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Community => General discussion => Topic started by: Diarandor on January 06, 2016, 11:16:18 pm

Title: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Diarandor on January 06, 2016, 11:16:18 pm
I would like to know if I could use some weapons/items like the Roc's Feather and the Pegasus Boots in my own game without copyright infringement. I am creating from scratch my own art, which is completely different from the art of Nintendo (although the style has some influence sometimes), so there would not be any infringement from the art part.

But still, I am not sure if using a similar weapon/item that has the same name could be considered a copyright infringement. Also, do you think that I could use the names "Roc's Feather" and "Pegasus Boots" for my game? (I suppose that I can because Roc and Pegasus were mythological beings after all, and not invented by Nintendo...)

Probably there will be no problem and this is all legal, but  I want just to be sure. It's just that I have not seen these items in non-Zelda games (which is probably normal because they do not need them and game players would claim they copied that). Sorry if these are silly questions, it's just I am quite paranoid.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Christopho on January 07, 2016, 12:00:19 am
Scripts of my games are licensed with GPL v3, see the license.txt file.

If an item name only exists in Zelda, you should change it. "Pegasus" and "Roc" alone don't refer to Zelda, but "Pegasus boots" and "Roc's feather" definitely do.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Diarandor on January 07, 2016, 01:13:42 am
Ok, then I will have to change the name of the items. This is terrible... :-\

I was already using the same GPLv3 license for all the scripts since the game I am working on will be free (as in freedom, which still gives me the possibility of selling it in the future), so that is not a problem.
(I have now updated the file license.txt of my main repository to give credit to you of the scripts I created by modifying yours.)

However, for the art (sprites, sounds and music), which will be all original, I will probably use a share-alike non-commercial Creative Commons license.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Neovyse on January 07, 2016, 01:18:01 am
You should also use GPLv3 for the art, I read that if you want your game to be GPLv3, Creative Commons for sprites, sounds & music is not recommended, and all should be in the same license (I don't remember why)
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Diarandor on January 07, 2016, 01:57:35 am
Hi Neovyse, I would like to know what is the reason of using only GPL for all files. (I think these are too confusing and unclear things...)

I do not know much about this, and I could be wrong, but this is what I think:

I think that choosing a GPL license for the art would impede me to sell the game in the future if I want, because if I sell something with a full GPL license, the person who buys it could put the game files on the internet (or even selling my own work) and it would be legal, so people would stop buying the game from me. Besides, I don't want other people selling a game with the art I am making (it would be fine if the art is free, but I would like to keep it non-commercial in that case, and the GPL is commercial). I think that the best choice is to choose a different license for the art. (Of course, I will keep the GPL for the scripts.) I have read that lots of game programmers do this, which is a nice choice for commercial games.

I would like to keep the possibility of selling it very cheap on steam or other market if I finish the game someday (although I am doing this more as a hobby and not exclusively for money). If the game sells nice, I would make some nice donations to the solarus team for support (but honestly, I don't have hope of selling it since there is too much competitiveness in the market...) If it does not sell, I can always change the license and make it full GPL, but if I GPL now the art there would be no way back since I could not stop people selling my art with the GPL.

Still, I don't know what I will choose. It's something that is hard to choose and matters a lot.

On the other hand, I will investigate about Nintendo trademarks to know if "Roc's feather" and "Pegasus Boots" can or cannot be legally used as names of similar weapons.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Renkineko on January 07, 2016, 07:25:25 am
Stupid question, but why the name is that important ? I mean, you can change Pegasus Boots to Pegasus Shoes (and it becomes a reference without using the same name), and for the feather you could use something else that has feathers and is a little more explicit, like I don't know... Dragon's Feather (some dragons in asian folklore possesses feathers), or Gryffin's Feather to stay in european mythologies. So why the name is that important ? :)
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Diarandor on January 07, 2016, 08:33:13 am
Yes, you are right, these names are not really important. I will change the name and that's all.
(It's just that I liked those names a lot and wanted to know by curiosity if I could keep them. Just forget about this...)
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Neovyse on January 07, 2016, 04:36:32 pm
Ha sorry, I didn't know you wanted to potentially sell your game! You should make some research on compatibility between GPLv3 and CC. Someone made me notice that Solarus logo was under CC, which was bad because Solarus itself is under GPLv3, so I changed it to match the engine's license. But for the art, I think it's fine if you use non-commercial CC :)
Renkineko is right, you can still keep "feather" but you can use another mythological name. Hermes for example was the god of travellers/god of athletes. Seems good for the boots ;)
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: darkhog on February 02, 2016, 08:11:53 pm
You should also use GPLv3 for the art, I read that if you want your game to be GPLv3, Creative Commons for sprites, sounds & music is not recommended, and all should be in the same license (I don't remember why)

