Bukkit is GPL, all non-GPL plugins are breaking copyright law, or worse...

Discussion in 'Bukkit Discussion' started by Afforess, Sep 24, 2011.

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    Your link supports my interpretation, not yours:

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    No it doesn't. Read it.

    "Yes, because the software as it is actually run includes the library."

    No it doesn't. Bukkit is not included in plugins.
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    Bukkit is run when plugins are run, so it is included.

    You can't run plugins without Bukkit.
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    I don't know what is considered static and dynamic linking with Java, but this one part makes me think plugin projects are affected by the GPL:

    "public class MyPlugin extends JavaPlugin"
  5. Fixed that for you. All plugins should be GPL, that's a fact.
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    That's not how this works. GPL governs redistribution. I believe the term they use "Convey". My plugin does not distribute or convey Bukkit. Dependencies are irrelevant to GPL unless they are conveyed with the project. If that is the case, all Java GPL projects are illegal because it requires Oracle or one of the other JAVA runtimes which are licensed.

    What your saying doesn't make sense. Eventually they all go back to Windows too! Now your depending on Windows or Mac, or Linux which often is GPL, but that's beside the point.
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    No, non-GPL code can run GPL code. Just not the other way around.

    GPL has an operating system exclusion, otherwise you would be right. ;)
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    To plugins, Bukkit is an operating system. But still. Convey. I can't say that enough. If your not redistributing, your not subject to GPL.
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    No, it is not. Operating Systems are strictly defined in the GPL. Please stop, you don't understand licensing. Go learn then come back.
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    You need to go learn licensing, I understand it just fine. Simply put, I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong.
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    Nope, Afforess is correct here. I will quote from the FSF themselves (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-java.html):

    Bukkit plugins link to the Bukkit API. And Bukkit is licensed under the GPL, so legally plugins must be licensed under the GPL. Don't like that? Tough.

    Also, in case you still have any doubt: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLAndPlugins

    That's pretty unambiguous; Bukkit does not fork/exec plugins, it dynamically links them, and there is certainly two-way method calls and data structure sharing happening.
    jorisk322 likes this.
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    That's fine if they believe that. Too bad they didn't write it into the actual text of the license. I interpret Java's dynamic linking differently then they do and their license obviously leaves room for interpretation. They can say it is, but unless the license define it, what they say is complete bunk. Point it out to me, I see several definitions of propogating and conveying but none of them refer to dynamic linking.

    "To "convey" a work means any kind of propagation that enables other
    parties to make or receive copies."

    Plugins do not allow you to receive a copy of Bukkit. You have to do that yourself.
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    Keep in mind, that article was written prior to the release of GPLv3, which I believe is what bukkit is licensed under. I believe that the argument Alshain01 is making is referencing new language in the GPLv3 license, that isn't addressed by the FSF article.

    In my opinion, I believe this is the key. The most basic rule of thumb has always been that using GPL software does not require abiding by the terms of the GPL, but distributing GPL software does. Distributing copyrighted content that you do not own the rights to is the legal issue at hand. Licenses like the GPL are what grant you the rights to legally distribute someone else's copyrighted content.

    The points about linking/etc, I think, are irrelevant in this particular case. There is no bukkit copyrighted content distributed in a plugin's jar file, so distribution of that plugin jar does not put the plugin developer in violation of bukkit copyright, therefore a license to distribute the bukkit copyrighted content is not required.

    If a plugin developer were required to bundle the bukkit jar (or a modified version of it) inside their plugin jar, then it would be a different story. Then they would be illegally distributing copyrighted content that they didn't own unless they followed the terms of it's license, which would then kick in the GPLv3 clauses about if/how they can link to the bukkit jar.

    Most of the language in the GPL that is being discussed in prior posts applies to when you are distributing GPL'd work and non-GPL'd work together.

    EDIT by Moderator: merged posts, please use the edit button instead of double posting.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2016
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    Even though Bukkit states they use the GPL license, they don't enforce it at all. When publishing a plugin one of the options for a license is 'All Rights Reserved', that doesn't sound like GPL enforcement to me. If they are so much about GPL, why do they allow us to use this other non-open source license? They are making all of use developers quite vulnerable to violating Copyright.
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    Yep, fair point.
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    An important point is who can do the suing.

    Even though GPL gives to "the world" the right to use the software, only the contributors can actually sue. The contributors remain owners of their work and violating the license gives them a claim.

    I wonder if servers are protected by the "service provider loophole".

    What a server actually does is

    Download Craftbukkit (breaks GPL since Mojang's source is not included)
    Download Plugin (covered by Plugin's license)
    Link them locally

    The server admin doesn't actually "distribute" the resulting linked code.

    Plugins which reference Bukkit classes aren't linked with Bukkit by the plugin author, so again, they shouldn't trigger GPL. It is only if they include Bukkit classes.

    Ofc, distributing CB without also distributing Mojang's MC source files breaks GPL for CB, but that is separate to the plugins question.

    As long as reasonable steps are made to have the plugin download and the CB download separate, then they don't count as a distribution of linked code and GPL doesn't trigger.

    That is clearly the case for plugins, since server owners completely decide which plugins they want to use. If the Bukkit team (or anyone else) wanted to distribute "recommended" plugins + CB as a single distribution, then those plugins would have to be GPL-ed.

    The link provided earlier


    was for dynamically linked code, where both parts of the code were distributed together.
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    My interpretation is that a plugin is a completely independent work, with regards to copyright. Most plugin developers neither copy, modify, or distribute bukkit code in their own plugin.
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