture of fear that pervades the atmosphere for people who want to get into developing muds.

MOO and MUSH codes have for years offered in game coding functionality. I do not know what the state of their licensing is, but I know I hear a lot less about them than I do Diku, and that they appear to offer much broader features, though they admitedly require a lot more of the prospective builder than Diku or Lp would.

No one needs to get all defeatist just because a rather unique attempt to publicly license a work met with a certain amount of failure. IP law may be complex, but it's not so far beyond the lay person that they can't get into the business of mud design and coding without taking on a legal staffer just to protect general copyright. Apache and GPL appear to be viable alternatives for people who want to release their code publicly. I think the secret is not to try to use a copyright license as a prybar to control things other than how your code is copied and distributed. If you want protection on how it is used after it is out of your hands, that's where things appear to get complex, but there's no real reason to worry about that is there, if your intention is to release something for free use?
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Old 04-30-2006, 01:24 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ April 30 2006,10:13)
The only people who really benefit are those who run completely custom muds, and don't use anyone else's work. For them, it reduces the viable competition within the community, as less newer stuff is being released.
I don't think you're understanding the dynamics of running a commercial MUD. Outside of MUDs that got their playerbase from the AOL days (Simutronics' games, etc), I think most successful commercial MUDs (including ours) would never have succeeded without the large hobbyist MUD community growing the market in the early and mid 90s, and DIKU was a big part of that. Creating a market is -much- more expensive than plugging into an existing market, and I know Iron Realms would not have had the resources to create a market for text MUDs if one didn't already exist (particularly given that our resources in the early days consisted pretty much only of my time/sweat).

So I think there's an argument to be made that most of us benefited from DIKU's release, including me personally. I just don't see that as particularly relevant though, insofar as the DIKU team apparently doesn't feel it's even really being harmed enough to bother with their very clear legal avenue, and I'd agree. It's hard to point to any real harm they are suffering if the violations people allege are happening are indeed happening.

I also think DIKU II is a non-issue. DIKU was in the right place at the right time, which doesn't diminish its contribution, at all. To presume that DIKU II would have seen any similar success is baseless, particularly given that it's the legacy of work built on DIKU that makes DIKU valuable more than DIKU itself.

--matt
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Old 04-30-2006, 02:47 PM   #64
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You keep claiming this, but fail to provide any evidence.
I'm merely speaking from my own personal experience of having attended college for two degrees, one of them being specifically in sociology. I have better things to do than to provide a bibliography every time someone with less education on a certain subject than myself tries to invalidate commonly accepted theories by saying what you have just said.

This thread also is not an "anti-Medievia" thread, and I am not attempting to make it so. Medievia's success has made it the most easily accessable example of a MUD that has received social reproachment for its breaking of the DIKU License. Of course it still manages a certain level of professional success, and it has a playerbase that supports it.

You do not seem to understand what is being said, Matt. The majority of MUDs and Admins may or may not be specifically "anti-Medievia"; I would assume that many, many admins barely even think about Medievia(I never do, really, outside of the forums and DIKU Licensing issues). However, the majority of DIKU-derived MUDs support the spirit of the DIKU License by not attempting to make profit off of the DIKU codebase, and by crediting the original team that created the codebase.

The issue is the DIKU License. Medievia just happens to be the easiest example to draw of the license being broken, and the community responding with a judgement on its ethics.
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Old 04-30-2006, 03:34 PM   #65
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Well, for starts, the 'mud community' thing.

I'm not even worried about trying to prove how the community isn't backing DIKU. The point I'd like to make here is more people doesn't mean more right, or more ethical, or more anything, besides being bigger than someone else.

Big nod to whoever it was that made the distinction between 'gift' and 'chinese finger trap'. DIKU asked for more than they should have known to expect, and as a result people are falling back on their charity to villanize anyone who didn't play by their particular rules. If they wanted them followed, they should have made sure they had the guns to back it up. Making a sour face and inciting a forum mob to harass them to no end is a passive-aggressive way of handling the situation.

Everyone's #### looks pretty stinky to me right about now, and somehow it's never been thought that maybe these DIKU guys might have gone commercial in a heartbeat had they not been affiliated to whatever university it was.

Medievia's not going anywhere, Diku and crew won't sue, and getting red in the face and demanding to see everyone else's credentials don't change either.

