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#1 red knight

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 03:25 PM

Dear Members,

Project Xenocide has always been licenced under the GNU General Public Licence ever since its beginning. The licence basically says that we (Project Xenocide as a whole) hold the rights over all the material included in our software, including texts, music, art and code. It also means that the original author cannot use his work for other purposes. We feel that the Project has reached a point in which this is no longer serves our purposes and is hindering the Project's progress.
After a concious deliberation, the Senior Team has decided to migrate, from the General Public Licence to the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Licence.

Under the new licence, we, Project Xenocide, are licenced by the original authors of the material included in our software to use them in the way we want while they retain 100% ownership of their work and may use it for any purpose they want, in counterposition to the GNU General Public Licence that mandates the owner to transfer copyright to the FSF.

This change of licence will benefit Project Xenocide greatly by opening the posible contributions to a bigger audience, though there will be some administrative issues we will have to look over in the near future; the first of them being the new recruitment PM. All recruits and full members will receive in short a PM, very similar to the recruitment PM you received when you first joined Project Xenocide but including the agreement requirement to the Creative Commons Licence. As this is of legal importance, you will be asked to agree with it in order to keep working in Project Xenocide; this extends to everyone, including all Senior Members and Administrators (who have already signed it).

The Creative Commons licence holds the spirit of the GNU General Public Licence while sorting out the issue of assets ownership, as such, embracing it will help Project Xenocide progress.

Greetings
Project Xenocide Senior Team
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#2 kafros

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 08:37 AM

So this has already been settled?

Could you please inform us in-depth about their differences, or should I rely on personal research about that?

#3 dipstick

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 11:15 AM

I agree wholeheartedly with such a change :) the CC licensing system is a great one.

Will you post the specific license chosen on the forums (when you announce I mean)?
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#4 Guest_Azrael_*

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 11:31 AM

Here you go dip: http://creativecommo.../2.5/deed.en_GB

Edit: News are up :)
Edit2: Added to the FAQ

Edited by Azrael, 01 October 2005 - 11:56 AM.


#5 red knight

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 02:44 PM

We (Programmers) are very used to LGPL and GPL, but recently we were having some trouble accomodating artists requirements into the LGPL (as it is too broad to be useful). So now this is a licence that do justice to both Artists and programmers alike.

Greetings
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#6 Serge

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 01:42 AM

We feel that the Project has reached a point in which this is no longer serves our purposes and is hindering the Project's progress.
After a concious deliberation, the Senior Team has decided to migrate, from the General Public Licence to the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Licence.

While I'm not a person that has any weight here, I can't welcome this license change. After that change, Xenocide and UFO2000 sources become license incompatible and will not be able to use any parts of each other in the future. And I had plans to use Xenocide code as 3D frontend for UFO2000 in the future (or the other way around - integrate UFO2000 battlescape into Xenocide :)). License incompatibility comes from 'non-commercial' restriction, it means that working on the game should be always done for free. I greatly disapprove such thing as a 'free labour', it even sounds a bit like a 'slavery'. I prefer to think that my own work costs something, but it is me who covers the expenses paying to myself :) And I don't mind being hired by someone else for implementing some of the features he thinks are important, but I don't.

Under the new licence, we, Project Xenocide, are licenced by the original authors of the material included in our software to use them in the way we want while they retain 100% ownership of their work and may use it for any purpose they want, in counterposition to the GNU General Public Licence that mandates the owner to transfer copyright to the FSF.

You don't have to transfer copyright to FSF. You can do that if you want FSF to stand in the court protecting your software against possible copyright and license violations. There are many examples when some greedy people take GPL software, change any copyright notices, make it harder to recognize and try so sell it as their own. One of the examples is here:
http://apple.slashdo...3&tid=179&tid=3
What is interesting here, PearPC guys tried to get some help from FSF, but FSF demanded copyright transfer to start some legal actions. So PearPC developers even had to start collecting money to sue CherryOS :)

By the way, the number of GPL projects which transfer copyright to FSF is minimal. And there are also some companies which successfully use GPL for commercial software development retaining 100% ownership and without losing any copyright, the bigest examples are MySQL and QT.

