GPL/LGPL/Commercial Licensing?

Discussion in 'Bukkit Discussion' started by WithinRafael, Jul 9, 2012.

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    Hey Bukkit team,

    I've been working with a few folks on the development of some internal plugins that we'd like to use in a commercial setting. Looking at Bukkit/Craftbukkit licensing, however, we're having trouble moving forward.

    It is our understanding that:
    1. Minecraft is closed-source proprietary software covered by the Minecraft Terms of Service.
    2. Craftbukkit is a culmination of reverse-engineered proprietary Minecraft code and community contributions. Oddly, this is labeled GPL v3 and there is no documentation to suggest Mojang AB has made an exception to their ToS for the Bukkit community.
    3. Bukkit is a wrapper/set of APIs for plugin developers to interface with and include with their own derivations (e.g. Spout). This is licensed LGPL.
    There are a few concerns here:
    1. Should we continue commercial use, we open ourselves up to liability re: the commercial use of Minecraft proprietary code. We would love if Mojang AB issued an authoritative statement on this, or perhaps offered an exclusion to the Bukkit community.
    2. Also, we run the risk of violating Craftbukkit's GPL license... although it isn't clear if this license is valid, as LGPL Bukkit-developed software ultimately runs as a component of a single GPL Craftbukkit program, creating a derivative work and therefore incompatible licensing environment.
    We saw a similar question pop up a year ago, but there hasn't been traction since. We can take this offline if needed, but would love to get this resolved for both us and the Bukkit community.
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    As long as Notch doesn't get angry with us, we're fine :)
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    Bukkit is not a commercial product. We make no money off the creation of Bukkit, CraftBukkit, or any of our associated sites. I would like to think this has made a positive impression on Mojang. We do not want to profit off of their game, we just want to extend it for the community.

    You will have to ask Mojang the licensing question, it is a question for them to answer.
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    Hey TnT, thanks for the response. The Bukkit team licensed their own software GPL; it would be great to understand that decision because from where we stand -- it's not valid and the resulting confusion is hurting the community.
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    Considering the community has been ran with this licensing for the past year and a half, I'd argue there has been no harm done. Uncertainty, yes, but no actual harm.

    In any event, I won't get into a licensing debate yet again. They've been done to death. The result is that unless Mojang has an issue with it, things will continue on as they are.
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    Fair enough, but I implore the Bukkit staff to take this more seriously.

    With the licensing situation today, Mojang AB can, at any time, announce that Bukkit violates Minecraft Terms of Service (and Copyright law where applicable) and can the whole thing, taking the community with it. There is no debate to be had here. It's not likely, I understand, and you may not personally care... but Bukkit owe it to the community to shield devs from the liability they created in the first place!
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    But not anymore because they work for Mojang?
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    Seems very unlikely as the main Bukkit staff work for Mojang and
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    I understand the Bukkit core team is working with Mojang AB on the official Minecraft API. It's unclear whether Bukkit will remain after that is released. With the licensing situation still muddy, it's also not clear if Bukkit will be allowed to continue.

    Here's a theoretical timeline of events:
    • Mojang AB releases Minecraft API
    • Bukkit declared deprecated, to be obsoleted by X.Y.Z date
    • Bukkit fork happens, someone starts developing competing features (e.g. Sprout)
    • Mojang AB isn't happy; starts sending C&Ds around because the Bukkit team didn't do due diligence here re: licensing.
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    mbaxter ʇıʞʞnq ɐ sɐɥ ı

    The Mojang terms seem pretty clear about being allowed to do whatever you want with 'plugins' to minecraft but that you can't try to make money from them.

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    If that's the case, why is Craftbukkit LGPL? I'm confused. :\
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    1.) You can not use CraftBukkit or Minecraft for commercial use, this is a violation of it's terms of service.
    From the minecraft terms page:
    2.) Bukkit is GPL, Therefore, by extension, every plugin also is GPL. Any plugin stating otherwise is violating copyright laws, and any bukkit contributor could press charges. I am one of the bukkit contributors myself, so I could press charges if I felt like it.

