Need advice on a plugin request

Discussion in 'Javascript/Plugin Support' started by Jackkel Dragon, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Jackkel Dragon

    Jackkel Dragon Veteran Veteran

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    Not sure this is the right place for this topic, but I was hoping to get some advice...

    Recently, I've been approached by someone asking to use a plugin I wrote for my personal projects. The team in question already has the plugin from decrypting a game it was in, but now wants permission to use it themselves. The thing is, I'm not sure I'm comfortable letting them use this plugin with my blessing. I have a few reasons for that:

    1. They acquired the plugin by decrypting the project it was in without first asking me.
    2. I wrote this plugin for my own personal projects, and it feels like letting someone else use it would be like giving away something that makes my works different from others' works.
    3. The plugin is mostly hard-coded, so it would require new or edited code to actually work with someone else's project.
    4. (3b) I don't want to be strong-armed into making a custom version of a private plugin for someone else's project.

    For context on what the plugin changes, the code was originally written for a fangame I made of a horror franchise. It contains a number of changes to menus to add or remove features that I needed for the game it was created for, and I've made variants of the plugin on a per-project basis. Some of the common elements of the code include:

    • Pause Menu changes: Limit the command list to "Item/Save/Load/Options/Quit", track a variable for the player to see their current health/willpower, add a time elapsed counter.
    • Title Menu Changes: Added a second title menu with the options "New Chapter/Ending List/BGM Player/CG Gallery/Portrait Mods", "New Chapter" starts the game from a specific location, "Ending List" shows which endings have been seen, "BGM Player" and "CG Gallery" allow the player to re-view certain content, and "Portrait Mods" changes the art used for certain scenes.

    Now, the big problem that I see with simply allowing this team to take my plugin is that I don't know if they can actually make use of it on their own. When I was first approached, before I knew they had the plugin decrypted already, I gave them advice on the workarounds I had used before I made the plugin, hoping to teach them how to do it themselves. And then I was told something to the effect of "we have the plugin you used, we just want permission". But, the thing is, the plugin is mostly hardcoded. (If I had to give a percentage, I'd say 80% or more of the plugin requires editing the Javascript directly to make any changes.) And the plugin parameters that DO exist are mostly proof-of-concept values that don't always work properly (which is why I gave up on using them). So if this team has enough coding skill to make use of my plugin, they could probably make their own version or reverse-engineer mine until it wasn't the same code.

    So, I guess what I'm asking is: Am I overthinking this? Is it a simple yes or no, and I'm just not understanding that enough to give the correct answer right away? What is the way I should be handling this request?
     
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  2. Astfgl66

    Astfgl66 Veteran Veteran

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    If it's a plugin you didn't intend to have the public use, then they have no license to use it.

    Getting a plugin through decrypting a project is a really shady practice. I wouldn't want to have my name associated with a team that does this.

    I would answer a hard no, on those grounds alone.

    Seriously: those guys stole your work and are asking for your blessing after it. Screw them. I'd probably forbid them from using any of my publicly available work too.

    Would you be asking this if they stole your art assets to use in their project? I bet you wouldn't. Just because plugins are under the hood and their origin can't be attributed at a glance doesn't mean they should be treated differently.
    Having you do extra work for them to use a plugin they stole from you would just be the icing on the cake.
    Don't do it, you would just be encouraging them.
     
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  3. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    Two choices:
    • Simply say no. You own the plugin, and you can decide to not give them permission. If they use it anyways it's illegal and you can sue them, especially if they make money with their project.
    • You can make them pay for using your plugin. Simply sell a license. From there you can either support it or not for them, which will affect the price I presume.
     
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  4. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Actually, decrypting a project and you are not the project owner or a Degica employee is against the terms of use of RPGMaker. So they have 0 right to the plug-in, period, and if they do use it you can file a copywrite violation against them and their project and get it taken down and/or money damages even.

    So I would tell them no and them getting it via a decryption method is illegal and if they use it regardless you will file a copywrite violation against them and their project which will result in their project being removed from any and all sites.

    Or...if you feel a little nicer than that, sell it to them for $100 or so.
     
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  5. Jackkel Dragon

    Jackkel Dragon Veteran Veteran

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    Thanks for the replies so far. I'm getting a better picture of what I should do.

    I think I'm leaning toward telling these people to not use the plugin, and maybe point them in the direction of solving the problem themselves again. If I understand correctly, their project is a fangame, so they're probably not willing to put down money for a hardcoded plugin and it would cost me more to sue them than I would get out of them. The next issues are that 1) I'm not sure how to impress upon them that the plugin can't really be used as-is (unless they only want the menu and comment out the title changes) and that 2) at least one of the people who contacted me doesn't speak English well. (Just earlier today, I got the message "about your plugin, i'll give you a permission and special thanks too". Why should I need permission to use my own plugin?)

    I'm going to sit on this decision for a bit longer, but I think it's going to be the execution that I'm pondering at this point, rather than the choice itself...
     
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  6. mlogan

    mlogan Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Was this someone on this forum? You don't have to name them here, but you can message me if it is.
     
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  7. Jackkel Dragon

    Jackkel Dragon Veteran Veteran

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    No, it wasn't someone from this forum. At least, I don't believe they're on this forum.
     
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