*** Reblogable on Tumblr --> carmenmcs.tumblr.com/post/7850…
WHEN YOU TAKE DIFFERENT RESOURCES YOU DON’T OWN AND CREATE SOMETHING WITH THEM, YOU ALWAYS NEED TO:
1) Add a disclaimer (e.g. “I don’t claim ownership over certain things – I wrote this fanfic but these characters belong to Disney bla bla bla”)
2) Credit the owners of the stock/resources/etc., add their contact info and source back to them (to their website or similar)
If you don’t know what this mean, how to do this correctly, or WHY you should do this, then you should absolutely read the rest of this text! And if you are an artist who makes 100% of his/her art, this will teach you how to track art thieves, how art licenses and royalties work, etc. so knowing this is important for your future!
*** CREDITING & SOURCING ***
- WHAT RESOURCES TO USE AND HOW - (By CarmenMCS)
2. How to credit/source
- 2. A Examples of how to source
- 2.B Examples of how NOT to source
- 2. C. How to track or find the source of something?
3. Why credit and source?
- 3. A. More concrete reasons why you should credit/source
- 3. A. “Whatever you say, people will still do what they want!”
4. Commercial and Non-Commercial uses of resources
- 4. A. Art Licenses, Royalties and art commissions
- 4. B. “But my game is not commercial so I can use what I want!”
5. ON USING COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL
- 5. A. On selling creations based on copyrighted material
- 5. B. Works protected under Creative Commons
Crediting and sourcing is a MUST, always.
If you made all the stuff you used for your creation (e.g. if you made a game and you made all the graphics, music, coding, etc. in it) and you are sharing it on the internet or self-published, it is better if you make it clear that you are the author, so you aren’t accused of stealing other people’s work -or so that people can’t steal YOUR works so easily-. People may still repost your art or use parts of your texts without permission, but at least if you make your author name visible and offer a way to source and contact you, people will back off and/or most probably credit you for your work, which may be even good for you in some circumstances.
If you are making a game, or drawing a comic, or producing an animation, or something else of the likes, and need to use resources you didn’t make yourself, there are tons of possibilities on the internet. You probably knew that, but remember you can’t just do whatever you want with the things you find on the internet: most of the time they aren’t for free and they don’t just magically have no owner just because you aren’t awared. DON’T IGNORE THESE FACTS, you know it’s true. Also, you could get in big trouble and trials and pay a lot and ruin your life if you are a thief, since nowadays it’s very easy to track down plagiarizers and/or art thieves and blackmail/expose them all over the world even if just for 1 little thing. People aren’t merciful about this.
Someone’s work took time and skill to be created -usually much more than people think, in special than those who aren’t into drawing/animating/composing etc. can get to imagine-. This is not the beginning of the “Internet for everyone” era anymore, so not making the little effort it takes to credit & source properly is a big issue. Many people make a living sharing their art for free because thanks to the exposure they get commissions from their public, so don’t be the one jerk that can’t even make the little effort to credit/source those resources you are getting for free. Also, please DON’T use what is not for free (see exceptions to this in the rest of the text)
2. HOW TO CREDIT/SOURCE
2. A. Examples of how to credit/source:
If you are using music from a copyrighted movie/game/etc., you need to state:
- Name of the movie/game/etc. (ALWAYS!)
- Song name / Track number in the OST
- Composer (shouldn’t be too difficult to google it)
- Company that made the product (e.g. Disney, Konami…)
If you are using resources from someone who posted them in their website to be used for free, you can do it like this:
- Name / nickname / internet name of author (OBVIOUSLY)
- Web link to his/her website, tumblr blog, deviantart userpage or the likes (read the rules the owner set for usage of his/her free resources and you’ll probably find instructions on how he/She wants to be credited and sourced back… if there are none, the author is assuming you will source anyway, so do it.)
If you are using parts of texts, you should get yourself familiar with the word Plagiarism and know the difference between such and proper quoting and paraphrasing: LINK
2. B. How NOT to credit/source:
- You don’t just go “I found it on the internet but I don’t claim ownership”
- Don’t just use Zerochan or Facebook or some site of the likes as source!!! That’s no source because what you found there is reposted and doesn’t give credit or source back to the real artist behind that work… which means you are taking it from a thief.
- If you found it in the artist’s deviantart userpage, or Pixiv userpage, or similar, the source isn’t Deviantart main site or Pixiv as a whole, but the page of the user!!!
- Don’t just say “it comes from a movie I don’t remember which one” WELL IF YOU LIKE THAT SONG SO MUCH HOW COME YOU DON’T CARE WHERE IT CAME FROM OMG.
- You get the idea, just don’t use something you don’t know exactly where it came from, and don’t show how much of a child (or an irresponsible adult) you are by “crediting” in ridiculous ways as “found in Google Images”.
2. C. How to track or find the source of something?
Let’s say you want to track someone who is reposting your art, or that you found a very nice pic/quote you really want to use but where you found it there is no info about the author or link to his/her website… you can try a few things:
- For texts, simply copy the text and google it. You’ll get a bunch of results that name the author!
