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meapineapple

Doom in the browser

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I recently had thoughts about a website where you could host your Doom wads and players could try them out in the browser by visiting a link, with the option to automatically record and upload demos for the map author to view on the site. I feel like this could be great for the Doom mapping community - the ability to reduce the process of trying out someone's wad to a couple of clicks, without the player needing to go out of their way to record a demo and share it with the wad author.

 

I know enough about web development to make such a website, and I know webgl well enough that with a heck of a lot of time and patience I could probably make a gl-backed Boom port for the browser. (Maybe a ZDoom port, too, but I expect that would be significantly more work than a Boom port.)

 

But this project is too big for me to think about doing alone right now. Is this something anyone else is interested in, that would be able to contribute in a substantial way? It could be interesting to make a community project out of this.

 

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It's been considered in the past. A big stumbling block is that it is extremely unclear of what Bethesda's stance on such a thing would be. The first time someone tried it, back in 2011 I believe, they set a threatening cease & desist letter because the web page had an embedded copy of the Doom shareware in it, plus I think they threw in trademark misuse as well.

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There would definitely be some legal issues in there. If we used shareware then we would be missing content such as the double-barrel shotgun, new monsters, textures, music, etc. Maybe if it's done Freedoom could be used instead if everyone behind it is on board.

Edit: I'm dumb. The port could probably ask for an iwad file to be uploaded from the computer.

29 minutes ago, Linguica said:

The first time someone tried it, back in 2011 I believe, they set a threatening cease & desist letter because the web page had an embedded copy of the Doom shareware in it, plus I think they threw in trademark misuse as well.

I've so many questions. Could they do the same to Flash game ports of Doom on websites such as Newgrounds that still use its shareware version? What makes an embed version different from the downloaded offline version other than how it's played to warrant such a response?

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I did put a little thought into that. One way to do it might be to disallow playing copyrighted IWADs on the website, and disallowing people from playing PWADs dependent on the assets in copyrighted IWADs unless they claim on a profile page to legally own the game. Something like that might be fine if the website wasn't for-profit.

 

It should theoretically be possible to integrate with Steam and/or GOG and only allow someone to play a map requiring IWAD assets if they login with an account where we can see that the game was legitimately purchased, though I'd hope that it wouldn't be necessary to be quite so aggressive.

 

Even so it would probably still be a legal gray area. But hopefully Bethesda would not take an aggressive stance if 1) the website wasn't profiting from hosting copyrighted files and 2) the website discouraged or entirely disallowed people from viewing copyrighted assets if they don't legally own the game. I'd like to think that it's feasible that Bethesda could be persuaded to actually sponsor such a project, particularly if the site advertised recent/upcoming Bethesda game releases. (Which would be a win-win: The community gets a cool website for sharing WADs, and Bethesda gets effective, targeted ad space.)

 

There's also the possibility of using Freedom, which is licensed in such a way that there shouldn't be any question of hosting the Freedoom IWADs.

 

Anyway, every journey begins with one small step. In this case, the beginnings of a WAD loader. https://github.com/pineapplemachine/jsdoom-wad-base

 

re: UndeadRyker's edit - Actually, yeah, I think that could also work. Maybe that's the best solution?

Edited by meapineapple : re: UndeadRyker's edit

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Well, you need a copy of either Freedoom or one of the copyrighted IWADS to play using GZDoom or any other source port. Why not emulate that? Require users to submit a copy or otherwise somehow show that they have the appropriate IWAD, and use the Freedoom version by default for those visitors who are lacking.

I realise now that I just restated @UndeadRyker 's edit. So er, yeah, I agree with him.

Actually thinking about it, I know books tend to have this phrase within their covers:

"All rights reserved. No part of this book shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without written permission from the publisher."


I'm not sure if video game assets are similarly covered. Something to consider.

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There's a Flash version of Doom here. (Source code.)

On 9/28/2018 at 9:27 PM, Linguica said:

It's been considered in the past. A big stumbling block is that it is extremely unclear of what Bethesda's stance on such a thing would be. The first time someone tried it, back in 2011 I believe, they set a threatening cease & desist letter because the web page had an embedded copy of the Doom shareware in it, plus I think they threw in trademark misuse as well.

There's another port of Doom to native web technologies here, but this time it uses the Ultimate FreeDoom 0.8 IWAD. (Source code.)

 

I think @fraggle talked about putting Chocolate Doom on the web and allowing people to play PWADs with it (If you have a legitimate copy of the id IWADs or FreeDoom of course) before. Not sure how's that going right now.

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1 hour ago, Grazza said:

Copyright applies whether stated or not.


Of course copyright applies, duh. The question is whether the kind of scheme I mentioned could be in violation of it or not. I suspect that it would be, or at least that Zenimax's lawyers would argue such. I can't be sure however since IANAL.

The details matter.

