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Old 10-15-2003, 04:45 AM   #21
Hephos
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Well IMO I believe most people (and MUDs, no matter if they are free or commercial) would benifit from a more lightened view of the DIKU licence regarding donations and accepting money. Personally I (we, Mythicscape) would benifit from it in a commercial aspect (aiming for a non-diku commercial game) in such a way that if smaller games started enforcing payments we would have a larger possible customer base.

Commercial games: If hobby muds and smaller games, especially those that is not as well developed as the commercial games (that can spend lots of money developing the games) would start to accept donations or even "force" people to pay2play it would benifit the larger  games. Players would then rather pay for a well developed game than a hobby game that enforces pay2play and hence the larger commercial games would get more customers.

Hobby games: Some of the games (not owned by rich admin kids) would greatly benifit from being able to accept donations for server upkeep costs and other monetary aspects such as for example banner advertisement campaigns. Being able to actually give something back (in-game) to the players that donate would greatly help out these games.

I cannot see anything "bad" with a lightened view of the diku licence regarding monetary donations and in-game rewards for anyone involved... In fact if someone contacted the licence holders and had them to lighten the licence it would benifit the mud community as a whole imo.

Ironically, the only ones I can see would NOT benifit from a more open licence to donations and in-game rewards are the muds currently already doing this (ie aardwolf, medievia to name a few). Atm they get money off their playerbases which they can use for gaining new players (advertisement) and keeping the game stable and running on good networks (expensive hosts). If other muds could do the same, the competition to them would increase.
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Old 10-15-2003, 04:50 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Hephos @ Oct. 15 2003,04:45)
Hobby games: Some of the games (not owned by rich admin kids) would greatly benifit from being able to accept donations for server upkeep costs and other monetary aspects such as for example banner advertisement campaigns. Being able to actually give something back (in-game) to the players that donate would greatly help out these games.
But you already can. Nobody is going to stop you and it's not violating the license. You're innocent until proven guilty and as Kavir said, the issue won't be fully settled until it goes to court, which isn't going to happen.

I completely agree with you, btw. Allowing players to give money to what they love is beneficial. You have to wonder why anyone would object to that.
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Old 10-15-2003, 05:08 AM   #23
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I do not understand why you find this a big issue. Are most of the most popular muds heavely modified away from Diku ?
What interest should hte creators of diku have in preventing sombody from running their mdu wuch used double as much time on programming than themself ?
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Old 10-15-2003, 05:45 AM   #24
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Well, the creators of DIKU have very little interest in it. It's been going on for years and they've taken no action whatsoever.

But, hypothetically, their interest could be in the fact that they DO have restrictions attached to the use of DIKU and those restrictions should be respected. Even if you wrote enough code so that the original DIKU code represented only 1% of the code you're still based on DIKU and that requires that you follow the DIKU license. Indeed, even if you start with DIKU and eventually replace ALL your code, you're still based on DIKU and thus still responsible for the license.

Really, it should not be a big issue. Muds taking money hurts nobody and only helps their stability. Text definitely faces a long-term danger of extinction. Anything we can do (and of course I have a strong interest here) to promote their long-term stability and attractiveness to developers is beneficial to us all.

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Old 10-15-2003, 07:19 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by (Hephos @ Oct. 15 2003,04:45)
Ironically, the only ones I can see would NOT benifit from a more open licence to donations and in-game rewards are the muds currently already doing this (ie aardwolf, medievia to name a few). Atm they get money off their playerbases which they can use for gaining new players (advertisement) and keeping the game stable and running on good networks (expensive hosts). If other muds could do the same, the competition to them would increase.
I don't know how Mediavia grew, but you've missed the point with Aardwolf. Aardwolf did not grow to its current size based on "taking money from players". It reached its current size doing the simple things necessary to make a mud popular, consistently. At that point it was necessary to accept donations a couple of times a year (read: not constantly) to be able to continue. It also did not grow to its current size by advertizing - until last week Aardwolf has never advertized in its entire 7 year history (maybe one or two usenet posts in year one). We were not even listed for the free voting on this site until last week so probably promoted ourselves less than most other muds.

