Street Fighter and Copyright Law

good thing no one cares about dhalsim lol

I do… Brave or Grave 2 for example has four good tracks on it and I use the video to listen to them…

So in other words SRK cannot sell Evolution DVDs but they can give them away if the person who gets it just pays for the blank DVD.

Jion: No, neither SRK nor anyone else can distribute any copies of the their videos without Capcom’s permission. It’s not just about making money; you can infringe on a copyright without putting any dollars in your pocket. I’m sure the Evo guys have gotten permission from Capcom just to make sure that they’re cool on all fronts.

Arstal: Yeah, you can’t get arrested for this stuff, but you can get sued. As for damages, well, the only way Capcom could claim damages is if they were to show that this market (the market for SF videos) is one they might enter, and that by distributing copies of Capcom’s copyrighted works without permission SF vid makers couold be cutting into a market that Capcom itself should be able to exploit over all others. You can still get sued even if there aren’t damages though; Capcom could just sue for an injunction, meaning you’d be forced to take your vids down off the web and to stop distributing them to anyone.

Majestros: The random fight sounds and sound effects are all copyrighted too. Don’t think of the game as only having a copyright qua game (which is the mistake I made originally), think of it has having multiple copyrighted works which when taken together make up the game.

FMJaguar: You’re right about some of the artwork used in stickmaking. If it’s artwork made by someone else and you don’t have permission from that person to use it, then you’re infringing on that person’s copyright. Also, it is legal to buy a product, repackage it, and resell it, but only on the condition that you sell it as the creation of the original creator being resold by you. In other words, you can’t take a PS2 pad, rip out the innards, put a new shell around them, and call them a Mad Catz pad; that would be unjust enrichment. You also can’t manufacture PS2 pads because they undoubtedly have a patent on it. You can, however, wrap a new shell around PS2 pad innards and resell them as a case with buttons/stick you made that has a PS2 pad inside it.

Bill Wood: I haven’t studied Capcom v Data East in school or anything, I’ve just read about it. This link has a great writeup of the facts, law, reasoning, and holding: I couldn’t find the actual text on any free sites, but this article excerpts some of the court’s decision and explains it all in great depth: Awesome that it turned out how it did, but I gotta say, there are plenty of courts in this country that would have given Capcom everything it wanted. This kind of decision makes me happy, but the fact that it was brought makes me sad because it’s basically what I hate about copyright and patent law these days. Companies often seek to help their bottom lines, keep out competition, and even create monopolies by using their copyrights and patents as legally-sanctioned bludgeons. If Capcom had won that case, an entire genre of video games would have ended right at the start.

As for the unofficial guidebooks, I haven’t done any research on them or anything but my guess is that they were allowed because of fair use. Presumably they took very little from the game, probably just pictures of it and the character names and special moves, and maybe the character’s limited histories. This kind of stuff is generally allowed. Think about sports articles: if you’re writing an article on the Los Angeles Lakers, you’re gonna want to use the “Lakers” name (trademarked), “NBA” (same), logo (ditto), arena name (yup), and all that other jazz. If you weren’t able to, your story would read something like, “The Los Angeles professional basketball team, the one with the yellow-colored jerseys, beat the team from Chicago in that stadium the red-and-black-colored Chicago team plays in, the name of which we can’t mention.” In short, it would hardly be news. That said, there’s a case where a company was busted for selling a Seinfeld trivia book that had what I’d imagine would be very similar stuff to that of the guidebooks (never seen the actual book), probably some pics, some minor story-arc-related things, that sort of stuff, and the court said that it was an unauthorized derivative work, which is bad. This despite the fact that the Seinfeld creators had no intention of going into the trivia book market. So my guess is either that the unofficial guidebooks took so little copyrighted material that they were fine or Capcom just didn’t feel like going after them.

If you couldn’t tell, copyright law is really convoluted and uncertain on a lot of things. Some things you’d think would be obviously infringing are ruled not, and courts sometimes find to be infringing thing that you’d think would obviously not be. More than a few times my prof has just thrown up his hands and basically said “your guess is as good as mine” and left it at that.

And just so you know, check this post out from the thread where this started from Capcom’s newest competitive-SF-player-turned-management:

Ok, since there’s some legal experts in this thread.

I got a letter from my ISP pretty much threatening to shut my service off because I downloaded the DC version of 3S over bittorent. But if I’m not mistaken,. roms or ISO’s are legal so long as you have the original copy of the game, right? I have the xbox version of 3S. I’ll upload the email later

i think capcom also owns the rights to the fireball motion.

