Question about profits from software...

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Question about profits from software...

Postby Hguols » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:48 pm

I have full version software that I'm using for my PSP game. (which 500 frames in, is coming along nicely - probably about 1500 frames to go)

The version I have is not the commercial full version.

I noticed that it says after compiling a setup that "You are not allowed to make profits from your software - neither directly nor indirectly - unless you have purchased Adventure Maker Full Edition for Commercial Use".

What about donations?

I've seen quite a few sites all over the internet that have various freeware games and somewhere on their site is a donations link. Its certainly not selling the game. A donation is generally in the context of a kind gesture, like a gift, rather than some sort of digital exchange for currency.

What about an absolutely optional donation for my efforts of TIME? Would it be permissible to have a disclaimer noting that any donations are not toward said software use, but a gesture of appreciation toward the creator's time spent in working on this project?

I also spend time with Adobe Photoshop and Sword of Moonlight in creating this game. I can't fathom that using Photoshop for a free art gallery, and accepting donations would mean indirect profits of Photoshop software - at least that's what my ethics are telling me.

Thoughts? Comments?

I'd like to know if donations would be permissible in myself not having the commercial version of Adventure Maker.
Thank you! ( ^ - ^)
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Postby reneuend » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:31 am

I don't know. It seems like a gray area. If it were me, I would just upgrade to the commercial version and then try to recoup some of the cost. You games are pretty good, so I can't see why you wouldn't be able to get some of it back.
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Postby Hguols » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:36 am

Initially, I went with the non-commercial full version of the game because I have no intention of selling games I make. Never have, never will. Freeware or bust.

I do see donations as a different spectrum than profits.

I did send an e-mail to the creators of Adventure Maker. I wonder if I'll hear anything back...
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Postby mercedes » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:55 am

Indirectly/directly includes donate buttons..that would fall under indirectly..

In other words..you have to ask GM [Author of AM] permission for a donate button..

Hopefully he'll soon get back to you.. :?
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Postby Hguols » Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:10 am

"You are not allowed to make profits from your software - neither directly nor indirectly - unless you have purchased Adventure Maker Full Edition for Commercial Use"

I wouldn't have seen receiving a gift/donation as making a profit. Webster defines profit as "the excess of returns over expenditure in a transaction or series of transactions;". There's no transaction factor in regards to a donation. Its completely optional.

...am I looking at this wrong?
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Donations

Postby Harvester » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:13 am

I think many times donations are titled so that people donate for you to continue making games. Which means, you do not recieve any money for your game I suppose. Since it's entirely optional, I suppose with correct labeling the issue can be avoided. However, I'm no legal expert... but I suppose the usual amount of donations given to an adventure game developer is not such a gream amount of money that it would be worth for anyone to start a legal process to gain anything from it.

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Postby Hguols » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:22 am

Right. I'm certainly not out to make a quick buck. For the love of pie, I've got a good job, my wife has a good job, I make a little on the side with my music, but I don't need to make money with this hobby.

To me, its all about the principle of having the option to accepting gifts. I've run into people with my previous Sword of Moonlight games that aren't for lengthy thank you e-mails, but would much rather forward $5 with a simple, "Thanks for the fun game!". Both lengthy e-mails and anonymous donations I find to be equally rewarding.

I honestly would be content if NO ONE donated even a dollar, so long as I had the option. I would be annoyed if I was prohibited, but I'd get over it.
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Postby mercedes » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:59 am

When i first purchased AM...I also had the Non-commercial...

I had contacted GM....

At that point..he had informed me..No..I wasn't allowed to without permission..However..He had given me permission..in writing..I had to ask permission in writing as well..**

Which ended up being moot...cause I purchased the Commercial there shortly after..:D

**I hadn't mentioned this before..I'm not sure if he would still do the same..or otherwise..This was a very long time ago..***

I didn't think it was my place to say...that he would..or wouldn't..But there it is..:)
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Postby Hguols » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:43 pm

Thanks for that information Mercedes! You pretty much said that I would need permission in the first post, the last post, you explained why.
Just to clarify, what you asked him was in regards to donations?

If that works out, that will be just fine. ....if I hear back from the creator. Its been a few days and I haven't heard anything.
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Postby ShadowHunter » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:40 pm

Hguols wrote:if I hear back from the creator. Its been a few days and I haven't heard anything.


Be prepared to wait a few months to a year before he will respond :cry:, it is just plain rude how he threads this community... he still makes money while we keep his product alive...

Unless he is dead or seriously ill I think dropping a line now and then is the least he could do... internet is everywere even abroad, in a hotel or on the beach... Pardon my French but this is bothering me for a long time now...
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Postby mercedes » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:11 pm

Just to clarify, what you asked him was in regards to donations


Yes..:)..

As for GM responding..to your email..

There are customer relation guidelines..in almost every state. It's up to the proprietor to respond in a timely manner.

When he/she is away..[If its email correspondence]..in which case this is. It's up to the Agency/business..ect..to allow for an email--noting the received email.
And/or..note you are on vacation..
And/or..note that you are not available for a certain length of time.