This is no attempt to debate/justify the Diku license, that is a conversation I will be happy to have with the license owners and/or their legal representatives and nobody elses business. This post is to put the 'history' in the right order and point out that being able to accept donations won't suddenly make your mud popular overnight.
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Old 10-15-2003, 08:21 AM   #26
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While that's true in a sense that's like saying "If I murder someone, I won't know if it's illegal under it's tried in a court of law."
Oh come on, that's a terrible analogy - for starters, we're talking about civil law, not criminal (and on that note, your "innocent until proven guilty" comment in a later post is something which only applies to criminal law, not civil law).

But even so, what we're talking about is not even comparible to murder - we're talking about the wording of a license. As you pointed out, it's unlikely to go to court anyway, so what you're basically arguing is whether or not it should be "acceptable" to violate the spirit of the license, if the wording allows for a reasonable excuse to do so.

But then, why stop with Diku? I could see this spinning out of control and resulting in just the sort of negative impact on developers as Medievia has already had by violating the Diku license. Supposing, for example, I were to hire some lawyers to look for loopholes in your Rapture license, and managed to find a way that I could avoid paying you royalties. I could even argue that it was "beneficial" for the community, because it would allow developers to put that extra money into development, rather than giving it to you.

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The contract is pretty clear. It explicitly prohibits profit and says nothing about commercial activity.
It says you may under no circumstances make profit on *ANY* part of DikuMud in any possible way. A "commercial" enterprise is generally defined as a for-profit agency, as opposed to a non-profit corporation (which might be a more reasonable argument).

However it's also worth noting that the license states you cannot "make profit" in "any possible way". Well, one "possible way" of profiting is to make a gross profit - that's your profit without any deduction for losses (as opposed to "net profit", which is what you seem to be talking about).

As a side note, some of the Diku derivatives have specifically clarified some issues, such as Circle's "no donations" clause. As most people don't use the original Diku any more, they may well find themselves dealing with people who take a much more active interest.

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I understand that you're trying to protect what you believe were the intentions of the licensors at the time
I am protecting what I know were - and still are - the intentions of the licensors. Until such time as the license is challenged in a court of law, I feel that that is the appropriate way to treat it.

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And beyond all that, it's never going to get to court as the license holders suffer no damage from third parties generating revenue from DIKU.
We've been over this before, Matt, and I said the same then that I'm going to say now. It could be reasonably argued that people using the Diku engine for commercial purposes are taking away money from Diku II (which has a commercial license). In addition it's possible to reclaim your attorney fees and court costs, in addition to "statutory damages" of up to $100,000 per infringement, without even having to establish what damage you actually suffered.
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Old 10-15-2003, 01:06 PM   #27
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KaVir:
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Oh come on, that's a terrible analogy - for starters, we're talking about civil law, not criminal
His example was pretty extreme, but his point is quite valid: your continued claims that we can't know if something is ok until there's a court case is ridiculous.

Think about how many agreements you are a party to: rental/mortgage, credit cards, etc.  You don't really claim that you don't have any idea of what your rights and obligations are just because you've never argued about any of those contracts in court, do you?  Sure, some of the fine points might be debatable, but what we're discussing is not a fine point.

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It says you may under no circumstances make profit on *ANY* part of DikuMud in any possible way.  A "commercial" enterprise is generally defined as a for-profit agency, as opposed to a non-profit corporation (which might be a more reasonable argument).
Just as a hobbyist mud is generally not operated with the intent to turn a profit, but you attack them too if they accept donations that don't pass some strange requirements that have nothing to do with the license, but are derived from an email from a single one of the authors many years after the codebase was released.

