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How 2 License!

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Apocalyptapig avatar Apocalyptapig
Level 42 : Master Pixel Painter
By now, you've probably heard about the whole drama and movement around Steveee. If you don't, here's a little refresher; Steveee makes short videos, steals content like resource packs and mods to put in them, and is very popular. I'm not gonna cover the whole thing all over again, since a lot of people have already covered it. Safe to say, it's a bad situation for pack makers.

But this little guide I whipped together isn't about Steveee - it's about what you, the pack makers, can do to protect your packs. Because you can do something; and that something is licensing your stuff.

What the hell is licensing?

Licensing is basically slapping a little bit of text, or an image, on a work to indicate that it's yours. As you might expect, a little bit of text at the bottom of a webpage isn't exactly going to stop someone from stealing it anyway. And it's not like licensing something means the government is going to chase down the thief and punish them for copyright infringement - the only people who can chase down thieves and bring them to court are big corporations with hundreds of people working around the clock to send out strikes and DMCAs and the like. But a license does give you a thing to point to when someone steals your stuff; a DMCA has a lot more grounding when you actually clarify that the thief wasn't allowed to use your packs.

Isn't licensing a thing that you have to pay for?

Not at all! Remember, a license is really just a text snippet that dictates how you're allowed to use it without breaking the license. Of course, you still have to follow the terms of the license, but it's worth it since there are plenty to choose from with different terms.

What kinds of licenses are there?

First of all, there's the standard 'All rights reserved' copyright. It looks something like this:

  © 2017-2021 Apocalyptapig. All rights reserved.

You're probably very familiar with that kind of license - it's by far the most common, and the most protective. Trust me, though; as a small creator with little time to deal with everything copyright, All rights reserved is hell on earth to work with. It's better to choose a copyleft license or something similar so you can decide what you want to approve and what you don't want to bother reviewing.

Speaking of copyleft, that's a general group of licenses primarily for smaller creators who still want to protect their work. There are a lot of different licenses with different purposes in this category, and some are called 'Some rights reserved,' but copyleft is catchier so I'll use it to describe all of them. Some examples of copyleft licenses include:

  -GNU licenses

  -GPL licenses

  -CC licenses, of which there are lots

We'll circle back to the last one in a bit, but we have one last quick category to talk about.

Public domain stuff is, well, in the public domain. All copyright expires someday, long after the artist is gone, and it passes into the public domain for anyone to use, for any purpose. Public domain is pretty awesome, but it's a use-at-your-own-risk kind of thing; everyone has every right to use that thing you made for anything. Personally, I'm gonna stick with copyleft for now.

Creative Commons licenses

I promised to circle back to this earlier, and here I am. To me, this is the simplest and best way to license your art without the hassle of full copyright. The Commons uses a three-part system for maximum license configurability, and it's pretty damn good at letting you choose the right one for you. To keep this post to the point, here's another post showing all the license text and images, so you can copy and paste it into your pack descriptions or wherever.

A final note: Do your own research

These aren't the only licenses out there, and I'm pretty sure I missed a category or two. Plus, some licenses are worse than others at some things; I've heard that Creative Commons doesn't do great with licensing code, so if you want to protect a mod or something you might wanna go with GPL. There's no harm in learning more, and picking the best one for your own use case.

And don't forget: Licenses aren't retroactive.

If your pack gets stolen and you add a license after, that license won't work, since that's outside the terms of pretty much every license. Don't wait for your stuff to get stolen before you license it - add it beforehand for that sweet sweet peace of mind!


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07/07/2021 6:56 am
Level 69 : High Grandmaster Stack
FishStacks avatar
im too tired to read this rn but looks helpful i think
07/07/2021 1:26 am
Level 36 : Artisan Theorist
SoapSoapSoap avatar
usually i use creative commons
07/06/2021 10:53 pm
Level 20 : Expert Explorer
ChronoFury avatar
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