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  1. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    That's not what I said. Nor am I aware of anyone else making that statement.

    Please understand nuance. I said to 'me it was not a significant problem. To me it is much less of a problem than the harm I believe will happen if their is an attempt to force a license upon community devs'. This 'harm' has been supported by community devs who have stated they are opposed to such mandatory licensing. Their is a very big difference between my stance and the one you say people are arguing.


    It is disrespectful to demean someone by saying "throws a tantrum". Though that may be your interpretation of what happened, I'm pretty certain both SmiteWorks and the dev who recently left the community stated that was not what happened. And, disrespecting community devs by demeaning their choices certainly doesn't help the community.



    The first thing you have to understand is that when a community developer posts or shares an extension, they retain all rights to that extension unless they explicitly state otherwise. That's the way the law works (despite what many people assume; that once something is posted to the internet anyone can use it however they want). Their is a common understanding that anything posted on these forums can be used non-commercially by anyone (hence why it's posted), but their is still the understanding that any other dev who wishes to use the code should ask before doing so (which as far as I know has always been granted). Even SmiteWorks is restricted by this, they too need to ask before they incorporate someone's code.


    API keys stored in plain text files distributed via a forum are not secure. Unless such extensions where distributed via the FG Updater and stored in the vault, anyone could simple open up an extension and pull out any other dev's API key and use it to 'authorize' their extension. Plain text API keys can be secure, but not in the current FG distribution model and not without other infrastructure. But, lets really not devolve into a big debate on specifics of API keys, because any API key structure require infrastructure. Infrastructure that requires resources, that takes away from SmiteWork's ability to otherwise support and enhance FG.


    This, enforcing a licensing in order to obtain a API key is what is restrictive. Not the API key itself. A license by its very definition IS restrictive, even copyleft type licenses are restrictive because they restrict the creator's right after initial publishing. Some people think any restriction is draconian. Some of those people are or might become FG Community Developers. People who perceive things as 'draconian' are likely to react by not contributing.

    Right now (because their is no forced license community content must be released under) devs who feel all such community content should be released to the public domain can do so. Devs who feel that they should retain some or all of their rights can do. All devs can contribute in the manner in which they feel is appropriate.
    Disrespectful or not, they (because it was more then one) DID throw a tantrum...just because one person said it wasn't a tantrum doesn't make it true, actions speak very loudly.

    I think we all understand that most any change to the licensing is going to require some sort of change on the part of SW to support it - APK keys or otherwise. I think that's one of the reasons we are having this conversation.

    API keys are a very common way to handle community extensions/mods/etc through out the world and they work very well. Restrictive isn't a common complaint with that method. And we all know that it's not going to stop people from putting out extensions...maybe not the same people but it's not going to suddenly cause everyone to stop because they need an API key, which most people are already well acquainted with from other products. And it would settle this issue once and for all.

    "Change is bad" is sorta the feeling I'm getting from a lot of this thread...maybe I'm misreading it.

  2. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM_BK View Post
    API keys are a very common way to handle community extensions/mods/etc through out the world and they work very well. Restrictive isn't a common complaint with that method. And we all know that it's not going to stop people from putting out extensions...maybe not the same people but it's not going to suddenly cause everyone to stop because they need an API key, which most people are already well acquainted with from other products. And it would settle this issue once and for all.

    "Change is bad" is sorta the feeling I'm getting from a lot of this thread...maybe I'm misreading it.
    It's not implementation of an API key that I think would be a bad decision. It is only giving API keys to developers who agree to a single license for their content.

    Now, community devs have often asked for the ability to have their content included in the FG Updater. I think access to the official FG Updater / patch system in exchange for a license that allows SmiteWorks the ability to carry forward abandoned content or even incorporate code would be a fair and welcome 'trade' while allowing content to be distributed and licensed in the current manner as well. To me, that is the best 'new process'.

    Change is not bad, 'change management' is part of what I do professionally. And part of managing change is realizing the value of existing systems and not just throwing them out because their are new ways to do things.

  3. #73
    I disagree with the API key idea... for one reason... you are stating a generality that “they are common around the world”... what world? Because last I checked, not everyone on these forums is a professional software engineer...

    And the primary draw I had to fantasy grounds is the ability to add and contribute what you feel like putting your efforts into... this includes modules, campaigns, images, and yes extensions...

    Rulesets are also not specified... all are welcome!! Regardless of what you do or play!!! It’s about gaming, not stove piping!

    That being said, I do understand your point of view. I am just simply stating that I do not feel that it is such a good idea for the community.

