Questions about copyright

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PyTom
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#16 Post by PyTom » Sat Nov 25, 2006 1:09 pm

lordcloudx wrote:loosely interpreting the laws (which is okay until the supreme court makes a valid pronouncement on the subject matter) this means that even ren'py games that the author has released for free to be downloaded by the public becomes public domain.
That's weird, since the Philippines is a signatory to the Berne convention, which says that works are automatically copyright unless the user explicitly puts them into the public domain.

Well, this should just be a lesson to authors to properly put a license on their games, to ensure that it's not obviously being abandoned into the public domain.
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#17 Post by RedSlash » Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:50 pm

In the US, works are copyrighted by default unless declared public domain.

So what happens when you host it on US servers (renai.us)? Or is copyright binded at the country it is created in?

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#18 Post by Jake » Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:30 pm

RedSlash wrote:So what happens when you host it on US servers (renai.us)? Or is copyright binded at the country it is created in?
As I understand it, the answer is the rather confusing "both". ;-) The following is my understanding, but comes with the standard disclaimer that I'm not a lawyer of any kind, just an interested observer. Pretend there's an 'IIRC' in front of every statement:

Copyright isn't a universal thing, it's a right granted by the laws of a specific country['s government] and as such is only specifically valid within the jurisdiction of those laws. So if I have a copyright in the UK, it means that within the UK I have the exclusive right of reproduction of the material that copyright covers - it doesn't say anything about the Democratic People's Republic of [North] Korea or Sealand, so I would need to hold a separate copyright in those countries to have exclusive reproduction rights in those jurisdictions. Equally, something could be public domain in one country and copyrighted material in another, and copyright terms differ in different jurisdictions, so a drawing of a mouse made in the UK by a man who died in 1966 would pass into the public domain this year (50 years later), but a drawing of a mouse made in the USA by a man who died in 1966 will not.

The two most significant provisions of the Berne Convention and the various other international 'Intellectual Property' treaties that together are regulated by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) are a) that copyrights are automatically assigned upon creation of a work, rather than having to be specifically applied for or asserted by the creator, and b) that all territories signatory to the convention recognise each other's copyrights. So in fact, I create a work in the UK and I have automatic exclusive rights of reproduction of that work in the US and in France as well by virtue of my UK copyright, because all three countries are signatories to the Berne Convention and member states of the WIPO.

However, I don't have any such rights over my works in countries which are not WIPO members and haven't signed any mutual-copyright treaties with the UK; a case came up a few years ago before the recent war where Saddam Hussein had published a book and used a painting by a Canadian artist on the front cover without permission - Iraq wasn't at the time a member of the WIPO and had no copyright treaties with Canada, so he was well within his rights to do so - the painter's copyright simply didn't exist in Iraq.
(The corrolary to the tale was that the book was distributed in the UK, where the painter's copyright was valid - IIRC it was ruled in the end that it was infringement.)


I would presume that if what lordcloudx suggests is the case in the Philippines, and the Philippines is indeed a Berne signatory, it's probably a particular law in that jurisdiction for transferring things into the public domain - the owner distributing the item without asserting copyright - rather than a necessary step to obtain copyright in the first place.
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#19 Post by monele » Sat Nov 25, 2006 5:33 pm

The thing is... in the past, it was rather difficult to "steal" something and publish it and get away with it because of different laws. But now, with the Internet, you have an access to an infinity of resources. So, if I understand this well, someone from a country without a good copyright law can take anything from the web and sell it without worrying? That sucks :/

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#20 Post by Enerccio » Sat Nov 25, 2006 5:43 pm

So how it is when i want ot use images from anime?

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#21 Post by Jake » Sat Nov 25, 2006 6:00 pm

Again, all "as I understand it"...
monele wrote:So, if I understand this well, someone from a country without a good copyright law can take anything from the web and sell it without worrying? That sucks :/
Yes. So long as they only attempt to sell it within jurisdictions that don't have copyright treaties with the country of origin of the original work. As soon as someone from such a country tries to sell your copyrighted material in a Berne-signatory country (or a country who has signed any other similar copyright treaty with your country) then they're in violation of the laws of that country.

