Licensing for art assets

When I get back to my desk on Monday, one of the tasks before me is to release the source for my games… Which brings up a question :

What license makes the most sense for art assets (sprites and various graphics) to be released under — when the game source code is GPL licensed?

I have some thoughts on the matter but I would love to hear what all of you think.

Just use the GPL? A variation on Creative Commons? Something else? All feedback welcomed!

Two totally unrelated notes:

1) Looks like I’ll be writing for Network World, on a regular basis, starting in July. All about Open Source. We’ll be calling it “The Linux Tycoon” or something else goofy like that. :)

2) Monthly recurring donations are down a tad. Which kinda makes sense to me [not a lot of excitement or visible activity over the last week or so]. Some new contributors signed on, while a few others dropped off. Dipped just below where it should be [I'll fix the progress bars when I get home so everyone can follow along a bit better]. I wouldn’t object to a little help in spreading the word. :)

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  • http://jasonwoof.com/ Jason Woofenden

    I think what makes the most sense for art assets in games is to make them available under both the GPL and CC-BY-SA. When working with code, it’s tidy to have the art and code under the same license, but GPL is odd for data files, so CC-BY-SA covers other use of the game art nicely.

    The art produced in the Liberated Pixel Cup (game art competition) must be GPL and CC-BY-SA. http://lpc.opengameart.org/

  • http://blenderboot.com PaperJon

    First of all Monday oh no your going to be missing another Linux Action Show, its not the same without you, a lot of people going to be disappointed there. I think a variation of the creative commons would be best, just make its so people need to credit you, as you deserve credit if others use your art.
    About the unrelated notes.

    1. Cool news look forward to checking out your articles.

    2. I want to donate money but it is really hard for me to justify it when you told us ISC 5 would be out on the 6th June and we are still waiting for it. I don’t have a great deal of money but yours is a project I want to donate to. I have even suggested in comments before that you should let us know how we can help move the projects forwards. Problem is due to the Lunduke SDK wiki being empty and no news on ISC 5 and Linux Tycoon for android etc, it can seem to us outsiders little work has been done, when I am sure you have done some. Now your open source you, you should also be more open on development, what you are working on and when.

  • Marco

    GPL and LGPL are good when you have to modify source code or to link source code.
    But with assets you’re not modifying the code, you modify the bits of a texture or a sound etc… and you’re not linking anything.
    Also it creates confusion to developers that maybe want to use other open licenses.
    I think the best is: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
    That is the one used by the Blender Foundation for the game Yo! Frankie and all their DVDs.
    The game is licensed under either the GNU GPL or LGPL, with all content being licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

  • Calvin

    I expected the donations to drop off a little after the initial push but i think most of us will be sticking with you for a while yet; you’ve got at least six months to prove yourself before i even consider firing you… :)

    I think if you make a nice system for voting and collaborating on the things you’re working on as you talked about then the interest in your ‘experiment’ will continue to drive it forward and grow. Rather than simply letting us vote on if you’re working on Tycoon or ISC how about setting up a ‘petition’ type feature where we can add feature requests, vote on them and debate improvements and suggestions?

    maybe you could ‘appraise’ them for feasibility and tag them with a estimated implementation time, etc? that way we should get to see a steady stream of ‘work done’ and it’ll seem more like we’re getting value for our money… plus of course it might incline people to donate sizeable amounts specifically so they can vote on individual features and requirements.

    check out blenderstorm.org if you’ve never seen it, it’s a similar thing for the Blender community.

  • Peter

    CC-BY-SA is your best choice. If you want to be more permissive, CC-BY works nicely, and if you don’t want people making dosh off of modifications of your artistic works CC-BY-NC-SA is also good.

  • http://www.sunilkchopra.com/honeymoon Sunil K Chopra

    I license my art as CC-BY-SA:

    http://www.sunilkchopra.com/honeymoon

    Please enjoy :)

  • Javier

    CC-BY-SA 3.0, It’s like GPL for Artwork. :D My vote’s for it!
    Releasing the art asserts for 2299: The Game is the same as releasing 2299: The Comic under the same License, which would be awesome! To keep the comic out of CC, which hardly makes any sense to me, you’d need not to use ShareAlike. If I am wrong, community, please correct me.
    Using dual licensing, as Jason said, would be a good idea.

  • crshbndct

    The artwork and assets are not really required to be under gpl for a program to be considered free are they?

  • http://open-source-donations.blogspot.be/ Daan

    CC-BY-SA 3.0 is the best choice imo

    I can’t subscribe for donations but I’ll donate manually every month. Unless you could add Flattr??

  • http://jasonwoof.com/ Jason Woofenden

    +1 on adding a flattr button.