    I try to help out people on several discord servers to learn how to edit or make their own extensions... because that’s what really makes fantasy grounds great, the ability to add and make it what you want! Not someone else’s vision... the fact that some people, professionals, hobbyists, or someone that was curious on how to change some little toggle; decided to try their hand at something and then share it with the community is a truly great aspect of this community... it means you can make and play YOUR game...

    Not all people can developer extensions... but if you look at the originating posts, this is not only about extensions... which is the only thing api keys would really affect... and the people who want to start poking around, and learning how to code, shouldn’t be hampered by closed doors... this is a welcoming platform and community! I feel like whatever decisions are made, I truly hope keep the doors open and the platform welcoming...

    Incase anyone wishes to point out the obvious: Yes I know I sell my codes on DMs Guild. It is how I afford to continue gaming and can justify the hobby to my wife. I love gaming and FG! I truly do! However, because I sell my codes, I feel as though I owe it to my customers more than a little do-hickey and then walk away... I try to improve it, add to it... make it worth their time and money... I do have emergency plans in place if things suddenly prevent my continued support of the products (another coder will take over sustainment and development)... as I feel that I owe the stability to those who purchase my codes... so I get that philosophy! I truly do...

    If there should be a change in licensing though... I’d probably recommend adding the option of adding a license to the post if the author wishes... like a checkbox of “if like to add x license rules to this extension”... that would be awesome... but I’d humbly request to not make it mandatory... once chosen, like a fully open license, then keep that post and contents available in accordance to the license... but don’t force it on people... I feel that would squelch the actual open sharing and development of the community. So that is my personal view on the matter... I guess what I’m really trying to say, is not everyone is a professional coder or writer... let the hobby be a hobby, that’s why we’re here!
    Last edited by Diablobob; February 13th, 2020 at 03:30.

  4. #74
    Regarding DMs Guild content specifically, I don't think there is any discussion to be had. I don't mean this negatively, it's
    just as I understand the TOS for DMs Guild specifically, once a creator posts an item there be it a PDF, an FG mod/extension, or any other form of media, Wizards of the Coast has EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS and OWNERSHIP of said material, and there is no right granted to the creator except that of revenue sharing.

    With the DMs Guild (specifically) you post it there, they own it. End of story.
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  5. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by rob2e View Post
    Regarding DMs Guild content specifically, I don't think there is any discussion to be had. I don't mean this negatively, it's
    just as I understand the TOS for DMs Guild specifically, once a creator posts an item there be it a PDF, an FG mod/extension, or any other form of media, Wizards of the Coast has EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS and OWNERSHIP of said material, and there is no right granted to the creator except that of revenue sharing.

    With the DMs Guild (specifically) you post it there, they own it. End of story.
    I thought this wasn't the case? Granted I haven't read the ToS, but here it says that you do in fact own what you post. At least that's how I read what it says in the section "Does Wizards own any unique IP that I create in my DMs Guild publications?"

    https://support.dmsguild.com/hc/en-u...bile_site=true

  6. #76
    It seems they HAVE changed their TOS..

    Does Wizards own any unique IP that I create in my DMs Guild publications?

    Wizards does not own any of the unique IP that you create in your publications. Wizards does own the IP that they contribute, plus the DMs Guild agreement will grant Wizards and other DMs Guild authors a license to use your IP.

    That said, if your work merits incorporation into canon, Wizards will contact you about purchasing your IP outright.
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  7. #77
    I never thought of attaching a license to the rule sets I have developed and posted to the community. I used in a large part the existing framework provided by SW from Core RPG and 3.5e. The core is theirs. The fact I reshaped or extended some lines in lua or xml I figured was SW allowing me to use their product for my ideas.

    I am not a developer or software professional, and my personal feeling is that if I left this community, I would leave my posts with the hopes someone would take over. Having said that, I was irritated when WHFRP 4e started to be developed and was piggy backed off my 2e set, with zero credit given to me. It's a dead issue, but I see the issue. I don't feel 2e "belongs" to me, but my months (yes months to develop a ruleset - 40k is over 6 months with the skin and the work), I thought it was bad form that I was to receive zero mention for 4e. To me it was poor form, and a bad way to treat a fellow community member.

    I see this happen a lot in WoW and ESO that allow mods. I write mods for both, and all across the various forums someone takes a mod, uses essentially the core code and the same libraries, and calls it their own. How does Wow, or ESO handle their community mods?

    I am probably not much help here as I don't have strong opinions and since I am not educated with licensing at all - I am left wondering, in an effort to keep the discussion positive and moving forward -

    What are good examples of communities that users here find to be working in a manner in which this community would like to emulate?