- For images, there is something called “reverse image search”. Basically, you upload a pic in a searcher and then it tries to find different places on the net where the pic is. Some notable ONLINE –means you don’t need to install nothing- reverse image search sites are:
- TinEye, in special for western sites (deviantart, etc.) : www.tineye.com/
- SauceNao, for asian sites (pixiv, tegaki…) : saucenao.com/
- Google Images (tutorial to finding sources)
- For videos, music, etc. there are similar little programs. Google it, you get the idea!
3. WHY CREDIT/SOURCE?
- But why would you ask this of all things? Would you want your works and skills never noticed and find yourself without a job in something you are so good and happy doing just because a bunch of people steal it and claim it, use it improperly and repost all over the net but won’t care to take 5 seconds to write credits and source back to you?
There is no gaining for anyone if you don’t credit & source… unless you are the lowly kind of person to try to make money and fame by plagiarizing and stealing, which I’ll tell you, is NOT a good idea nowadays: the social networks will DESTROY you. I am not even kidding. However, the harm will already be done for the original author too… SO DON’T DO IT (seriously you could be doing better stuff than be a complete piece of shit)
There are many reasons why you should definitely credit and source and it’s the best for everyone: for the artist and his/her family, for the public, for the culture and its progress, for people who use those resources properly to make yet more stuff… if you repost a fanart and someone like it a lot, as long as there are credits they can find the artist and more of their art, so both the artist and the fans will be happy, because the fan gets more beautiful art and gets to talk to the artist and stuff, and the artist gets promotion -maybe even a commission, or a contract-.
- More about what aren’t valid ways to credit or use materials, and common misconceptions about crediting and sourcing LINK
- And always remember that no matter if you credit and source, Deviantart and other commercial sites are no place to submit what doesn’t belong to you, and if you don’t get it, then inform yourself here LINK
3. A. More concrete reasons why you should credit/source
- Data, numbers and analysis on how really harming is for artists when their works go viral without credits: LINK
- Idiots asking for free art that would take years like it’s nothing! LINK
- How artists feel when people take, edit, re-edit, etc. their work: LINK
- When assholes disagree that an artist has the right to claim ownership over what he/she made and insult them for wanting people to at least credit/source : LINK
- When people steal, claim, share resources inappropriately: LINK
3. B. “Whatever you say, people will still do what they want!”
“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
― Leo Tolstoy, A Confession
YES, PEOPLE WILL DO WHATEVER THEY WANT, BUT IT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S OK. People need to be educated, people need to respect others, people need to make sensen and realize that if they use resources the way they aren’t supposed to, then the people who create the resources will STOP CREATING THEM, because they aren’t idiots and because they’ll need to find something that pays their bills instead. Art stealing and improper use of stuff found in the internet has decreased A LOOOOT over the years, compared to when the internet was first getting in most homes. So, saying “people will still do it” it’s true, but what is not true is saying that improper circulation of materials, resources, movies etc. happens as much as before. Like said, nowadays we have many ways to find if our art is being stolen –and to expose the culprits-, so… beware.
4. COMMERCIAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USES OF RESOURCES
- Commercial use: means you are going to make profit out of your creation.
- Non-commercial use: means you are sharing your creation for free OR using it privately, only for you (e.g. a wallpaper for your desktop)
When you find some resources you’d like to use, you need to inform yourself if they can be used for free or not, and if they can be used in commercial projects or not –if you are interested in selling a product that requires the use of those resources-. Commercial projects are those you are going to make money from, so anything that has copyright (e.g. a song from a movie) or that you didn’t buy a license for (e.g. unofficial photoshop brushes that someone created but that he/she isn’t allowing to use for free, selling them as a pack of resources instead) can’t be used in your commercial products. This seems obvious but apparently most people don’t even think about it until you mention such.
NOT ALL RESOURCES THAT ARE FREE TO USE ARE UP TO BE USED IN COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS. Read the author instructions and rules carefully. For instance, I could choose to share resources and allow them to be used for free as long as you don’t make money out of it, but it you are going to make money using my work as part of the product, I can claim a part of it since you are using my work. In the last case, usually the author will offer you to buy a license so you’ll have the right to use his/her music, graphics, etc.
If you aren’t sure if the resources you found are free to use or if they can be used for commercial projects, then you should ask the author; however, many times people makes compilations of a bunch of resources and then repost them on the internet without crediting whatsoever… in which case you shouldn’t use them at all or make excuses like “I found it and it had some things I really needed” because while it is not your fault the reposter didn’t source or credit, it’s not the original author’s fault either and you are only contributing to his/her work going more and more viral anonymously. Authors who systematically find their works all around the net without credits will probably stop sharing anything for free and authors who try to make a living with their licenses will stop being in the job sicne they need to find another way to pay their bills. Things get real, so please take it into consideration before being a dick.
Also, you REALLY NEED TO CREDIT AND SOURCE YOUR RESOURCES, always. The fact that you can use something for free doesn't mean you shouldn't credit him/her and link back to his/her website.
