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Paint.Net license?


tristanj
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Hi,

Firstly let me say thank you for the great work you guys have done with paint.net. :)

Anyway, I'm a bit confused by the license that you use.

Is someone allowed to take the source code of paint.net, make changes, and then sell the resulting version?

The license says "The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software." Does this mean that derived versions must also be released under the (MIT) license that paint.net uses?

Or does it just mean that one must merely attribute the original authors, perhaps in an about box, and that no other requirements are made on the derived version itself?

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Hey Rick,

Seeing a lawyer about this kind of thing is always a good idea. I'm not asking for legal advice, merely about the intent of the licence. I should mention that I don't live in the US, and naturally laws differ.

My understanding is that the MIT license has "No limits on rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and / or sell copies of the software". I was hoping to get some confirmation of this from the people who are, by default, the copyright owners of the software. :)

Do you allow for derived commercial versions to be made, or not?

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tristanj, what type of derivation are you planning on?

What you want to do may be permissible, but it may also be a bad idea. Without more information I can't give a good recommendeation.

Also I must reiterate the recommendation that you consult a lawyer, especially because you are in a different country. I am not a lawyer, and I'm especially not a lawyer outside of the United States, so I can't make a solid recommendation in the first place.

The Paint.NET Blog: https://blog.getpaint.net/

Donations are always appreciated! https://www.getpaint.net/donate.html

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Rick,

Do you mean a bad idea in terms of software engineering?

I'd like - this is just brainstorming as I'm very busy as it is - to change some of the key assignments, make modifications to the layers, give it a flashier name, maybe simplifying some aspects and adding more web-images type functionality.

I do understand that you may prefer people not to 'take' your work, even if it may be legally possible. Please think of this as a polite query :)

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I meant a "bad idea" in terms of business (more on this below). And I am treating this as a 'polite' query -- don't worry about that, we're all gentlemen (or women) here, for the most part.

What you are proposing is what I would call a basic derivative work. It would still basically be Paint.NET but with some minor changes on your part. This is not what our license is intended to permit, and might not be legally permitted either. When we had some discussions with lawyers awhile back, the topic of derivative works of this nature came up and I was lead to believe that they are not permissible under our license.

Our license is primarily intended to allow students and professional developers to learn and borrow from the code without a GPL-type "firewall" that ambiguously prevents commercial use.

There are reasons why this would be a bad idea, even if it were legally permitted, and they are related to servicing and business:

(1) Paint.NET has an updater feature which does not make the distinction between "Paint.NET distributed by Rick et. al." and "Paint.NET with or without modifications distributed by John Doe." Thus, if you make "tristanj's Super Painting App" (a derivative of Paint.NET v2.5) and start distributing and maybe selling it, eventually your users will get upgraded back over to "our" Paint.NET v2.6. They will lose any functionality or changes you made that are not also in the newer, official release of Paint.NET. Or, if you change the code to point to your own web server with your own update manifest, you'll have to figure out how to do the update servicing yourself. Or you could disable the updater functionality, but then you'd have no way to update your users.

(2) We don't want to be responsible for your bugs, and we don't want you to have to be responsible for our bugs (yes, Paint.NET has bugs!). We don't want users of your derivative work to e-mail us with bugs, suggestions, feedback, etc. We also don't want them to confuse Paint.NET with your derivative work, or vice versa. Users get confused, and fingers get pointed and people get emotional. It's just not a good place to be.

(3) This is the biggest reason why it's a bad idea: we don't want to lead people into believing that there is a business relationship between you and us (the Paint.NET Team, Microsoft, Washington State University). We don't want to lead people into believing that we work for you, or vice versa.

The Paint.NET Blog: https://blog.getpaint.net/

Donations are always appreciated! https://www.getpaint.net/donate.html

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I too would like to know more about this and the issues you pointed out.

If point number (1) Updater, was resolved due to us changing the updation method and server...with no traces of your update server then is it ok?

Same question for point number (2)

If we were to remove traces of your support forum, or support email or contact email so you dont get any bug emails or any other email, does this resolve the issue?

thanks

SP1K

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(1), (2) and (3) are simply reasons why it's a bad idea. If resolved in the way you suggest, they still do not resolve the main issue:

What you are proposing is what I would call a basic derivative work. It would still basically be Paint.NET but with some minor changes on your part. This is not what our license is intended to permit, and might not be legally permitted either. When we had some discussions with lawyers awhile back, the topic of derivative works of this nature came up and I was lead to believe that they are not permissible under our license.

The Paint.NET Blog: https://blog.getpaint.net/

Donations are always appreciated! https://www.getpaint.net/donate.html

forumSig_bmwE60.jpg

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Part of the license states that you may sell this, with no restriction except you must basically keep it open source. Meaning the point of selling the program would soon be obsolete, because copying it and giving it to someone else is NOT piracy in the case of this license. The amount of money generated would soon be very small. Perhaps even negative.

~~

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