What if someone ripped sprites from your game, posted it to a website, but didn't demand credit - would that be okay?
Why does that make you angry? Given you want to use the sprite, the ripper has apparently performed a service which you consider valuable and are unable or unwilling to do yourself -- given that you're choosing to ignore the legal problems it doesn't seem unreasonable that a person should expect you to acknowledge their work.
I was just angry that someone would rip sprites and expect that he has the right to demand someone to give him credit for it.
As a video game programmer myself I would be pretty angry if someone ripped sprites from my game, posted it on a website and then demanded credit to anyone who used said sprites. It just isn't right.
In the US, Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. ruled that exact copies of public domain images could not be covered by copyright, because the copies lack originality. This issue also came up with Wikipedia, when IIRC a UK museum tried to prevent them from using images from their website, that were scans of public domain artwork. The case was in 1999, so you wouldn't have had that precedence in the early '90s - but it seems that (at least in the US - other countries may vary), there isn't a requirement for simply making a direct copy of artwork.
It was footage recorded from a video game and with no commentary. I know what you are saying can not be true in such a case. If it was true I should be able to record a clip from a movie and repost it on youtube claiming it is as my own property.
Back in the nineties, I was making a game that used images of famous artworks. I didn't have to go to the estate of the centuries-dead artist, but I was not permitted to just scan an image of the artwork from a book, either (the book publisher could have gone after us for that). I had to go through a rights researcher, who obtained an image from a museum or some such. In the game's credits, I didn't credit the researcher for the image (but I did credit the researcher for her being part of the game team). I also didn't credit the original artist (everybody knows who created the Mona Lisa, for instance), but I did have to credit the image supplier. There were a lot of such images in that game -- the credits were VERY long and tedious.
(It could indeed be another matter if there is a creative element.)