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Subject: Is it ethical to 'borrow' art work? rss

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Terry Kirk
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As i am yet to have the art assets for my game to be created i decided to borrow some from Deviantart so i could print some mockups to photograph.

I have messaged the owner of each image I wanted to borrow, and out of 30, only 2 have replied.

I explained in the messages i would credit them for their work

Both said yes, which is fantastic, but it is a lot of work to contact so many people. In regards to the ones who didn't respond, Would it be ethical to use the images anyway?
 
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Derry Salewski
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Probably not super ethical to photograph and use to promote it or something.

Test your game before you worry about dressing it up though.
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Terry Kirk
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The mockups won't be posted online, they're more for me, but i wanted permission for if i did show them to people.
 
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GeJayGe
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Unless you are giving it back you are either using, taking, or stealing.
 
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Steve Barker
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Is it ethical to take and use someone else's artwork without their permission? Obviously not.

If you have not received a reply, you should take that as a "No", if you have any respect for the artist.
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Terry Kirk
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TheBFG wrote:
Is it ethical to take and use someone else's artwork without their permission? Obviously not.

If you have not received a reply, you should take that as a "No", if you have any respect for the artist.

Simple and logical, makes sense.
I will take it as a no, and move on.
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Freelance Police
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You can find art you can purchase or use free without having to contact the property owner, such as Getty images: http://www.gettyimages.com/

Also: http://viralsweep.com/blog/free-stock-images-for-commercial-...

Were you here during the Star Traders (?) art thread? Yes, that escalated quickly... whistle
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Terry Kirk
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Sam and Max wrote:
You can find art you can purchase or use free without having to contact the property owner, such as Getty images: http://www.gettyimages.com/

Also: http://viralsweep.com/blog/free-stock-images-for-commercial-...

Were you here during the Star Traders (?) art thread? Yes, that escalated quickly... whistle

I may have been, but i didn't see it. Was it a hulabaloo?
I will look at those sites.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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kirkatronics wrote:
In regards to the ones who didn't respond, Would it be ethical to use the images anyway?

If you needed to ask their permission in the first place, then I think you have to treat silence as a "no".

You don't necessarily need any artwork to make mockups, though. Publishers do not typically expect designers to procure their own art.
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Jake Staines
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kirkatronics wrote:

Both said yes, which is fantastic, but it is a lot of work to contact so many people. In regards to the ones who didn't respond, Would it be ethical to use the images anyway?


The polite answer is to not use artwork for anything at all unless you've received permission.

The realistic answer is that it's not uncommon to use random artwork for personal projects which are never going to leave your house or for internal mockups which are never going to leave your business, and there's nothing really wrong wrong about it so long as you are careful to never publish any of that material. Where by 'publish' you can include 'making available in any form to anyone outside of your house/business'.

It's not uncommon for designers to use random bits of artwork similar to the intended final art so that they can get on with layout before the artist has finished. In these cases, the designer will stamp the artwork "FPO" so that it's clear to anyone who sees it that it's not intended to be the final image and will be replaced before the file is finalised. Personally I see nothing ethically wrong with 'borrowing' art in this manner, and I wouldn't complain if someone did use something of mine like this.
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sb so
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No, ethically highly inappropriate. Your amount of work and monetarian interest cannot change that ethical aspect.

Ccommercially uninterested people (friends) should understand placeholders like "[insert warrior art here]."
 
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Matt D
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kirkatronics wrote:
As i am yet to have the art assets for my game to be created i decided to borrow some from Deviantart so i could print some mockups to photograph.

I have messaged the owner of each image I wanted to borrow, and out of 30, only 2 have replied.

I explained in the messages i would credit them for their work

Both said yes, which is fantastic, but it is a lot of work to contact so many people. In regards to the ones who didn't respond, Would it be ethical to use the images anyway?


It's admirable that you are going about doing it the right way.
But as others said, I would presume no response means no permission, and go about it that way.

