Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Games

DMCA Claim Over GPL Non-Compliance Shuts Off Minecraft Plug-Ins 354

New submitter Maxo-Texas writes One of the primary programmers, Wesley Wolfe (Wolvereness), who contributed over 23,000 lines of code to the Bukkit project (which enhances Minecraft server performance and allows others to write mods and plugins) submitted a DMCA request September 5th, preventing use of his code in the popular Bukkit or Spigot (and numerous other Minecraft plugins, mods, and other open source enhancements that depend on them). This has the effect of freezing all further development for multi-player server Minecraft based on these add-ons until the issue is resolved.

The programmer says that Mojang must release the Minecraft server code to the public domain since decompiled, deobfuscated versions of the Java code are included in the Bukkit project before he will withdraw the DMCA. Mojang has never released the real source code and has stated they will not open source the server code to meet the GPL and LGPL licensing requirements. This approach might be a risk for other GPL and LGPL projects out there which are derivative of or enhance non GPL programs or products.
Mojang COO Vu Bui writes in a post at the Bukkit forums The official Minecraft Server software that we have made available is not included in CraftBukkit. Therefore there is no obligation for us to provide the original code or any source code to the Minecraft Server, nor any obligation to authorize its use. Our refusal to make available or authorize the use of the original / source code of the Minecraft Server software cannot therefore be considered to give rise to an infringement of any copyright of Wesley, nor any other person. Wesley’s allegations are therefore wholly unfounded.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DMCA Claim Over GPL Non-Compliance Shuts Off Minecraft Plug-Ins

Comments Filter:
  • What the heck? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2014 @09:42AM (#47840619)
    Okay, I read the articles, and I cannot keep the parties straight. Who did what and who is claiming what? Can this be expressed as a simple bulleted list. Too much lawyer. Many nomenclature.
    • Re:What the heck? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2014 @09:53AM (#47840669)

      From what recall from hearing about this the other day, it went something like guy decompiles/deobfuscates MC code (it's Java bytecode), makes Bukkit. Bukkit guys get hired by Mojang, eventually someone gets butthurt, decides to DMCA Bukkit. More butthurt happens, and now they're trying to claim GPL on MC because Bukkit used decompiled MC code, thus it is "linked with" MC and GPL viraled.

      tl;dr: reverse-engineer code, release it with GPL mods, try to claim GPL viral on original code that was reverse-engineered. I'm pretty sure the GPL doesn't work that way.

      • I don't think they tried to claim GPL viral.

        I think Wess said "You can't use my GPL code unless you GPL the MC code" and there is a risk that one or more other programmers might be wait to DMCA until after they recode Wess's work.

        Otherwise, my impression is what you said is accurate.

        • by Altrag ( 195300 )

          Yeah this one's confusing me too. I'm pretty sure GPL doesn't work that way either as I don't think there's a blackmail clause included. Unless Mojang actually incorporates Bukkit code into the base MC product at some point, the GPL pretty much has nothing to say on this issue.

          The fact that an unproven (and almost certainly unfounded) DMCA claim can prevent one of the most popular mods to one of the most popular games out there just goes to show how wholly lopsided the DMCA is.

          Now if Wess wants to try and

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2014 @10:05AM (#47840721)

      As I understand the story:

      • The CraftBukkit and Bukket (LGPL and GPL, respectively, I think) project includes code that was decompiled from Minecraft server binary jar file.
      • The projects at some point were transferred over to Mojang.
      • Mojang never officially contributed any code to the project. They neither maintain nor restrict the community from the projects.
      • At some point W. Wolfe contributes GPL code to said project.
      • At some point there was discussion about how Mojang would never authorize the projects for the _official_ source (thought implicitly their actions indicate that that the unofficial decompiled source is not an issue to them)
      • W. Wolfe wants the official source code for the Minecraft server to be released (possibly because he has confused the non-official decompiled source for the official source).
    • Re:What the heck? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2014 @10:19AM (#47840791)

      There are three parties: Wesley Wolfe (who wrote GPL code included in the project and issued the DMCA notice), the author(s) of the server code (which allegedly is included in the mod in some way) and the author(s) of the mod (who are accused of violating the GPL by mixing proprietary code with GPL code).