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I hate to say it, but I've always felt that FreeDoom was a bit iffy, unless you (the person playing) owns the IWAD. You're allowed to play shareware, as long as it is completely unmodded. You're allowed to mod the engine, but the engine is supposed to check for the existence of one of the original full-version IWADs, and this is where I feel iffy about it.

 

I suppose it's ok for the modded engine to avoid the IWAD check, just as long as the people using the engine actually own an IWAD. (Having the engine check proves ownership, otherwise honesty is required. I own the IWADs, so I don't have a problem with the latter.)

 

I don't think you're supposed to be able to have the engine, the source code, and a working game, without having paid for something.

 

Now, personally, I don't feel that Bethesda/Zenimax (I don't understand who's who anymore) has done anything viable to keep idTech1 Doom alive (vanilla and DOSBox, really?? Come on, guys - the ports are out there...this is shameful). And, the Id guys are no longer the Id guys. But, I don't think modders building maps, textures, and sprites should own the ability to provide a game to the public for free, even though FreeDoom kicks ass. I think FreeDoom engines should look for Id's IWADs.

 

NOTE: I mean no hate towards FreeDoom, or anyone involved. I dig what they're trying to do, and they've put an enormous effort into it. I believe their job is more difficult than making a game from scratch.

 

I'm not saying that the FreeDoom guys believe this, but some people do believe this below:

 

Because free ports are available, some people believe that they are buying only an IWAD. Just resources. But, that's not true. When you buy Doom, yes, you're getting a bunch of resources. But, you're also buying into a model that allows and encourages custom content. You're buying into a business model that has allowed the engine to be opened up, for all to see. You're supporting the idea that games should be moddable - that the engine should be changeable. This was practically unheard of, before Id Software came around. In one aspect, it's like tipping your waitress for good service: You're rewarding the Id guys for doing right by each and every gamer. It's way more than just an IWAD. You can't just swap out the IWAD...end of transaction. That would be making the case against open software, and end-user modability, in my opinion.

 

So, a web version of Doom? The only even half-way legal route here is to provide a way to play the shareware Doom 1 WAD in an as-close-to-vanilla-as-possible way, without any PWAD support. And, maybe for a max of 4 players at a time. This is akin to installing shareware on a PC at home, and inviting 3 friends to play with you.

 

I'm no lawyer, but that's how it feels to me.

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Posted (edited)

@kb1 I don't think that makes sense.

 

Freedoom is licensed according to the BSD 3-clause license which, to put it very briefly, means that you can legally do whatever you want with it as long as you give due credit. A re-implementation of any game engine is not bound by the copyright or licensing constraints of the original. The existence of the Doom source code makes it easier to re-implement Doom than most other game engines, but the principle is the same. See, for example, OpenTTD - which is completely free and is able to load free assets instead of assets from Transport Tycoon Deluxe - and OpenMW - which is completely free and aims to eventually be an engine for original games, not only Morrowind.

 

Note that most Doom ports are not re-implementations, but forks; i.e. they use the original Doom source files and were not created from scratch like OpenTTD and OpenMW were. But since the Doom code is generously licensed under the GNU GPL, that means a site like this could copy the code wholesale with only small changes to make it work in a browser and, as long as the code for that browser port itself was also under the GNU GPL, everything would be legal and above-board. (Though it would probably not be practical to just copy over the original Doom code if the intention is to run efficiently in the browser, it would probably need to really be a re-implementation.)

 

I can assure you there are zero legal issues with a browser Doom port which loads Freedoom assets, provided the Doom port is open-source under the GNU GPL and the Freedoom creators are duly credited.

 

There are legal issues if a browser port loaded Doom assets (the stuff in IWADs) from a server, because it is a violation of copyright to redistribute the copyrighted game content without Bethesda's permission. Since it is entirely up to Bethesda whether a site should be allowed to do this or not, it might be possible to do it in a way that doesn't annoy Bethesda and so the site keeps running. Or it might not.

 

Or, as UndeadRyker pointed out, the browser client could ask a player to give a path to the required IWADs on their own system and the browser client would load it locally from the player's own PC, as opposed to downloading the IWADs from a server. In which case the site would never need to actually distribute DOOM.WAD and friends for people to play PWADs, and no copyright violation would be taking place. And so Bethesda would have no grounds for action against the site. Just like they have no grounds to take down other source ports, because they are completely legal. The only difference between this theoretical browser port and existing source ports is how the port would run - as an executable or app file, or inside a web browser.

 

"Buying into a model" is vacuous. From a legal standpoint, Bethesda is selling IWADs.

Edited by meapineapple

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I'll try to post more on this later (I only have a couple of minutes now):

Is 'legality' your only concern? At the top of your first paragraph, you start describing FreeDoom's license. But FreeDoom's rights must be a subset of what rights Id grants, right?

 

Later on, "you assure me" about legal issues, assuming that, now, *my* only concern in life are legalities. I'm not sure you can really assume me, without a doubt :).

