Wednesday, January 19, 2005

(Don't) MakeHuman?

MakeHuman is a nifty little project. It's basically a human mesh that's automagically deformable based on a set of targets. Considering how hard it is to create a believable human mesh when your software budget is... oh... nothing it's a fantastic way to develop hi-res or low-poly figures

One really interesting discussion isn't about the tool itself, however, but its licensing. Reading through the forum threads, content creators and developers have been trying to sort through what MakeHuman's GPL license means to content created by the tool. The developers seem to have intended content created by MakeHuman to not have an inferred license, but instead be usable by whomever. But the Free Software Foundation seems to think otherwise.

>> THE QUESTION IS:
>> The output of MakeHuman (models, images) must be forced GPL'd?

Yes.


This is an interesting contrast to Blender itself, which states:

So I own the copyright to all output?

In almost every circumstance for blender, only the code and other GPL'd files themselves are covered. Any output of such material is copyright the person who produced the output, in this case, the artist.


It seems that the difference is with how MakeHuman defines the mesh you're working with. Targets are modifications on top of a base mesh, both of which are GPL'd. And since both are GPL'd, changes to the targets and base mesh are also GPL'd. If it had all been done in code, I would imagine the resulting mesh would not be GPL'd.

I can understand now why commercial software vendors are scared of touching open source software. It gives me the willies to just post these legal mumblings to a blog nobody will even read. The thought of being sued is too harsh for any small business or independent developer to consider. GPL can be weird... usually free software "acts" like commercial software, but in instances like this it doesn't. For example, you'd expect to be able to use meshes created with Poser in whatever darn way you like, but with a license that extends onto derivative works it's not so clear cut.

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