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November 21, 2019, 05:30:17 AM

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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperArt (Moderator: JWK5)Can anyone help me understand Personal Use Licenses for models for a free game?
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Dune
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« on: October 13, 2019, 12:57:13 AM »

I made a short game in UE4 for a college class a few months ago, and many of the assets I used were free 3D model downloads from websites like Free3D. I want to polish my game and make a proper credits/attributions list and check all the licenses so I can make the game available for free download and give people the chance to play it and provide feedback. Some of the models have a CC license, which makes things pretty easy, but I'm not so sure about what to do for the Personal Use license ones, like this one. Like I said, my game will be completely free, so do I still need to contact the model makers for permission to use them in my game? Does putting Personal Use models in a free game count as "displaying" the work, or is it "redistributing"? Are you allowed to modify models that have a Personal Use license? Many of the 3D model download websites I used don't offer much information. I will try reaching out to the model makers, too, but if anyone could help explain this to me or offer information, it would really help me out.
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Daid
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2019, 11:40:16 AM »

It looks like that site is run by TurboSquid. So we can go a bit on that.

I don't know what the "personal use" license is, as there is no link to the details of that license. I do know the "royalty free" license that TurboSquid normally uses. Which states that distribution is allowed only in the form where the models are no longer editable without reverse engineering.
For example, I used TurboSquid models in my free open source game. But the 3D models are packed in a special format that only my engine can read. And with this license on my side: https://github.com/daid/EmptyEpsilon/blob/master/packs/License.txt


Also, shipping assets with your game is redistribution. So if the license does not allow redistribution, you need to ask for permission.
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Dune
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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2019, 12:29:42 PM »

Thank-you so much for your answer, what you said makes sense and I was able to parse the legal agreements a lot easier listed on the website thanks to your explanation. It is weird that "Personal Use" isn't mentioned there so it looks like I will still have to do some digging and try contacting the website/makers, but making sure the models can't be accessed by those who download the game makes a lot of sense. When I package my UE4 executable I have no intention of redistributing the models/allowing users to directly access them, and it seems like Unreal does this for me (I know it converts models I import into "uassets" and if I want to make changes while developing the game, I have to change the source file and reimport it). I'll read up on it more on the Unreal side of things.

By "shipping assets with your game" do you mean "allowing the players to download a package that includes the executable game AND direct asset files, like .fbx's" or just "allowing players to download a game that contains in-game assets made by makers other than the game's creator"? Just want to ask for clarification so I completely understand what counts as redistribution. Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it.
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Daid
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2019, 02:18:59 AM »

By "shipping assets with your game" do you mean "allowing the players to download a package that includes the executable game AND direct asset files, like .fbx's" or just "allowing players to download a game that contains in-game assets made by makers other than the game's creator"? Just want to ask for clarification so I completely understand what counts as redistribution. Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it.
Redistribution just means, giving the assets, in any form, to anyone else.
But if you use unreal, the packing of assets into "unreadable" form is already handled.

It's also important to remember, unless the license states that you are allowed to do something, you are not allowed to do it. Copyright law works like that. (With fair use exceptions, but those are quite limited in scope)


Licenses are always difficult. And I'm not a lawyer, so this is just what I learned myself and from all the open-source work that I've done.


But, in general, it helps a lot to think "what are they trying to protect". And in this case, it's simple, they want to be the source of the free models. So you also buy models there, it's their advertisement. So they don't want the models to be spread around towards developers in any other way then their website. They especially don't want someone to setup a 2nd website with all their free models on it.
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Dune
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2019, 02:03:40 PM »

Thank-you again, I really appreciate the clarification. Grin

I can see how realizing that "you cannot [do something] with this property unless its license directly states you are allowed to [do that something]" is important and a good way of thinking about it. If there's a gray area, then the best thing I should do is 1) not do that thing and 2) attempt to seek out permission from the website and creator, otherwise I shouldn't take any chances or make assumptions that I can use it if it's not clear. It also makes sense that the model website would want to make sure they have complete control over distribution for the assets and be the only place you can download them.

I feel a lot better about all of this and dealing with the copyright jargon seems a lot more approachable now. I've reached out to the bird model creator and hopefully I will get a response soon. Then I'll shoot Free3D an email, too.
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