 

On local loading of IWADs to the browser: Can't a Java script from an advertiser snatch up that IWAD (cross-site attack? I think it's possible, but I could be wrong).

 

Regardless, I've heard your arguments, but it still feels sketchy to me.

 

Ok, let's do a hypothetical: What if Carmack had released the source on Dec. 10, 1993 (Doom's release date). Also, imagine that a dedicated team could make a new IWAD (not nearly as good as, say, FreeDoom), but something, using some other resources. Then, let's say that this team modified the source to not look for specific IWAD resources.

 

Finally, this team releases the recompiled engine, and the custom WAD, on, say Jan. 1, 1994. Don't you think Id Software would be pissed? That is what I am emphasizing with. If you think about it along those terms, doesn't it change how it looks, even a little bit? 25 years of passing don't change that feeling for me, which sucks, because I like the content, and I understand the motivations behind it.

 

It's not about legalities for me. Maybe it cannot be pursued, and maybe those in charge don't want to pursue it...and that still doesn't change it for me.

 

And, like FD, I like your web browser idea, in principal, and I understand how cool it could be, so please don't get me wrong here. In my life, I try to do right by people, especially those that I respect. It's all too easy to justify a stance when it aligns with desire. I mean that it's much more difficult to find fault in that case. I'm not 100% sure I've considered everything...I am just trying to start a discussion/thought experiment about it, fueled by the fact that something about it rubs me the wrong way. I'm not trying to make anyone wrong here...instead, I'm hoping we can figure out *if* something's wrong, and if so, what is it exactly?

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, kb1 said:

 What if Carmack had released the source on Dec. 10, 1993 (Doom's release date). Also, imagine that a dedicated team could make a new IWAD (not nearly as good as, say, FreeDoom), but something, using some other resources. Then, let's say that this team modified the source to not look for specific IWAD resources.

There's a reason he did not do it in 1993. They only made the code available when they reached a point that they wouldn't be hurt / angry by any use of it by the competition (not even a wildly successful one).

 

Not only it wouldn't angry them, but I'm sure they would be proud if a new community-driven project rises from the ashes of their creation. If I was in their place it would indeed make me proud .

In that sense, Freedoom is not only legal, but something that the original creators might even be happy about (they all left the company so they don't even profit from Doom sales anymore, only from its notoriety).

If you think about it along those terms, doesn't it change how it looks, even a little bit?

 

Maybe Bethesda's money-making executives have a different opinion than the original Id Software team, but that does not matter now, it doesn't even matter how do we look at it. The only thing that matters is that it's in fact legal.

 

And Freedoom being legal is actually more than what I can say about most WADs with custom graphics.

Are you sure that owning Id's IWAD allows someone to rip its graphics, modify them and "legally" distribute them for fellow IWAD owners to use?

 

I don't think owning the IWAD gives you power over Bethesda's IP. Imagine if someone made a custom movie out of the characters of a particular Disney movie and told people that it's ok to distribute it for free as long as they buy the original DVD. Disney lawyers have freaked out for much less than that.

 

You have the right to privately do your own modifications and keep them to yourself, but I do believe that sharing a modification of content covered under IP of Bethesda is not legal, whether you own a legal copy of the IWAD or not.

I'm sure at Bethesda they don't want to shoot themselves in the foot by shutting down the creative drive of the Doom community, for the sake of their own public image, but I believe they would be in their legal right to do so.

 

Freedoom is, actually, the legal alternative, since it does not use Id Software characters, and thus in no way is it under a "subset" of Doom's copyright. All those WADs that use modified Doom content on the other hand, are indeed a bit iffy.

Edited by Ferk

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On 9/29/2018 at 11:57 AM, mun said:

I think @fraggle talked about putting Chocolate Doom on the web and allowing people to play PWADs with it (If you have a legitimate copy of the id IWADs or FreeDoom of course) before. Not sure how's that going right now.

Still planning on doing this, yes. The goal is to have the user "upload" their IWAD into the browser local storage. Either that or use Freedoom by default.

 

You can argue in circles about whether it's technically legal to put Doom shareware up for play on the web. Personally I'm not going to do it because the practicalities of it are that Bethesda don't want it done and I'm really not interested in the hassle of a lawsuit to find out.

 

If you're willing to hire an actual lawyer, fight the C&D when it comes in, go to court and establish a precedent that shareware Doom is legal on the web then all the more power to you. But I wouldn't recommend you embark on such a project unless you've consulted an actual lawyer (rather than Doomworld's resident experts) and that's what you're planning and ready to do from the outset.

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2 hours ago, kb1 said:

But FreeDoom's rights must be a subset of what rights Id grants, right? 

Absolutely not. Freedom is not based on Doom, any restrictions on Doom cannot apply to Freedoom.

 

Even as far as the engine goes, every major source port is under the GNU GPL, which grants the right to use it for any purpose, which includes Freedoom as well as any proprietary assets (eg, Doom). Someone could even make a wholly-unrelated engine that loads Freedoom, how would you feel about that?

