About copyright



Can we use material that could be copyrighted if the only use is for learning?

For example a background image or a music?


As far as I understand it, the moment you distribute a work that contains copyrighted material you have infringed on the copyright, even if it is free. I’d avoid using any copyrighted material especially since there are many places to get CC licenced material.


It’s quite interesting this subject, for example, Windows 10 comes with game recording capabilities so that you can record your game play and upload. The models, textures, fonts, logos and so on would all be copyright, but the owners seem ok with this, presumably because you are effectively advertising their game for them - and no one is getting to really re-use it - although, if you were running a gaming site, charging a subscription to members for regular updates and so on I would suggest there would be an issue.

So, on this basis, if I was to use all of the original Space Invaders sounds, imagery, level design, logos and general artwork, used it all for a version of Laser Defender, but rather than distributing that game for someone else to play (based on the learning element only of the course) I was to screen record my own computer and upload that - would that be ok?

Sorry, I think I just entered meltdown!

I think there are some obvious answers to specific copyright questions/issues, but then there are a lot of grey areas also. In addition to @wesley’s advice above, you could also try to get hold of the owners of the copyright material and ask them directly. I’m sure if you will do you will get a few that a) don’t bother responding at all b) some that respond and just point blank say no c) some that want to charge a fee - but then you may just get the odd one, perhaps, that says yes, as long as it isn’t for resale/profit and only for the explicit use you have defined.

Probably a whole lot easier to just find the creative commons materials, make your own - or - ask on these very forums! There are a variety of very talented people here who may be able to offer their skills for audio, graphics, modelling and so on, who knows… why not check out the #lounge:collaborate when you’re ready :slight_smile:


Recording games falls under something called Fair Use, where you are taking something someone else produced and using it to create something completely different. Using the original sounds would be a violation of copyright. These things are a mess… In general, just use stuff you know is licensed for free usage, or public domain, etc.


Be aware… the “fair use” concept doesn’t apply to all countries or even the most other countries than USA. And recording gameplay (and for example voice over it as lets player) is not “creating something completely different”. That’s why Nintendo claims lets play videos with their content to get the ad-money from it.

In most cases this is just “allowed without giving explicit rights to publish”, so IP owners can get you anytime they want.


Its best you just never release it. I know for the class I have already infringed on it, but as for learning I don’t really care. I don’t see Bandai Namco sending me a CND for using their animes images in a game I made for a course.


Fair enough. I’m not entirely sure Nintendo’s let’s play wouldn’t fall under Fair Use, it hasn’t been tested in court, so… Still, be careful! https://iplsrutgers.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/do-lets-play-videos-constitute-fair-use/


It depends on the material. I would say to keep within the spirit of the class in sharing things online, you should only use free materials since you’ll be posting it online and sharing it.

Although it would be hard to show damages, you’re still in violation of copyright unless you have an explicit permission. At the very least we are doing gamebucket.io a favor by avoiding take down notices.

Fair use is the only thing that covers use of copyrighted material but that wouldn’t apply to game development a tall. So just don’t do it.