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Questions about Unity License Mixing

Discussion in 'Editor & General Support' started by mosaic_school, May 4, 2019.

  1. mosaic_school

    mosaic_school

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    Hi there,

    Now that the Linux Editor is officially in preview since 2019.1, I'm considering upgrading from the free to the plus license. However, I have some concerns you guys might be able to diffuse:

    I'm working with a friend on a prototype together. Would me upgrading to plus require him (and any other collaborator) to also have a plus subscription? If so I'd rather also stay on free.

    If not, how are things which differ handled. Let's say I (accidentally) remove the splash screen which is not possible on the free tier. Would a Editor registered with the free license just undo that or could anything break?

    Best,
    Michael
     
  2. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    If you build on free the splash will be included, I however think it's not ok. But, I have seen both asset vendor, free and plus licences from asset store assets in the assets we use and it works and haven't heard from unity that they don't approve. Also I have had work done from freelancers that might have or not have plus. But they don't get full access to the source. But the meta files they create sometimes end up in our project and they are sometimes marked as free.
     
  3. mosaic_school

    mosaic_school

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    Hey, thanks for the reply!

    The situation is pretty much this: The project is (still) eligible for the free license. Hence it would be stupid that I upgrade to plus if that would force all other collaborators to do the same. Be it for licensing or technical limitations.

    Just to be clear: We don't plan to use any plus/pro features in the project. At least not while any core developer is on a free license. However, I would very much prefer to have the plus licence active on my side. If only for the dark skin. Otherwise, there'd be no reason to spend money. =)

    You had a good point regarding assets from freelancers or the asset store being marked as created/edited with free license. However, that shouldn't be a problem since core engine features are the same for free and pro, right? Or are there any licensing violations I'm missing?


    Best,
    Michael
     
  4. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    I haven't read the license in a while, I think it states you are not allowed to mix licenses on a project (it's up to interpretation if that includes bought assets and freelance work).

    But maybe someone that's more up to date on the license will answer
     
  5. mosaic_school

    mosaic_school

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    Thanks again. I think the relevant parts are under No Mixing or Co-mingling listed here: https://unity3d.com/legal/terms-of-service/software

    I might understand it wrong but pretty much sounds like I cannot upgrade alone. Sad but I guess if Unity makes it impossible / really hard to upgrade my license voluntarily, I won't. :-/
     
  6. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    I think it's been updated to be more restricted, pretty interesting since alot of asset vendors commit work under free and not the special asset store vendor license.
     
  7. mosaic_school

    mosaic_school

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    TBH, I'm still a bit doubtful. If my understanding is correct, it pretty much sounds like a minefield without any warning signs.

    E.g. you download / buy an asset and need to make sure everything was created/edited by the same Unity License Tier? For that you need to check all .meta files for license flags manually since Unity doesn't provide any warnings.

    I'm starting to understand what Godot Engine advocates really mean with no licensing troubles. :-(
     
  8. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    Asset store publishers aren't contributors in your project. Unless you hire them to do so.

    In your organization, in your own project, you can't have paid and not paid licenses. If you don't want to subscribe because your team mates don't want to subscribe then don't subscribe (if your project still eligible of course). If you subscribe, but your team mates don't, use a separate license (free) to touch the project and you can use the subscription when you're working on your stuff. I believe you can initiate what license will be active from command line even, but check this out before you rely on it because I'm not sure.

    If it suits you more, then go for it. Licensing is legal matter, Godot is not a for-profit project. So they can afford not having this "trouble".
     
  9. mosaic_school

    mosaic_school

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    You might be right, but I don't see the difference made in the terms of service. At least not clearly.
    How do you differentiate both exactly? For both you either pay (via a freelance contract or a store purchase) or you receive it for free (store or another way). In our case it's basically free since atm we are not (yet) selling anything and don't pay each other. Is it that you must offer the assets/scripts (free or for money) to other projects as well? Or can the acquisition only be done through the Unity Asset Store? The latter would mean I can't use anything from Github or else which was created using a different license, right?

    Which was exactly my point. Unity is a business, I want to pay / spent money but they'd rather not take it?
    What would make sense to me is that all employees in a company need to use at least the license for the tier required by the revenue. Not sure what would be a reasonable rule for freelance work since you could always claim you received the assets/scripts for free and paid for support or anything else.

    No question, it is and should be a 100% Unity's decision what the requirements are. I just don't understand what those are exactly. Hence why I posted here asking.
    Again, I personally want to spend money but at the same time want to be sure it doesn't involve legal or technical troubles.

    In any case it would be super helpful if Unity shows an warning/error dialog importing the assets the don't match the license if that's a violation. Otherwise, it's pretty much a "we don't allow it but _usually_ don't prosecute it".
     
  10. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    No.

