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rcbarend

Legal question: Modifying stock gauges for payware projects

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Does anyone know if it's cool from Microsoft's point of view to modify stock gauges for a payware aircraft? Could you, for example, take the .dll containing the Bell 206B's gauges, create new bitmaps for them, then include it as part of a payware aircraft?

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No.But, why would you do that anyway? If you are going to do the artwork anyway, just make yourself a set of XML gauges if you are not skilled in C++. Since you are not going to do anything special, this would be very easy to do really. For that matter, even C gauges are not that difficult when just doing very basic behavior.But, if you were only going to modify bitmaps, then you may as well just reference the stock gauges in your panel.cfg, and then you do not need to redistribute MS .dll's because they are already there. In other words, you are only distributing your custom panel.In my B206, I did my own artwork and code, completely replacing them with my own .dll.Patrick

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>Does anyone know if it's cool from Microsoft's point of view>to modify stock gauges for a payware aircraft? Could you, for>example, take the .dll containing the Bell 206B's gauges,>create new bitmaps for them, then include it as part of a>payware aircraft?No, it would not be "cool" from anyone's point of view, much less MS's legal department. If you read the fine print from your FS license, it specificly states that no part may be disassembled, reverse-engineered, distributed, et cetera.That "they" (meaning ACES) give a "wink and a nod" for some very few freeware instances doesn't translate into blanket permission; and most definitely would never hold true for a payware project.Aside from which, if you are modifying bitmaps of such things as an airspeed indicator, then it is quite likely the non-linearity (i.e., scale values) will also change, making the result useless in terms of accuracy...

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>If you read the fine print from your FS license, it specificly>states that no part may be disassembled, reverse-engineered,>distributed, et cetera.True. But on the other hand, any time an aircraft - whether freeware or payware is distributed - the author has taken copyrighted Microsoft config files, modified them, and re-sold them. Which Aces clearly doesn't have a problem with.This is not to contradict your responses; I just thought this is an interesting issue to raise. It would clearly be a violation if someone were to, say, take the .dll containing the Jet ranger gauges, edit the bitmaps, and re-sell the .dll as a gauge package. But if the edited gauges were part of an original aircraft, the author is building on existing Flight Simulator technology and adding value to it. This, by definition, is what all addons do...none are truly original; they're all piggybacking on existing Aces technology. Which is why I'm wondering if Aces would acknowledge the difference between the two situations. Addon developers are not Aces' competitors, they're creating products that ultimately enhance the value of Flight Simulator.-Mick

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>>If you read the fine print from your FS license, it>specificly>>states that no part may be disassembled, reverse-engineered,>>distributed, et cetera.>>True. But on the other hand, any time an aircraft - whether>freeware or payware is distributed - the author has taken>copyrighted Microsoft config files, modified them, and re-sold>them. Which Aces clearly doesn't have a problem with.That's because a .cfg file was specifically designed to be modified and edited by the end user and/or the add-on community. Remember, that's a text file which does not require that it be "disassembled" or "reversed-engineered". This is completely different from a .dll, which you would have to reverse-engineer with software to extract and/or replace bitmaps. So, your arguement doesn't hold any water. The product is designed intentionally to create a thriving hobby and community. Be a part of that community and contribute original work, don't steal someone else's as your own.>This is not to contradict your responses; I just thought this>is an interesting issue to raise. It would clearly be a>violation if someone were to, say, take the .dll containing>the Jet ranger gauges, edit the bitmaps, and re-sell the .dll>as a gauge package. Yeap, as noted above.>But if the edited gauges were part of an>original aircraft, the author is building on existing Flight>Simulator technology and adding value to it. By DEFINITION, if you have EDITED (against your license I might add) a gauge, then is is NOT a part of the original aircraft.Use this test... if you have to send it to an end-user, then it is not part of the original aircraft included with FS.>This, by definition, is what all addons do...none are truly >original;OMG, you definately need a reality check. Addons are creative works by their respective authors which while utilizing the ACES flight sim platform as it was intended by MS, ARE ORIGINAL CREATIONS OF AND COPYRIGHTED BY THEIR AUTHORS.How could you even suggest that otherwise? Oh, that's right, because you have never developed anything yourself, only thought about stealing someone else's work and calling it your creation. I forgot.< irritation off >>they're all piggybacking on existing Aces technology. Which is>why I'm wondering if Aces would acknowledge the difference>between the two situations. Yeap, you need to re-read the above and re-think your self-serving view of the difference!>Addon developers are not Aces' competitors, they're creating>products that ultimately enhance the value of Flight Simulator.Yes, and when you can "create" something, let us know. Take things in steps.... first learn XML, and try your hand at making a gauge with your own graphics.Patrick