What about still using GPL for code and that Creative Commons license for artwork and everything else?
ufo2000 development team
http://ufo2000.sourceforge.net

#7 red knight

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 03:05 AM

Serge,

GPL and Creative Commons license are incompatible, that is something that has been considered... and in fact was what I wanted to be, but at the same time code is very different in nature than artwork. Be it because "we" programmers do think different that art guys. But as we werent able to mix this two (as what thought to be as the first idea) because the requirements of the GPL that everything that use the GPL stuff (and the other way arround) converts itself to GPL was by far more difficult; we have to find a workarround.

Creative Commons in that share the very same idea (free for anyone), but at the same time the owner (the one that provided the stuff) is still the owner but gives us the ability to do whatever we need to do with the assets, gives us a degree of freedom that we dont have using GPL...

Think about the following scenario (pretty common in sound dpt)... A creates a soundtrack that it is specially useful for some part of the game but at the same time the owner just give it to be use, but it is indeed part of the commercial portfolio of the owner. In that regard if we integrate it in Xenocide, you can suit the original owner because he couldnt use it for "commercial" purposes, there lays the problem. The original author cant exercise the rights over his composition; that in itself has been the problem why several professional (proven) guys had refused to contribute stuff, because if they contributed their work cant be used for what it was composed to.

Regarding incompatibility, yes they are incompatible; so the only workarround was to convert everything to a less "viral" license. I dont expect everybody to agree with the change, but we think that the Commons Creative License do share the same spirit that the LGPL and GPL (to keep everything free as in free beer) without taking away the rights of the contributors on their own contributions.

BTW, MySQL and other projects use a dual license. One for commercial purposes and one for free ones... given the time you HAVE TO choose from one of them and you are binded to its use. We do not use a dual license mainly because we are not service providers as it is MySQL or QT; we are doing an end user software so a dual licensing is not only needless but unuseful. With a dual license you can do whatever you want to; and keep your software commercial, something we dont want to ;)

Feel free to contact me by MSN or even by the forums to keep talking about it.

Greetings
Red Knight

Edited by red knight, 02 October 2005 - 03:11 AM.

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#8 Blehm 98

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 08:16 AM

I think the new change is fine, It seems that RK is fine with it and if he likes it then i guess it is alright
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#9 kafros

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 08:32 AM

This Licence may mean nothing to some people (especially people working in the CTD), but the others may indeed have problems...

No fast actions should be taken. Study both licences, seek the differences, and think of the possibilities that may arise. RK's sound artist example just fits the situation...



P.S. I saw that CherryOS site some months ago, and it seemed a bit strange... Now, I've read the story (due to Serge's post), and I feel sick >_<

#10 red knight

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 10:48 AM

The license change hasnt been something that had been taken lightly, we have considered several variants but none fits in the development of a software like this one.

About CherryOS, I didnt follow the story so now it can be partial but there are mean people everywhere; you will cross them in the supermarket, at work, software developers are not an exception. Sometimes a proper exposition to the public is worst (because of the image damage) than a suit in most cases.

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#11 kafros

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 03:45 PM

CherryOS surfaced as a PowerPC emulator for x86-compatible systems, specifically geared, and sold, to allow Windows users to use Apple's Mac OS X at 80% of the native speed of a Windows PC, and offered completely hardware translation (OS X in Cherry OS could see your modem and USB mouse, etc.), all for $49 (which increased to 99$). They also claimed that Arben Kryeziu had created CherryOS from scratch in four months, and listed a whole series of technical accomplishments that allowed them to reach their performance claims.
Actually, that guy used the source code of PearPC, an opensource project for x86 emulation, changed some graphics, and sold it as a program. Actually, it was more like a "promotion" of the VX30 streaming video format, created by Maui X-Stream, Inc., also owned by Arben.


As you can see, you have to be VERY careful with Open Source. Picking the right licence and looking for violations is vital to a project's success. In addition, I am confident that this project respects its members, and that we work for the good of all. Whatever choice will be taken, I am sure it will be the best.

#12 0xf0f0

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 04:09 AM

Hi!