Actually, FSF doesn't recommend using GPL (any version) for stuff other than code. CC0/public domain should be good for art, if you want to be credited, use CC-by-sa.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Zefk on May 17, 2016, 08:28:10 pm
This topic is a little old, but I would like to help clear things up. Christopher is right about the naming by the way.

A CC-By logo is fine with a GPL engine because only functional data is affected with the GPL license. The CC-BY Logo is non-functional data based on beauty, so it is not affected by any GPL functional code. The package must be for both commercial and non-commercial purposes for this case to be true. I have sources for this on the license part  (http://forum.solarus-games.org/index.php?topic=610.msg3066#msg3066)of the help guide. That means it is okay for the logo to remain CC-BY.

Diarandor's non-commercial assets might conflict with this....just something to think about.

CC-BY-SA would be better in my opinion. That way people will have to share edits of the art when releasing their game. Also, the creator and the one that edits the art gets credit in the way they wish. For example, if Diarandor wanted, then he could require anyone that edits his or of work of his that was edited to link him to that edit. Name, url, etc.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Diarandor on May 17, 2016, 11:23:04 pm
This topic is a little old, but I would like to help clear things up. Christopher is right about the naming by the way.

A CC-By logo is fine with a GPL engine because only functional data is affected with the GPL license. The CC-BY Logo is non-functional data based on beauty, so it is not affected by any GPL functional code. The package must be for both commercial and non-commercial purposes for this case to be true. I have sources for this on the license part  (http://forum.solarus-games.org/index.php?topic=610.msg3066#msg3066)of the help guide. That means it is okay for the logo to remain CC-BY.

I agree that CC-BY-SA is a good option for the Solarus logo (CC-BY is bad since it does not allow modifications of the logo). But I do not know if GPL is bad or not for a logo and which differences there would be in that case. Maybe for a logo the GPL license is good enough.

Diarandor's non-commercial assets might conflict with this....just something to think about.

CC-BY-SA would be better in my opinion. That way people will have to share edits of the art when releasing their game. Also, the creator and the one that edits the art gets credit in the way they wish. For example, if Diarandor wanted, then he could require anyone that edits his or of work of his that was edited to link him to that edit. Name, url, etc.

I do not know what the the Solarus logo has to do with my work. I think that it is not a good idea to mix works of differents authors in the same file (I do not know if this is even possible in case the licenses are compatible, but even so, it would be bad to credit each author properly). Solarus logo has no connection with my own work since it will always be in a different file, so I do not understand what you mean with that.

As you already know, since my work is non-commercial, it cannot be mixed with art licensed under CC-BY-SA, and I will not change my license because I do not want other people making profit from my hard work while I do not receive anything.

As far as I know there is no problem with incompatibility of art licenses if each piece of art is kept in a different file. From my point of view, we should keep art as separated as possible. The case of tilesets is an exception, because there is no other option than having everything in the same file, but I have not shared yet anything related to tilesets (I made only entities, items, weapons and hero sprites, which can be on different files each one, and should be kept in that way IMHO because there is no problem arising from that).

I do not know if it is legal to combine art from different authors that have compatible licenses and what would happen in that case, but in my opinion it should be avoided if possible to avoid having several copyright holders [all the authors of the original sources?] of the same file and to give credit more properly.

It is important to note that in derived works, the copyright holder (or copyright owner) is the author of the original work, and not the creators of the derivative work. So in the license it must be clear who is that person.

There is an interesting link here related to this topic about giving credit:
http://freegamedev.net/wiki/Art_licensing_guide#Remixing_third_party_assets_.28creating_derivative_works.29

EDIT: If you have a deviantart account you can download all my pixel art from the following link, but you need to login first. (Everything is CC-BY-NC-SA, which is zero-price but non-free.)
http://diarandor.deviantart.com/
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Zefk on May 18, 2016, 12:26:37 am
I was answering Neovyse for the Solarus logo. It is fine as CC-BY 3.0 because it is counted as a free system distribution under GPL.

