Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

1401054 Posts in 67847 Topics- by 61382 Members - Latest Member: lolapaluuza

May 27, 2022, 11:43:44 AM

Need hosting? Check out Digital Ocean
(more details in this thread)
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessUsing Creative Commons music in games
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: Using Creative Commons music in games  (Read 7532 times)
Timeworks
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« on: October 15, 2008, 08:48:29 AM »

I'm wondering what exactly using CC music in a freeware game would entail legally. There are four clauses which may or may not be present in any given CC license:

Quote
Attribution. You let people copy, distribute, display, perform, and remix your copyrighted work, as long as they give you credit the way you request. All CC licenses contain this property.

No-brainer. Even if this clause weren't present, I'd still give credits to anyone I'd use music from; it's just courtesy.

Quote
NonCommercial. You let people copy, distribute, display, perform, and remix your work for non-commercial purposes only. If they want to use your work for commercial purposes, they must contact you for permission.

Also no problem as long as we're talking about freeware games.

Quote
ShareAlike. You let people create remixes and derivative works based on your creative work, as long as they only distribute them under the same Creative Commons license that your original work was published under.

Quote
NoDerivatives. You let people copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work — not make derivative works based on it. If they want to alter, transform, build upon, or remix your work, they must contact you for permission.

These are the two I'm not so sure about. If some music has the ShareAlike clause and I use it in a game, does that mean that I must put all of the game's content under a SA license as well? And if the music is under ND, may I even use it at all?
Logged
increpare
Guest
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2008, 08:53:06 AM »

These are the two I'm not so sure about. If some music has the ShareAlike clause and I use it in a game, does that mean that I must put all of the game's content under a SA license as well?
I think that it would mean that all of the media in your work would have to be under a SA licence (CC doesn't apply to code-related stuff, insofar as I am aware).

Quote
And if the music is under ND, may I even use it at all?
I'd say yes, so long as you don't alter the musical track in any way.  If you play music in a game, you are (I'd say) performing it verbatim.
Logged
ஒழுக்கின்மை
Level 10
*****


Also known as रिंकू.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2008, 09:21:44 AM »

Be careful with the 'noncommercial' part. That also means you can't have ads on your site, can't have any shareware games on your site besides your freeware game, you can't ask for donations, and so on. You can't be making any profit at all from it, even indirectly.
Logged

Timeworks
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2008, 09:49:46 AM »

Quote
And if the music is under ND, may I even use it at all?
I'd say yes, so long as you don't alter the musical track in any way.  If you play music in a game, you are (I'd say) performing it verbatim.

The bit that worried me is that on the CC FAQ, it says that even synchronizing a song to visuals would be considered as a derivative work. So I'm unsure whether the same applies for games.

Be careful with the 'noncommercial' part. That also means you can't have ads on your site, can't have any shareware games on your site besides your freeware game, you can't ask for donations, and so on. You can't be making any profit at all from it, even indirectly.

I haven't thought about that. I would have expected the terms of the license to be contained to the actual work at hand, i.e. one specific game, and not extend to my site or whatever else I place it on. Not that I have ads or shareware games, but it's something to keep in mind.

I think the best way is to contact the artist directly, if possible, and ask for permission, then one should be safe.
Logged
ஒழுக்கின்மை
Level 10
*****


Also known as रिंकू.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2008, 10:03:00 AM »

Unless you're really poor, I don't see why you don't just buy some royalty-free music to use. A fairly cheap site is this: http://audiojungle.net/

You can get tracks to use for any purpose, even commercial, for 5$-10$ each (longer ones are more expensive, shorter ones around $5). The money goes mostly to the creators, with the site taking a percent, so you'll be supporting independent musicians.

I noticed they also have a referral program which gives out 50% for your first deposit, so you can technically get a bunch of them for half price if you make two accounts and use one as a referral... though that probably goes against their terms of use, so never mind.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 10:07:42 AM by rinkuhero » Logged

Timeworks
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2008, 10:43:43 AM »

I have a policy not to put money into free stuff I make -- I already put enough time into it.
Logged
gummikana
Level 3
***



View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2008, 10:52:27 AM »

As I understand it, NoDerivatives means that you can't use it. No derivate works of any type are allowed. In every case that I've wanted to use ND stuff I've contacted the author and they have given me the rights to use the song.

Share-Alike is a bit more difficult. I assumed that it meant that you have to use the same license for any derivate work do in the same media. So if you mix a song you have to release that song with the same license. But I don't know if this true or not.

Contacting the authors is a nice thing to do even if you don't need their approval for your game Smiley
Logged

Petri Purho
ஒழுக்கின்மை
Level 10
*****


Also known as रिंकू.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2008, 10:53:47 AM »

That sounds painstaking to be consistent with. Does that mean you won't pay for your own hosting, and rely on free website / file hosts? Does that mean you'll only use freeware programs to create the games with (no photoshop, no flstudio, not even a registered version of game maker, etc.)?

