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Old August 23, 2017, 02:13   #1
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Question Tileset copyright questions

While playing Z+Angband I've added about 200+ tiles into David Gervais's 32x32 tileset. Many of them were Gervais's modified ones (recolored, with added details, etc.) - but some came from other sources.

It began with minor modifications of the existant tiles: for example, black and soldier ants were almost invisible for my eyes in the wilderness, so I added some lighter dots to cure this. Or jumbled several small tree icons together to make 'impassable jungle' obvious from the first glance. Or removed plank-like texture from 'wooden floor' to make all staves and wands more visible on it.

Then I decided: since I'm playing Zangband versions for more than 10 years from time to time, I could do more for my convenience. And began to make tiles for monsters and items...

The problem was, since I initially didn't think to share this, I didn't much payed attention to copyright. And now, when all items of Z+Angband are pictured, and almost all regular monsters, and many uniques - maybe I could post this for other players use, even though Zangband/Z+Angband aren't very popular recently. But the (c) problems may now interfere...

1. I suppose anyone may modify David Gervais's tiles and use them for any free *band. The same for the tiles taken from the TOME tileset and UT32 by Buzzkill. Correct? Hope so very much, if not - then I forget the whole idea with graphics.

2. What if I take some image, or part of it, from the wide internet and modify it so heavily that no one could guess what it was before? It was a rather frequent case when I needed only a general form. When you reduce an image like from 500x500 to 32x32 in a simple graphic editor (I use irfanview) - it becomes a vague dirty smudge, and you need to draw new borders manually, and many details like facial features, or limbs, or like that. Here is an example: I used a rose bud for Caaws, because it's described as 'a massive, jet black oyster with four groping tendrils.' So I visualised something bud-like, and googled a bit and found this bud. And used the overall shape of its outer petals in the Caaws tile:

How do you think: is it ok to include such tiles into a public tileset for Zangband?

(BTW what is a Caaws, anyway? ))

3. If the image is recognizable even though it is heavily reduced, borders and other lines added (say it is not a fantasy beast made from a rose bud, but a small kraken made from a big kraken). What must I do to make this legitimate (at least in the eyes of you fellows who are into *banding : )) ? Is it ok if I give all the credits in the readme file with the 32x32.bmp - or I need to ask for explicite permission?

4. A couple of times I happened to use pictures without reducing, almost the same as I found them. In this case, I suppose, there is no way other than writing to the arter and asking permission. If I get the refusal - I delete the tile from the set. And what if the email were not answered? Do I have to remove this tile also, or maybe a credit in the readme file would do the trick?

What do you think about these four points?

Last edited by Snarka; August 23, 2017 at 02:31.
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Old August 23, 2017, 02:53   #2
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You're asking for legal advice on the Internet, which is always a fraught process. Copyright law is also super-complicated. I'd say (with the caveat that I Am Not A Lawyer, and This Is Not Legal Advice) the only way you could be confident that you're safe would be to get written permission from each person whose work you adapted to use the works in the manner you want. Otherwise, statistically speaking probably nobody will notice or care, and if they do they'd be mollified by you agreeing to remove their content from the tileset. But there's always the chance they'd decide to sue, and then you're in a legal minefield. Fair use does exist, but there's no easy metric for if a work is sufficiently transformative and selective in its sampling to qualify as fair use. That's the kind of thing the courts generally have to decide.
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Old August 23, 2017, 04:43   #3
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Thank you!

Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
probably nobody will notice or care, and if they do they'd be mollified by you agreeing to remove their content from the tileset.
Oh, I've forgot about such an option entirely. Thanks a lot, this makes things a bit easier : ))

I'll probably ask permission from a couple of arters. For other cases I'll write the general disclaimer that I'll to immediately remove anything the author wishes. Suppose this would be ok, since the probability of real problems seems to be tiny. Also from moral point of view it seems acceptable too: I sincerely hope such usage is ok, if not - I'm always ready to make things right.
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