On Sun, 2011-02-27 at 16:09 -0600, Curtis Olson wrote:
> In the spirit of shifting the discussion. I would also like to point
> out there are two separate issues to consider here:
> 1. use of copyright/trademark/logos when building realistic 3d models.
> 2. ensuring that all content creation is one's own work (or borrowed
> with suitable permission from the original author, or borrowed from a
> work that explicitly allows copying and modification.)
With all due respect, I fail to see a distinction between the two. On
the surface, they do look like separate issues, but your next paragraph
sure muddies the waters, at least for me.
> I'm not sure we'll ever fully agree on #1. However, on item #2, I
> believe we have a long history of making it very clear what we allow
> or don't allow within the FlightGear project. Work submitted for
> inclusion in the FlightGear project, must be licensed in a GPL
> compatible way. It must be either an original work created by the
> author and licensed for inclusion with FlightGear, or it must be an
> adaption of another author's work either with appropriate permission,
> or of work previously licensed in a gpl compatible way.
Okay, that sounds simple enough. But, how is a trademarked icon *not* a
"work" nor "content" in the context of it being used on a livery for an
aircraft included in the FlightGear package? If I take Red Bull's logo
(or MacDonald's, or Trojan's, or any other trademarked icon) and slap it
on a aircraft livery, am I not using a "work" that: (a) is not licensed
in a GPL compatible way, (b) is not my original creation, and (c) is
being used without the appropriate permission of the original author?
What you seem to be saying Curtis, is that it's "okay" to use someone
else's original work without appropriate permission if it's a part of an
aircraft livery, but it's *not* "okay" to use someone else's work if
it's computer code, an FDM, etc.
> We depend on an honor system--that all content authors vouch for the
> originality of their own work. It's impossible to independently
> verify every author's claim, so within the FlightGear community
> contributors build up a "reputation" of trust. And unfortunately some
> authors have developed a track record in the other direction. Works
> that include borrowed portions with dubious origin simply cannot be
> included within the core FlightGear project.
Pardon me for being dense but, again, I'm confused. How is it
impossible vouch for the originality of an aircraft livery? If the
livery includes an obvious reproduction of a well-known trademarked
icon, then isn't it pretty obvious this is *not* an original work of the
author of the livery, and isn't also pretty easy to then ask that person
to document that they have the appropriate permission of the original
author of the "work" to use the trademarked icon for that purpose?
> Our policy with respect to point #2 is well defined and not open for
> debate. It is not my intention to reach through the computer screen
> and tell anyone what they can or can't do on their own time, but we
> are very serious about maintaining the integrity of the core
> FlightGear project ... what we commit to our central repository and
> what we distribute as core portions of FlightGear.
Again, with all due respect it seems to me that we're very serious about
maintaining the integrity of the core FlightGear project *except* when
it comes to using trademarked icons. Pardon my being blunt, but IMHO
what we're really saying when we act this way is, "It's okay for me to
steal *your* work, but please don't steal mine!"
By the way, everyone seems to be focused on whether (or not) there's a
risk of legal exposure (i.e. someone getting sued), and if that were to
happen whether (or not) there would be financial consequences (incurring
legal costs, losing a suit, etc.). However, I respectfully submit that
the *real* issue is much simpler... is "borrowing" (i.e. using without
permission) the artistic work (i.e. a trademarked icon) of another
person (e.g. Red Bull, MacDonalds, whomever) *morally* right? If we
allow this to occur, can we *really* say that we're "serious about
maintaining the integrity" of the Project?
In my personal opinion, knowingly allowing the use of trademarks in
aircraft liveries without the permission of the trademark holder
*damages* this Project's integrity. However, if the consensus of the
core development team is that this kind of hair splitting is acceptable
I'll shut up because, after all, I'm just a lowly end-user who happens
to read this mailing list. Therefore, my personal legal and/or
financial risk is fairly minimal.