License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

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License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by iEric » Thu May 01, 2008 7:23 pm

Some thoughts and questions about license's.

When doing a MOD and you want to use a great javascript you've found.. The script is free for non-profit use, but has a $fee,- for commercial use. But, I'd really like to use that in a MOD - but I'm start thinking in license conflict terms that bubbles up in my head now.

If phppbb.x is a free licensed software and a MOD with this 3rd party license with a limit - would that cause a conflict?

To get around this "problem" (if it is one) might be to change the script some... I had to reverse a function and I also added a couple of lines in it, but what does it take (e.g. how much is needed to change in it) to make it "as my own" version and get around the license. Hope you understand how I meant...

Could one way be like having this MOD without the script and put a FAQ/tips as a add-on to the mod just to avoid breaking the phpbb-license?

...or are MOD's outside the gereral license and it is up to each one that install something outside the "basics" to make them responsible to get those licenses when they chose a Mod with a free for non-profit license in the far end (incase they run a commercial site).

I nearly didn't get that last part myself... Hope you did? ;)

So, what is the gereral approach/rules/ethics to this, and how to get around?

# # #

Looking around some more and looked at http://www.phpbb.com/mods/documentation ... /index.php
2.6. Licensing phpBB Modifications wrote:
2.6. Licensing phpBB Modifications

phpBB is released under the GNU General Public License v. 2 (GPL v2 or GPL in this documentation) which states, in simple terms, that if a script requires another script that is released under the GPL v2, then that script also needs to be released under the GPL v2. Most modification require phpBB to work so most modifications need to be released under the GPL v2.

There are instances where parts of modifications don't have to be released under GPL v2. Some of these cases would be if the script had code in it that didn't require PHP to work. Examples of this would be a class with FTP functions, a class that reads XML files, or a class that connects to another site. These parts do not have to be released under the GPL but what license the code is released under needs to be clearly stated.

All modifications will have some part of it that needs to be released under GPL v2. These parts are usually what is in the install script or in other words, the part that integrates the script in to phpBB.

We recommend that everyone releases all parts of their modifications under the GPL v2. If you choose to not release every part of your modification under GPL v2, the license that you choose needs to be something that makes sense and we can work with. Do not have a license saying that the code can only be released at your site and then submit it to our database. We would be breaking your license if we distributed the code. Also do not have a commercial license and require people to pay to use your code. We will not sell your script for you.

If you have a specific question on licensing modifications written for phpBB, go ahead and ask a question in the MOD Writers Discussion forum on phpbb.com.
Parts from it:
  • These parts do not have to be released under the GPL but what license the code is released under needs to be clearly stated.
    .
  • Also do not have a commercial license and require people to pay to use your code.
[/i]

Where does it put this "free for non-commercial" use?
Is there a grey-zone? (because it is free IF...)
And how can I get around == avoid doing something wrong?


Please help me to get this to work.

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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by Paul » Thu May 01, 2008 7:44 pm

The 3rd party libary need to be compitable with the GPL version 2, if it isnt, you cant use it.
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by Alfatrion » Fri May 02, 2008 1:32 pm

phpBB is released under the GNU General Public License v. 2 (GPL v2 or GPL in this documentation) which states, in simple terms, that if a script requires another script that is released under the GPL v2, then that script also needs to be released under the GPL v2. Most modification require phpBB to work so most modifications need to be released under the GPL v2.
The license can state thing like this, but that doesn't mean it holds legal value. The dutch lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet view stuff like this as a separated work and he feels that these can be released under any license the owner likes. According to him API calls doesn't change this. A mod writer can not use code of another in his work.
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by Paul » Fri May 02, 2008 1:39 pm

Alfatrion wrote:
phpBB is released under the GNU General Public License v. 2 (GPL v2 or GPL in this documentation) which states, in simple terms, that if a script requires another script that is released under the GPL v2, then that script also needs to be released under the GPL v2. Most modification require phpBB to work so most modifications need to be released under the GPL v2.
The license can state thing like this, but that doesn't mean it holds legal value. The dutch lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet view stuff like this as a separated work and he feels that these can be released under any license the owner likes. According to him API calls doesn't change this. A mod writer can not use code of another in his work.
In case of phpBB this is difference, as you nearly always need or to modify the core files, or you need to add pages with code from the core. That core code is released under the GPL, and if you want to use that you will need to release your MOD under the GPL or compitable license.

