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Giving credit for using sprites from sprite websites


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#1 ILoveJesus   Members   -  Reputation: 166

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 04:25 AM

I was thinking of using sprites ripped from old classic games for a fun personal side project. I notice that many of these websites that allow you to download ripped sprites demand you give credit to the ripper for using the sprites from the website. Now I am no lawyer but how does anyone have the right to demand you give them credit to use sprites that they do not even own? It reminds me of a video on youtube where someone had a compilation video of classic game footage. This person had taken footage from another person's video where he had recorded a video game. Everyone bashed on him once that was discovered claiming he plagiarised this other persons video. I defended him and said that neither he nor the person he "stole" this footage even owned the video game footage and no one had the right to accuse anyone of anything.

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#2 DevLiquidKnight   Members   -  Reputation: 834

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 04:51 AM

I was thinking of using sprites ripped from old classic games for a fun personal side project. I notice that many of these websites that allow you to download ripped sprites demand you give credit to the ripper for using the sprites from the website. Now I am no lawyer but how does anyone have the right to demand you give them credit to use sprites that they do not even own? It reminds me of a video on youtube where someone had a compilation video of classic game footage. This person had taken footage from another person's video where he had recorded a video game. Everyone bashed on him once that was discovered claiming he plagiarised this other persons video. I defended him and said that neither he nor the person he "stole" this footage even owned the video game footage and no one had the right to accuse anyone of anything.

The bigger problem here is your stealing stuff from classic games to begin with, many of these classic games still have copyrights in place, and will get you into legal trouble. Copyrights are typically very long now of days up to 95 years or longer in same cases. A few years ago their was a OpenGL original NES style Zelda game that received a cease and desist letter from Nintendo.

Edited by DevLiquidKnight, 02 July 2012 - 04:57 AM.


#3 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9702

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 12:25 PM

1. I was thinking of using sprites ripped from old classic games for a fun personal side project. I notice that many of these websites that allow you to download ripped sprites demand you give credit to the ripper for using the sprites from the website.
2. Now I am no lawyer
3. but how does anyone have the right to demand you give them credit to use sprites that they do not even own? It reminds me of a video on youtube where someone had a compilation video of classic game footage. This person had taken footage from another person's video where he had recorded a video game. Everyone bashed on him once that was discovered claiming he plagiarised this other persons video. I defended him and said that neither he nor the person he "stole" this footage even owned the video game footage and no one had the right to accuse anyone of anything.


1. What the other guy said. You're going to credit a ripper, and not the original creator/owner of the sprites?
2. Right. You need legal advice before you release your fun project. One hour of a lawyer's time shouldn't set you back more than $400 or so. There's a list of game lawyers on the obscure.co.uk website. See also thegameattorney, underdevelopmentlaw, and charnelaw (if those are not listed in the obscure directory).
3. Well, the person who made the original video does have a copyright in the footage he created - the creative decisions he made (including when to start and end a clip). If his footage has (for example) a blip or fadeout at a particular point in the footage, and that blip or fadeout is evident in the second video, then it's clear that the second video did violate the first videographer's copyright. The matter of whether or not the first video violated someone else's copyright is an unrelated matter.
[Tongue-in-cheek alert] So you should rip your own darn sprites, then it'll just be you and the party whose rights you violated. A simpler lawsuit. And simpler is better (it'll make the judge happier, and you want a happy judge when you get taken to court). [/Tongue-in-cheek]

Edited by Tom Sloper, 02 July 2012 - 12:27 PM.

-- Tom Sloper
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Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#4 ILoveJesus   Members   -  Reputation: 166

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:19 PM

I think there is miscommuncation here. When I said personal fun side project I was trying to make it clear that this was something I would do for myself, and not something I would release publicly. Secondly I am offended that someone would demand credit for using sprites they ripped but do not own. Since my question was not answered I'll ask it again in a simpler manner, does anyone have the legal right to demand credit for using sprites they do not own?


"3. Well, the person who made the original video does have a copyright in the footage he created - the creative decisions he made (including when to start and end a clip). If his footage has (for example) a blip or fadeout at a particular point in the footage, and that blip or fadeout is evident in the second video, then it's clear that the second video did violate the first videographer's copyright. The matter of whether or not the first video violated someone else's copyright is an unrelated matter."

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. I know the games we play we do not really own the property within it, and if I make gameplay footage and post it on youtube the owners of the property have every right to remove it from youtube based on copyright infrigement. Am I wrong?

Edited by ILoveJesus, 02 July 2012 - 02:25 PM.


#5 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6066

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 03:34 PM

I think there is miscommuncation here. When I said personal fun side project I was trying to make it clear that this was something I would do for myself, and not something I would release publicly. Secondly I am offended that someone would demand credit for using sprites they ripped but do not own. Since my question was not answered I'll ask it again in a simpler manner, does anyone have the legal right to demand credit for using sprites they do not own?


