Game art: modified buildings from photos. Issues?

Discuss game development design and post your game ideas

Post » Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:20 pm

This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
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Post » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:35 pm

Thanks for all the replies, people.

I can't create all these photo realistic assets myself. That's why I need to use photos.

Securing the license to use a photo shouldn't be a problem. It's mainly the subjects/landmarks on these images that I'm worried about. It could be necessary to get some sort of agreement or usage right from the city in which they reside. Example: there could be a problem with me using a photo of the Statue of Liberty and saying it's the bad guy's secret base. :) NY might not like it, I don't know. I wonder what they do with these issues in movies.

If I can modify the subjects enough to the point where it's considered a new piece of art and different enough so it's obvious it's not the Statue of Liberty anymore under the law, I could be fine too and it would be much easier.

I guess only a lawyer with a good knowledge of the video game industry will provide a defitive answer.

Thanks again, C2 users.
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Post » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:37 pm

You can get a lawyer, but he/she will tell you what you've already been told here. You have a good idea to secure licenses first, that obviously makes sense and is ALWAYS the safest route. But just modifying without permission is, as I've said, a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I speak from two decades of experience in Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents, and I do hold several of my own so I am more than certain of this situation.
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Post » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:57 am

The Dev, I know what you are talking about. While I cant point to a source I have heard numbers being thrown around like that.

Its very subjective, but I think the 50% rule is another way of saying 'sufficiently different'. So if you took inspiration from a source and made it sufficiently different you would no longer need to worry.
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Post » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:45 am

MrMiller:
I can't agree more with you and thanks for the additional info. Like I said, my intention is not to just pickup any photo and modify it without asking. I want to use copyright-free/royalty-free photos of landmarks/objects of which I want to change the appearance so that they aren't easily recognizable.

It's the subject in the picture that matters here, not photo copyright. :)
Do you know if you must ask, say, NY to use the Statue of Liberty as part of a game's story? Or London for BigBen?

Genki:
Thanks for the tip. I'll further my investigation tomorrow. I'll call a lawyer's firm to be sure about the landmark recognition issue. And for sure I won't use copyrighted photos and modify them and hope it'll be ok. I just hope this "rule" applies to the likeliness of public buildings and landmarks.

I mean I don't even want to use super popular landmarks, just some building from some city.

TheDev2012-10-08 01:45:24
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Post » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:49 am

There is no copyright on public buildings. You can put the statue of liberty or the eiffel tower wherever you want. Even if there was any hint of copyright on any of them, it has long since fell into public domain.

Photos, on the other hand, are very different, but if you use them as inspiration or draw on top of them or something, who can say what photo you used?
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Post » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:19 pm

I jump partially on topic, there's a Creative Commons attribution license, which is NOT a noncommercial license right? so if something is cc attribution you CAN use it in a commercial project right? what's the deal with jamendo that has downloadable music licensed with cc attribution, but in the download dialog they have the "free download for non commercial projects". so can I or can't I use it in commercial game?
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