    When you buy something from the Asset Store, you buy an asset. You do not hire someone to do work for you. In theory you can ask your friends to submit relevant stuff to the Asset Store and circumvent the regulation this way, but Asset Store is a managed store, your friends won't be able to submit anything specific. If it's general and good enough to use by others, then go for it. I doubt it can be done. Asset Store publishers aren't hired by you, you buy a product. You don't even buy support if you read the EULA carefully.

    The github is a gray area, if you lie about it and your friends maintain a separate project with only the relevant parts, it can be done if you really want. The question is, are you wiling to lie for it? Is it worth it? Really?
    Your friends can work independently, not opening your (the main) project at all. So they can contribute general parts for the software, for example through github. It's up to you. But as soon as they are working on the same project as you're, it's not allowed. It's not that hard to grasp.

    Also: I'm not a lawyer and this is not a legal advice, it's only my opinion. If you want legal advice, take the EULA to a lawyer.

    This is BS. They will take it. They also want to avoid the case when some cheap teams open a project, one buys the Plus one, they develop the game and then the one with the Plus subscription build it without the splash screen and such. You're trying to do something similar.
    Also this is true for the Pro subscription too. It is for avoiding that a 10 men studio buy one software for build, the others using the personal edition. If you have better idea how to avoid the scenario, feel free to communicate it to Unity, they may adopt it.

    You're wrong, they are usually prosecuting the license mismatch.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  11. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    @mosaic_school has said they specifically aren't trying to do something similar. They want the dark skin and are willing to pay for it, but don't want to do so if it will cause licensing obligations for the rest of their team. Taken at face value, that's a perfectly reasonable concern.

    I'm sure that in forum and/or blog posts Unity staff have specifically clarified that Asset Store stuff is not counted, as those people are not a part of your team.

    It hasn't impacted my own work for a while, but back when it (potentially) did I commonly asked questions about this stuff, and to my memory some staff said they'd look into it and get back to us, but the most that actually happened was a couple of specific edge case questions being answered.

    I understand and appreciate what they're trying to do, but I don't find their license as it is written to be particularly practical in any case that's even slightly complicated. The only advice I can give is to email them with your specific circumstances and ask. At the very least this should get you a concrete answer in writing, which is what I would want in case things are interpreted differently in the future. Until you get a concrete answer, I'd be keeping my money and not potentially complicating license things for your project.

    For what it's worth, I used to keep different license files for different projects. I found and made copies of the file for each license (Pro ones for working for other people, a Personal one for my own stuff), and renamed them so the right one was used as I switched projects.
     
  12. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    Okay, sorry, now I have read back my sentence, it can be interpreted that way, I wasn't trying to imply that they want to cheap out and deliberately buy one license and publish with it.
    I was trying to referring to the fact that although the intent is different, the situation is the same: there is a group of people who are working on one project and only one has the Plus subscription.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  13. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    Don’t get plus. You’ll have to switch licenses back and forth (so you open the project with personal), but doing that makes you look suspicious to Unity and you open yourself to being accused by Unity of breaking the licensing terms.

    Maybe it was a one time thing done by a few bad apples, but a while ago there were multiple bogus accusations made by Unity to a bunch of Unity users.

    The lack of a splash screen isn’t worth it.
     
  14. mosaic_school

    mosaic_school

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    I actually don't care about the splash screen. I was just mentioning it as an example if an accidental different setting would case technical problems. Of course making a build without one for a project which has "contributors" with free licences (however that is exactly defined but I would certainly see us as such) would be cheating.

    Unfortunately, Your tagline seems to be right of course: The dark skin isn't worth the troubles. :-/

    Thanks for clarifying this. That's pretty much what it is. My idea was to get the plus license to
    a) Shows my gratitude that the Linux Editor was evaluated to Preview from Experimental
    b) Have the Dark Skin
    but I had legal / technical concerns which sadly this tread seems to confirm.

    Actually was looking the the support page which suggests forum post ( https://unity3d.com/learn/support ). My hope was that a Unity official would answer an clarify things for good and along the way the knowledge gets spread. Maybe at some point somebody will but I'll follow your advice and create a support ticket.

    That actually sounds like a more feasible solution because I certainly wouldn't want to manually to re-enter my credentials every-time I switch projects. However, I'd very much prefer if Unity just makes the license (and company association) a per project thing. Just the chance of accidentally forgetting to switch the license sounds scary.
     
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  15. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Generally I'd agree that this is exactly what you should do. For technical stuff there's often someone in the community who has an answer. For the legal stuff all we can do is guess, you need an answer from Unity themselves.
    Do give it a trial run with your Personal license first. I did it on Windows, and it might have been as far back as Unity 5 days. Things may have changed since then.
     
    mosaic_school likes this.
  16. superpig

    superpig

    Quis aedificabit ipsos aedificatores? Unity Technologies

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    The spirit of the license is simply this: Everyone on a project should be on the same license.

    This gets a bit messy if you ask what "on a project" means, and you'd need to contact Legal for a full breakdown, but most of the time it should be pretty clear what is meant. For example, this doesn't affect asset store vendors because they're not "on your project," you're including their content but they're not working with you like a team member.