4. A. Art Licenses, Royalties and Art Commissions
- “But artists charge so much!” LINK
- Charging Art Licensing LINK
- What are Royalties LINK
- Do I have the right to ask for royalties? LINK
4. B. “But my game is not commercial so I can use what I want!”
Let’s talk about this one case: once I saw a friend’s art -which she specifically stated couldn’t be used by anyone- being used in a Suikoden fangame. Genso Suikoden is a videogame saga by Konami, and the “art thief” wanted to make a Suikoden fangame just for fun… he was going to share his creation for free, just as someone who makes Pokemon comics on the web. Suikoden, Pokemon, etc. are copyrighted, and so are the characters and everything about them, but as long as you don’t make money out of it you, big companies like Konami will allow fans to even use the graphics and music of their games (for youtube videos, for fangames, etc.) Later, we’ll talk more using copyrighted material from big companies and how it differs from using those of individual artists and creators.
Going back to this person who was making a fangame using literally everything and anything he found pretty or convenient without considering if the artists allowed for their works to be used or not… excuses and why his excuses don’t justify his actions:
- “It’s just a fangame and I won’t make money”: ok but you are distributing it, even if for free, and that means you are distributing those people’s works that you stole too, and they didn’t agree to this. This is especially wrong and an absolute NO if you aren’t even crediting and sourcing the owners, because then you are literally stealing and claiming it as your work.
- “But if big companies have no problem then why would individuals?”: First of all, we are not talking about steal from big companies vs stealing from little artists: many big companies literally ALLOW you to use their graphics, post their music or use it for your videos, scan their books, etc. especially if you are making no profit… and since you are being ALLOWED to use them, you are not stealing; however, when you are using a little artist’s or company works without even asking them, then you are stealing. Whether you think these artists or freelanced workers of other kind should be sharing their works for free usage because big companies do, doesn’t matter: if you use them work improperly, it’s illegal and you can get in serious trouble for it.
- “But the person I took this from made this picture using free resources from another person, so they can’t claim anything!”
Let’s use RPG Maker as example here: a program to make games that comes with lots of graphics resources, music, etc. that you have the license to use for your games after buying the program itself. Let’s now say you make a map or a game stage using the resources that program and license bring: trees, houses and other graphics things you can conveniently put together to create a scenery where your characters will be walking around… while it’s true that you didn’t make the individual graphics of the tree, house, etc. it is also true that no one but you is the owner of that one map you made. Going back to this person making a Suikoden fangame and using whatever he wanted, he was using people’s maps and claiming “they just used the graphics that come with RPG Maker to make those maps, so they own nothing” which is not true, as I just explained… your license allows you to use the raw materials, but not to steal what other people created with those materials. It’s just as claiming that because I didn’t create photoshop, what I create using it doesn’t belong to me. Also...most times people use those raw materials but make lots of edits, improvement and fuse it with their own art, so stop this non-sense that because someone is using resources they don’t own the thing they just made.
5. ON USING COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL
Like we said before, it’s not the same stealing from individual artists –whether you are making money out of their work or not- than playing around with screencaps, music, graphicsm etc. from well known classics or popular series.
Many big companies are ok with fans using the graphics and music in their games/shows/movies. Having people spread the love gets them more sales than not even considering all the piracy and stuff. Companies don’t care that you use the graphics from their 20 years old classics because that way they still get promotion –yet again, as long as you are not making profit-. See, for instance, the website called The VG Resource that hosts thousands of sprites from games, as well as music, textures, 3D models… this web has been running for many years and it’s well known. Still, they never got in problem:
“We have yet to receive any complaints from companies requesting their sprites to be removed, except from one, due to the game having not been released yet. It was then later put up again.” www.spriters-resource.com/abou…
What happens to little artists and companies if you use their stuff unproperly is the opposite, though… they can’t survive if their work goes viral anonymously. Remember that most big companies started off as a unique, little group of skilled and hardworking people with good ideas that caused a revolution in the market, so please, do support these people who aren’t well known yet, or at least, don’t get in the way of their fair business with your unfairness and stealing.
5. A. On selling creations based on copyrighted material
In many countries, in special in Asia -and noticeably in the case of Japanese publishers-, fanworks are allowed to be openly sold, from Final Fantasy music remixes to fancomics. This is allowed most likely with popular series because it’s a good way of marketing, rather than a threat to their sales, as it happens in the case of videogame classics and the fans using their graphics or music.
However, that doesn’t mean the fans can simply take a song from an anime, edit it a bit in Sound Forge, and sell it… no, what is allowed is to perform your own arrangement of the song and sell it (in low quantities, too). In the same way, you are allowed to use the copyrighted graphics of a game to make a fangame that is going to be distributed for free, but you need to make your own graphics and music if you are going to sell it –or use free resources or licensed resources you paid for-. What you are being allowed to use is the copyrighted characters and concepts of a popular series and make something with it with your own art, music, etc.
“Doujinshi” is how these kind of fanworks are called in Japan. For some numbers, better understanding and info on things you need to know about selling fanworks (e.g. that you actually need to pay taxes over selling them because it’s considered self-published sales) refer to the next link:
- How much money does Doujinshi creators actually make? LINK
5. B. Works protected under Creative Commons
WE ARE DONE. Hope you learned something.