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I'm looking for a licence for my game-assets (everything like artwork, music, stories, characters... except the code) who respects those points :

Assets are free to use, share, remix, adapt, transform, redistribute for any purpose, even commercially, as long as :

  1. You give the appropriate credit.
  2. Any new Asset that is associated in the collective imagination or represented nears the original Asset need to have the same licence as the original asset.

It look like the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) licence is what I want, it has Attribution and ShareAlike, however I'm not fully sure with:

  • The second point above.
  • Is any other free to use asset (like public domain) can also be considered under this licence (CC BY-SA 4.0)
  • Is is okay if the code have a different licence in contradiction with this one ? (After all code is somethings abstract that isn't represented, visible, perceptible in for the consumer

To be clear, I don't want the following situation to happen:

Let's say that Mateo Universe assets are under the licence I described. A brand named GreedyCompanie like this universe and decide to use it next to their copyrighted Dylan Universe assets. The Dylan Universe, even if it may cool, is of course not free in any way, and only GreedyCompanie have the right on it.

Last more doubtful question, consider this one as a bonus:

What about non-profit fan games ? If someone make a Dylan Universe X Mateo Universe game even if the person don't have the right on Dylan Universe, will it infringe the licence ? (I think it will infringe the licence, but I would appreciate if it will not be the case or if I can keep a blur on it)

Hope it was clear, and sorry I can be a bit paranoia when it come to licencing assets, that why I'm here to get some confirmations about my doubts.

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Is the CC BY-SA 4.0 licence what I want?

No.

CC BY-SA 4.0 will cover the point You give the appropriate credit. but it does not cover the second point Any new Asset that is associated in the collective imagination, so GreedyCompany can use your hero_Mateo_image.png (that is CC BY-SA 4.0) in their next game; as long as they comply with the Attribution clause, they're not forced to release their own assets with the same license.

Is any other free to use asset (like public domain) can also be considered under this licence (CC BY-SA 4.0)

It depends on the original license. Quoting user1937198 from the comments:

If you receive free-to-use asserts under a license that allows unlimited sub-licensing like MIT that is a superset of CC-BY-SA, you can make it so anyone who gets the license from you has to use the CC-BY-SA license, but you can't stop them from getting the MIT license from wherever you got it from.

So although you could change the license and re-distribute the asset, there is not really a point in doing so.

Is is okay if the code have a different licence in contradiction with this one ?

Yes, it is okay; you'll need to be explicit about what is covered under which license. (But I suggest you don't release your game code.)

[...] if the person don't have the right on Dylan Universe, will it infringe the licence ?

Yes, if the Dylan Universe copyright owner did not license the assets to be used (e.g. using a CC BY-SA license) it will infringe the copyright because you'll be using their work without explicit permission. If you decide to come up with your own drawings of the characters (e.g. you decide to draw Pikachu yourself), you'll infringe their IP.


It looks like you have two concerns:

I want my assets to be used in a way "as open" as I make them available.

That's okay. You have an uncommon licensing scheme, so I suggest you consult with a lawyer to help you write this license. That'll help you in the case you need to defend a copyright: imagine you write your license text with a lot of legal flaws, you'll have trouble finding a lawyer that will want to take your case when you need to sue GreedyCompany.

Can I use someone else's copyrighted and unlicensed work?

You can't legally do it. Without explicitly/legally being stated as such, some copyright owners will let folks use their assets and IPs in the context of fan games/fictions/mods, and some others won't. And even if you see people get away with this, the copyright owner still has the power to come after you and have you stop using their assets/IPs.


On a final note:

  • I suggest you consider what you have to gain/lose by allowing such license and distributing your code. Maybe you'll end up considering what you have to lose outweighs what you have to gain.
  • You can release your game without a license, then decide to make the assets available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 at a later point in time.
  • I suggest your make only the assets as freely usable, not the characters nor your universe. That's your IP, your bread and butter. That's what you can use to make a sequel, or sell to a bigger company.
  • Whatever you do, if GreedyCompany steals your assets or use it in a way that does not comply with the license, and thinks it has more money than you do to defend itself in court, you're kind of stuck and unable to defend your copyright.

In any case, I suggest you consult with a lawyer before you get close to release, just to make sure you back yourself enough to have peace of mind, or to know what kind of hell hole you've dug yourself into ;P

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You could always go nuclear and adopt the FAFOL licence... 😜 \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Jul 28 at 3:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ One technicallity: If you recieve free-to-use asserts under a license that allows unlimited sublicensing like MIT that is a superset of CC-BY-SA, you can make it so anyone who gets the license from you has to use the CC-BY-SA license, but you can't stop them from getting the MIT license from whereever you got it from. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 28 at 9:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vaillancourt Thank for fixing my doubts, I'd guess I need to search for another licence and consult a lawyer :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Thomas
    Jul 28 at 10:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user1937198 Good point, thanks, I have edited my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt
    Jul 28 at 14:16

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