Splash screens

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raevol
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Re: Splash screens

Post by raevol » 30 Jan 2014, 22:00

Wait, can we make mods for OpenMW that can't be used in Morrowind that *don't* distribute any Morrowind assets?

Tolchock
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Re: Splash screens

Post by Tolchock » 30 Jan 2014, 22:04

claudekennilol wrote:No. We can't. Disregarding openmw and going off of Bethesda's precedents. This is exactly what morroblivion does and why it can't be discussed on the official forums. It does not distribute the assets. It takes the assets directly from your copy of morrowind and up-ports them to oblivion. Using assets designed for morrowind in another game (in this case oblivion) is not allowed by bethesda.No.
Is OpenMW a different game? If this issue were critical, OpenMW would already be banned from being talked about in the official forums, as the OpenMW team is doing fundamentally the same thing Morrowoblivion -- porting the game to a new engine. The key difference is that OpenMW is open source, and not mixing assets between Bethesda games, which was the fundamental problem with Morroblivion.

It is certain that someone, somewhere, is going to make a mod for OpenMW utilising vanilla assets, in line with Bethesda's policies regarding vanilla mods, and not care to consult the OpenMW team as PeterBitt kindly has (fingers crossed I'll get to see his mod one day :) ). My bet is that nothing will happen -- I seriously doubt they care, and even if they did, how many resources do you think Bethesda is pooling into policing the usage of a 10 year old game? They aren't even clamping down on Skywind yet, which is *far* more problematic for them. Worst case scenario, the modder receives a cease and desist letter, and hopefully ceases and desists -- and OpenMW makes sure never to affiliate itself with these kinds of mods.

maqifrnswa
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Re: Splash screens

Post by maqifrnswa » 30 Jan 2014, 23:57

Chris wrote:
maqifrnswa wrote:I'm not a lawyer, but i play one on the internet: You just described an obvious copyright violation. Either the moderator doesn't understand licensing and copyright, or beth waived their copyright (or gave you an implicit license to distribute).
That statement has been reiterated multiple times both by moderators, and Bethesda's community managers (who officially work for the company). It's an implicit license. The terms are right there: "... in a Morrowind mod". Would a mod that can only work in OpenMW be considered a "Morrowind mod"? That's where the real lawyers would like to weigh in.
thanks for clarifying, that makes sense.

maqifrnswa
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Re: Splash screens

Post by maqifrnswa » 30 Jan 2014, 23:59

raevol wrote:Wait, can we make mods for OpenMW that can't be used in Morrowind that *don't* distribute any Morrowind assets?
Maybe I'm dense, but why not? Isn't that what the example suite is, in a way? If the example suite uses some feature present in OpenMW that wasn't in Morrowind (different scripting language?), I would think that would be acceptable.

SquireNed
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Re: Splash screens

Post by SquireNed » 31 Jan 2014, 01:56

raevol wrote:Wait, can we make mods for OpenMW that can't be used in Morrowind that *don't* distribute any Morrowind assets?
It's theoretically possible, for sure. The file format, for instance, is not protected under copyright (and Morrowind's about old enough that it's not eligible for any IP protection at all, though I doubt it's patented/OpenMW's implementation is similar enough). Textures, meshes, sounds, story elements, and "artistic expression" are protected for sure (note the vagueness of "artistic expression"; it's actually theoretically possible to recreate Morrowind's landscape for compatibility purposes and claim functionality as a defense, though you could go to court over it if Bethesda did sue you).
Tolchock wrote:Is OpenMW a different game? If this issue were critical, OpenMW would already be banned from being talked about in the official forums, as the OpenMW team is doing fundamentally the same thing Morrowoblivion -- porting the game to a new engine. The key difference is that OpenMW is open source, and not mixing assets between Bethesda games, which was the fundamental problem with Morroblivion.

It is certain that someone, somewhere, is going to make a mod for OpenMW utilising vanilla assets, in line with Bethesda's policies regarding vanilla mods, and not care to consult the OpenMW team as PeterBitt kindly has (fingers crossed I'll get to see his mod one day :) ). My bet is that nothing will happen -- I seriously doubt they care, and even if they did, how many resources do you think Bethesda is pooling into policing the usage of a 10 year old game? They aren't even clamping down on Skywind yet, which is *far* more problematic for them. Worst case scenario, the modder receives a cease and desist letter, and hopefully ceases and desists -- and OpenMW makes sure never to affiliate itself with these kinds of mods.
OpenMW is sort of interesting. Technically speaking, it's an engine reimplementation, which is not a separate game. You're still playing Morrowind, just doing it using a different executable. Legally, however, you probably are on a worst-footing basis should Bethesda file a copyright lawsuit. OpenMW as an engine is entirely fine, because nothing in the executable other than the exact specific implementation is protected (i.e. the source and executable code), which we don't run into issues with both because clean room reverse engineering is used and because the point of OpenMW is that it's not the original Morrowind but a more modern, stable program.