  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pratt View Post
    Having said that, I was irritated when WHFRP 4e started to be developed and was piggy backed off my 2e set, with zero credit given to me. It's a dead issue, but I see the issue. I don't feel 2e "belongs" to me, but my months (yes months to develop a ruleset - 40k is over 6 months with the skin and the work), I thought it was bad form that I was to receive zero mention for 4e. To me it was poor form, and a bad way to treat a fellow community member.
    I agree - it annoys me when people re-use code another developer has spent many, many hours writing and debugging without asking them or mentioning them. This was why I wrote some guidelines at the bottom of post #1 in the CoreRPG extensions thread (see the “Developers” paragraph): https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forum...ity-Extensions

    These are, however, just guidelines and are more about being polite and community minded than any specific licensing model.
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  9. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trenloe View Post
    I agree - it annoys me when people re-use code another developer has spent many, many hours writing and debugging without asking them or mentioning them. This was why I wrote some guidelines at the bottom of post #1 in the CoreRPG extensions thread (see the “Developers” paragraph): https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forum...ity-Extensions

    These are, however, just guidelines and are more about being polite and community minded than any specific licensing model.
    ... And this is why the Ars Magica ruleset has one of the longest Thank You notes of any rulset out there. Going all the way back to Mossfoot and Toadwart who helped me grasp the basics once upon a time.

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  10. #80
    From a copyright point of view it is pretty simple: If somebody didn't explicitly give you permission to use their code, you must not use it. (Even if they abandoned it.) Afaik in the US and Europe copyright protection will last at least for 70 years AFTER the original author died. There are some specific laws around trivial works which will not be protected by copyright laws and laws which allow for extended copyright. You also can't directly protect the idea or the rules behind your work, but still nobody is allowed to copy your code, even if it is in plain text like the source of extensions, websites and so on and easily accessible over the internet.

    I see this happen a lot in WoW and ESO that allow mods. I write mods for both, and all across the various forums someone takes a mod, uses essentially the core code and the same libraries, and calls it their own. How does Wow, or ESO handle their community mods?
    Unfortunately, if somebody takes your stuff and violates your copyright, you will still have to go to court against them if you really want them to stop and they don't comply at your request. That's expansive and also why it is often kinda ignored in the non-commercial world of community addons/extensions and stuff like this. There is just not enough money in it. Also most of the time it won't be hosted directly on the platform of who ever owns the game, but some community modding site.

    It is annoying for everybody who liked and enjoyed using it, when people who made something public go and take it away. No matter if they paid for it or not. Still it is the right of the author to do exactly that even so they can't take away rights they already granted. So even after it is taken offline, if you had the right to use it, you still can. If you had the right to modify or redistribute it, you still can.

    Obviously Smite Works can say everybody has to use a certain license if they want to publish their works on SWs platform or even just to use the FG API. They are also free to only allow extensions to load, which have some sort of API key or something like that. But honestly API keys in the current FG platform would be useless, because everybody could just take the key from another extension. Even the vault wouldn't really protect that... it just makes it harder for new creators to learn from others.

    API keys are useful to authenticate you with an API. Usually APIs you use over some kind of network, but you should never ever put the key into a distributable like an extension, because then everybody who gets a copy can use it as if they were the owner of the key. The key has to stay private and under your control at all times!
    You could require signing of extensions to make sure they are from a certain author you have an agreement with. But this would either make the creation of extensions a pain, or would need to allow for a dev mode, where you can still load unsigned extensions. To verify the signature, you would also need to have the public key somewhere in FG to run offline. Since the FG application itself is running on my machine, I once again have access to all of this. It makes it harder, but if you think about tools like Cheat Engine, tricking your FG into believing the signature is valid would still be possible. So no real win here and a lot of work just to make everybody's life harder.

    My personal opinion on the community license:

    • I believe Smite Works should encourage people to use a permissive license for free community extensions/rulesets/modules, maybe even suggest one or two and appeal to the openness of the community. The suggested license could also allow SW to use the code in FG commercially (i.e. MIT license).
    • Maybe they could even be a role model and open the official rulesets, if they are allowed t, and encourage community devs to help with further development. This may or may not result in faster development, since this process also has to be moderated and somebody has to pick which changes ultimately make it into the official rules.
    • I don't think SW should enforce a specific license. Everybody should be able to pick the license they want to distribute their works under.
    • It might make sense to enforce that every (new) work published here should have a clearly stated license (any license at all). This would make it clear for everybody what they can and can't legally do with it. My hope would be, that most creators will pick the permissive license, so if they leave somebody else would be able to take over or create derived works.

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