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MIT License in PlayStation Vita Game

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The language of the MIT license isn’t the clearest in the world: http://opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.php
 

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in
all copies or substantial portions of the Software.


At first I thought this meant that I just had to keep the copyright notice inside the source files, but apparently it means I have to include their notice somewhere as a separate file along with my game(s).

But our game is for PlayStation Vita, so that is obviously impossible.
It is also impossible to show their MIT copyright text inside the game anywhere.

Do I simply have to not use the MIT-licensed code or are there other options etc.?


L. Spiro

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Option A) Contact the developer of the library and ask them how they'd like credit, or if you can come to some kind of arrangement. Just because a library is licensed under Foobar license 4.7 doesn't mean the developer can't give you a different license. Since it's normally free, I'd think the developer would be happy if you offered him a free copy of your game or $50 beer money in exchange for waving the copyright notice requirement.

 

Option B) Put it in a "Licenses" section of your in-game main menu. Heck, just appending it to your credits would probably satisfy the requirements (IANAL). Why is it "impossible" to show the license in some buried submenu of the game or in the credits?

(Just make sure it's clear to readers that the entire game isn't covered by that license)

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Trying to reach an agreement with the original author is probably my best and only option. I do have something to give him in return (I added some helpful features to the software (NEON SIMD routines for better performance on iOS devices and PlayStation Vita)).


Other options are off the table because there is no way the client (SEGA) would accept adding such a notice anywhere inside the game, especially now that it is close to release (not that they would allow it anyway but…).

 

 

L. Spiro

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IANAL...
The purpose of the license is to protect the author from plagiarism (of the source), and to allow easy commercial use... So I too thought that they way that they define "The Software" only covers the source code and documentation that you received.
I thought that, if 'using' the software involves a one-way transformation into a binary blob, which has the effects of culling all superfluous text (including the license), then it's natural that you wouldn't have to jump through hoops on order to distribute hat blob.

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IANAL, but I too would have thought that the notice clause pertains only to the source code. In this case the truth of the matter appears to hinge on how the license defines "the Software" -- if 'the Software" is the MIT-licensed code, then it just means you can't remove the copyright notice and distribute the source; otherwise, if "the Software" means the completed software you produced that incorporates said MIT-licensed code, then things are as you believe. 

 

If this actually is cause for concern, then both options are good. Is it really the case that your game doesn't have a credits screen or "about" menu item somewhere that you couldn't put the notice without upsetting the client? Would it mean an extra round of certification? If the license demands public notice in the client software I don't think you're going to avoid it -- you either have to obtain a different license, add the notice, or remove the code, and only the first option will save you any churn.

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And FYI, I'm reasonably certain your worries are unfounded. My own reading of the complete license, in my mind, leaves no question that 'the Software' refers to the source code covered by the license, and not your body of code that integrates it. MIT is widely regarded as one of the more permissive licenses, and also is not a viral license like GNU GPL (that is, *your* software is not required to adopt the same license), But again, IANAL and that does not constitute legal advice.

 

These links appear to back up my understanding of things.

 

Can I use MIT license plugins in my commercial website?

Meaning of MIT license -- StackOverflow

MIT License (Expat)

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The language is so much mud, I really can’t tell how they define “the software”.

I got the impression that it needed to explicitly be part of the final shipped product because of this thread: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/534620-what-are-the-limitations-of-using-mit-licensed-libraries/

 

But then of course there are those links you found which seem to indicate it only needs to be in the source code, and Hodgman’s logic for that makes sense.

 

But the CEO sent me an e-mail today saying we can’t use an MIT-licensed library (or set of code) because it requires that we show the copyright notice in the game.

He won’t even bring the issue to the client; my options are to remove it, prove that the MIT license doesn’t require an in-game notice, or get a different license from the original author.

 

I’ve e-mailed the original author.

He should be able to clarify what he wants in terms of the MIT license (whether it, in his mind, means we need to include the copyright in the game) or to give us express permission to change to the zlib license.

 

 

L. Spiro

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The language of the MIT license isn’t the clearest in the world: http://opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.php


The license implies that any work using the code must include the notice.

Most games put it in the credits. You'll usually see all the license text for Lua and libpng and all that cruft scroll past near the end of the credits on many games, right after the logos for the middlewares used.

There's no reason for a separate file (assuming your credits aren't a separate file), so long as the notice is included. You'd also want to print the licenses in the back of the game manual, probably.

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At first I thought this meant that I just had to keep the copyright notice inside the source files, but apparently it means I have to include their notice somewhere as a separate file along with my game(s).

The accepted consensus seems to be that what you described is zlib/libpng license which is even more permissive than MIT.

With MIT you have to credit the author and mention the license in some way. The 'include' part might be ambiguous, some people consider link or name of license is enough, some want entire license pasted or attached to game as text file. Your best option is really asking the author about the form of crediting and possible exception for you. MIT license is very friendly to commercial use so he might be more than happy to help you.

Edited by FRex

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The author has decided to consider releasing his code under the zlib license and will be updating his site to reflect that publicly within a few days (should he decide to do so), solving this matter.

Thank you.


L. Spiro Edited by L. Spiro

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