Wolvereness Got Letter from Mojang's Attorney

Discussion in 'Bukkit Discussion' started by rcade, Oct 10, 2014.

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  1. Shaggy67 Neither are Mojang, apparently. Yet they've done nothing about it.
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    asofold Alright, if "messing" is the wrong term, I'm not sure what to call it either. But something sure caused Wolvereness to issue that DMCA. He would probably have no reason to have this conflict with Mojang if Bukkit had remained an independent project in the first place. But then, I suppose the only reason it's still barely what you can call "alive" is because Mojang owns it; otherwise, EvilSeph would have officially shut it down the first time.
  3. Well, we probably won't ever know what caused him to. From the information i read from his posts it's about the question if the license of CB can be made valid and if modding in general will be legal (one thinkable interpretation of his goals). This rather has to do with the state the CraftBukkit project had been in all the way long, not with specific actions taken by Mojang. You could argue that the clarification of the EULA pressured some people or that the Microsoft might change things, it won't make the question bigger nor smaller, however it could have been posed in a less shark-like way, specifically if you regard the fact that many many more people could have supported his issue, if he hadn't issued the DMCA.

    Bukkit always would have depended on Mojang, and there hardly is a way around depending on the company whose games you are modding, they can always lock out modding by locking down the client to their own server software, pushing all other use into clean illegality. Of course the project lead can be more or less independent, you can sell names and domains etc. As far as i know, giving away parts of the project started with the cooperation with Curse. People might have to accept that the Bukkit project has been on shaky ground all the way long and also was lead in a way that it wouldn't consolidate on its own, but needed a company to enlarge, not stating that there had been any alternative, other than staying smaller and less ambitious.
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    asofold Firstly, I think you misunderstood the part you quoted me on. I meant "independent" by "volunteer-run", not by "not dependent on a company's product." I guess I should have been more specific when I said it.

    But anyway, come to think of it, it is a question why Wolvereness suddenly woke up and threw out a DMCA. I find it strange how all this mess happens in such a short period of time. EvilSeph tries shutting down the project, it's made widely public that Mojang owns Bukkit, CraftBukkit gets DMCA'd, and all of the staff resign (some of which claim that their resignations had nothing to do with the timing of these events)--right around the time of the Minecraft 1.8 update! Just strange...
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    Umm yeah they did , they sold out to Microsoft, hoping they will handle the matter.

    You forgot the part where Mojang and Microsoft were conducting their hidden discussions for negotiating the sale. ALL too coincidental.
    pookeythekid and ScuroK like this.
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    spigot is the future.
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    ScuroK Doesn't Spigot run off of CraftBukkit, and is therefore just as dead as CB?
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    Apparently they have updated it themselves.
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    Spigot ain't dead, they will be updating to 1.8 in about two months.
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    I have a question and I am not exactly sure that I have seen an answer to it.

    I understand that Mojang has allowed CraftBukkit(/Bukkit/etc.) to use their server code(or sections thereof) for some time, basically ignoring this (below) section of their EULA to let CraftBukkit/Bukkit/(the Bukkit team/etc) do their thing.

    That I see.

    And from what I understand (and I could be wrong), up until recently, everyone was fine with that.

    Until Wolverness requested a DMCA (intervention/citation) on CraftBukkit. That I see.

    I am not sure about this: Some of that code was contributed by Wolverness?

    If so, how can he legally say it's *his* code when it's reverse engineered minecraft_server.jar code?

    That seems to conflict with this section:
    While I understand Mojang was fine with it (it being the reverse engineering), I'm not sure how it is "his" to DMCA at all?

    That's part of what I'm unclear about.

    According to this section of the DMCA
    I am not quite sure, but that sounds to me like the doing following:

    Helping to reverse engineer Windows/MacOSX/*insert_large_company_product_name_here*
    Deciding,"I am going to DMCA this project because they won't let me use my code (that I reverse engineered from Windows/MacOSX*insert_large_company_product_name_here*, but it's mine because I copyrighted it, and doesn't belong at all to the company that wrote it.) the way I wanted, because part of what I wrote is based on Windows/MacOSX/*etc.* and Windows/MacOSX/*etc* is not open source."

    And then being suprised when Microsoft/Apple/*insert_large_company_here* doesn't open-source the code that you reverse engineered.

    That seems quite like tactical suicide. In fact, it seems like it would invite a lawsuit from Microsoft/Apple/*insert_large_company_here* saying basically,"You can't DMCA that, you stole our code!"