As far as I go I won't speak further, I'm just going to take it as a lesson to keep my own stuff private or entirely public, because the in-between requires more padlocks than I could probably afford. Unless Aristotle's willing to take me pro bono publico someday.
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Old 04-30-2006, 04:08 PM   #66
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DonathinFrye,

"Grouping yourself together with Matt and Medievia(arguably the two most accessable symbols of questionable ethics within the MUD-Community), also brings your own opinion and value-set into the line of ethical fire. Your own agenda or angle are fuzzy, but not particularly important to understand in order to further this conversation."

I sort of missed how Matt got into this.  Is there something about the Rapture engine that is also questionable?  Does it have anything to do with Diku?

Or heck, Matt, you may as well clue me in if you're reading.

Mildly off topic, but I think if you do a little deft searching, you will find the history of 'Monopoly" is fraught with this same sort of drama.
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Old 04-30-2006, 04:18 PM   #67
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I sort of missed how Matt got into this. Is there something about the Rapture engine that is also questionable? Does it have anything to do with Diku?
He started this particular thread. Read the first few posts - they are all his. He also claims in them that ethics are decided by law(and then goes on to argue about the weak-law-aspects of the DIKU license). I got into the conversation by correcting him on the nature of ethics.

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ethics

n 1: motivation based on ideas of right and wrong [syn: ethical motive, morals, morality]
2: the philosophical study of moral values and rules [syn: moral philosophy]


law

n 1: legal document setting forth rules governing a particular kind of activity; "there is a law against kidnapping"
2: the collection of rules imposed by authority; "civilization presupposes respect for the law"; "the great problem for jurisprudence to allow freedom while enforcing order" [syn: jurisprudence]

WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

Since I apparently have to use the dictionary to show that ethics =! law.
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Old 04-30-2006, 04:36 PM   #68
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Oh, so it is not Matt himself so much as his view.  In other words, the person was grouping themselves with Matt and Medievia, and therefore going to have to face the issue of people feeling Medievia has done wrong, not Matt.

I think I get it now.  

No wait, I don't get it. I was just re-reading again, and you indicate that Matt and Medievia are two symbols. I am not understanding how Matt is arguably one of the most visible symbols for unethical behavior, other than just questioning the ethical imperative of DIKU licensing issues being respected.

Buh... I am confused.
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Old 04-30-2006, 04:44 PM   #69
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8-->
Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ April 28 2006,17[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]8)]So, as for the so-called moral/ethical issue around the DIKU license, some claim that following it (which tends to mean following their personal interpretation of it rather than someone else's) is a moral imperative.

I'd suggest that it's pretty hard to claim some sort of universal moral or ethical obligation to follow IP laws generally. Now, I personally am as stringent as anyone you've ever met when it comes to IP law. I don't illegally download music, I don't pirate software, etc. Not doing those things is part of my moral system.

But who am I to tell some Chinese peasant that it is immoral for him to xerox a book and sell it? Intellectual property as currently instantiated in the West is a very modern, Western-centric notion, and I guess I fail to see why the West's take on IP is somehow morally superior to much of the East, where IP has no moral, ethical, or practical legal force. There's an extreme difference there, but the same logic is applicable to this discussion. Who are you to tell someone that your view of the morality regarding something as specific as 'derivative works' is the right one? The whole idea of derivative works really has no bearing or history outside of legal systems to begin with. Certainly, no religion or major school of ethical thought has, as a tenet, anything regarding use of derivative works that I'm aware of.

And you know, those who fall back to the ethical or moral argument when they feel that the legal argument may be shaky are engaging in a bit of fuzzy thinking, I feel. What's the basis for an ethical or moral judgement on intellectual property if not the law? I'm not really aware of any major school of ethical thought which recognizes the lack of intellectual property protection as being somehow 'wrong' or unethical. IP law exists for a practical purpose, not a moral or ethical one.

--matt
I see here some discussion of how ethics are separate from the law.  I don't think that is the aspect of the whole thing the two of you actually disagree about.

Admitedly, Matt's post is a little obtuse, but he definitely is not arguing that the law defines ethics.  Rather, he is arguing that ethics are a rather pliable thing, much as you (Don) seem to be asserting.

One of you uses China as an example, the other uses the old Greek patronage system.  Both of you agree though that ethics are moldable.  I guess the question to me is, barring a real study of the makeup of the mud community, how anyone really knows what the opinions are.