Think about the following scenario (pretty common in sound dpt)... A creates a soundtrack that it is specially useful for some part of the game but at the same time the owner just give it to be use, but it is indeed part of the commercial portfolio of the owner. In that regard if we integrate it in Xenocide, you can suit the original owner because he couldnt use it for "commercial" purposes, there lays the problem. The original author cant exercise the rights over his composition; that in itself has been the problem why several professional (proven) guys had refused to contribute stuff, because if they contributed their work cant be used for what it was composed to.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Sorry, but IMHO this is wrong. Your artist gives project xenocide a licence to use his/her created art. He does not hand over the copyright (which is not even possible in many countries.) He owns the copyright, therefore he can give anyone any licence at the same time, and all licences are still legal.

You can not sue the artist because he has the art in his/her commercial portfolio, because you don't own his work. He/She just allowed xenocide to use it under certain conditions (stated in the GPL/CC). Your right to use it would automatically be revoked if you breach the terms of the licence, but not the other way round.

Consider the game Tuxracer. It used to be GPL, but the creators decided to make it commercial. But the old, previously available codebase was still licenced as GPL. So some people used the old codebase and created PPRacer.

A licence is just a set of rules describing under which conditions people are allowed to use the authors work. The copyright remains untouched, it stays with the author.

(I just registered to post this :))

#13 ATeX

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 05:19 AM

I don't know much about law, but I'm shure we did the right thing.


cheers,

Thomas

Edited by ATeX, 09 October 2005 - 03:12 PM.


#14 0xf0f0

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 07:11 AM

I don't know much about law, but if that's the case, does it mean that we changed licenses for nothing?  :(

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well, I am definitely no lawyer, but I fear you are right...

#15 Mad

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 07:56 AM

I don't know much about law, but if that's the case, does it mean that we changed licenses for nothing?  :(

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, I am definitely no lawyer, but I fear you are right...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, if you're right or not, as I see it it is a signal to the creative people - "See we would love you to contribute, and don't want to prune your rights." If this results in greater contribution it wasn't for nothing.
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#16 ATeX

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 07:58 AM

I don't know much about law, but if that's the case, does it mean that we changed licenses for nothing?  :(

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well, I am definitely no lawyer, but I fear you are right...


Nope. Seems that you've been informed wrongly. We shure did it right.

cheers,
Thomas

Edited by ATeX, 07 October 2005 - 07:59 AM.


#17 mikker

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 08:12 AM

Interesting. So you mean that if I use something in Xenocide,lets say my laser models, and decided to also use them elsewhere, lets say as a contribution to a commericial game. This would be illigal?

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#18 red knight

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 08:14 AM

This is taken directly from the GPL:

We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.


In there there are two posible interpretations and there lais the initial problem. What it is the software? The whole thing or any part of it? If it is the whole thing, then you have take lets say just 90% and declare it is not the whole software and do whatever you do with it (making non free for instance) or the most common sense interpretation is that any part derived from it is based is copyrighted by the FSF (down to each asset) so then every contribution is copyrighted (taking away the freedom of the contributor). Licenses are tricky and I am not a lawyer either (not that I wish to be :P) but common sense interpretation is what everybody would use if in doubt.

EDIT: @Mikker not now with the new license, but it is with the old one...

Greetings
Red Knight

Edited by red knight, 07 October 2005 - 08:15 AM.

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#19 mikker

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 08:28 AM

okay, thanks RK. Good thing we changed, then.

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#20 0xf0f0

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 08:57 AM

Interesting. So you mean that if I use something in Xenocide,lets say my laser models, and decided to also use them elsewhere, lets say as a contribution to a commericial game. This would be illigal?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Nope, this would be perfectly legal unless you handed over the copyright to xenocide.

If you just gave them the licence to use it (e.g. you published it under GPL or some CC licence), you continue to own it and can use it any way you wish. Xenocide on the other hand is only allowed to use it under the terms of the licence. This applies to GPL,CC or any other licence.

#21 0xf0f0

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 09:23 AM

This is taken directly from the GPL:

We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.