Yeah, that’s how RIAA “sues little girls and dead people”. Even though these people aren’t making money by distributing the music freely, they are infringing copyright.

It basically goes like this:

  • Artists makes a song
  • Fans make digital copies of the song and spew it all over the internet
  • Artists makes less money because everyone’s got a digital copy for free, why buy it

Point is, even if you’re not making money you’re still copying and/or distributing the data without permission and it hurts artists sales. The artist should retain soul ownership and right to distribute it however they please.

From an artists POV: If I paint a picture I don’t want some little dipshit copying it and distributing it without my permission, I don’t care if I wouldn’t have made a lot of money off of it, it’s MINE to do with as I see fit, not yours unless I GIVE it to you.

RE Videos :
It’s very interesting.

I would consider a speed run of a game a total infringement. You’re basically copying a visual play-through of the game and distributing it without permission.

Match videos is pretty borderline too since you’re basically distributing a visual copy of the game being played. Same arguement as speed-runs.

Combo and tutorial videos, I’m not so sure.

[Edit]: I got a quick question of my own:

If you create something out of materials that aren’t yours, who owns the final product?

Let’s say you create a work of art or a building or something out of materials that you took from some one else – but the finished product is on your property. Who can claim ownership of the final product?

Dang, I’d forgotten about this until like 5 minutes ago.

jswey: It’s illegal in the US to back up a game by making a rom of a game on which you don’t own the license or the license owner hasn’t made the game freely available. Also, emulators aren’t legal either. Game consoles are protected from emulation under patent law and under copyright law by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

Alex: No, Capcom doesn’t own the rights to the fireball motion, according to Capcom v. Data East.

Demon Dash: Ok, then I guess Evo doesn’t get licenses from the makers of the games it uses in tournaments. Luckily it seems like Capcom, Namco, Sammy, SNKP, and whoever else makes Evo tournament games aren’t as assy as Sega.

Xenozip: This is definitely a discussion for a different forum, but I’ll just quickly say that a) studies have shown that downloading music probably increases music purchases; b) artists receive only a tiny percentage of their income from album purchases, relying almost exclusively on touring and stuff, and in fact Universal just announced that they’re thinking about lowering the artists’ take per sale of album/song even more; c) whether an artist likes it when a kid listens to his song without paying is totally unimportant in terms of general society, which is what copyright exists for; and d), modern copyright law aside, it doesn’t make sense to me that someone would explicitly deny his own interests by acceding to a particular philosophy of private property that excludes him from sharing purchased music, ie, why agree with the RIAA that letting someone send you music they’ve bought is any different from letting someone send you music they’ve created, or why agree with the RIAA that in purchasing a CD, you’re purchasing only a license to access the files on the disc only for purposes the RIAA endorses instead of the files themselves and everything involved in them, ie why are the rights you get on a CD any different from the rights you get in buying a plant, over which you certainly have every right you can imagine after legal purchase?

Also, while I don’t know enough about the issues involved in your building example, if someone makes a derivative work out of a copyrighted work without a license to do so, well, that derivative work is infringing. The holder of the original copyright can contract with the creator of the derivative work to allow the derivative work guy to make his derivative work, but the terms of that contract, like where the royalties go etc, is up to the contract. There are some exceptions to this though, like a parody is an accepted derivative work.

I’m not 100% on what constitutes legal backups, but I do believe that you would need to own the Dreamcast version of the game, at a bare minimum, to gain any leway, owning the X-Box version does not entitle you have a backup of the Dreamcast one.

Whether or not it’s legal, I have been known to buy very expensive, rare, and hard to find games. Most mint in box, which of course I never plan on opening… but I do play through emulation. If someone knows, I’d love to hear the legalese on this one (translated for a layman of course).

oops posted to late, :slight_smile:
thanks for the info.

I didn’t read through most of the thread, but in the case of stick making…
It’s completely fine, HOWEVER, using copyrighted images on the stick as stick art is still copyright infringement.

So if I got this right, I can mod my T5 stick but if I for any reason Change or modify a chip on it then i can get a legal beatdown? Good to know!

Like I said before, as long as money doesn’t come into it you should be fine…

Regarding emulators and playing roms, what exactly are the ownership requirements? I mean, most Capcom fighting games were released for the CPS1 and CPS2 systems. The CPS2 games had a special security feature which requires a live battery on the board to keep it working. Once this battery dies, the board is effectively dead. Read all about it here.

