Doom Classic v2.0 source release watch (now released)

I requested the source code for Doom Classic 2.0 the Saturday evening before last and John Carmack immediately emailed me back stating that it had been forgotten and that the mobile team was being put on the task.

As of today, the code is still not available, neither through the idsoftware.com website nor the ftp.idsoftware.com FTP server.

This thread is to keep the status of the source request publicly visible and to organize any escalated community response should the release fail to be made in a reasonable amount of time. I will post any additional news here as soon as I have it.

In the meantime we should discuss what type of timetable is reasonable for the release, considering that by releasing the binary at all, id has been out of license compliance for going on two weeks at this point already, and if they would adhere to the letter of the license there's no allowance for this.

Also useful would be to gather up and contact rights holders in the PrBoom codebase just in case this needs to be taken to an action beyond friendly reminders and questions in email.

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After having a look at the PrBoom license, it states it is licensed under the GPL v2 or later.

Section 4 of the GPL v2 states:

4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program
except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt
otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is
void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.
However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under
this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such
parties remain in full compliance.


This clearly states if you do not distribute it under the terms of the GPL you lose all rights to do so - those terms are listed in the rather large section 3.

You'll notice there is no way to automatically regain your distributions rights once you have breached section 4. This means in effect Id, does not have any rights at all to distribute Doom Classic 2.0, and even if the place the source code on their website right now, their rights are _not_ restored because they have breached the license.

Any single copyright holder of that code can now sue them for breach of license.

The only way they can legally distribute Doom Classic 2.0 is to secure a new license from each and every copyright holder. Future compliance with new versions won't change the fact that the license is terminated, and all they need is one contributor to decline to relicense them, and they won't be able to ever be in compliance.

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Yagisan said:
[BThe only way they can legally distribute Doom Classic 2.0 is to secure a new license from each and every copyright holder. Future compliance with new versions won't change the fact that the license is terminated, and all they need is one contributor to decline to relicense them, and they won't be able to ever be in compliance. [/B]

A new license can be secured by "downloading" the source under the GPL and then releasing their amended source code under the GPL, as they should have in the first place. I'm not really interested in trying to bring up technicalities against them so much as just making sure that they are held accountable, both because I personally own rights in this codebase, and because it should be handled to the same level of respect that Zenimax seems to believe they deserve for their own IP.

Response is poor from the community so far. Obviously I'm not going to stand on my own on this, and if no one else actually takes enough pride in their work or feels that it's important, I'll probably drop it.

But at the least the result of this situation, if left unaddressed to my satisfaction, is that Eternity will be transitioning to the GPLv3, as it offers stronger protections against the kind of thing that's going on here, and has the added benefit that any GPLv2 source ports who aren't concerned with ensuring their licensees remain compliant will no longer be able to drag my own code into that situation.

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Quasar said:

A new license can be secured by "downloading" the source under the GPL and then releasing their amended source code under the GPL, as they should have in the first place. I'm not really interested in trying to bring up technicalities against them so much as just making sure that they are held accountable, both because I personally own rights in this codebase, and because it should be handled to the same level of respect that Zenimax seems to believe they deserve for their own IP.

I'm not citing technicalities, I'm citing legal opinion on the license your code is under. They really can not get a new license just by downloading the source again. You may read the legal opinion yourself at http://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2008/compliance-guide.html - GPLv2 is simply unforgiving of any infringement - accidental or otherwise.

To match the level of respect Zenimax believes their own IP is under, right about now, you should be issuing DMCA takedown notices.

Zenimax, is _not_ Id Software. They have bought the assets of Id, but not the mindset behind it.

I think you are being quite reasonable, but just keep in mind, that you may need to use the big stick of DMCA enforcement, to encourage them to do what they should do.

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Quasar said:

[...] and if no one else actually takes enough pride in their work or feels that it's important, [...]

You're probably referring to what I said on irc.

All I was saying was, they have money and lawyers and we have diddly squat, so let's not take up arms and start poking a wasp nest before some reasonable time has passed since they can hurt us a lot more than we can hurt them. It's not that I don't think it's important, but the thought of angering some global megacorp scares the heck out of me.

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Quasar said:

Response is poor from the community so far. Obviously I'm not going to stand on my own on this, and if no one else actually takes enough pride in their work or feels that it's important, I'll probably drop it.

I can only offer moral support. None of my code is in that product, otherwise I'd have joined you in complaining, and to be honest, would seriously consider DMCAing them by now.

