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Question about Screenshots on this site?

Discussion in 'About EntropiaPlanets' started by Wistrel, May 22, 2017.

  1. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    OK so a bit of a random one. I attended a copyright talk today and then did a little reading around the internet on the subject of using screenshots of games and,... well I found a few different ideas on the subject. The final outcome really is "it depends" and essentially what that means depends on the legal challenge precedents really as and when they occur.

    So thought I'd throw this one open here. Picking you guys because I know you and am betting you know something of this stuff already. Starting from the point that you are running a forum with the name Entropia in the title (ok that isn't owned by MA) and that you use images taken from the game Entropia Universe to promote the site. The site brings in an income as it is monetised (although probably there is no money "made").

    So yeh... what do people know of the rules round these things. Also what happens if someone posts a screenshot or say a story or creative work they made here?

    Amusingly one of the funny things is that people who change screenshots can be considered to be creating derivative works. (So guns at Jamira there. Amusingly McCormick is fine because he tends to parody MA and that is OK).

    Btw still reading around on this so don't shoot me for asking or starting the discussion. I've not even checked what the EULA says yet.

    Wistrel
     
  2. Tass

    Tass Administrator

    We are safe. There's rarely any country in the world that doesn't allow what we do. Swedish copyright laws are known to be especially "liberal" respectively "liberally" executed. And especially for screenshots or images in general there have been numerous precedential cases, many of which evolving around what search engines and various directories are doing.

    While in the end each and every image (or anything else from a copyrighted work) is actually a single case to investigate a general rule of thumb can be derived from the US fair use policy, for example these 4 major factors:
    • the impact of the use of the copyrighted material on the market value of the work (one could argue that our use does even increase the value of EU)
    • the amount of the used material in relation to the whole copyright work (in our case a tiny amount, one could argue not even of the actual work which is an interactive medium while we use static images)
    • the status/type/nature of the copyrighted work
    • the use of the copyrighted material (we don't sell anything, copyrighted material is used for educational purpose and commentary on the subject)
    MindArk's policy regarding use of their copyrighted work is something we can guess too, for example from their display of Entropia Universe live streams by players of the game via a 3rd party live streaming platform on the Entropia Universe website.

    As for content created on EntropiaPlanets which most likely will be text in posts or on wiki pages the line from our footer applies:

    If not specified otherwise all content created for EntropiaPlanets is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

    That's as close as you can get to making all content available for "community use" while leaving the ultimate decision to the original creator, imo the way it should be. Unfortunately the majority of sites claim ownership and copyright of the content contributed by the community in order to commercially exploit it. And I find it weird that people still contribute content to such sites, simply working for someone else's profit without getting paid. I wonder if people would flip burgers in a fast food restaurant they like several hours a week without getting paid.

    And guessed correctly, the site is monetized but the revenues from that do only cover a tiny fraction of the costs :)

    An interesting situation related to copyright and the use of community created content emerged when MindArk bought PCF, or to be precise the PCF community content, as they did own the domain already. And of course they were the copyright owner of much of the content. They've paid an insane amount of money, multiple times the value of the site, they've payed for content created by the community, they've paid with money deposited by the community. One could conclude that MA obviously feels more obliged to the profit of members of their buddy network than to their shareholders, partners or players.
     
  3. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    Thanks Tass - some very good and informative answers and indeed seems to fit with things I've seen elsewhere. I've been reading through the ToU and EULA and what not too. From what I can see MA are very careful (rightly so) about stuff relating to participant content created in world or uploaded. The two are dealt with differently. They also are specific about files and what not that make up Entropia. For example forbidding people to use bits of what essentially constitutes the Entropia universe download for random whateverness. So you can't nick off with their sound files or models or textures say and put them in your own game, or decompile their code and use it in your own project just to give a few examples.

    In terms of stuff created in game, if it is a virtual item, say a nice shirt, it belongs to MA. In terms of stuff you upload into the game (say images) you grant MA a licence to do whatever they like with it within the context of Entropia and stuff relating to Entropia. You retain ownership though i.e. MA doesn't steal your pretty picture you drew but they are allowed to use it.

    Regarding screenshots. I couldn't actually find anything from MA about them so I'm guessing it is fair game that if you take it, you own it. After all, it isn't a virtual item in game, it's a set of pixels stored on your computer, the internet, or printed out.

    Certainly an interesting one and indeed you are right that all things need to be looked at individually. In a more general (non MA) sense I feel there is a variety of difference depending on the game being screenshot-ed or even what is being captured.

