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Game art is under copyright of the designer or their company. When I play the game and take a screenshot, whose is the copyright?

  • Mine, because I played the game to that point and created the screenshot file;
  • The designer or their company, because they made the art?
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  • It will depend on the contents of the screenshot and the purpose for which you take it. Artwork and text that are part of the game are both normally copyrighted (along with music, video, and other elements). If you can take a screenshot that e.g. just has the loading bar/spinny thing, a blank screen, text that you typed in, or maybe a character you designed, it might not be a breach. You can also claim fair use (depending on jurisdiction) e.g. for purposes of review, education, or critical analysis.
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 2 at 13:06

1 Answer 1

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The designer/company owns the copyright to the original work, you own the copyright in the derivative work (the screenshot). However, your work is subject to whatever rights your license to use the game gives you and fair use/fair dealing.

An example of a company attempting to enforce copyright from screenshots/screen recordings can be seen by the Nintendo Creators Program.

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    Nintendo has already cancelled their "Nintendo Creators Program". Now they are not fighting with people who promote their products. More here - goombastomp.com/nintendo-creators-program-future . Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 8:03
  • This should specify the jurisdiction because concepts of a derivative work and fair use/fair dealing vary a lot.
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 2 at 13:07

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