Joomla and phpBB are pretty different because of that, as joomla has a plugin system and phpBB hasnt. In joomla you dont need to modify the code, and in phpBB you nearly always need to modify it.
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by Alfatrion » Sat May 03, 2008 4:04 am

The mod contains instructions to change some code. The writer of the mod doesn't change those files or need to publish the changed files. It kind of getting a book on painting and then having the author say you can't sell you paintings because your using knowledge from the book. I just don't see how that this argument could hold up in cord.

Besides GLP states: "If identifiable sections of [the modified] work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works."

The instruction that mod contains are original not derived, because they allow a user to add some functionality that wasn't there before. They are independent because they are released separately. And they can be considered works of them self, as they are documents.

@iEric: you do need to require your commercial users of you mod to buy a licence from the script maker. You can also use a clean room approach to remove the code. (i.e. you study what the does and write it down. Then removes the code from you mod, hand over the document and let someone else fill in the blancs.)
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by igorw » Sat May 03, 2008 12:50 pm

Alfatrion wrote:They are independent because they are released separately.
Just because they are released separately doesn't mean they do not depend on the core. If they depend on phpBB's core code in any way, they need to be under the GPL, simple as that. ;)
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by Alfatrion » Sat May 03, 2008 5:32 pm

Just because they are released separately doesn't mean they do not depend on the core. If they depend on phpBB's core code in any way, they need to be under the GPL, simple as that.
That is kind of a dull statement. I get the feeling that you just repeat what has already bin stated. I just don't believe I am legally required to release my code under GPL just because I call phpBB code.
Last edited by Alfatrion on Sat May 03, 2008 5:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by Paul » Sat May 03, 2008 5:45 pm

The same NOT applies to MOD as Joomla uses a complete different system as phpBB, and now I repeat myself, phpBB MODs are in most cases required to edit the phpBB core, what means that you need to edit GPL code. If you want to add there code, this need to be GPL otherwise you will violate the GPL ;).

The same for calling api's VS copying code from phpBB (What, again is GPL) to your own files. In Joomla you ust do a api call, in phpBB you do at least need to copy several lines of code, what is GPL as before said. And per the GPL, that code cannot be released under a different GPL, so if you release this under a different license you violate, again, the GPL.
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by Alfatrion » Sat May 03, 2008 6:48 pm

The goal of the GPL is to grant everyone the freedom to copy, redistribute, understand, and modify a program. Forcing board people to only modify there privet copies when the code is released under GPL limits that freedom. This would contradicts there goal.
GPL 2.0 wrote:2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion
of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:
The bold section doesn't come in to play until the board owner releases his changes. Thus the board owner can use mods that not released under GPL as long as he doesn't release the edited files.

Copying several lines of could would fall under fair use for the states or the more limited European quoatation exemptions (art. 15a). This is true for most of the world because of the Berne Convention.
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by 3Di » Sat May 03, 2008 11:12 pm

eviL<3 wrote:simple as that. ;)
Simple as it is? :)

Anyway, any time somebody faces this argument there are a lot of different points of view, all of this some time leads the final User/MODder to try to understand different points of view, indeed :)

I think a Policy should be very well stated and documented, If a User/Modder does not apply/fit to that... then you all (MOD Team Members) will have the rights to better explain or deny an action, a reference.. wrote reference sticky-fied or the such...

That's what I mean.

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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by igorw » Sun May 04, 2008 12:01 am

Alfatrion wrote:The goal of the GPL is to grant everyone the freedom to copy, redistribute, understand, and modify a program. Forcing board people to only modify there privet copies when the code is released under GPL limits that freedom. This would contradicts there goal.
The goal of the GPL is to grant everyone the freedom to copy, redistribute, understand, and modify a program. If somebody doesn't release their changes to a GPL program under the GPL, this would not grant everybody the right, because due to the license you would be limited. So i don't have the feeling that enforcing re-applying the license contradicts the goal.
Alfatrion wrote:The bold section doesn't come in to play until the board owner releases his changes. Thus the board owner can use mods that not released under GPL as long as he doesn't release the edited files.
That is correct, GPL (v2) only comes into play when you release something. You can use it freely without any restrictions (from GPLs side) at all.
Alfatrion wrote:Copying several lines of could would fall under fair use
This can be argued, but i'm not going to get into that, as it won't lead anywhere :P.
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by Paul » Sun May 04, 2008 7:42 am

3Di wrote:
eviL<3 wrote:simple as that. ;)
Simple as it is? :)

Anyway, any time somebody faces this argument there are a lot of different points of view, all of this some time leads the final User/MODder to try to understand different points of view, indeed :)

I think a Policy should be very well stated and documented, If a User/Modder does not apply/fit to that... then you all (MOD Team Members) will have the rights to better explain or deny an action, a reference.. wrote reference sticky-fied or the such...