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Posted (edited)

For better or worse, those feelings aren't relevant to me. I want a site like this. I think it would benefit the community. Personally, my only concern on this subject is whether this kind of a website can exist without violating copyrights, i.e. without giving Bethesda or other rights holders a legal basis for having the site taken down. If the project abides by the license terms of any source code or assets it uses, and if copyrighted assets are not rehosted/distributed by the server, and if there are no trademark issues, then it is legally unassailable.

 

@Ferk makes a good point about many user-made PWADs often including modified Doom assets, or assets ripped from other copyrighted sources. I use modified Doom textures and ripped textures or midis from other games in my own WADs all the time. Technically it's probably not legal for me to do so, but it's unlikely that anyone will ever care. If they do care, the absolute worst penalty I could suffer is that I'd have to take the original WAD down. And then I'd just upload a new one with different, more legal assets. (This sort of asset reuse might be considered fair use? But I wouldn't count on it.)

 

But that is an entirely separate problem which involves complying with DMCA or similar requests issued by the copyright holders asking for the site to take down certain infringing PWADs. Though I very much doubt that this would be a common occurrence. It would surely be much more relevant to modders whose work was copied and uploaded by someone else without their permission than it would be to Bethesda, or to the copyright owners of whatever other games a PWAD borrows assets from.

 

And note that this is different from user PWADs relying on assets Bethesda's IWADs without actually copying those assets. As long as the PWADs do not include the actual copyrighted assets in their own lumps, it doesn't matter. This is similar to how the ROM hacking community is able to function by having users only share "patches" as opposed to full modified ROMs. The ROMs are copyrighted and cannot be legally redistributed, and communities which allow this get cracked down on hard by copyright owners (mainly Nintendo), but patches which instruct a program on how to build the hacked ROM from someone else's copy of the original ROM is absolutely legal. Nintendo has no legal basis for issuing a takedown notice to any project which modifies a Pokémon game (for example) without actually redistributing any copyrighted data, but only a patch file describing a series of changes to that copyrighted data that someone else has acquired by some other means, in order to reproduce the same hacked ROM.

 

...Can we maybe, possibly, discuss who would be able and interested in contributing to this kind of project? It's disheartening that practically the entire conversation thus far has remained fixated on one problem that got solved in - let me see - the second reply to the OP?

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, meapineapple said:

But that is an entirely separate problem which involves complying with DMCA or similar requests issued by the copyright holders asking for the site to take down certain infringing PWADs.

In Europe, with the recent changes in the law, they are actually requiring websites with user-submitted content to provide pre-filters for this type of infringements. So acting by request might even not be enough if you are automating the submission. Although I haven't seen it being enforced so far.

 

I know this may not be your goal.. but I honestly think that the Doom community would benefit from a curated database of freely licensed and clean PWADs (handpicked rather than user-provided). It could be an interesting sub-project for Freedoom. In Freedoom's Github there's already an issue about offering a webplayer.

Even if the curated PWAD selection might be very small, it might be possible to allow for it to accept a PWAD URL and load PWADs from idgames, doomworld and so. Perhaps even have a bookmarklet to play the selected doomworld PWAD in Freedoom's webplayer with the click of a mouse.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Ferk said:

In Europe, with the recent changes in the law, they are actually requiring websites with user-submitted content to provide pre-filters for this type of infringements. So acting by request might even not be enough if you are automating the submission. Although I haven't seen it being enforced so far.

 

I know this may not be your goal.. but I honestly think that the Doom community would benefit from a curated database of freely licensed and clean PWADs (handpicked rather than user-provided). It could be an interesting sub-project for Freedoom. In Freedoom's Github there's already an issue about offering a webplayer.

Even if the curated PWAD selection might be very small, it might be possible to allow for it to accept a PWAD URL and load PWADs from idgames, doomworld and so. Perhaps even have a bookmarklet to play the selected doomworld PWAD in Freedoom's webplayer with the click of a mouse.

 

From my understanding, Article 13 would not be formalized until January at the earliest and, even if it is ratified, there is no precedent for how to comply with or enforce Article 13. In reality, it may not be much different from the DMCA. And even if a standard mandatory content filter is eventually introduced, it will almost certainly not account for the sorts of assets - specifically MIDIs and low-resolution images - that end up in Doom WADs. I would be extremely surprised if these legal changes affected a website that hosts PWADs in any significant way.

 

While I think that kind of curation would be an interesting project, I think it would mostly defeat the point of this site idea. The benefit as I imagine it is that, as a mapper, if I upload my WAD to the site and encourage people to play it there, then I get FDAs without players having to go out of their way to record and upload them. (And most people don't.) If I as the mapper am not in control of when my WAD gets on the site, or even whether it happens at all, then it's no longer convenient.

