Policy on Licenses and Clones

Discussion in 'Community News and Announcements' started by Jadedcat, Sep 26, 2014.

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    Playing Devil's Advocate here, or maybe its just me being cynical, but if someone is gonna just copy another plugin's code, then I don't think they're gonna care at all about what the license is.
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    @Jadedcat how would your feelings be about my project wolf in a bukkit where we are reverse engineering bukkit from documentation and craftbukkit other codes?
    Basically we are using the same approach as the WINE project does to windows libaries. We are making something compatible, but its not bukkit api. Hopefully this will be the basis for newer craftbukkits.

    We really could use the help, so if anyone wants to pitch in, feel welcome to drop in on our reddit and repo
    http://www.reddit.com/r/wolf_in_a_bukkit/ and

    btw, we have a legal version of craftbukkit. it will not compile on its own though since we had to strip all code that pulls the bukkit api, but we made it so it will compile against wolf in a bukkit code.

    Was a paint to figure out legalities, took me 3 restarts on the project, but this is a legal way, this is the same way the WINE project deals.
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    Maybe we have a differnt understanding of copying someones code, but what did spigot? They copied craftbukkit's code, modified it and published it again. That's what GPL is for.
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    The nature of the beast is that people are going to rip your code.. and there isn't anything you can do about it unless you want to spend a ton of money and time taking the legal avenue which will probably end up leading you to some 14yr old kid in Eastern Europe. Besides that, there aren't a lot of plugins in the Bukkit world that actually warrant closed source licensing.. sorry all you bukkit devs, but most of your code isn't all that great, and your ideas not all that unique (500 plugins devoted to blocking the /pl command? srsly..) So I mean, this in all honestly isn't a conversation that is important except for the fraction of developers making really good stuff AND who are trying to make money off it perhaps? Which.. if you are that good, then you'd probably be better served not releasing your plugin at all and working for one of the big servers as a paid developer..

    just saying, this topic is kind of moot and pointless and only serves to confuse people who aren't avid software developers or lawyers. If I were running bukkit I'd just enforce a specific license to all plugin developers or else.. don't post your plugin here. That simple.. and saves a lot of hassle and confusion across the board.
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    ... I've written all four of my plugins with craftbukkit.jar. Should I be concerned about this, or am I just an unusual person?
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    Not sure if this is an improvement or a way to scare devs away from Bukkit....
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    So have I, so I wouldn't be too concerned.
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    Well, yeah, I guess there's no reason to be concerned, but is there even a difference between bukkit.jar and craftbukkit.jar? As far as I know of, you can both develop plugins and run a server with both of them.
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    Bukkit and Craftbukkit are complete different things:

    Bukkit is an API, that means it only defines which methods/classes/etc plugins can use.
    Craftbukkit is the implementation of this API. That means, craftbukkit actually provides the functionality for the methods defined in Bukkit.

    Therefore Bukkit exist, but Craftbukkit, Spigot, Glowstone, ... implements it.

    Yoe should never compile against craftbukkit.
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    Okay, thank you. If the DMCA is ever lifted, I'll go download bukkit.jar and start using it.
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    Bukkit isn't affected by the DMCA. Only craftbukkit/spigot is.
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    Oh? Where can I get it, then?
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    You can download the repo and compile it yourself, but obviously, you have Spigot and other alternatives that are updated more frequently now. Having the Bukkit repository up and downloadable is not against any legal restrictions, but compiling it (for other people) and distributing it to other people is.
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    In the bottom right corner there is a small report button
    Jadedcat and mbaxter like this.
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    Bukkit is GPL and can be freely distributed (binaries or source).
    CraftBukkit is LGPL (or GPL, someone messed up with the LICENSE file in the source repository), and the situation is very complicated. Anyone who has received a DMCA notice cannot distribute it unless they choose to counter the notice.

    Bukkit plugins technically must be under GPL compatible licenses, from conversations with previous developers they chose not to enforce this restriction for whatever reason.

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    CyberianTiger Please go back 1 page and look what Kaelten wrote (I have an issue right now and can't do quotes)
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    The Google case where it was ruled you could not copyright API was specifically referring to visible class, field and method signatures (i.e. everything you would need to make a compatible product, and nothing more).


