There are a lot of open source games, such as Flare (Diablo clone).

Is it OK to re-use the art they put in their open source game and make a profit?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Please leave comments if you're going to down vote. Just jumping on the down vote band wagon is not a valid reason to down vote. \$\endgroup\$
    – MichaelHouse
    Dec 6 '12 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 They're gamers, they're all about bandwagons \$\endgroup\$
    – bobobobo
    Dec 6 '12 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ This question is as valid as any of the other legal questions we get here, or open source license questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – MichaelHouse
    Dec 6 '12 at 19:04
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure how valid a legal question can be when the only valid answer possible is "it depends, check the license". Which is a complete non-answer. So since the question is not usefully answerable in its current form, I'm jumping on the -1 bandwagon. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7 '12 at 0:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TrevorPowell I think that's pretty much the only valid answer for most of the legal questions on this site. \$\endgroup\$
    – MichaelHouse
    Dec 7 '12 at 2:50

I'm the Flare creator (main developer and main artist). Drop me a message if you have specific questions.

All of Flare's art can be reused commercially. Some assets are CC0, some are CC-BY, some are CC-BY-SA. It's important to know the requirements of each asset you use and that you credit each artist.

Share-Alike assets can only be remixed with other Share-Alike (or compatible) assets. Because of this many commercial games choose to not include CC-BY-SA art.


This will depend entirely on the license applied to the art assets. The number of open source licenses is always growing, so attempting to provide a list here would be pointless.

You will need to research the specific license that's applied to the art. Some of these licenses will allow you to reuse the art. For example, in the link you provide, a majority of the art is licensed under CC BY 3.0 which states you're free to make commercial use of the work (as long as you attribute the author).

If you're unsure what your rights are, you might try contacting the owner of the rights to the art and ask about your intended use. You may also ask for permission to use the art beyond what the original license states or work out a deal for such permission.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do note that Creative Commons licenses (like most other open source licenses) do not restrict the exercise of an author's moral rights, in jurisdictions which assign those to an author. So even if the art is licensed under CC BY 3.0, the original author can still potentially object to your usage of that in certain situations. (Moral rights typically include the right to receive credit or remain anonymous, the right to publicly state that they created the art being used, and the right to maintain the integrity of the art) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7 '12 at 2:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, basically, always a good idea to try and contact the author and let them know. It's the nice thing to do regardless. \$\endgroup\$
    – MichaelHouse
    Dec 7 '12 at 2:48

Publication of copyrighted works of art requires the author's consent with due exceptions and limitations that normally apply. Whether the game the art is used in is open-source, is irrelevant. However, in the spirit of this openness, it is not uncommon (but also not necessary) for the author of the game to automatically grant a liberal license to his work. The author's permission is still required, but implied, often conditionally.

If such a license is not provided or you do not wish to adhere to its conditions, and the art you wish to copy is protected by copyright, legally, you can either:

  • Request the right holder's permission
  • Work within the limitations of applicable copyright law
  • Not use the content

Since the art from the project you linked is CC BY 3.0, it means you CAN

You are free:

  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to Remix — to adapt the work
  • to make commercial use of the work

So yes, you can re-use and make a profit from some open source game art, as long as you attribute the author of the art.

Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Your question asks about "a lot of open source games", then your answer only applies to one particular license for the specific game linked in your question. If you're going to ask a broad question, you should provide a broad answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – MichaelHouse
    Dec 6 '12 at 17:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the peer review! (No sarcasm intended). Care to provide a better one? \$\endgroup\$
    – bobobobo
    Dec 6 '12 at 17:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Better, I'm not sure. I've provided an answer that is more general to the broader scope of your question. \$\endgroup\$
    – MichaelHouse
    Dec 6 '12 at 18:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ It might also be a good thing to contribute some of the profit from your game back to the projects that contributed art. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jay
    Dec 6 '12 at 19:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.