    To take a historic look at this. If you have a screenshot of pacman, it would be very hard to argue that you brought any original creativity to the production of that image so there is little for you to claim ownership of. All screenshots would be almost identical to the work created by the original programmer. It would be very easy for the programmer to reproduce the screenshot too.

    Now lets say jump forward a bit to Tombraider 2013. If you took a screenshot of say, the launch page or a cut scene this is essentially the same as creating a still from a movie. Anyone could create the same still with a bit of appropriate timing. You are exactly replicating an image (movie/cut scene still) of something that someone already created.

    But what if you take a screenshot of somewhere where you have free reign of the scene content, the framing, the timing, the lighting the angle, the weather and so forth. You could create something quite different (a dramatic image say) from the 3d model created by SquareEnix. It may also, be quite difficult (depending on how many variables are at play) for SquareEnix to reproduce that same image off their own bat.

    Compare this to someone who builds a RL model or a building. A photographer could produce some quite stunning images of it but the person who owns the building doesn't own the photo even though it has their creation in it. In the same way the manufacturer of Indiana Jones' hat can't claim ownership of any scenes in the Indiana Jones movies where he wears that hat.

    Well, these are my muses on the matter anyhow.

    Wistrel
     
  4. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    Incidentally, so am I right that CC BY SA means, if someone wants to use the content here, they need to a) credit the author and b) reproduce the same licence with the content?

    Meaning say, if someone wanted to publish a book about the musings of Jamira they could essentially rip off all the Cigarette posts so long as they credit them as coming from here and reproduce the same licence?

    TBH I'm not too keen on that. I sort of feel I'm ok with say something like what MA do with uploaded images into the game i.e. if you do so you give them a licence to do as they please with it within certain Entropia related restrictions.

    Similarly I'd be down with my content being usable by EP because I like EP. I'm no sure sure I'm happy with someone else being able to go publish it on the grounds that they say thanks and tell everyone that if they want to do the same they just have to say thanks too.

    I see you do say "if not specified otherwise" I might need to maybe look at doing that in some places.

    Wistrel
     
  5. Jamira

    Jamira Samurai Girl

    An interesting and very important issue. In the past it was pretty easy to handle it and relatively clear how to. The internet changed a lot.

    We have different rules meanwhile all over the world. But the internet don't know nothing about borders and national rules. It'll become harder and harder to judge such issues.

    As "My Four Cigarettes" was mentioned already I have to admit that there is no rights of use. Yes, it is my content. But it's not protected. Meanwhile it's kind of a label for me. But it's by far not unique. See this:
    https://genius.com/Malcolm-middleton-four-cigarettes-lyrics
    Neither me nor old Malcom can claim any right on it.

    Providers of online-games (MA) show content to public. Published screenshots - even processed - can be used for everything as long as they are used for private purpose only. Selling posters with such pictures without permission by the creator is forbidden.

    In Germany the law says: An artist or crafter may use the work of someone else to make his own artwork. That's really tricky. From wich point on is artwork independant of the origin? Often hard to decide. I once asked MA about grabbing 3d scenes. They gave me permission for private purpose only. Okay, but what would happen when I do some artwork with the grabbed material? In fact it would be MY artwork. At least in Germany.

    In Germany we differ in "Urheberrecht" (copyright) and "Nutzungsrecht" (rights of use). The copyright is indefeasible. The rights of use can be bought by contract either unlimited or for a limited time or a limited number or whatever. So when I agree to contract of using a forum, it may happen, that I agree that all my posts (words, pictures, 3d content) can be used by the owners of the forum. That doesn't include the right to use it by someone else. EP can use "My Four Cigarettes". Wistrel can't. EP and I have a contract. Wistrel and I don't have a contract. But I don't gave exclusive rights of use to EP. If Wistrel would ask for rights of use of "My Four Cigarettes" we could make another contract and Wistrel could use it.

    Sometimes it becomes really tricky. When I made the Monria Appartment Towers as 3d models I worked for a customer (not a planet partner!) of MA. MA took my models and placed them at Monria. I didn't sign any contract. Nothing. That means no exclusiveness - neither for MA nor Akoz. I can sell the rights of use of these models over and over again.
     
  6. NotAdmin

    NotAdmin Administrator

    That might not be entirely true.

    The PP contracts at least stated something along the lines of any content provided by a PP would remain theirs to use for a set period of time, after which it then would become fair game for all PPs. I don't recall seeing any clauses about content needing to be exclusive to EU, but something tells me I would probably not be allowed to become a PP and supply models I bought off of the Unity Asset Store.
     
