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Guidelines Update (Customization License)

Posted by IchBin™ on NĂ«ntor 30, 2011, 03:06:21 MD

Hello all,

We wanted to let you know that the customization team is going to add a simple new requirement to all mods and themes submitted to the simplemachines.org customization site. We're doing this to keep things simple -- to avoid confusion about what community members are and are not allowed to do with your mod or theme.

Did you know that, whenever you create a new mod or theme, you have an exclusive copyright to your own work? International copyright law says that, when you create original work, nobody else has the right to redistribute your work or create a new version of it -- unless you say so.

Not everyone knows this, and this has led to some confusion about what to do with great mods and themes at the SimpleMachines.org customization site when their original authors are no longer able or willing to keep up with them.  Frequently, someone requests permission to be listed as the new author of the mod or theme. But if the original author has not given permission, then it would be against international copyright law for someone else to put a modified version of the mod up on the customization site. And the SMF team does not want to help someone break the law.

On the other hand, we'd like to help the community maintain these great mods. We know that, many times, the original author really would not mind if someone took over an "old" mod.  That's why we think adding this simple requirement will make things less confusing for everyone.

Starting January 1st we are requiring authors to do the following:
  • Include a license statement in each of your files (see SMF files for an example). Include the name and link to the license you've chosen in the customization description.
  • If you decide you wish to reserve all these rights to yourself, please include a copyright notice, a simple statement that no-one should edit or redistribute your work without your permission. This makes it clear to everyone that you didn't just "forget" to include some kind of permission for others to build upon your work.
You may know that Simple Machines and the SMF team, after a long debate, selected the  Open Source license (3-clause BSD License) for SMF 2.0, and has committed to sticking with open-source licenses in the future. We encourage mod and theme authors to use Open Source  licenses for work they submit.  There are several to choose from.

Among the most permissive are the

Licenses that require those using your code to also share their work have "copyleft" or "share alike" requirements:

For more information:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/licenses.html
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/category
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_free_software_licenses
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/03/24/a-short-guide-to-open-source-and-similar-licenses/

Comments

Kryzen on Dhjetor 01, 2011, 07:16:40 PD said
Thanks for the information. So if I'm correct, the statement that you can do whatever you want with softwares that don't have a license is incorrect? But perhaps it would be a good idea to have a page in the customization site that has a few examples of license and a guide how to include them.
Illori on Dhjetor 01, 2011, 07:22:52 PD said
if a software/code etc does not have a license it is under a closed license and you can not do anything with the code provided.

some licenses are included in the op, you just need to include the text per the license and a link in the header. there is no real strict format required as long as it is included.
Kryzen on Dhjetor 01, 2011, 08:18:19 PD said
Thanks for pointing that out Illori, I was always told that if a software didn't had a license, you could do anything you want with it. Just to be sure, it is not required to give your software a license, but it's recommended to have one?
Illori on Dhjetor 01, 2011, 08:20:34 PD said
it is now a requirement that all mods and themes have a license, even if it is simply text that says you dont want anyone to ever touch your mod/theme and they cant build on it etc.

the customization approval guidelines have been updated to include this requirement.
Kryzen on Dhjetor 01, 2011, 08:22:10 PD said
I know, but I meant generally :P
Illori on Dhjetor 01, 2011, 08:22:48 PD said
in the real world you can do what you want, but in "smf world" it is required.
Norv on Dhjetor 01, 2011, 10:07:25 MD said
Thank you for the work on this and posting this information, BinMan. I'm sure it can only help for the future.
Ricky. on Dhjetor 02, 2011, 02:52:09 PD said
Definitely its useful. There are many who just takes away your work along with credits, they may now have little knowledge that they are breaking law !
Account Abandoned on Shkurt 05, 2012, 03:58:41 MD said
Question about the BSD 3-Clause License.

I am developing a smaller modification which will be in-house for the time being, however, if it works out well I will likely attempt to submit it to SMF mods... Just to make sure I understand correctly, as I haven't done this before... do I need to add the following in every file of the modification?

Quote
Copyright (c) <YEAR>, <OWNER>
All rights reserved.

To abide by the license standards?

Thanks for assisting me with this, I just want to make sure I get it right the first time :)
Labradoodle-360 on Shkurt 05, 2012, 04:04:12 MD said
A copy of the license (.txt) should be included with the modification, and the readme and description should both visibly display the license utilized. Comment headers in files should also state the license it's copyrighted with.
Account Abandoned on Shkurt 05, 2012, 08:55:07 MD said
Okay cool, thanks Lab :)
Sheda on Shkurt 06, 2012, 02:54:31 MD said
Hrm. I'm planning on offering a modification soon. However, it's very little code, that's also quite easy... So i don't feel like reading through a bunch of highly complex and rather useless license texts. I really don't care what people do with the code. If i was to exclude something, i'd say they shouldn't use it for evil... but honestly, who would believe that any license in the world can prevent that? ???
So, well... do you have a suggestion which one i should choose for minimum bureaucracy/effort? :P
Labradoodle-360 on Shkurt 06, 2012, 02:56:32 MD said
Most Open-Source licenses are similar to what you are explaining. Check out the "New BSD License" or MPL (Mozilla Public License).
Sheda on Shkurt 06, 2012, 03:06:26 MD said
How about just writing in my own words what is or isn't allowed to do with the code? Would this count as a license as well?
IchBin™ on Shkurt 06, 2012, 03:10:52 MD said
The link for comparisons is a great way to quickly decide what you want without having to do a lot of research.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_free_software_licenses

The whole purpose of the license is to help the community. Abandoned mods is a big problem because nobody can take them over under a closed license.

