Staredit Network > Forums > General StarCraft > Topic: Sound and Copyright
Sound and Copyright
Dec 22 2021, 1:49 am
By: Laganater  

Dec 22 2021, 1:49 am Laganater Post #1

Hi, I'm wondering if anyone has had personal experience, or knows of, an issue related to use of copyrighted sounds/music in a starcraft map and what the repercussions to the mapmaker are/were.

It seems a lot of maps have music attached to them and I'm unsure whether-or-not these sound tracks are copyrighted. I think a 4-second sound wav in an RPG I've been working on over the years MAY be part of a copyrighted track. I'm not profiteering off my map in any way. I also recently learned how to use audicity and recording/editing any sounds you hear on your computer & adding them to scmdraft 2 is quite easy which led to this post. I understand that the blizzard EULA probably covers this somehow, but I've always found those agreements to be mostly jargon. What I think I understand is that blizzard owns my map and all rights to it...
So... in the event a complaint is made against my map and blizzard becomes aware of a copyright issue.... what happens then? Receive an email saying to remove copyright material before playing the RPG again? Account ban? More importantly, am I somehow vulnerable to getting sued?



Dec 22 2021, 6:14 am jjf28 Post #2

Cartography Artisan

I've seen some of the "Music Mix Def" maps replace old versions with versions that don't include copyrighted music; I dunno that anything happened to the users, could have just been footage going up on youtube/twitch was getting flagged, or maybe something happened in the bnet sphere like the map or user being banned.

To be on the safe side you might stick to creative commons audio assets or assets from blizzard products.

TheNitesWhoSay - Clan Aura - github

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Dec 22 2021, 10:08 am Nekron Post #3

I know of about two SC projects that got DMCAd ever, and one of them was a full conversion that added all WC2 units into SC1; maybe oldtimers would know more details, or if this happened with anything else. (The other one was a SC2 project that was too similar to WoW iirc, so both notices were from blizzard)
I honestly think there's a very low chance anyone would bother with sending you a copyright notice for a map, unless your map makes it into like Korean national news or something insane, and you're simultaneously trying to monetize it with gated content.

Dec 22 2021, 11:25 am Oh_Man Post #4

Find Me On Discord (Brood War UMS Community & Staredit Network)

I think because SCBW is really old with a small playerbase you can get away with basically anything. Which is refreshing because "art" really should not have any constraints. I mean if you really think about it so many UMS is "illegal" according to copyright law. Any LOTR maps, didn't get permission to use the LOTR licence - illegal. Resident Evil - illegal. Etc. But really you should not be asking is it legal or illegal but can I get away with it, and in SCBW I believe you can. Where do you draw the line? If you draw a picture of Aragorn, is that breaching copyright? If you take a photo of that picture and sell it to a bunch of people, is that breaching copyright? If you rename a Terran Marine to Aragorn, is that breaching copyright? If you make an entire SC map based around the adventures of Aragorn, is that breaching copyright? In many ways it's a ridiculous law. But the law itself, the spirit of it, it's important, because there are artists out there that get ripped off from their creations, and this law is trying to protect them. So it's a good thing, but it's not perfect by any stretch and has a lot of issues, IMO.

I have ripped so many SFX from movies, TV shows, and games, it's not funny. I use Audacity and stereo mix like you do to record the sounds then bam in they go. Sometimes I layer multiple sounds together from different sources. With video games I just go into the game, mute everything (music, ambience, voice acting) to isolate the sounds. Gun sounds and reload sounds you can often find compilations of them on Youtube and lift them from there.

As for music, I think you can get away with pretty much anything, but you will notice if you use copywritten music, anyone playing your map and streaming it on Youtube or Twitch or something it will get flagged that way. But that's just the video being flagged of course, not the map itself. That could potentially be traced back to you, but as long as your username is sufficiently disconnected from your real life name it's not like you could ever be prosecuted. I guess if someone was really determined to sue you they could trace your IP or something... extremely unlikely.

For music I tend to take music from video games. As JJ said if you take it from Blizzard that's pretty safe. But other video games I've taken from over the years and the reason I prefer video games is they seem to not fall under the same copyright protections. Note I said protections not laws. I'm sure it's still completely illegal but, no doubt for practicality reasons, copyright flagging software on Youtube etc never seems to detect video game music. I believe because if it did it would actively discourage people showing off the game which is not what game developers want.

I think if you try to do patreon bs or paypal, start trying to profit off it, that's when you're more likely to get in trouble, because money is involved. You have to remember, for most companies it is not a moral issue, it is a monetary issue. If the chance of making money off of suing you is next to nothing, they will have no incentive to hire lawyers to pursue you.

TLDR: Is it illegal? Yes. But I have never personally heard anyone getting sued before in this little corner of the web. I would be interested to know more about this DMCA on a SC1 map though. I've never heard of it.

Dec 23 2021, 8:40 am Laganater Post #5

Oh_Man: "but as long as your username is sufficiently disconnected from your real life name it's not like you could ever be prosecuted."
Me: :crazy: *Spends hours removing all the "Created by: Almost my real name" reminders throughout my mediocre RPG that I'm way too proud about making*

Thanks for the replies. Yeah it's great blizzard allows use of sounds from other blizzard games. I hadn't even thought about copyright of other things outside sounds such as LOTR, and it's good to see maps like helms deep & risk have been around forever w/out issue it seems. I got into SC mapmaking when I was much younger, and around that same time I'd always be recording certain songs off the radio onto a blank tape to make a "mixtape" or cd. Sometimes you'd play that mixtape on a stereo and others would hear it. Seems to me what I was doing with mixtapes is very similar to what I'd be doing by taking clips from random songs and inserting into my map. I'm not profiting/trying to profit in any way from it and, if anything, the less popular songs might just get (a little/lot) more attention because a player may shazam it or find it in credits. At least that's the way I see it... Good to know nobody seems to know of anyone actually getting sued over it, but instead forced to take down the copyrighted material after a complaint arises... which is fair.


Dec 23 2021, 12:06 pm Oh_Man Post #6

Find Me On Discord (Brood War UMS Community & Staredit Network)

Even a username is dodgy AF on legal grounds.

Anyone can be called Laganater. Impostors DID exist in SCBW. Just because there's some map out there made by someone with the username "Laganater" does not mean that is the same person as you. They have to connect the map to your real life identity via something like metadata tracing, or if you're sharing it on a fileshare account that's tied to an email address you own, etc.

On its own, a map claimed to be made by username X proves nothing, legally.

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