  7. Jamira

    Jamira Samurai Girl

    Akoz wasn't a PP. Monria is something like a landarea XXL. I gave unlimited permission for use to Akoz but not exclusive rights of use. It is still my work and I can do with it whatever I want. Same rule for Akoz ... well, I don't know wich kind of contract he made with MA. But I could give or sell my models to everyone who asks me. MA was not my contractual partner. Vice versa: To be precise, MA isn't allowed to use my models for other purposes. If they want to give these models to PP they have to ask me for permission.
     
  8. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    That might not be entirely true.The PP contracts at least stated something along the lines of any content provided by a PP would remain theirs to use for a set period of time, after which it then would become fair game for all PPs.

    Really? Interesting.... so we could see stuff from other planets being copied and start originating in new ways from other planets. Are PP contracts available to the public? I'd be interested to see what they say and some details on this.

    I don't recall seeing any clauses about content needing to be exclusive to EU, but something tells me I would probably not be allowed to become a PP and supply models I bought off of the Unity Asset Store.

    While this might be the case it would be very Pot Kettle Black as MA bought in all sorts of models and in game assets over the years. If you have the cash to afford a set of assets from the unity store I can't really see what the difference is between this and paying your own staff to create things from scratch

    As "My Four Cigarettes" was mentioned already I have to admit that there is no rights of use. Yes, it is my content. But it's not protected. Meanwhile it's kind of a label for me. But it's by far not unique. See this:

    https://genius.com/Malcolm-middleton-four-cigarettes-lyrics
    Neither me nor old Malcom can claim any right on it.

    I'd say while the title isn't unique and potentially even borrowed, the content posted is.

    Providers of online-games (MA) show content to public. Published screenshots - even processed - can be used for everything as long as they are used for private purpose only. Selling posters with such pictures without permission by the creator is forbidden.

    I do wonder. If you sold a poster with the Entropia logo on then sure. Or maybe some of MA's artwork posters or the screenshots they post on their website or even one of the pics from the loading screen. A screenshot you take yourself of non fixed content though I am less sure about and MA do not prohibit in any of their user agreements (that I've yet to find). I'm not even sure if, from a legal standpoint, they could prohibit it (which might be why they don't).

    To play devils advocate then, if selling screenshots is prohibited because it makes money then so to should be EP's use of them to make their (revenue generating) website look nicer. In theory it should be then disallowed in the same way that say using the Entropia Universe logo/typeface/trademark is probably not allowed.

    I once asked MA about grabbing 3d scenes. They gave me permission for private purpose only. Okay, but what would happen when I do some artwork with the grabbed material? In fact it would be MY artwork. At least in Germany.

    Yup the EULA etc make the point that they have the right to change their mind about various points in the EULA. So in this case, normally they explicitly say no you can't use in game assets but here they gave you permission to so within certain limits. I think (in the EULA/TOU) they normally forbid creation of derivative works from game assets (I'd need to double check) so, unless they granted you an extra exception on that one, the rule would still apply. Yes if you nicked the chirpy model and made MECHACHIRPY it would be yours... but you perhaps "broke the law" to create it. Would it be fair to say this would be like robbing a gold vault, melting the gold and carving a work of art statue out of it? Yes it is your art, but it wasn't your canvas you painted it on :D I wonder about my term "broke the law" too. What I'm thinking is that MA can write all this stuff about what is allowed and not allowed in the EULA etc but what can they actually do if someone breaks the rules? Number 1 on the list, and the one that keeps 99.9% of people towing the line is that MA can legally close or suspend the offender's account. Anything after that would require a lawsuit and it would have to be worth it/be likely to succeed in a prosecution. Most of the time I'd say this won't be the case.

    So when I agree to contract of using a forum, it may happen, that I agree that all my posts (words, pictures, 3d content) can be used by the owners of the forum. That doesn't include the right to use it by someone else. EP can use "My Four Cigarettes". Wistrel can't. EP and I have a contract. Wistrel and I don't have a contract.

    If understood it right though, unless you make that clear i.e. that you are granting rights to EP only (presumably somewhere near your content), if you post here, you release the content as CC BY SA by default because that is what is written at the bottom of the forum. If they didn't have that, I think the legal assumed default is "all rights reserved". i.e. you do not grant permission for anyone to use it beyond what you already used it for (to create a nice post on a forum). They can't copy that post or derive anything from it for example unless they contact you for permission.

    But I don't gave exclusive rights of use to EP. If Wistrel would ask for rights of use of "My Four Cigarettes" we could make another contract and Wistrel could use it.