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However it's also worth noting that the license states you cannot "make profit" in "any possible way".  Well, one "possible way" of profiting is to make a gross profit - that's your profit without any deduction for losses (as opposed to "net profit", which is what you seem to be talking about).
I believe that you're confusing gross revenue with profit.  gross profit = revenue - cost of generating that revenue.

For an activity in which the primary activity is delivering bits to the "customer", bandwidth and server is clearly a direct cost. Please cite the relevant sections of GAAP, the UK equivalent, or some other authoritative source if you disagree.

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Old 10-15-2003, 01:35 PM   #28
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kavir how do you know what the intentions of hte licensors are ? Have you asked them ?
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Old 10-15-2003, 02:55 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by
Oh come on, that's a terrible analogy - for starters, we're talking about civil law, not criminal (and on that note, your "innocent until proven guilty" comment in a later post is something which only applies to criminal law, not civil law).
The analogy was used to illustrate how silly it is to claim that we have no way of having any clue about whether something is legal or not (nevermind that you have loudly and repeatedly made legal assertions about the license). You are correct about civil vs. criminal law.


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But even so, what we're talking about is not even comparible to murder - we're talking about the wording of a license. As you pointed out, it's unlikely to go to court anyway, so what you're basically arguing is whether or not it should be "acceptable" to violate the spirit of the license, if the wording allows for a reasonable excuse to do so.
I don't care about the spirit of the license as it's not relevant, particularly in a discussion of contract and IP law.

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But then, why stop with Diku? I could see this spinning out of control and resulting in just the sort of negative impact on developers as Medievia has already had by violating the Diku license. Supposing, for example, I were to hire some lawyers to look for loopholes in your Rapture license, and managed to find a way that I could avoid paying you royalties. I could even argue that it was "beneficial" for the community, because it would allow developers to put that extra money into development, rather than giving it to you.
There seems no doubt that Medievia is violating the license. They may or may not be violating the profit part of the license (we have no way of knowing whether they are showing a profit or not) but they certainly do seem to be violating the bits involving proper credit.

As for Rapture, you go ahead and try to find a way to use it without paying royalties. If the contract we use gives you a way to operate without paying royalties then you're not doing anything wrong. The contract IS the agreement, just as the DIKU license is the whole of the contract between DIKU licensor and licensee.

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It says you may under no circumstances make profit on *ANY* part of DikuMud in any possible way. A "commercial" enterprise is generally defined as a for-profit agency, as opposed to a non-profit corporation (which might be a more reasonable argument).
A commercial enterprise is generally defined as an enterprise with profit as the goal. Profit as the goal does not speak to whether or not profit is actually being made and the license only prohibits the licensee from making an actual profit.


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Originally Posted by
However it's also worth noting that the license states you cannot "make profit" in "any possible way". Well, one "possible way" of profiting is to make a gross profit - that's your profit without any deduction for losses (as opposed to "net profit", which is what you seem to be talking about).
I'm talking about what the IRS treats as profit, which is distinct from gross revenue (the US doesn't really use the term gross profit). As someone (Stilton I think) pointed out earlier, the IRS is, in the US (which is the only country I'm talking about here), the defacto, court-accepted definer of profit.

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I am protecting what I know were - and still are - the intentions of the licensors. Until such time as the license is challenged in a court of law, I feel that that is the appropriate way to treat it.
But this is the legal forum. I'm curious where in contract or IP law you find precedent for significantly altering a license based on the claimed intentions of the licensor.

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Originally Posted by
We've been over this before, Matt, and I said the same then that I'm going to say now. It could be reasonably argued that people using the Diku engine for commercial purposes are taking away money from Diku II (which has a commercial license). In addition it's possible to reclaim your attorney fees and court costs, in addition to "statutory damages" of up to $100,000 per infringement, without even having to establish what damage you actually suffered.
But why are you the one making this argument? Even the licensors themselves apparently don't feel they've suffered damages significant enough to sue, even when offered money to assist in a lawsuit. You can make all the hypotheticals you want but we can all read the license, and the license is clear. Further, it's also clear that the licensors don't believe they've suffered significant damages, if any damages at all.