In terms of the kerfluffle mentioned, it very nearly derailed the game's Kickstarter (and in all fairness, should have). The full thread with most of it is Star Traders Kickstarter and "borrowed" assets.

There is a difference in that this was a paid artist for a game that was set to be released who was using Photoshop to manipulate or trace artwork produced by others, and insert into a finished game. Allegedly unbeknownst to the designer and publisher of the game.

In your case, it sounds like you are using it for mockups in the testing stage? If so, I don't think it matters quite so much, to be honest, although as noted you should watermark something on each image saying that it is not production artwork, rights reserved by the owner, etc. And make sure before you take it anywhere where it can receive press or attention (a Con, to a publisher, a web video walkthrough or review) that you have all of the artwork be either final artwork (ideal) or public domain.

There is actually a ton of artwork out there that is part of various agreements that allow for free use depending upon circumstance. It'd be easy to fill the non-production version with that stuff. Once you've got everything kind of nailed down, then invest in having the real artwork your game will have before you do the above listed attention, as well.

One of the key things a lot of reviewers, potential publishers and such will pay attention to is the artwork, so you want to make sure that when you are presenting to them, it is an accurate representation of what the final product will be.

But kudos to you for at least recognizing that snagging artwork from deviantart to use raises some questions, and taking the proactive steps to account for that. It certainly is "a lot of work", but often times the quick and lazy way is the wrong way. You're doing it the right way.

Good luck!

 
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Michael J
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If it's for personal, private use, I think it's just fine to use whatever you want. If you are sending it out, posting pictures of progress, etc, remove the pictures or blur them out. But for your own prototyping, it's fine.
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Andy Andersen
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kirkatronics wrote:
but it is a lot of work to contact so many people.


Of course it's not right.

But how hard is it to cut and paste a message into 30 emails? Not like the old days of mailing a letter.

This isn't "hard."
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John "Omega" Williams
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If its for personal mock-up work only. Then no problem.

If its for a prototype sent off to publishers. Then you have a minor problem.

If its for sale. Then you have a lawsuit waiting to happen as you've actually committed a crime now if you are using someones art without permission. Also dont take someones art and edit it and then claim its original work because you changed the colour or something.

In general unless its specifically stated a piece is free to use. It isnt.
You can use it for personal projects. But past that. Avoid it or get definite permission.
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Gláucio Reis
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hestiansun wrote:
And make sure before you take it anywhere where it can receive press or attention (a Con, to a publisher, a web video walkthrough or review) that you have all of the artwork be either final artwork (ideal) or public domain.

Omega2064 wrote:
If its for a prototype sent off to publishers. Then you have a minor problem.

I don't get this. Why would that be a problem for any publisher? They are going to commission new art, anyway. Why would/should they care about placeholder art that will not be in the final product? Do you speak from personal experience?
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Jason Roup
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Something to consider is that you will need to declare that you 'own' the artwork when you send for print. Even though you're not using it commercially, most printers are required to screen for this.

Depending upon your budget, I found people who can do original character sketches for about $45 each and that comes with commercial use license. Even though what you're finding on DeviantArt is cool, you'll always be happier getting exactly what you envisioned for the card... even if the quality isn't the same.
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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GSReis wrote:
hestiansun wrote:
And make sure before you take it anywhere where it can receive press or attention (a Con, to a publisher, a web video walkthrough or review) that you have all of the artwork be either final artwork (ideal) or public domain.

Omega2064 wrote:
If its for a prototype sent off to publishers. Then you have a minor problem.

I don't get this. Why would that be a problem for any publisher? They are going to commission new art, anyway. Why would/should they care about placeholder art that will not be in the final product? Do you speak from personal experience?


Some publishers are strict on any art being either your own or open source. One or two will deny you if they spot art that they know isnt up for free use. Various reasons for this. And like everything else in the gaming biz. Yep. Varies wildly from one to the next. Some could care less. They'll junk the art no matter if its placeholder or intended for print. Others prefer no art and a few of those may deny you if your proto has art in it.
 