    Not exclusive rights no, but if I understand the CC BY SA thing right (can anyone clarify?), because you posted it here and didn't specify otherwise, the content has been released as CC BY SA and therefore I can copy it, modify it and/or sell it so long as I maintain the original licence and credit you with creating the original work.

    Sometimes it becomes really tricky. When I made the Monria Appartment Towers as 3d models I worked for a customer (not a planet partner!) of MA. MA took my models and placed them at Monria. I didn't sign any contract. Nothing. That means no exclusiveness - neither for MA nor Akoz. I can sell the rights of use of these models over and over again.

    This is interesting. My guess then in this case, in theory the monria appartment copyright is owned by you with all rights reserved. I'd imagine one would likely argue that you have granted MA/Akoz a licence to use it to whatever extent could be best inferred by common sense given the actions taken by you at the time. Since there was nothing official stated though, MA trying to, for example, claim they have an exclusive licence would be a bit hard for them to hope to convince anyone of.

    Taking a wild guess, the extent of non specified rights would maybe be retro decided by looking at precedents for MA using UGC created outside of the game. I'm thinking of that screenshot competition I entered a while back where I'm fairly certain MA told everyone who entered that their work might be used by them in creating promotional content. In my case they used one of my screenshots to derive the "Tired of Killing monsters and not getting paid?" bumper stickers.

    Anyhow all interesting stuff. I'm enjoying having a good old think about this stuff.

    Cheers
    Wistrel
     
  9. Jamira

    Jamira Samurai Girl

    Ha ha! Yes, there is a difference between the juridical and the real world. I give a shit on what happens to all the things I made or wrote. And I agree with you that a small delinquency wouldn't end up in a lawsuite. And that's good. At least I didn't granted MA anything. I didn't deal with them. I just dealt with Akoz. And Akoz couldn't transfer any rights to a third party like MA. I was the artist, Akoz was my customer. MA just allowed Akoz to place the content he bought from me at the platform they offered. They have no rights regarding my models. Zero. But hey, I left the game years ago. Even if they would claim any rights because of what bullshit ever ... I wouldn't care. I can't remember when I logged in last time. If they would lock my account I wouldn't notice.
    :beerchug:

    Back on topic: screenshots.
    An online RPG is like a country or a city. You can walk through the landscape and streets and take photos and publish them. IRL you may sell them. That's because there is no one who "made" the real world, no creator. This is the difference. The game was made by a company for commercial purpose. Conjoined with costs.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
  10. ain't no one going to come after you with lawyers unless they have money to make from you... That having been said, some companies other than Mindark are harsh and will chase you off of the internet if you got pics of their stuff. Never will forget about how Ford forced a cease and desist on some silly random photo I had posted on turbosquid once... I don't even think I had a price on it so it was free, lol. The car wasn't even the main focus of the pic... the weird clouds in the background was... I think the car took up less than 1/5 of the mid-ground... but they got that puppy yanked off of the internet real fast. Want some lawyer letters, make yourself some photos and 3d models of cars. :)
     
  11. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    To carry on the debate just for fun I can't help feeling that someone did make the real world, especially buildings in towns and cities or tourist attractions. Often there is a commercial cost too. To pick a prime example. Disney land. A whole lot of money invested in making pretty things that people want to see and take photos of and they are in it for the money, nothing more. But disney land want to make their money though visitors and rides and food and extras and what not. So they don't charge for photos. MA are comparatively the same. They make Entropia to encourage people to come and play and spend money. Hopefully they are not fussed on screenshots.

    The place where this doesn't compare is natural surroundings IRL. Here truely no one did make them. That said though often nature reserves are maintained or managed by someone so in that case there is at least some investment that needs to be recouped.
     
  12. RAZER

    RAZER Custom title ... uh ...

    If I remember correctly you can not use any picture of the Atomium in Brussels for any commurcial venture. I have heard stories of websites that revies cities for tourists got asked to remove the images of the Atomium.

    If you want to know more, it is called Freedom of Panorama and as you can see on the map on that page, you can not just use a picture of everything for your business.

    Freedom_of_Panorama_world_map.svg.
     
  13. NotAdmin

    NotAdmin Administrator

    Yup. The same applies to systems. So if Arkadia for example thinks up am archaeology system, MA codes it, and the first period of time, that system will be exclusive to Arkadia. After a certain time (and that time period can differ between PPs, depending on how good they negotiated), however, other planets can get the same system.

    Oh, and no, contracts are under NDA. Luckily I never signed one of those (not for/with MA, anyway).
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2017

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