Depending on the time given..respond to it. Usually within 48 hours.

Especially if you are selling a product.

My suggestion to you..is this; Give it a reasonable length of time..Most places call for 48 hours. But for safe keeping..Try 3 weeks+--This way you allowed for a very reasonable length of time.

If and when, he does respond to it...You can speak about it at that time.
Chances are.. GM..when he finally does respond to it. He'll most likely grant you the permission..
Or.. force you to take it down.. if you've went ahead and done it.
It's not an unreasonable request..and he has set precedence with it already..so..It's up to you..:)
Last edited by mercedes on Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Hguols » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:19 am

I think the bottom line is this.
If I hear from him, we'll discuss it.
If not, I'll put up a donation button with appropriate verbiage.
If he asks me to take it down, I'll gladly do so.

ShadowHunter wrote:Be prepared to wait a few months to a year before he will respond :cry:, it is just plain rude how he threads this community... he still makes money while we keep his product alive...


My project might take a few more months to complete, so it will be a while before anything happens. He still has plenty of time to contact me. (its not like I'm putting up a donation button tomorrow)

Looks like GM's last post on this forum was May 31st 2011. Before that, he'd post every couple of days, to up to a month between posts, with the current hiatus being the longest.

Even though I just got to this community, Adventure Maker is starting to smell like Abandonware. ._.
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Postby reneuend » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:27 am

ShadowHunter wrote:
Hguols wrote:if I hear back from the creator. Its been a few days and I haven't heard anything.


Be prepared to wait a few months to a year before he will respond :cry:, it is just plain rude how he threads this community... he still makes money while we keep his product alive...

Unless he is dead or seriously ill I think dropping a line now and then is the least he could do... internet is everywere even abroad, in a hotel or on the beach... Pardon my French but this is bothering me for a long time now...


I don't want to hijack this thread, but I agree ShadowHunter. Do you realize WHY this product is still alive? It wasn't from the timely updates for AM (sarcasm). The only reason that AM is still a viable product is from a certain person that has created some great software and plugins for AM. :wink:

Hguols: I think this is a good plan. I would be interested to hear if you get any response. Could you let us know? No one else has heard from GM in a very long time.
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Postby Gumbro » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:10 pm

Indirect benefit would be that you are not selling the game, but another person is, or a company or a distributor is, and you get a share of the sales.

Just make sure that the donation button is not for the game. "Buy me a beer" button is fine. "Get yourself an expanded version of the game by donating" is not, neither is "Donate in order to support the game development" as the last two buttons connect the donation to the game.

I'd be more careful about the use of the sprites and visuals in your game (or in any game for that matter). Prior to launch do check you have a written permission from the copyright holder(s). If you do not have the permission to use those for your game, someone might appear and insist on pulling your game off the site. If you cannot reach the copyright holders, it is important that you have at least made a sufficient effort to contact them.
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Postby time-killer-games » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:58 pm

At this rate the creator of AM should just make it open source. i cant imagine that he is actually making enough money to put bread on the table from just one product. that is if he cant even bother to answer my emails either. i mean not only more people would have the software, it would then actually have real, non-third-party updates. and shadow hunter could officially make keygard a part of the AM distribution. If that light-weight creative painter program can be a part of the package, surely keygard should be a built in tool for AM.

// back on topic.
i really think gumbo has the most legitimate point, and that is to stay on the safe side and dont use a donate button that has any connection with your game.
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Postby Gumbro » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:34 pm

He could do that, but it would be a letdown for people who already paid for the full version. Making it open source does not guarantee further development, unfortunately.

I'm pretty sure he did AM for a hobby and I do hope everything is ok with him.
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Postby Hguols » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:04 pm

Gumbro wrote:Indirect benefit would be that you are not selling the game, but another person is, or a company or a distributor is, and you get a share of the sales.

Just make sure that the donation button is not for the game. "Buy me a beer" button is fine. "Get yourself an expanded version of the game by donating" is not, neither is "Donate in order to support the game development" as the last two buttons connect the donation to the game.


I agree with you completely, but it seems like splitting hairs to me. The context I was going to have with the button was "Hey, I spent a lot of time on this. If you want to show your appreciation, I'll accept a donation. If not, enjoy the game!" Obviously, different wording, but that's the moral.

I also thought about giving an extra gift to the people that donate - not in context of the game. A high/stereo quality version of the soundtrack, that I created myself.

Gumbro wrote:I'd be more careful about the use of the sprites and visuals in your game (or in any game for that matter). Prior to launch do check you have a written permission from the copyright holder(s). If you do not have the permission to use those for your game, someone might appear and insist on pulling your game off the site. If you cannot reach the copyright holders, it is important that you have at least made a sufficient effort to contact them.


In regards to images, they're all thanks to one game and one program from From Software. The areas were all created with the Sword of Moonlight program, which is more or less abandonware. Myself and several other people who were there when swordofmoonlight.com started tried to contact From Software about the game.

