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Battle for Wesnoth relicensing

From: Pete Chown
Subject: Battle for Wesnoth relicensing
Date: 14 Sep 2008 18:05:38 GMT
User-agent: Pan/0.132 (Waxed in Black)

I wondered what you guys thought of the license change which is being 
proposed for Battle for Wesnoth.

As you probably know, the game is currently under GPL.  It seems that the 
musicians who contributed the soundtracks, and to a lesser extent some of 
the graphic designers, were unclear about the implications when they 
contributed their work.  They thought they were only giving the right to 
redistribute the work as part of Wesnoth, and didn't realise that they 
were also giving the right to modify the work and use it in other 

Eric Raymond has now suggested that the music and art could be licensed 
under a Creative Commons licence, while the code would remain under GPL, 
see .  To me this seems to create all sorts of 

- People who have contributed code to Wesnoth are going to get upset; 
they thought they were contributing to an open source project, not a 
"look but don't touch" freeware project.  This could cause the game to 

- At least Debian and probably other Linux distributions will throw the 
game out.  I see this as a problem, though if you follow the link above, 
you will see that many people who work on Wesnoth don't.

- ESR is suggesting using the NoDerivs option from Creative Commons.  
Since Wesnoth as a whole is a derived work of its media files, I could 
imagine this making it illegal to distribute the game at all.  The same 
problem would occur from the other end; the code would be under GPL and 
the GPL says that its terms have to be applied to the entire derived work.

- If you want to say that Wesnoth is free ("speech") then surely people 
should be able to change the music and the art, not just the code.

I can see that the GPL doesn't deal with media files in the best way, 
because it is often unclear what the source code is.  However, I have a 
feeling that the Wesnoth project is about to create a legal mess for 
itself, and I suppose I was wondering if other people share my worries.


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