DigitalEro Offline

Is it Legal?

Tue, 21 Jan 2014 23:15:42

LordAardvark

Real simple rule of thumb I go by: If it uses assets from which money has to be paid to legally obtain (EG models, maps, materials, or sounds ripped from a game you pay money for), then it's illegal. End of statement. Whether or not a company will pursue legal action is a different story entirely. Most companies won't bother with even sending a Cease and Desist to someone who uses a character in a pose. Most companies most definitely will pursue someone who makes a game that is nearly identical to their own and requires payment to play. In either case, though, the companies are entitled to pursue any legal action they deem necessary, and you're up a creek without a paddle. Arguments of fair-use are volatile at best in such a case as well, because the piece in question uses assets that are taken out of their original context (an act which, by the way, many EULAs strictly forbid). Another good rule of thumb I like to follow: If you have to ask if something is legal, assume that it isn't.
Mon, 20 Jan 2014 11:40:43

knogga

Hi everyone. If you have got a legal/Illigal question for using sfm models like me, perhaps you can use this here for gettin answer and discuss with others. I´ve got the first question to the community: Is it legal using ME-models and creating a whole FanMade Film (serious,funny, porn and everything, that we can do) in sfm with using Original Audiosound from the game? Voices, Effect, Music? Im working on something like that, but I realized that I can not finish it alone and so I will have to share it online, but I´ll stopp that if it illegial, cos I do not wont to get in Troubles ;) greetings at all :)
Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:24:34

Ganonmaster

If I recall correctly Bioware is very accepting of fanmade works that do not compete with their content. So for example, if you made a cool video that pays homage to the game, they'd probably be fine with that. A zero budget, fan made 2D RPG that's released for free would probably be fine too. When you make a 3D game with similar gameplay and use their characters levels or sound clips, that's when they'd probably send you a cease and desist. However, I'm pretty sure none of us are lawyers. Take my advice, and the advice of anyone else in this thread with a grain (or bucket) of salt. There's a lot of misinformation about this stuff and getting burned because someone on the internet told you it was all good is not something you want. If it is seriously something that you worry about, ask a lawyer.
Mon, 20 Jan 2014 16:04:54

vaako

Technically we're not even supposed to extract the models from their original packaging, so if any company really wanted to, they could attempt to persecute you for doing so. However, it comes down to them not really caring enough to enforce those rules, either because it would be an enormous hassle, and/or it's bad for their public image to persecute people over petty things. I can speak with a little bit of experience because around 8-9 years ago, I got a cease and desist from Epic for converting Unreal Tournament 2004 content. That was before programs such as Garry's Mod and XNA Lara were particularly popular though, so someone converting tons of models drew a bit more attention. It seems like now, a majority of developers will not lift a finger to do anything, with a notable exception being Bohemia Interactive.
Mon, 20 Jan 2014 19:11:53

ArielSweetSugar

If you make money out of it, it's illegal.
Mon, 20 Jan 2014 21:51:14

knogga

yeah thats sounds right guys :) I think if you use these models for parody or perhaps a serious film it would be accept from bioware, cos it could use by them for PR. But If you would use the voices of the actors, this could be illegial for usin someones Voice and perhaps change their sentences to match with the storyline. Unbelievable how someone would react, if his/her voice is used for some not serious stuff like a pornparody or something else. otherwise I know someone who make cartoon porn parodies with original voice lines. Zone-sama or something like that. He/she/it seems to have no rule broken. That´s sooo confusing. :o
Mon, 20 Jan 2014 21:54:30

ArielSweetSugar

No. No, no, no. If you make money out of their content, it's illegal.
Tue, 21 Jan 2014 00:27:36

Gilgamesh of Uruk

This is a pretty complex subject, mostly because the laws governing it were written shortly after WW2 and haven't really been updated except to say "this applies to software too, not just books and motion pictures". Legally, in the US at least, they absolutely can sue you for it. Unless your work is actually a parody* or a scholarly analysis, using any part of their work in yours is illegal. However, being a civil infraction, not criminal**, the owners of the copyright have to choose to sue you. If you're just posting them online, almost all choose not to care. Worst-case, they'll ask to take it down because it's porn, but most don't even do that. If you're charging money, they may take a dimmer view of it, but still might not sue (and if they do, they'll usually settle for you just taking it down rather than trying to wring money out of you). But if they do decide to sue? You're not going to win. The rule of thumb is still "don't charge for it unless you made all the models and sounds 100% from scratch", which puts you (legally) on par with things like Palcomix "parodies". Otherwise, make it free and hope they don't have a stick up their ass about being family-friendly. But even if it's free, your defense isn't the law, because the law is absolutely on their side. Your defense is the company not wanting to piss off fans by acting like dicks. * A "porn parody" is rarely a protected parody under copyright law. Just having the characters fucking doesn't qualify as a parody legally, you have to actually be making a statement of some sort, to put it (very) simply. ** Thanks to some other laws, they can probably find some criminal charges to slap you with, but the police don't give a shit about this and won't charge you of their own accord. Obligatory postscript: I am not a lawyer, this is not official legal advice, this is just my layman's understanding of the law.