I personally feel the ethical question regarding Medievia transcends anything specific to the mud community.  I think the "spirit" of their licensing understanding is more or less easily discernible.  I just feel it is unenforceable for reasons I have already gone into.  

They make us take ethics in our continuing education for being a property adjuster, and while ethics and law are indeed two different things, in general ethics tends to be going above and beyond legal minimal standards of acceptable behavior.  I think given that understanding, should anyone choose to accept it, Medievia is obviously unethical.

I just, like I said before, have come to the point where the discussion seems to me to have a negative impact on the hobby, and wish something could be done to get past it all.
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Old 04-30-2006, 05:10 PM   #70
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They make us take ethics in our continuing education for being a property adjuster, and while ethics and law are indeed two different things, in general ethics tends to be going above and beyond legal minimal standards of acceptable behavior. I think given that understanding, should anyone choose to accept it, Medievia is obviously unethical.
I agree, generally, though ethics can be dissected and studied far more specifically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I just, like I said before, have come to the point where the discussion seems to me to have a negative impact on the hobby, and wish something could be done to get past it all.
I disagree, generally. Yes, this topic has caused flame wars in the past(and probably will again in the future), as many other "hot topics" in the community have. This particular thread has been pretty positive(for the most part, at least), however.

The re-occuring argument here comes down to this. There are those[GROUP A] who would argue that it is not unethical to break the DIKU License, for whatever reason. There are also those[GROUP B] who strongly believe(and they are in the majority) that the DIKU License should be followed on basis of ethics, at the least. So the things that are happening in this re-occuring argument;

1) GROUP A tries to change the status quo of what is socially acceptable in our community, by trying to lobby for the disregard of the DIKU License as something worth abiding by.
2) GROUP B defends the status quo and states that the community believes that the DIKU License should be upheld.

and also;

3) Some of GROUP B decides that it is important to make it vocally known to the rest of the community which MUDs have broken the DIKU License. This is much like the groups in America that publicize when a known or potential child molester has moved into the local area. This approach, in itself, is the cause of debate by some.
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Old 04-30-2006, 05:44 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Shane @ April 30 2006,17:42)
Once the code has changed hands, it doesn't matter anymore about the license, because copyright law simply does not give any rights to check on or control that.  Copyright is about copying, not usage.
Copying is one of the rights.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wci

Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

* To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;

* To prepare derivative works based upon the work;

* To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

* To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

* To display the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and

* In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.


So what are you planning to do with the codebase which doesn't infringe any of those rights?  You can't compile it, you can't modify it, you can't make backups, you can't let other people connect to it...
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Old 04-30-2006, 05:47 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Threshold @ April 30 2006,19:10)
KaVir, I've always wondered this: Where did you get your law degree?
Where did you get your software engineering degree?

Don't have one? Does that mean you're not qualified to discuss programming issues? Should we all ignore your posts on programmnig topics, even if you cite links to articles written by well-known software engineers?
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Old 04-30-2006, 06:05 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (DonathinFrye @ April 30 2006,18:10)
I disagree, generally. Yes, this topic has caused flame wars in the past(and probably will again in the future), as many other "hot topics" in the community have. This particular thread has been pretty positive(for the most part, at least), however.
Well, nowadays I understand the issue a lot better, but as I have tried to point out, when I was first trying to make the transition from player to "Dungeon Master" as it were, the issues regarding LP and Diku were pretty arcane to me.

It makes it hard on the prospective "DM" to have to sort all this out, and emotional tension of the subject can lead to a lot of people simply backing off altogether just to be on the safe side. That's the damaging aspect I am trying to point out here.

There are a lot more options nowadays than there were back when too. Coffeemud and MUDMAKER being two.
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Old 04-30-2006, 06:06 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ April 30 2006,20:24)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ April 30 2006,10:13)
The only people who really benefit are those who run completely custom muds, and don't use anyone else's work.  For them, it reduces the viable competition within the community, as less newer stuff is being released.
I don't think you're understanding the dynamics of running a commercial MUD. Outside of MUDs that got their playerbase from the AOL days (Simutronics' games, etc), I think most successful commercial MUDs (including ours) would never have succeeded without the large hobbyist MUD community growing the market in the early and mid 90s, and DIKU was a big part of that.
I'm not saying that - in fact, I specifically asked "What do you think the mud community would be like today if there'd never been a Diku mud?" Without Diku, I believe things would have been very different today, and that's part of my point. Because now we'll never know how much more different it might have been if the Diku team had carried on developing.

