Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

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Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

Postby Aero » Fri May 08, 2020 6:54 pm

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From the outset, this guide is not intended to provide detailed legal information. This is an overview of copyright, digital rights, at a glance and how they relate to SMBX for when one wants to implement assets into projects and publish them in a responsible way. The "Is it Fair Use?" question is intentionally not discussed because it is case-by-case and the main point of this guide is to explain protections in place and how to treat works regardless of Fair Use being applicable.

Overview

What are assets?
Anything that is used as a resource can be called an asset. Graphics, music, sounds, scripts, art, writing, or anything else along those lines can be used as an asset for one's project.

Ownership
An asset is owned by its author upon completion. When one creates a completed tangible work then the author has the copyright automatically. It is up to the author who may use their work and how it may be used. Copyright law has some variation internationally as there is no international copyright law to be applied. It is common for all rights to be reserved which means that the owner of the copyrighted work reserves all the rights granted under copyright law.

Permissions and Licensing
One should always ask the copyright holder for permission to use their work in a derivative work. When permission is granted you are given license to use the work on the terms of the license that has been agreed to. Usage of a copyrighted work without permission or outside of the terms of a license is called copyright infringement.

Public domain, Creative Commons, and Copyleft
A copyleft license uses copyright law to enforce a license that allows freedom of distribution for copies and modifications of a work. Public domain contains all of the works that are not under copyright. These are two distinct areas that a work may fall under. Creative commons allows for a copyright license to be public and may have attribution (give credit), share alike (copyleft), non-commercial, or no derivative (no alterations) stipulations that should be adhered to. This gives the public permission to use a work - and only permission within the scope of its license alone - for their own use.

Free Software
Free software is any software that lets you (1) run a program as you wish, (2) see the source code and make modifications to study the program, (3) redistribute copies, (4) redistribute modified copies of the program. This is not to be confused with freeware which is any program that is free as in price. SMBX was originally freeware, but could not exist as it is today without free software. PGE, LunaLua, and the release of SMBX's source code under the MIT license made the game free software by respecting the FSF's four essential freedoms that define free software. Free software powers the SMBX website and the forums too! Using free software means that one is free to use software as they wish without outside restrictions. Proprietary software, or when an essential freedom is missing, imposes limitations on users. Software choice should be carefully considered given the choice between proprietary and free software. The FSF has further information about free software licenses here: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/licenses.html


SMBX Assets

Application
Every original work one makes is protected by copyright law and this applies to assets made for SMBX. Anyone can reserve their rights, or choose a license agreement for their SMBX content. Releasing a derivative work under a license that contradicts the copyright of the original work is not protected and constitutes copyright infringement. If no license is available it is to be treated as all rights reserved. Every tangible thing that can be used in SMBX is covered by these concepts.

Obtaining assets
Assets can be obtained from several sources. The LunaLua, and Graphics forums contain scripts and graphics respectively for use in SMBX. Permission should still be requested to use assets in one's levels and projects. Outside of the SMBX community there is no shortage of content to be found. Spriter's Resource contains sprites that can be utilized - as long as permission is granted and followed - for customized graphics. Music can be found in a variety of sites, and in the public domain or with creative commons licenses too! The Newgrounds audio portal contains all sorts of content with licensing terms that are readily available! Assets can be downloaded, and enter a project resource pool to benefit one's creativity and also respecting other creators' work.

Further exploring
Music Communities
Free Music Archive
Open Game Art
Free Software license commentary

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Re: Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

Postby Eri7 » Sat May 09, 2020 5:38 am

I don't know if most people were able to understand what this topic is saying but people have the abillity to start suing each other over the usage of copyright material(Such as assets like graphics, scripts and etc.) for people who are not given permission. (As far as I know from my conversation with Aero)
So better be careful, this is a topic that should be taken very seriously.

