#19 Replace copyright/trademark-infringing and FOSS-incompatible


Warning: possibly frustrating license talk ahead! Feel free to criticize and object and clarify!

Labels on the car textures and probably the car designs as well are protected by trademark/copyright respectively. Does the lead of trigger

Sounds and backgrounds might also be affected: The LICENSE says "GPL" (does it say so specifically about the assets?) but no author/sources are named.

I suspect that sounds and models were taken 'from the web' from 'free 3d models' and 'free sounds' websites, which have terms not compatible with GPL.

As for backgrounds, I suspect they were taken from google image search result pages.

If the assets' licenses are not compatible or their source can not be identified, I would suggest that replacing them should be a target.


  • J

    J - 2012-01-04

    Thanks for bringing this up.

    The GPL license is intended to cover both code and assets. However, I'm not sure that I have complete information on the source of all the assets, so it's possible that there is inadvertent copyright infringement. Trademark infringement is also possible.

    Trigger uses a custom 3D mesh format (derived from 3DS Max ASC format) so replacement would be hard, but I'm confident that the mesh assets are original works. It's also likely that they differ from their real-world counterparts sufficiently to avoid infringement.

    However, replacing other suspect assets (images & sounds) would be a worthwhile goal. The first step will be to concretely identify such assets on a per-file basis.

    We will then need to find volunteers to create new works. This may be difficult, but we have the advantage that we are starting from a working game. Asset replacement is easier than creation from scratch. It may be possible to recruit from gamedev.net, or deviantart.com, etc.

  • Iwan Gabovitch (qubodup)

    I'm glad this report seems useful rather than annoying. :)

    NAVE keeps track of contributions/licenses in a structured way: https://github.com/bobbens/naev/blob/master/gfx/ARTWORK_LICENSE

    Here's a list of files that I'm not sure what the legal status is of:

    But to be exact, every piece of asset needs to have copy/author info attached so we can be sure.

    Here's a list of files that I'm sure are incompatible with GPL for copyright/trademark reasons:

    • data/textures/splash/endgame.jpg
    • data/textures/splash/splash.jpg

    • data/textures/life_helmet.png

    • data/textures/dial_gear.png

    • data/vehicles/evo/evo_complete.jpg

    • data/vehicles/focus/focus_complete.jpg
    • data/vehicles/seat/seat_complete.jpg
    • Textures look like professional photos, replacement should be original
    • Colors should be changed (colors can be trademarked... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colour_trademark )
    • Logos should be removed or replaced. I would be for removal and against using free software logos "just cause". Note that making parody logos that look alike would be GPL-incompatible, as the design would still be protected and only fall under fair use due to use for parody.

    All other textures I would consider 'too simple for copyright to be applicable' or 'too easy to re-create from scratch in two steps in GIMP to care'.

    Regarding 3D model design; I created two videos of the car model selection to make discussion easier, about whether or not the designs might be protected:
    With textures: http://youtu.be/_j2GfJEqGyw
    Without textures: http://youtu.be/IOSRtFqK-LU

    I agree that having a working game will be helpful. I think the community of http://opengameart.org might be willing to help.

  • J

    J - 2012-01-04

    Thank you for the detailed list and the pointers to resources!! I will try to find time to create a base artwork license file soon, and we put that in SVN and use it to track replacement work.

  • Tom 'spot' Callaway

    crillee.pfb is in the Public Domain (I tracked down the original author), but it is problematic because it is a knockoff of another font called Crillee which is non-free. I would recommend that you simply choose a known free font instead (and in testing, I don't even think Trigger is using this font file).

    The trademarked names and logos definitely need to be replaced, but keep in mind that the look and feel of a vehicle is generally not considered copyrightable or trademarkable, as long as you're not claiming that this car model is a "Ford Mustang", for example.

    Hope that helps,

    Tom Callaway, Fedora Legal (IANAL, but I've done a lot of this for Fedora and talk to Red Hat Legal regularly)

  • J

    J - 2012-01-05

    Awesome, thanks Tom! The font was indeed not used (I had been using it to test a new font system which never got checked in) so I've deleted it.

    Artwork attribution file coming up soon.

  • Iwan Gabovitch (qubodup)

    FYI: We are now tackling one file after another and replacing them in SVN.

    See the mailing list for more info and feel free to join!

    This ticket will be probably updated one all problematic files have been replaced.

  • Onsemeliot

    Onsemeliot - 2016-02-23

    As far as I can see we have finished this task. I don't know of any material left where the copyright might be a problem. We even moved contibuted maps with no copyright information to the plugins folder.


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