Free Software Foundation advice on use of the GPL for Art

Contribute art for mainline Wesnoth.

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varradami
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Post by varradami »

Doros wrote:This is the way the FSF recommends you do things:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.htm ... nCopyright
I think it simplifies things a lot.
Sure it does... if everyone is willing to do that. But not everyone necessarily is, and there's plenty of artwork already contributed. So that doesn't help much.
Doros wrote:Also, there is a lot of confusion about source and binaries and the GPL. If Jetryl gives us PNG images and he licenses them to Wesnoth under the GPL, he is not required to give the PDFs to anybody. However, if he gave Wesnoth PDFs, and we changed them and distributed them as PNGs, Wesnoth would be required to send the PDFs to anyone that asked, by mail. Similarly, if Wesnoth decided not to distributed the PNGs anymore, but instead compiled them into C++ header files, Wesnoth would be required to give the original PNGs to anyone that asked for them.
You've drawn a conclusion but I do not see any argument supporting it. Perhaps you could clarify?

To my knowledge the GPL requires you to distribute the source only for what you are distributing. If I make a derivative work, I need distribute the source only to that derivative work, not to the original.

That being the case, suppose take I Wesnoth and convert it to Java code. Would I be required to distribute C++ source code? Seems unlikely - after all, there is not C++ source code, and that could hardly be claimed to be the 'preferred form'.

Now suppose I take an image originally provided in PDF. I don't edit PDF however, because the program I use works with PNG. So I convert it to PNG and make some changes. Now I want to distribute this derivative work under the GPL. Am I required to provide the source as PDF? Well, I guess that depends on what the 'preferred form' is - but it seems PNG is just as preferred as PDF, and that's now the format it's in.

Again, the difficulty here is how 'preferred' is defined, and the unfortunately answer is there exists no definitive answer. There will be no definitive answer unless and until it is ruled on in a court of law.

In the case of program code, in most cases it is accepted that the 'preferred form' is the source code of whatever programming language the code is written in. But for images the 'preferred form' is generally some sort of binary format, and the exact format differs by what editor a particular artist prefers.

To give an even more clear cut example, suppose an image is originally provided as a GIF, but we need PNG for the project. Must we also distribute the GIF? What if a derivative version is made, which only exists as PNG - must a GIF also be created for distribution? I very much doubt it.

I'm neither a lawyer nor an expert on the GPL. Perhaps I am wrong - if so, feel free to show me what in the GPL contradicts what I have said. However, I think Wesnoth will be safe distributing just the PNG files. Not that other formats wouldn't be usable, of course.

I'd also agree that the GPL is not a good license for anything other than code, and it would be preferrable to use a license specifically suited for such things. But it's a little late for that.
Doros
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Post by Doros »

varradami wrote:You've drawn a conclusion but I do not see any argument supporting it. Perhaps you could clarify?

To my knowledge the GPL requires you to distribute the source only for what you are distributing. If I make a derivative work, I need distribute the source only to that derivative work, not to the original.
When I say "original," I just mean the original format. If you modify my C++ files and distribute the binaries, you need to distribute the modified C++ files. If you modify my PNGs and distribute them as .h files, you need to distribute the modified PNGs used to create the .h files.

Converting C++ to Java is sort of hard to compare, as it would really have to be a rewrite. However, if you did manage to convert it, you'd need to distribute any changes you made to the C++ files as well, yes.
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xtifr
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Post by xtifr »

Doros wrote:Converting C++ to Java is sort of hard to compare, as it would really have to be a rewrite. However, if you did manage to convert it, you'd need to distribute any changes you made to the C++ files as well, yes.
No. You need to distribute the source to the work you're distributing. If you're distributing a work written in Java, it doesn't matter that there was once a version written in C++. You only have to distribute the Java source.
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Elvish_Pillager
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Post by Elvish_Pillager »

I'd think the 'source' for an image would be meaningful if and only if significant data was lost in the conversion. (e.g. layered .xcf to .png, or .png to .jpg)
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Doros
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Post by Doros »

xtifr wrote:
Doros wrote:Converting C++ to Java is sort of hard to compare, as it would really have to be a rewrite. However, if you did manage to convert it, you'd need to distribute any changes you made to the C++ files as well, yes.
No. You need to distribute the source to the work you're distributing. If you're distributing a work written in Java, it doesn't matter that there was once a version written in C++. You only have to distribute the Java source.
In his example, the Java files were somehow generated from C++, in which case the Java files are derived from the C++ files. Unless anybody comes up with a case that makes sense in real life, though, I'm not going to argue this particular thing (C++ vs Java) any further.
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Post by Xan »

Elvish Pillager wrote:I'd think the 'source' for an image would be meaningful if and only if significant data was lost in the conversion. (e.g. layered .xcf to .png, or .png to .jpg)
I don't see what all the fuss is about. It seems to me Elvish Pillager got it exactly right.
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wayfarer
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Post by wayfarer »

Well I don't see the purpose of this discussion me and others won't stop making images because of the copyright and those who want to help won't get stopped either

If you want the source of my images you must behead me.
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xtifr
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Post by xtifr »

wayfarer wrote:Well I don't see the purpose of this discussion me and others won't stop making images because of the copyright and those who want to help won't get stopped either
Well, good, then my work here is done! :)
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