In there there are two posible interpretations and there lais the initial problem. What it is the software? The whole thing or any part of it? If it is the whole thing, then you have take lets say just 90% and declare it is not the whole software and do whatever you do with it (making non free for instance) or the most common sense interpretation is that any part derived from it is based is copyrighted by the FSF (down to each asset) so then every contribution is copyrighted (taking away the freedom of the contributor).
Greetings
Red Knight

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That snippet is from the preamble. The preamble just explains in plain english what the FSF wants to accomplish with the GPL. The FSF copyrights their own work and then releases it under GPL. This is just an example of how to use the GPL.

The juristically relevant part begins when the preamble ends, e.g. with

  GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR COPYING, DISTRIBUTION AND MODIFICATION


Then it starts with

0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains
a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed
under the terms of this General Public License.


When they say "We protect your rights with two steps:..." in the preamble, they refer to their own code which they published under GPL. So if you or some other artist create something that you want to be used freely, you 1. copyright it (and don't release into the public domain, which would be the opposite) and then 2. give everyone the right to use it by licencing it under GPL.

Nowhere in the GPL itself stands you have to give them your copyright. If you use the GPL you have nothing to do with the FSF.

(see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt for the whole licence)

#22 red knight

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 09:29 PM

@Oxf0f0, This discussions tend to become endless because of the following:
* The GPL is a license made using Laywers jargon so they are not understandable to the common people (like us), unless you can prove to be a lawyer.
* The GPL is made just to ensure that the result and everything that derives or is a work that use the code is free in itself (which IMHO is a very decent requirement).
* Most people understand different things mainly because laws in our respective countries are different and our cultural backgrounds are very different.
* Some people are just GNU zealots and do not accept the existance of less restrictive steps to achieve the same protection. (I hope you are not from this class, cause in that case this discussion is over).

However, what but what nobody elses thinks about are the ramification of statements in the GPL that are clearly related to programs and code... Originally the license was thought to be used when multimedia in computers was something that only corporations could buy. At the time most graphics where done programatically using "code"; so the extends of the license covered all.

That has changed and those that realized that todays software is more than the "code", and that some software is a combination of art and code that is so intermixed that you cannot separate them without either destroying the software value or making it useless at all (as in hour case); has created derivatives to accomplish the same results as the GPL but making sure to be able to handle the different nature of the medium. One and not the only license that emerged was the CC.

Now to the specific points you pointed out:

That snippet is from the preamble. The preamble just explains in plain english what the FSF wants to accomplish with the GPL. The FSF copyrights their own work and then releases it under GPL. This is just an example of how to use the GPL.

Well as clearly stated in the GNU Frequent Asked Questions:

The preamble and instructions are integral parts of the GNU GPL and may not be omitted. In fact, the GPL is copyrighted, and its license permits only verbatim copying of the entire GPL.

The snippet is part of the license, it may be explanatory of the very nature of the license, but it is indeed part of the license. But just to refute the statement again from the FAQ

Our lawyers have told us that to be in the best position to enforce the GPL in court against violators, we should keep the copyright status of the program as simple as possible. We do this by asking each contributor to either assign the copyright on his contribution to the FSF, or disclaim copyright on it and thus put it in the public domain.

GPL means nothing if there is noone who can enforce it, in our case even the copyright is transfered to Project Xenocide or the FSF or you as a contributor has to disclaim the copyright and put the contributions as public domain; you have to withdraw your copyrights on your original creation, something artists are not hesitant to do (and I dont blame them as an artist myself I wouldnt do it either, it is just I am not that good to really even consider others to do money with my work). Besides that gives the original owner the power to suit easily whoever that breaches their assets license (at least if they want to enforce them). As Project Xenocide contributors are asked to license using the CC; so we can do whatever we need to their contributions, but the license on the derivatives is keeped the same; so noone else can claim copyrights on assets made for or in the project.

Ive been arround lawyers all my life and I started to learn how this things work and sometimes things do not work exactly as we expected them to do. However, I stress that I am not a lawyer (and I dont wish to become one either).

Greetings
Red Knight

Edited by red knight, 07 October 2005 - 09:32 PM.

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#23 mikon

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 12:33 PM

I don't know much about law, but if that's the case, does it mean that we changed licenses for nothing?  :(


Yes, you did.

