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  #1  
Old 05-07-2017, 11:51 AM
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ReyVGM ReyVGM is offline
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Default Found out for-profit book is using my content, what should I do?

I just found out a popular kickstarter for-profit book is using gaming screenshots from my site (Vgmuseum.com) as their basis for the book, however, they didn't ask permission to do so. Normally I wouldn't mind as long as credit is given, but the kickstarter page credits other pages, but not mine, even though several of the images used on the kickstarter page were done by me.

I know a lot of people might say "oh who cares, it's just a few screenshots".

Well, I know we're used to seeing online screenshots as decoration, something that's just there. Up for grabs at a moments' whim. But taking those screenshots requires actual work. I have to play the game, sometimes tens of hours, reach a certain part, capture a specific moment, then organize all images, make an html file by hand (yes, even the framework is retro), upload and post. All that on a server that costs money. Just like a real photographer tries to take pictures of specific moments or poses or situations, I try to do the same and that has value.

I don't want to say the name of the book yet because I just messaged the author on twitter, but he hasn't replied. He did add me though, but no reply yet.

So, assuming the author doesn't reply, what should I do?

*edit*
Author got in touch with me now. He's offering to replace the images if they are in the final book. Told him there's no need for that as long as credit is given.

Last edited by ReyVGM; 05-07-2017 at 12:12 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-07-2017, 12:13 PM
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I'm pretty sure I know what book you're talking about, and I'm really surprised they didn't capture their own screens. They're a fairly professional operation that has several other books under their belt, assuming.

What a lousy situation.

Edit: Glad he got back to you! Usually, in these situations, the thief just puts the artist on ignore and goes their merry way.
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Old 05-07-2017, 12:24 PM
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Yeah, that's very weird that they didn't credit you initially despite crediting other sources. Glad they've come around with a little prodding.

Screenshots seem like a weird grey area, since I absolutely understand that it's a ton of work to capture, collect and display them (and as an aside thanks for all you've done in that realm for years!), but ultimately the contents are all copyrighted by other companies (though generally falling under Fair Use as excerpts). It strikes me that they could land in a similar area to certain kinds of photography, in that the photographer may not own what's shown in the contents of the photo, but they have some inherent rights to the individual framing and presentation. I have no idea if there's any legal precedent for that sort of thing yet, though.
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Old 05-07-2017, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
I'm pretty sure I know what book you're talking about, and I'm really surprised they didn't capture their own screens. They're a fairly professional operation that has several other books under their belt, assuming.

What a lousy situation.

Edit: Glad he got back to you! Usually, in these situations, the thief just puts the artist on ignore and goes their merry way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirin View Post
Yeah, that's very weird that they didn't credit you initially despite crediting other sources. Glad they've come around with a little prodding.
Yeah, I mean. If the book was about articles, like the ones HG101 or Jeremy Parish do, then I understand screenshots are just secondary. Something to enhance the writing, so to speak. I guess would have been bothered a bit if a few select images were used, but I wouldn't have taken the time to message anyone. But when you're making a book about the visuals, and the images are the center and the reason for existing, then yeah, it bothers me that no credit is given.

But the author already messaged me and I doubt it was necessarily intentional since they did credit other sites, and the book has many contributors. Any of them could have done it and just forgot to mention it. I felt no bad intentions or anything.

I know this is a losing battle. Reputable sites have been taking my screens for years now without crediting, some GameFAQs users have pilfered VGM and submitted all the screenshots as their own many times now. As soon as I notice it it, I ask to take them down or to simply give credit.

The funny thing is that I recognize the images right away, because I usually try to take screens with the characters and enemies doing a specific action so that the image looks "dynamic" and interesting. Sometimes I can take up to 20 minutes trying to get the character and enemies to do a specific action at the same time so that I can capture a cool moment.

Like I said before, these images took actual work and that has value, so I guess I'm entitled to make a small fuss about it?

