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Take Note

It 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!

We 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 happen.  

Case in point:

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:


Your site 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.

I 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 harm, etc.

Please contact me via return email immediately and confirm that you will immediately cease distribution of "Beyond Wolfenstein", "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 distribution.

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 otherwise.


Todd Hollenshead
iD Software, Inc.

Nayt Replied:

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! Thanks,

- Nate Smith

That then prompted Areyep to write back to Todd Hollenshead for some additional clarification on the subject.  Here is the excerpt from that conversation:

Question 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.

Todd's 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 

Question 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.

Todd's 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.

So 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!).

So 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'!

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