An allegedly illegal release of open source rabbit-kung-fu game Lugaru has turned up on Apple’s Mac store at an 80 persent discount, in what independent developer Wolfire calls “the worst ethical violation we’ve ever experienced”.
Search for Lugaru on the App Store and you’ll find two entries, the official Lugara HD at $10, and a suffix-less version posted by a totally unrelated party for $2 – which returns no revenue to the game’s developers.
The Wolfire blog has detailed the (il)legalities of the case.
“The [Humble Indie Bundle open source] license made it very clear that the authors retained all rights to the assets, characters, and everything else aside from the code itself. … It’s as legal for them to sell Lugaru as it would be for them to sell Quake 3, Marathon, Aquaria, or Arx Fatalis. That is to say, it is completely illegal.”
According to Kotaku, the group responsible for the game, known as iCoder, thinks that Wolfire’s release of Lugaru’s source code grants “every legal right to market and sell the software”.
“The license we were granted allows for non-exclusive redistribution of the source code or the compiled product, modified or unmodified, for a fee or free of charge,” an spokesperson for iCoder said, referring to the code’s release as part of the Humble Indie Bundle.
Apple is yet to respond to requests for comment and clarification of its position beyond a statement of intent to investigate.
The blog also commented on the somewhat ironic turn of events, in that a generous gesture has been utilised for illicit person gain.
“Ignoring the fact that this is obviously a violation of our license, the reason we made the source code available is to give more opportunities for modders and novice programmers to experiment with full game engines and help promote the message of the Humble Bundle. Corrupting this effort for fraudulent financial gain is the worst ethical violation we’ve ever experienced,” Wolfire commented.