AI Horde’s AGPL3 hordelib receives DMCA take-down from hlky

I have tried to avoid writing about hlky drama for the sake of the AI Horde ecosystem. I don’t want to delve into negative situations and I was hoping by ignoring this person our community can focus on constructive matters in improving the Open Source Generative AI tools.

However recent developments have forced my hand, and I feel I need to write and inform the larger community about this. I will attempt to stick to the facts.

The AI Horde Worker includes a customized library: hordelib.This library is completely based on ComfyUI.

Yesterday we were forwarded 2 DMCA take-down requests from GitHub originating from hlky requesting to take down hordelib because of claims against a couple of files I ported from the previous library I was co-authoring with hlky, nataili.

Nataili was developed as AGPL3 from the start. This is the main reason I chose it as the backend to the AI Horde Worker instead of using a bigger player like Automatic1111 WebUI (which, back then, did not have a license.)

Unfortunately a big reason we abandoned nataili, is because hlky attempted to sabotage the AI Horde ecosystem and demanded that we stop using the nataili free software source library, going against everything the Open Source movement stands for. There is more drama pertaining to this behind the scenes, but as I said, I want to stick to the public facts in this post.

Nevertheless, eventually we couldn’t maintain nataili so we decided to create hordelib instead which would also insulate us from hlky. However some critical components we needed for supporting our image alchemy and anti-CSAM capabilities were not available natively in comfyUI, so I ported over the necessary files from nataili for those purposes. Remember, these are files licensed under the AGPL3, so this is completely and irrevocably allowed.

In the process I stripped out the explicit license mention in those files, because our whole repository is licensed under AGPL3, and it goes against our style to add unnecessary licenses to each file. As far as I understood, this was allowed by the license terms.

The DMCA take-down claims that removing those copyright and license strings from those files is a sufficient reason to request the whole repository to be taken down!

I have since attempted to get some clarify on this issue on my own. The only relevant part from the license I can see is this

Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, for material you add to a covered work, you may (if authorized by the copyright holders of that material) supplement the terms of this License with terms:

b) Requiring preservation of specified reasonable legal notices or author attributions in that material or in the Appropriate Legal Notices displayed by works containing it; or

AGPL3 License

And I mean, fair enough, this seems clear enough, but I need to point out that the original licenses put in those files by hlky did not require preservation of author attributions!

Nevertheless in the interest of expediency and in the spirit of open source I have since re-added the attributions to those files.

Unfortunately, once you send official DMCA notices, things start becoming serious and you never know which way the dice roll will go on this. I feel we have a pretty clear-cut case that we did nothing wrong here and certainly nothing that would require a whole FOSS library to be taken down!

I have sent a counterclaim to GitHub in an attempt to ensure they don’t take any take-down steps.

However, given the numerous bad faith acts by hlky to this day, the most prudent option would be to excise these files completely. I would rather not have any mention or contribution of this person in our library, as they go against everything the Free Software movement stands for!

If you have the skills to contribute an alternative code for a clip and blip interrogation modules, please contact me ASAP!

Likewise if you have any advice you can give on this issue I’d appreciate it.