Editorial License Clarification

Discussion started by uonlyliveninelives


Can I use editorial license models for commercial purposes if I edit the model?

Like if I edit all of the copyright infringing stuff out or use a small part of the model that can't be recognized as part of the original, copyright infringing design.

There are some characters where I would like to use as a base for example. If I just use the body and create a whole new character, is it ok? I want to make a video game.


Posted about 1 year ago

The work needs to be altered totally unrecognizable in order to be considered new work, there are some exceptions with so called derivative works and the fair use doctrine but its a gray area and fair use probably not apply to your case, more info on this here (https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/what-are-derivative-works-under-copyright-law)

In principal your not allowed to alter the work and call it new original and use it as such.
Royalty free license would be a safer way to go as you would have purchased some legal limited rights to use the work.

uonlyliveninelives wrote
Thank you for responding. When I Googled around to find some answers, I found only one old post on the Unity forum that talks about this. The OP wanted to use a model of a tire but because the tire had the "GoodYear" logo on it, it was listed under an Editorial license. A mod commented that he could just remove the logo from the texture and he'd be ok. I get the logic: once you remove the logo then it looks like pretty much any generic tire. I figure the same logic applies to other models like characters. The copyright is for the design of the character but the person who made the model owns the actual model, just not the design (unless it's a rip from a video game or something - which shouldn't be allowed) so if they allow people to use the model then as long as you edit the design to be unrecognizable or use some very generic looking part like hands, then you should be ok. I just wasn't sure if it was some unstated understanding that when a person uses the editorial license, they're saying that they don't want their model to be used in a commercial project whether you edit it or not so I wanted to ask. Of course, if I had unlimited money, I'd definitely go for royalty-free every time but editorial models are much cheaper. It makes sense because you have to put in extra work to edit the characters but I was planning on doing that anyway for royalty free characters just to a lesser degree because I want the models to fit in with the ones I already have.
ldesign3dstudio wrote
No matter how much you change the original work, copyright still applies. Keep that in mind always.
Posted about 1 year ago

Sellers does not care how you are going to use their models. They put it under Editorial license because they are responsible or forced by the shop itself (not a case here). It's just a way how to transfer copyright responsibility from seller to buyer.
Editorial license here says you are responsible for obtaining permissions from IP/copyright holder. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to use it in a commercial way if you remove/change all the copyrighted design from it. But with copyrighted characters this could be almost impossible, for example if someone sells a Batman model copied from the movie, all parts of his armor/body are unique IP design . If the character has normal human hand, then yes you can use the hand in a commercial product, but you can't if it is a gauntlet with gems in it.

With your tire example removing just the logo may not be enough. Because tire treads are also unique design and if the author copied them from the real GoodYear tire you had to change them also.

Also I would be very careful with buying any copyrighted characters, especially from comic/movies under any license . It's the most pirated stuff.
Stay away if:
-the model is unreasonably cheap
-the model doesn't show you mesh/wire images,
-the mesh is triangulated
-author sells only this type of models
-quality of his other models is not consistent
-description is vague

If you bought something like this, it is almost certain it's a ripped/stolen. For example I just searched for Deadpool and yeah at least few of them are obviously stolen models, sold under royalty license.

uonlyliveninelives wrote
Thank you for the detailed response. I understand now. I have also noticed some content ripped directly from games. I used one (that was not marked Editorial) before I realized that it was a character directly ripped from Final Fantasy (I've never played any of the games so I did not recognize it right away). Good thing that it was a free model and I was just using it as a placeholder. Now that I'm shopping around for models that I'm going to put in my game, I need to be very careful. Thanks for the tips. It can be really hard to determine sometimes. Not only do people not mark it as Editorial, but they also do not put the name of the character in the title of the description. Instead of "Batman" they might put "Costumed Superhero". A character that famous is easily recognizable but I can see how someone can be tricked into buying a more obscure ripped model. I've tried to Google Image search the thumbnails but that almost never works (I get images of other models in T poses). Can you easily get a refund on CGTrader if you accidentally buy a ripped model? It seems as if the Unity Asset store is safer for avoiding ripped models. I also recommend Open Game Art (they have a really active mod that goes through all submissions personally, and it's free). I will still buy models from CGTrader though because the selection is much bigger here. I'll just be super cautious about it. Thanks again!
uonlyliveninelives wrote
The model being triangulated is a really good tip and one I didn't think of but it makes perfect sense.
Posted about 1 year ago

You will get refund if you buy ripped model and ask for a refund. But it is kind of sad when buyers have to be careful and double check if they are buying stolen model or not. Especially game makers are very vulnerable here due to slim budget and biggest public exposure of their final products.
Maybe CGT could implement a "not stolen" filter in the search (joooke, ehm).

Just to be clear, selling triangulated models is absolutely valid and correct way for game models.
But if is it combined with other warning signals you should be careful.

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