If i buy a dead SSF2T board off of somebody, does that legally entitle me to play SSF2T on an emulator? Furthermore, do i have to hang onto that board in order to preserve my right to play SSF2T on an emulator? If so, then do i have to hang on to the whole thing? Those old boards were bigger than a PS2. Can i just take it apart, save the core chipset, and throw away the bigass case?

The only case I’ve read or heard about on emulators was a copyright case, and it was decided that Sony didn’t have a copyright on the Playstation BIOS or whatever, but the court said that it could be protected under patent law and hinted that, under patent law, emulators would be illegal. At the time the BIOS wasn’t protected under patent law, just copyright, so this decision meant that emulators were legal. Now, I’m not absolutely positive that every console maker made sure to patent their BIOS, that is to say I haven’t seen real proof, but it’s a really safe bet that they did, and if so, emulators are now illegal.

As for emulated games, as far as I know, this is untested. Without doing any research here, I haven’t previously read or heard about any cases that dealt explicitly with emulated games. My guess is that they aren’t legal, though. Copyright holders have a set of rights regarding their copyrighted works, including the sole rights to reproduction, distribution, and adaptation, and an emulated game is in most cases an unauthorized reproduction, in most cases you got it through an unauthorized distribution process, and in most cases the copyright holder didn’t legally entitle anyone to adapt their game to PC emulation form. Bypassing any copy protection that might be on a disk or whatever a game comes on is illegal, so there’s that too. You could claim a fair use defense to copyright infringement on emulated games by saying that you’re just using it for backup purposes and for private use, and for that to be successful you’d have to own the game you have an emulated version of. Considering how shabbily users get treated in most copyright cases these days, though, there’s not much chance that’ll work. It’s a pretty good bet that it’s illegal.

Yeah, I’ve heard about the battery issues, but there’s not a whole lot you can do from a legal standpoint. Now, I’m not advocating that you get an emulated version anyway, because, you know that might be illegal, but there’s less than no chance that you’ll get caught at it, is all I’m saying.

Anyway, sorry man, copyright law sucks for the user, I know. Not until very recently has anyone really cared much about copyright law except the people who produce copyrightable material, ie the music industry, film companies, video game companies, and so forth. It didn’t matter to anyone else, since the rights given to copyright holders were hard for anyone to bite into; it used to be really hard to make even one copy of a record or a book or what have you, and it was near impossible to make enough copies for anyone to notice. This meant that when the copyright industries went to Congress for longer and more anti-user protection, there was no one there to argue against them because no one really cared, and their stuff was passed like gangbusters. Obviously things are much different now, anyone can copy nearly anything an infinite amount of times and these issues affect pretty much everyone in our generation, but copyright law still hasn’t adapted yet.

Don’t you dare throw those away! Raz can reflash them with a Phoenix (suicide free) version of the same game. Or keep the chips, send the board to me, I’ll buy new EEPROMs and send them to Raz to flash. I have no idea how legal any of that is, but hey.

If anyone ever gets a burr up their ass about Dreamcast compilations, I’ma gonna get prison raped.

Ok, thanks for the explanation. That’s a bit depressing, but then again it’s expected. The media loves giving video games bad publicity and it’s going to be a while before that changes. I don’t expect anybody to care about protecting our rights till that happens. Plus, corporations seem to be way more important than individuals in today’s political/legal landscape.

This post obviously made me think of Fighter’s History; I’m recently reading the Street Fighter Eternal Challenge artbook… man is there some misinformation in there! They refer to Fighter’s History as being known for its ‘unique characters’! Maybe that’s just a narky dig at them… but i don’t know what ST release they’re playing when they say Ryu can do aerial fireballs!:looney:

The Eternal Challenge book is an interesting read with tons of great artwork, but it is also chock-full of historical inaccuracies, such as:

“The fighting game genre didn’t even exist until after the release of the original Street Fighter.”

Of course, Capcom should get full credit for truly popularizing the genre and making it what it is today. But the fact is that there were several successful fighting games produced before the original SF, including Warrior (produced in 1979!), Karate Champ (see avatar) and Yie Ar Kung Fu, just to name a few.

Trademarks have to be actively defended but copyrights don’t IIRC. So Capcom has no incentive to stop match videos.

One the other hand if you were to make shirts with the SF2 logo Capcom would have an incentive to stop that as it leads to trademark dilution.