      It would have been nice if the submitter had included the original claim, which is reported here. [bukkit.org] Quote:

      My name is Wesley Wolfe. A site hosted on an IP address owned by Multiplay
      (ip redacted) is infringing on my software copyright by the distribution
      of a software known as CraftBukkit.

      Original content can be found at

      https://github.com/Wolvereness/Bukkit-Bleeding/commits?author=Wolvereness

      https://github.com/Wolvereness/Bukkit-Bleeding/commit/0a0fee8be25bf8a732abff2d66a89a64614b6327

      and the appropriate license for previously mentioned content can be found at

      https://github.com/Wolvereness/Bukkit-Bleeding/blob/f210234e59275330f83b994e199c76f6abd41ee7/LICENCE.txt

      The provided license requires the use of included or linking code to
      provide the original source under the GNU GPL license version 3, or any
      later version. An official notice has been sent to Mojang AB, whereas the
      Chief Operating Officer, Vu Bui, responded with the clear text:

      Mojang has not authorized the inclusion of any of its proprietary
      Minecraft software (including its Minecraft Server software) within the
      Bukkit project to be included in or made subject to any GPL or LGPL
      license, or indeed any other open source license

      As the Minecraft Server software is included in CraftBukkit, and the
      original code has not been provided or its use authorized, this is a
      violation of my copyright. I have a good faith belief the distribution of
      CraftBukkit includes content of which the distribution is not authorized by
      the copyright owner, it's agent, or the law.

      IMHO, if the information about what's included in what is accurate, the DMCA notice and license complaint is legitimate. The inclusion of his GPL code in the mode requires that the remaining mod code be open-sourced, but the author(s) of the proprietary server code which is allegedly included in the mod have not authorized their code to be open-sourced. Lack of source for the complete mod is a GPL violation. If the mod authors aren't authorized to use the server code, then that may be a violation of the server author(s)' license as well, but that's irrelevant with regard to this DMCA takedown notice. A weak point could be that he may have contributed his GPL code knowing that there is proprietary code in the project. On the other hand, he may have contributed his code believing that the project already contained other GPL code and would abide by the license.

      • by jythie ( 914043 )
        Ah, but Mojang has authorized the decompliation and distribution of the decompiled code, thus there is no GPL violation in the first place.
      • Re:What the heck? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anaerin ( 905998 ) on Saturday September 06, 2014 @12:21PM (#47841407)

        This DMCA takedown request is invalid. And it all comes down to the statement "As the Minecraft Server software is included in CraftBukkit, and the original code has not been provided or its use authorized, this is a violation of my copyright". That statement is incorrect. It is a violation of MOJANG's copyright (As they are the copyright holders of the original server software, which has been decompiled and partially deobfuscated in this case). Wolfe's contributions are licensed under the GPL, and he can't withdraw that license, so he is in no situation to order a takedown on his own code. And he can't order a takedown based on Mojang's code, as he doesn't own that copyright either.

    • by jythie ( 914043 )
      Wolvereness is claiming that because Bukkit is GPL, the decompiled Minecraft code in it is also GPL and thus Mojang`s internal version is also GPL. He then claims that if this is not the case then his code was added to Bukkit under false pretenses (contracts are invalid if you are tricked into them) and thus the inclusion of his code in Bukkit is non-concentual and he is enforcing his own copyright.

      Mojang is claiming that no original Minecraft code appears in the Bukkit repo thus they are not obligated to
      • This relies on the GPL 'you can't distribute at all if you can't comply with the licence' - if you distribute with a binary blob (effectively) that you have no rights to in your allegedly GPL codebase - then you're in violation of the GPL.

