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Licensing issues
04-27-2007, 09:46 AM,
#1
Licensing issues
Not sure who to contact, so I'll start here.

I'm a Fedora contributor looking to package vdrift for Fedora. During the review process my attention was brought to the following Debian bug report:
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=420965
After following the link in that report, I reviewed the data packages, and it looks like the licensing for many of the cars and tracks is in dispute. Some originate with EA, some with other third parties. Under what licenses may these be distributed? If these are licensed, the license info needs to be included with the distribution. If not, then you may have other problems. It might behoove you to get specifics from the upstream providers of these data sets.

As it stands, I can make a drastically cut down version with maybe 2 cars and a greatly reduced track list, but you can see why I'd rather not.

Let me know what you find out and what you intend to do, as I'd really like to get this resolved and get vdrift into Fedora, if possible. Smile

Best wishes,
Jon
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04-27-2007, 10:23 AM,
#2
 
Im happy as long as we can keep my precious E30
-Yoshi-
www.slidewaysonline.com
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04-27-2007, 10:59 PM,
#3
 
Our car contributors are working on clarifying the licensing for their submissions, but most of the tracks have licensing issues that probably won't be an easy fix to resolve. In the coming months, we're planning on reducing the scope of the official releases to (at first) one original VDrift car and one original VDrift track. That should make packaging much easier, allow the game to be distributed officially, and other cars/tracks can always be downloaded from the community (we're working on tools to make this simpler). So those are our plans... maybe it'll help you decide what you would like to do.
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04-29-2007, 01:19 AM,
#4
 
Hi Jon, I posted some comments on the Fedora Bugzilla and am aware of the license issue with Debian.
http://wiki.debian.org/Games/Vdrift/license-issues

Part of the problem is that some of our unlicensed art was assigned a Creative Commons license before the last release, which we did not realized was not a license 100% accepted as "free" by some organizations like Debian. This license was put on cars we created as well as some that were created by others but not licensed at all.

Another problem is that all our tracks and many of our cars were imported from other sources such as racer-xtreme.com, a Racer community site. Many of those tracks were modified versions of tracks from still other games. Some of those data were originally created for other games, but that is not to say that they all originally commercial works. Some of them may be, others were probably community created tracks which have simply been retrofitted for different games after a certain game is no longer in use. I have yet to see any specific licenses assigned to any of the tracks.

It is very hard to track the lineage of these data. Most of them have been up for quite a long time on racer-xtreme with none of the modelers or other involved parties raising any significant complaints. However due to the uncertain nature of the origin of these data, it is probably best that we just wait until the next release, where, as Joe mentioned, the package will contain only original cars.

edit: or, reading the Fedora bugzilla page comments, you could create a data package with only the OK cars/tracks. I am 100% sure that the following cars are OK: XS, TL, TL2, GT. Also I know that the tracks Weekend Drive and Ruudskogen were created specifically for Racer, and I doubt this small community game would take legal action against us, especially since they published the tracks with unlocked models.

If you are interested in researching the origins of the tracks, most of them came from racer-xtreme so that's the best place to start. From there, visit the author's web site and try to find a license or contact them. Don't put your hopes up too high on a lot of responses...you're lucky if the author still has a web page at all...
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04-30-2007, 09:41 AM,
#5
Oy.
4 cars is fine, but having 2 tracks that are of dubious legality is still not quite going to cut it. The same reasoning applies to this as would apply to including Abandonware in Fedora. In most cases the legal entity that holds the copyright either no longer exists or has no financial standing in any infringement, but our inclusion of it would still violate the law, so we won't do it.