--matt
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Old 10-15-2003, 02:56 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ilysia @ Oct. 15 2003,13:35)
kavir how do you know what the intentions of hte licensors are ? Have you asked them ?
From a legal standpoint, what the licensors think isn't particularly relevant. The license is a contract, and a contract doesn't get modified by the claimed intentions of the licensor years later.

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Old 10-16-2003, 08:03 PM   #31
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Whats all this nonsense about lightening the DIKU license about?

I’d like to know what business/economics school the making profit from/accepting donations for DIKU games proponents attend?

Free games have a highly competitive advantage that cannot be surpassed, other than paying people to play them, they are FREE. Only a moron would sacrifice this to raise funds to buy advertising space. In doing so a game would surrender this advantage to compete with profit centred games with weapons of their choosing.

“I see you are highly skilled with the sabre, would you like to choose firearms as the weapons of choice for the upcoming duel, go and trade your sabre for a flintlock while I load up my howitzer.”

That being the case the move would not benefit free game providers as a whole, but merely offer the more naive developers a fast-track to the gallows with certain P2P muds as the hangmen. In regard to offsetting operational costs you don’t have to be a rich kid to set up a game, that’s one of the great beauties of muds. Granted, in times past server space did cost an arm and a leg, but now it is relatively cheap – and in some cases free, especially considering the monthly tariff P2P muds charge. A single developer could easily run a game for the price of their yearly subscription; we aren’t talking Richie Rich millions here. The only time it really becomes somewhat expensive is if you wish to service vast player numbers.

What it would do, as KaVir said, is destroy the community by bringing money into the development equation. Why should I develop and give away all this code just so others can earn money off my hard labour, I think I will withhold it. Coded gifts dry up, new entrants are faced with the daunting task of coding from scratch to keep up with developments, the possibility of creating attractive games becomes the sole domain of large scale operations and the community collapses bit by bit.

The only time such a move would be viable is if someone wished to profit from such an interim strategy in order to fund the development of a fully fledged P2P game, wherein they would be forced to play with firearms eventually, with no choice of doing otherwise. The move to a lightening of the DIKU license would in this case ease their guilty consciences and provide them with nefarious cash infusions. It would allow them to proceed with their pre-planned agendas with a sense of ethical correctness that is currently denied them.

Taken from Sharune Forums

Well, we are in dire need of money for webhosts, advertisement and similar.

Many games give in-game rewards for donations. It is a matter tha is highly debated in the mud community because of the diku licence. However, since many of the top games do this (example medievia, aardwolf etc) we are considering the possibility... It would without doubt increase the donations we would recieve. The idea of having on going advertisement campagins funded is nice.

So what do you think?

Do you think people that donate to make the game better should get something in-game? And if so, what could it be?

NOTE - And the presence of a new donate button would indicate that the POSSIBILITY has become/is becoming a very swift ACTUALITY. And in this particular case the donations won’t be going to support the current DIKU game that is generating the donations, and providing any linked incentives, it will be used to create a new game (profit).

Hephos - just because someone else has done it that doesn’t mean others can do it with impunity. And before you whine about being persecuted, the reason people cast aspersions about your ethical character is because you give them good reason to. You don’t seem to be concerned with what is ethical, but more, what can I get away with and make a profit from. This is perhaps why people doubt your integrity in a variety of matters.

Cutting aside the superficial elements of this specific topic it seems painfully obvious that a pattern has been emerging for a while.

On the one hand we have the same representatives of some P2P muds attempting to affect change, which would directly enhance their own profit making activities – frequently under the guise of false benevolence, ethical concerns, or ethical expositions.

And on the other hand members of a community who prise fun and enjoyment above profit and seek only to truthfully preserve ethical provisions and enable others to actively engage in the joy of mud development.

