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Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

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Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Rick Ace » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:02 am

http://torrentfreak.com/honda-takes-cop ... ar-140603/
One of my friends brought my attention to this article. Apparently, Honda has requested Flightgear to remove the Hondajet. I'm surprised that this could be considered "infringing". :shock: It doesn't make sense to me at all, but I guess it would take someone with legal expertise to understand it.

This does bring a good discussion to our community. Flightgear has always seemed committed to ensuring all of it's content is GPL-friendly. But it looks like the software isn't fool-proof safe from legal attacks. Who would hurt a poor open-source volunteer software? :( Seriously, it's free and does no harm.

What do you guys think?

I couldn't find an official announcement about it on the wiki or newsletter, but a user does mention the removal in this post: viewtopic.php?p=210596#p210596

P.S: If anyone knows HJ1AN, it might be a good idea to ask him to remove the article and/or links about the Hondajet. There is no use talking about the plane if they won't let us simulate it.
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby HJ1AN » Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:14 am

I just saw this. Yea, I thought about removing but I'll just leave it until they come at me with pitchforks.... :mrgreen: (I updated the page about the removal).

Anyway, I wonder if the lead designer of Hondajet is involved in this, or rather than it is a bunch of lawyers doing stuff he is not aware of.
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Michat » Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:23 am

I get noticed that from Helijah Hangar.

Instead of Honda car I'll choose another brand next time. =/
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Johan G » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:29 am

There is also another issue I have been thinking about from time to time that could seriously complicate mostly scenery work: Freedom of panorama (or lack thereof). In essence more or less whether one can depict buildings or not. As with copyright, restrictions apply for a limited (though long) time. Wikimedia Commons have a good guide about the subject: Commons:Freedom of panorama. Commons have rather good guides on many other copyright and license related issues as well.
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Gijs » Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:18 am

Rick Ace wrote in Wed Nov 12, 2008 4:14 pm:I couldn't find an official announcement about it
It was discussed on the mailing list (that's still where most developers hang out) http://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/mai ... gmail.com/
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby StuartC » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:38 am

In the end, any Design, be it a car, aircraft or plant pot, is the IP of the Designer or the company they designed it for. Fotunatly, most are not arseholes about it when it comes to 3d models, but in reality, it could be a huge can of worms awaiting to be opened.

This brings another thought. How can anyone claim IP on a 3d model of an object that they have copied without permission from the original designer / IP holer of said opject ????
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby galvedro » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:07 am

StuartC wrote in Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:38 am:How can anyone claim IP on a 3d model of an object that they have copied without permission from the original designer / IP holer of said opject


You claim IP on the model, which is a representation of some design. If you don't have permission to exploit the design, the original owner might ask you to pay a fee or keep the model for yourself, but you still hold the property of the model.

Evgeny Kissin can claim IP of his own piano interpretations, and the recording companies certainly claim IP on the recordings themselves. That doesn't mean they are both claiming to have composed the music.

:? It's just too complex...
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Johan G » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:53 am

galvedro wrote in Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:07 am: :? It's just too complex...

Indeed... :roll: :?
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Hooray » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:30 am

This isn't very different from the debate about using certain GIS/google imagery or other data in FG.

The main thing to keep in mind here is that the GPL is supposed to protect a lot of our "freedoms" here, but that the FlightGear project itself is extremely unlikely to get involved in any legal debate, not just litigation, but anything even just remotely questionable - the project isn't set up or organized in such a way that this would be possible, and other entities, like the FSF for example, have not really been consulted in similar cases in the past.

There's a tendency to simply comply with requests, even if those are about resources that were 100% GPL'ed that some former contributor suddenly wants to see removed.

Keep in mind that "the project" doesn't consist of much more than a domain and a website, a forum and wiki - anything else (gitorious, issue tracker etc) are fairly de-centralized already and not really vulnerable to litigation - but the the people behind the domain and website (and other key infrastructure) are obviously addressed first, which is why Curt tends to pull the plug fairly early in such situations.

While people may not always agree with such decisions, and many may be interested in "exploring" such legal debates, it obviously IS a completely different matter once you are the person that receives cease and desist letters and other legal documents from lawyers, working for multi-billion dollar companies ordering you to comply with a deadline or face legal actions, putting your job/family etc at risk possibly.

Keep in mind that all of us are motivated by this having to be "fun" at the end of the day - so that's the reason why the "path of least resistance is chosen", no matter how "right" the project may ultimately be, and how wrong certain companies/individuals may be.

For that to change, FlightGear would need some kind of legal setup, so that it's no longer individual contributors/website owners that are personally at risk. But that's another long-standing debate, and so far we're lacking the require structure and management to pull something like that off, despite this having been discussed for over two decades now.
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Groucho » Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:41 pm

StuartC wrote in Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:38 am:How can anyone claim IP on a 3d model of an object that they have copied without permission from the original designer / IP holer of said opject ????


Honda does not claim IP on the FlightGear model. They have trademarked design and form factor so any derivative work is prohibited.

What strikes me most is how surprised some people seem to be now (including Curt). It had been discussed several times and pointed in that direction at various occasions.
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Hooray » Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:53 pm

Groucho wrote in Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:41 pm:They have trademarked design and form factor so any derivative work is prohibited.
What strikes me most is how surprised some people seem to be now (including Curt). It had been discussed several times and pointed in that direction at various occasions.


