Fan translation crowdfunding site?

Discussion in '3DS - ROM Hacking, Translations and Utilities' started by MrNobody, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. MrNobody
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    Hello!

    I am new to the forum, but I have been enjoying many fan translations over the years.

    I often want to contribute money back to the translators, or crowdfund new translation projects, but no such platform exists. I could only find one such project on Kickstarter. :-(

    I've been thinking about creating such a website, a Kickstarter for fan translations, where you can either donate to work-in-progress projects or suggest new ones.

    The money would be sent directly to the translators via PayPal or Bitcoin. The site itself would be driven by donations and possibly relevant ads (although I'd try to steer away from that).

    I would love to hear the opinions of fan translators and possible supporters of fan translations. Is this a good idea? What would you do differently?

    Thank you very much for your attention.

    PS. The site could also be used to crowdfund rom hacks.
     
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  2. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    You can't legally do that as they would be making money off intellectual properly that they legally haven't obtained the rights to translate.
     
  3. MrNobody
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    Hey Lilith, thanks for your comment.

    If we discuss fan translations specifically, I believe their legality varies by country. One can argue that you are paying for is the labor of translating the manuscript for the game. You can draw a parallel to subtitle translators - if I translate a TV show into another language, is the subtitle illegal? That depends on the country.

    The site would never allow distribution of actual game files, only translation patches.

    For further security, you could choose to receive donations via Bitcoin.
     
  4. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    The issue with fan translations is that they already walk a legal tightrope as it is. Depending on each counties' copyright laws will effect the future the future of any translation, coupled with the laws of where ever the host is stationed.
    Just because you can argue that you are paying for the labor, doesn't make it a legally sound argument. If someone hasn't paid or been paid to get the rights to translate a game, then their work is already on thin ice. Especially in the US where fan translations actually violate several DMCA laws.
    Paying a team to do a fan translation is a crime, it's considered intellectual property theft. They did not pay nor were they paid by the holders of the original product to translate it. Thus paying them for that translation violates copyright laws. Paying them in bitcoin doesn't change the law nor does it circumvent the law. Making a profit of anything that is not your intellectual property or legally obtained intellectual property is a crime.
     
    Last edited by Lilith Valentine, Aug 6, 2017
  5. Shadowehh

    Shadowehh Also known as Shadd

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    I don't really think that he will help them by making people see ads or forcing people to pay money for translations. I think that what he really wants to do is to allow people to donate to those who have made translations in which really has nothing to do with the fact of getting paid because they translated a certain game, but because people want to give those who have helped in making the game and other games better. I also don't think that they are breaking any laws for making any translations because they aren't earning any money from it and because of the fair use law (making a parody of the game, sort of). There's nothing wrong with making a site to help other people out. Although a great way to keep the site running without having to add fees or ads is to allow people to help out the site as well (such as giving people a name tag such as "Contributor" when people contribute money to allow the site to continue running or set up a Patreon for the site to keep on running).
     
  6. Seliph

    Seliph Scion of Light/Orphan

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    While a good idea, I doubt it would work out. Even if it's okay legally it's so barely legal that many teams probably won't bother with it out of fear that all of their work will be dmca'd or whatever and lose all of their hard work. They'd just be too scared to do it I think.
     
  7. Shadowehh

    Shadowehh Also known as Shadd

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    Well, it all depends on his Kickstarter. If it all goes well, chances are that so will the site.
     
  8. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    That's actually not how Fair Use laws work. Pocket Morty is an example of fair use, they took an idea and based an entire game around mocking another game series. Despite the fact that it's obvious Pokemon cloned game, they didn't use any of the assets from Pokemon and made it distant enough from the pokemon series to be considered it's own game.
    A fan translation does not fall under Fair Use, as they are directly using the copyrighted assets from the game. Fair use does not protect these kinds of actions as they are in direct violation of copyright laws. This is the same reason why fan games get DMCA notices all the time.
    Actually it's completely against the law to make a profit off these projects. It doesn't matter if it's donations, Patreon, ads, or private donations. If a fan translation is making a profit for or about the project, then they are breaking the law. So there actually is something legally wrong with this idea.
     
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  9. Shadowehh

    Shadowehh Also known as Shadd

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    Actually copying assets is part of the fair use and allows people to use anything (just as long as they aren't earning money from it). Go look up the fairuse policy and you'll know what I mean.

    As for the DMCA notices, I'm not sure why they really want it down, but it is their choice for them to force people to take down any clones or anything that belongs to them.
     
    Last edited by Shadowehh, Aug 6, 2017
  10. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    Expect the entire idea of a fan translation is to copy the intellectual properties from the game and translate it without the consent of the original copyright holder. Fan translations have been subjected to takedown notices before and been removed due to violating copyright laws. Fair use is not a blanket protection to allow you to do whatever you want with copyrighted material. Coupled with the fact that donations to fan translations is still considered intellectual property theft. If the original devs aren't seeing any part of the profits made or didn't pay for this translation, then it's against the law.
     
