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[GNU-linux-libre] Battle for Wesnoth: Licensing rules changes in add-ons

From: Adonay Felipe Nogueira
Subject: [GNU-linux-libre] Battle for Wesnoth: Licensing rules changes in add-ons repository
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2017 15:55:01 -0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.2 (gnu/linux)

It appears that Battle for Wesnoth is considering changing their policy
in regards to which licenses are allowed in their add-ons repository.

Here is a briefing of the situation (from a conversation in #fsf IRC
channel, only joins/quits and unrelated messages were removed):

--8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
2017-08-12T14:09-0300 <temp_trisquel> Hi.
2017-08-12T14:09-0300 <temp_trisquel> It looks like Wesnoth developers will
 allow non-free add-ons.
2017-08-12T14:09-0300 <adfeno> ?
2017-08-12T14:09-0300 <adfeno> Proof?
2017-08-12T14:09-0300 <temp_trisquel>
2017-08-12T14:10-0300 <temp_trisquel> any CC = with non-free
2017-08-12T14:10-0300 <temp_trisquel> Remove it from Free Software Directory
2017-08-12T14:13-0300 <adfeno> Not exactly non-free per see... But *can* pose
 some issues to GNU FSDG compliant distros.
2017-08-12T14:13-0300 <adfeno> The GNU FSDG is somewhat strictier in regards
 to what is allowed in free distros.
2017-08-12T14:14-0300 <adfeno> Wesnoth's UMC licensing change does pose an
 issue because this means that the third-party repository will no longer be
 commited to comply with the GNU FSDG.
2017-08-12T14:14-0300 <adfeno> third-party = UMC
2017-08-12T14:14-0300 <temp_trisquel> But downloader is included into Wesnoth.
2017-08-12T14:15-0300 <temp_trisquel> *add-ons downloader
2017-08-12T14:18-0300 <adfeno> This probably means that GNU FSDG-compliant
 distros will have to modify the "add-ons downloader" so as not to download
 from UMC.
2017-08-12T14:24-0300 <temp_trisquel> Can you report this on some mailing
2017-08-12T14:35-0300 <adfeno> Will do.
2017-08-12T14:49-0300 <temp_trisquel> Is there a mailing list for issues like
2017-08-12T14:55-0300 <adfeno> temp_trisquel: I guess the main point is
 [[]] (group's main
 page: [[]])
2017-08-12T14:56-0300 <adfeno> But, it also helps to simply drop a link to the
 thread in gnu-linux-libre, in development mailing lists for GNU FSDG distros
 (guix-devel, and so oon). :)
2017-08-12T14:58-0300 <adfeno> I'll post to gnu-linux-libre now.
--8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---

The basis for my argumentation is that, according to GNU FSDG, section
about license rules


“Information for practical use” includes software, documentation, fonts,
and other data that has direct functional applications. It does not
include artistic works that have an aesthetic (rather than functional)
purpose, or statements of opinion or judgment.

All information for practical use in a free distribution must be
available in source form. (“Source” means the form of the information
that is preferred for making changes to it.)

The information, and the source, must be provided under an appropriate
free license. We evaluate specific licenses and list our determinations
in our license list, with separate sections for licenses that are
suitable for software, documentation, fonts, and other useful works. If
such a work is released under a disjunction of licenses, the work is
free as long as at least one of its licenses is free; the system
developers should follow the terms of the applicable free license(s)
when they distribute and/or modify it.

A free system distribution must not steer users towards obtaining any
nonfree information for practical use, or encourage them to do so. The
system should have no repositories for nonfree software and no specific
recipes for installation of particular nonfree programs. Nor should the
distribution refer to third-party repositories that are not committed to
only including free software; even if they only have free software
today, that may not be true tomorrow. Programs in the system should not
suggest installing nonfree plugins, documentation, and so on.


The rule of not referencing to third-party repositories commited to the
GNU FSDG, however, seens to only apply to functional/practical

Furthermore, the GNU FSDG mentions, in the section about non-functional


Data that isn't functional, that doesn't do a practical job, is more of
an adornment to the system's software than a part of it. Thus, we don't
insist on the free license criteria for non-functional data. It can be
included in a free system distribution as long as its license gives you
permission to copy and redistribute, both for commercial and
non-commercial purposes. For example, some game engines released under
the GNU GPL have accompanying game information—a fictional world map,
game graphics, and so on—released under such a verbatim-distribution
license. This kind of data can be part of a free system distribution,
even though its license does not qualify as free, because it is


So far, I have made some basic empirical observation how Battle for
Wesnoth's campaigns work, and I found structures that look similar to
scripts because some of the campaigns' files have "[if]", "[or]" and
"[else]" statements.

Besides, from the second quote from the GNU FSDG, the new licensing
rules in Battle for Wesnoth's add-ons repository would allow licenses
that forbid sharing and selling original copies.

What should the workgroup and free/libre distributions do?

I so far suggest that we do at least one of these:

- Adapt the add-ons downloader so as not to download from the Battle for
  Wesnoth's add-ons repository.

- Make an add-ons repository that is compliant with GNU FSDG.

- Tell Battle for Wesnoth about the issues. Also trying to convince
  players, contributors and supporters.

- [[]]
- Palestrante e consultor sobre /software/ livre (não confundir com
- "WhatsApp"? Ele não é livre, por isso não uso. Iguais a ele prefiro
  GNU Ring, ou Tox. Quer outras formas de contato? Adicione o vCard
  que está no endereço acima aos teus contatos.
- Pretende me enviar arquivos .doc, .ppt, .cdr, ou .mp3? OK, eu
  aceito, mas não repasso. Entrego apenas em formatos favoráveis ao
  /software/ livre. Favor entrar em contato em caso de dúvida.

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