That's what I mean.

Regards.
There is a pretty clear policy for the MODDB, only GPL V2 and later (Not only V3 for phpBB3, as phpBB3 is GPL V2 and not GPL V2 and later, and V3 isnt compitable with V2) is allowed as license for MODs, or a compitable license.
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by Alfatrion » Mon May 05, 2008 7:27 pm

eviL<3 wrote:The goal of the GPL is to grant everyone the freedom to copy, redistribute, understand, and modify a program. If somebody doesn't release their changes to a GPL program under the GPL, this would not grant everybody the right, because due to the license you would be limited. So i don't have the feeling that enforcing re-applying the license contradicts the goal.
The argument was mainly meant for the perspective of the board owner. The word freedom means something and can not just be wiped out of the goal. The word freedom means the absence of interference, the ability to make your own choices. Freedom means that the board owner can make edits and choice to not release another version of phpbb. The author would be legally well in his rights to make such demands but just can't call this freedom. But you agree that the board owner has the freedom to make changes and not release it. Thus you agree that GPL doesn't stand in the way for iEric to included MODs on his board that where released under other licenses, just as long he doesn't release the changed code.

As you can see in my signature: I'm working on a mod. My mod contains about 3500 lines of code and two xml files. I have not changed any GPL program with my Mod. I just enable others to change a GPL program. (For the record its going to be released under GPL, but I just don't like being forces in to this.)
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by igorw » Mon May 05, 2008 8:38 pm

Alfatrion wrote:The argument was mainly meant for the perspective of the board owner. The word freedom means something and can not just be wiped out of the goal. The word freedom means the absence of interference, the ability to make your own choices. Freedom means that the board owner can make edits and choice to not release another version of phpbb. The author would be legally well in his rights to make such demands but just can't call this freedom. But you agree that the board owner has the freedom to make changes and not release it.
Yes, he has the freedom to use the program freely. This means that for personal use, he can do whatever he likes, basically. This ensures the "board owner" part of freedom. Now, if he releases it, he is not free to release it under any license. He is in fact forced to release it under the GPL, which ensures everybody can use and modify it. As the GPL FAQ states... "enforcing freedom is contradictionary". But that's excactly what the license attempts to do.
The goal is not to maximise freedom for the single user, but instead for anybody. In order to do this, some personal freedom needs to be taken away. The GPL still offers a pretty fair ammount of "personal freedom" though, if you ask me.
Alfatrion wrote:Thus you agree that GPL doesn't stand in the way for iEric to included MODs on his board that where released under other licenses, just as long he doesn't release the changed code.
iEric said "When doing a MOD". I assumed this was about releasing the code, not using it. He is free to use any "non-free" software together with GPL code as long as he doesn't release it.
Alfatrion wrote:As you can see in my signature: I'm working on a mod. My mod contains about 3500 lines of code and two xml files. I have not changed any GPL program with my Mod. I just enable others to change a GPL program. (For the record its going to be released under GPL, but I just don't like being forces in to this.)
I understand that the licensing can sometimes be frustrating. I've had the problem myself in the past, because the GPL is just not compatible with other licenses. And it can be frustrating that you are forced to release your code under the GPL. At least the GPL doesn't force you to release your code at all, like other licenses do... :x Taking that into account i think it's pretty fair.

If you work for a company you sign a contract. Your work is owned by the company, they make the rules and can use it freely, you get paid. With the GPL it's the same, you "sign" a contract, you have to follow the rules, others will be able to use your work freely. And due to the nature of the GPL it's even possible that you get paid. GPLware is free as in "freedom", not as in "beer". :)
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Re: License/conflict • MOD's with a possible 3'rd party license

Post by Alfatrion » Mon May 05, 2008 10:36 pm

I'm going to ask this lawyer that I know, because I disagree. Let me see if I get all the arguments straight:
1. I copied several lines of code into the xml files
2. The code calls phpbb specific functions.

Anything else?
eviL<3 wrote:iEric said "When doing a MOD". I assumed this was about releasing the code, not using it. He is free to use any "non-free" software together with GPL code as long as he doesn't release it.
He did, I interpreted one of messages of Paul in such a way that the board owner came in to it.
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