    Maybe I am wrong, if so, please correct me. I'm just trying to figure out what's going on. Did I miss something?
    AGC-Intra and pookeythekid like this.
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    He owns the rights to the code he wrote and contributed under the GPL, even if it is part of a work that infringed on Mojang's copyrights he still owns the rights to his code. CraftBukkit contains BOTH code reverse engineered from the Minecraft server and code written by the contributers. Each contributer does own the rights to their code, and Mojang holds the rights to the code derived from their server. I used this analogy elsewhere: I can write a new ending to a book, or an epilogue. I own the copyrights to what I wrote, even if I cannot distribute a modified book with my substitution/additions as that would be a violation of the original authors copyrights to the work.

    The terms that the developers contributed the code under forbids linking it with non-GPL-compatible code, which which Mojang's unlicensed code is. Thus his DMCA claim is that the project violates the terms he released/contributed his code under, and in turn his copyrights to it. The inclusion of Mojang's code is the cause of the license violation, not the code he is asserting his rights to.

    Now, for a bit of pure speculation as to timing: CraftBukkit has always been in this mess. Any contributor at any time could have made a claim that the GPL wasn't being followed (or Mojang could have asserted their rights to the derived code). However, there really isn't a solution that was available to the Bukkit Team. It isn't viable to relicense the code, they would have to get explicit consent from everyone who contributed any code OR the derived server code would have to be given a license that is compatible with the GPL (which they don't have the rights to do). However, after the Bukkit Team announced the end of the project... Mojang asserted ownership AND interest in the project. They are the one party who is capable of taking an action that would allow CraftBukkit to be able to adhere to its own license. One could see the DMCA as a prod to "fix" the mess that has always been there. If they want to say "It's ours" then they also have to take responsibility in correcting this issue. They are the only party who has the legal capacity to fix it, and made statements that imply they want Bukkit/CraftBukkit to persist.

    Again, I am not claiming this is why he issues the DMCA complaint, just a plausible supposition as to why now.
    Exit151 and pookeythekid like this.
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    LokiChaos I like your explanation. Thorough, proper use of grammar (which I do not see in many explanations of the DMCA--scratch that, in many posts related to anything), and unbiased. It was useful information for me, too. Thanks.

    By the way, I do have one thing to ask you about. Don't you think it would be easier for Mojang to simply create their own server mod? Or is that already happening with the Minecraft Server API that I haven't really heard much about?
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    It still seems like tactical suicide even then.

    I am still unclear. Is this not what he allowed and then decided he did not like? It certainly seems that being fine with a license violation for some time would make suddenly and without warning changing your mind shaky ground.

    I doubt Mojang will open source anything (bad business sense from what I understand of how the client/server system works whether or not Microsoft is their parent company_\, and I imagine the other mod communities would take offense to Mojang outright giving *only* the Bukkit team allowance to use what they have. That is I imagine why they had a mostly hands off attitude until recently.

    And whether or not it is his legal *right* it is making a headache for everyone else involved. I do not remember hearing anyone ask if this was something I was for.

    Seems rather... unkind to everyone else.
  14. Mojang are working on their Plugin API (apparently). Don't look into the fact that it was planned to be released years ago (originally as the Modding API) I'm sure that's nothing to worry about!
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    Thanks. Re: the API. I am not optimistic to say the least with regards to an "Official API" Both because there seems to be little evidence of it appearing soon, and the fact I doubt it will support the same level of modification other tools currently permit. See Forge mods for example of what MC mods can be -- I would be completely shocked if the Official API facilitated that level of access. As far as the viability of trying to adopt/adapt Bukkit to be the Official API, either though the use of CraftBukkit or an entirely novel implementation: Either case would require the Minecraft Server to be licensed under something compatible to the GPL due to how Bukkit is licensed (or Mojang would have to get the consent of all contributers to that project to agree to a dual-licensing and/or relicensing: the same sort of issue that they are facing now). As far variations in the technical difficulty (setting aside the aformentioned legal issues): that largely depends on the scope of the intended official API, so I can't meaningfully speak to that.

    Which violation? Distribution of CraftBukkit currently (and always has) violated two distinct sets of copyrights: Mojang-derived code is unlicensed and its distribution has always been a violation of their copyrights. They have graciously elected not to enforce their rights. However, they still have the legal authority to do so at any time. The other is every other contributers' rights have been violated as the terms they released their code under have not been followed (by the inclusion of Mojang's code). They also have, until recently, either though ignorance of the situation or some benevolence on their part, not enforced their rights.

