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EULA and Third Party Licenses Questions

Hello,

I have some questions regarding licensing that I was wondering if someone might be able to help me with. Right now I’m working on a personal project that will be able to be downloaded for free, but I thought it would be neat if people were able to download and play the game while I’m working on it. It’s still in the very beginning stages of the game, but it’s ready enough that people can start playing it. So I was going to post it on a few forums and let people start playing it.

Notifying Epic - This is where the first question comes in. I wasn’t sure what needed to be done in regard to notifying Epic about the game because the game isn’t actually finished, which is what the form in the beginning paragraph found here: https://www.unrealengine.com/release sounds like it’s for, but I am still releasing it to the public, which is what the form is also partially for. Eventually I would like to put the game on Patreon.com, just as a way that people could donate to the project if they want to, but that would be a while down the road when the project is in a more finished state. So I didn’t know if that would be a more appropriate time to fill out the form since I might be making money from it.

Unreal Engine EULA - The next question was that I just wanted to make sure that the only license from Epic that needs to be agreed upon by the player is the word document found at the first bullet point here: https://www.unrealengine.com/release.

Third Party Licenses - Third question is in regard to the Third Party License folder. I was wondering if someone already knows if any of the third party licenses talked about in section 10 of Epic’s UELA, and found at /Engine/Source/ThirdParty/Licenses in the Engine folder, need to transfer over to the player, or if I need to give attribution for any of them in the credits. I can read through all of them, but before I spend the time, I just thought I would find out if anyone knows already. If there are any, this is also a little bit of a feature request as well for there to be some kind of text file in the license folder that says which licenses need attribution in the credits or need to be agreed upon by the player. I was just thinking that for Indie developers, looking through 183 licenses is a bit of a large task, and it would really help if there was some kind of notification that just stated which licenses need to be included with the game, or if there aren’t any that need attribution in the credits, to have a notification that says none of the licenses need attribution or need to be agreed upon by the player.

Licenses Changing - I was also wondering if anyone knows how often the licenses change that are in there. Do I need to read through all of them each time a new engine version is released and see if any of them have changed?

Merged Software - I also had a question about the licenses that talk about the software being merged with another piece of software. Just as an example, the OpenGL4.1 License says that if the software is merged with another piece of software, like when it becomes a part of a game in the cooking process, the OpenGL license needs to accompany the merged software, or game. Is my thinking on this correct that it will need to accompany the game, or is there something I don’t know about with the way it's included in the game or about the license? There are some others that say this as well.

Version Licenses - Also, the AndroidOpenSourceLicense says that the license needs to go along with any derivative works, but I was wondering, if I don’t do an android version of the game, does this license still need to accompany the game since it’s part of the Unreal Engine? Is there any way of knowing which licenses actually go along with each redistributing version, like PC, Mac, Linux, etc., and would there be some way that Epic could create a folder structure in there that had the licenses pertaining to each redistribution package in a separate folder, just to mitigate some of the confusion?

Game Jam - One last thing, and I hesitate to bring it up because I don’t mean to point fingers or anything like that, but I had noticed that the game jam games don’t seem to require any of these licenses to play them. I was just wondering if there is something special about work in progress games that maybe they don’t need the licenses yet.

Thanks in advance to anyone willing to help with these questions; for an Indie developer, that whole folder seems to be a bit of a licensing minefield. :)

Product Version: UE 4.14
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asked Nov 20 '16 at 06:14 PM in Legal & Licensing

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ArtOfLight
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1 answer: sort voted first

You've asked quite a lot of insightful questions, so let's dig in.

  • Re: releasing a game in progress, I'm assuming this will be a playable executable rather than having people access the code itself. If it's the code, you can do that through the UnrealEngine GitHub network. If it's the executable, you can distribute that like a regular game.

  • Re: notifying Epic, I'd say your obligation to notify is when the game is released to the public in a way that it can generate royalty-bearing revenue (rather than just a test build), and/or when it gets it's first real release.