I also don't see the reasoning behind it -- let's say you were hand-crafting a present for a friend, like painting them a painting -- would you spend no money on it for the canvas and paints because you intend to give it away for free and are already putting a lot of time into it? If I care about something, I want to make it using the best tools I can afford, even if it's free.
Logged

Gregory
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2008, 10:57:54 AM »

These are the two I'm not so sure about. If some music has the ShareAlike clause and I use it in a game, does that mean that I must put all of the game's content under a SA license as well? And if the music is under ND, may I even use it at all?

IANAL.  However, the ShareAlike clause only applies to derivative works, and I believe that a game that uses a song is not a derivative work unless the game depends on the song for other thinks, a la rhythm games.

Basically, since you're allowed to play the song whenever you want, you can distribute the song with the game and play the song during the game.  Thus, most games are not derivative of their music.

If you want to make sure, contact the creators of the work.  They can give you explicit permission beyond the CC license.
Logged
mildmojo
Level 1
*


summer rain (soon)


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2008, 01:30:46 PM »

That sounds painstaking to be consistent with. Does that mean you won't pay for your own hosting, and rely on free website / file hosts? Does that mean you'll only use freeware programs to create the games with (no photoshop, no flstudio, not even a registered version of game maker, etc.)?

It's probably not a hard and fast rule, but isn't this pretty easy to do?  The cost of cheap hosting can probably be filed under whatever else you're using the hosting space for.  Off the top of my head, you've got Blender for 3D, GIMP/Paint.NET for raster graphics, Inkscape for vectors, Audacity/Kristal/GarageBand for multitrack audio editing, pxtone/musagi or any number of trackers and sequencers for music creation, and about a billion noncommercial programming languages and helper libraries.  Or, Construct, I guess, if you're into game makers.

All of those tools can be used to do other things, too, like the paint and canvas in your example.  A song or an image, if it can be considered a tool, is not nearly so general in purpose.  In fact, reusing the song "Bolero Remix" could even be a liability once your audience has associated it with the desert level in your last game, "Ultra Space Shooter Ultra".

Choosing to use free tools and assets certainly isn't for everyone.  However, I don't think such a development strategy is invalid, impossible, or even difficult.

IANAL, either, but I wouldn't think playing a song jukebox-style behind your game would constitute a derivative work, either.  Then again, if there are restrictions about using NC or SA music behind video, that might be relevant to game dev.
Logged

DEMAKE compo entry: Road Trip: Southwest USA
qubodup
Level 1
*


icons?


View Profile WWW
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2008, 02:38:28 PM »

Quote
NoDerivatives. You let people copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work — not make derivative works based on it. If they want to alter, transform, build upon, or remix your work, they must contact you for permission.

These are the two I'm not so sure about. If some music has the ShareAlike clause and I use it in a game, does that mean that I must put all of the game's content under a SA license as well? And if the music is under ND, may I even use it at all?
ShareAlike (~copyleft) does not require all the other stuff in the game to be equally licensed. Only if you combine files when one of them is copylefted, then the result must be under the copyleft license.

Creating videos and screenshots of games that contain CC-BY-SA stuff would be really hilarious though, because the vid/scr would be a derivate work (unless you create it under fair use terms).

It would be ok to put nonderivate sound in your work, but you would not be allowed to loop it through altering the file. (though I would recommend asking for permission in that case.)

Quote
IANAL.  However, the ShareAlike clause only applies to derivative works, and I believe that a game that uses a song is not a derivative work unless the game depends on the song for other thinks, a la rhythm games.
The code would still be independant, unless you put the audiofile into the binary, then the binary would have to be ccbysa I think.
Logged
Gregory
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2008, 03:18:26 PM »

The code would still be independant, unless you put the audiofile into the binary, then the binary would have to be ccbysa I think.

Not really.  If I put a CC-licensed short story into my web page, I don't need to CC-license the resulting HTML file.  If I make a zip file which contains some non-CC music and some CC music, the zip file doesn't need to be CC.  Embedding audio in a binary is still just distribution in a collected form.
Logged
Timeworks
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2008, 04:29:18 PM »

That sounds painstaking to be consistent with. Does that mean you won't pay for your own hosting, and rely on free website / file hosts? Does that mean you'll only use freeware programs to create the games with (no photoshop, no flstudio, not even a registered version of game maker, etc.)?

I'm not hellbent on following that rule in whatever I do, but so far I've been getting along nicely: free website (Wikidot), free filehosting (Will Host for Food), free compiler (Digital Mars D), free graphics software (Paint.Net and GraphicsGale), free music software (Musagi and myriads of free VST plugins and SoundFonts), free SCM (Mercurial)...