 

 

Edited by meapineapple

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On 10/1/2018 at 9:46 AM, Ferk said:

There's a reason he did not do it in 1993. They only made the code available when they reached a point that they wouldn't be hurt / angry by any use of it by the competition (not even a wildly successful one).

 

Not only it wouldn't angry them, but I'm sure they would be proud if a new community-driven project rises from the ashes of their creation. If I was in their place it would indeed make me proud.

You are making assumptions here, about things you can't possibly know for sure. That's what I meant when I talked about justification based on desire.

 

On 10/1/2018 at 9:46 AM, Ferk said:

In that sense, Freedoom is not only legal, but something that the original creators might even be happy about (they all left the company so they don't even profit from Doom sales anymore, only from its notoriety).

Yeah, I doubt they get any royalties or anything like that, so, yeah, they may not mind what happens.

 

On 10/1/2018 at 9:46 AM, Ferk said:

If you think about it along those terms, doesn't it change how it looks, even a little bit?

That was a heart-felt question, where I was trying to understand and describe my exact hangup, and asking about someone's genuine feelings. I don't know why you felt you had to use that particular moment to be a smart-ass about it - yikes. You chose that exact moment - a moment of vulnerability to stab...classy.

 

On 10/1/2018 at 9:46 AM, Ferk said:

..."legal stuff"...

 

And Freedoom being legal is actually more than what I can say about most WADs with custom graphics.

Are you sure that owning Id's IWAD allows someone to rip its graphics, modify them and "legally" distribute them for fellow IWAD owners to use?

 

I don't think owning the IWAD gives you power over Bethesda's IP. Imagine if someone made a custom movie out of the characters of a particular Disney movie and told people that it's ok to distribute it for free as long as they buy the original DVD. Disney lawyers have freaked out for much less than that.

Am I sure, seriously? Of course not. Are you making my point for me? :|

 

On 10/1/2018 at 9:46 AM, Ferk said:

You have the right to privately do your own modifications and keep them to yourself, but I do believe that sharing a modification of content covered under IP of Bethesda is not legal, whether you own a legal copy of the IWAD or not.

I'm sure at Bethesda they don't want to shoot themselves in the foot by shutting down the creative drive of the Doom community, for the sake of their own public image, but I believe they would be in their legal right to do so.

You've always been able to do mods, as long as a purchased IWAD is present. There were a few DOS programs designed to take your purchased IWAD, copy it, and modify it, to allow modification and replacement of the IWAD resources, in a way that would work with the vanilla exe. Nowadays, ports can do this in memory. Regardless, there was a message in vanilla that read something like this:

"This version of Doom has been modified. Call 1-800-whatever to purchase Doom." Vanilla, and the source code release did actually perform some checks against the IWAD to, at a minimum, distinguish between shareware and purchased. For example, certain wall switches were not supposed to work when using the shareware. This suggests that Id wanted you to use a purchased IWAD when running custom maps.

 

On 10/1/2018 at 9:46 AM, Ferk said:

Freedoom is, actually, the legal alternative, since it does not use Id Software characters, and thus in no way is it under a "subset" of Doom's copyright. All those WADs that use modified Doom content on the other hand, are indeed a bit iffy.

Sorry if I can't see past the whole "playing Doom without owning Doom" thing.

 

On 10/1/2018 at 11:09 AM, chungy said:

Absolutely not. Freedom is not based on Doom, any restrictions on Doom cannot apply to Freedoom.

 

Even as far as the engine goes, every major source port is under the GNU GPL, which grants the right to use it for any purpose, which includes Freedoom as well as any proprietary assets (eg, Doom). Someone could even make a wholly-unrelated engine that loads Freedoom, how would you feel about that?

The GNU GPL did not grant any rights, Id Software granted the rights for the source to be used. Don't know how I would feel about a FreeDoom clone, honestly. My immediate thoughts are "Why call it 'Doom', just make your own game." But that doesn't help your analogy work.

 

 

On 10/1/2018 at 11:30 AM, meapineapple said:

For better or worse, those feelings aren't relevant to me. I want a site like this. I think it would benefit the community. Personally, my only concern on this subject is whether this kind of a website can exist without violating copyrights, i.e. without giving Bethesda or other rights holders a legal basis for having the site taken down. If the project abides by the license terms of any source code or assets it uses, and if copyrighted assets are not rehosted/distributed by the server, and if there are no trademark issues, then it is legally unassailable.

 

@Ferk makes a good point about many user-made PWADs often including modified Doom assets, or assets ripped from other copyrighted sources. I use modified Doom textures and ripped textures or midis from other games in my own WADs all the time. Technically it's probably not legal for me to do so, but it's unlikely that anyone will ever care. If they do care, the absolute worst penalty I could suffer is that I'd have to take the original WAD down. And then I'd just upload a new one with different, more legal assets. (This sort of asset reuse might be considered fair use? But I wouldn't count on it.)