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Re: Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

Postby mechamind » Sat May 09, 2020 2:28 pm

Of the Creative Commons licenses, CC-BY-ND (no derivative) never made any sense to me as a "creative" license because it basically means that the work must be left as it is. Even just having a video game character walk around with the unaltered work in the background can still be considered an alteration. CC-BY-ND really doesn't fall in the same category as the other licenses.

At least CC-BY-NC (non-commercial) allows creativity as long as they're not for commercial use.
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Re: Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

Postby FanofSMBX » Tue May 12, 2020 6:47 pm

So uh... people are supposed to ask Nintendo before making SMBX episodes?

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Re: Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

Postby cato » Tue May 12, 2020 10:34 pm

FanofSMBX wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 6:47 pm
So uh... people are supposed to ask Nintendo before making SMBX episodes?
I think people are supposed to credit others if they use their graphic pack/scripts.

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Re: Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

Postby Aero » Tue May 12, 2020 11:44 pm

FanofSMBX wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 6:47 pm
So uh... people are supposed to ask Nintendo before making SMBX episodes?
Aero wrote: One should always ask the copyright holder for permission to use their work in a derivative work.
Nintendo Corporate Info wrote: source
May I use Nintendo games/music/graphics/web site contents?


We appreciate the interest in Nintendo and in all our video game products. To us, it represents a great sign of success and recognition of the Nintendo brand.

"Nintendo" is a registered trademark of Nintendo of America Inc. Nintendo owns extensive intellectual property rights in all of its products, including video game systems, game titles, characters, game software, graphics, artwork, and screen shots. Nintendo also retains rights in content on Nintendo's web sites, including articles, artwork, screen shots and other files. Trademarks and copyrights for third-party games and characters are owned by the companies that market or license those products.

While we are grateful for all the requests for permission to use Nintendo properties, we are not able to grant such requests. We receive thousands of requests and we do not have adequate staffing to review them all. Therefore, our general policy is to decline requests for permission for the use of Nintendo properties.

Although we are not able to grant permission, use of Nintendo's properties without formal permission by Nintendo may still be allowed under the relevant laws of the particular jurisdiction involved. Thus, we encourage you to seek your own legal counsel if you have any questions about whether your particular proposed use is permitted without Nintendo's authorization. Nintendo cannot provide legal advice.

We appreciate your support.
What you should get from this guide is how copyright works, how to check for permissions, and be nudged to only use work that you have received permission to use to respect an author's work. This seems like you're about to rehash the SMBX legality argument, and this isn't the venue for that.

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Re: Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

Postby Darkonius Mavakar » Wed May 13, 2020 5:09 am

I'll just say this, Nintendo only goes after:

-Remakes of commercial products
-Monetized fangames
-Monetized romhacks (and roms in general cos it's inherently piracy)

Please don't believe all the "nintendo bad hate fangames" rumors and clout chasing tweets you see around
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Re: Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

Postby Idunn » Wed May 13, 2020 12:15 pm

What grinds my gears, is that People always do jump on the "Nintendo hates fangames and should be more like Sega"

I mean, if you have the knowledge and everything why not try creating your own stuff? That way you are a lot more out of the grey zone of getting a c&d.
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Re: Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

Postby Cedur » Wed May 13, 2020 3:10 pm

I heard once that if you can't reach out to a creator (because they left long ago), you can use their stuff and give credit without asking for permission. Is this still valid?
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Re: Understanding Copyright, Licenses, and Applications to SMBX

Postby Aero » Wed May 13, 2020 5:36 pm

Darkonius Mavakar wrote:Please don't believe all the "nintendo bad hate fangames" rumors and clout chasing tweets you see around
Yeah, that kind of thing isn't what this topic is for. There's a general lack of awareness of the basics of how copyright works, and people don't really know their rights or Nintendo's rights and that has negative consequences including that behavior.
Cedur wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 3:10 pm
I heard once that if you can't reach out to a creator (because they left long ago), you can use their stuff and give credit without asking for permission. Is this still valid?
It depends on the country but these are called "orphan works" and they're handled differently. Different countries have different frameworks to deal with the issue of orphan works.


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