The whole Content License subject slid to the back of the cupboard in the wake of the RAD Game Tools issue and a few other diversions, but as Cyan has recently resignalled enthusiasm to move forward on introducing Fan Content to MOULa it's time to start the machine rolling again.
Firstly, a disclaimer - English is notoriously prone to inexactness and interpretation: While we (i.e. OpenUru.org) will do our best to convey Cyan's wishes and responses as concisely and accurately as possible, we (the community at large) shouldn't expect them to be held to apparent undertakings that arise from misunderstandings and misinterpretations, however they arise. In short, if anything looks ambiguous, or prone to interpretation, or is otherwise unclear it is better to ask for clarification than to make assumptions. We want to be sure that everyone takes away the same understanding.
Next, a quick recap. Here's the summary of an exchange with Cyan that I provided back in June 2012, after the Community Licensing Request was submitted:
This might help remind people why the two subthreads mentioned earlier were created.There is no real "substance" or detail given yet that we can pass on but here are the things we are able to relay (my own interpretations and comments are in green):
- Cyan has read the Community Licensing Request and likes the idea and feels it is "ready to proceed down a path which would license certain assets". I note the use of the phrase "certain assets", but for now can only speculate that may mean a limited trial to see how things go, but it could also mean they are constrained on what they can license.
- A proviso on that is that the assets will be made available for community development of MOUL, and things like porting to other engines, or commercial (for profit) use will not be allowed.
- Cyan also wishes to make it clear that in licensing any assets, it is not abandoning its rights to those assets or otherwise placing them in the public domain. While Cyan wishes to make it clear that it retains copyright on the original assets, it doesn't want to extend that to unfairly claiming ownership of any derivative work. I'd infer that means that derivative works could have thier own license (and certainly copyright), so long as Cyan's original copyright and license are acknowledged.
- Associated with the previous item, Cyan wishes to maintain a list/register of developers using the licensed Cyan assets. In effect, this seems to be a desire to assign usage rights to individual licensees rather than declaring an "open house". I don't think it's really an attempt to restrict who can use the assets so much as reinforcing the point that the assets are "licensed by Cyan". There is no information on the mechanics of this yet.
It's also worth re-reading Deledrius' post from August 2012 which contains a very useful taxonomy of potentially licensable asset classes.
So what's changed since then?
Well, a few things:
Firstly, as mentioned in the post I just referenced, a question was raised of Cyan (from a number of quarters) regarding the rights to the Peter Gabriel "Burn You Up, Burn You Down" loop used in the game. Not unexpectedly, it transpires that this item was directly licensed to Cyan by the rights holder under terms that do not permit Cyan to relicense it to third parties. This raises a bit of a red flag in that some research may be necessary to identify other items that have similar restrictions and these items will need to be excluded from any Content License.
Next, you'll be aware that some people have been making headway on Library/Nexus proposals to help facilitate the incorporation of Fan Ages into MOULa. A key element here is the adaption of the existing Nexus and Nexus machine design in order to accomodate the necessary changes. Since a Content License is probably still some way off, OpenUru.org enquired if Cyan could provide access to the necessary assets in advance of a Content License. Cyan agreed that they could probably do this and would possibly use an FCAL to cover it. Note: There is further discussion needed around this point - Given Cyan's comments (in my summary above) about "retaining ownership" I expect they will want to restrict the FCAL to only those with a direct need for the material and there will be some logistics surrounding that, and even the use of FCALs is not a "done deal" at this point.
Third, as time passed, I had become increasingly convinced that when Cyan wrote of "licensing certain assets" it had in mind a specific distinction. Consequently, I asked that OpenUru.org put the question to Cyan whether it was their intent to license complete age datasets or only "building blocks" (textures, sounds, smaller object geometries) intended to promote "look and feel" continuity. Cyan's response was that it intended to license "building blocks" as it would prefer to promote new fan created content rather than re-workings of existing Cyan content. This may not be what some people had hoped for, but it confirms what I (and others) have suspected for some time.
I also want to raise the subject of a content redistribution license for shard operators to serve Cyan's MOULa content, but I'll leave that for a different thread - I see that as quite a separate issue from the Content License for reasons that will become apparent, so not really on-topic for this thread.