Crediting others for their work is important...

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EvilGrins
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Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by EvilGrins » Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:35 pm

Most everybody says so and I've never seen any reason why not. Admittedly I'm a bit more gung-ho about getting permission than most.

I once sought out email addresses for 1 guy's skins to get edited and he didn't get back to me for nearly 10 years, but he liked the screenshots I showed of what skins I'd made from his templates so that worked out great.

Yeah, sometimes I do edits before I actually get permission... what with most of the original creators being so far removed from UT nowadays, it's like miracle if they ever get back to you. Especially hard if their @ was with hotmail as that doesn't even exist anymore.

Take LexiconDevil, for example. He's got a lot of great maps and I found 1 practically screaming for an edit... which admittedly I've started; kinda at the point it's ready to go but I might wanna consult someone about pathing fixes. Problem is that this guy has no contact info, most recent of his work I found was in 2013 but most of his mapping dates back to 2006.

The only thing Google provided was that he's a member of https://unrealadmin.org/forums/ so I dropped him a line there.

I don't know if he's even still active with ut99, his most recent work I could find was all for ut2004 and that was over 5 years ago.

Crediting-whore that I am aside, is there an acceptable point where too long a time has passed to bother looking to get permission?
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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by Metalfist » Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:17 pm

Crediting-whore that I am aside, is there an acceptable point where too long a time has passed to bother looking to get permission?
Copyright stays on a piece for a very long time ;p That's why you need to ask permission! It also depends on the license the author gives his work. Works in the public domain are free to be used.

"In general, works published after 1977 will not fall into the public domain until 70 years after the death of author, or, for corporate works, anonymous works, or works for hire, 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever expires first."
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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by OjitroC » Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:23 pm

EvilGrins wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:35 pm
Especially hard if their @ was with hotmail as that doesn't even exist anymore.
Uhh? Sure does - I get emails from people with hotmail addresses.
EvilGrins wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:35 pm
Crediting-whore that I am aside, is there an acceptable point where too long a time has passed to bother looking to get permission?
The first thing, I suppose, is what the readme says as regards permission for editing/altering stuff. Obviously if the maker gives an open permission to do what you like with the map, then you just go ahead. I think it is courteous to include the original readme in any distro zip, either as it stands or as part of a readme you have done (quite a few people porting models do this) - doing this explicity credits and highlights the original maker, plus it can lead people to other maps made by that person.

If the readme does not give explicit permission to alter the map (and says something like [paraphrasing] "don't use this map as a base for another without permission"), then effort should be made to contact the maker using any contact information in the readme or in other sources. If you make an effort and satisfy yourself that there is nothing else to do to make contact, or if an email address is live but you get no response, then I suppose it is acceptable to go ahead with the edit and the distribution of that edit. Again the original readme (if there was one) should be included in the distro.

If the readme contains an explicit prohibition on altering or editing the map, then there is a dilemma - do you abide by the maker's wishes or not? That's a matter for individuals to come to their own judgement but my view is that one should not alter or edit and distribute a map (or anything else) where this has been expressly forbidden. It should be remembered that certain individuals have done that in the past and been roundly castigated for so doing. Other people may come to different conclusions of course and it's really a matter of conscience (one can reflect "how would I feel if I made something in a particular way and wanted it preserved like that - would I be happy if people changed it and distributed it, irrespective of whether they had improved it in their view?").

So the direct answer to the question is no, I don't think there is a time limit - it is more down to the efforts made to contact the original maker and whether they bear fruit; and it's always important to credit the original maker by including their readme (that's often a part of the permission they give for distributing their map) or, if there isn't one, by writing a short readme indicating the name and details of the maker and setting out a list of the alterations that have been made to the map.

If you are editing a map (or anything else) solely for your own use, then my personal view is that you do not need to obtain permission (but you can say a silent thank-you to the maker).

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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by EvilGrins » Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:39 pm

OjitroC wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:23 pm
Uhh? Sure does - I get emails from people with hotmail addresses.
It does and it doesn't. Hotmail got bought out by Outlook years ago, and while some members kept their old email-extension the Hotmail site re-directs to Outlook if you enter the url.
Metalfist wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:17 pm
Copyright stays on a piece for a very long time ;p That's why you need to ask permission! It also depends on the license the author gives his work. Works in the public domain are free to be used.
I don't believe copyright applies to freely distributed works, but if it does you may well have a point.

