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Guest iwazi

An open letter to Evolve AI

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Late in July of this year, there was purge of members at AI traffic group, Evolve AI. One of the founding members, Brian Mitchell, granted himself dictatorial powers and forced some of the other members, including founding members, out of the group against their will. The reasons were creative differences and conflict over how the group was managed. It is my understanding that in the few months before and up to the time of the purge, at least fourteen members were either forced out, or left the group in disgust over the direction it was going under that style of leadership. I was one of those members. Among many disagreements between Mr. Mitchell and some of the purged members, one was over issues of an overall EVAI copyright and ownership of all official EVAI releases. Many of the past, current, and possibly future Evolve AI aircraft contain the work of former members who were kicked out, or quit the group like myself. When I quit, I assumed that would be the end of my involvement and contributions to Evolve AI. Expelled members who had worked on the website were told it it would be replaced(although it hasn't been) so I expected the same treatment for any paintkits in progress. While on a hiatus from the flightsim community, I missed the release of Evolve AI's A319. I was surprised when I returned to see that the paintkit still includes work done by me before I left the group. I'm given credit in the readme, as well as some (but not all) of the other former members who have work represented in the A319. To my knowledge, no one ever asked us if we wanted to continue to have our work represented in future releases. This brings me to the copyright issue, and for that one must understand Brian Mitchell's viewpoint. In an online IM discussion (of which I have seen a transcript) with a founding member just prior to the purge, Brian makes his views very clear. Evolve AI, as an entity, has ownership rights over any repaint, model, or file in general produced by a member of Evolve AI for an Evolve AI product. As an example, any current painter working at EVAI making a repaint for the A319 model, only has partial ownership over his repaint. If he decides for some reason to remove his repaint from the library of a website such as AVSIM, Evolve AI has the right to reupload it to that website. In effect, Evolve AI as a whole can do anything with the work of current or former members that it desires. "Copyright © EvolveAI. All rights reserved." When I was a member, I don't recall this ever being a point of discussion within the group. I never agreed to the policy when I became a member of Evolve AI, and I only found out about it after I left. I doubt other former or even current members know about it. I understand that this probably still hasn't been discussed within the group and is only Brian Mitchell's viewpoint and not an actual policy, but I am still not comfortable with the situation. While the word "team" is frequently used by Brian within the group, it is clear that he has and has demonstrated the ability to kick members out when they have differing opinions. It is therefore my belief that there really is no team, and there really are no true group decisions on how to run things at Evolve AI. Brian Mitchell has the ability to do what he wants with the group, and this brings me to the next area of concern I have.Prior to my departure from Evolve AI, there was some discussion over possibly changing from producing freeware, to producing a payware product. I don't recall the standpoint of individual members on this matter. However, given Mr. Mitchell's viewpoint on the copyright issue, and his ability to alter the makeup of the group to get what he wants, I have a minor worry that if a decision was made to turn the group toward payware, some of the work done by myself and others may be used for profit without our consent.I am not comfortable with something I've invested a lot of time in as a hobby being taken away from me and out of my control. Even though, in my mind, Evolve AI used my work without permission on the A319, I am not out to have them remove every repaint they've already uploaded. I'll assume it was a misunderstanding on their part, but I want to make very clear now, that Evolve AI does not have my permission to use any of my work on any future release. Furthermore, before any future releases, steps should be made to contact and acquire permission from former members before their work is used. In the event there is no reply or permission is not given, it should be removed and replaced by current members before the end product is released to the public. I also do not consent to have any of my work sold for profit. A detailed accounting of exactly who did what on each project is available in the old Evolve AI forum. It can and should be made available for viewing again as an archive. I am making this request public, rather than doing it through private channels, to help protect the work of others from possibly being used in ways they don't want. I am not looking for debate, support, or even a reply. All I need is action on the part of Evolve AI.Understand that this is not some attempt to "get back" at any one. Many current members are new from the time of my departure. Some are friends I know from the past, and others I don't know at all. I harbor no ill will toward you. I am writing this out of concern for my own work, as well as the work of past, current, and future members. If my request causes problems for future releases and frustration for those of you working on them, I'm sorry. I know how it can be to have setbacks on a project. I saw them plenty of times as a member. I wish you the best of luck.Due to past experience with the "management" at Evolve AI, I know there is a chance this request may be deleted from the Evolve AI forum where it is logically being posted. Therefore, duplicates of this request are being posted in the forums at other public flightsim websites. There they can remain in the public eye without the threat of removal.-Tony Fosler

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Your rights will depend on whatever agreements there were.Interestingly, the AVSIM Terms of Use include:"By submitting material to any public area of the System, User automatically grants, or warrants that the owner of such material has expressly granted AVSIM Online the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate and distribute such material (in whole or in part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or hereafter developed for the full term of any copyright that may exist in such material except the direct commercial sale of such material as the part of a CD or other file transfer medium is not permitted without the written permission of the holder of the copyright for said material. User also permits any other User to access, view, store or reproduce the material for that User's personal use." Personally, I have absolutely no problems with this because it seems to me to be essential for the system to operate, and continue to operate. As always, if others don't like them then they don't have to contribute.

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Hi,In the past when I contributed to various groups it was assumed by the people in control (explicitly stated or just implicitly) that if you accepted membership in the group (as I assume you did) that you agreed that all of your work was to be given to the group - i.e. the group owned it, not you. The Copyright EvolveAI © statement you listed above shows that you accepted this, even though you might not have known what you were accepting. Most groups put the copyright in the group's name.I would look on this as a life lesson - unless the copyright statement mentions your name (and only your name or those your trust), then you no longer have complete control over it. If your name isn't listed at all (as above), then you have no control, present or future.Hope this helps,

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