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Gláucio Reis
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Omega2064 wrote:
Various reasons for this.

Not doubting you, but you didn't give any and I honestly can't think even of one logical reason.
 
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Tim C.
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I'd highly recommend doing some research on fair use and when it's considered violated.

for one example, but there are many others:

https://janefriedman.com/permissions/

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Scott
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Offering a tangential and contrary, not contradictory, answer to the "silence means no" responses.

Silence means no is good and necessary for many areas of law but is a problem in copyright law especially due to social media. There are a lot of people who produce IP in the world that is distributed only online using pseudonyms or even anonymously. A number of people who have made and distributed works online have died and it is certain that in at least some of these cases any heirs are completely unaware of the existence of such works. In other cases the copyright owner abandons an account entirely. Not only is it often unsuccessful using even extraoridnary means to locate the copyright owner but it can be outright impossible.

Pseudonymous or anonymous works are typically granted a copyright term based on publication date or creation date without reference to author's lifespan. However, if an author is identified copyright reverts to life + years. But at any rate the work is copyright even if orphaned.

Recently, UK copyright law recognised copyright orphans by allowing licensing to be paid to the IPO and licensing schemes are available in some other countries. (Seeing as how OP wants to use it himself only as a placeholder it might cost only 10p per work which is great, only there's a an application fee of £20 - 80 for 1 - 30 works.)

People who release their artwork on Deviantart or similar aren't ever likely to see any fraction of a licensing fee so you're basically subsidising unrelated artists. Due to use of pseudonyms or no attributions it's impossible to say if a lack of response to a request is due to an orphaned work or someone who doesn't want to reply or who hasn't yet received the request so diligence in seeking the author becomes an issue. What qualifies as orphaned and as a diligent search is worth investigating prior to any application and it is possible for a rights owner to later become identified and assert his rights.

tl;dr
If the works are orphaned it's probably ethical to pay a license fee if such a scheme exists but the owner probably won't profit especially when using a pseudonym even if later identified which raises question about the utility of the fee. Determining if a work is orphaned is often difficult.
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Scott
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Omega2064 wrote:
Then you have a lawsuit waiting to happen as you've actually committed a crime now if you are using someones art without permission.


That's misleading. In England, where OP's user flag text says he lives, crimes are breaches of the law that can be followed by criminal proceedings. While copyright infringement can be a criminal offence, it is usally a civil matter, thus not a crime.
 
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jason roach
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No this is what you would call a bad idea. If they don't answer as mentioned take it as a no. I'd be hesitant to use is even in house if its a project your developing for commercial purposes just in case it gets shown to someone with the unauthorized art. Remember its still copyright infringement even if your using it internally as "FPO" if your planning on selling the product as its use can be considered to be in part responsible for the success of the product.

The big issue here is that doing so is a crime, and showing it to anyone would be a misrepresentation, as they might assume the art is final or that art of that quality or by that artist is going to be included in the game.

As for copyright issues any legal issues that come out of it aren't going to be based in where you live, but where the artist is and files. International copy right law is a pain trust me so its best to avoid it.

Theres also the fact that if you did use it and they found out you can pretty much forget about ever working with that person and if they know people in the industry you can get blackballed pretty quick, no one is going to want to work with anyone who's willing to do that.
 
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Jason Fehr
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I'm very late to this thread, but I deal with copyright a bit at my job so I'll throw in my 2¢.

Copyright is issued by default. You cannot just take someone's art without permission. Unless it is for personal use. If you are building a game for you, and only your friends will play it. That's permitted.

Otherwise you will need to ask, or search for art already permitted. A lot of artists release their work using the Creative Commons licence. If you are not making money off your product, anything listed as non-commercial can be used. If you are making money, then you have to look for commercial licenses.

Google Image Search will allow you to search by license. If you add "siteeviantart.com" it will limit your search to that site.


FYI: These are based on Canadian Copyright.
 
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