Skip to Content

Clip Art, Copyrights, Etc.

4 replies [Last post]
infocorn's picture
Joined: 07/30/2008

Hi all. I'm getting ready to move forward on BIG playtests of my game A Twist of Fate. 2010's going to be my year to really get going, and I hope to be able to do a little modest self-publishing here.

Therein lies my question. When I've been testing to this point, it's been me, MS Office, and my printer. For the demo stuff I've been playing with, who cares if I used something that wasn't mine from a Google Image Search or whatever? BUT...if I do go into self-publishing in small runs, obviously I'd not want to do that. A), it's a shmucky thing to do, and B) there's that whole "legallity" deal. I have some stuff from MS Office's Clip Art collections that I really would like to keep using as staging a photo of the card (such as "Hit and Run Accident" or "Local Celebrity") might be hard, impossible, or just a nightmare of consent forms.

Can I use Office clip art in something that I will be selling for profit?

ReneWiersma's picture
Joined: 08/08/2008
One minute of

One minute of Googling:

The Microsoft Clip Art Gallery provides a compilation of artwork for your personal use. The following guidelines apply to your personal use of clip art:

1. You may use clip art in your school assignments and projects.
2. You may use clip art in your church brochure.
3. You may use clip art for personal, noncommercial uses.
4. You may not use clip art to advertise your business.
5. You may not use clip art to create a company logo.
6. You may not use clip art to illustrate the chapters of a book.

I think that is pretty clear :)

infocorn's picture
Joined: 07/30/2008
Thanks! I'm pretty inept--


I'm pretty inept-- still-- at searches like that. Amazing.

::grumbles:: back to the photo board...

monkey man
monkey man's picture
Joined: 07/01/2009
this intrigues me

I have always been a staunch advocate for original art. But to what end.

I have yet to see a game that isn't commercialized that would warrant enough attention to get the big boys to sue.

And on the other hand if you do enough business to warrant attention you will also have done enough businees to pay for new art.

I have a guy that is really cheap depending on amount of images.

I myself am fighting this kind of battle as you can see from my moniker
i have fresh new images of monkeys dressed as superheros
The monkeys are my creation but the costuming is familiar

I have sold enough of the game to change the colors of the costumes and therefor am only on the edge of copyright.

But to this day have not heard from marvel or now disney.

just my 2 cents

Joined: 10/28/2009
Frequently the big guys

Frequently the big guys (Disney, etc...) will not sue smaller or non-threatening entities over copyright issues for the simple fact that there is enough risk in a suit on their end to make the cost-benefit scales tip. If, for example, DC comics were to go after monkeyman's images and a court ruled against them, they could really be hurting, and even risk losing their ability to protect their IP. Monkeyman's images, for example, aren't hurting them enough to warrant the risk (and sometimes the reference even helps as free advertising). This isn't to say they will never go after smaller uses of their IP. And it isn't advocating using other people's IP just because you don't think they will come after you. It is just an explanation of their motivations on a business end. Using other people's IP does put you at risk, and sometimes they will approach you to leverage a settlement or issue a scary cease-and-desist letter; and if they force you into court, you can get really hurt under current IP laws (particularly the copyright act). So do what you want, but know what your risks are when deciding.

As for your original post, if you like using clip art, check out the open license clip art galleries online (can't remember the urls right now.) These usually contain usable images (although you may have to dig for them) and require little more than a footnote or credit to the creator (although look at the open license documents that these websites provide to see exactly what you are allowed to do).

Additionally, cartoon art, like clip art, does tend to be cheaper than more realistic or fine art to invest in because it is much less time intensive, so you may be able to find some reasonable deals. You can also negotiate with local art students who are looking to build portfolios and get a decent rate, although reliability of art students who also have class work can be spotty.

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut