Crediting code, systems, etc.



  • What responsibilities or courtesies do you think people have regarding crediting the original sources of major game content when they use it on a new game? (By major content, I primarily mean MUX code, game mechanics, wiki code, etc.)

    Does this change based on whether credit is requested?

    Does it change if the content is modified?

    Does this change if the content is modified, and the modifier appears to claim full credit for the work?

    (There's no horrible drama inspiring this one, so there's no need to sniff around for one.)


  • Coder

    @surreality said in Crediting code, systems, etc.:

    What responsibilities or courtesies do you think people have regarding crediting the original sources of major game content when they use it on a new game? (By major content, I primarily mean MUX code, game mechanics, wiki code, etc.)

    Does this change based on whether credit is requested?

    Does it change if the content is modified?

    Does this change if the content is modified, and the modifier appears to claim full credit for the work?

    (There's no horrible drama inspiring this one, so there's no need to sniff around for one.)

    I think a mention in +help/+news credits would be nice.

    It absolutely changes if credit is requested; if requested and you don't do it you're a bad person.

    If the content is modified but still derived from someone elses work, credit is still due.

    If someone derives work from someone else and claims full credit for the work, they are a douchebag.

    Remember: Copyright attaches immediately when you put an expression into a fixed form (digital is fine). You don't have to register it, or mark it. You got it. Yeah, mushes are way less formal and we almost never worry about copyrights but that doesn't mean its not an actual factor.

    CYA and giving credit is at least wise, even if not needed. (I don't care in the least on my code)


  • Pitcrew

    If you think you are borrowing something from someone you should credit the source, the end. At least acknowledge where the initial groundwork came from.



  • @ixokai, you pretty took the words out of my brain regarding my own take on this, but I didn't want to toss that out right off the bat there in case it might somehow prejudice the responses.

    The other big one for me: this also helps people find the original authors if they want to use the same thing, rather than just yanking a copy and running with it.

    Whether the creators are offering support or not -- and most people seem to be willing to help however they can if they're sharing the material in the first place -- this is just such a huge help, as you at least know who to ask about it.

    (So, no drama at all, but this did come to mind re: people wondering where certain bits of code have come from here or there. :D )



  • Hmm, I think every creator would feel put out by someone ripping off their work, and it would be generally a communal standard that not crediting someone else's work is a shitty thing to do.

    I think it might be better to ask 'how specific does something have to be in order to feel justified in feeling ripped off'? Like for example, if someone used like some of my very broad and vague ideas, I don't think they need to credit me, and it probably wouldn't be reasonable for me to get annoyed by it. Like Arx's random scenes, first impressions, very general design and incentives are pretty simple, general ideas that I think anyone could come up with independently, and I don't think I can feel particular ownership over them. On the other hand, if someone lifted the actual code without asking or giving credit and used it, that moves from general ideas to work, and that would probably make Tehom annoyed (even if he would have said 'sure' if someone had just asked).

    Put another way, one person had to be the first one to decide that a wiki to go along with a game was going to be a great idea, and enrich the RP experience of a lot of players. That's a general game design idea that just became a largely agreed upon best practice, resulting in most games using wikis, and I certainly have no clue who the first person that had that idea was. But ripping off the specific formatting code on the wikis moves past the territory of best practices to stealing someone's creative work. And I think the line between the two can be a little vague sometimes.



  • It's good to give some kind of credit in an easy to see place if you use or even modify someone else's code. It's as simple as "Code by X" or "Modified from Code by X," and it might even be worth a brief summary of what was modified and what was left alone if you really want to be open about it.

    Even if it's code someone wrote and has made entirely public, give a shout out to that person so people know where to go if they want to use it as well.

    If someone asks you to credit them, you credit them. Period.

    If you take the code and try to pass it off as your own, you are a scumbag and will probably be found out by someone and scolded/shunned/whatever.


  • Pitcrew

    Copyright law draws a line about where you're suggesting - copyright covers anything put into a tangible form. IE, write it down, record it, draw it.

    Code is covered here (or at least, 'computer programs' are). Technically, using code that's not Creative Commons licensed or given with explicit permission is probably a violation of copyright law - though there may be a fair use argument regarding the AMOUNT of code used.

    Not that I think M*ers are likely to take each other to court over using and being inspired by code, and most code repositories are labeled as freely shareable. And 'ethics' and 'copyright law' don't always align.

    But I think the 'tangible form' line is still a useful one in terms of giving credit. Unless it is a spectacularly unique and complicated system, just having the idea doesn't really seem like enough for me.



  • @tat Agreed on this; copyright doesn't actually handle ideas at all, it handles the form the implementation of those ideas takes, for the most part.

    ETA: @Apos Oh, man... if I got riled any time I saw my wiki code credited to someone who is absolutely not me, I would have had a Scanners moment or twelve by now, so help me... it just would have been my own head exploding.


  • Pitcrew

    Ahh, the first time I saw something of mine stolen. Another game lifted my entire policy and submission structure / guidelines for plots. And was going around bragging on it (which is how it was found out).

    I went to them and was like 'Alright. I don't care that you're using it; it means it's probably a good system and it works. But you could have asked. You could have attributed it to me.'

    ...the twat continued to insist it was theirs, despite being word-for-word what was on the game I designed it for (we later found they'd copied our entire grid, too).

    I've never understood it, really. In this hobby, most of us are totally fine sharing so long as someone asks or at least gives proper attribution. Hell, just use it and if someone asks later, admit where it came from.


  • Pitcrew

    @auspice I've seen theme files lifted wholesale on a number of occasions in the scenario you're describing. I don't understand what possesses people to do that.


  • Admin

    @sunny The weird part is denying it. Who do they think they're fooling if it's literally word-for-word?

    ... The other (scary) case is they've actually convinced themselves they did come up with it.



  • It's especially dumb 'cause in the case of things like policy files or house rules for an existing system and such, I have literally never seen somebody in this hobby say, "NO, YOU CAN'T HAVE THAT!" if they're asked.


  • Pitcrew

    I, for one, get offended when a game doesn't use my material.


  • Coder

    @surreality

    Ask if you can.

    If you can't, ask someone else who has if they did. If they did, it's almost certainly okay.

    Credit if you know.

    If there is a license, follow it.

    Credit changes in the credits.

    But ultimately, if it feels wrong, don't do it.

    --

    edit: Unless the code is noted otherwise, anyone can have any code I've ever touched. Even if we don't get along, I don't care. It's code, not part of my identity, and I'd rather games be enjoyable for those who run and play it than someone massaging my ego.

    Actually that's a trick, my code helping anyone enjoy a game massages my ego. I'm honored by anyone who wants to use it.


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