CC-BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/) is okay to modify as long as it is not CC-BY-ND  (http://<https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/>) ND is for no derivatives or remixes. Most of my free resources that I collected are CC-BY 3.0 and I can combine this is CC-BY-SA to distribute as long as I credit the authors by their terms.

The 3.0 and 4.0 version of the ShareAlike licenses include a compatibility clause, allowing Creative Commons to declare other licenses as compatible and therefore derivatives may use these instead of the license of the original work.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Share-alike


I think you misunderstood. I just mean any assets for a free system distribution that are not both for commercial and non-commercial use might have issues with GPL.

Non-functional Data

Data that has an aesthetic purpose (Beauty purposes), rather than a functional one, may be included in a free system distribution as long as its license gives you permission to copy and redistribute, both for commercial and non-commercial purposes. For example, there are some game engines that have been released under the GNU GPL, and have accompanying game information—a world map, game graphics, and so on—released under such a verbatim distribution license. This kind of data can be part of a free system distribution.

Source: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html

I apologize if I caused any trouble. It was not my intent...but now I can add a bit more to the license help guide.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Diarandor on May 18, 2016, 01:01:46 am
Sorry, I misunderstood. You are not causing any trouble. And you are right, CC-BY allows modifications of the logo (I did not remember this and reading so many stuff about licenses confuses a lot).

I did not know that non-commercial data could not be used in free system distributions. So, does that mean that the art I included in the sample quest should not be distributed with the engine too? Maybe we should separate the sample quest from the engine for not having problems with the definition of free system distribution? Also, is solarus really considered a free system distribution?
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Zefk on May 18, 2016, 01:15:01 am
Solarus is under GNU GPLv3 (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi4zsOonuLMAhVR72MKHQOtAJ4QFggdMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gnu.org%2Flicenses%2Fgpl-3.0.en.html&usg=AFQjCNH7LpUmtrHljmxxj2DxbaZqewm5Jw) and it falls into that category. Also, you can have a separate package for your noncommercial assets, but not packaged in Solarus for GPL if it is for non-commercial use. If you added a CC-BY-SA/CC-BY 3.0 (or CC-BY-ND if you do not want people to modify your work), then it would be okay to package with Solarus. As the owner of the material....you can put them under any new license you want or as many different license types.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Diarandor on May 18, 2016, 01:29:03 am
Then, if you are not wrong, the best solution would be either to separate my art from the sample quest (which is included in the distribution), or to separate the sample quest from the engine distribution.

Christopho: what do you think about this? what should be done?
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Christopho on May 18, 2016, 12:09:02 pm
Okay, so CC-BY-NC-SA is non-free and cannot be distributed in the same package as GPL software. Thanks Zefk for the clarification, I was not aware of the problem.

But it would be terrible to separate the sample quest from the engine and editor distribution (especially not from the editor distribution), because the goal is to provide assets to users who create a new quest.
If we separate it, only a few poeple will use it. If it is non-free, it cannot be included in Linux distributions and will get much less visilibity.

Diarandor, I think you should consider switching to a CC-BY-SA license for your art :) First, you told that one day you would want to charge some money for your art. This implies changing the license anyway.
If we put a CC-BY-SA license, not only it will simplify the licensing of the sample quest and Children of Solarus, but more importantly, the art would be free as in freedom, distributed with Solarus: more people will contribute in the end, making awesome games, improving the art again. Just like people contribute to the engine and editor and improve them a lot.
I don't think it is a problem to allow commercial redistributions. If people redistribute existing games for money without modification, it won't work for them, our games are already gratis. If they do some real work and want to charge money, then good for them, and they might as well get something from it. Keep in mind that their buyers will then have maximum freedom, including the right to redistribute for no money what they just purchased.

See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html
"Distributing free software is an opportunity to raise funds for development. Don't waste it!"

Imagine that after the Children of Solarus release, someone makes an Android port and sells Children of Solarus on Google Play. Are they getting illegitimate money by doing that? No, they deserve some compensation, this is some real work. But think about it. If it is good, I will totally buy it. Thanks to GPL and CC-BY-SA, I will also get the source code of their work and the right to redistribute it like I want. So we would redistribute it on the Solarus website, and probably on Google Play under the name "Solarus team", possibly for money. Who benefits more? Solarus!
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Zefk on May 18, 2016, 06:46:20 pm
Quote
Okay, so CC-BY-NC-SA is non-free and cannot be distributed in the same package as GPL software. Thanks Zefk for the clarification, I was not aware of the problem.