        You can then come into compliance with the GPL in principle by supplying source for that blob. It is possible that the only way that compliance could be done is to release the whole of minecraft under the GPL - but the impossibilty of that does not factor into the legality

    • Re:What the heck? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Deathlizard ( 115856 ) on Saturday September 06, 2014 @10:53AM (#47840975) Homepage Journal

      1) Modders hate Minecraft Server code because it does nothing but play minecraft.
      2) Modders Steal Minecraft Server code, Modify it, and GPL it. Thus Developing Bukkit
      3) Other Coders as well as original Modders (now Bukkit Devs) add Code to Bukkit to make it better.
      4) Mojang instead of DMCA'ing the Hell out of Bukkit, hires all major Bukkit Devs, Allows Bukkit to continue.
      5) Mojang enforces clause in EULA, making Play to Win servers Illegal. Since P2W is the primary method most MC Servers survive on, Drama Ensues.
      6) Lead Bukkit Dev over EULA Enforcement pulls a Cartman, Says "Screw you Guys! I'm A Goin Hume" and ends bukkit.
      7) Mojang says "Not so fast! We bought Bukkit when we hired devs and the original devs will continue it". Since Bukkit asset sales were never disclosed when the devs got hired, More Drama Ensues.
      8) Wolvereness asks Mojang if Stolen MC code is GPL since they own Bukkit now. Mojang says No. DMCA's Bukkit and all derivatives due to stolen MC code not GPL'd and Therefore GPL on Bukkit is not valid and he wants his code back.

    • Re: What the heck? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Yakasha ( 42321 ) on Saturday September 06, 2014 @10:58AM (#47840991) Homepage
      1. Somebody decompiled Mojang's minecraft server, creating bukkit, released under GPL.
      2. Wolfe contributes code to bukkit
      3. Mojang buys bukkit
      4. Mojang releases update to bukkit that includes decompiled code and wolfe's GPL'd contributions.

      Wolfe believes point #4 is what makes the problems. Mojang has now released a piece of software that includes their own decompiled code and wolfe's gpl code. Wolfe believes the fact that the MineCraft server code was sent through the washing machine (compiled-decompiled-compiled) before being released is irrelevant to the gpl license, so the original server code must be released.

      • by Anaerin ( 905998 )
        Mojang have never touched the Bukkit source, it is based entirely on the community's work.
  • ELI5 please (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cdrudge ( 68377 )

    Since I don't play Mindcraft or pay attention to any of the politics of the game, I'm a little foggy on what exactly the issue is. If I understand things correctly Wesley Wolfe issued a DMCA takedown notice because he contributed code to one or more projects that relied on the closed source game Mindcraft. And now he or others are trying to use this to force Mindcraft to be opened?

    If that is the case, boo hoo hoo perhaps you should check the licensing before contributing code next time.

    • Re:ELI5 please (Score:5, Informative)

      by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Saturday September 06, 2014 @10:01AM (#47840707) Homepage

      NM. I found a post on Reddit that clarified it. [reddit.com]

      Wolfe contributed code to Bukkit that was GPLed but was violating Mojang's license because it wasn't licensed under the GPL or similar. Mojang just chose to otherwise ignore the violation, but then has since acquired Bukkit. As soon as Mojang made a release, they infringed on Wolfe's GPL code contribution when they didn't release the source to the bundled Mindcraft server.

      Sounds to me that Wolfe's contribution wasn't covered under a valid license to begin with. That would mean that Mojang doesn't get to automatically use his code anyways, but also doesn't mean that Mojang needs to open Mindcraft up. Mojang just paid money for an incomplete product.

      • Since the Minecraft devs have full access to the source code, they are probably uniquely equipped to plug in new code to replace the sections of Bukkit that are GPL'd. Whether they'll need to use a 'cleanroom' approach is interesting to speculate on.