It's why I prefer when someone makes a ReadMe file to go along with their maps. Run into some that specifically request no one alter their map without permission, or at all... but nothing like that was available for this.
OjitroC wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:23 pm
If the readme does not give explicit permission...
Unfortunately moot here as there is no ReadMe at all. Just to be thorough I downloaded a bunch of his other maps hoping he included one in another .zip or .rar but there wasn't one.
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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by Metalfist » Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:12 pm

Metalfist wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:17 pm
Copyright stays on a piece for a very long time ;p That's why you need to ask permission! It also depends on the license the author gives his work. Works in the public domain are free to be used.
I don't believe copyright applies to freely distributed works, but if it does you may well have a point.
Copyright is automaticly applied and applies to all creative work, this includes maps.
Read up on Copyright Basics: https://certificates.creativecommons.or ... 0countries.
The author can specify a license (CC BY / CC BY-SA / CC BY-ND / CC BY-NC / CC BY-NC-SA / CC BY-NC-ND) for the work. Read about licenses here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/
It states what is allowed to be done with the work (remix/adapt/build upon the work).
If nothing is stated then you can be sure that you are not allowed to alter it. In this case you can contact the author and ask for permission to get a definitive answer.
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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by esnesi » Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:16 pm

OjitroC wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:23 pm
EvilGrins wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:35 pm
Especially hard if their @ was with hotmail as that doesn't even exist anymore.
Uhh? Sure does - I get emails from people with hotmail addresses.
Hotmail is still an alias of outlook.com indeed.
Interesting read about the copyrights!

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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by EvilGrins » Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:48 pm

Metalfist wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:12 pm
Copyright is automaticly applied and applies to all creative work, this includes maps.
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But if I wait for 70 years I'll either be dead or too old to play anymore.
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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by Metalfist » Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:32 pm

EvilGrins wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:48 pm
Metalfist wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:12 pm
Copyright is automaticly applied and applies to all creative work, this includes maps.
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But if I wait for 70 years I'll either be dead or too old to play anymore.
That's the point :mrgreen:
until 70 years after the death of author
So even longer prolly!
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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by OjitroC » Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:32 pm

EvilGrins wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:39 pm
Unfortunately moot here as there is no ReadMe at all. Just to be thorough I downloaded a bunch of his other maps hoping he included one in another .zip or .rar but there wasn't one.
Then, since you contacted the guy at the only available contact point, I think you have done all you can. It is then up to you if you want to distribute an edited version of the map. I would suggest including a readme indicating the original author and the steps you took to contact him - plus an outline of the changes to the map.

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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by TourianTourist » Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:44 pm

I kind of have a similar problem with Jeroen Van Sweeveldt, who've made the PC version of CTF-Sundial, which I want to use for my upcoming PS2/Dreamcast map pack. He didn't forbid using his map in the Readme, but he didn't allow it either. But he also didn't leave an email address and he doesn't seem to be active on the forums where he first published the map any longer... I did ask him for permission to use his map there, but it might take years before he replies, if ever. At the same time I don't feel like he would have anything against it. So, what to do?

I also have an edit of the beloved DM-Nitro, which fixes an issue and has music. I would upload it on UnrealArchive, but Ebolt explicitly forbid to "use this level as a base to build additional levels" and I'm not sure how to reach him these days, either. (But I haven't really searched for him yet.)

However, the way I see it, it seems like a grey area. We're talking about twenty years here in some cases. Most authors of these old maps are long gone and probably don't care any longer. Some of them might even have died (I really hope not, but it's possible) and won't be able to give permission, no matter what.

At the same time, editing maps and improving them is a service for the UT99 community. It's for a good cause and helps to keep this magnificent game alive after so many years. We're not doing it for any profit, we're doing because we love UT. Realistically, I don't think the persons in question would suddenly re-appear with a lawyer to sue our butts, because they are outraged by edits of their two decades old UT maps... But I might be wrong.

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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by Red_Fist » Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:05 pm

What does it say if the author dies ?

That would mean every building that used the idea of cut 2x4's are illegal, or the guy who invented paint ?