Thankfully, practically every major country in the world does recognise everyone else's copyrights - according to Wikipedia-which-always-lies, the United Nations recognises (knows of and accepts the valid existence of) 193 countries, and 163 of them are Berne signatories. Those which aren't signatories to any international copyright conventions tend to be the shady and/or unfriendly-to-the-west regimes like Iraq or the DPRK, or tiny places with no population to speak of like Palau... although it seems even my example above is out of date, since the DPRK apparently signed up to Berne in 2003.


Enerccio wrote: So how it is when i want ot use images from anime?
It depends what you want to do with them.


Firstly, there are many provisions of copyright law - varying from country to country, but broadly similar - which allow you to use copyrighted material without permission. The most common is the nebulous 'fair use', which usually allows you to use a limited subset of the material for review purposes (e.g. I can write a review of One Piece and include screenshots from the anime, even if I'm giving it a very bad review, without permission) and usually has some protection for parodies.

More commonly, though, for things like using screenshots from anime in a visual novel based on that anime, it's simply copyright infringement, and technically just as illegal as downloading MP3s from the Internet. Typically, though, copyright holders don't tend to prosecute this kind of infringement, because it will generate significant badwill amongst the fan community - usually if they don't like it they'll send you a cease and desist letter asking you [relatively] nicely to stop distribution. The safest option is to create your own graphics, or obtain some from a source which allows you to use them in games.
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#22 Post by Enerccio » Sat Nov 25, 2006 6:16 pm

Jake wrote:Again, all "as I understand it"...
monele wrote:So, if I understand this well, someone from a country without a good copyright law can take anything from the web and sell it without worrying? That sucks :/
Yes. So long as they only attempt to sell it within jurisdictions that don't have copyright treaties with the country of origin of the original work. As soon as someone from such a country tries to sell your copyrighted material in a Berne-signatory country (or a country who has signed any other similar copyright treaty with your country) then they're in violation of the laws of that country.

Thankfully, practically every major country in the world does recognise everyone else's copyrights - according to Wikipedia-which-always-lies, the United Nations recognises (knows of and accepts the valid existence of) 193 countries, and 163 of them are Berne signatories. Those which aren't signatories to any international copyright conventions tend to be the shady and/or unfriendly-to-the-west regimes like Iraq or the DPRK, or tiny places with no population to speak of like Palau... although it seems even my example above is out of date, since the DPRK apparently signed up to Berne in 2003.


Enerccio wrote: So how it is when i want ot use images from anime?
It depends what you want to do with them.


Firstly, there are many provisions of copyright law - varying from country to country, but broadly similar - which allow you to use copyrighted material without permission. The most common is the nebulous 'fair use', which usually allows you to use a limited subset of the material for review purposes (e.g. I can write a review of One Piece and include screenshots from the anime, even if I'm giving it a very bad review, without permission) and usually has some protection for parodies.

More commonly, though, for things like using screenshots from anime in a visual novel based on that anime, it's simply copyright infringement, and technically just as illegal as downloading MP3s from the Internet. Typically, though, copyright holders don't tend to prosecute this kind of infringement, because it will generate significant badwill amongst the fan community - usually if they don't like it they'll send you a cease and desist letter asking you [relatively] nicely to stop distribution. The safest option is to create your own graphics, or obtain some from a source which allows you to use them in games.
Ok so i can use those images and if they do not like it they will send me response.
But still if its free :roll: :wink:

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#23 Post by Matt_D » Sat Nov 25, 2006 6:31 pm

Just wonder if we think making proof of concept demos be covered by educational fair use.

The question comes in relation to all the "how to present a better if game (like the replayability and things that annoy about if games) " threads that have been going on. As opposed to spending several hours writing code then needing to do pics, life would be alot easier if one could just use stock images from another game and go "this is a possible solution to xyz"

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#24 Post by lordcloudx » Sat Nov 25, 2006 9:19 pm

PyTom wrote:
lordcloudx wrote:loosely interpreting the laws (which is okay until the supreme court makes a valid pronouncement on the subject matter) this means that even ren'py games that the author has released for free to be downloaded by the public becomes public domain.
That's weird, since the Philippines is a signatory to the Berne convention, which says that works are automatically copyright unless the user explicitly puts them into the public domain.

