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Dreams is a Creative Triumph and Legal Nightmare

Escapist's Riley Constantine writes:
Media Molecule’s Dreams is becoming a reality. The upcoming title from the studio behind LittleBigPlanet continues to break down the barrier between gameplay and game development by allowing players to create their own levels, music, characters, and story. Dreams was announced as a PlayStation 4 exclusive in 2015 and has accumulated exceptional word-of-mouth buzz ever since its 2018 beta, with excitement picking up again since it began early access play in April 2019.

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escapistmagazine.com
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UltraNova7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

The author brings up a very good point here. Both Media Molecule and Sony need to provide gamers/designers with clear guidelines on what is considered off limits regarding their projects so they can avoid disgruntled customers who spend so much time on designing those levels/games within Dreams from losing all their work due to a copyright takedown order.

Just look at the level of detail the recent MGS project showcased...I have a feeling this will not sit well with Konami and all that effort could go down the drain.

P_Bomb7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

To my knowledge they’ve never taken down levels, characters, songs etc if they’re made with the in-game creation tools. Even these new Dreams creations aren’t 1:1 copies. Dreams’ engine isn’t Konami’s. Different textures, assets, memory limitations. The modding I’ve seen in LBP has either been like, a screenshot taken of real box art via the PS camera then uploaded to the level, or the name. But the workaround has been, instead of calling it Call of Duty call it Sack of Duty.

Konami know what this is. They’ve been selling Metal Gear creator DLC in LBP for 10 years. If they have a problem now it’d be nuclear hypocritical.

abstractel7d ago

Little Big Planet had no problems when people created "homages" to other games.

rainslacker5d ago

Dreams allows a lot more direct recreations of copyrighted work, which is going to cause some publishers to file copyright claims. LBP only allows the creation of derivative work, which is generally not covered under copyright laws.

I think creators who spend enough time recreating something with that much detail probably understand the nature of copyright work, and probably know that their work can be hit with copyright claims.

I doubt there will be any legal nightmares. Sony would honor any official copyright claims, because they deal with these publishers all the time, and need to maintain a good relationship. Plus, they also know they can get into legal nightmares if they don't moderate the content, as hosting infringing work makes them just as culpable.

Hopefully publishers will be cool more often than not, but I think any full recreation of a game will likely not be hosted on their platform.

P_Bomb5d ago (Edited 5d ago )

@rain
Gotta say tho, LBP has some levels that look as spot on as Dreams’ latest hits. I’ve seen some legit aces in the hole as far as Mario world 1-1, Zelda dungeon 1-1, Donkey Kong 1-1, Castlevania 1-1. Never taken down.

This gem’s been up since 2011 https://youtu.be/WdDEw5NBRR... . Played it again yesterday. Made N4G news back in the day.

-Foxtrot7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

The issue with that is Dreams has been marketed during it's long development as a "build anything, possibilities are limitless" kind of gate. However if you put limits on that then it kind of makes that out to be bullshit. "Build anything...except this, this, this and that"

Razzer7d ago

Well, that isn't really any different than developing a game from scratch. A developer *could* create an exact copy of KOTOR or even something as basic as Pac-man. The question is what can they do with it? Can they sell the game? More than likely no. Can they give it away? Privately, I guess, but publicly the dev would probably receive a cease and desist order.

With Dreams, you have the ability to create whatever you want, but whether or not you can actually publish it is going to be the question. I'm sure the terms and conditions spell it out precisely that using/copying the work of other people as your own is not allowed.

P_Bomb7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

At a glance I saw nothing explicitly prohibiting tributes to the Marios and Cupheads of the world. Their levels have remained up since the beta.

It does say you waive your rights to profit from anything you publish and that you allow others to share and copy what you’ve made as per your user settings. Buncha caps locked stuff about arbitration and dispute resolution I couldn’t be bothered reading. I’m not too worried. Did Goat Simulator get sued by the Flappy Bird people for Flappy Goat? Probably more trouble than it’s worth.

dillydadally7d ago

That doesn't even make sense. There's a difference between being able to build anything and being legally allowed to build something. "build anything, possibilities are limitless" is referring to the fact that the engine is capable of building pretty much anything - but that doesn't mean you can't get in trouble for building something that infringes on someone's copyrights. You could still build it in the engine and the engine is still capable of doing it - you just might get sued.

mandf7d ago

As long as user created content is not sold it's legal. Same thing with lbp.

harmny7d ago

It's not like that anymore. Now the argument is you're hurting their ip just by releasing the game. Even if it's free.

shaggy23036d ago

@mandf

So all those Mario, Zelda etc games that people have re-created over the years and uploaded demos for free, those still being worked on are they?

Just because you're giving something away doesn't mean you somehow get around copyright law.

mandf6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

Shaggy I don't understand your comment. The same Mario levels that where there 10 years ago are still there.

rainslacker5d ago

Doesn't have to be sold. It can refer to just being distributed. Someone could recreate a game, and not distribute it, and there isn't much that could be done with it. They could probably even show off some pictures or a short demo of it, as that would probably fall under derivative work. But, start distributing it, and you could face a copyright claim.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 5d ago
tekiz7d ago

I don't think this is the threat they claim it to be. People have inserted other companies IP's into modifiable games and it's never been a problem in the past. I doubt any company will be comfortable attacking content creators and opening themselves up to similar lawsuits in their own future potential games that might use custom content.

shaggy23036d ago

There is a difference between buying a MGS pack in LBP and actually being able to play a carbon copy of MGS.

Also the packs in LBP have been authorised by Konami etc.in the case of the MGS level in Dreams, I somehow doubt the creator contacted Konami and asked for permission.

P_Bomb6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

The point of those packs was to go make Metal Gear levels even more Metal Geary. No disclaimer when I bought it. I’ve used it and seen it used to recreate Shadow Moses for 10 years. Why give you the tools then tell you not to use it? There’s some wiggle room. Even YouTube just stopped a claim by the Thomas the Train people re. the Fallout mod.

The Dreams level isn’t an exact carbon copy like an emulator. You can’t copyright puddle and crate placement. It’s guy’s interpretation of the logic and everything else. He didn’t lift the game’s code. It’s just one room.

When’s the last time your band got sued for playing Stairway to Heaven at open mic night, or the FBI raided your kid’s Xmas concert for that no royalty public performance of everything? Did CM Punk ask Hasbro permission for that Cobra tattoo? You’ve never used a cable tv splicer back in the day? It isn’t worth Konami’s time to review every submission for permission on a case by case basis. Do it til you can’t.

DillyDilly7d ago

Someone re make Goldeneye 64

shaggy23036d ago

Over the years they have, and Nintendo hit them with all of the might of their layers.

Who do you think won?

bluefox7557d ago

I was wondering about this as well after seeing all of the recent recreations of famous games.

DarXyde7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

It's probably fine. Media Molecule, according to this article, has stated that if any content upsets publishers and they request its removal, they comply.

Since that information is out there, legal action before approaching Mm probably wouldn't work well.

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