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Author Topic: Paying others to Code/Build for You  (Read 4750 times)

Hades_Kane

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2018, 10:44 AM »
Any further derailing and those responsible will receive a 24 hour cool-off in order to give the topic time to refocus.
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Aelius

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2018, 5:31 PM »
I hope we are not back to snowflakeconnect.  Let people talk.

Any further derailing and those responsible will receive a 24 hour cool-off in order to give the topic time to refocus.

 :-X

In the spirit of not derailing: yes, it's definitely abandonware. Honour system it is. One could probably even go to court to declare the license invalid due to uncertainty or ambiguity, honestly. But that would be way out of proportion with what we're talking about here, and would definitely make whoever did that an outcast in the community (even the mere whisper of not following the license is enough to get someone blacklisted, all these years later!). As they say in the legal world, the license may not have much legal strength, but it's got moral strength.

Jodah

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #47 on: May 03, 2018, 5:14 AM »
Unless you interpret it differently, you said yourself it was ambiguous.  One person's morals may be different from another because they interpret it different.  A lot of uncertainty there.
They may both think they are moral based on different interpretations, who is to decide who is the most moral, mudconnect court?

Aelius

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #48 on: May 03, 2018, 12:45 PM »
Unless you interpret it differently, you said yourself it was ambiguous.  One person's morals may be different from another because they interpret it different.  A lot of uncertainty there.
They may both think they are moral based on different interpretations, who is to decide who is the most moral, mudconnect court?

I don't even want to start thinking about a mudconnect court! What a jury that would be.

I think the ambiguous part is whether the mud owner is violating the license. If a coder takes money for modifying Diku code, I think any court (except maybe a mudconnect court) would call that a violation of the terms. (and yes, I realize that my first post had a bit more uncertainty, but I've tuned my opinion a bit)

nullscan

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #49 on: May 03, 2018, 1:04 PM »
I think the ambiguous part is whether the mud owner is violating the license. If a coder takes money for modifying Diku code, I think any court (except maybe a mudconnect court) would call that a violation of the terms. (and yes, I realize that my first post had a bit more uncertainty, but I've tuned my opinion a bit)

I think it depends on whether there were actual programmers on that jury or not.  I tend to use the MIT License for most of my git projects, but in the past I've used non-profit clauses.  When I did, my point was that I provided the code for free so I felt it would be wrong to take my free code and charge other people to download or use it from your servers.  In these cases, I never intended for my non-profit clauses to apply to non-programmers hiring out to programmers to make modifications or more importantly bug fixes when OS updates, syntax and compiler updates, and other things totally outside my control introduce both compile-time and run-time bugs into existing products fairly frequently.

So in my mind the only question is whether the Diku devs actually intended for their project to die if and when they quit maintaining it themselves.  If they did, then the spirit of the "non-profit" clauses in their license means you can't hire people to maintain or fix it in the future.  If they didn't, then those clauses just mean you can't charge people for using a DikuMUD or for downloading the source from your server (or for any other means of distribution).

Aelius

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #50 on: May 03, 2018, 2:31 PM »
I think it depends on whether there were actual programmers on that jury or not.  I tend to use the MIT License for most of my git projects, but in the past I've used non-profit clauses.  When I did, my point was that I provided the code for free so I felt it would be wrong to take my free code and charge other people to download or use it from your servers.  In these cases, I never intended for my non-profit clauses to apply to non-programmers hiring out to programmers to make modifications or more importantly bug fixes when OS updates, syntax and compiler updates, and other things totally outside my control introduce both compile-time and run-time bugs into existing products fairly frequently.

So in my mind the only question is whether the Diku devs actually intended for their project to die if and when they quit maintaining it themselves.  If they did, then the spirit of the "non-profit" clauses in their license means you can't hire people to maintain or fix it in the future.  If they didn't, then those clauses just mean you can't charge people for using a DikuMUD or for downloading the source from your server (or for any other means of distribution).

