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telerad

using Commercial models in a Freeware game

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telerad    122
a friend of mine and i have been seriously developing a hybrid strategy-action game for the past few years and, being programmers not modellers, are using md3 models from quake3 and jedi knight to bring the engine to life.... the game's still completely private and we really want to replace all those models with ones obtained, with permission, from anyone out there who has the will & the skill. we were thinking of posting a video online of the game so that potential modellers could get an idea of what we've done and decide whether they'd want to be a part of it or not - is putting up a video of a freeware game online using commercial models likely to piss someone off due to potential infringement of copyright laws??? the idea is that this setup is temporary... and without it things don't look quite so good anymore... advice, anyone????

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frob    44902
Quote:
Original post by telerad
a friend of mine and i have been seriously developing a hybrid strategy-action game for the past few years and, being programmers not modellers, are using md3 models from quake3 and jedi knight to bring the engine to life.... the game's still completely private and we really want to replace all those models with ones obtained, with permission, from anyone out there who has the will & the skill.

we were thinking of posting a video online of the game so that potential modellers could get an idea of what we've done and decide whether they'd want to be a part of it or not - is putting up a video of a freeware game online using commercial models likely to piss someone off due to potential infringement of copyright laws??? the idea is that this setup is temporary... and without it things don't look quite so good anymore...
advice, anyone????
Okay, I can't resist the slashdot version:
1. Publicly announce that you are going to infringe on copyrights
2. Break copyright
3. ???
4. Profit!


Don't post it online. Public posting would instantly qualify it as a copyright infringement.

Nothing on the web ever goes away. Your posting will be instantly sucked up by the google cache, search engines, and the Internet Archive. You could get in trouble years from now from it.

It would probably be within fair use (non-lawyer warning) to send it to potential artists who express an interest. Maybe say there is a demo movie that cannot be redistributed for copyright reasons, and send a copy directly to people who ask for it. Also put a note in the movie saying something like "Do not distribute, uses uncleared models" or some such.

Of course, you're also dealing with international copyright issues which no mortal can understand.

frob.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
You just need to use models in .md3 format? I'm sure there are a million out there (go to a Quake 3 Skins site) and download those and use 'em. You could just e-mail the author and ask if it's alright.

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telerad    122
thanks for the opinion, frob... that's kinda what i was suspecting the case to be - the slashdot version appeals, of course, cause it's easier; unfortunately any sort of stir will quickly fall by the wayside by means of banning... not like i'd be seen as a rogue coder who's breaking the rules and not afraid to be cool...

maybe i should be content with slapping in homemade models (my hand and patience with milkshape leaves much to be desired - "that's a tree? looks more like a pineapple") and hope that ppl can see past this... the first place i want to showcase the game is on gamedev, so i suppose it would have to comply with some level of originality.

another question (assuming you're familiar with the md3 format) - do you think it's copyright infringement to utilise this format in the engine?....

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hplus0603    11347
This feels a lot like asking for legal advice. Gamedev.net is not a place where you can get licensed legal advice.

Me, I'm not a legal professional. When I have asked similar (but not identical) questions in the past, I've been told by those who are, that a movie using a video game would not actually infringe on the copyright of the videogame maker. For a comparable example, look at the large amount of machinima that is out there.

It's clear that if you shipped the actual models or textures to someone who are not-you, you WOULD be breaking copyright, but when it comes to the movie, it's less clear to me what the actual resolution is. You really should ask the advice of someone licensed to practice law in your state to get an answer you may be able to base decisions based on.

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telerad    122
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
You just need to use models in .md3 format? I'm sure there are a million out there (go to a Quake 3 Skins site) and download those and use 'em. You could just e-mail the author and ask if it's alright.


good point - that's exactly what i've been trying... there's a host of hot talent out there providing cool looking player models (we're gonna take on a couple of these with the authors' permission); in fact, that's why we opted for md3 in the first place. thing is i'm looking for lush models that can live on a landscape... the hardest models to find, as far as my experience with polycount and the rest of the web is concerned, are trees (good looking and tall) and buildings... one would think such models exist out there somewhere

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telerad    122
Quote:
Original post by hplus0603
This feels a lot like asking for legal advice. Gamedev.net is not a place where you can get licensed legal advice.