I think for a video game unless it's still new corporation controlled, I don't call it stealing at all, as if we are bootlegging some map some person made for a game program that lets us play his map in the first place. !!!
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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by Metalfist » Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:16 pm

Red_Fist wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:05 pm
What does it say if the author dies ?
Copyright still applies 70 years after death of author

@TourianTourist
Eric Boltjes is reachable as he also gave permission for the UT4 remake by Moxnix. So you just have to put more effort in reaching out to obtain permission.
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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by OjitroC » Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:19 pm

TourianTourist wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:44 pm
... Ebolt explicitly forbid to "use this level as a base to build additional levels" and I'm not sure how to reach him these days, either. (But I haven't really searched for him yet.)

However, the way I see it, it seems like a grey area. We're talking about twenty years here in some cases.
In a strict legal sense, it isn't a grey area - as Metalfist points out, copyright subsists for a long time, longer than 20 years. And if someone has explicity forbidden alteration of their map then that is pretty clear.

The grey area is more to do with the fact that many maps have been altered without permission (being converted to other gametypes for example) and a fair proportion of other UT content uses copyright material without permission (think of custom music or of voice packs using clips from films, TV shows, etc).

But I agree it is problematic - maps can be 'fixed' to the benefit of all as you say - a reasonable approach is to (a) not alter maps or other stuff where this is expressly forbidden; (b) in other cases, try to contact the maker and seek permission; (c) if the maker can not be contacted or doesn't reply, include a readme making it clear who the original author is (and thus who holds the copyright to the map) and setting out the changes; (d) be aware that altering a map is a [technical] breach of copyright. It might be as well to seek to understand or deduce the maker's overall concept for the map and try to ensure that changes are in keeping with this and do not do anything that fundamentally alters this.

An area that has been overlooked in this debate so far is that of distribution - many map makers include something like "you can distribute this map provided you include this readme and the archive remains intact" - which seems to me to mean that a copy of the original map should be included in any distro along with the original readme (plus of course other stuff need by the map to run).
Red_Fist wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:05 pm
What does it say if the author dies ?
The copyright continues after death (70 years) and can, I think, be renewed - hence the continuing protection for the works of some writers.
Red_Fist wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:05 pm
That would mean every building that used the idea of cut 2x4's are illegal, or the guy who invented paint ?
I think that might be straying into the area of patent law.
Red_Fist wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:05 pm
I think for a video game unless it's still new corporation controlled, I don't call it stealing at all, as if we are bootlegging some map some person made for a game program that lets us play his map in the first place. !!!
Well, that's exactly what HeWhoseNameShallNotBeSpoken is accused of - stealing. If it is material that can be subject to copyright, then it is subject to copyright and so using a map someone has made could be said to be bootlegging - which is not to say that there will not be circumstances where that may be acceptable.
Last edited by OjitroC on Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by Hellkeeper » Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:29 pm

Just make your edit. Try to contact him with reasonnable efforts and give him a reasonnable amount of time to come back at you. Unless he actually asks you to stop, do what you want. There is absolutely no chance this guy will threaten you with costly legal proceedings for changing a free 20 years old piece of obsolete software he probably forgot and which probably already uses copyrighted material from Epic.
Really relax, this is friendly videogame modding and mapping. Just make sure to mention him in your readme and do not try to pass his work as your creation.
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Re: Crediting others for their work is important...

Post by OjitroC » Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:51 pm

EvilGrins wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:35 pm
Take LexiconDevil, for example. He's got a lot of great maps and I found 1 practically screaming for an edit... which admittedly I've started; kinda at the point it's ready to go but I might wanna consult someone about pathing fixes. Problem is that this guy has no contact info, most recent of his work I found was in 2013 but most of his mapping dates back to 2006.
Here's the readme from his CTF-Tundra[[ice]]V2 (not from the zip of that map on UnrealArchive) - the web link in it is dead.
Spoiler
Show
CTF-Tundra[[ice]]V2 Fixed
--------------------

File Contents
--------------------
1.CTF-Tundra[[ice]].unr
2.SpaceMarines.umx
3.EsSnOw.utx

Installation
--------------------
Place all .unr files in your UnrealTournament Maps Directory
Place all .umx files in your UnrealTournament Music Directory
Place all .utx files in your UnrealTournament Textures Directory
Place all .uax files in your UnrealTournament Sounds Directory
Place all .u files in your UnrealTournament System Directory

Comments
--------------------
-Please do not modify this map in anyway without consent from the original author!
-Special Thanx to ´£ßªCorrupt Mind for fixing my little HOM error!
-Happy Fraggin!

Author
--------------------
(jBi)LexiconDevil
MSN:earbleeder@hotmail.com
AIM:LOLOGERM
www.lexicondevil.net

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