  • Re: Patreon, that revenue is not subject to royalty if it's a real donation, i.e., it's not tied to game access or in-game benefit.

  • Re: your game's EULA, you're correct that Epic only requires the language you pointed to from the release page. That can be inserted into your EULA.

  • Re: third party software licenses, your feedback is received. I think we are looking for ways in the future to reduce this burden. That said, I need to be a little careful there too because, from a legal standpoint, this license is between you and the third party software licensor rather than with Epic. So I can't be your lawyer to tell you what you need to do with that software. This is a topic perhaps a non-Epic person might weigh in on to provide guidance. But you are welcome to look at other Epic products for your platform(s) of choice to see what our third party software notices look like.

  • Re: changes to the third party software licenses, yes they do change. When you have a real release, you should look at the licenses for the engine version you are using.

  • Re: software merging, I'm not sure what you mean. What is the OpenGL 4.1 license? A quick internet search did not make this readily apparent. Your question kind of sounds like asking about viral or copyleft licenses where that software license applies to a larger program when they are combined. Viral license are not compatible with UE4 use.

  • Re: the Android license, if you're not developing for Android, you wouldn't be using that software.

  • Re: Game Jams, I think you're saying that as a matter of practice game jam developers don't generally provide notice regarding third party software they're using. As a lawyer who works in the game industry, I can say with confidence that finding a developer who actually complies with his/her third party software license obligations are few and far between. As a practical matter, the licensors who license open source software usually aren't the type to vigorously police their licenses.

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answered Nov 20 '16 at 06:58 PM

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atypic STAFF
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avatar image ArtOfLight Nov 21 '16 at 05:02 PM

(Just as a note, I had to break this up into two comments because I ran out of characters that I could use)

Thanks so much for your quick response; I didn’t know if anyone would be around on a Sunday. :) Thanks for your answers as well. It’s really helped to clear a lot of the things up. In response to some of the things you said:

Yes, it will just be an executable file, but that’s interesting to find out multiple people can work on a project through GitHub. Thanks for sharing that.

For the form, I’m glad to find that out. I’ll fill it out when the game is ready for a real release. Thanks for the clarification about Patreon as well.

About the EULA, that sounds good, I’ll just put that language from the release page as part of my own EULA.

Third Part Licenses - I figured there probably were other legal issues that go along with it, but thanks for even being willing to look into it. It really can get complex. I think even just having a section that mentions which third party licenses are used in each platform would really help because, as a user, I don’t have any idea which licenses are used where in the engine and if they might pertain to my game. That’s a great idea looking at some of Epic’s licenses as well. I will probably still try to skim the Third Party Licenses in that folder still, but it will help to know I should at least have most of the bases covered by looking at some of Epic’s licenses. That’s good to know that they change as well.

avatar image atypic STAFF Nov 21 '16 at 05:09 PM

We are working on something, but I don't have a time table (regarding assisting in determining which third party software you might be using).

avatar image ArtOfLight Nov 21 '16 at 05:03 PM

With the OpenGl license, it was the OpenGl 4.1 license in the Third Party Licenses folder of the main Engine directory. Just to give what it says:

Blockquote

“Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and/or associated documentation files (the ìMaterialsî), to deal in the Materials without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Materials, and to permit persons to whom the Materials are furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Materials.”

Blockquote

Not being very much of a programmer, I didn't really know what it might mean by merged and distributed. Whether it's talking about distributing it by itself or distributed as part of a larger program, like it would be with the Unreal Engine. I guess in the end the real question is that, if the OpenGL code is being used somewhere inside of the Unreal Engine, would the player need to be notified of the license since it’s being used, distributed, and kind of merged with the game as a whole, since it’s part of the game’s engine? Or does it not matter since the actual code isn't being distributed, just the executable file that has the code inside of it. Or maybe it's talking about something else entirely. Any help with this would really be appreciated.