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What is there to do but wait and see? I don't think one should be too quick to ascribe ill intent to a lack of responsiveness.

If I were to speculate, I'd posit that the mobile team is currently busy reimplementing multiplayer (and possibly support for iOS 3 which is apparently broken too) and probably thinking about publishing the source once these issues are fixed.

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Gez said:

What is there to do but wait and see? I don't think one should be too quick to ascribe ill intent to a lack of responsiveness.

If I were to speculate, I'd posit that the mobile team is currently busy reimplementing multiplayer (and possibly support for iOS 3 which is apparently broken too) and probably thinking about publishing the source once these issues are fixed.

Good point - they might just wait for a v2.1 or 2.5 at this point, and for me that's good enough. Just as long as they realize that the source does need to come out soon ;)

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I'm completely with you on this Quasar. I've been staring at this thread for the past couple of days trying to conjure a more substantial reason to post. Fact is that this is a rather tricky situation, however I personally believe id deserve some slack.

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While I certainly do encourage sending frequent reminders, I do agree with DaniJ in giving id some slack. As I see it, taking further action is only a way to end id's source releases altogether (certainly GPL ones any ways) and personally I feel that's worse than not getting the source to a few enhancements. As they say, don't bite the hand that feed you.

I can't say I have a real opinion on a time table since I don't have any real contributions in GPL source ports, much less prboom. Though I will say if you see the Doom 3 source and no sign of this being released you've probably given them more than ample time.

Maybe if it takes a long time you can throw in a request for a GPL re-release of the DOS Wolf3D source? :p

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Blzut3 said:

While I certainly do encourage sending frequent reminders, I do agree with DaniJ in giving id some slack. As I see it, taking further action is only a way to end id's source releases altogether (certainly GPL ones any ways) and personally I feel that's worse than not getting the source to a few enhancements. As they say, don't bite the hand that feed you.

Indeed - so without the PrBooM source, Zenimax would have had to do more work to make this money spinning port. Zenimax is no stranger to license agreements and the DMCA - just look at the board of directors. If you aren't going to enforce your rights out of fear Zenimax won't open source doom 3, then why should anyone else respect them ?

Blzut3 said:

I can't say I have a real opinion on a time table since I don't have any real contributions in GPL source ports, much less prboom. Though I will say if you see the Doom 3 source and no sign of this being released you've probably given them more than ample time.

By that stage, you probably won't be able to do much about it, as you already know they are infringing, and will have given them implicit permission to continue doing so by taking no action.

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Blzut3 said:

Maybe if it takes a long time you can throw in a request for a GPL re-release of the DOS Wolf3D source? :p

I swear someone emailed Carmack about this and he gave them the go-ahead to consider the source GPL, but that he wouldn't bother doing a formal rerelease of the code.

In fact, from his iPhone port writeup:

I released the original source for Wolfenstein 3D many years ago, originally under a not-for-commercial purposes license, then later under the GPL.

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Blzut3 said:Maybe if it takes a long time you can throw in a request for a GPL re-release of the DOS Wolf3D source? :p [/B]


When I e-mailed, this was not a priority at the time since they wanted to do Doom 3.

But is it GPL now?

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Yagisan said:

Indeed - so without the PrBooM source, Zenimax would have had to do more work to make this money spinning port. Zenimax is no stranger to license agreements and the DMCA - just look at the board of directors. If you aren't going to enforce your rights out of fear Zenimax won't open source doom 3, then why should anyone else respect them ?

I don't know. Carmack just said during QuakeCon that someone at Zenimax (a lawyer I think?) told him that they believe that the open source strategy is a good idea. If that's really the case I wouldn't want to disturb it, but that's just me.

GhostlyDeath said:
When I e-mailed, this was not a priority at the time since they wanted to do Doom 3.

But is it GPL now?

Dragonsbrethren said:
I swear someone emailed Carmack about this and he gave them the go-ahead to consider the source GPL, but that he wouldn't bother doing a formal rerelease of the code.

In fact, from his iPhone port writeup:

I guess I can take the iPhone writeup as an official statement, but I should point out the original source release also has this line:

LINE0=Wolfenstein Source Code
LINE1=Official Public Domain Release
LINE3=Please *DO NOT* e-mail us with questions!
LINE5=Have Fun!

According to the installer it's public domain. :p Of course once installed you're given the old license. Personally what I would like to see is this file updated with a notice that it can also be used under the GPL: ftp://ftp.idsoftware.com/idstuff/source/wolfsrc.txt That or a separate file on the ftp.

