Understanding Licenses




As a game developer, you want to try to make all of the content your own, but sometimes you need help from someone else. It is against the law to copy another person’s work and put it on your game without their permission; this can get you in trouble with copyright infringement. You can, however, use someone’s work if you get permission from them, or credit them, but you have to understand the terms. Understanding licenses will help you find some work that you can use and avoid getting in trouble with the law.



Read and Understand These Terms



Public Domain

100% FREE! It means that the work it owned by the public. Items get added to the public domain in different ways:

  1. Items older than the public domain age setting are automatically added. It usually lasts the lifetime of an author plus 70 years after their death.
  2. People donate their works for the good of others.
  3. Speeches by presidents and other political audio. For this type of audio, you want to be careful make sure it doesn’t have copyrighted content in the work.


Always check to see if the work is labeled public domain! If you see something that looks or sounds like copyrighted work, report it!




It means free from royalties. They can be used commercially in things like movies, games, or anything else, but you can not redistribute them for a profit. It’s okay to share to a friend, but you can’t sell it.


Keep in mind, royalty-free does not mean that it doesn’t cost money. Usually, when getting royalty-free images, music, and sound effects; you have to purchase them.



Rights-Managed (RM)

This usually applies to the stock photography industry. This means the use of the work is limited.These restrictions can include the geographic region, the period of use, etc. If a person purchases a photo under this license, he or she is allowed to use the photo once. If that person wants to use the photo again, they still need to purchase it.



Creative Commons

Using a variety of Creative Commons (CC) licenses means the copyright holder can choose how to make their work available. This allows the author’s work to be re-used without giving the full copyright, and also allows the author to choose how they want their work to be re-used. The work can be reused in six different ways. Look att the creative commons website to understand each of the six licenses.




Anyone who takes and creates their own work, and posts it online has the right to be admitted as the creator of the work. They own the copyright automatically. This means they legally have the right to decide how and where that work can be used.


If you use a photo, image, 3D model, music, or sound file that is copyrighted is called copyright infringement, meaning you are breaking the law. Always ask for the author’s permission first!




I hope this post helps a lot of indie developers. Make sure you understand each license, and when you purchase or download an item, make sure you follow the rules to avoid breaking any laws. Next post, I will share different sites you can download some items to use for commercial use. Thank you for reading this article, don’t forget to subscribe, and share.




About Justin

Computer programmer and owner of kauergames.com.
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