I get all that, and I understand the wishes, and I even like the idea. My questions are about the morality of it, not the legality. I like the Doom mods with modified Id monsters, textures, and sounds, just like the next guy. But all of those games still require that an IWAD is present (or being impersonated anyway.)

 

 

On 10/1/2018 at 11:30 AM, meapineapple said:

...Can we maybe, possibly, discuss who would be able and interested in contributing to this kind of project? It's disheartening that practically the entire conversation thus far has remained fixated on one problem that got solved in - let me see - the second reply to the OP?

I know it's disheartening, and I am sorry about that. I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it. But it crosses my mind each time it comes up, and no one says anything about it, or, if they do, it turns into this talk about legalities, and it seems like no one discusses what Id software's wishes are.

 

On 10/1/2018 at 11:37 AM, Linguica said:

What exactly is the purpose of the GPL in your view?

 

Then id wouldn't have released the source code, because it had commercial value. They would only release the source code when the code itself had basically no commercial value, which as it turns out, is exactly what happened.

That code had some (only slightly effective) checks for the IWAD. The shareware program was very clear about only being usable as-is, without mods. It's not a stretch to assume that the intention was that modding was only allowed for the purchased game.

 

Technically, I see the source code as just another way to mod Doom, as Dehacked was, as DoomEd was. I don't know about the legal ramifications of everything, and I don't believe Carmack did either. My only concerns are for the *moral* requirements. Sure, I guess Carmack did not explicitly state that any source code changes must leave in checks for the purchased IWADs. I would hate to think that Carmack's lack of anal retention is allowing people to offer a mod of Id's creations without paying for them.

 

I mean, I consider the release of the source to be one of the most cool, selfless acts I have ever seen in the gaming world. I don't need a legal document to inform me that I should respect them for having done so. I find the whole "it's been long enough" / "it's technically legal" argument to be distasteful as fuck.

 

Having said all that, it's really up to the original Id Software guys, as to how they want their product to be used, in my opinion. They've earned that. They've earned that by being cool and giving away their secrets, if nothing else. So, if they're ok with FreeDoom, or Doom web, etc., I'm behind it fully.

 

But don't just assume that they're cool with it, simply because they haven't sued you - that's not right, and everyone knows it. Why do I have to even present this side of it? The elephant's been in the room for a long time now - am I the only one that will admit seeing it?

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4 hours ago, kb1 said:

My questions are about the morality of it, not the legality.

 

4 hours ago, kb1 said:

But it crosses my mind each time it comes up, and no one says anything about it, or, if they do, it turns into this talk about legalities, and it seems like no one discusses what Id software's wishes are.

 

I do not care. I do not care what you think about Id Software's wishes. I do not care whether you might perceive it as immoral. I do not care what you feel that the original Id Software Guys have earned, or how you want Doom to be used.

 

@kb1, you have very unusual ideas about this subject. It truly would not surprise me if you were the only one who cared so much.

 

4 hours ago, kb1 said:

I find the whole "it's been long enough" / "it's technically legal" argument to be distasteful as fuck.

 

Just one further point of clarification: It is not "technically legal". This is not skirting by on loopholes. This is how copyright and software licensing work.

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52 minutes ago, meapineapple said:

@kb1, you have very unusual ideas about this subject. It truly would not surprise me if you were the only one who cared so much.

 

He's not the only one.

 

So far, you could feel "morally right" to upload a recolored Imp sprite with your level. PWADs simply needed the IWAD to run, so you were not distributing (modified) id art to peeps who did not already have those sprites themselves. With FreeDoom acting as its own IWAD, it's technically possible to abuse this and play stuff with (modified) id art present without owning a copy of Doom yourself.

 

And this puts the whole modding scene on rather shaky grounds. It feels to me like a breach of the original understanding between id Software and early modders. And you get to worry if Bethesda or any other of the big name corporations are going to change their policies in regards to this.

 

Don't think this is technically solvable. It's perfectly legal to use a GPL'ed source port and build your own commercial game with it, making all the assets yourself. And, from a modder's perspective, being able to make commercial stuff is pretty cool in its own right.

 

Perhaps, for future mods, source ports could implement an option for a modder to point to the appropriate IWAD. So the PWAD could have a line that reads "iwad=doom2" and the port would know to pick the Doom2 IWAD to run this with. Or "iwad=" means it's stand-alone, so the port will run the mod itself like an IWAD. Absence of this line and you'll need to pick from an IWAD list just like we do now. And if a player overrules "iwad=doom2" and tells the engine to use FreeDoom instead, a simple message could be displayed like in the olden days, telling him he's using a modified version and where to purchase his own copy of Doom.

 

This would mean that the onus of breach would be on individual mods (or individual players) and that other well-intending mods don't get swept up in the possible fallout.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, kb1 said:

You are making assumptions here, about things you can't possibly know for sure. That's what I meant when I talked about justification based on desire.