    Since you're depending on Bukkit, and not another product which provides the same API, I don't see how this has any bearing on whether you're violating the GPL or not.

    However since you are normally the sole copyright holder for your plugins, there is zero chance of anyone abusing the DMCA to force you to cease distribution. A Bukkit copyright holder would have to bring a GPL violation legal case against you, which is a lengthy, risky and very expensive process. Also no Bukkit copyright holders have shown any inclination to enforce the GPL against plugin authors, and even if they did it would be wise of them to contact you first and ask you make your plugins GPL compliant.

    TL;DR If you don't use a GPL compatible license for your plugins, you're violating the GPL, but carry on anyway, nobody cares.
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    The point is to try to help people understand Licensing and how to use it appropriately. Trying to force a license on people would be a huge compromise of the authors rights.

    Doesn't do anyone any good to debate the specifics of it. Without a court ruling to serve as precedent we're all just armchair lawyering this anyway. :)

    The big point is that people shouldn't worry about the impact of GPL on their plugins. There's a big enough gray area of interpretation that it's just going to lead to arguments.
    blablubbabc likes this.
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    Does this mean no more plugins? no more servers?
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    For existing plugins yes/maybe (if you changed the policy people do have the option to LEAVE).... for new works, why not? It is completely within the rights of Bukkit to enforce its chosen license on people who wish to use the API and POST the plugins on DBO. Doing this you eliminate the discussion altogether. The is no compromise of rights, when it's a ToS for having your work posted somewhere. #getStrict - I think if you poll most of the developers we'd have no problems using a license that Bukkit proposes across the board... outside of the few who are either greedy or really proud of their (sarcasm begins) awesome and unique minecraft plugin.
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    People are still uploading dozens of plugins a day, and the community at large is actively working in several different directions to ensure that servers continue.

    I understand what you're saying and it's merits, but I firmly disagree with the principle. :)
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    You would be wrong. I'd pull my plugins from Bukkit before giving away my rights to the work I've done. It's not about greed or pride, if that were the case it wouldn't be open source. I'm fine allowing others to use the work, but I still maintain my rights to it. It's about the author's rights. What right do you have to say how I license the code I create? I'm the one doing the work, it's my choice.

    If I give away my rights here, what's next?
    Jadedcat likes this.
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    As a addon author (for WoW) I echo those sentiments pretty heavily. In WoW a large group of us have started releasing all non libraries as All Rights Reserved, and rely on the Terms of Service powered dual licensing on sites like Curse to allow for end user usage. This is also the general sentiment that makes me generally avoid licensing or contributing under GPL style licenses as it takes away my right of choice.
    Jadedcat likes this.
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    Kaelten This is all fun for new plugins but for existing plugins currently under GPL (because they were forced GPL) learning that others can clone your project and re-release them it's like a bullet in the chest.

    The bright side is they also must release under GPL and we can use their code in ours.
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    Yeah that's the 'payoff' of GPL. I'll be happy to discuss licensing and my thoughts on them after working with modders for almost a decade though. :)
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    Re clones: This is currently hypothetical, as far as I know.

    But what if someone wants to port a plugin that was made to run on CraftBukkit to some other community made MC server project?

    Would that count as a clone?

    Would the answer depend on whether or not the code-porters intended to maintain, develop, or support the plugin once they had ported it?
    Furry cows moo and decompress.
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    Well if you're talking from a licensing point of view it may or may not maintain a derivative work. That would be based on if they're porting the code more or less line-by-line, or if they where re-implmenting the same idea on a new API. Ideas cannot be copyrighted (they can only be patented) and therefore are not a factor in licensing discussions.

    Now from a CurseForge hosting point of view. If you break their license and they file a report with us, it doesn't matter what game it's for we will investigate take action as needed. If you're reimplementing the idea, and it's not a clone or a derivative work, then licensing concerns don't apply and we'll happily host it. :)
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    Kaelten @Jadedcat How would I go about filling a DMCA claim on a plugin? (http://dev.bukkit.org/bukkit-plugins/plotsquared/) it's released under All rights reserved but is actually a fork of my PlotMe plugin which is GPLv3.

    This is one of the problems that happens when you allow clones. Very valid reason why the previous team didn't allow it.
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