Cope

Villager
Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2013
Messages
20
Reaction score
7
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
This is an idea I've been wondering about for a while: Is there an issue in importing real-world media and using them in an RPGMaker project? Even if my project is a non-commercial one?

 

For example, your game character walks into a new area and you start hearing the sounds of The Beatles or Michelle Branch being played as background music, using unedited movie posters or deviantart works as resources, seeing NPCs cosplay as recognizable anime/movie/video-game characters, etc, etc.

 

I'm working on an urban-setting type of RPG set in modern times, hence the real-world media thing. My original plan was to tweak some allowable resources or make my own for a suitable design for that setting, but I was thinking of applying this idea if it means easing my workload. 

 

If allowable, how do I go about making a disclaimer? Or if a disclaimer is even enough?

 

If not, I can always go back to my original plan.

 

What do you guys think?
 

Shaz

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
43,451
Reaction score
15,230
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Copyright is copyright, free game or not. This question has been asked before, and the answer is - use it in a free game (NOT commercial) if you want to take the risk. The worst that could happen probably won't happen. If anyone reports your game for copyright violation, you will be forced to take it down and replace the copyright content with something else.


imo it's just less risk, less stress, and less effort if you avoid it in the first place.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

pawsplay

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
171
Reaction score
5
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Basically, you have to aim for fair use/fair dealing or transformative use. Fair use is hard to do, because companies don't like you using their IP even in unrelated ways, so they will sometimes try to argue that you are damaging their IP's use in commerce. Transformative is a little easier, but you have to meaningfully interpret the IP in some way, by making satire, turning images into a collage with a different meaning, etc. Note that some recent US cases have clawed back what can be considered transformative; for instance, once upon a time it was considered acceptable to take one second of a song, stretch it out x16 times slower and play it backwards, and use it in your mix. Now, however, since mix elements are sold and licensed commercially, that may not be the case, as some cases suggest that even minor sampling that is heavily altered is still an infringement if the original media can be reconstructed... so if you are concerned maybe you should talk to a lawyer.

But, and IANAL and this does not constitute legal advice, if you make a non-commercial product that is obviously a spoof, or references real life media as part of the narrative (like, "I was listening to the Beatles when suddenly" and some Beatles music is playing in the background as something happens in the foreground) then you are often okay. But don't assume you can use a song as a soundtrack, even in a non-commercial work, just because you like it. Supreme Court says using a song to comment thematically on your original work is derivative, i.e. infringing even if it is not an "effective commercial replacement" to listening to that song without your video or game content. 
 

Jef299

Fifteen Mush-ups!
Veteran
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Messages
816
Reaction score
66
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
I think Classical Music can be used in anything without getting in trouble because the composers are long gone and it's considered free reign. You'll hear it in anything from Pepsi commercials to big budget movies.
 

Cope

Villager
Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2013
Messages
20
Reaction score
7
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I think Classical Music can be used in anything without getting in trouble because the composers are long gone and it's considered free reign. You'll hear it in anything from Pepsi commercials to big budget movies.
^So in other words, anything in the public domain's free game then :)

Thanks

Basically, you have to aim for fair use/fair dealing or transformative use. Fair use is hard to do, because companies don't like you using their IP even in unrelated ways, so they will sometimes try to argue that you are damaging their IP's use in commerce. Transformative is a little easier, but you have to meaningfully interpret the IP in some way, by making satire, turning images into a collage with a different meaning, etc. Note that some recent US cases have clawed back what can be considered transformative; for instance, once upon a time it was considered acceptable to take one second of a song, stretch it out x16 times slower and play it backwards, and use it in your mix. Now, however, since mix elements are sold and licensed commercially, that may not be the case, as some cases suggest that even minor sampling that is heavily altered is still an infringement if the original media can be reconstructed... so if you are concerned maybe you should talk to a lawyer.

But, and IANAL and this does not constitute legal advice, if you make a non-commercial product that is obviously a spoof, or references real life media as part of the narrative (like, "I was listening to the Beatles when suddenly" and some Beatles music is playing in the background as something happens in the foreground) then you are often okay. But don't assume you can use a song as a soundtrack, even in a non-commercial work, just because you like it. Supreme Court says using a song to comment thematically on your original work is derivative, i.e. infringing even if it is not an "effective commercial replacement" to listening to that song without your video or game content. 
It took me a wile to understand this but I think I got it. Bottom line: I'll go for spoofs then. 

I already have some in mind, so I might post them soon. 

Copyright is copyright, free game or not. This question has been asked before, and the answer is - use it in a free game (NOT commercial) if you want to take the risk. The worst that could happen probably won't happen. If anyone reports your game for copyright violation, you will be forced to take it down and replace the copyright content with something else.

imo it's just less risk, less stress, and less effort if you avoid it in the first place.
Gonna play it safe then.

Thanks again for your advice, guys :)
 

Quigon

electric boogaloo
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
1,982
Reaction score
957
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Eh, I have Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash...and a lot more in my project. I assume it's pretty much the same deal as the millions of people that use FF music in their games - it's probably gonna fly pretty much under the radar. But I have as much law experience as a potato, so don't take my word for it. 
 

The Stranger

The Faceless Friend
Veteran
Joined
Sep 14, 2012
Messages
3,439
Reaction score
23,022
First Language
British English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I think Classical Music can be used in anything without getting in trouble because the composers are long gone and it's considered free reign. You'll hear it in anything from Pepsi commercials to big budget movies.
The scores may be in the public domain, but the individual recordings might have their own copyrights.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy'
Veteran
Joined
May 15, 2012
Messages
14,682
Reaction score
3,006
First Language
Tagalog
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
Well, AFAIK, if they didn't reapply, copyrights lasts for about 25 years then it's public domain...

for classical, well, I think you need to make sure that you are using a non-recently recorded copy coz that might have an effective copyright yet as said above...

better yet, find a friend that knows how to play the instruments and record him playing the classicals... 
 

Shaz

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
43,451
Reaction score
15,230
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Also keep in mind that when you compress your game, the audio files are not compressed - they ship as .ogg or .mp3 or whatever files. So you are not just using the music in your game - since the files are easy to get to, you are, in effect, redistributing the tracks.
 

Jef299

Fifteen Mush-ups!
Veteran
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Messages
816
Reaction score
66
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
The scores may be in the public domain, but the individual recordings might have their own copyrights.

Oh.. That makes sense. Guess I was wrong.
 

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Mystery messages from my AI assistant. :kaojoy:
1632842960834.png
Made some updates to a previous project I was working on. Trying to mimic the 16 bit Squaresoft aesthetic.

Me (last Thursday): So, now I will...
Random Virus: NO
It's important to equip your GF.
vufFBXN.gif

Forum statistics

Threads
115,434
Messages
1,089,874
Members
150,198
Latest member
Bopfog
Top