I don't know, it seems pretty clear to me, at least about this one situation (a programmer charging to modify Diku).

The first line of the license states: "This document contains the rules by which you can use, alter or publish parts of DikuMud."

The license goes on to state: "You may under no circumstances make profit on *ANY* part of DikuMud in any possible way."

So - is a programmer-for-hire who makes modifications to the source code "alter"ing Diku? I would argue yes. Is charging for your time profit? I would argue yes, as long as the money you bring in is more than the expenses you incur (which is the definition of profit).

Hades_Kane

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #51 on: May 03, 2018, 3:15 PM »
I think an actual court would find that the license (because of how poorly written it was) isn't legally binding, which would then render it invalid and thus any copies of any Diku derivative running would be being ran without any legal authority to do so.

But what an actual court would rule is really a pointless discussion, because that will never come up in an actual court.

As far as "who decides morality" or whatever... again, it boils down to "am I gonna be an ***hole and ignore the wishes of those who created the code I'm using".  THAT is pretty black and white, and anything beyond that is basically just self-justification and choice-supportive bias.
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Aelius

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #52 on: May 03, 2018, 3:22 PM »
I think an actual court would find that the license (because of how poorly written it was) isn't legally binding, which would then render it invalid and thus any copies of any Diku derivative running would be being ran without any legal authority to do so.

But what an actual court would rule is really a pointless discussion, because that will never come up in an actual court.

As far as "who decides morality" or whatever... again, it boils down to "am I gonna be an ***hole and ignore the wishes of those who created the code I'm using".  THAT is pretty black and white, and anything beyond that is basically just self-justification and choice-supportive bias.

I guess it would depend on the court. In Canada (where I practice), most courts are actually pretty good at seeing past technical errors and poor drafting, as long as the essence of the document is clear. I think a court may let the license stand in certain situations. Of course, the license granter (the Diku team) needs to be around to actually argue for it.

That said, I agree that the license is poorly written and, in many cases, wouldn't stand up. The most glaring example is "profit". Does this mean you can charge players as long as your expenses exceed the money you're taking in? I think that the license authors would say no - they meant that you can't charge for it, period - but the license uses "profit" which has a clear definition. It's all moot, though I find it fun to argue these hypothetical legal issues.

Jodah

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #53 on: May 04, 2018, 1:20 AM »
Hmm, before we said it was ambiguous, now we are saying it's very clear.... lol

nullscan

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #54 on: May 04, 2018, 1:40 AM »
That said, I agree that the license is poorly written and, in many cases, wouldn't stand up. The most glaring example is "profit". Does this mean you can charge players as long as your expenses exceed the money you're taking in? I think that the license authors would say no - they meant that you can't charge for it, period - but the license uses "profit" which has a clear definition. It's all moot, though I find it fun to argue these hypothetical legal issues.

What a lot of people don't realize is that in actual practice meaning the real world we live in, any EULA is only as enforceable as the grantor's pockets are deep.  This is the reality even when we're talking about legitimate copyrights infringement - and copyrights are certainly not established by being the first person to release a product on github, and that story about sending content to yourself via certified mail (and then not opening the envelope) is pure fantasy too.  There's a long, drawn out process to establish a copyright that pretty much requires a layman to hire an attorney, and not just any attorney but one with real experience with the copyrighting process such as only comes from working as an intern.

In the end, Even with a legit copyright and deep pockets too you couldn't get an individual EULA violator arrested or even fined. The best you could achieve is a "Cease and Desist" order from a judge against any EULA violators.  In the USA this is called "injunctive relief."  At that point you may, with a really great attorney, get compensated for court costs and attorney's fees.  If the violator then ignores the court order, they can be fined and possibly jailed for Contempt of Court.