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>>you have never developed anything yourself, only thought about>>stealing someone else's work and calling it your creation.Whoah...cool your jets there. I'm not thinking of stealing anything. If I was, would I be discussing it in a public forum? I certainly wouldn't release any work of this nature without first checking with Aces as to the legality of it. My intention in raising the issue was merely to get some opinions on the subject...as well as raise an interesting topic for polite discourse. So telling me I need a "reality check" is not necessarilly appropriate.>>By DEFINITION, if you have EDITED (against your license I might add) a gauge,>>then is is NOT a part of the original aircraft.By "original aircraft", I don't mean a stock Flight Sim aircraft. I might not have been clear about that. I mean an aircraft for which I would create an original visual model and flight dynamics, then use stock Flight Sim gauges with bitmaps modified by myself (after first ascertaining that I had the right to do that, of course), then release the whole as a package.>>Yes, and when you can "create" something, let us know.OK...I'll let you know: I created the FS9 and FSX versions of the Piasecki H-21C, the North Haledon scenery project, the Whitmore Wash scenery project, and the FS9 Flight Plan Generator. All of which are freeware. All of which constitute hundreds and hundreds of hours of my spare time, and are enjoyed by tens of thousands of people. So, no, I don't lay awake at night worrying that I'm a no-talent bum leaching off the flight sim community.-Mick

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>This is not to contradict your responses; I just thought this>is an interesting issue to raise.Mick, I'm only explaining the reasons why. Whenever asked, ACES has flat-out stated that what you're asking about would be a violation of the EULA everyone agrees to when activating their software.That ACES have simply chosen to ignore the blatant violation of their license in the case of some recently uploaded "fixes" for their 737 and CJR XML gauge files doesn't mean they would similarly ignore anyone doing so and including it in a commercial product.I would suspect that the reason for the "wink and a nod" was largely because those are legitimate fixes to defective gauge files. Given the problems with FSX since release to market, it's probably in their long-term best interests. ;)It's one thing to reference a default gauge in a payware product's panel.cfg file, but to modify a default and then distribute it as part of a complete download would be a violation.In fact, it is technically a violation simply to email another user an unmodified default file! :-bat BTW, I'm one of those who've been enjoying your Piasecki H-21C... :-beerchug

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>>Mick, I'm only explaining the reasons why.>>Whenever asked, ACES has flat-out stated that what you're>>asking about would be a violation of the EULA everyone agrees>>to when activating their software.Thanks, Bill. That's really all I was asking, and that's a perfectly good answer.Glad you're enjoying the H-21C - It wouldn't be what it is if not for your help in this forum. Everyone out there who's ever flipped one of those switch covers open ought to buy you a brewskie!:-beerchug

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""That's because a .cfg file was specifically designed to be modified and edited by the end user and/or the add-on community. Remember, that's a text file which does not require that it be "disassembled" or "reversed-engineered". ""Hi Patrick,With this statement you're on very thin ice :-)IMO, according the formal worthing of the FS license, you wouldn't even be allowed to change .cfg files; let alone upload them.Because where's the cross-line ?Files being "text" cannot be a distinction as such, because how about modifying XML code then ??Because you'll agree that modifying/uploading an .xml gauge is no different than doing the same for a .gau, .air or .dll file :-)Best regards, Rob Barendregt

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