You are also making assumptions when you say they would be angry. Your moral is based on that assumption, what I'm trying to convey is that it's no less valid than assuming the opposite. If your moral is based on making Id Software happy, what if it turns out that the fact Freedoom is a thing you can use if you don't own the game might actually make them happy?

 

Quote

That was a heart-felt question, where I was trying to understand and describe my exact hangup, and asking about someone's genuine feelings. I don't know why you felt you had to use that particular moment to be a smart-ass about it - yikes. You chose that exact moment - a moment of vulnerability to stab...classy.

I'm sorry. It was not meant as something offensive. I'm 100% honest when I say that It was meant to reflect on the analogy of both arguments being opinions about what you and I might feel. Feelings and opinions are subjective and you can find different ways to look at the same thing from different eyes.

 

My point was that the only thing that is objective is the legality of it, not the morality based on assumptions.

And this is why after saying that, I've only talked about the legality of things.

 

Of course it's true that "you've always been able to do mods" that modify the assets (and patching the engine is legal now). But having the IWAD is not a justification for sharing modified assets of the game in your mod. You can do it, but it's not legal. It's illegal no matter how nice and cool Id Software has been about it. They did not give you a written license saying that you are allowed to do it, so in the eyes of the law it's not allowed. And if tomorrow Bethesda decides they want to sue, they can sue just like Disney sues when someone does the analogous thing with a movie (and I was surprised how you apply such different logic from Disney to Bethesda, even though we are talking about the same concept).

 

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Sorry if I can't see past the whole "playing Doom without owning Doom" thing.

 

Technically, you are not playing Doom (the game) if you play Freedoom. You are playing the Doom engine, which Id software released as GPL, but not with its assets (which are the ones that are still covered by Bethesda's IP).

Id Software actually did give everyone a written license saying they can use the engine (not the assets), this license (GPL) irrevocably hands the engine to the community to use as they please. It would have made no sense for them to give this license and then be angry about it. They could have perfectly released it under a license that only allows you to use the code together with their assets, or as long as you own a legal copy Doom. They didn't, they chose to allow people to make their own games with it. This honors them. And I would not be in this Forum, or praising them, if it wasn't because of that.

 

For my own moral reasons (I do celebrate things free as in freedom because it's the most beneficial for the community), Doom would have died long ago to me had they used a license that is tied to the IWAD and didn't allow standalone TC to be made and distributed for free. And if I ever find a statement from the original Id Software team saying that they are angry and mad, that they didn't really intend to grant GPL license and they didn't know what they were doing, I would lose a big chunk of the huge respect and admiration I have for them.

 

PD: Sorry, meapingapple, that I'm back to discussing kb1's topic, but I believe it's important to clarify on the legality of Freedoom and defend the accusation of it being "iffy". If need be, the topic could be split.

Edited by Ferk

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Mordeth said:

So far, you could feel "morally right" to upload a recolored Imp sprite with your level. PWADs simply needed the IWAD to run, so you were not distributing (modified) id art to peeps who did not already have those sprites themselves. 

 

Just because you have the sprite doesn't mean you are allowed to distribute a modified version of the sprite. You might be able to do this in very specific instances, like when using only one or two sprites in an ironic context (and even in that case, you wouldn't need the IWAD for it to be legal). But PWADs that do this extensively are indeed in legally questionable ground, it does not matter if you own the IWAD or not.

 

Again, I made before the analogy with Disney movies. Can you legally download custom movie clips that use Disney characters, story and assets whenever you own the DVD of the movie? Disney lawyers would disagree.

Just because so far Bethesda has been cool about it doesn't mean it's legal. If they released a license saying that it's allowed to do so, then that would be different.

 

Note that I'm only talking about including modified assets. This has nothing to do with PWADs that only include levels and that all their content is 100% made by the creator or based on permissively licensed works.

 

Freedoom  (or freely licensed works) is actually the only legal way to reuse/modify assets. You can include modified Freedoom's assets as much as you want in your PWADs, you'll be safe to distribute it. If more WADs were based on Freedoom and more focus was put on it to improve it, we would have a truly free and open community. As it stands, however, a lot of it is in shaky legal ground.

Edited by Ferk

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7 minutes ago, Ferk said:

Just because so far Bethesda has been cool about it doesn't mean it's legal.

 

Yeah, I never said that. That is not what this is about. It's about id Software, and now Bethesda, having condoned that common practice in the modding community because the modders were playing fair. But once you break this unwritten rule by going out of your way to enable playing pwads with modified assets without the original IWAD present, there's a good chance some lawyer type will want to step on that.

 

An WAD option lump, recognized by most ports, that tells a port which IWAD it was designed for (if at all) goes a long way into displaying one's "fair play" intentions, even if such a solution is technically and legally inadequate.

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Mordeth said:

But once you break this unwritten rule by going out of your way to enable playing pwads with modified assets without the original IWAD present, there's a good chance some lawyer type will want to step on that. 

 

This is a reason to stop using those modified assets, not a reason to not use Freedoom. What is illegal is the PWAD.