All that intimidating BS you see on the first few panels of any movie about how the FBI investigates copyright infringement and you can face prison time and 6-figure fines on top?  That's for people who take movie or audio media, copy it, deliberately reprint labels and such to disguise a fake/copy as a regular retail sale item, and then sell those bootleg copies for money.  At that point it doesn't matter, legally, whether you profited or not.  The size of your legal penalty is equivalent to the number of sales.

The only purpose an EULA serves legally, since it's not a legitimate contract without legally recognized and accepted signature media such as your hand-written signature or your digital signature as registered with an uninvolved 3rd party whose only purpose is to confirm that the digital signature is in fact yours, is to release the writer from liabilities such as damage to your data or even your hardware if/when software is embedded with malware.  That's it.  Beginning and end.  All these extra details about what you as the consumer must do or must not do are just plain BS.  It's like a will that isn't witnessed or prepared by an attorney, or even notarized.

In reality, rules in the contract you didn't in fact sign governing your right to edit content you found "in the Public Domain" aren't enforceable contract terms whether you have a copyright or not and wouldn't be even if there was a real signature in play on the contract.  Even with a real copyright, a significant modification of the original material is enough to qualify it as original content.  With software I believe this is about 25% of any particular function in source code, and if you can't find a way to improve any given function to meet that criteria then you're not much of a programmer.

I don't really think any of this was the point of the OP.  I think what the OP really wanted was to test the waters to find out whether MUers at large would sh** on him/her for hiring out the programming work, and the Diku license terms strongly imply that they will.  It seems like the overwhelming response is, "No, that's just fine, and if the Diku devs come back after 10 years to pitch a bitchfit about it then we'll all point and laugh at them."
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 1:48 AM by nullscan »

Darkozx

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #55 on: May 04, 2018, 1:48 AM »
If people can stream and get donations from every video game in existence, then I'm sure we can PAY someone to work for us. I really doubt a judge would do anything but laugh if this was brought up in court. "So...you're telling me that you paid someone to do work for you, right? No profit was made right? Cased closed, idiots." That's how I see it going down in my little world. And...honestly why do you guys even care if someone is paid to code or build on a MUD that you don't own or even play?
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Aelius

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #56 on: May 04, 2018, 11:22 AM »
If people can stream and get donations from every video game in existence, then I'm sure we can PAY someone to work for us. I really doubt a judge would do anything but laugh if this was brought up in court. "So...you're telling me that you paid someone to do work for you, right? No profit was made right? Cased closed, idiots." That's how I see it going down in my little world. And...honestly why do you guys even care if someone is paid to code or build on a MUD that you don't own or even play?

I don't "care", per se, I just think it's an interesting legal question. This is a discussion forum, after all - we're discussing. At the end of the day, you do you.

And you're right, I've been saying all along that it's not YOU who would be potentially violating. It's the programmer who does the modifications.

Aelius

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #57 on: May 04, 2018, 11:32 AM »
The only purpose an EULA serves legally, since it's not a legitimate contract without legally recognized and accepted signature media such as your hand-written signature or your digital signature as registered with an uninvolved 3rd party whose only purpose is to confirm that the digital signature is in fact yours, is to release the writer from liabilities such as damage to your data or even your hardware if/when software is embedded with malware.  That's it.  Beginning and end.  All these extra details about what you as the consumer must do or must not do are just plain BS.  It's like a will that isn't witnessed or prepared by an attorney, or even notarized.

FYI, you don't need to sign an EULA for it to be legally binding. That's not how those contracts (and they are contract, just a different type) work. There's plenty of case law and actual law on this (depending on your jurisdiction - but the enforceability of probably-worded EULAs is pretty well enshrined in the USA and Canada, if properly written of course).

Jodah

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Re: Paying others to Code/Build for You
« Reply #58 on: May 04, 2018, 11:41 AM »
And...honestly why do you guys even care if someone is paid to code or build on a MUD that you don't own or even play?

Because your business is our business, this is mudconnect.  We will call the FTC and destroy you. ;D