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Open Source in Unity Engine

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by BPR, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. BPR

    BPR

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2013
    Posts:
    40
    Hi,

    we are currently in a discussion with one of our (corporate) clients regarding Open Source Licensing.
    My question is when I download Unity and build an empty project for plattforms like PC, iOS or Android, am I legally obliged to include any additional Open Source Licenese Files or even an Copyright View in my application?
    My understanding is that Unity obtained commerical licenses to products that are also available as open source (like Mono) and allows us developers to work with these (non-open source) licenses under the Free, Premium and Pro Unity Subscriptions.

    Would be nice to hear the feedback of the Unity officials to bring some clarity to this case.

    Kind regards,
    BPR
     
  2. sxa

    sxa

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    I think you're maybe misunderstanding open source. It doesnt matter if Unity, as an application, includes anything which is open source, it only matters if your project contains anything which is open source.

    And it also depends on which open source licenses are involved.
    Mono, which ceased being shipped with Unity some time ago, btw, was licensed under the MIT License, for example, so even if its runtime libraries were still being shipped with your application, that is freely permitted under the MIT license, without any requirement on the part of the Unity user.
    OTOH, if there were any GPL'd code anywhere in Unity, UT would have to have released all the source code for the entirety of the Unity application under the GPL, as would every end-user using any of that code.

    If Unity had any intrinsic open source requirements which were being passed on to Unity end-users, everyone would know all about it already, to the point where UT would probably have been under significant pressure to remove those bits of code.
     
    Amon and xVergilx like this.
  3. BPR

    BPR

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    Hi sxa,

    thanks for your answer.
    I am aware of the difference between Open Source in Editor and in Project, that is why I am asking for the case of an empty deployed project.
    Sure from a pure logical point of view it makes sense, that if such a requirement existed all users would be aware of, but its not a convincing argument for our customer who is not into game development or Unity.
    Well as far as I know XCode projects did not have any Copyright texts for Mono back in the day and I remember about a legal wrangle in which Unity obtained the rights for Mono Code at a certain point but only for that revision which led to the Unity Mono version being outdated pretty soon.
    Yeah and I see how most users would be legally fine by having some License txts in their deployed project, however in strict enterprise environments you sometime have to explicitly list all your Open Source stuff in a in-game view to be extra sure.
    So my question is rather how Unity handles Open Source parts in the deployed projects in general. Did they buy all the rights and there is nothing to consider when revealing all Open Source components of a project. Or are there some Open Source parts which are honored in some form, maybe there is even a list for each deployment platform?

    Kind regards,
    BPR
     
  4. GoesTo11

    GoesTo11

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    This is an odd question. What is an empty deployed project? You cannot build an empty project and even if you could, it would be rather useless.

    I am also confused by the focus on open source. Open source licensing is pretty clear these days. It is much more likely that Unity would run afoul of the licensing of one of their middleware providers than any open source code that may be in Unity.

    If this really is such a big issue for you and your client, no answer on a forum is going to satisfy it. You will need to contact Unity directly and ask them to provide assurance to you that they are compliant with all of the third party code that they are using. However, considering how many Unity projects are published without a hint of any copyright or licensing issues, I don't see why this is that big of an issue.
     
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  5. sxa

    sxa

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    Well, that's the thing. If there was a requirement that users had to meet, users would have to meet it. Otherwise they'd be in breach of the license. And if Unity were foisting that requirement on their users, then it have to be made explicit and documented.
    In this case, the absence of any such requirement is a compelling argument for the non-existence of the requirement, unless you're willing to believe that Unity are in breach of their licensing terms, and also foisting that noncompliance on their users.