Quote
I also don't see the reasoning behind it -- let's say you were hand-crafting a present for a friend, like painting them a painting -- would you spend no money on it for the canvas and paints because you intend to give it away for free and are already putting a lot of time into it? If I care about something, I want to make it using the best tools I can afford, even if it's free.

A present is a different matter, obviously, and the whole thing only applies to software anyhow. But basically you're right: if I'd hit a major roadblock which I could circumvent by putting some money into the right tool, I'd probably do it (unless the tool is too expensive). So far, however, I've found that the free tools serve me more than adequately.

Looking at the particular situation here, the same applies: sure I could buy music, but there's so much good and free music out there that the incentive to shell out even a single dollar on commercial tracks is very low. Besides, I'm doing this for free and as a labor of love, so it seems fitting to prefer the people who apply the same mindset to their music.

Finally, to make this entire discussion yet a bit more moot, I'm now considering making my own music. I would certainly love to do it and it would probably heighten my sense of achievement to use my own music; I'll just have to see how much of a timesink it proves to be.


If you want to make sure, contact the creators of the work.  They can give you explicit permission beyond the CC license.

That's definitely what I would do if I chose to use CC music; I find it the courteous thing to do even if it's not strictly required by law.

I'm still reading the discussion with interest, maybe even someone with some practical experience with the law will drop in...
Logged
gummikana
Level 3
***



View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2008, 12:41:37 AM »

Btw. If create a freeware game (that gets few thousand downloads) you could get away with Fair Use. The problem is that the internet makes it hard to count on Fair Use since to be legally valid, you would have to check with each country's Fair Use laws to see if you can distribute the game to that country.
Logged

Petri Purho
Gregory
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2008, 07:20:36 AM »

Btw. If create a freeware game (that gets few thousand downloads) you could get away with Fair Use. The problem is that the internet makes it hard to count on Fair Use since to be legally valid, you would have to check with each country's Fair Use laws to see if you can distribute the game to that country.

Using an entire piece of music in your freeware game as background music is very questionably fair use.  See the wiki article you linked to, where "Noncommercial use is invariably fair" is marked as a fallacy.  Yes, you're not making money, but it's a very complicated concept, and very much based on legality rather than doing what's right. Gentleman  It's much better IMO to obey the CC terms as best you can or ask specific permission from the creator.
Logged
Μarkham
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2008, 10:19:02 AM »

Plus, if there are ads on the website that you download/play the game on, someone is making money off the traffic your game generates, thus profiting off the game (since without the game, there wouldn't be traffic), thus profiting off the music.
Logged

mildmojo
Level 1
*


summer rain (soon)


View Profile
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2008, 11:02:24 AM »

Plus, if there are ads on the website that you download/play the game on, someone is making money off the traffic your game generates, thus profiting off the game (since without the game, there wouldn't be traffic), thus profiting off the music.

That sounds like a stretch to me.  By that logic, when I put a game up on a web site and people like it, my reputation is enhanced and I'm profiting from the game, too.

If this six-degrees stuff holds, the NC part of CC may as well be a "do not distribute" clause, which I don't think is what people using CC licenses intend.  I guess it's safest to ask the owner outright.
Logged

DEMAKE compo entry: Road Trip: Southwest USA
Deceth
Level 0
*


View Profile WWW
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2008, 11:00:10 AM »

Do any of you know a good place where we can find music available under an attribution license? As muku said, i'd like to not invest any money into my free project, just my time.

Logged

I'm currently developing my first multiplayer game called Battle City. Please try it out and leave me some feedback.

Looble > Battle City | Deceth.com
mildmojo
Level 1
*


summer rain (soon)


View Profile
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2008, 12:41:25 PM »

Someone posted a couple of links around here.  I thought it was in this thread, but apparently not.  Here are the two I liked:

http://www.jamendo.com/en/creativecommons
http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/index.html
Logged

DEMAKE compo entry: Road Trip: Southwest USA
Skofo
Level 10
*****



View Profile
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2008, 03:23:52 PM »

Be careful with the 'noncommercial' part. That also means you can't have ads on your site, can't have any shareware games on your site besides your freeware game, you can't ask for donations, and so on. You can't be making any profit at all from it, even indirectly.

Really? No ads or donations? I don't think you can't have ads on your site unless your site itself has the music, because you'd be making money from the site harboring/linking to your games instead of the games themselves. Plus, since there is no transaction or exchange with a donation, donations should be legit. Donations aren't technically associated with anything (i.e. someone can donate money to you because he thinks you're a good guy who deserves money).
Logged

If you wish to make a video game from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Jump to:  

Theme orange-lt created by panic