No response. Ever.

They've had the full version of Sword of Moonlight to download, patched to English for YEARS (by years I mean since 2007) with not a mention from From Software, or iPower. (the domain) Actually, there have been a few Japanese fans take interest in the site....

The sprites I use are from a not-well-known Playstation One game called Shadow Tower. I have contacted the company that released the game, but haven't heard anything back. I don't see it as an issue for several reasons.

1 - I'm not selling my game, nor giving away their game. (its something new)
2 - I'm noting, in the game itself, that the sprites are from Shadow Tower, the scenery is from Sword of Moonlight. (I'm not saying I made these images)
3 - Using images for a free-to-anyone game isn't a whole lot different from using images for a free-to-anyone website, assuming you're not claiming them as your own.
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Postby mercedes » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:36 am

..it seems like splitting hairs to me.


Agreed..Whether its a donate button that says..Donate or Buy me a beer...
If you make any profit... from any method, then you are making profit..
Whether its selling T-shirts on your website..or a blog page where you make money from google ads..

You may not be directly selling game outright, but you are making a profit..indirectly=one way or another..

**********
It might just be worth it to buy the commercial version if this is a concern..It's one of the reasons why I did..

Even though I did at one point receive permission for a button...I didn't like the feeling of being limited..For instance; google ads, blogs..ect..
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Postby Gumbro » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:21 am

(I'm not a lawyer, but I happen to know some copyright related legal stuff, so I'll try to help you out on this one.)

If the copyright holders do not reply, then you can go ahead using the sprites. Just be aware that they still own the copyright and may later enforce that right. But they cannot demand anything from you from the time period you were using the sprites, because you made an effort to contact them and they did not reply to you. This is a common problem with old art, for example, and it is handled this way. Abandonware computer art is the same. So you are quite safe.

@mercedes, no, it really is so that the profit must be connected to the game sales. Hguols can work at McDonald's while developing and distributing the game, for example :). Having a "disconnected" donation button on the site is the same.
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Postby mercedes » Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:10 pm

@mercedes, no, it really is so that the profit must be connected to the game sales. Hguols can work at McDonald's while developing and distributing the game, for example :). Having a "disconnected" donation button on the site is the same.



Not sure what you mean by ''disconnected''...or what you mean by distributing the game...
Not sure if you mean..for free or sale..He can give it for free all he wants..
However, he can not make any profits though--T-shirts-donate button--ect..and use the game as a direct source or indirect source..for those profits...is what I was saying..

For instance;
If someone came to his website to play his Free game..but at the same time bought a T-shirt he was selling..That would be considered an indirect way of making profits.

I could give a billion examples..


Either way..I'm sure..GM would give him permission..
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Postby Hguols » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:25 pm

Gumbro wrote:(I'm not a lawyer, but I happen to know some copyright related legal stuff, so I'll try to help you out on this one.)

If the copyright holders do not reply, then you can go ahead using the sprites. Just be aware that they still own the copyright and may later enforce that right. But they cannot demand anything from you from the time period you were using the sprites, because you made an effort to contact them and they did not reply to you. This is a common problem with old art, for example, and it is handled this way. Abandonware computer art is the same. So you are quite safe.

@mercedes, no, it really is so that the profit must be connected to the game sales. Hguols can work at McDonald's while developing and distributing the game, for example :). Having a "disconnected" donation button on the site is the same.


Being a musician who's released 6 albums since 2009 and been through a couple record labels, I know a little something about copyright as well.

I'm not worried at all. In fact, I used to have regular conversations with the CEO of the company that makes the game I'm getting my enemy sprites from (I was just as huge of a fan of the games then as now) and my forum nickname at the time made an appearance in one of his games. He was pleased with my other games, made in the same fashion. (Just like the game I'm working on now, they were made with Sword of Moonlight)

In regards to splitting hairs, it just seems strange the fine line when it comes to donation. Even if I said, "Please donate because I made this awesome game", I still don't see it as a problem.

There's a difference between receiving a gift and making profit. Profit implies a transaction of some kind. Donation is no strings attached because its 0% mandatory. Profit implies a sale that is mandatory.
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Postby Gumbro » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:17 pm

Can we press the donate button already :D
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Postby Hguols » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:13 pm

LOL! No, I've got to finish my game first! :P

After I finish with the caverns, I'll have 3 more areas left to do....
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Postby Hguols » Fri May 25, 2012 3:05 pm

From the way some of you talked, I never thought I'd see this in my email inbox, but here it is. This completely answers my question! I believe this would just apply to me personally, but if anyone asked, I don't know why he would deny it!
____________________

Hello Thomas,

Ok, you hereby have our authorization to collect donations for any games that you created using Adventure Maker (any edition, any version).

Thanks,
Best regards,
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Postby Vairon » Fri May 25, 2012 11:18 pm

Confirmed: GM has returned. I also have received response to an e-mail sent some time ago. :D
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Postby reneuend » Sat May 26, 2012 4:14 am

I wish we would hear from GM more often.
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