    And yes, this does mean that if you're a team all using Personal edition, then in some cases we are actually discouraging you from paying us money. It's cool that you want to "show your gratitude" for the Linux Editor but TBH the best way to do that is to take the money you would have spent on the Plus license and invest it in using the Linux Editor to make a kickass game instead. :)
     
  17. mosaic_school

    mosaic_school

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    Thanks for the kind and informative words!

    TBH it still feels a bit strange but it's probably a sacrifice to keep the tag line simple ("Everyone on a project should be on the same license").

    I guess I'll stay on the Free then and get back to game development (using the Unity Linux Editor). Best case we make enough money eventually that everyone on the team has to upgrade and I get my dark skin as a bonus. :)
     
  18. superpig

    superpig

    Quis aedificabit ipsos aedificatores? Unity Technologies

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    That's pretty much our cunning master plan, yes - we would rather see you become a team of 20 Pro licenses later, than 1 Plus license now ;)
     
  19. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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  20. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    It also gets messy if you've got people working on multiple projects across multiple teams, or if you do contracting work, or in plenty of other not-so-uncommon cases. The spirit of the license would be a lot more practical if Hub (or something) included a tool for the license switching I described, and if on project import it told you if you were using an incompatible license to help people avoid accidents.

    If someone is working on one project that becomes successful enough to need Plus/Pro that shouldn't "infect" other projects they may be working on with other people. If one person has to upgrade, does that mean that anyone else who is "on a project" with them also has to upgrade, even if those other projects don't require it?

    Basically, license purchasing should be per person*, but license selection should be per-project.

    * Taking account of organisations as well.
     
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  21. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    So much this. I tend to always try and stick to the spirit of the license. If the main person/business/earner who owns the project making more money then the threshold? If the answer is yes, I make sure an upgraded license is used. If the answer is no, then I really don't care what license is used.

    I know this is technically against the license terms. But its honestly not worth the hassle of getting your license downgraded just so you can participate in a game jam with friends on the weekend.

    On that note, the editor doesn't actually care if you mix licenses in a project. And you can change or remove the license tags in meta files via version control if needed. This is all a legal and financial issue, not one that actually gets in the way of development.
     
  22. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Indeed, and my hunch is that things would be enforced somewhat per the system you described - as long as you're not using a higher license to get stuff that the rest of a team isn't paying for, who really cares?

    It's just if you're trying to do stuff by the book that it becomes a pain. Like when I used to work remotely for an organisation who provided me with a license, but I also did my own projects under a different license.
     
  23. superpig

    superpig

    Quis aedificabit ipsos aedificatores? Unity Technologies

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    In the grand scheme of things, as a percentage of the userbase, I think those situations actually aren't that common - but I agree it's enough people that we should still do something about it. We are working on significant changes to the implementation of licensing with a view to fixing all of these things. I can't talk about exactly what we have in mind, other than to say that we're very keenly aware of how much damage can be done by getting it wrong, and so we're being very careful about how we approach it.
     
  24. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    I will say the license gets better and more clear each time you update it. We are miles ahead of where we were six years ago when I first started with Unity. Keep up the good work.
     
  25. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Cool. Can I please ask that the team working on this takes a few use cases into account?
    • A freelancer/contractor with a Pro license goes to a game jam.
    • Someone works remotely for both a training organisation (with an Edu license) and on their own projects (with any other license).
    • Someone works on more than one team, and one of those teams reaches the income cap.
    • Someone works remotely for an organisation with any license, and also works on their own projects with any license, and wants to make sure they don't use the wrong license on the wrong project.
    These sound pedantic and in an ideal world we could ignore them, but there can be good reasons to do things exactly by the book. Sometimes it's a part of being professional, and other times it can reduce risks (eg: sometimes employers could have claim over anything done with their tools/equipment).

    My personal preference would be to drop the license file altogether. Since we need to be logged into a Unity account anyway I'm struggling to see what benefit separate license files provide. It's just an opportunity for us to mess up. "Log into the appropriate account when working on a project" seems straightforward and effective to me, from a user perspective. For bonus points, chuck up a dialog prompting us to re-log in if we open a project with a different account to last time.
     
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  26. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    I'd like to see this policy modified to only affect those who have a paid license because they are required by revenue limits. Myself, I have perpetual Pro licenses for Unity 4 and 5, and been on a Plus subscription since it became available. I've qualified for Unity Personal this entire time though.

    I have a friend who I want to collaborate on a project with, but licensing is actually a big issue since he would have to get Plus as well, or I'd need to start juggling licenses. I'm certain I'd also need asset store products for the project, and would have to waste time moving those around from one account to the next, etc. It is unnecessarily cumbersome when it could be resolved with a few words to the license to exempt those who would qualify for a lower tier license.

    I think this is partly a hold over from the Unity 4 days when you might want a single Pro license in order to unlock features like shadow support, the profiler, or render textures, but we're long past the crippleware days of Unity.
     
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