Faceclaims and Copyright

Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Featherstone, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. Featherstone

    Featherstone Resident Game Owner

    I was wondering, has it ever been an issue? Does it count as fair use?
    Mim likes this.
  2. Elena

    Elena Resident Game Owner

    Of course it is fair use. <3

    Do you make any money out of it? Not at all!

    Do you do anything with it than sort of "casting" celebrities as sort-of-likeness to your characters' looks? But is your character its playby? No, he isn't.
    Mim likes this.
  3. SithLordOfSnark

    SithLordOfSnark Resident Game Owner

    Certain faces can't be used, just like certain characters, but those are very few and far between.
    Mim likes this.
  4. Featherstone

    Featherstone Resident Game Owner

    I'm not asking about celebrities (I only know my national law, but supposedly if you're a celebrity the cases when you can complain about the circulation of your image are rare) but about the photo, who supposedly belongs to the photographer. Bloggers are advised to ask permission before posting what they find on google, but applying the same to every single avatar or picture each player posts is obviously unfeasible.
    Mim likes this.
  5. Idle Omens

    Idle Omens Newcomer Game Owner

    Our group has never run into this issue for 'faces', as we typically use our own. Our character art, however, is whatever they grab from a google image search or via deviantart and the like and I only know a few instances where the artist has only asked us to credit them for the use.

    So, so long as you're not claiming their your own? Should be okay.
    Mim likes this.
  6. LunaDeSangre

    LunaDeSangre Newcomer Game Owner

    We've never run into issues with face claims. I think with thousands of sites using face claims that would be hard to police at this point if someone tried to. They would have to take down so many other categories of sites at the same time.
    Mim likes this.
  7. Morrigan

    Morrigan Resident Game Owner

    For this, it is dependent on the face (just like fandom genres) on whether it can/should be used. There are some models (specifically from model mayhem) that have explicitly requested that they not be used as playbys. This is for legal reasons for them as well as for casting for them. Having playby images out there hurts their chances (at least that's what I assume) and or they have personal copyright issues with those that took the images.

    I recommend that you stay away from those that have explicitly requested that they not be used, as they will likely reach out and contact you, otherwise you are safe under fair use. As long as you are not claiming right to it and in any case where it is requested, that it has a credit to the original author (aka Deviant Art Artists/Models).
  8. VodkaSlushy

    VodkaSlushy Newcomer

    Copyright law can be a bit messy. If you want to use the fair use clause you have to make sure that it's use actually includes some kind of commentary otherwise they see it as plagiarism/stealing.
  9. Featherstone

    Featherstone Resident Game Owner

    If I had to invoke the fair use clause I'd do it for it being transformative (not in the sense of editing, but creative repurposing). Commentary would mean you're criticizing or reviewing the photographer's work, which... is not what faceclaims are.
    Mim likes this.
  10. Mim

    Mim Resident Game Owner

    Generally speaking actors and actresses no. They are well aware that their images are used for this purpose. Models and Sports personalities though are a whole different ball game. Many of them do have copyrights on their photographs, many of those yes are 'owned' by the original photographer. The best advice is to check the original source of your photo, if its from a fan site, or say for example in the case of models, somewhere like 'The Fashion Spot' or IMB; it may well be stated that the photo is subject to copyright laws.
  11. Cait

    Cait Resident Game Owner

    I was reading an article the other day about Instagram RPs where people were taking pictures of real people's real babies and then creating an Istagram account where they RPd as those babies parents, and the parents felt really offended that their children's faces were used in that way. The article about it is https://www.fastcompany.com/3036073...nstagram-role-playing-with-stolen-baby-photos if you're interested. So I would say don't do that... But I think the type of pic-using that most people are referring to--ie, using an adult celebrity's photo to represent your character--is generally ok unless they have asked not to be used. That said, I did choose to go play-by free on my own site to encourage creativity & to allow people to have their characters really look the way they want them to look.
    Star Army and Mim like this.
  12. Antares

    Antares Newcomer Game Owner

    Never had an issue with it, personally. I'm careful not to use anything that looks "personal" and I hate using actors. I try to stick to fashion models and random stock photography. Helps keep me below the radar :D (Though I am using two actors for my two COs right now... so maybe I should shut up lol)
  13. TheDarkHour

    TheDarkHour Newcomer

    Unless they drew it or created it it's all fair.
  14. Sage

    Sage Newcomer

    Yeah, this is a kind of murky water situation. Just because it exists on the web does not mean it's "all fair." That photograph technically belongs to a person or company, and they have the rights to it. And they can ask you to remove it (or send you a cease and desist). But you should always look for the source when using face claim material. Because, realistically, unless it's in the public domain, the rightful owner of that particular photograph could come after you for damages. It most likely won't happen, but it could. So it's always smart to be aware of where you're taking things from.
    Star Army likes this.
  15. Santa Verda

    Santa Verda Newcomer

    As a rule of thumb, I use signed actors, actresses, and models that are considered "well-known." I'm pretty sure none of my things are foolproof especially with photographers, but I wouldn't use someone who is generally unknown and who doesn't sell their face or personality. I definitely don't use anyone underage.
  16. RachD
    Caffeine Fix

    RachD Resident Game Owner

    I've always asked when I can, asked for the artist when I can't find them, given credit or linked to the artist website... and if anyone asks me to remove a picture I certainly would.

    In the hobby boards - using celebrities and comic art are both fair use.

    In my web series - I use the top methodology or I use my own photography or someday I hope to be able to afford some pics of my normal cast based on their faceclaims so I can use them anytime.

    But I've never had issues with this. And I've been doing it for 20 years.
    Mim likes this.
  17. Kieran

    Kieran Resident Game Owner

    So far I've never had a problem. I use only actors' and singers' pictures, and as I'm only using their outside appearance and speaking voice likeness for a fictional character and not writing fanfiction of the person themselves, I would be surprised if anyone had a problem with it. I don't even create outrageously evil or sick characters so there's little to no chance of a character offending the play-by should they ever comd across it.

    As for copyrights... I don't think it's fair use unless it can be defined as "personal use", not sure if it can, but anyway when the use is non-profit and not offensive to reputation I highly doubt the copyright holders care. The people in the pictures do not own the copyrights but the movie studios or photographers who do are unlikely to waste their time on going after completely harmless and non-profit use.
  18. Eloell

    Eloell Newcomer Game Owner

    I've never had copyright issues with using images, but I did start using this site: https://unsplash.com/
    All the images are for public use. :)
    Star Army likes this.
  19. Grimscythe

    Grimscythe Newcomer Game Owner

    Public domain sites like Unsplash and Pixabay are where I go for photography, as those are often available for use without crediting the artist or photographer. In the case of artwork, it's a slippery slope and I came from a site that required asking permission--so I tend to do that when and where I can. Most artists, in my experience, don't mind as long as it's non-profit and there's a linkback to the site.

    In this case, I typically word the note/email/message as follows:

    "Hello, [name]!

    I was wondering if it's alright if I use [name of image] as a faceclaim/avatar in a roleplaying game I play called [title of game]. The image will not be modified, sold, or used for any commercial reasons.

    Thank you,

    Worst case scenario, they say no. And if they do, you simply move on to find another suitable image. This way, you have written permission.
    Star Army likes this.