Game Jams - Thanks for the clarification on this, that’s an interesting thing to hear. I had wondered if there was something special about when a game isn’t actually finished or if it just gets ignored since they are usually such small games.

Thanks again!

John

avatar image atypic STAFF Nov 21 '16 at 05:11 PM

Ok, for OpenGL, that's the MIT license (or a variation of it). It's one of the most permissive open source licenses there are. I think "merge" there only means combine. Basically you can do whatever you want to, even sublicense it, but they want you to keep their license in your source code files at least.

avatar image ArtOfLight Nov 21 '16 at 08:11 PM

Ah, I see, that makes sense. Thanks for all the help and all your work there at Epic! I really appreciate it.

avatar image llll Sabre llll Oct 16 '18 at 04:02 PM

Regarding the Third-party licenses that the engine uses and writing a EULA... is there any news in this area? I am trying to write my own EULA for my first "test" game at the moment. (It's Android only) Do I need to work out whether Android software like Gradle and so on require me to add them to a EULA?

I am currently using the Match 3 example as a guideline and the section provided elsewhere by Epic called "Disclaimers and Limitation of Liability".

Thanks, Sabre.

avatar image SonsOfKorhal STAFF Oct 16 '18 at 06:24 PM

Hi Sabre, we have developed a script that allows you to identify what third party software from the engine is actually compiled into your game. You can find out more about that here: https://answers.unrealengine.com/questions/582448/third-party-ue-components-in-our-final-product.html

As for specific obligations with respect to the TPS included, legally speaking we aren't in a position to be able to provide advice on what you can or must do. As atypic notes in this thread, that relationship is technically between you and the third party software provider, and we aren't able to provide legal advice relating to it.

avatar image llll Sabre llll Oct 18 '18 at 02:50 PM

Hi SonsOfKorhal,

thanks for the quick response! I shall look into this procedure; but may I ask if the following should be adequate in this case? (It's a small blueprint-only, android-only "test" game project).

Having searched for all ".tps" files in my entire project folder I find very few. (I have no idea if this is a valid way of determining what was "used" during a build though of course)!

Results: 1 - AndroidOpenSourceProject.tps 2 - Gradle.tps 3 - Droid, Noto, Roboto and LastResort.tps (fonts)

  1. Following the redirect in the TPS file it takes me to another TPS which says the EULA is: http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

  2. Gradle's TPS file links to: https://github.com/gradle/gradle/blob/master/LICENSE --- This links to apache again.

  3. Given that the fonts come with the engine, aren't these covered by Epic's licence?

It looks like I just need to cover Apache (for Gradle and Android). I do plan to use new fonts when I release, but just in case, it would be good to know if these need to be covered.

I understand that I cannot take your responses as legal advice, but I appreciate any guidance you can give me.

Thanks, Sabre.

avatar image SonsOfKorhal STAFF Oct 18 '18 at 03:17 PM

As for the fonts, if there is a .tps file, it means it's subject to a third party license. You should be able to find the path or link to the license in the .tps file. Many fonts are licensed under permissive open source terms (e.g., MIT, Apache 2.0).

avatar image llll Sabre llll Oct 18 '18 at 05:42 PM

Something I've just noticed is that if I read the instructions in the appendix at the bottom of the page here: http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

...and then look at the Unreal Match 3 EULA: https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/html5/unreal-match-3-unreal-engine-4-eula-android

...it doesn't appear as if Epic have followed those instructions, the entire Apache EULA seems to have been copied and pasted, rather than just the grey box at the bottom, and the square-bracketed sections that need to be edited - haven't been. I'm just pointing this out in case someone at Epic needs to fix this.

Sabre.

avatar image SonsOfKorhal STAFF Oct 19 '18 at 01:39 PM

Good catch! It's okay that the template ("grey box") remains as is at the bottom of the license text, but you're right, the notice should have the Android Open Source Project copyright line. We'll fix.

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