When push comes to shove I know which ones I would trust and which ones I would scrutinise for ulterior motives geared towards mercenary self-interest. I don’t have anything against earning money from a game per se, providing the tenures of rightful ownership are followed, but enough of the Machiavellian shenanigans they are becoming embarrassing.
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Old 10-16-2003, 09:22 PM   #32
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Free games have a highly competitive advantage that cannot be surpassed, other than paying people to play them, they are FREE. Only a moron would sacrifice this to raise funds to buy advertising space. In doing so a game would surrender this advantage to compete with profit centred games with weapons of their choosing.
You can still accept donations, like medievia or aardwolf, and be completely FREE overall.

Right now, medievia has a large advantage over every existing game in the mud community due to their breaking of the licence. They get both money for whatever they need it for (magazine ads etc), and exposure. Even though the exposure in the mud community might be "bad", ie lots of bad reputation, it generates new players.

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NOTE - And the presence of a new donate button would indicate that the POSSIBILITY has become/is becoming a very swift ACTUALITY. And in this particular case the donations won’t be going to support the current DIKU game that is generating the donations, and providing any linked incentives, it will be used to create a new game (profit).
I might clarify that we DO NOT accept donations for in-game benifits at the moment and have never done so in the past.

We have had donate buttons available at our site(s) for several years (hence it is not new) and have in the past received some smaller donations (without giving in-game benifits). The people that have donated are visible in our credits on the website.

The donations for our old game "sharune" are in no way used for our upcoming game. We have other means to donate to the mythicscape company on the website www.mythicscape.com which also states what the money are used for and what they will gain from donating. (We send out a contract to people that donate for this company startup which gives them free subscriptions in our upcoming game).

The post we did on our website was just a research to see what our players feel about in-game rewards for donations. We are not actually planning to go that path, but considering the possiblities in case that the diku licence infact allows it. Our own java engine is soon done anyways and we will be thrashing our old diku game for good so accepting donations for our old game is not something we really are bothered with. And yes, there will be javadocs and in-detail description about the engine (so you can confirm it is totally unrlated to diku in every aspect) which also will be available for licencing. We will also show our source to anyone that would like to confirm it and has some reason to do so.

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destroy the community by bringing money into the development equation
Umm... yeah right. IMO it would do the opposite.
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Old 10-16-2003, 11:48 PM   #33
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Setting up a MUD may be relatively painless cost wise, but if your playerbase, and thus your bandwith usage goes up a lot it may get pretty expensive. I know the mud i play (Aardwolf) has to pay around $800 a month for it's own T1 connection.
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Old 10-17-2003, 03:20 AM   #34
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Why should I develop and give away all this code just so others can earn money off my hard labour, I think I will withhold it.
Well IMHO that is stupid way of thinking.

Personally I would without doubt put up snippets and smaller guides on how to code a lot of things if I and others could use it to receive donations.

If someone else use my work to attract more players and receive more donations I would just be happy with it. I'm not greedy (like some other people). And in fact if others that used my work were able to receive donations and become large through it (magazine ads, banners, whatever) it would just be good for myself. I would receive a #### lot more advertisement for myself having my name in such a mud's credits than in some lowlife, underground game (that may be extremely good) that doesn't get more than 10 players at a peak.

If someone got rich off my work (and their mud became huge in the process), my name would still be stamped in their products credits, and i can with pleasure use it as reference and think of it with enjoyment.
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Old 10-17-2003, 10:14 AM   #35
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I would have to say THAT is a 'stupid way of thinking.'  There is a reason why companies protect their IP privileges religiously.  Players may very well see your name and thank you ( if they notice... you'd be surprised how many people there are who have played a RiP mud for two years but do not know who 'that Darrik guy' is ).   With a pay-to-play mud, however, a player on another mud is just lost revenue.  Why would you clone your mud by releasing the code and create an even greater risk for losing players?