I believe GPL should change a little and allow non-commercial art in free distributions. I think it is ridiculous.

Diarandor,

Another thing you can do is make a license of your own allowing non-commercial and commercial use, but require them to pay you if their sells exceed a certain number and to share derivatives. That will be compatible with GPL.

For example,
Diarandor-SA

Diarandor license allows one to use art for commercial and non-commercial uses. If sells exceed [insert number], then you must pay [insert number] for each sell exceeding the selling that number. You must put Diarandor's name in the visible credits or text file linking to his works.

You must also link to the Diarandor website and notify of any changes you make to the art for your game because others are allowed to use your edits or reworks as long as credit to you is given for those modifications.

Also, you can set that you are able to choose or pick [insert number] sprites for free, but must purchase a Diarandor-SA-E (E=extended) at the price of [insert number] for using more sprites.

That type of license would be compatible with GPL because you are allowing commercial and non-commercial use for a free distribution with Solarus.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Diarandor on May 18, 2016, 06:57:12 pm
This is what it says here: http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.en.html

Non-functional Data

Data that isn't functional, that doesn't do a practical job, is more of an adornment to the system's software than a part of it. Thus, we don't insist on the free license criteria for non-functional data. It can be included in a free system distribution as long as its license gives you permission to copy and redistribute, both for commercial and non-commercial purposes. For example, some game engines released under the GNU GPL have accompanying game information—a fictional world map, game graphics, and so on—released under such a verbatim-distribution license. This kind of data can be part of a free system distribution, even though its license does not qualify as free, because it is non-functional.

-------------

So it should be possible to distribute the assets (non-functional data) with non-free licenses with the GPL functional data. If my non-commercial license does not allow it, I will have to find another non-commercial license allowing it.

EDIT: I still don't understand completely the situation since I do not understand what does "distribution" mean in this context. I always thought that the art license was independent of the software and code.

My intention is to keep exclusivity of my graphics keeping them non-commercial, at least until a commercial game is released, just to be sure that I receive some money (I don't mind if it's not that much). My current salary is too low and I need some money to live.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Zefk on May 18, 2016, 07:04:13 pm
The Diarandor-SA  (http://forum.solarus-games.org/index.php/topic,497.msg3197.html#msg3197)example is considered not free, but it is compatible. You still get money if they use too many of your sprites or they exceed certain selling numbers. The loophole is that it is for commercial and non-commercial use.

Edit: Free system distribution refers to the package the GPL work is in. Solarus engine is GPLv3, so anything package inside the archive with Solarus must be for both commercial and non-commercial uses to be considered free distribution.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Diarandor on May 18, 2016, 07:14:37 pm
For example,
Diarandor-SA

Diarandor license allows one to use art for commercial and non-commercial uses. If sells exceed [insert number], then you must pay [insert number] for each sell exceeding the selling that number. You must put Diarandor's name in the visible credits or text file linking to his works.

You must also link to the Diarandor website and notify of any changes you make to the art for your game because others are allowed to use your edits or reworks as long as credit to you is given for those modifications.

Also, you can set that you are able to choose or pick [insert number] sprites for free, but must purchase a Diarandor-SA-E (E=extended)  at the price of [insert number] for using more sprites.

That type of license would be compatible with GPL because you are allowing commercial and non-commercial use.

Yes, some customized license like this is what I need. It is like the one used by the creators of Unity.
I prefer to avoid inventing a license if possible (which is too risky since I am not a lawyer and do not know the consequences), I will make some investigations to see if that license has a known name, and re-license all my art with it.

EDIT: a different solution would be to say that we use a freeware distribution instead of a free one. Although probably Christopho will disagree, so better to forget about this possibility.
Title: Re: Are Zelda items/weapons copyrighted?
Post by: Zefk on May 18, 2016, 07:31:01 pm
You can state in the license that you are not liable for any damages of any kinda done by your art and that they will agree to be held accountable by their countries laws or the country they currently reside in if they illegally use your work in anyway. That way they will not use the...."I am not in your country excuse." At most....you can shutdown their project at no cost, but you might have to go through court to get anything else done. sending them to jail, etc.

Edit: Or as you said....you can find a license that goes by the terms you want, but I do not know much beyond MIT, creative commons, or GPL. I hope I was able to help a little.