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jack_1313

Freeware Licence Agreement - suggestions / improvements?

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jack_1313    536
How does this grade as a licence agreement that a user must agree to before playing a freeware game soon to be released? -------------------------- WarZone Licence Agreement: By download and installing this software you hereby agree that: WarZone is Copyright © 2003-2004 Jackson Allan. All rights reserved. 1) The developers are not responsible and accept no responsibility for any negative effects produced through the use of this software. 2) The software is not to be sold, rented or otherwise charged for without the developers’ (Jackson Allan) permission. 3) The software is not to be disassembled, reverse engineered, decompiled, modified or altered in whole or in part. 4) The media supplied with this software (graphics, music, sound) is property of the developers and may not be taken and used independently from the software. Exceptions exist – contact the developers (specifically Jackson Allan) for a list of freeware resources included with the software. 5) The developers reserve the right to make changes to the software, including updates of this Licence Agreement, at any time. 6) It is recommended, but not required, that the developers (specifically Jackson Allan) are contacted before this software is distributed on a large scale. If you do not agree to the terms listed do not download and install the software. -------------------------- Note that the name WarZone will be changed in order to comply with trademark issues. The purpose of each point is as follows: 1. Make it clear that neither me or the development team cannot be held responsible should WarZone produce any unforeseen damage. 2. The game is freeware, and therefore may not be charged for. 3. The software is not to be toyed with. 4. All graphics, sound and music are property of the developers and therefore may not be taken for use in another product (unless I give permission). 5. The game can be changed and, in the case that any faults are discovered, the licence agreement can also be altered. 6. I would prefer to know if someone decided to distribute WarZone on a large scale (Magazine Cover CDs, etc). Is this document acceptable? Am I missing something, and is it clear enough?

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Seeing as you''ve acknoledged that you''re using "freeware media" - I assume it means you don''t have the copyright, but it is somehow licenced so that you can use & distribute it and so can presumably anyone else - It''d probably be polite to make the list of media that falls into that catagory freely avalible by adding it to a text file in the distribution (say acknoledgements.txt) and noting the file name in the license or actually list the media and originators on the license (probably best if there aren''t that many of them)

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dcosborn    674
Are you the sole developer of the program? If so, it would better if you just used your name directly rather than saying "the developers." The "(specifically Jackson Allen)" parts would look especially if you were the only developer.

"developers are not responsible and accept no responsibility" - looks like you''re saying the same thing twice in one sentence.

"may not be taken and used independently" - the "taken" part seems unecessary to me.

Q: Can you really update a license agreement and force whoever''s using the software to agree to the new license? I assume that''s what you mean by #5. Otherwise, since the software is yours and you can do what you want with it (ie: change it), #5 seems unecessary.

Just trying to trim the fat because I can''t stand unecessarily long license agreements.

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yspotua    122
quote:
Original post by dcosborn

Q: Can you really update a license agreement and force whoever''s using the software to agree to the new license?


Yes. Microsoft does it all the time. As long as it is clearly stated that the agreement may change at any time.

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jack_1313    536
AP: Good idea - I though about doing this but, as many of the files have the same name I concluded that it would be difficult and confusing. For instance, the file 'texture0.bmp' in the 'graphics/beach' folder may be a freeware resource, but the file 'texture0.bmp' in the 'graphics/snow' folder may not be. Obviously this is simple to solve - list the filename and path in the document. I shall do as you suggested.
Unfortunately it would be impossible to determine which freeware resources were made by who because they have been gathered over time from the internet.
It is my understanding that a person can copyright work without registering, but this copyright does not stand well in court. However, I am unsure of the meaning of 'All rights reserved' - I have merely seen it as a standard inclusion in a licence agreement. Am I entitled to state such a thing even though the copyright is not registered?

dcosborn: No I am not the sole developer of this product. However, if someone were to ask permission regarding something I would expect that, as project leader, it should be my responsibility.
Note taken about the wording of the document.
As for the updating of the licence agreement - that was something I was a little troubled with. The idea is that the licence agreement can be changed but that agreement only applies to the newer version of the software in which it is included. I shall reword.