My post was from the perspective of the state of muds today, now that the market is saturated with more muds than players know what to choose from. They've certainly got here with the help of Diku (and other hobbyist codebases), but the completely custom muds no longer depend on that continued development. If fewer hobbyest mud developers contribute back into the mud community, it's unlikely to greatly hinder the truly original muds (they write their own code), and may even help them (the competition is less advanced).
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Old 04-30-2006, 06:14 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ April 30 2006,18:44)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Shane @ April 30 2006,17:42)
Once the code has changed hands, it doesn't matter anymore about the license, because copyright law simply does not give any rights to check on or control that.  Copyright is about copying, not usage.
Copying is one of the rights.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wci

Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

* To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;

* To prepare derivative works based upon the work;

* To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

* To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

* To display the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and

* In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.


So what are you planning to do with the codebase which doesn't infringe any of those rights?  You can't compile it, you can't modify it, you can't make backups, you can't let other people connect to it...
I'm a bit confused as you are using a more or less typical set of examples about writings, music, art and so forth. Code copyright is the actual written code itself. I have not seen anything in this example at all to suggest that the activities you list constitute a violation of the copyrights.

The point at which copyright violations would normally be enforced is at the point distributing, performing, etc. Because the violation of the license happens afterward, people's privacy rights and so forth interfere with the enforcement of the copyright license as laid out for Diku.

And I want to be clear again I am not considering doing anything with the codebase. My interest in this is purely as a hobbiest who is worn out with the ongoing effect this debate has on potential builders and game designers.
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Old 04-30-2006, 06:32 PM   #76
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Maybe I can clarify somewhat, Kavir.

"MUD servers, unfortunately, break the usefulness of the GPL on a technicality. You can simply run a MUD server at home and let other people connect to it. That means you're not giving away a binary of your MUD server. The GPL only requires you to give source to the same people you give a binary to. You never have to give away a binary, so you never give away source. The GPL's intended purpose is foiled. There is no existing license that does for MUD servers what the GPL does for applications. That grudging spread of features has never happened for MUD servers the way it has for GPL-licensed applications and libraries. And so GPL-licensed MUD servers like Shattered World and ScryMUD have languished. "

-http://www.skotos.net/articles/neo3.phtml

Once one has a mud in their grubby little hands, copyright violations, even though they exist, cannot be enforced for similar reasons to why muds do not benefit from the explosion of the open source community. As multi-user platforms, they can be "shared" without doing anything that openly invites legal authorities to violate their rights to privacy, just as when running a mud, there is no reason to distribute the binary and therefore no reason to share improvements, because there is no copying and distribution going on of the code itself, only the added content that is indeed the work of the user of the engine. Anything anyone can legally and easily see about it is not a violation.


Fundamentally, muds are applications, not works of art, and I believe they would need to have patent protection for the sorts of enforcement you appear to believe is granted by copyright. That is not to say that a copyright violation has not occured! It's just that no one, including the owners of Diku themselves, seems to be able to fathom any way to catch the thief due to the "theft" happening after the thing is already given away to begin with, in any real physical sense. They didn't "steal" it until they misused it, but in order to prove the misuse, well, you'd have to access things of theirs that are protected from access without some sort of probable cause.

Given that something as simple as removing a line giving credit to the original team and changing the name of the game appears to be enough to keep the law off their backs, it seems a hopeless cause.

You see?

Probably had the Diku team been more diligent early on, you'd be entirely correct, but at this point I am not so sure that there's anything left that could be done now to enforce the license.
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Old 04-30-2006, 06:32 PM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ April 30 2006,23:42)
Isn't there a problem here insofar as you are assuming they are breaking the DIKU license? IP law is very complicated, as many posters (including one with a law degree) have pointed out. The idea that some non-experts on internet forums are capable of accurately predicting the outcome of a legal process involving the DIKU authors challenging Medievia is a little ridiculous. Even when I spoke to an IP expert on the matter, he cautioned that all he was giving me was an opinion based on the facts I gave him. I'm not a lawyer and I'm certainly not a lawyer who is an IP expert, so it's therefore entirely possible that I unintentionally left out facts that are material to the case. I'd have no way of being sure what IS relevant to the case, because I'm not an expert.
I believe they're breaking the (well) stated intent of the license.

As I said in my very first post, you can do one of two things with the DIKU license. Attempt to use the law (and IMO most likely succeed) to wiggle out of the license so you can break it without repercussions. Or you can follow the intent of the license.