    I've raised this issue multiple times, but the Bukkit team have actively silenced critics and ignore all statements to the contrary. I fully expect a staff member to try to jump on and refute this post.

    You are right to be very very afraid of Bukkit commercially. Bukkit is completely illegal (GPL licensed mojang/minecraft code), and most plugins are too.
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    Technically, the Bukkit api is not illegal as it is completely separate from CraftBukkit which then makes all of the plugins ok as well (just have to be GPL'ed), however, the CraftBukkit server software is the issue here as it contains code from

    correct me if I am wrong (I know you will), but I am pretty sure that Bukkit (just the API) is fine according to legal standard as it contains no code
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    Thanks for the note about the ToS. So I can't sell the plugin but I can sell a service. Cool.

    re: GPL, I'm on the same page as you. I wish someone at Mojang AB or higher up here would care about this issue. Seems we're doomed.
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    Perhaps this is just me, but I find making money off of Minecraft personally quite distasteful. That includes support, plugins, servers, etc.

    Requesting donations is one thing - its nice to get the odd pizza as codename_B would put it, and donations to cover server hosting costs make sense, since without donations it requires the owners to pay out of pocket for others to enjoy playing. However, neither of these donations mentioned should be expected. I run my server hoping people will help with the costs for them to enjoy the server I provide.

    I, however, have no qualms about donating my time to providing support, or making server management tools for others to use and enjoy. I feel many people develop plugins with the same idea in mind.

    Is profit the only thing that motivates people these days? :'(
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    It's the only thing that motivates me to code plugins I'm not really keen on coding, if someone REALLY wants me to code it, I always say they can pay a *facepalming fee* for the time I spend facepalming while forcing myself to code it.

    If I like an idea though, of course I'm gonna do it for free, assuming I have the time. And I do love pizza!
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    Love it!
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    That's rich. would not exist if it didn't generate Curse inc money.

    These days? There were days when money didn't motivate?
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    I do not see Curse's financial statements, and I doubt you do either to prove whether they make anything off of us. I would bet their costs outweigh anything they make on advertisements. It may be splitting hairs, but that's not making money off Minecraft. That is them making money off advertisements for the services they provide, which include hosting the Bukkit sites for us.

    Do you see me charging for the work I put into this community, my server, or my applications? Any of our plugins on our site are done as donations of time and energy. So yes, I see this happening all the time.

    Also, I removed your blatant advertisement for your community.
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    Whatever helps you sleep at night.

    I didn't realize bukkit staff were intended to be actively unhelpful.
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    I sleep quite soundly.

    You accepted the terms of service when you signed up to these forums. Do not try to turn this around on me because I removed your community's advertisement. One only you think helps the situation.
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    Bumping this due to recent Mojang/EULA change noise on the Internet. Resolving this licensing issue is now more critical than it was back in 2012.
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    We should wait until there is any news about the new EULA, before discussing it. We don't know what is in there.
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    Thanks for the bump! It seems that Bukkit is illegal, most plugins are illegal, and that the only thing that's probably saving them is the good pleasure of Mojang... Something that is in danger of being upset the more money being made with illegal software.
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    Whatever Mojang EULA concerns server owners have will need to be discussed with Mojang, our licensing has no effect whatsoever on whether a server is breaking Mojang's EULA or not.

    Until we hear from Mojang on any changes they want us to make, our licensing question is still as much of a non issue today as it was when this thread was created.
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    People always say: "There are no plugins for sale" however there are.
    Think of Mcbans selling a premium account allowing you to get extra features ingame to check or monitor bans
    Think of Buycraft selling a premium account allowing you to get extra features ingame
    Think of well known mincraft panels selling plugin(s) to have more control over ingame actions.

    As TnT says, As long as they do not complain why should we question?

    I think bukkit is the best think that could've happend to minecraft's popularity ;) mojang is not stupid
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