[edited by - jack_1313 on March 23, 2004 8:48:32 PM]

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Obscure    175
Using the wrong words (or not using the right ones) can make a clause meaningless. The first two clauses suffer from this.

quote:
1) The developers are not responsible and accept no responsibility for any negative effects produced through the use of this software.
The use of the word "responsibility" makes this clause meaningless. You can't make people agree to something that isn't true. If your software causes damage to their computer you are responsible. What you should be seeking to do is avoid "liability".

quote:
2) The software is not to be sold, rented or otherwise charged for without the developers’ (Jackson Allan) permission.
This doesn't stop them from giving away the software and just charging $10 for the CD that it is on. Not sure if you want to prevent this, just flagging it as a potential issue.

quote:
6) It is recommended, but not required, that the developers (specifically Jackson Allan) are contacted before this software is distributed on a large scale.
A contract or license agreement lists actions that the parties must or must not do. It is pointless including a clause that "recommends" in a license as it has no meaning. If you want to make this point do it seperately. Secondly the term "large scale" has no meaning unless it is defined somewhere.

Last issue - copyright. You have claimed © over the title. Do you actually have assignments of rights from all the other developers involved. If not then they retain the copyright in their work.

Hope that helps.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions (www.obscure.co.uk)
Game Development & Design consultant

[edited by - obscure on March 24, 2004 4:43:46 PM]

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jack_1313    536
Thanks to all for your suggestions. The licence agreement now reads as such:

===============================================================
WarZone Licence Agreement:
===============================================================
WarZone is Copyright © 2003-2004 Jackson Allan. All rights reserved. All files included fall under this copyright with the exception of those files listed in the Freeware Media section and:
1) All OGG format files – Copyright © 2003-2004 Keith Burgun.
2) All WAV format files – Copyright © 2003-2004 David Platt.
===============================================================
By download and installing this software you hereby agree that:

1) The software is supplied ‘as is’ and no liability will be accepted by the developers of the software should it produce any negative effects.
2) The software is not to be sold, rented or otherwise charged for without the developers’ (specifically Jackson Allan) permission. This software may not be included in any kind of commercial package without the developers’ permission.
3) The software is not to be disassembled, reverse engineered, decompiled, modified or altered in whole or in part.
4) The media supplied with this software (graphics, music, sound) is property of the developers and may not be used independently from the software. Exceptions exist – see the Freeware Media section of this document for a list of freeware resources included with the software.
5) The developers reserve the right to make changes to the software at any time.

If you do not agree to the terms listed do not download and install the software.
===============================================================
Freeware Media:
Apple Butter.ttf
Astonish.ttf
Graphics/beach/texture0.bmp
Graphics/beach/texture1.bmp
Graphics/beach/texture2.bmp
Graphics/snow/texture0.bmp
Graphics/snow /texture1.bmp
Graphics/snow /texture2.bmp
Graphics/jungle/texture0.bmp
Graphics/jungle/texture1.bmp
Graphics/jungle/texture2.bmp
Graphics/wasteland/texture0.bmp
Graphics/wasteland/texture1.bmp
Graphics/wasteland/texture2.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp1.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp2.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp3.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp4.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp5.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp6.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp7.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp8.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp9.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp10.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp11.bmp
Graphics/explosions/exp12.bmp
===============================================================

Obscure:
I have altered the first point to refer to liability. I have also removed the sixth point and modified the second point to read that the software is not to be sold and is not to be included in any commercial package - I believe that this prevents someone from selling someone a $10 disk that coincidently has the software on it.

How does that come across? Is the Freeware Media issue clear enough? Is it acceptable to state that all files of a specific format are the copyright of a certain person?

[edited by - jack_1313 on March 25, 2004 1:24:00 AM]

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