We require a license be chosen. If one is not chosen, then you must specify that you reserve all rights as stated in the guidelines.
http://wiki.simplemachines.org/smf/Customization_approval_guidelines#Customization_License
Sheda on Shkurt 06, 2012, 03:33:33 MD said
Thanks. Think i've found one that sounds good.
Labradoodle-360 on Shkurt 06, 2012, 03:55:37 MD said
Thanks. Think i've found one that sounds good.
Great to hear! We look forward to reviewing your customization :)
Sheda on Shkurt 06, 2012, 05:58:55 MD said
:P
You'll probably be disappointed, though... as the code is already available, it's just stuffed into another mod and now i'm going... uh... stand-alone. Hopefully with all the bugs fixed. Well, we'll see.
By the way, where do you think the license-related text should go?
Should i make a comment right at the beginning above the <? xml, or maybe in the line below that, or below the name of my mod, or maybe below the whole code? No matter where, it seems a little out of place.
Labradoodle-360 on Shkurt 06, 2012, 06:03:33 MD said
If your modification adds any files, those files should include licensing information at the top of the file, in the file comments. The readme should contain the license, or a link to the license in addition to the description on the mod site.

Furthermore, there is an XML element-tag called <license></license> that is applicable to package-info.xml :)
Sheda on Shkurt 06, 2012, 07:17:30 MD said
Only package-info.xml or also modifications.xml? Because they both have these infos like name, id, version...
live627 on Shkurt 06, 2012, 08:03:34 MD said
Furthermore, there is an XML element-tag called <license></license> that is applicable to package-info.xml :)
What? In SMF 2.0?
Labradoodle-360 on Shkurt 06, 2012, 08:04:46 MD said
Furthermore, there is an XML element-tag called <license></license> that is applicable to package-info.xml :)
What? In SMF 2.0?
Yeup!
Illori on Shkurt 06, 2012, 08:17:01 MD said
where is it in the source? i cant find it in Packages.php
Labradoodle-360 on Shkurt 06, 2012, 08:18:35 MD said
I honestly have no idea. emanuele uses it in his modifications. It may be for future implementation, and for reading purposes.
live627 on Shkurt 06, 2012, 08:26:43 MD said
I honestly have no idea. emanuele uses it in his modifications. It may be for future implementation, and for reading purposes.
probably in SVN, then. Because I've never heard of such a tag.
IchBin™ on Shkurt 06, 2012, 09:48:34 MD said
It's not used in SMF 2 yet. Further more, it doesn't matter if it is or not. :) You can add whatever tag you want, SMF will only read the tags it needs.
Kindred on Shkurt 08, 2012, 01:31:16 MD said
we definitely have plans for it in future source.

see http://test.turtleshellprod.com/index.php?action=credits#copyrights for a preview of what we have played around with so far.  Specifically, look at the end of the list for the optimus brave entry...
vbgamer45 on Shkurt 08, 2012, 01:53:24 MD said
we definitely have plans for it in future source.

see http://test.turtleshellprod.com/index.php?action=credits#copyrights for a preview of what we have played around with so far.  Specifically, look at the end of the list for the optimus brave entry...
Is there a way to include a link to the website. Like it should be in the mod package format. Like website or mod site link.
Labradoodle-360 on Shkurt 08, 2012, 02:30:29 MD said
we definitely have plans for it in future source.

see http://test.turtleshellprod.com/index.php?action=credits#copyrights for a preview of what we have played around with so far.  Specifically, look at the end of the list for the optimus brave entry...
Is there a way to include a link to the website. Like it should be in the mod package format. Like website or mod site link.
I do believe there is, actually.
Kindred on Shkurt 08, 2012, 02:56:19 MD said
yes, what we have done so far does allow that, if the package uses the tag
(as I said, see the Optimus Brave mod at the bottom of the list)

New tags: website, copyright and license (all optional of course)
The website tag is used around the name of the mod,
If the copyright tag is not defined, a string "by <name of the modder>" is used -- filled from the package info.
if the license tag is defined, a link to the license is included after the author/copyright

note: we're still working on the final format of this stuff...   I added the code update to my test site specifically because it's a good way to test it with 160 mods installed.


edit2- I'll make a mod package in a bit which does this change so people can see the actual effect and experiment with their own mods.
live627 on Shkurt 08, 2012, 08:46:21 MD said
we definitely have plans for it in future source.

see http://test.turtleshellprod.com/index.php?action=credits#copyrights for a preview of what we have played around with so far.  Specifically, look at the end of the list for the optimus brave entry...
Does it do it automatically, ie. no need for the mod to manually do it??
Kindred on Shkurt 08, 2012, 10:28:16 MD said
well, right now (in 2.0) it would be a mod...
I believe that it is planned to add for 2.1.

of course, to take full advantage of it, the mod packages will have to add the correct tags as well.
LogoOff Team on Mars 10, 2012, 12:40:05 MD said
do you mean to change this, even that file is originaly from default theme?

eg index.template.php
Code: [Select]
/**
 * Simple Machines Forum (SMF)
 *
 * @package SMF
 * @author Simple Machines
 * @copyright 2011 Simple Machines
 * @license http://www.simplemachines.org/about/smf/license.php BSD
 *
 * @version 2.0.2
 */
emanuele on Mars 10, 2012, 03:18:20 MD said
Have a look at this topic, it should answer your questions. :)