Daggerfall graphics asset commercial usage

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Craigjw
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Daggerfall graphics asset commercial usage

Post by Craigjw » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:00 am

I'm a developer and am attempting to make my first game in Unity, I would very much like to use many of the graphical resources from Daggerfall.

If my game were to be finished and I decided to sell the game in a commercial way, ie steam etc. would there be any legal ramifications to this? Would I need to seek permission from Bethesda or can I just use these graphics without Bethesda's consent?

I've read the legal mumbo jumbo regarding their use on the Bethesda site and as far as I can see, I shouldn't have a problem, but I would like to get a general consensus on this, for my own peace of mind as I don't really have any legal knowledge or experience on these matters.

My apologies if I have posted this in the wrong forum.

Thank you in advance.

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Interkarma
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Re: Daggerfall graphics asset commercial usage

Post by Interkarma » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:49 am

I personally don't think it would be wise to attempt to resell Bethesda's assets for profit. :)

I'll move this one to Community as it's more of a general question unrelated to Daggerfall Unity development.

Craigjw
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Re: Daggerfall graphics asset commercial usage

Post by Craigjw » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:03 pm

After more research into this, it seems that they are free to use, but Bethesda exclusively owns the copyright, which would not permit me from selling a game that uses them I think.

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Deepfighter
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Re: Daggerfall graphics asset commercial usage

Post by Deepfighter » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:43 am

Craigjw wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:00 am
I've read the legal mumbo jumbo regarding their use on the Bethesda site and as far as I can see, I shouldn't have a problem, but I would like to get a general consensus on this, for my own peace of mind as I don't really have any legal knowledge or experience on these matters.
Craigjw wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:03 pm
After more research into this, it seems that they are free to use, but Bethesda exclusively owns the copyright, which would not permit me from selling a game that uses them I think.
Correct in any way. Don't use them for commercial purposes! Seriously, copyright protection is still a thing in the world. If you would distribute the game over the internet you would infringe at least according to copyright law in the EU. Most probably in other jurisdictions, too. And as far as my daily experience goes (specialized in IP law) you will be caught in one way or another. Worst example to act as a deterrent: Limbo of the Lost

No idea how you came to the conclusion that there won't be any legal consequences in the first place. :)
Head of the German Daggerfall translation - www.daggerfalldeutsch.de
and German translator for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Lore-Expert for The Elder Scrolls: Online

Al-Khwarizmi
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Re: Daggerfall graphics asset commercial usage

Post by Al-Khwarizmi » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:30 pm

The document that comes with the Daggerfall download at Bethesda's website is quite clear about this...

"1. You have a non-exclusive, non-transferable license and right to use this Product for your own personal use and enjoyment. This Product is not provided for any non-personal, commercial purpose. All rights not expressly granted to you herein are hereby reserved by Bethesda Softworks.

2. As between you and Bethesda Softworks, all rights, title and interest in and to the Product, and all worldwide intellectual property rights that are embodied in, related to, or represented by the Product, are and at all times shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Bethesda Softworks. "

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jayhova
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Re: Daggerfall graphics asset commercial usage

Post by jayhova » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:44 pm

In addition to everything everyone else has pointed out there is also the problem of derived work. Anything produced by the people here that is meant to represent in any way works created by Bethesda are considered diverted works and so are also protected by copyright. For instance I created a font. That font was created to fit the same space as a Daggerfall font. You could possibly use that font and get away with it but Bethesda would have a good case that the font itself is a derived work and covered under copyright law. It could be that in the future that almost every part of DFU will be replaced with modified parts but those parts will have been derived from the original Daggerfall.
Last edited by jayhova on Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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jedidia
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Re: Daggerfall graphics asset commercial usage

Post by jedidia » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:11 pm

would there be any legal ramifications to this?
Oh hell yes! Bethesda lets you use the assets for free, but that doesn't mean you own them. You are not even allowed to distribute them for free. This is why daggerfall unity comes without assets. It would infringe on bethesdas copyright, since they still *own* these assets.

The same goes for any assets created for daggerfall unity, by the way. Those are owned by their respective authors, and as long as they do not explicitly state terms for third party distribution, they still own those rights. An author holds intrinsic copyright by default. He can give or trade it away, but until he does so, he has it. If you used for example the hand-drawn texture replacements created for DFU in a commercial product, its author would be in his full rights to sue the crap out of you.

The only way you can use artwork in any way (even in a free project!) 100% legally without consulting its author is if they were explicitly given to the public domain. Even in that case, however, the inalienable right of authorship persists and you have to declare the author in your credits.
In all other cases, permission by the copyright holder is explicitly required, whether you profit financially from it or not. If you do plan to profit financially, it is in your own best interest not to include a single piece of artwork you don't have a signed contract for, unless you can prove beyond any doubt that the artwork is part of the public domain (And the only evidence beyond doubt for that is an explicit statement of the author).

It looks a bit different for DFU code, though. While very much the same rules apply to code in general, the DFU source code is published under the MIT license, which is basically the public domain equivalent for code... You can do anything with it, as long as you give proper credit.

If you plan to make your own game, I would heavily recommend that you see to it that you get your own artwork. Either do it yourself, or contract somebody to do it. As you would in any business.

Craigjw
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Re: Daggerfall graphics asset commercial usage

Post by Craigjw » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:36 pm

Thank you all for you input on this and correcting me.

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