        • by jythie ( 914043 )
          You hit on one of the key words, "cleanroom". No code was contributed to Bukkit by people within Mojang with access to their internal repo. So the decompiled version is GPL while the internal version is not, thus no violation.
      • by seebs ( 15766 )

        There is prior art in copyright cases for courts to conclude that if you didn't have a valid license to create the work you created (say, Bukkit, which was created without proper licensing for things without which it couldn't exist), that the answer is "haha no" and you don't get copyright protection at all, and cannot make or enforce license terms. That'd be my ruling; you can't use the fact that you stole someone's stuff to create obligations in them.

  • Bass Ackward (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maz2331 ( 1104901 ) on Saturday September 06, 2014 @09:56AM (#47840687)

    A derivative can't affect the licensing of that from which it is derived or adds to. It does work in the opposite direction - an original can force derivatives to follow the same license as the original, but that is a one-way thing. He has no leg to stand on here.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      He doesn't have a leg to stand on to force Mindcraft to become open, but Mojang doesn't have a right to use his code that he released under a GPL license either since they apparently acquired Bukkit.

      • The worst thing I can see coming out of this is the stigma it would attach to companies purchasing companies with GPL'd code. One of the worst, most hyped up fears that anti-GPL forces toss out there is the idea that 'touching' GPL'd code can yank a companies whole codebase under a GPL license. Which is unfounded, but those sorts of people already rely on distorted interpretations to make their case. This whole instance is just a handout to anti-GPL. Sadly.

        • by jythie ( 914043 )
          I would not be too worried about that. Companies that have already done things like this or people who work on GPL stuff that interacts with commercial entities do not really see an issue here. The company I used to work for dealt with people like this guy now and then claiming we had to open up our entire project because of XYZ violation, they were a nuecance that is easy to deal with.

          This case is just a high profile example of a pretty common occurance, and is not as game changing as it initially soun
      • If they've rolled his GPL code into their closed-source products, then he not only has a leg to stand on, he also has another leg free to kick them in the balls with. If they didn't, he doesn't.
        • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
          they have not integrated bukkit/craftbukkit into their products. his DMCA takedown is based on the GPL violation that has existed all along because craftbukkit could never have been legally GPL because it is built off essentially pirated decompiled mojang minecraft server code.

          mojang has always looked the other way with server mod software working this way even before they bought rights to the bukkit name and hired some of the top devs (not including wolverness hence his butthurt)
          • they have not integrated bukkit/craftbukkit into their products. his DMCA takedown is based on the GPL violation that has existed all along because craftbukkit could never have been legally GPL because it is built off essentially pirated decompiled mojang minecraft server code.

            mojang has always looked the other way with server mod software working this way even before they bought rights to the bukkit name and hired some of the top devs (not including wolverness hence his butthurt)

            I was into the game back when Bukkit was written. Mojang participated and helped them with it. It was a collaborative effort by the Devs and the modding community. I never understood why they didn't just write their own modding API. They certainly have the money and resources.

            I don't know what all that means legally, I'm not a lawyer, but Mojang made their beds. Vanilla Minecraft isn't that popular, it's all the mods that are making them the money. They left that in the hands of the community and made no at

            • Multiplayer server vanilla minecraft on the PC is a small part of their market now.
              They have releases on android, ps3,ps4, and xbox. Most young kids I know play on xbox.
              Lots of people also prefer to play solo vanilla on their local machine.

              They've been working seriously on the API for the last year. And that work is pissing off the Modders because it's changing the data structures of a lot of stuff.

              I think if it becomes critical, they are at a point where they could get something minimal out in 6 months.

      • He doesn't have a leg to stand on to force Mindcraft to become open, but Mojang doesn't have a right to use his code that he released under a GPL license unless they provide the source code for the GPL'd portions of the codebase.

        There. FTFY.