If you violate the law in the privacy of your own home and don't leave any evidence of your crime online the odds of getting caught are reasonably small so 100% personal projects that noone else ever sees tend to be reasonably safe. (Depending on how far your local jurisdictions fair use(or equivalent) rights extend it might still be illegal though)

No, a ripper does not have the right to demand credit for ripped sprites (Assuming they are pure rips and not modified in any way), if they are modified then the one modifying them would hold the copyright to his modifications and could make any requests they want. (Ofcourse, if they didn't have the right to make and/or distribute the rips in the first place then they'll have a hard time taking anyone to court)
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#6 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 18211

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 03:49 PM

You're violating copyright either way -- the original creator's, the ripper's, and possibly both -- you either care about that or you dont, there's no real point in quibbling over whether one of the two sets of rights actually exists.

Obviously we're advising against doing this at all, but if you really don't release the project at all (and I think it would be a shame to put in all that effort and then not be able to) then you would still be violating copy rights but would be extremely unlikely to get in any trouble.


As to your question of whether the ripper actually has a valid claim to any rights on the material; that could only really be decided by a judge, but a lawyer could give you a much more educated opinion, which would probably vary on a case-by-case basis -- my layman's opinion (and remember I am NOT a lawyer) is that they PROBABLY don't have any rights if it's JUST a rip, but that if they've done ANY work (touch-ups, re-colouring, re-positioning, etc.) it would be a derivative work to which they could feasibly attempt to claim rights.


Really though, if you don't care about and are just ignoring the rights of the original creator (which definitely DO apply) then why does it even matter whether the ripper has rights? You're already choosing to steal the material anyway. Wouldn't you rather create your own materials and be able to share your game after all the work you're going to put in?

#7 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9702

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 04:08 PM

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.

If you record a clip of a game and put that on YouTube, you don't have copyright in the game graphics. But what you did with the game clip is yours (your commentary, the angle and lighting you used in shooting the TV set that was playing the game, the original music you played over the clip, any text you added to make the clip recognizably unique), but you can be sued by the game IP owner.

If you are making a game that TRULY nobody will ever see, why worry about putting credits in it at all?
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
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www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#8 DevLiquidKnight   Members   -  Reputation: 834

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 04:17 PM

You should probably read about copyrights if you are having a hard time understanding how they work. Their is the concept of fair use but I am pretty certain that would not qualify in this case. Someone who has ripped the sprites and put them on their site saying they own the works is already breaking the law. So if you simply take those and use them your just furthering the process, unless it falls under fair use.

Edited by DevLiquidKnight, 02 July 2012 - 04:28 PM.


#9 ILoveJesus   Members   -  Reputation: 166

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 04:57 PM

If you are making a game that TRULY nobody will ever see, why worry about putting credits in it at all?



I am not, but that wasn't the point. 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.

#10 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 18211

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 06:37 PM

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.

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.

#11 ILoveJesus   Members   -  Reputation: 166

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 03:34 AM


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.

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.


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.

#12 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 863

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:59 AM

If you're arguing whether it's legal - well, it's already copyright infringement. I don't think there's any additional problem with having asked for credits, it's already copyright infringement, making the question moot. If you're arguing if it's ethical - well yes, I see it being a bit of a double standard to expect credit, whilst ignoring copyright. A counter argument would be that, with "abandonware", it's hard to know what the original creators really want (especially since the authors will typically not be the copyright holders - the copyright would be owned by the company, and maybe that games company has since been bought out by some large company that now owns the copyright, but had nothing to do with the creation), and as someone pointed out, if you're making use of them (legally or otherwise), you're happy to benefit from the work he did.




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.

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.


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.

What if someone ripped sprites from your game, posted it to a website, but didn't demand credit - would that be okay?


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.

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 could indeed be another matter if there is a creative element.)

Edited by mdwh, 04 July 2012 - 08:05 AM.

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#13 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9702

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 09:16 AM

In the US, Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.

Interesting. Would that that ruling had been made about eight years earlier.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#14 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1826

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 02:27 PM

does anyone have the legal right to demand credit for using sprites they do not own?


In general, no.-
If they have taken images they do not own, and done something original to them, they have created what is called a "Derivative work." (work that is derived from another work). The problem is, you can't make a derivative work (except in a few cases) without permission from the copyright holder of the original work.

As an example:
Some took an image of Mario, washed out the colors and duplicated the image in 40 rows, each consisting of 80 little mario images. I.e. made an interesting poster, based on a Mario image.
That poster is a "Derivative work". If it was made without permission, then the poster creator can not own copyright to the poster.
However, the poster creator MAY own certain elements of the poster--elements that are the original creative expression of the poster creator (the changing of color images and arrangement into the poster), but were not the mario images themselves.

So if you scanned in and used the poster, you'd be in double trouble-- first to Nintendo for using Mario images and maybe also even to the poster creator, for using his 'original creative expression' of the unauthorized images. (source).

Brian Schmidt

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