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  Sprite Modification  (Read 1609 times)
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Offline kevglass

« JGO Spiffy Duke »

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Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer

« Posted 2005-05-10 09:12:52 »

Probably a dumb question, but..

I've based some sprites that I want to use off some sprite rips from an amiga game. I've done a fair bit of work in reshaping, recolouring and tidying them up. How far away from the original do sprites have to be before you can use them?

I mean, if I were to just draw a guy with a gun now that looked a bit like the guy from Doom and use it, would I be infringing their copyright/IP?


Offline ryanm

Senior Devvie

Projects: 1
Exp: 15 years

Used to be bleb

« Reply #1 - Posted 2005-05-10 09:49:55 »

That sound like something that could turn into a horrenodous wishy-washy "look and feel" legal case where the only winners would be lawyers.

You could try contacting, if possible, whoever owns the copywrite and asking if they mind. It's unlikely that the income is feeding their family or anything.
Offline Markus_Persson

JGO Wizard

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Mojang Specifications

« Reply #2 - Posted 2005-05-10 13:12:15 »

Last I heard, you need to make the image totally from scratch, or you're just making a derivative work. That's usually not ok unless you manage to claim that it falls under "fair use" somehow.

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Offline kevglass

« JGO Spiffy Duke »

Medals: 272
Projects: 25
Exp: 18 years

Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer

« Reply #3 - Posted 2005-05-10 13:16:20 »

Oh, write the game anyway, just don't attempt to make any money and let what will be, be.

Thanks for the responses,


Offline tonberry1

Junior Devvie

« Reply #4 - Posted 2005-05-11 06:22:20 »

Last I heard, you need to make the image totally from scratch, or you're just making a derivative work.

How does the copyright laws go in the other countries (or internationally)?

I mean here (Finland) it is counted as your work if you modify someone else's work enough or combine some other people's creatings into something new.

Do those differ from the international/usa/uk laws?

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Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder

Medals: 1

« Reply #5 - Posted 2005-05-11 06:43:09 »

Copyright law in UK (and, IIRC, US) is just like that: more about whether the work is a "new" piece of art in its own right. A mere derivative work would be one that was clearly not new in its own right.

For instance, changing Sonic from blue to red is not a new work, it's just an existing work with some "tweaking".

However, making a blue hedgehog with spikey hair that goes sideways and with little beady black eyes and muscley legs would be a new work - even if it is clearly "inspired by" sonic. Of course, then they'd want to hit you with trademark laws if they felt your hedgehog could be "confused with" theirs for being too similar.

Usually, if you make your work from scratch, copying what the original did, but because you're NOT tracing yours looks different (stylistically; the curves are different curvature etc because you couldn't do an exact copy), then you're fine. Modulo other issues (e.g. TM law as noted).

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Offline digitprop

Junior Devvie

« Reply #6 - Posted 2005-05-11 08:09:01 »


Oh, write the game anyway, just don't attempt to make any money and let what will be, be.

Personally I would strongly recommend AGAINST such a strategy. Not making money out of a possibly IP-infringing project does not protect you from prosecution AT ALL. There are enough IP holders and lawyers out there who would pursue any infringement, no matter if there is money involved or not.

Even worse, with no revenues, any prosecution will hit you much harder.

All in all, considering the massive amount of work that goes into developing a game (even a non-commercial one), I would take the additional time it takes to generate IP-free artwork. If artwork is very important to you, it would be a good idea to associate with an artist or find open source artwork.

M. Fischer .
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder

Got any cats?

« Reply #7 - Posted 2005-05-11 19:43:00 »

I am not a lawyer and this does not count as legal advice.
It is illegal in the united states for anyone not licensed as a lawyer to give legal advice.

Okay now that thats otut of the way, I AM a reasonably knwoledgeable amature havign grown up in an Ip household and havign ahd a long standing inetrest  in the area of IP law.

What you are asking about, under US law, falls into the cetagory of derivitive work.  If you add new work to an existing work then, what work you add is yours so long as it is significant.  What remains of the old work is copyright to the original copyright holder in so long as it is significant.

What is "sgnificant" is up to the courts, so the short answer is that there is no answer prior to a law-suit for a case like yours as to whether a work is considered wholly new or derivative.

Copyrights in a derivative work are seperate to each party such that neither party can legally copy or destribute the derivative work without the others consent.

Note that there is nothing in the law about 'for profit'.  This is a common misunderstanding.  Profit *may* weigh into the damages awared after a Copyright violation has been determiend but play *no* part in the determination of whether the violation has ocurred.

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