The Nightmare of Copyright

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amerk

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Paranoid much?
 

Shaz

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It's not paranoia though - this is a very real risk. The question is, if it happened to YOU, how much damage would it cause, and would it be worth it? If I make my living by selling games, then having my games pulled is going to hurt me financially. So knowing what COULD happen, and knowing that all I have to do to avoid it is to NOT use ripped resources, how dumb would I be to go ahead and use them?
 

amerk

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I'm not advocating using rips, espeically for commercial games. But for those non-commercial games, especially ones that look like they were done by a 3rd grader with poor mapping skills, in love with the One-Winged Angel bit from FFVII that they found on VGM and decided to chuck into their game for nothing more than to make even worse than it was before, I highly doubt they're going to break down the door on that poor schmuck who probably can barely to afford to buy a shaver let alone pay back for something he never made money on to begin with.

But for those who've made a name for themselves in selling commercial games, you're probably right. Taking that chance of using ripped material in a non-commercial game when you've already shown to be worth some money on commercial games, it's probably not a chance you want to take. Again, though, the community is full of free non-ripped music, and the internet is full of royalty free music, unless you're doing a sort of fan game or making a parody of sorts, there should be no real reason to use ripped music.

But then again, is music on VGM really a rip? While I still advise not to use the songs if you can find better alternatives, and you can't use those songs in a commercial game, the fact that they are (more or less) re-composed mixes in various styles of the original songs seems to create a gray area.
 

Shaz

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-02-04/men-at-work-plundered-kookaburra-riff-court/321624

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/court-ruling-broke-tragic-stars-heart/story-fn56avn8-1226333872608

This is the verdict in a hearing concerning a children's song, with the claim that a part of that song was used by Men at Work in their song Down Under. The riff in question is only about 2 seconds long and is only played a couple of times in the entire Men at Work song. The plaintiff won. They were trying for 40%-60% of all income raised by that song. The articles don't state what they actually got, but one of them indicates the threat of major financial loss (to the point of selling a house to cover legal costs).

That would be a big deal to me, and a risk I wouldn't take.

How much of the song you use (and they still maintain they did not take the riff from that song), or how much content there is in addition to the portion you're using, does not seem to play a part in the decision. If they can prove copyright and what you use is similar enough to the original, that's all they need.

For a non-commercial game? I don't know. People don't care these days if you're making money from it or not - the question is, do they think THEY can make money from YOU? Of course, if you ARE making money from it, they'll be rubbing their hands that much more ;)
 
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People don't care these days if you're making money from it or not - the question is, do they think THEY can make money from YOU? Of course, if you ARE making money from it, they'll be rubbing their hands that much more ;)
this pisses me off so much. it's unbearable. dirtbags. all of them
 

Mouser

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this pisses me off so much. it's unbearable. dirtbags. all of them
Understand this (yes, I know I'm coming back in):

Without copyright, there would be no "non-commercial use" items available. Copyright is what gives you the power to limit how your work is used. Without it, anyone could take your "free game", and either sell it (probably bundled with a bunch of other "free" games), or rip the assets out to use in their games. If you want people to respect the work that you have done in your creations - whether games, scripts, sprites, tilesets, music, whatever, then have the same courtesy and respect the rights of other creators. It is possible to license most commercially released stuff, and they've tried to streamline the process for smaller ventures to do so (Harry Fox being one example)

Whether or not money is made makes absolutely no difference - all that matters is was the material copied? If it was, it's infringing, and you are liable for whatever damages you either settle for or the court decides. Whether or not you charge for your game has no bearing on this. Infringement is infringement - whoever you've copied from isn't getting the license fees they should be.

If you use a song in a free game that one hundred people download, that is one hundred license fees the RIAA did not collect - and should have. So there are ALWAYS economic and financial damages in a copyright case.

Here's one last clue for those still not clear on this - the majority of "filesharers" being hit with DMCA takedowns, 'strikes' from their ISP's, or being brought up in civil suits didn't charge a dime for the stuff they were distributing.

I wonder how many of you would as cool with me just taking Celiana's or Lunarea's work from this site and using it in my commercial game without licensing it from them first as you seem to be with ripping material from other sources.
 

demmozero

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You shouldn't use anything copyrighted without permission there are plenty of royalty free items and creative commons items that allow commercial usage out there. For example there are websites that specialize in royalty free music some you have to pay for others are just free to use. copyrighted materials shouldn't be used beyond the scope of free use and if you don't know what that is don't bother with it. Of course like I said you can get permission but this will usually involve you unassing some royalties.
 

Mouser

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You shouldn't use anything copyrighted without permission there are plenty of royalty free items and creative commons items that allow commercial usage out there. For example there are websites that specialize in royalty free music some you have to pay for others are just free to use. copyrighted materials shouldn't be used beyond the scope of free use and if you don't know what that is don't bother with it. Of course like I said you can get permission but this will usually involve you unassing some royalties.
Nitpicking a bit, but I believe you meant to say "fair use" instead of "free use".

Actually, not really nitpicking - "free use" has a much different connotation. That said, I agree with what you've written 100%. Creative Commons has been a great tool for lots of artists: non-commercial clause for those who want their work to remain "free", no limits for those who don't mind how their work is used. It's ironic, but Copyleft is actually doing the job that copyright was instituted in this country for:

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

For example, I don't understand how continuing to give a person exclusive rights after he's dead is going to encourage him to create more... But that's a discussion for another thread.
 

demmozero

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thanks for correcting me fair and free are two completely different things.
 
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I think, from past experience, that only big companies actually sue developers for copyright infringements. And, generally, even big firms try to avoid sueing someone if they can. The reason is, I think, the fact that legal procedures are very expensive. It doesn't have any sense to waste money sueing someone, if the damage is small or irrelevant.

For example, years ago I registered a domain. I didn't know it was a copyrighted word. One day I receive a nice little letter, from a lawyer saying that, if I kept the domain, I had to pay a million dollars as a fine. Obviously I didn't have the money ( and I was actually scared as hell... being just a kid ;) ). So I removed the domain and everything went fine.

Now I got smarter. Every time I create a product, a book or I register a domain, I check on google if the words or the material I'm using is original and not protected by copyright. If not I use it. If I'm not sure, I contact the copyright owner and I ask.

For your copyright, I don't think you have to do anything in particular. Just create your stuff and put on it a disclaimer where you say that you are the owner and no one can use your logo/materials for commercial purposes without your permission.
 

Mouser

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For your copyright, I don't think you have to do anything in particular. Just create your stuff and put on it a disclaimer where you say that you are the owner and no one can use your logo/materials for commercial purposes without your permission.
Look up in my previous posts to find the link to the FAQ from the US copyright office. They tell you exactly what you need to do to protect your works. And no, doing nothing isn't enough - and neither is mailing a copy to yourself.

Another note - there's no difference legally between making a copy for commercial use or non-commercial use. I know on this site, a lot of people do freely license their works for non-commercial use, but if no such license were given, you could not legally use them in non-commercial projects as well. And the ability to license you works and limit how others can use them comes directly from copyright.

It isn't a nightmare once you understand how it works.
 

Levi

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And no, doing nothing isn't enough
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#mywork

When is my work protected?-Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#mywork

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?-No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.
So although it's definitely good [GREAT] idea to register your works... it isn't entirely necessary.

Further to that:

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#mywork

Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?-Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.
 
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