I don't suppose we could package a version with 4 cars and no tracks. Smile

Any ETA on the new release, with legally clean data?
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04-30-2007, 09:43 AM,
#6
 
I say we can do a few cars but specialize in 1. If someone can, we should just have a big parking lot with a few cones setup in various patterns.
-Yoshi-
www.slidewaysonline.com
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04-30-2007, 10:02 AM,
#7
 
Further investigation at the Racer site led me to the part where they talk about how the project may not be used commercially. This restriction is incompatible with Fedora inclusion, thus eliminating any Racer tracks or cars.
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04-30-2007, 10:25 AM,
#8
Re: Oy.
limburgher Wrote:I don't suppose we could package a version with 4 cars and no tracks. Smile

This is actually a pretty good idea. A couple of decent auto-x tracks in a parking lot would also placate those of us with zero interest in drifting.
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04-30-2007, 10:27 AM,
#9
 
Ok, so who's making/where do I get the parking lot? I'd have no problem with that while wait for the new release.
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04-30-2007, 10:33 AM,
#10
 
I was trying to make one but the process for this game is killing me. If someone has a single tutorial that can go through the whole process start to finish, it would help out quite a bit.
-Yoshi-
www.slidewaysonline.com
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05-02-2007, 06:45 PM,
#11
 
limburgher Wrote:Further investigation at the Racer site led me to the part where they talk about how the project may not be used commercially. This restriction is incompatible with Fedora inclusion, thus eliminating any Racer tracks or cars.

racer itself might not be used commercially, but this doesn't mean that individual tracks can't be released by their original authors under gpl. so find the original track authors, convince them to release the track under the gpl and then it can be converted. so if you guys want to actually be useful, go and get the original authors to release their tracks under the gpl and i will convert the track to vdrift. this applies to tracks for any of these games: gpl (grand prix legends), gtr, gtl, rFactor, racer, gp4 (if i can figure out how to convert vrml97 to something blender understands).

if instead you would just rather remove tracks from vdrift because they don't pass some purity test then you might consider joining debian, you'll find plenty of kindred spirits over there.

--alex--
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05-02-2007, 11:00 PM,
#12
 
Alright, settle down now Alex... Smile limburgher is trying to help us get VDrift included in Fedora, which is definitely something we'd like. We are likewise having problems getting the package into Debian because of license problems...we'd rather get the game out there with a limited set of tracks and cars than not get the game out at all.
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05-03-2007, 07:26 AM,
#13
 
Alex, I understand your frustration, but to elaborate, the guidelines for Fedora inclusion are not merely an ideological purity test, although they are that to a degree. They are also a means to ensure that neither Redhat, Fedora users, the maintainer community nor the upstream developers become the target of legal action due to any copyright infringement. I have, in the past, found developers to be greatly appreciative when I found them unwittingly violating a license, especially when the remedy was simple.

I agree that they can seem like needless bureaucracy at times, but are there for a good reason.
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05-03-2007, 03:36 PM,
#14
 
limburgher Wrote:I agree that they can seem like needless bureaucracy at times, but are there for a good reason.

the point being that people should go and try to get tracks released under gpl (or something best suited for such kind of work) so they can be included in vdrift. as for my objections to the ideas expressed in the sentence quoted above, i don't even know where to begin... 1984.

--alex--
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05-03-2007, 03:50 PM,
#15
 
alex25 Wrote:the point being that people should go and try to get tracks released under gpl (or something best suited for such kind of work) so they can be included in vdrift. as for my objections to the ideas expressed in the sentence quoted above, i don't even know where to begin... 1984.

The point is not to dominate all developers and enforce a particular license. I never said you had to adopt any particular license (although I think a CC license of some type might be better for the data, but I digress), I merely wanted to know if there were plans to release data that could be distributed by Fedora. I also pointed out that the legal status of the data currently released was in doubt. Essentially, releasing data that is not licensed in a GPL-compatible way as part of a GPL-licensed package is a no-no under the GPL. That's not me, that's not Fedora, that's the FSF. If you don't like the GPL, don't use it. Just don't violate it. IANAL, and I'm not trying to start a flamewar. I just want to make every effort I can to give quality Free software the widest audience possible, as well as expanding the software available in Fedora. I just happen to think that the responsibility for contacting authors for license clarification should rest with the developers, since it affect the whole vdrift project, not just it's inclusion in Fedora.

There are no totalitarian motives here. I just happen to like vdrift and Fedora, and I want to spread the joy, and not get sued. Chill out, we're on the same side. Smile
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