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Originally Posted by Kirin View Post
Screenshots seem like a weird grey area, since I absolutely understand that it's a ton of work to capture, collect and display them (and as an aside thanks for all you've done in that realm for years!), but ultimately the contents are all copyrighted by other companies (though generally falling under Fair Use as excerpts). It strikes me that they could land in a similar area to certain kinds of photography, in that the photographer may not own what's shown in the contents of the photo, but they have some inherent rights to the individual framing and presentation. I have no idea if there's any legal precedent for that sort of thing yet, though.
Thanks for the props Kirin. And yeah, I know it's a grey area, and one that I guess should stay as it is. Would you imagine having to physically take every single screenshot you post online, regardless if it's about gaming or not, or else risk getting sued? That would be really bad for everyone that does good work online. That's why I've always been partial to just giving credit. It's free and recognizes the person that went through the trouble of taking a picture in the first place.
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Old 05-07-2017, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReyVGM View Post
so I guess I'm entitled to make a small fuss about it?
Absolutely.

This Kickstarter is also at eight times it's asking price. I would think for that amount publishing costs are covered and they could put some money into capturing their own content.
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  #6  
Old 05-07-2017, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Absolutely.

This Kickstarter is also at eight times it's asking price. I would think for that amount publishing costs are covered and they could put some money into capturing their own content.
That too :P
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  #7  
Old 05-07-2017, 02:18 PM
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A lot of artists I follow on Twitter have their work stolen on a regular basis. You need to put in a lot of effort to get accreditation or to have stuff taken down, and after a while it doesn't seem like it's worth it. It sucks that stealing is so easy to do and there are so few protections for artists.

For a high profile book that has a successful kickstarter, it's absolutely a good idea to follow up. Glad to hear that they responded relatively quickly. Hopefully they give you credit or spend some money to get their own screenshots.
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  #8  
Old 05-07-2017, 02:39 PM
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Taking game screenshots is serious business. Really what I should do is just up and disable the camera coordinates display in Sonic 1's debug mode, so I can go about actually taking screenshots that look like reasonable screenshots.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
A lot of artists I follow on Twitter have their work stolen on a regular basis. You need to put in a lot of effort to get accreditation or to have stuff taken down, and after a while it doesn't seem like it's worth it. It sucks that stealing is so easy to do and there are so few protections for artists.

For a high profile book that has a successful kickstarter, it's absolutely a good idea to follow up. Glad to hear that they responded relatively quickly. Hopefully they give you credit or spend some money to get their own screenshots.
Yeah, it's a losing battle. This is not the first time this has happened to me, it won't be the last either.


Quote:
Originally Posted by muteKi View Post
Taking game screenshots is serious business. Really what I should do is just up and disable the camera coordinates display in Sonic 1's debug mode, so I can go about actually taking screenshots that look like reasonable screenshots.
Wait, what Sonic 1 debug?
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  #10  
Old 05-07-2017, 09:59 PM
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The free-camera object placement mode (usually called 'debug mode' in early cheat and tips guides) obscures part of the HUD with a set of (hexademical) numbers that display the coordinates of the player object and the camera



It's useful for getting to specific areas without having to play through an entire level, but kinda crummy for getting good shots due to the way it messes up the display.
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  #11  
Old 05-08-2017, 12:08 PM
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Ah yes, now I remember about some Sonic games having a debug mode, but I never tried it.
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  #12  
Old 05-08-2017, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReyVGM View Post
Yeah, I mean. If the book was about articles, like the ones HG101 or Jeremy Parish do, then I understand screenshots are just secondary.
Even so, I always ask permission to use screens when possible and try to give credit to the source. Any decent person should.
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  #13  
Old 05-09-2017, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parish View Post
Even so, I always ask permission to use screens when possible and try to give credit to the source. Any decent person should.
Oh, wasn't implying you didn't. You always have and I appreciate it.
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