    Again, not saying this is at all his thought process: but what "changed" was Mojang expressed clear interest in the project continuing, asserted ownership (and implicitly responsibility) and possess the capacity to act to fix the outstanding issue. Raising an objection before could only result in the projects termination. Once Mojang stepped in, the alternative outcome of them fixing the problem by licensing the derived code in CraftBukkit was now opened up as a possibility. One could say the DMCA was a kindness to remove both axes that have been hanging over the neck of the project: it both would resolve the issue of the violation of Mojang's copyrights as the included code would be given a license AND it would resolve the GPL violation.

    Also, to put it bluntly, your opinion or desires really are irrelevant (as are mine). The only rights you, I, or anyone have ever had to Bukkit/CraftBukkit are the ones granted by the GPL/LGPL, which stipulate terms that must be followed. We never really had those rights because it is (and has always been) impossible to adhere to those terms.
    Exit151, pookeythekid and JaguarJo like this.
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    It certainly makes his motives smell fishy. He was perfectly fine contributing to the project for several years, knowing full well the entire time that it was debatable whether the license on his code was being followed correctly. Then out of the blue he decides to pull a 180. I have a *really* hard time believing that this is just about him trying to enforce his copyright, that excuse just doesn't make any sense given the history of the project.

    That's an understatement. One thing that I haven't seen anyone else mentioning yet is what Wolvereness did to all of the other bukkit contributors. Some people are standing up for Wolvereness saying that he has the right to protect the time/effort he invested via his contributions. What I don't see is many people pointing out that by issuing the DMCA against the project, Wolvereness has taken all of the time/effort that every other author contributed to the project and flushed it down the toilet.

    It wouldn't surprise me if this was a career impacting move on his part. Would another open source project be interested in his contributions given his past behavior and how he's treated his co-authors? Would a professional company hire him? I certainly hope he thought through those consequences before he acted.
    AGC-Intra likes this.
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    I as far as I am aware (and if someone can find sources to the contrary I would love to see them), other contributers/staff have appeared to be either neutral to supportive of him. The other contributers are free to release their own code under whatever additional license. If they truly objected, they could collectively contribute their code to another project and let others replace the missing (Wolvereness' or any other contributers who didn't wish to) portions. He's not denied any of the other contributers any rights that they ever actually held.

    Also, whatever his motives for issuing the DMCA complaint, or whatever caused a change of heart: they are immaterial to the validity of the claim. No one but he can speak with any authority as to why he decided to do so, and he doesn't owe anyone an explanation.

    Personally, I would be completely comfortable working on a FOSS project with him. I would want a project I contributed to to adhere to its license (and if that means a project must end/cease distribution, so be it). If I did not agree with the license, then I would not contribute to the project in the first place (which has nothing to do with his involvement). If a company hires him and neither has a CLA built into his employment contract, or some other means of securing rights to use the project under terms both parties agree to... well it's on them that they failed to handle some of the most basic aspects of hiring a programmer. I see no indication he did not think things through carefully, considering the impact it would have on all parties. Both himself and the community as a whole.
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    LokiChaos Well, Bukkit being continued while the Official API is released isn't really part of the question. Apologies for not stating that at first. Anyway, I agree that Mojang probably won't make things as accessible as with Forge mods or what you can do with Bukkit API or whatnot, but being so late on their release date, I think they should take the challenge of living up to what the other mods can do. After all, it's coming directly from the main-source company. If some non-paid guys sitting at their personal computers can do better than the creator of the main program itself, I think there's something wrong with that picture.

    Shaggy67 Personally, I'm one of the people who don't care what the heck Wolvereness' motivation was to issue the DMCA. As far as I know of, he has the legal right to do it, and I say, "Go ahead, it's yours to do." Also, in issuing the DMCA, I'm pretty sure he didn't destroy all other contributors' code. Perhaps CB can't be downloaded and distributed as long as this period lasts, but if he wins the legal conflict, and once his code is removed from CB, the other contributors' code is still left sitting there in the program. And keep in mind that all of those other contributors have the exact same right to issue a DMCA that Wolvereness did/does.

    As far as the toll it has on himself, I don't think it does too much. If someone is looking to hire or recruit him for something, I think being such a huge part of something as huge as (Craft)Bukkit is good enough for whoever is looking to recruit him, regardless of the (potential) fact that his actions led to the discontinuation of the project. Especially if he wins the legal conflict, I'm not too sure that anyone will blame him for his behavior that you speak of; I say "especially if he wins" because winning a debate usually gives someone more validity to their arguments.
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    You would be OK working with a team member who has a history of changing his mind about the code he contributed, and threatens to sue you for using it?
  20. They'll just have to ensure he can't burn down the hut :).

