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Old 07-27-2010, 11:43 PM   #9
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Hey JPhilipp, I was wondering, aren't there any copyright problem when publishing a book consiting of other people's texts and screenshots from games?
It's a very good question actually. It's like this: Wikipedia uses a GNU Free Documentation copyright ("copyleft") license, which explicitly allows editing and republishing of texts (they switched to a similar Creative Commons license in the meantime, either would have worked). In fact, not even Wikimedia "owns" the texts -- every one of the authors who ever made contributions to Wikipedia (including perhaps you, including me) made these contributions with the understanding that this license is in use, and they are the collective copyright holders, allowing republishing by others, perhaps even hoping for it. Authors made this the legal or moral basis for giving their work free (some perhaps knowingly, some perhaps unknowingly without reading the license) -- giving, so that the whole world may re-use that work.

What does this mean for the book? Well, for one thing, it means that the book Graphic Adventures itself is also GNU licensed (the license is printed in full in the book), in the book credits I'm referencing the URLs of all original Wikipedia articles in the state they were during writing (so that you can see the full list of authors there), and the book is additionally available as a free, editable digital version. So you can download it and mash it yourself per the license, if you like. The whole idea is that this freedom allows people to add value to material and improve the information world/ culture on the way. Similarly, I hope I added at least some value for fans with this book. Admittedly, it was the book I wanted to read anyway but which I didn't yet find on Amazon at the time (I had already finished "Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts", which I loved and I was craving for more info), so that's why I started it...

As for the images used in the book, I'm operating under fair use laws; I'm using cover box artwork and back cover art, as well as screenshots, all of which belong to the original publishers but are just "excerpts" which don't commercially hurt the originator (I'm additionally mentioning and thanking all the cool websites who scanned the work or made the screenshots, though as far as I know one does not acquire any copyright of a work by scanning it or making a screenshot of it, so they too operated under fair use by publishing these screens), and I'm then putting it in the historical context of the game articles. For other photos, like some drawings or photos people provided to me, people who I made interviews with allowed me to publish the images.

Last edited by JPhilipp; 07-27-2010 at 11:57 PM.
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