Edit: It looks like Wolf Classic has been updated to 2.0 without a source release as well.

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Still no visible action or mails from Carmack. I can send him another message I suppose and ask if he can at least give me an idea of the timetable on a release.

Would registering an LLC to represent DOOM source port rights holders be a useful undertaking? I'm not too familiar with business law and what effects/advantages it might would have.

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Not that I'd expect (or hope, please don't do this) anybody here to actually sue, but wouldn't a class action law suit by a myriad of individuals probably be more effective than an individual llc? I guess with an LLC you wouldn't be held personally liable for a counter claim though. Seems a little over the top

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Ralphis said:

Not that I'd expect (or hope, please don't do this) anybody here to actually sue, but wouldn't a class action law suit by a myriad of individuals probably be more effective than an individual llc? I guess with an LLC you wouldn't be held personally liable for a counter claim though. Seems a little over the top

I was thinking more in terms of having a single entity that could legally exert/negotiate over property rights, as opposed to the current situation of 100 individuals, half of which we don't even have current emails for.

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Quasar said:

I was thinking more in terms of having a single entity that could legally exert/negotiate over property rights, as opposed to the current situation of 100 individuals, half of which we don't even have current emails for.


While I can't speak for USA laws, my understanding on Australian and Japanese business law, indicates that for an entity ( such as a business or foundation etc) to pursue a legal remedy for copyright infringement against Zenimax, we would need to assign our copyrights to that entity. A legal representative could act on the collective behalf of all ( contactable ) copyright holders without the need to create a separate legal entity to do so.

I'm going to suggest that you look into contacting the following places for GPL enforcement assistance:

http://gpl-violations.org/index.html
http://www.softwarefreedom.org/

However, as I have previously stated, due to non-compliance with the license, Zenimax have put themselves in a position where they will need to seek a new license from each and every copyright holder, or their successors. In the case of missing developers, this means they may never be able to legally distribute any versions of Doom that contain that contributors copyright - in effect permanently enjoining them from utilising enhancements to the classic Doom properties.

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Yagisan said:

However, as I have previously stated, due to non-compliance with the license, Zenimax have put themselves in a position where they will need to seek a new license from each and every copyright holder, or their successors. In the case of missing developers, this means they may never be able to legally distribute any versions of Doom that contain that contributors copyright - in effect permanently enjoining them from utilising enhancements to the classic Doom properties.

Personally I really don't like that.

And I can tell you for sure that some of the rights holders would be unreachable. It's questionable whether Jim Flynn of the original BOOM team is even living any longer or has any heirs.

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Quasar said:

Personally I really don't like that.


Yes, the GPLv2 has a real cut you off at the balls approach to violations. GPLv3 is, depending on your point of view a better approach, where you get your rights reinstated once you comply with the license. I get the impression that most rights holders are willing to let the previous violations slide if Zenimax rectify their non-compliance immediately.

Quasar said:

And I can tell you for sure that some of the rights holders would be unreachable. It's questionable whether Jim Flynn of the original BOOM team is even living any longer or has any heirs.

I can only hope someone at Zenimax starts to take you seriously before another copyright holder issues a DMCA takedown, and leaves Zenimax frantically searching for whomever Jim Flynn's rights have passed to to beg for a new license.

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The worst thing any of us could do at this point is to actually set some legal process in motion. We do however need some from of communication from Zenimax, that something is happening.

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Quasar said:

Still no visible action or mails from Carmack. I can send him another message I suppose and ask if he can at least give me an idea of the timetable on a release.

You should also/instead ask for the email of whoever is in charge of the mobile game team so that you can ask them directly what they are doing with the iDoom and iWolf code and how long they'll take to comply with the terms of the license this code is under.

And attempting any sort of legal action would cause more harm than good. It would risk changing Zenimax's legal opinion on the subject, since it would turn into a potential threat and an obstacle against reuse of old technology on new platforms with limited resources; and then you can say goodbye to future open-sourcing of any idtech engine that's not already open. Fighting people who aren't actually our enemy can only have bad outcomes, whether the trial is a defeat or a victory.

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Sent just now:

John,

I am of course reluctant to seem overly persistent about this, but some of my fellow community members asked me to check in with you again on the status of this matter, and the open-source community at large recommends maintaining an open and amicable channel of communication when issues like this arise.