Moreover there are false (or gravely oversimplified) statements on the home page of your project (about people loosing copyright due to GNU GPL, etc.) and on various forum pages (about GNU GPL forbiding commercial use by others (not true if they release their whole project under GNU GPL or get a separate licence from copyright holders) and restricting some kinds of use and relicensing by the author (not true ever)).

Morover, you chose a very unfortunate version of Creative Commons, see
http://www.kuro5hin....9/11/16331/0655

Moreover you just banned your game from appearing as parts of free Linux distributions (for example I will never play your game, as it will never ever be part of Debian Linux that I use), free magazine CDs, etc. because that falls into the broad category of commercial (they charge for pressing the CD, or for 24/7 support, or for the computer magazine itself, etc.).

I'm so disappointed... :(
Mikolaj

P.S. What's wrong with stating that the forums are a part of the source of the game, together with all the artwork published? There are so many examples of games published as a whole, with artwork, manuals, README, TODO, etc. under the GNU GPL. Software always consists not only of code, but of documentation (e.g. comments), FAQs, and some artwork (e.g. every UI, even a text only UI is an artwork). What's wrong with adding the forums to that and stating that the game is republished every time the forum updates (such as is done for ages with games with public CVS)? Of course transferring the copyright over to FSF might be too radical for most of the contributors (and their teachers and future emploers reading their portfolio or people interesting in buying their artwork), so perhaps only that needed a change? But do you really want to see a commercial game that took most of the Xenocide graphics and sounds (by agreement with several contributors) but does not allow Xenocide to take even a single original sound or a picture? FSF copyright prevents that scenario, GNU GPL nor Creative Commons NC does not.

#24 ATeX

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 03:11 PM

AHUM! I don't know if you read the post above, but red knight just explained this is NOT the case. The license change is about the best thing we've done in a long time. It's a major change into a positive direction. Without this change, we couldn't keep or even attract good artists. And that's at least something very important, right? I've been encountered with this problem myself when recruiting skilled people. No discussion possible.


cheers,

Thomas

Edited by ATeX, 09 October 2005 - 03:15 PM.


#25 dipstick

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 04:29 PM

Sorry to tread on everyone's toes, but this is really starting to give me a headache to try and understand the nuances of each argument, and I believe RK has given a definitive answer to all the questions and ramifications, so I cannot see a purpose in leaving this thread open. Any senior, feel free to override my decision, but for my sanity, and the sanity of other members, I will close this thread.
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#26 red knight

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 05:02 PM

Just for sanity as I got several calls for it, I will keep this thread closed. However I will respond to mikon.

about GNU GPL forbiding commercial use by others (not true if they release their whole project under GNU GPL or get a separate licence from copyright holders

For a project like this one, where there had been millions of contributions it is practically imposible to get the copyright holders to sign, so it is a non issue. GPL do forbid (something that for this is what we want to) commercial use if you take in account the impracticability of a dual license.

Moreover you just banned your game from appearing as parts of free Linux distributions (for example I will never play your game, as it will never ever be part of Debian Linux that I use), free magazine CDs, etc. because that falls into the broad category of commercial (they charge for pressing the CD, or for 24/7 support, or for the computer magazine itself, etc.).

Xenocide it is hosted for free using several methods, you have the right to exercise your right to use or to do not use the software provided as it is.

Of course transferring the copyright over to FSF might be too radical for most of the contributors (and their teachers and future emploers reading their portfolio or people interesting in buying their artwork), so perhaps only that needed a change?

Then again, what is the difference then?? If you have to separate "code" from anything else, lets just unify and generate less problems. We aim to get contributions from professional people and license was getting in the way. We want to keep the package free and assets owners to keep their rights on their contributions.

Now speaking explicitly about the license, well it is pretty simple, if you do not transfer the rights to the FSF, noone can defend the rights so it doesnt work either... that is one of the issues why they request it. With CC, every contributor has the power to defend their rights as a single entity.

Nonetheless I am going to speak with my best friends father that it is very prominent lawyer but I didnt want to bother him for such an small thing.

Greetings
Red Knight
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