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Ok game, but some of the developers are kind of jerks.
1. Not even remotely correct. Mods don't distribute the content that's already part of Quake because of how Quake paks are read by the engine. So they're only distributing their work to overwrite what's provided by Quake.
2. Again, completely wrong. They released the engine source as GPL only. They retained the rights to all content (demo & full version.)
"All of the Quake data files remain copyrighted and licensed under the original terms, so you cannot redistribute data from the original game, but if you do a true total conversion, you can create a standalone game based on this code." from ftp://ftp.idsoftware.com/idstuff/source/q1source.txt
3. Yes, and there are many such projects which do this correctly. They cannot distribute copyrighted material (it's a derivative work what was done here which means they'd need permission from id to distribute it.)
4&5. Doesn't matter for the discussion at hand. The textures, sounds, etc are still copyright id. Making modifications & distributing them isn't allowed.
6. Exactly. Distributing the copyrighted material from the original is the issue.
I explained quite clearly that what they're currently doing is breaking copyright law in the US (which is where ModDB & their forums homepage is locked, making both liable for takedown notices.) What they must do, if they're to avoid any legal issues is create a tool to change anything that needs changed in the pak files and repack them to be used with the new engine. This then must be run by every user who downloads the project.
> This game is good, but tremendously old, and flowing around web for years.
Doesn't matter. It's still pirating to download the original Quake 1.
> Moreover the engine of this game was gone opensource long time ago.
Distributing the content (which Quake Remake does) is a copyright violation. The id GPL Quake 1 engine is completely separate from the content. Granting rights to view, edit, and distribute source modifications to the engine doesn't give the rights to distribute (changed or not) the game content. Hope that cleared up why this would (currently) be considered illegal.
I'm hoping the dev's fix this situation so they don't get taken down or legal action taken against them in any way.
I'd like to start off by saying that I love projects like this. A Quake 1 (port in this case) to a more up-to-date engine is good stuff IMO. OpenMW, Gemrb, Stargus/Wargus, etc are all reimplementations from scratch of various games/engines that I watch the development of. None of them distribute any content at all (and for good reason.)
With that in mind, it's illegal (at least in the US and most countries) to distribute the Quake 1 content created by id software (even if you changed them.) Basically id software still owns the copyright to that content. The legal way to distribute this would be to provide the tools to convert the original files to the new format to work with the Xash engine. This requires the person downloading this to have bought the original content from id.
Basically I'd say you should immediately take down the current "Quake Remake v1.0 (SFX-archive)" download and then take some time to do what I mentioned above. I'll give you a week to at least take down the download. if it's still up on January 22nd, I'll be sending off information to Mod DB & id software about the copyright infringement.