Question About Background Music

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Poketto Kunoichi
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Question About Background Music

#1 Post by Poketto Kunoichi » Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:12 pm

Hi!

Er, I'm new to this and I'd like to know if using music taken from other games (with credit) is legal. I'm not going to make money off the game. I just want to make sure so I don't get sued if I ever finish and release my visual novel.

Thanks for any help. :)

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Re: Question About Background Music

#2 Post by papillon » Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:28 pm

Using other people's stuff is legal if they give you permission.

Credit doesn't make a difference - unless that's the terms of them giving you permission. Some people will let you use their stuff for free with credit, some won't. You gotta ask. :)

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Re: Question About Background Music

#3 Post by Xino » Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:30 pm

I would actually like to know the answer to this myself.

Back when people still messed with RPGmaker I always heard a lot of video game music. Credit was always given to the respected game. So I really hope it's an option for Renpy as well.

--Edit-- How do you ask permission for video game music...? Like "Final Fantasy" or "Resident Evil"
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Re: Question About Background Music

#4 Post by Eniko » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:16 pm

Xino wrote:--Edit-- How do you ask permission for video game music...? Like "Final Fantasy" or "Resident Evil"
You contact the company that made the game and ask them for permission. For instance my brother used the Microsoft Sam text-to-speech voice in a game he intended to sell as a community game on XBLA, so he emailed Microsoft asking if it was okay for him to use it. They said yes.

You can argue about the ethics of using copyrighted material without permission in freeware projects though. The strict thing to do is to ask permission, but half the time you might not even get an answer. I'm pretty sure plenty of people do it without asking permission which is rude at best and a violation of IP and copyright at worse, and while it may get you a cease and desist letter if the owner finds out it's usually a victimless crime.

Disclaimer: YMMV. IANAL.

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Re: Question About Background Music

#5 Post by papillon » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:22 pm

There's a difference in 'what you can get away with' and 'what's actually legal'. If you're making a small unpopular freeware game it's not likely that people are going to bother you about stolen resources. There are tons and tons of fangames and the like out there, all using stuff without permission. It's not worth the effort of the copyright holders to track them all down. But the more popular your work gets, even if it's non-commercial, the more likely that you're going to get slapped with a cease&desist.

Generally, when it comes to music from a bigname mainstream game, the answer is almost certainly going to be 'no' - their legal department would shoot you down flat no questions asked. And with really small-end games, you may find that the person who made the game doesn't even have the rights to give you permission to use the music! (But could forward you to the composer to ask THEM for permission.)

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Re: Question About Background Music

#6 Post by Xino » Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:24 pm

Thank you Eniko and papillon!
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Re: Question About Background Music

#7 Post by Poketto Kunoichi » Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:36 pm

Yeah, thanks to you both. :) I highly doubt my game will be popular, so I'll just see what happens.

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Re: Question About Background Music

#8 Post by Eniko » Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:49 pm

If you want to take the moral high ground here I suggest searching for music released under the Creative Commons license. Specifically any license that doesn't have a "No Derivatives" clause. Which includes the following:
  • Creative Commons Attribution
  • Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
  • Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike
  • Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
Please take note that the Share Alike clause means that if you use the material in your game you will also have to license your game the same way. Which means that people are allowed to use your game, modify it and release it, even for profit under the CC Attribution Share Alike license. If you don't want this, avoid those materials.

And of course, all of them require due credit for all the material you used and links back to where you found them.

Creative Commons has links to some sites which have music licensed under CC, as well as a web search for finding materials licensed that way, although I cannot tell you if that's any good.

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Re: Question About Background Music

#9 Post by Poketto Kunoichi » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:17 pm

Thanks for the link, Eniko, but I'm going to ask Nintendo through email. I doubt that they will allow me to use their music, but I could try, and their answer might be useful to anyone else who wants to use their music, too.

Ahh, if I do use the Creative Commons, though, I'll be sure to watch out for the Share Alike clause.

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