You may feel honored, but I would not take the risk of losing players/revenue by releasing my code.

Of course, since I am no way expecting to ever start a P2P mud, that really is not an issue.  In all honesty, running ( or playing ) a mud is a hobby for most people.  Why pay when you can play another mud for free?

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Old 10-17-2003, 10:38 AM   #36
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It seems that in this sudden keenness of dismantling the Diku licence, some of you conveniently have forgotten a couple of basic facts:

1. Years ago the DIKU Group donated their codebase to the Mud Community, so other free muds could use it without cost. From this code several other codebases developed, and most existing free Muds are now based on any of those. Don’t you think they deserve some gratitude and respect for this gracious and unselfish donation?

2. The DIKU group only expressed two conditions in return for their donation: That the credits be kept and that no profit whatsoever should be made from the code. Don’t you think they deserve the courtesy of the society respecting their wishes?

No matter how many ‘holes’ there may be in the licence itself - (and I am sure the ‘right’ lawyer could find several) - their intent still was, and is, totally clear. Trying to circumvent the licence is in my eyes nothing but unethical, and I am frankly amazed (and appalled) that someone running a Diku based Mud would even consider doing it. Isn't one Medievia enough?
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Old 10-17-2003, 11:08 AM   #37
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Why would you clone your mud by releasing the code and create an even greater risk for losing players?
WHY would you do that as it is now? You still face a risk of loosing players if you run an own game based on the same code.

Now everyone do not run their own games and they give code free. These people would just benifit from others being able to use the code to "make" money (ie they get more exposure and advertisment for themselves). Probably people that work on their own derivate codbases (which are available for public). They would only benifit (imo) from others being able to accept donations and give in-game rewards, so that their muds grow and the creators of the derivate receive more advertisment...
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Old 10-17-2003, 11:29 AM   #38
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Hephos: I found it difficult reading that post, but from what I could see, you basically said the same thing as above... please read my previous post.

Molly:  Unfortunately, going for the letter of the law instead of the intent lets them get out of doing a great deal of real work... of course, this is technically a legal forum, and therefore, the letter of the law would be key .

Mind you, I in no way condone ignoring the intent of the Diku license to make yourself some money off another's work.

DV
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Old 10-17-2003, 01:24 PM   #39
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Molly:
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It seems that in this sudden keenness of dismantling the Diku licence, some of you conveniently have forgotten a couple of basic facts:
dismantling? Poor word choice, and obviously an attempt to set up anyone who disagrees with you as being unethical.

Correcting a bogus reading of the license does not mean that the corrector wants to "dismantle" it.

On a personal note: when discussing a factual issue (legal forum, what does the license require) please stick to facts and avoid unwarranted personal attacks.

It's possible to argue that something is legal without having intent or desire to do it. A persons desires for the way others should act should not cause them to claim that something is illegal just because they don't like it.

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1. Years ago the DIKU Group donated their codebase to the Mud Community, so other free muds could use it without cost. From this code several other codebases developed, and most existing free Muds are now based on any of those. Don’t you think they deserve some gratitude and respect for this gracious and unselfish donation?
Not only irrelevant, but a sleazy personal attack. You attempt to categorize anyone who disagrees with your interpretation of the license in legal terms as failing to have respect for the authors.

Pretending that the license says something it doesn't does no favors either for the original authors or anyone else thinking about releasing a codebase under similar terms.

The rest of your post is basically similar "Anyone who disagrees with me has no respect for the authors" attacks and doesn't deserve further comment.

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Old 10-17-2003, 01:44 PM   #40
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Honestly, Molly's comments point out how several of the posters advocating this 'true' interpretation of the Diku license are appearing to those self-respecting mudders who respect the Diku authors enough to follow the intentions of the license.

And its the advocating ignoring those intentions in favor of taking a more literal interpretation in order to make money that is causing what you call 'attacks.'
DV
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