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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:17 am 
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In this post, byuu wrote:
This didn't stop a company from selling my emulator on Steam to emulate an old game they purchased a license to, and announce plans to do so again in the future with more game titles, without following the GPL licensing terms nor paying for a license exemption. He doesn't even give a mention on the Steam store that he's using my software, let alone provide a download link from the source. In fairness, someone found out via strings dump, and after e-mailing a few times, was given the source to the client. And unlike Snes9X, it doesn't generate public outrage when my license is violated.

But ... yeah. Don't trust the GPL to protect you, unless you have that $400,000 to go to court to enforce your copyright.

Piko? That's the only company releasing SNES stuff on Steam that I can think of.

I'm sure you know of the GPL-friendly lawyers who can help, without outrageous fees. Though if it is Piko, their sales amounts are likely small.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:20 am 
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byuu wrote:
This didn't stop a company from selling my emulator on Steam to emulate an old game they purchased a license to, and announce plans to do so again in the future with more game titles, without following the GPL licensing terms nor paying for a license exemption. [...]

But ... yeah. Don't trust the GPL to protect you, unless you have that $400,000 to go to court to enforce your copyright.

As the owner of copyright in said emulator, couldn't you have sent a Notice of Claimed Infringement pursuant to OCILLA (17 USC 512) to Valve's form? Or did you already try that only to receive a counter-notice?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:11 pm 
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calima, I'm trying not to name names. Causes too much drama.

I'm not concerned about how much he's making. I even advised him from the start that he was free to use the software under the GPL, but the GPL has requirements: the source must be available, you must clearly disclose credits for the software you're using, and there's the anti-TiVo clause that I don't know if it applies to Steam or not.

The GPL *does* allow companies to profit off others' work, as he is doing, but it comes with terms that he is currently violating.

tepples, it's not worth all the drama. If it were a large company, I'd be a lot more willing to speak to a lawyer about it.

Anyway, this isn't about me. I was just pointing out that people WILL violate software licenses. I'd love it if jwdonal released his work for free like I did (I've put in 13 years of full-time dev work myself), and I'm sure he's benefited from that work himself for his project, but he should be fully informed before he does so that this stuff is inevitable.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:40 pm 
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byuu wrote:
calima, I'm trying not to name names. Causes too much drama.

I'm not concerned about how much he's making. I even advised him from the start that he was free to use the software under the GPL, but the GPL has requirements: the source must be available, you must clearly disclose credits for the software you're using, and there's the anti-TiVo clause that I don't know if it applies to Steam or not.

The GPL *does* allow companies to profit off others' work, as he is doing, but it comes with terms that he is currently violating.

tepples, it's not worth all the drama. If it were a large company, I'd be a lot more willing to speak to a lawyer about it.

Anyway, this isn't about me. I was just pointing out that people WILL violate software licenses. I'd love it if jwdonal released his work for free like I did (I've put in 13 years of full-time dev work myself), and I'm sure he's benefited from that work himself for his project, but he should be fully informed before he does so that this stuff is inevitable.

Yeah. There really isn't a way to enforce licenses unless you're willing to fight anyone that breaks it in court (after providing notices and whatnot). That goes for any license though, regardless of whether it's for open source or not.

I'm not sure if the GPLv3 prevents distribution on Steam so long as the source is freely available on another platform (such as a git repo). Since the PC is the platform and it is not a closed platform, I don't think that would be considered TiVoization.

As for distributing proprietary ROMs with GPL licensed software (as written on your website), just look at the Linux kernel, which has plenty of proprietary blobs embedded in the source code. In fact, a separate project (Linux-libre) was needed just to remove those blobs to make the kernel fully libre, so I don't think distributing a proprietary ROM with a GPL emulator would be a problem, so long as you follow the terms of the GPL.

I never really got the problem with companies not willing to distribute source for GPL licensed projects that they're using. Would it really have a negative impact on them if they release it and give credit to the original author?

IANAL though, so please correct me if any of this is incorrect.

Also off topic, but you should include the full text of the GPLv3 in the higan source code in a file called COPYING in order to properly make the license clear. I'm not seeing it anywhere in the source (other than comments at the top of files that just says the word "GPLv3"). https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-howto.en.html Another file with a link to the page on your website about licensing (or a copy of the text) would also be helpful for those that want to purchase a proprietary license.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:04 pm 
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I would suggest sending the violator a DMCA takedown notice. Steam has a form that copyright holders can use to send the notice. That should get you what you wish quickly.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:30 pm 
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tepples, would you mind splitting this conversation off? I hate to derail jwdonal's thread.

Quote:
As for distributing proprietary ROMs with GPL licensed software (as written on your website), just look at the Linux kernel, which has plenty of proprietary blobs embedded in the source code.


Yeah, it's a gray area. There are those who argue nVidia's binary blob driver is a violation, whereas Linus himself says it's not. But as with all things, it's up to the judges who don't understand tech to decide which four-figure-an-hour lawyer's argument is more persuading >_>

If it came to a court case with me, I don't think I'd risk trying to set precedent on that either way, myself. I don't want to be responsible for the implications of that either way.

Quote:
I never really got the problem with companies not willing to distribute source for GPL licensed projects that they're using. Would it really have a negative impact on them if they release it and give credit to the original author?


It's a great question. It's easy to get the ROM he's using, so there'd be no reason to pay him for the exact same experience. But then again, I don't know why you'd want a Steam wrapper to play one SNES game when you could just use a full fledged emulator with more features. As has been said before, I doubt he's making a whole lot of money, but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

Quote:
I would suggest sending the violator a DMCA takedown notice. Steam has a form that copyright holders can use to send the notice. That should get you what you wish quickly.


Has too many potential downsides if he decides to get nasty back, and I don't really gain anything if I were successful.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:52 am 
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If it were my software, I'd do it just as a matter of principle and honor.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:57 am 
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Aaaaand this is why I wrote a non-emulator to emulate NES homebrew games and gave it away for free. :lol: (didn't want to invite trouble like this if I used any open source emulator for my own games...)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:46 pm 
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One thing one can do in these cases is assume honesty and forgetfulness and/or lack of knowledge of licence details*, or a weak moment/bad decision - and say hello, being careful not to put the other person in a defensive position. Some time ago, i had reserved an item using my luxury spendings account (hold on, i get to the point). Once payment was due, i had forgot to refill that month (it's not a credit account). I recieved a notice that the payment hadn't gone through. Just a few sentences in, it reassured me that "We're not the bank or phone company - you're not in trouble!" This was almost overly polite, but it's nice gesture and maybe helpful in situations where the recepient might feel embarassed/caught red handed/threatened.

So what i'm suggesting is, if the goal is to puruse GPL violations while minimizing drama, and one's not looking to file a notice, lawyer up, or anything of a more forceful magnitude, a friendly mail could help resolve the issue.


*Yes, if you accept packing in code that's under a license, you should refresh yourself on what that license entails. But anyway, back to the topic.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:44 pm 
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calima wrote:
byuu

Quote:
minimizing drama

Am I the only one who feels a massive contradiction here ? I loathe like getting personal on users, but I seem to remember massive drama 6 months ago because that particular user had a delayed package or something...

Quote:
calima, I'm trying not to name names. Causes too much drama.

So why mention the affair at all, then ? If the goal is really to "minimize the drame" ?

Quote:
So what i'm suggesting is, if the goal is to puruse GPL violations while minimizing drama, and one's not looking to file a notice, lawyer up, or anything of a more forceful magnitude, a friendly mail could help resolve the issue.

Sounds like a great solution to me. Always start up as friendly and open as possible, assume good faith and only escalate whenever there is no other choice.


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