  • So Wolvereness contributed to violation of Mojang's copyright and now wants his contribution to this violation removed from the internet?
    Or am I reading this incorrectly? The DMCA notice is for CraftBukkit, but he links to the license of Bukkit which are different projects (I think).

  • by MrWHO ( 68268 ) on Saturday September 06, 2014 @10:23AM (#47840819) Homepage

    My understanding of the issue makes things look better for Wolfe.

        He contributed code to the project - licensed as LGPL - before the Bukkit team was aquired by Mojang. At that time the server code - decompiled and deobfuscated - included in the releases was not falling under the LGPL license because it was not owned by the releasing team.

        Forward to when the Bukkit team is aquired by Mojang - who owns the copyrights to the server code - and a new release is made. At this point the server code included in the release, which is copyrighted by Mojang, falls under the LGPL.

        I am not saying that this is what's the legal reality of the case, but I think this is what Wolfe thinks and why he issued th DMCA takedown notice.

    • by jthill ( 303417 )
      Decompiled and deobfuscated code isn't the original. To whatever extent anyone but Mojang has a copyright interest in that decompiled/deobfuscated code, that interest doesn't cover the original code. The takedowns are utter bullshit. Mojang's complying with the GPL in both letter and spirit.
  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nospAm.nerdflat.com> on Saturday September 06, 2014 @11:31AM (#47841137) Journal

    Okay, I totally get how you can decompile java code, but I do not see how, after obfuscating, one is *EVER* going to get back to something that resembles the original source code from the binary. It was my understanding that once you have obfuscated a java program, all of the identifiers from the original source code which might otherwise be visible in an ordinary java decompile are irreversibly mangled... it becomes intractable to even identify general pattern use, let alone any actual source code copying.

    I call shenanigans... I don't see how any alleged deobfuscation tool could be used to see what they are talking about.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Okay, I totally get how you can decompile java code, but I do not see how, after obfuscating, one is *EVER* going to get back to something that resembles the original source code from the binary. It was my understanding that once you have obfuscated a java program, all of the identifiers from the original source code which might otherwise be visible in an ordinary java decompile are irreversibly mangled... it becomes intractable to even identify general pattern use, let alone any actual source code copying.

      I call shenanigans... I don't see how any alleged deobfuscation tool could be used to see what they are talking about.

      Obfuscation is reversible. It just takes a good eye and a lot of work. Some of it can be recognized more easily by usage of standard library calls.

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        Yes... but that's something you'll be doing entirely by hand. For largish programs,this can easily be infeasible.
        • Large programs usually have large numbers of external dependencies. The external calls are plain as day in the reversed code. Sure the variables may all be named a,b,c... but it really isn't that hard to find the parts you are interested in and figure out what the interfaces are. For his mods he had to figure out which code handled player positions, actions, health and maybe a few other things. I've done it many times and it is WAY easier in Java and .NET with multimegabyte-sized programs than it is wit
          • by mark-t ( 151149 )
            Sure... but the fact that you've got to do this all by hand is going to make comparing any given piece of code with another for copyright violations impossible... and all the most similarity you will find afterwards is that similar ideas may have been employed to solving the problem that were used, but ideas are not copyrightable.
  • by WorBlux ( 1751716 ) on Saturday September 06, 2014 @02:08PM (#47841949)
    Mojang doesn't really gain by having the popular mod system removed. The decompiled server code is in legal limbo. Really if Mojang wanted to assert a claim against it they could probably prevail at this moment. It may be an attempt to get Majang to say "No, I don't really have any rights or interest in that decompiledsever code", but instead he just said "I'm not reposible for distributing that code", leaving on the table the issue that was attempting to be forced. (The copyright bomb in the decompiled sever code)
  • The DMCA notice concept that is mentioned on the summary is very well explained by Ken Liu on this article: http://www.sfwa.org/2013/03/th... [sfwa.org] it can be helpful for the people trying to enforce their copyrights

The amount of time between slipping on the peel and landing on the pavement is precisely 1 bananosecond.

Working...