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Soma87

Legal Copyright question regarding programs

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Hey,so i'm working on a game which i intend to one day publish and sell online.I was wondering if i would have to pay some sort of fee or something to the creators of the programs that i use for the creation of the assets for my game.For example i use GraphicsGale for the creation of my sprites,do i have to pay some fee to them because i used that program when i sell my game? The same goes for FL studio which i use for making the music.Please if someone can help me with this reply,thanks in advance!

Edited by Soma87

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This entirely depends on a case-by-case basis and you absolutely must check the license you have for these softwares.

For GraphicsGale they clearly state that any commercial use is fine without license or royalties (because it's freeware).

For FL Studio it looks largely fine, so long as you have a valid license and are not adapting from any of the pre-bundled assets. See "Can I make money with songs/tutorials made with FL Studio?" in their FAQ.

Edited by dmatter

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Just a note: I'm not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.

Copyright, in general, is a law which prohibits the copying and distribution of a creative work. By default, all works are copyrighted under the Berne Convention. If something is copyrighted, people other than the copyright holder are simply forbidden from copying and distributing the work. The only way you can distribute the work is by getting explicit permission from the copyright holder to do so; such permission is often called a "license".

Note that none of this has anything to do with how you use the work. If you use some sort of clip-art or substantial sound sample bundled with the program as a part of an image or piece of music you are writing, that might be subject to copyright (depending on whether or not they're copyrightable). But otherwise, the copyright of the program you're using to draw or compose has absolutely nothing to do with your right to distribute the works you created. Those works are copyrighted by you, not by the person who made the tool you're using.

If you're still concerned, you could always just use libre tools like the GIMP, LMMS, KolourPaint, or Pinta.

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Thank you very much for your quick responses.

Since GraphicsGale allows for sale of my sprites without any concern i will continue using it.

As for FL Studio i do have a valid license but it's the thing about the pre bundled assets that concerns me a bit,so ill probably just switch over to LMMS.So if i only create my own work,and don't use anyone else's then i'll be fine with it.Thank you for the recommendation.

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You can use FL Studio's bundled samples and synths freely. You just can't use the demo songs they include. If you prefer LMMS that is fine, but be assured that you could use FL Studio instead.

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As a general rule whatever you create you own and can use.  If you use Word to create a document you don't need to pay Microsoft, the document and content are yours.  If you use Maya or 3D Studio to create a graphics model, the models and files are yours. If you use Visual Studio to edit code and compile programs, the code and executable are all yours.

As you mentioned with the music, there are potential issues if you use he resources that came with the programs. If you use pre-built 3D models to build from, such as starting with a human form, there may be license concerns on your model. If you use audio samples that are different from the progrem then there may be license concerns.  Usually the products implicitly or explicitly grant permission to use the parts that came with them, such as using the built-in audio clips, using the built-in base models, or using the built-in program code.  

The most common exceptions to that are things like educational licenses and demo/trial licenses, which typically forbid using the programs in a commercial manner under that license. Usually there is nothing technical that blocks the use, only a matter of getting the right license for the software  But that is not a copyright concern, you still have the copyright on the things you create, and others have the copyright on the things they create.

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6 hours ago, frob said:

As a general rule whatever you create you own and can use.  If you use Word to create a document you don't need to pay Microsoft, the document and content are yours.  If you use Maya or 3D Studio to create a graphics model, the models and files are yours. If you use Visual Studio to edit code and compile programs, the code and executable are all yours.

I'm generally inclined to agree with the sentiment here. But I just want to challenge the idea that you 'own' more than just the original work. I'm not sure that's a clear-cut thing...

For example you mentioned the binary generated by VS belonging to you. The sourcecode might belong to you and the resulting binary might contain several of your copyrighted assets but the exe file itself also has many proprietary aspects to it that belong to Microsoft and not to you.

The generated assembly itself is a weird derivative of both your work (sourcecode) and their work (compiler black magic). I suppose the copyright there is jointly shared? Unless Microsoft are unable to stake a claim in it due to the compiler being an automated process and not a human.

Copyright aside I expect Microsoft take the view that you don't have the right to redistribute an executable generated by VS unless you have a valid license for VS. In that sense it's not "all yours" anyway.

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On 6/28/2017 at 4:10 PM, dmatter said:

I'm generally inclined to agree with the sentiment here. But I just want to challenge the idea that you 'own' more than just the original work. I'm not sure that's a clear-cut thing...

For example you mentioned the binary generated by VS belonging to you. The sourcecode might belong to you and the resulting binary might contain several of your copyrighted assets but the exe file itself also has many proprietary aspects to it that belong to Microsoft and not to you.

The generated assembly itself is a weird derivative of both your work (sourcecode) and their work (compiler black magic). I suppose the copyright there is jointly shared? Unless Microsoft are unable to stake a claim in it due to the compiler being an automated process and not a human.

Copyright aside I expect Microsoft take the view that you don't have the right to redistribute an executable generated by VS unless you have a valid license for VS. In that sense it's not "all yours" anyway.

But if we had a valid VS licence we should be able to sell our program made with our code regardless of the fact that the compiler is theirs right?

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1 hour ago, Soma87 said:

But if we had a valid VS licence we should be able to sell our program made with our code regardless of the fact that the compiler is theirs right?

As long as the license you have for it grants you commercial use then yes.

Edited by dmatter

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On 2017/6/28 at 10:10 AM, dmatter said:

For example you mentioned the binary generated by VS belonging to you. The sourcecode might belong to you and the resulting binary might contain several of your copyrighted assets but the exe file itself also has many proprietary aspects to it that belong to Microsoft and not to you.

This only applies to the libraries your program links to that are supplied by MSVC, and not in the way you are suggesting. It does not apply at all to any other part of the binary (what you call "black magic"), for two reasons.

One, copyright only applies to works written by a human. A computer program cannot own copyright, nor can the author of the computer program claim copyright for anything that program generates. It would be like the manufacturer of a pencil trying to claim copyright on a drawing because a pencil they manufactured was used to draw it; absurd.

Two, the way source code is translated into binary is not copyrightable in the first place. There is nothing creative or novel about the way a compiler assembles machine code that is supposed to match C code. It's just a necessary translation so that the processor can understand the code.

On 2017/6/28 at 10:10 AM, dmatter said:

I suppose the copyright there is jointly shared?

No, if you wrote the corresponding source code, you hold the copyright to the binary as well. Microsoft has zero claim on that. What Microsoft does have claim on is the MSVC redistributable code you link to, but Microsoft grants you a license to link to and redistribute those and they are not a part of the binary itself.

Edited by JulieMaru-chan

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