The reason we see legal distinctions is that OpenMW mods are distinct from Morrowind mods; they're not reverse compatible, and they can include different functionality. At the same time, we do see some degree of commonality because of the fact that OpenMW is just a platform to play Morrowind. The challenge, however, lies in a distinct fact that it is theoretically possible that people can use mods to mish-mash together the vanilla Morrowind content in its entirety, playing OpenMW without the original ESM. While this is technically impractical, we've seen Google Books sued for something that included explicit (and even deleterious) measures to prevent copyright infringement by end-users. I doubt OpenMW is going to be in trouble for anything end-users do as an engine re-implementation, though, so the real solution is simply not to include any vanilla assets in mods that don't depend heavily on existing content (i.e. don't retexture a Glass Broadsword, instead make your own mesh and texture it).

Remember that one of the core principles of copyright law is that it protects what a creator makes. You make a mod, you own the mod. You make a mod, but include Bethesda's stuff, and it's a (copyright infringing) derivative work except for that mentioned implicit license given by Bethesda.

Interestingly, the rule on porting assets between games is actually not that you can't transfer them between games. You just can't redistribute them. While Bethesda may have filed suit over this, they were likely in the wrong (PS: I'm neither a lawyer nor affiliated with OpenMW, so don't sue me or shut them down because I said this) at least as far as the intent of copyright law goes. While Bethesda can say that's not permissible, the law may actually disagree; no copy is made in the OpenMW process which is not equivalent to the functionality of Morrowind in parsing and using content, and as OpenMW is a compatibility and preservation tool, the precedents for the protection of which exist in copyright laws (including the DCMA, which is in my opinion the worst part of US copyright law), I doubt we'll see any serious legal issue on the matter taken against OpenMW, though some modders might bite the bullet.

Another thing to consider is the atmosphere surrounding Bethesda's legal team; Zenimax bought id Software, and hopefully their more lenient and much less aggressive legal team.

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psi29a
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Re: Splash screens

Post by psi29a » 31 Jan 2014, 08:59

maqifrnswa wrote:
raevol wrote:Wait, can we make mods for OpenMW that can't be used in Morrowind that *don't* distribute any Morrowind assets?
Maybe I'm dense, but why not? Isn't that what the example suite is, in a way? If the example suite uses some feature present in OpenMW that wasn't in Morrowind (different scripting language?), I would think that would be acceptable.
The openmw-example-suite is built from the ground up, using none of the Morrinwind assets. If does, then it is just another Morrowind mod which isn't the point of that project. This means that the OES needs to be runable in OpenMW and NOT Morrowind, which shouldn't matter anyway.

So yes, you are allowed to make mods exclusively for OpenMW that are free of Morrowind (or any other copyrighted) assets.

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psi29a
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Re: Splash screens

Post by psi29a » 31 Jan 2014, 09:01

SquireNed wrote:OpenMW is sort of interesting. Technically speaking, it's an engine reimplementation, which is not a separate game. You're still playing Morrowind, just doing it using a different executable.
This is simply not true, an engine (like in a car) can and has been repurposed for other games. There is no exclusivity to a title, like Morrowind. This is why people can fork OpenMW, rename it whatever they want, and start supporting other games or make their own SEPARATE game.

The example suite for example, would be a separate game that has nothing to do with Bethesda, nor would work with any of their products.
Last edited by psi29a on 31 Jan 2014, 12:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Okulo
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Re: Splash screens

Post by Okulo » 31 Jan 2014, 09:17

SquireNed wrote:The reason we see legal distinctions is that OpenMW mods are distinct from Morrowind mods; they're not reverse compatible, and they can include different functionality. At the same time, we do see some degree of commonality because of the fact that OpenMW is just a platform to play Morrowind.
How's this: OpenMW is an engine that just so happens to be able to read Morrowind's data files? You don't have to, of course. You can make a whole new game for it and it won't have anything to do with Morrowind. What's more, this team creates tools to do so!

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Re: Splash screens

Post by psi29a » 31 Jan 2014, 12:33

Okulo wrote:
SquireNed wrote:The reason we see legal distinctions is that OpenMW mods are distinct from Morrowind mods; they're not reverse compatible, and they can include different functionality. At the same time, we do see some degree of commonality because of the fact that OpenMW is just a platform to play Morrowind.
How's this: OpenMW is an engine that just so happens to be able to read Morrowind's data files? You don't have to, of course. You can make a whole new game for it and it won't have anything to do with Morrowind. What's more, this team creates tools to do so!
I like the cut of your jib Okulo... 8-)

SquireNed
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Re: Splash screens

Post by SquireNed » 31 Jan 2014, 16:10

Okulo wrote:How's this: OpenMW is an engine that just so happens to be able to read Morrowind's data files? You don't have to, of course. You can make a whole new game for it and it won't have anything to do with Morrowind. What's more, this team creates tools to do so!
That's exactly OpenMW's legal status. It's also why OpenMW mods that include vanilla Morrowind content can be a little risky. That said, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Of course, the "just so happens" is a little unnecessary. It's an engine that can read Morrowind's data files, and you don't have any legal worries from doing so because reverse-engineering is fine if you don't use the original code.

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