If the PRPs we currently have are all that's going to be released, I'd say putting them under CC is an excellent option. If, however, Cyan intends to release all the Max files for the complete set of content, I think this might be one of those rare times it makes sense to put art assets under the GPL.JWPlatt wrote:... maybe a Creative Commons license for the content. The criticisms about releasing the avatar content without licensing were really unnecessary. We were fully aware it would be a problem and that folks would still be frustrated. But it's all we could handle at the time. It's certainly not useless because folks can still privately learn and practice on the content, and maybe release such things as tutorials, to ramp up and prepare for when it is licensed.
If the Max files are GPL'd, that would require anyone who modifiers a Cyan age and distributes the PRP to also distribute the Max file. Under CC, all they'd be required to do is license the resulting PRP under CC. Having Max files for every age would make it much saner* for shard owners to make modifications to the PRP format in their CWE branches, yet still integrate changes they might see on a different shard. Additionally, having a large pool of Max/Blender files available for new artists to look at can only be a good thing (and you'll see why the GPL helps with this further down).
GPL also would cause any age that borrows an asset from a Cyan age to be licensed under GPL, but CC (or at least the share-alike versions, which I'm going to assume are what's being considered) is similarly viral - all that changes is that the Max/Blender files have to be released in addition to the PRPs, which I personally think is a fine idea.
Under either GPL or CC, anybody who's age borrows a Cyan asset would have to allow modifications to that age. The only thing that changes between the two options is whether they have to distribute the Max/Blender "source" file. From what I've seen at the GoW, there are plenty of artists who aren't going to be stopped by not having the source files: they're going to go ahead and modify what they want to modify. Since both CC and GPL allow that modification, I don't see why we shouldn't make that easy (and give the other benefits stated above), and just go with the GPL.
If anybody wants their age to be closed-source, without any legal way for somebody else to mess around with it, the answer in either the case of CC or GPL is to simply not use any Cyan assets.
* by "Saner", I mean that instead of having to worry about decompiling ages, or keeping a conversion program up-to-date that can read/write every shard's particular PRP flavor, everybody can just keep their PRP changes in their local branch and run the exporter(s) when they want/need to change the format somehow.
Now that the business end of this is out of that way, I'd like to take a moment to defend my position regarding the avatar files: At the time, the last thing we'd heard publicly from Cyan about content licensing was that it would likely be under a more restrictive license. We felt it was prudent to warn people not to start any big projects that they might later be forbidden from finishing. Now that Rand has said at Mysterium that there's not much Cyan wants to hold on to, and now that JWPlatt is throwing around phrases like "Creative Commons" (which I hope he wouldn't do if there wasn't at least a reasonable chance of that happening), that changes the equation. We've definitely got some egg on our faces there. But I do think that at the time, with the information we had, it was reasonable to remind people that there might be issues down the road if they jumped in to things before the final license was announced; we made the best call we could based on outdated information. This is definitely one of those times where if Cyan had been more communicative about their changing goals and intentions, a bit of arguing and bad blood could have been avoided.
Now, perhaps hammering the license point home at every opportunity was a bit unnecessary.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled licensing discussion