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Re: New candidates for inclusion in Extras : udftools and starfighter-music

On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 16:26:13 +0100, Nils Philippsen wrote:

> On Mon, 2005-02-07 at 13:54 +0100, Michael Schwendt wrote:
> > On Mon, 7 Feb 2005 13:19:17 +0100, Matthias Saou wrote:
> > 
> > > Here are packages I'd like to add to Extras :
> > 
> > > - starfighter-music : My current starfighter package doesn't bundle the
> > > musics, as they are in a separate zip file and aren't necessarily updated
> > > at the same time as the main game (i.e. game is at 1.1 and music 1.0
> > > currenty). One question about this is whether to make the main package
> > > require the music one for everyone to get the complete gaming experience
> > > (I'd favour this) or to let people optionally install the musics
> > > themselves.
> > > 
> > > If I understood Warren's last process proposal :
> > > - I need someone (besides myself) to sponsor my package (?).
> > > - There needs to be no legal/licensing problems (*).
> > > - Nobody must oppose a veto.
> > > 
> > > They should all comply with "best practices", and I'll announce to the
> > > commits list if/once approved.
> > > 
> > > (*) : The starfighter-music zip doesn't contain any license information.
> > > But I assume that it is covered by the same one as the main program (GNU
> > > GPL) since it seems to be split apart only for practical reasons. Should I
> > > add a copy of the GNU GPL to the package nevertheless? Is having it depend
> > > on the main package which contains the license details enough?
> > 
> > One thing for sure, the music zip package is not GPL'ed, because the
> > composers did not release their music as GPL. Included in the zip are 13
> > MOD files (Protracker or equivalent) and 1 S3M file (Scream Tracker). The
> > credits within the files indicate that they were not made specifically for
> > Starfighter, but were taken from the public domain and made in 1993 to
> > 1996. Usually, MOD files which were not published by their composers
> > directly, were ripped from PC/Amiga demos or music demo shows and then
> > released in the public domain without prior written consent by their
> > authors. If not ripped from commercial games, the composer usually have
> > nothing against their music being used in other "free" (here as in free
> > beer) software.
> > 
> > This package is at most "License: Public Domain", but not GPL.
> This would indeed be the case if and only if the original authors
> explicitly state that their work is in the Public Domain which would
> probably be taken as a similar statement without waiver of copyright in
> countries like Germany (but IANAL). Do we really have statements to that
> effect from the original authors?

Let me ask a different question, please, since the discussion leads to
nowhere so far. We need solutions. Decisions. There are other games which
include lots of music and graphics (e.g. the Wesnoth developers even have
been asked to modify some graphics), which we would need to treat

As Matthias found, the same music files as included within the separate
.zip archive are also included in the main source tarball wrapped into a
binary .pak file together with sound effect WAV files. That tarball is
shipped with a copy of the GPL. The music files' filenames are hardcoded
in the source code.

If the files had been coverted into .ogg format by the Starfighter
developers to escape from having to use a MOD playing library -- if need
be, I can expand on why that can be a problem -- all information about
their origin would be lost (the original instrument headers in the MOD
format were abused to replace file names with other text strings; the
format has no other place where to include copyright/licence information).

So, here's the question:

Generally, how do we treat FOSS packages which include binary music files
or graphics and which don't cover that artwork with any special purpose
licence? Such as:

 * The Open Source Music License (OSML)

 * Free Art License

> The music having been downloaded from "Public Domain" (quotes
> intentional) BBSs, CDs, ... does not automatically mean that the work is
> in fact Public Domain, it could be anything between that and freeware
> without permission to use commercially, etc.

Freeware and Public Domain Software are two different things.

We can argue endlessly. I don't care where the music files were downloaded
from. I don't care whether "Public Domain" BBSs or download servers also
carry freeware, shareware and other forms of software and misguide their
users with that mixture.

The important bit is how this music was released originally. Amiga demo
software, music demos, individual pieces of mod music usually were either
released into the public domain implicitly or explicitly marked as
something else. In the public domain, to be used by other people however
they like (even commercially, BBS download fees as the least form). Many
musicians did do music, which was never used inside a program. Programmed
in assembler languages, you could reuse published software not as
trivially as music and graphics files. Hence [good] music was reused much
more often and spread much more, too. MOD files are source files. 
High-profile musicians with special interests usually did not publish
their music before a corresponding program (e.g. a music demo disk) was
released and used the music exclusively for some time. Those musicians who
wanted their music not being spread freely, usually made it clear inside
the files and asked programmers to protect the music data at least a bit.

The only uncertainty with the Starfighter musics is their origin. Maybe
they were taken from a freeware demo program and were not considered
public domain work originally. I don't want to decide whether
approximately 10 years ago a musician did not care what other people might
do with his music. Unless it's explicitly written anywhere that a MOD
music file from the home computer area shall not be seen as public domain
work, I treat such files as PD.


As comparison, the Debian people highlight "13 different music tracks": ;)

Fedora Core release 3 (Heidelberg) - Linux 2.6.10-1.762_FC3
loadavg: 1.01 1.07 1.08

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