[MUD-Dev] Moral license (Re: [MUD-Dev] Re: My vision for DevMUD)

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Wed Nov 4 14:29:30 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

ApplePiMan at aol.com wrote:
> I won't fight majority will on this (I'll shut up after this post), but
> it seems to me that if all we're seeking to protect here is credit to the
> original authors we're *still* better off with PD. As I said before, the
> unscrupulous won't credit authors if they don't want to just because a
> license tells them they must, and the scrupulous will do it anyway. Any
> "legit" enterprise (commercial *or* private) would be more than happy to
> credit original authors without having to be forced into it (a simple
> request will do).

I think this makes sense.  My first thought would be that a big corporation
could run off with the code without contributing at all, but then again if
the core is to be small then they would simply look at it, write down the
spec and hire somebody to implement it.  The majority of the work seems to
be in finding the API and design it anyway...  So basically, PD or not,
somebody will run away with it _legally_ if it is small and they want it. 
So there is no reason for not making it PD, except for the forking described
in that Halloween report.

An alternative would be to stuff in a semi-legal license agreement,
basically stating that it is free for any use, but you have to register all
derived works, what it is used for, and your contributions on some website
or with the maintainer or something.  Then you have an additional non-legal
moral license saying that developers are encouraged and expected to
contribute according to their ability.   The register should be open to
anybody wanting to look and should contain actual contributions.  That way
you would have a reward/pressure mechanism as well as a communitybuilding
mechanism.  It would look bad for MegaBucksCorp if they didn't contribute
anything, and TeenageJoe would be paid in perceived fame and glory...

You cannot deny special licenses on third party compontens of course.  It
might be useful to have a required function which returns some info about
licensing, author, email, webpage.  Then you let the core default to
commercial usage, and if you use modules which require a license for
commercial use you'll get a warning during boot.  Just to make sure there is
no possibility for claiming "good faith".  Or you could implement some kind
of network authentication for commercial binary modules, but this is really
way into the future...


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