Are people legally allowed to sell plugins for bukkit?

Discussion in 'Bukkit Discussion' started by anonymous, Jun 4, 2011.

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    Like I know its ok for people to take donations but are they allowed to have plugins that you would need to pay for?
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    Offcoarse if you 100% made it and if its your idea
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    Yes, plugins are peoples own code, it doesn't matter that they use the Bukkit API, they can still be sold.
    The admins of these forums have shown their dislike of selling plugins on the Bukkit forums however, and I'm pretty sure it's not allowed on these forums.
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    I believe Bukkit is under GPL, which means you must distribute the source of your plugin with it's binaries. Apart from that, should be OK. You can almost certainly charge for the service of writing the plugin. I wouldn't try negotiating plugin sales over this forum though, it's against the Terms of Service and Rules.

    Obviously, this sort of thing very much depends on where you live.
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    Bukkit appears to be LGPL (Though there seems to be confusion, the commit comment for the LICENSE and LGPL.txt files is "We're LGPL" but the LICENSE file is the GPL. I'm going to assume they're actually LGPL since that's what the commit comment says):
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    Okay, this thread spreads quite a bit of confusion.
    It doesn't matter if it's your idea or not, nor does it matter whether Bukkit is GPL or LGPL.

    When you sell a plugin, you're selling the .jar file that contains only your code.
    You're not selling Bukkit, nor are you distributing Bukkit. (So don't include Bukkit in the package you sell, that puts you in a different legal area).

    You're free to set any license for code you create and you're free to sell the code (or the compiled version) as you please.
    The only thing you need to consider is what is in the package you're selling.
    If you use 3rd party libraries be sure they're under permissive licenses such as LGPL, MIT, BSD, etc.
    A GPL licensed library is something you certainly do NOT want in your package.
    (but I think you can work around this by including instructions for the user on where to download the GPL library, though don't quote me on this as I'm not 100% sure)

    @Drakia if the LICENSE file says GPL, it's GPL. Even if the authors didn't intend it to be GPL.
    Commit messages have no legal meaning.
    Besides, Bukkit already is in a (what they call) "legal gray area". It's not gray though, it's technically illegal.
    Mojang could rightfully send and enforce a cease & desist against Bukkit at any time.
    However, Mojang (like many other game companies) turn a blind eye to such violations when it benefits them.

    edit: I was horribly wrong.
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    Should be noted that Bukkit's license.txt file is GPL.
    From the GPL FAQ:
    The way Bukkit works, means your plugins MUST be distributed under GPL or compatible license.

    Edit: And if I'm wrong and Bukkit IS LGPL, see Your plugin is a derivative work of Bukkit and must be distributed under LGPL. (You can probably use another compatible license as well.)
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    I stand corrected.
    I have misunderstood the implications of GPL on plug-ins.

    I guess the answer is clear then: You can sell plugins, but only when licensing them under a GPL compatible license.
    Thus your users would be free to fork and distribute your plugin after having bought it.

    edit: @DerpinLlama regarding your edit, I believe if Bukkit was LGPL plugins would be considered dynamically linked, thus free to be licensed as the author pleases, including restrictive closed source licenses.

    Though, in practice this really doesn't matter much at all.
    Bukkit is hardly in a position to enforce the license as Bukkit itself is in clear violation of it because of the way CraftBukkit is implemented.
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    Notch has made no objections that I'm aware of about the way Bukkit has been licensed, and I think he's already spoken to the Bukkit devs about it. (Can anyone confirm?)
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    I was just reading that as I got curious. Took a few reads to fully understand it.
    If Bukkit was LGPL it would allow for commercially licensed plugins.

    However the LICENSE.txt file quite clearly states GPL.
    The confusion probably comes from CraftBukkit, which is LGPL.
    But Bukkit itself is GPL, which is the license that matters in this case.
    Still it probably would have been a lot clearer if license headers were included in the code.

    Yes, I believe there was some communication regarding this between Bukkit and Mojang. But I also can't confirm this 100%.
    Still 'having no objections' doesn't prevent him from changing his mind.
    Although unlikely, Notch is well within his legal rights to get Bukkit shut down in its current form.

    Essentially the Bukkit team tries to license Mojang's server code under LGPL, which the team has no legal right to do.
    Legally they're not even allowed to use the source code, let alone redistribute it under the terms of GPL.
    But as long as Mojang keeps turning a blind eye, it's all fine and dandy :)
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