    The excuse "law allows it these days" can be heard more often these days. That doesn't change my view on things. It would be interesting if there was an actual legal threat to him if he hadn't filed the DMCA, but i doubt so.
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    This kind of states what I meant

    While I agree with that in part, is not (his?) decompiled/reverse-engineered code a large part of what makes CraftBukkit work? Working without that would seem to throw a wrench in the works.

    Aside the fact that attempting to hold Mojang hostage by saying,"make this open source" seems like suicide. With *good* odds.
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    As far as I'm concerned he hasn't changed his mind. He has not tried to revoke the GPL, or change the terms. He simply is requesting that the original terms the project was released under be followed. Terms you have agreed to if you distribute it. He simply asked others to stop doing something they NEVER had the right to do*. He has given no indication I couldn't use and/or distribute his code in a manner that does comply with the GPL.

    And yes, Lupus_Irae, removing his code does leave the project in a rather useless state. However, he is claiming his rights to his original code: that is code he actually holds the rights to. I haven't personally checked to see which particular contributer added code derived from the server, but it isn't the code that the claim is against. That code simply is the cause of GPL violation.

    * It should be noted that this case highlights (though I admit in a rather odd manner) precisely WHY the GPL is so strict. The intent of the GPL is to ensure that a program in its entirety is protected by the same freedoms for all users. The prevention of it being linked with non-GPL compatible code is to forever ensure it cannot be tied/trapped/entangled to something that doesn't give users the same freedoms. A GPL program should be completely usable without any proprietary software and it should not be possible to modify it such that it intrinsically depends on one.
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    Thank you for pointing this out. It is often overlooked in discussions about the DMCA dispute.

    Wolvereness joined an open source project that was already over a year old and humming along. He knew, like all contributors to the project, that it was based on net.minecraft.server code.

    For 30 months he made contributions, and 63 of his commits on CraftBukkit were to net.minecraft.server code.

    I think it's pretty dubious for him to claim at this late date that his copyright was violated by net.minecraft.server code, and it's wrong to deny all the other contributors and users access to the project's code.

    Wolvereness made 63 commits over 30 months in CraftBukkit to net.minecraft.server code -- the same code he's now claiming is a violation of his copyright.

    EDIT by Moderator: merged posts, please use the edit button instead of double posting.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2016
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    Question: Is it at all even possible for CraftBukkit to be relicensed, instead of/as well as MC Server code being relicensed? I'd guess how that would work is that one or both parties would relicense their code, so that it's illegal to modify net.minecraft.server code (if Mojang truly owns Bukkit and wants to do something with it, I think they'd update their server code so people like Wolvereness don't have to), but it is legal to modify CraftBukkit code. Or is this not at all possible, since both parties either don't want to change the license or it's simply not doable?
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    Every contributer would need to agree to relicensing the code or agree the transfer their copyrights over to another party who is willing to. There is no legal way to force or coerce them to agree to do either. Mojang can only give a license to the code they hold the copyrights to, the rest must be explicitly done by each holder for each part.

    Possible? Yes. Likely or even a practical solution? No.
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    LokiChaos Thanks, just wanted to clear that up.
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    He knew the entire time he was contributing to the project that it was being bundled with non-GPL code. Apparently, he was fine with it for over two years. Then he changes his mind and threatens a lawsuit.

    I don't believe "enforcing his GPL rights" is the real reason he's doing this. That's just a convenient excuse. If he was really concerned about his GPL license being followed, he never would have contributed to the project in the first place.
  28. Shaggy67 Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. Piecing together some things he's said would suggest that the motivation was that he wanted a GPL solution, but knew that it wasn't possible because of the NMS code, and Bukkit was in no position to persuade Mojang to GPL their code. Once he found out that Mojang owned the project, he saw that Mojang should take some form of action to ensure their own project's license was valid. As they did not, he sent the takedown. Reason for not sending it before would seem quite clear: Nobody was in the position to make it valid. Mojang are.
    pookeythekid likes this.
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    My question is this:
    How does this DMCA, in any way, shape, or form, harm Mojang/Microsoft? It only affects the distribution of CraftBukkit and projects which depend upon it (e.g. Spigot). These software not being available has no effect on the amount of Minecraft accounts sold. People don't come because of Bukkit, they come because of the game itself and its reputation.

    So, Wolvereness, what do you really accomplish here, besides restricting the community you worked so hard to provide great software for? Mojang's pockets get no less deep because of what you did.

    Is this all for the sake of some sort of proof that you have certain rights?
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    Who ever said it was aimed to harm Mojang/Microsoft? Or harm anyone for that matter? You're ascribing him a motivation he's never claimed. The only statements he's made regarding why are that he intends to protect his copyrights.
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