Actually, that is a bit short-sighted to say - as you may know, there are countless of 3D models that are based on designs by much larger companies, including Boeing and Airbus.
And FlightGear isn't exactly the best flight simulator in the world, and neither is the Honda Jet in FG particularly "high-fidelity".

You will also find the Honda jet available for "free download" for FSX and X-Plane. But there's also some pay-ware available-
So the real issue is not as "simple" as some people make it sound here.
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Hooray » Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:16 pm

Personally, I find this pretty discouraging - in this instance, it's "just" a 3D model and maybe a few textures triggering this, but it affects the contribution as a whole, i.e. possibly hundreds of hours of time that now went into the "waste bin" - traditionally, our aircraft developers are really not "developers" at all, they're usually "artists", in the sense that they create artwork like 3D models and textures.

Many aircraft developers struggle with important concepts like "reusability" and "modularization". Despite those being feasible, even in 3D modeling and XML space.

At the end of the day, that means that we're yanking 100% of the work (i.e. the whole aircraft), even though it may very well only be 10-20% of the work that is "offending" - simply because of the way FlightGear development is disorganized and chaotic at times, and because aircraft developers tend to ignore the bigger picture, i.e. implement individual aircraft, rather than focus on generic building blocks that are modular, and live outside the aircraft directory.

Overall, this is very concerning, especially the way we -as the project- tend to respond and deal to such inquiries is not exactly motivating.

We have basically 500+ different "aircraft" with hugely differing degrees of completion and fidelity - still, even the most developed aircraft may just represent a tiny fraction of the functionality provided by th real thing. So there's hardly any threat here. Not even for companies offering FSX/XP payware.

Technically, we have no way to deal with such issues on a legal basis, and even if we had the corresponding means, it would still make zero sense for us, because we're not lawyers.

But what would make sense is teaching aircraft developers how to contribute in a "safer" fashion, through generic contributions that are aircraft-agnostic, that come in the form of modular building blocks, and that cannot be realistically requested to be yanked completely from the simulator.

For example, look at Gijs' original Boeing/NavDisplay code: realistically, it represents maybe 5-10% of the functionality provided by the real thing - but someone requesting for it, and the 747-400, to be removed from FG, may very well be possible, as has been demonstrated by this precedent.
Thus, what we really need to do is identify building blocks and ensure that contributions are aircraft-agnostic, so that there's never a single point of failure, no matter the scenario.

In the case of Gijs' original NavDisplay code, it's no longer aircraft specific, and it is not even device specific - so no matter how many copyright holders will show up, stuff could be removed, without affecting the key functionality, which is these days the MapStructure framework created by Philosopher.

We have other examples for very complex aircraft, modeled fairly well within FG - such as the extra500, and its Avidyne Entegra R9 avionics - once some copyright holders show up and request removal of certain aircraft/instruments, all that work would also be wasted.
Which is another reason why "aircraft developers" should honestly follow the advice given by more experienced developers to favor a less aircraft-specific development philosophy, and really focus on generic building blocks instead, that live outside the actual aircraft folder.

Seriously, back in the pre-canvas days we had just a handful of hard-coded "glass" instruments, like the agradar, wxradar, groundradar and Zakalawe's navdisplay - technically, those were all SPOFs to the project - because people didn't focus on building blocks and infrastructure, but instead implemented specific devices. These days, Canvas is no longer about a single thing, it's not about a single aircraft, not about a single instrument, or a certain type of instrument. It's as generic as it can get.

I would very much regret seeing more work, like the extra500, pulled from FlightGear due to questionable reasons - but given the lack of legal backup and funding, it is not unlikely to see certain contributions be endangered at some point - even if just for the single reason that there are companies providing similar products as pay-ware, wanting to protect their revenue.
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Lydiot » Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:55 pm

I think a three-prong approach would likely be successful.

1. Barrage Honda with requests to back off, since this doesn't infringe on any of their profit making.
2. If that doesn't work, make it public that they're whining about something entirely insignificant.
3. If that doesn't work, rename the plane and take it off any official web pages.

But maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Groucho » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:03 pm

Hooray wrote in Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:53 pm:
Groucho wrote in Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:41 pm:They have trademarked design and form factor so any derivative work is prohibited.
What strikes me most is how surprised some people seem to be now (including Curt). It had been discussed several times and pointed in that direction at various occasions.


Actually, that is a bit short-sighted to say


Well, if you insist you might think so.

Facts are:
    Honda owns the trademark.
    The Honda object in FG is an unauthorized reproduction of that trademarked item.
    FG redistributes that unauthorized reproduction.
    Honda has the right to have it taken down.
    That has nothing to do with FSX or X-Plane. They (respectively the authors of these models) might be approached or not - does not matter for FG.

Just because other violations have not been enforced (yet) does not make it invalid for FG which would be the same argument as "Others are violating the speed limit so can I".

Honda´s move is unfortunate and awkward but that is a different story for the moment. I really hope that is the exception to the rule.
Last edited by Groucho on Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Honda Asks Flightgear To Remove Hondajet?

Postby Groucho » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:05 pm

Hooray wrote in Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:16 pm:But what would make sense is teaching aircraft developers how to contribute in a "safer" fashion.


BTW, I like that attitude. Way to go.
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