Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by Pentarctagon » June 26th, 2019, 12:03 am

As with any images, they would have to under either the GPL or a Creative Commons license.
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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by PapaSmurfReloaded » June 26th, 2019, 2:39 am

Pentarctagon wrote:
June 26th, 2019, 12:03 am
As with any images, they would have to under either the GPL or a Creative Commons license.
So as long as the GPL license file is contained within the add-on it is fine?

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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by Pentarctagon » June 26th, 2019, 2:46 am

PapaSmurfReloaded wrote:
June 26th, 2019, 2:39 am
Pentarctagon wrote:
June 26th, 2019, 12:03 am
As with any images, they would have to under either the GPL or a Creative Commons license.
So as long as the GPL license file is contained within the add-on it is fine?
If you own the rights to the images, sure. Otherwise, you can't relicense images you don't own the rights to.
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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by PapaSmurfReloaded » June 26th, 2019, 4:35 pm

Pentarctagon wrote:
June 26th, 2019, 2:46 am
If you own the rights to the images, sure. Otherwise, you can't relicense images you don't own the rights to.
And who owns the rights of an image? I assume the company that published the game originally? They have been on the internet for decades though.

https://www.spriters-resource.com/snes/ ... heet/6484/

Sorry I find this confusing. :lol:

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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by WhiteWolf » June 26th, 2019, 8:11 pm

PapaSmurfReloaded wrote:
June 26th, 2019, 4:35 pm
And who owns the rights of an image?
It's in their FAQ: https://www.spriters-resource.com/faq/
Apparently, they do not own the content on the site and cannot re-license it to anyone. Oddly, they state that as long as it is a "free" project, you are welcome to use the sprite, but you are not allowed to use it in a commercial work.
I am not a lawyer, but if you published it in Wesnoth, even though it is free, you would still be technically re-licensing it, which is not allowed.
So sadly, I think these can't be used officially.
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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by Pentarctagon » June 27th, 2019, 12:03 am

From the FAQ, it sounds like they essentially accumulated a bunch of sprites and made them more easily available, but don't actually own any of them. So I'm not really sure how they can say that it's alright to use them for non-commercial projects - or any projects at all. If they don't own the images, they don't really have a say one way or the other.

So, no, the sprites from that site can't be used in a Wesnoth add-on.
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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by Tad_Carlucci » June 27th, 2019, 3:55 am

Their FAQ is self-serving and misleading. I'll translate it ...

According to their FAQ, all those images are illegal: they stole them, and admit they created the site so you can, too.

They seem to be suffering from the dillusion that it's legal to steal these images, so long as you don't charge for them. They also seem to think that it makes a difference whether you hand them out to a couple friends, or put them up where millions can get them; it does not.
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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by PapaSmurfReloaded » June 27th, 2019, 1:41 pm

Tad_Carlucci wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 3:55 am
Their FAQ is self-serving and misleading. I'll translate it ...

According to their FAQ, all those images are illegal: they stole them, and admit they created the site so you can, too.

They seem to be suffering from the dillusion that it's legal to steal these images, so long as you don't charge for them. They also seem to think that it makes a difference whether you hand them out to a couple friends, or put them up where millions can get them; it does not.
Well, yes, there is difference on paper between it being legal and illegal and nobody caring enough about it.

Clearly it's the latter because the site has existed for over 15 years unchallenged and if a company actually cared about doing something about it they would have. Which in turn makes the question arise why it would be wrong for fans to create some sort of the tribute to the game and not profit (tbh I am sure if I start looking in Google Apps I'll find cheap games using the sprites and getting income from it).

I will not publish the era as it is.
Maybe, I'll publish it without the corresponding images files, or just PM it to anybody interested in playing it.

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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by Tad_Carlucci » June 27th, 2019, 2:29 pm

A tribute, if done properly, or user-supported documentation, would almost certainly fall under the Fair Use Doctrine as being commentary about the work, with exanples to show the point.

One might be able to claim that that site is, in a way, nothing but a tribute to the artwork. That is, until they set out to promote YOUR illegal use of the works. In other words, THEY might get away with it, but you probably can't.

Someone might be able to convince a judge and jury that neglecting to enforce your copy rights for decades is the equivalent of throwing the works into the public domain. But it would be a long, hard fight, very expensive, and very likely to fail.