Absolutely none of use want to "bite the hand that feeds" or do anything that would endanger future code releases coming out of id, but I had it pointed out to me and was disturbed by the fact that the GPLv2 includes an automatic termination clause. Even though we don't like it, it means that if id falls out of compliance in distributing the source for GPL-derived products and any of the rights holders chose to be obstinate about it, you would be unable to ever distribute any of those products again legally without obtaining permission individually from every single rights holder (see GPL v2.0 Section 4, and http://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2008/compliance-guide.html section 5.2, 'Termination', for in-depth discussion of these ramifications). For the PrBoom source this includes several dozen people, one of whom I believe to have passed away since he made his fundamental contributions to the original BOOM port back in 1997.

Please get back with me if you have a timetable on the release (discussion in the community indicates that if the mobile team is waiting until after the next release that's supposed to restore multiplayer support, we would all feel accepting of that decision), and if possible, it might be helpful if I and the others can be in direct contact with your mobile team member who is in charge of the process.

I appreciate the speed with which you initially got back with me and hope that we can continue cooperation.

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Carmack is going to start regretting making GPL doomsrc release.

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Gez said:

You should also/instead ask for the email of whoever is in charge of the mobile game team so that you can ask them directly what they are doing with the iDoom and iWolf code and how long they'll take to comply with the terms of the license this code is under.

While it's all well and good to say when will you comply, the fact is they were legally obligated to comply the moment they redistributed the resulting binaries. Unless each person purchasing this product is getting a written offer good for 3 years to supply the source for nominal copying fees, then they don't really get to decide when they comply.

Gez said:

And attempting any sort of legal action would cause more harm than good. It would risk changing Zenimax's legal opinion on the subject, since it would turn into a potential threat and an obstacle against reuse of old technology on new platforms with limited resources; and then you can say goodbye to future open-sourcing of any idtech engine that's not already open. Fighting people who aren't actually our enemy can only have bad outcomes, whether the trial is a defeat or a victory.

With the sale of Id Software to Zenimax, several key issues have changed.
* Zenimax is not Id Software. Id software is a now a defunct concern.
* Zenimax and Id software do not share the same ideals.
* Any non legally bindings and covenants we had with Id software are now null and void. This includes promises of future releases of idtech.
* Zenimax's current behaviour ( intentional or not ) already projects an image of disregard towards license compliance.

Is Zenimax our enemy ? Fundamentally we do not yet know. All we do know is they are profiting from community members work, without abiding by the license that it was given to them under. That can be construed as a hostile act, given the lack of communication from Zenimax, even if it was the result of a simple matter of human error on their behalf in the first place.

To those that think I am advocating legal action immediately, I am not. I would prefer that Zenimax immediately resume communications and rectify the matter at once, however, given the lack of action, it would be prudent of those involved to prepare themselves for the possibility of legal action, as distasteful as it is to some.

A common theme I see running through this thread is "Don't enforce our legal rights, otherwise they might not release new idtech code". That's right, they may not. They may also sell themselves to another corporation tomorrow, or decide they will be a iphone only developer, or anything else their shareholders decide will bring them most value. The previous shareholders and management valued sharing the source. Their new shareholders and management come from the media and financial services industries. Neither of which are known to be fond of sharing.

A quick look at just the board of directors reveals that the CEO is a lawyer, there are two media organisations, three investment firms, and a sporting organisation. Wether or not we get a new idtech release depends on if those organisations think it will be profitable for them. I don't have high expectations that there will be another open source idtech release.

But really, all this talk about not doing anything to prevent a possible cancellation of a future idtech source release is immaterial to the problem at hand. The problem at hand is simple - Zenimax has used the work of members of the community, and not abided by the license. They are now not communicating with those members. Those members have to make a choice soon, if they want to enforce their rights, or if they will give carte blanche to anyone to appropriate their work.

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Personally, I'd keep quiet and wait for further feedback. No need to be pressuring the iphone dev team to push out the next source code release.

I have a feeling that we may be potentially stepping on toes.

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Yagisan said:

But really, all this talk about not doing anything

There has been no talk about this. There was talk about not starting legal procedures. I consider that the emails Quasar sent do count as "doing something".

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This email has not gotten a reply yet, whereas the other one got a reply within 10 minutes. Hmmmm.
EDIT: Got a reply about 6:17 CDT. Carmack says he will try to find out what is going on and of course, that he knows the mobile team is busy (a no brainer, but not really an excuse to be in license violation from any POV ;)

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