Well, this should just be a lesson to authors to properly put a license on their games, to ensure that it's not obviously being abandoned into the public domain.
I was applying the principles of international law and the current intellectual property code of the Philippines which is controlling despite the Philippines being a signatory to the Berne convention. The convention's stipulations are very generic and I believe that our legislature still needs to enact the necessary special laws to allow the automatic copyright protection mentioned therein.

I can't be too sure about this though since we haven't touched the subject of copyrights yet, but since we did partly touch the intellectual property code last semester, I'm assuming this is still the controlling law on copyrights.
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#25 Post by PyTom » Sat Nov 25, 2006 11:47 pm

matt_d>>> Fair use requires that the fair use be relevant to the game you're working on. So I could use a picture of mickey mouse if I was discussing, say, the history of animation. But I probably couldn't use mickey mouse to teach a character drawing class.

lordcloudx>>> It would make sense if the laws haven't been updated yet. And copyrights aren't enforced seriously in many countries... witness allofmp3.com.
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#26 Post by lordcloudx » Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:32 am

hmm... a little update.
I forgot that our constitution has an incorporation clause.

-blah blah the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.

So I guess that means that creators can claim protection under the Berne convention, but then again, the convention itself provides that it will be up to the signatory countries to legislate the necessary laws or something like that. Now I'm not really sure how this would apply.

(maybe that explains why many internet cafe's are getting shut down here lately for using illegal copies of microsoft's products.)

that aside, International law can be touchy since no country can claim sovereignty over another, no single country can actually force another one to enforce an alleged crime against the whole world such as piracy committed in another jurisdiction, if the host country refuses to. The remedies would be stopping economic relations, withdrawing any joint ventures, or even a declaration of war if no resolution to a certain conflict is reached. (but this usually goes the the U.N's mechanisms anyway.)
How do you make your games? I see. Thank you for the prompt replies, but it is my considered opinion that you're doing it wrong inefficiently because I am a perfushenal professional. Do it my way this way and we can all ascend VN Nirvana together while allowing me to stroke my ego you will improve much faster. Also, please don't forget to thank me for this constructive critique or I will cry and bore you to death respond appropriately with a tl;dr rant discourse of epic adequately lengthy proportions. - Sarcasm Veiled in Euphemism: Secrets of Forum Civility by lordcloudx (Coming soon to an online ebook near you.)

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#27 Post by RedSlash » Sun Nov 26, 2006 4:32 pm

that aside, International law can be touchy since no country can claim sovereignty over another, no single country can actually force another one to enforce an alleged crime against the whole world such as piracy committed in another jurisdiction, if the host country refuses to.
In terms of copyright, if countries refused to enforce copyright infringement claims for foreign works, then what's the point of the berne convention? I think having such laws for copyright is like a mutual agreement. Like I protect you from infringement of your works on my land, but in exchange you agree to protect me from infringements on your land. If one side refuses, the agreement will be terminated and neither countries would be protecting each others works (and normally software writers include in their license that it will be a violation of their license to export to those countries).

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#28 Post by lordcloudx » Mon Nov 27, 2006 3:52 am

If a berne signatory state refused to enforce a certain copyright infringement claim from another state, then there are certain remedies available in international law which doesn't necessarily have to mean cutting off all economic relations or termination of the agreement. This is when the U.N. intervenes. As long as the crime was committed within the jurisdiction of the host state, the findings of its own courts are controlling.

Conventions have the force and effect of law, but they are not law within a certain state if the signatory state refuses to enforce or recognize them on account of the findings of its own courts. (Which is quite possible in the Philippines despite being a close ally of the U.S. since the judges pen down the decisions and we don't employ the jury system.)
How do you make your games? I see. Thank you for the prompt replies, but it is my considered opinion that you're doing it wrong inefficiently because I am a perfushenal professional. Do it my way this way and we can all ascend VN Nirvana together while allowing me to stroke my ego you will improve much faster. Also, please don't forget to thank me for this constructive critique or I will cry and bore you to death respond appropriately with a tl;dr rant discourse of epic adequately lengthy proportions. - Sarcasm Veiled in Euphemism: Secrets of Forum Civility by lordcloudx (Coming soon to an online ebook near you.)

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