Most likely, the site continues to exist simply because it's not worth the time to go after it. Maybe a cease-and-desist letter, or a complaint to the service provider would shut it down. While it does not matter whether you make any money off the illegal content, as a matter of law, the damages awarded DO take your income from the infraction into account. So, it may not be work their while for someone like Nintendo to go after this site when there are so many people actually selling full copies of their games who they can go after and get far more money from.
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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by PapaSmurfReloaded » June 27th, 2019, 3:28 pm

Tad_Carlucci wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 2:29 pm
A tribute, if done properly, or user-supported documentation, would almost certainly fall under the Fair Use Doctrine as being commentary about the work, with exanples to show the point.
I already write papers for my career , not gonna do it with my hobbies too. :lol:
Tad_Carlucci wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 2:29 pm
One might be able to claim that that site is, in a way, nothing but a tribute to the artwork. That is, until they set out to promote YOUR illegal use of the works. In other words, THEY might get away with it, but you probably can't.
Tbh I asked more just to comply with Wesnoth team guidelines rather than out of fear that a company may try to enforce copyright on me, who is in another country, over making use of pretty fantasy images from 1995.
Tad_Carlucci wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 2:29 pm
Someone might be able to convince a judge and jury that neglecting to enforce your copy rights for decades is the equivalent of throwing the works into the public domain. But it would be a long, hard fight, very expensive, and very likely to fail.
Old SNES games have in been in de facto public domain for two decades at least.

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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by shevegen » July 2nd, 2019, 8:43 am

> Old SNES games have in been in de facto public domain for two decades at least.

I guess it depends on what jurisdiction you can rely on. Here locally I am not even sure
how much "public domain" applies, e. g. in Germany. Normally when any copyright is
slapped onto something, it stays there for 70 years.

IMO it would be much simpler and better for everyone to just use a licence that is
permissive, such as the creative commons licences, for artwork. That way it really
simplifies everything.

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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by josteph » July 2nd, 2019, 9:36 am

Or ask the producer of the the 1995 game to place it in the public domain.

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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by otzenpunk » July 4th, 2019, 9:33 am

shevegen wrote:
July 2nd, 2019, 8:43 am
> Old SNES games have in been in de facto public domain for two decades at least.

I guess it depends on what jurisdiction you can rely on.
Actually it doesn't. There is no real "de facto public domain". Either it is PD, because the copyrights have run out or for other reasons, or it is not. (These other reasons in fact differ between jurisdictions, but none of them does apply here.)

What PapaSmurfReloaded meant is, that the material is copyrighted, but the copyrights haven't been enforced by their owners for quite a while. Unfortunately this might be subject to change at any time. Tomorrow, next week or in a couple of years, a shady intellectual property law firm could theoretically transfer some spare money to Nintendo in exchange for some "useless" 90s copyright titles and start suing. (Anybody remembering the big SCO-Linux scam in the 2000s?) As a private person, you might take the (small) risk, and even in worst case probably won't face more consequences than a simple cease and desist letter, but for a bigger project it's perfectly reasonable to avoid this from the beginning.

Another reason is, that Wesnoth material is copyrighted as well. And although the contributors don't charge money for the game, many of them probably wouldn't want their material ripped of for example for commercial products, violating the GPL and CC licenses, just because "the material was freely available on the internet for years". Neither do they want to violate their own copyleft licenses as well by including material they aren't allowed to re-license.

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Re: Would it be OK to publish an era that uses sprites for units from a 1995 SNES game?

Post by PapaSmurfReloaded » July 4th, 2019, 12:40 pm

josteph wrote:
July 2nd, 2019, 9:36 am
Or ask the producer of the the 1995 game to place it in the public domain.
I don't think Square Enix will place a game in public domain because a random dude on the internet asks them to. :lol:
otzenpunk wrote:
July 4th, 2019, 9:33 am
Actually it doesn't. There is no real "de facto public domain". Either it is PD, because the copyrights have run out or for other reasons, or it is not. (These other reasons in fact differ between jurisdictions, but none of them does apply here.)
What I mean is that people have actually been using not only sprites, publishing SNES games in the form of roms, hacking ROMs and making fan-made games out of them, without any sort of issue.

You can literally play play roms online (google "play snes roms online"), it is not a secret, it is not hard to find, it's not deep-web tier stuff. If they cared to make something about it, they would, but they don't. This is what I meant by de facto public domain.

Using unit sprites in order to make a Wesnoth era in tribute to the game absolutely pales in comparison.
Pentarctagon wrote:
June 26th, 2019, 12:03 am
As with any images, they would have to under either the GPL or a Creative Commons license.
Pentarctagon wrote:
June 26th, 2019, 2:46 am
If you own the rights to the images, sure. Otherwise, you can't relicense images you don't own the rights to.
Pentarctagon wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 12:03 am
From the FAQ, it sounds like they essentially accumulated a bunch of sprites and made them more easily available, but don't actually own any of them. So I'm not really sure how they can say that it's alright to use them for non-commercial projects - or any projects at all. If they don't own the images, they don't really have a say one way or the other.

So, no, the sprites from that site can't be used in a Wesnoth add-on.
How does creative commons license work though?
For example, I was looking up at a wikia of the game (https://ogrebattlesaga.fandom.com/wiki/ ... Copyrights), and they also use image of the games (units, character portraits, etc) of stuff of games using Creative Commons. Are they breaching copyright too?

"You are free to:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. "

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Technically both the wikia and I (for the era), we are just sharing the image (Wesnoth displays an image file on the game field, just like the browser displays on the screen), not "re-licensing" or claiming ownership of the image.

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