Author Topic: Question on Frankenedits and copyright.  (Read 899 times)

Offline DrunkenSamurai

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Question on Frankenedits and copyright.
« on: October 01, 2015, 03:46:20 AM »
Question: What are the copyright limitations and considerations towards Frankenedits used in non-commercial games?

Context: Hello, I am new to the community. You guys seem really cool and knowledgeable about stuff. I have a strange question, one that I never thought I would run into game making. This could be a common problem and nothing to worry about, but this could be a big problem, too. Maybe I'm a worry-wart. Let me explain.

I ran into a problem on another forum, which forum is not important. I was asking for graphics editing help. I like the Japanese site tkool for making some really neat looking portraits. I had made a school boy and school girl for my game from there, with various expressions that were available. I wanted them to be able to use a cell phone in the game, and I wanted a portrait cutscene to reflect this. So I asked for help there, but I also worked on the problem myself. So, I Frankenedited a passable forearm and hand from other images and went down to the pixel to incorporate it uniquely. I added a simple black box in the hand for the phone. It looked good, I thought. As I made progress, I posted the edits in the same thread that I had asked the question in. I had answered my own question. Pretty proud of myself. The tread was closed abruptly by an admin, telling me I had violated and broke copyright laws by posting Frankenedits.

This concerns me. I don't want to break the law with a hobby, no one does. I have seen many Frankenedits around the 'net, Deviantart and Google Images. The copyright notice, from what I could glean from Google Translate, was that tkool's images could be edited, but I couldn't be sure. And to be sure, any game I make will be 100% Free to download and play. I have a nice list built up for credits to go along with the game when it's done. I will not share any more resources after this incident, on any site. I guess the biggest question for me is this: Is it legal to use Frankenedits in games? I don't wish to infringe on anyone's copyright, but if I can't edit the images to suit my tastes for the game, what's the point? It restricts my artistic liberties. This would extend from portraits and busts, backgrounds, tilesets, charasets, to even OGGs I've edited through Audacity (to make them louder/shorter/loopable).

I've felt really bad about this over the last several days. I can see it from the other side, somewhat. I'd appreciate any input you could provide and thanks for reading! Oh, and if I've broken a rule by discussing taboo, I sincerely apologize!!

Offline winkio

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Re: Question on Frankenedits and copyright.
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2015, 05:05:36 AM »
Frankenedits do violate copyright, which is hard to stomach for small, indie devs, especially when they don't have graphics experience.  Generally, using copyrighted art for anything more than inspiration is going to get you into trouble.

However, if you can find some source images under the creative commons license, you will be able to freely reuse and modify them.  I don't know how much RM-related stuff is under that license, but there is certainly some.

Honestly, it's hard enough to actually make a hobby game, and if you are just going to share the final product with some friends, the copyrights shouldn't be an issue.  If you are going to host MMO servers or put it up for distribution on something like Steam, then it will become a problem.  If you decide to go that mass distribution route, you should find a simple art style and work with it from the very beginning (8-bit, for example).

Offline DrunkenSamurai

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Re: Question on Frankenedits and copyright.
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2015, 04:06:46 PM »
Thanks for that link, I bookmarked it!

I double-checked Terms and Conditions for a few of the sites I used for edits. Tekito was fine with 'painting over' their graphics. Division Heaven seemed fine with edits, too. Kagome I couldn't really make heads or tails of, honestly. They had some humor interspersed within the T&C which I thought was kind of odd. I'm still gun-shy about it. My planned distribution channels would be bulletin boards' "Completed Games" sections and among friends. I wouldn't post it in Steam or turn it into an MMO or anything like that. Knowing what I know, I will continue working on it. Well, until I put it down and work on something else for a while. That's usually what happens when I game-make; hit it hard for 3 or 4 weeks and put it down for 6, to come back to it again all fired up.

Offline Zexion

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Re: Question on Frankenedits and copyright.
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2015, 12:56:20 AM »
Like winkio said, i wouldn't worry about it unless you're profiting. Fan games are a thing :P

Offline winkio

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Re: Question on Frankenedits and copyright.
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2015, 01:19:51 AM »
Not just profiting, but distributing.  Anything that is widely available is going to get attention, even if it is free.  If it's just on a forum and a facebook page, you should be fine.