is always important to make sure
that you give credit where credit is due. Whether it
is something as simple as the original
source, the tutorials listed here, someone's graphics, songs
(midi's converted) or music ripped from
another game, or even maps, credit should and must be given
to the original author. To do otherwise is theft!
like to say that something
we have created is our own work, when most of the time,
it really isn't. It might be that you have modified
something someone else did, but they still deserve credit for
the original work. To include a graphic, a piece of code, some song, or anything that is not
totally original, without giving credit to the original author, is just a problem waiting to
One of the members
of the Wolfenstein
community created a game which did have his own personal additions
like dual pistols, a rocket
launcher, and many other source code changes. He released
his game, and people loved
it. They loved it, and downloaded it so much that it
caught the attention of the people
at iD. When iD looked through the release, they found
many things that they didn't like.
This person had used most of iD's graphics, some of
the same songs, and in fact claimed much of iD's
intellectual property as their own. This made iD very
upset, and caused the CEO of iD software
to write the following e-mail:
at: <Site removed from Letter> and
the games entitled "Beyond Wolfenstein" and
"Beyond Wolfenstein 2" that are distributed from it
are real problems from a copyright and trademark
standpoint. You need to cease distribution of all iD content
from your site immediately unless you have a
specific license for redistribution of such material.
You also need to inform other sites which "mirror"
your files section to remove the files and cease
future downloads as soon as possible.
understand that you're a fan of the games, which is really
the only reason you're not getting a real nasty
letter from me or our lawyers right now. I think you
must be confused as to what is permitted with respect
to distribution of our property and specifically
the Wolf 3D engine. Succinctly, we have publicly
released the *source code* to Wolfenstein 3D. We have
not released any of the art or other game media.
Redistribution of such media is copyright infringement.
Using the "ID" logo and "Wolfenstein 3D", both of
which are registered trademarks, with such
redistribution constitutes trademark infringement. The
sounds that you are distributing also most likely
infringe on the copyrights of Bobby Prince, the creator
and owner of such sounds. These are all very serious
issues which can't be over looked just because you
aren't charging for the game or didn't intend anyone
Please contact me via return email
immediately and confirm that you will immediately cease distribution of "Beyond Wolfenstein",
2", and any other project that contains our
intellectual property and that you will instruct any site
that mirrors your files to also cease such
Please note that nothing herein shall
constitute a waiver of any potential remedy available to
ID Software, Inc., and as such, we reserve all
rights and remedies available to us at law or
iD Software, Inc.
I have removed all
beyond wolfenstein installation files, as well as the
web sites for each version. I'm sorry, but the BW
series is no longer available for legal download.
I REQUEST THAT ANYONE WHO HAS A COPY OF BW, BW2, or
BW2SE on their web space remove it immediately!
- Nate Smith
then prompted Areyep to write back to Todd Hollenshead for some additional clarification on
the subject. Here is the excerpt from that conversation:
1: Obviously the distribution of the original game files is an infringement of copyright,
and is akin to distribution of stolen goods. What I really need to know is iD's stance in relation
to stand alone total conversions that feature new weapons/sounds/graphics etc? The problem
here is that in order to make such an add on, nearly every file (exe, graphics files and sound
files) in the original game has to be altered.
reply: As long as it is truly a TOTAL conversion, then that is all covered by the GPL (the
source code license) and it's perfectly acceptable. The problem lies when people make a new
.exe and distribute some or all of the old iD files - that's basically the same thing as warezing
it. - tsh
2: It seems that iD shares a close relationship with the huge number of fans creating mods/total
conversions etc for newer games such as Doom, Quake etc. I've played many Doom/Quake/Quake2
mods/total conversions, many freely available off PC Gaming magazines, and made by devoted
fans. Most of them feature graphics/music etc from the original games, but all give due credit
to the fact that they are indeed utilizing the copyright property of iD software (or whoever
else depending on the game). Some have been "stand alone" games (or total conversions),
others have been simple add ons or levels, and some have been just plain weird! I'm hoping
there's no problem with people making similar things in relation to Wolfenstein. I'm hoping
you can clarify for me what is acceptable, and what is not.
reply: We encourage people to play with the Wolf3D engine, which is why John released it.
And we don't mind people making "add-ons" or new levels for the full registered version
of Wolf3D or Spear. My email to Nate was specific to what he was doing, which was not only
a violation of the End User License Agreement, but copyright infringement. As far as everyone
else, if they haven't received an email from me and they're not doing exactly what Nate was
doing then they're not in any trouble. - tsh
Many thanks to both AReyeP
(Steve) and Todd for this info.
plainly, you can see that iD does still care about this game, how it is being used (and the
intellectual property that it contains), and what WE are doing with it. It is therefor,
very important, that you read the GPL file (the software license) that is contained in the
original source code release. Make sure that you are following the license to the letter,
as it could be very damaging to you if you don't. After the problems Nayt had,
you can't use the excuse that 'I didn't know any better' (Well you can try, but I'm not sure
how far it will get you!).
in conclusion: Remember to give credit to those things that you include which are not yours. Again,
it's not just polite or courtesy, but rather 'It's the law'!