For those who ignore ethics (whatever your personal ethics may be) and supplant them entirely with the law, following an unenforcable license would seem ridiculous. For those who follow a set of ethics that may differ from the law, it might (or might not, depending on your ethics) seem right to follow the intent. Read one of my previous posts to see my opinion in full (in fact, the post you quoted. Why'd you ignore all of it? I thought I was fairly clear on my opinion).

Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ April 30 2006,23:45)
The legal aspects aren't irrelevant though. If the DIKU teams feels they are being harmed significantly, the usual legal avenues are open to them. If they don't feel they're being harmed sufficiently to sue, then apparently it's a pretty minor issue in their lives.
It may be minor now, because of how much they've withdrawn from mudding (although it could be quite major), but that doesn't make it right. They shouldn't (IMO) have been forced to withdraw because of people breaking the intent of their license.

Sueing has advantages and disadvantages. Just because the disadvantages outweighed the advantages, doesn't mean that people breaking the intent of the license would have been some tiny part of their lives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ April 30 2006,23:56)
and none of them have any proof or even rudimentary evidence that Medievia makes a profit
Oh for crying out loud, please stop trying to redefine this argument. Please. Make a poll if you must, but no-one who defends the DIKU license accepts your interpretation of it. So stop trying to push it forward.
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Old 04-30-2006, 06:44 PM   #78
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I've often wondered why there is such an outcry in defense of the DIKU license in the MUD community while at the same time we routinely ignore the IP rights of authors.

How are the majority of the Star Wars, Star Trek, Forgotten Realms, Wheel of Time, World of Darkness, Dragon Ball, Buffy - The Vampire Slayer, Firefly and I have no idea how many other MUDs seemingly unaffected by the copyright and IP issues that seem to run rampant in the DIKU world? Why is it that the MUD Community doesn't appear to care about these potential abuses of copyright?

It seems we have two sets of standards - one for code and one for published works. Should that really be the case. For those of you who jump at any chance to point out those who may violate the DIKU license, why do you limit yourself to the IP rights of only that one group? Its possible I've missed posts regarding other IP issues or that there may be some special "use for on-line gaming" clause that I'm not familiar with, and if that's the case I'd like to hear a little about that as well.

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Old 04-30-2006, 06:51 PM   #79
Shane
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Sombalance @ April 30 2006,19:44)
I've often wondered why there is such an outcry in defense of the DIKU license in the MUD community while at the same time we routinely ignore the IP rights of authors.

How are the majority of the Star Wars, Star Trek, Forgotten Realms, Wheel of Time, World of Darkness, Dragon Ball, Buffy - The Vampire Slayer, Firefly and I have no idea how many other MUDs seemingly unaffected by the copyright and IP issues that seem to run rampant in the DIKU world?  Why is it that the MUD Community doesn't appear to care about these potential abuses of copyright?

It seems we have two sets of standards - one for code and one for published works.  Should that really be the case.  For those of you who jump at any chance to point out those who may violate the DIKU license, why do you limit yourself to the IP rights of only that one group? Its possible I've missed posts regarding  other IP issues or that there may be some special "use for on-line gaming" clause that I'm not familiar with, and if that's the case I'd like to hear a little about that as well.

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Sombalance
That's a cool insight.

It has to do with fair use, and you can find some interesting things on Wikipedia about fan art and so forth as well.

Basically, I think the makers of such works that are being used as the foundation of muds realize that the muds are nothing so much as free advertising, and that taking legal action would alienate more people than it would cause to buy their product.

http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/~howard/Pa...pyright99.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_art
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Old 04-30-2006, 07:11 PM   #80
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To toss a monkey wrench into the discussion,

http://www.brookings.edu/press/books/mathyoucantuse.htm

"How did the situation arise? And where should we go from here? In Math You Can’t Use, Ben Klemens draws on his experience as both a programmer and an economist to tackle these critical issues. The answer to the first question, he explains, is simple: while patent laws are intended to apply to physical machines, software is something quite different. Software is not just another machine, and it is not Hamlet with numbers. It is a functional hybrid that can be duplicated at no cost, it is legible by computers in some forms and by humans in others, and it has a unique mathematical structure. All of these facts have to be taken into consideration in designing an appropriate intellectual property regime."

Some, it seems, would question the ethics in applying copyright to software in the same way it applies to works of art.
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