Me, I'm not a legal professional. When I have asked similar (but not identical) questions in the past, I've been told by those who are, that a movie using a video game would not actually infringe on the copyright of the videogame maker. For a comparable example, look at the large amount of machinima that is out there.

It's clear that if you shipped the actual models or textures to someone who are not-you, you WOULD be breaking copyright, but when it comes to the movie, it's less clear to me what the actual resolution is. You really should ask the advice of someone licensed to practice law in your state to get an answer you may be able to base decisions based on.


i was wondering whether posting a movie online containing commercial models could actually be taken as such a serious action in the first place - i'm not at all serious about the game in a financial sense and intend on making no money from it at all.... but, then again, i am profiting (in terms of recognition) from the model author's work without his/her permission and so i can see from that perspective how it might be a bad move.

when it comes to sending someone a movie (privately) then i would think that all is cool as long as the receiver has the understanding that the material is not for distribution.

as far as lawyers are concerned, i'm from south africa... so i should maybe find an online US lawyer, assuming there's such a thing :) i actually have a friend in colorado who practices law and will maybe pick his mind on this one...

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Sneftel    1788
Quote:
Original post by telerad
i was wondering whether posting a movie online containing commercial models could actually be taken as such a serious action in the first place - i'm not at all serious about the game in a financial sense and intend on making no money from it at all.... but, then again, i am profiting (in terms of recognition) from the model author's work without his/her permission and so i can see from that perspective how it might be a bad move.

when it comes to sending someone a movie (privately) then i would think that all is cool as long as the receiver has the understanding that the material is not for distribution.

The bottom line is that it is not up to you. Barring fair-use provisions (which don't apply here) the copyright holder has FULL control over where the material is used. Go ahead, call up Id Software. Ask them if "all is cool".

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telerad    122
Quote:
Original post by Sneftel

The bottom line is that it is not up to you. Barring fair-use provisions (which don't apply here) the copyright holder has FULL control over where the material is used. Go ahead, call up Id Software. Ask them if "all is cool".


touche. my bottom line is that my using a video clip as a medium of showcasing is a means to having a game that contains no commercial elements; releasing the game itself, i would agree, is definitely out of the question.

but, then again, glancing at quake's EULA:

You, whether directly or indirectly, shall not do any of the following acts:
....
'k. prepare or develop derivative works based upon the Software.'


if what i was intending on doing with the video can be classified as a derivative then the idea's blatantly in the red.
i'm certainly going to remove those models before uploading... this thread suggests that the issue is a contentious one and that's all i'm trying to establish.

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Obscure    175
Quote:
Original post by hplus0603
Me, I'm not a legal professional. When I have asked similar (but not identical) questions in the past, I've been told by those who are, that a movie using a video game would not actually infringe on the copyright of the videogame maker. For a comparable example, look at the large amount of machinima that is out there.

IP law is very complex and context/intent is very important. A film, which contains copyright material, is permissible because copyright law expressly allows for the quoting of copyright material for the purpose of comment/criticism. Machinima started out as a comment on the position of video games in society and as such qualified as comment/criticism - of course not all such video game engine based films have anything in the way of a comment to make but ultimately the validity of the makers claim that they are making a comment/criticism can only be decided by a court and a bunch of expensive lawyers.

Making a game using someone else's IP or making a video of such a product isn't comment/criticism - it is a derivative work and as such a breach of copyright. Further more, as Frob pointed out, if you ask about the legality (and get an answer) and then continue with the breach you have committed a more serious "wilful breach" - in other words you knew it was wrong and did it anyway. An excellent example of this is when teams do a remake of an old game and post a notice on their web site that "the game is copyright of company X and we don't claim ownership." - In so doing they are admitting that they know the IP belongs to someone else but went ahead anyway.

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