You are always gonna be able to download and play that PWAD with free assets in your custom engine (even if it's other TC than Freedoom, there are many available that are Freeware, even if not BSD), no matter how many protections and DRM walls you might add, your PWAD is not safe.

 

If it was true that the original Id Software team expects us to follow this "unwritten rule" I would be thoroughly disappointed at them.

This morality is making money for Bethesda for work they did not do, limiting the freedom of the community and encouraging a "Sword of Damocles" to be hanging above the modder's head.

Edited by Ferk

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59 minutes ago, Ferk said:

Of course it's true that "you've always been able to do mods" that modify the assets (and patching the engine is legal now). But having the IWAD is not a justification for sharing modified assets of the game in your mod. You can do it, but it's not legal. It's illegal no matter how nice and cool Id Software has been about it. They did not give you a written license saying that you are allowed to do it, so in the eyes of the law it's not allowed. And if tomorrow Bethesda decides they want to sue, they can sue just like Disney sues when someone does the analogous thing with a movie (and I was surprised how you apply such different logic from Disney to Bethesda, even though we are talking about the same concept).

 

I'm going to nitpick this.

 

You can plausibly defend PWADs containing copied or modified Doom assets as being covered by fair use and/or fair dealing. The vast overwhelming majority of such PWADs:

 

- Are noncommercial. (The authors aren't selling the PWADs or otherwise making money off them.)

- Are transformative. (The PWAD is not nearly a carbon copy of the Doom IWAD, but uses those copied/modified assets in novel ways.)

- Are mostly original work. (The modified Doom assets are not the entire point of the PWAD, but only a portion of its content.)

- Are sustainable. (The original Doom assets that were copied/modified would not be said to be the "heart of the work".)

- Are not substitutes. (The PWADs containing copied/modified assets are used in conjunction with IWADs, not instead of them.)

 

All of these are reasons why a work might be covered by fair use in United States copyright law.

 

I wouldn't stake lawyer fees on it if Bethesda decided to issue a Cease & Desist for something I made - if it's only one PWAD then it's just not worth fighting over, and really IANAL - but I have to insist that "in the eyes of the law it's not allowed" is not the complete truth.

 

Regardless of whether it really would be considered free use or not, Bethesda doesn't have any reason to have these PWADs taken down. They are extending Doom's lifetime and increasing sales, not reducing them, and that directly benefits Bethesda. Even if these PWADs could not be considered free use, the question of legality still comes second to the question of whether the copyright holder would even care to enforce their copyright.

 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, meapineapple said:

I wouldn't stake lawyer fees on it if Bethesda decided to issue a Cease & Desist for something I made - if it's only one PWAD then it's just not worth fighting over, and really IANAL - but I have to insist that "in the eyes of the law it's not allowed" is not the complete truth.

 

I agree. Even though I said illegal I should have said "iffy" (but I couldn't find a more serious word). Whether it's truly illegal would have to be studied in a case-by-case basis. My concern is precisely that nobody would care for this, so if there was such a Cease & Desist WADs would be taken down regardless, nobody is gonna care to pay a lawyer. Having its legality be in question is already enough to take it down when challenged.

 

Quote

Regardless of whether it really would be considered free use or not, Bethesda doesn't have any reason to have these PWADs taken down. They are extending Doom's lifetime and increasing sales, not reducing them, and that directly benefits Bethesda. Even if these PWADs could not be considered free use, the question of legality still comes second to the question of whether the copyright holder would even care to enforce their copyright.

 

Yes, I agree. I even said that already in my first 3 comments, I think.

My whole point is the fact that they are the ones in shaky territory, Freedoom is actually the least "iffy" of the bunch.

Edited by Ferk

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7 hours ago, Linguica said:

You're doing it again.

Thanks. You know what? Most of my time is not spent arguing my point - it's spent trying to get people to read the first post properly. I'm convinced that a lot of people just read a little bit, then start replying immediately. Forums are nice, because you can make sure you read everything precisely, and spend time thinking about the exact response that will answer any ambiguities...but it seems to often go the other way.

 

Good looking out, btw.

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Posted (edited)

Ok, I think we are on the same page then @Ferk.

 

@kb1 I can tell you honestly that I at least read your post in its entirety before I responded. I'm sorry that we don't agree, but I have genuinely considered your opinion.

 

ANYWAY, there's all of this discussion about legality and morality of all these different cases, but with the website idea the solution seems pretty straightforward:

 

- Load IWADs from the user's own computer, not from a server. (Just like any Doom port.)

- Have a process for responding to reports of copyright infringement. (Just like any website that lets users upload their own content.)

 

Now if there is anyone else who would want to cooperate on making the site a reality, maybe we can organize a discord group or something? @fraggle How would you feel about working together to incorporate your browser port into a WAD and demo sharing site? If you make the port, I can make the website.

 

Also, is there anyone who might commit to helping cover server hosting costs?

 

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