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muttsang

Assets used for free game?

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Hello everyone,

I am a Games Tech and Design student in my second year and I have made a game on the side for mobile. I want to publish the game in the Play Store for Android and I do not want to make money out of it. I just want to have a free game on the play store because I want to experience publishing games on platforms accessible to majority of people and enjoy what I have done. The problem is i do not know anything about copyright laws and legal stuff and I have used some assets from the internet where they have said the asset can only be used for personal use.

I want to know if I could get in trouble for using those stuff for a free game (no monetization). and if i have to refer the original creator, how would I do it? 
Sorry if it is a common and silly question but I have no idea whatsoever on the legal stuff. I looked it up on the internet and have found out that if the game does not make money i can publish it and some said that i could get into legal trouble if i am not careful about it. 

 

Thanks,

muttsang

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It doesn't matter if the game is free or not, if you use something that you don't have permission to use you can get into trouble because of it.

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It really depends on the license your assets came with.  Some licenses (such as CC0) allow you to do whatever you like.  Others (CC BY for example) might require you to give credit to the creator of the work you've used.  Others let you do what you want, but you have to give credit and share your own work under the same license (CC-BY-SA), or forbid commercial use (CC BY-NC) or all sorts of other stipulations.  All of the examples I used here are Creative Commons licenses.  There are many other types of licenses, I just picked these examples because they are easy to find and relatively easy to understand as examples.

So, the correct answer is "it depends".  What license were the assets you used provided with?

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Some definitions of Personal Use are "No commercial use" and others say "No redistribution". It's a gray area, sorta like the spelling of grey. Get permission is your best bet, but I doubt the person could win in court with that dumb 'license'.

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And be aware that a lot of assets marked as 'personal use' are stolen assets, that the uploader has no rights to distribute. (The implication being that if you are just using them personally and not distributing, the original owners won't find out)

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4 minutes ago, lawnjelly said:

And be aware that a lot of assets marked as 'personal use' are stolen assets, that the uploader has no rights to distribute. (The implication being that if you are just using them personally and not distributing, the original owners won't find out)

It amazes me how much is stolen on sites that sell 3D models... Thankfully I don't buy assets from such hubs, only through channels I know and trust if I don't do it in house or myself personally.

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If in doubt, use a large site like turbosquid, and pay something for the models.

They have some very expensive models on there, but also some very good ones for pocket change.

Most of my 3D models in my game come from there and/or are kitbashes of stuff on there. Because you've paid them, and they've certified and guaranteed that the license is correct, so long as you abide by the reasonable terms (e.g. don't go using a porsche in your racing game or an AK-47 in your first person shooter!) if someone did try to sue you, you have reasonable defence that you bought it from turbosquid, and paid for it, and turbosquid have done their due diligence, which pins the fault clearly on the asset's seller.

It's not completely watertight and I am no lawyer, but this is how i see it, and it's common sense to me. I'm sure if someone was vindictive enough, they could go after you, turbosquid, and the seller of the asset together.

If in doubt, take legal advice, if still in doubt don't do it!

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48 minutes ago, Brain said:

so long as you abide by the reasonable terms (e.g. don't go using a porsche in your racing game or an AK-47 in your first person shooter!) if someone did try to sue you, you have reasonable defence that you bought it from turbosquid, and paid for it, and turbosquid have done their due diligence, which pins the fault clearly on the asset's seller.

It would likely be a win in court regardless. Trademarks don't prevent all use, just certain specific uses. Trouble is, nobody wants to be the one to set precedence in court, including Turbosquid, who settled out of court recently with BMW for selling car models with the logo. (I think it was BMW)

Anyway, it's a touchy subject because people think trademarks are all powerful because of the status quo and can't reason about it objectively with legal jargon. It's like telling someone that cholesterol isn't bad for you after all the years of being told that cholesterol = bad!

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