  11. Shadowehh

    Shadowehh Also known as Shadd

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    The fair use law is a law by the US, those content creators are protected by it even without the consent of the original owner, but can only protect them as long as they aren't earning any money from it, but in some cases even giving them a bad reputation.

    Check this link out for the Fair Use policy: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/what-is-fair-use/
     
  12. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    Expect the point of the OP is requesting is to make a profit off their projects. As well fan translations do not fall under fair use for the very same reason why Pokemon Prism didn't fall under Fair Use. They are still using copyrighted material for the translation. Even if they changed the text to something silly, they are still using a copyrighted engine to make this translation happen. They are also still using a copyrighted game that they didn't get the rights to use and none of this falls under Fair Use.
    Fair use:
    Comment upon: Fan translations do not fall under this as they are just a translation of the game and not commentary to the game.
    Criticize: Same as above
    Parody:
    This is a parody
    Pocket_Mortys.jpg
    Translations even with silly scripts do not fall under this category as well.

    And once again, the OP is purposing a site to help pay for these projects. Which means they would be making a profit for the translations and thus violate copyright laws.
     
  13. Shadowehh

    Shadowehh Also known as Shadd

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    The whole reason why Pokemon Prism has been taken down wasn't that it has been just taken because of copyright, but was taken down because it was a modification to the game in which didn't follow Nintendo's regulations of game modification to their game system or their games in general that has been stated before.

    Modifying translations very well fall within the Fair Use guidelines (as long as the game itself hasn't stated any regulations toward this) and can and will be allowed by law until further notice.
     
  14. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    Yes, it was takendown for use of Nintendo's intellectual material, here's the actual takedown notice.

    Here's the thing, very rarely do fan translations see legal issues. In most cases it's because the translators aren't making a profit off the project and thus they just walk on thin ice. If the original dev decides they no longer want to see the project continue, they can legally stop the project and send a C&D letter. Just because they rarely send takedown notices, doesn't mean it falls under fair use. It means that they don't see a large enough profit lost or see a great amount lost in the legal battle.
    Now they actually do get involved when fan projects start making profit off their material. Which is what the OP wants to suggest for them do and to have a site in order for them to do that. Not only is that inviting more C&D letters, but it also gives companies legal ground to take the translators to court for infringing on their intellectual material.
     
    Last edited by Lilith Valentine, Aug 6, 2017
  15. Shadowehh

    Shadowehh Also known as Shadd

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    That current takedown notice was given by Nintendo because they feel that it jeopardizes their "rights". They do have the right to remove that content, but in the current situation we're in, his fans translations site is only giving them money for their work, but not because they worked on the project itself. The main purpose of his site is to help others, not to pay them to translate games. He never said that he will pay them for their work, but to create the site to allow people to donate to others for the work they have done and to let them continue on what they are doing. He can't get his entire site taken down for having translations for certain games that some companies won't allow. Only people that have made those translations can be taken down unless they remove the content. This is similar to game mods, some people host other peoples mod work (in which the company who made the game allows them to make mods) and then steal it to their own youtube channel or website account. His website is like Youtube, he can't get taken down because of other people's mishaps but is required to remove it from their site if the person hosting it refuses.

    He can make the site without any DMCA notice because he isn't the one mainly hosting it or is earning money off of it, but can only be DMCA'd if he was the one who created the translation and wasn't listening to the company's demands. He still has to listen to the company to remove the content from his site though.
     
  16. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    Did you read the OP? Because I did.
    This right here is illegal, plain and simple. I've already made it clear multiple times why this is illegal and I won't repeat myself.
    Of course his site would most likely be fine to stay up. The same reason why GBATemp has fan translations hosted on it and can still make a profit. GBAtemp listens to takedown notices and also don't pay the translators. The issue isn't the site itself, it the action of making a service that allows users to pay fan translators for their work, which is a crime. Paying an unauthorized group for ROM hacks (including fan translations) infringes on intellectual property rights.
     
    Last edited by Lilith Valentine, Aug 6, 2017
  17. Insight2k

    Insight2k GBAtemp Regular

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    Of the point of a translation group (mine e.g.):
    We had the offer to take money for the work we had done or invest money from others for professional work around that project.
    I wouldn't take any money in the future as it has been said before. I don't want to to break the thin ice. Won't make any hussle to be targeted and neither the other groups as I am guessing.
    It just doesn't fit if you fiddle with the work of the companies. Some groups can be grateful that they didn't get shutdown
     
  18. MrNobody
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    Thank you for your opinion, as someone coming from the scene.
     
  19. MrNobody
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    A few ideas regarding @Lilith Valentine and @Insight2k s concerns.

    - What if we limited the the translation projects to games that are no longer actively being sold? For example, DS games and older for Nintendo and PSP and lower for Sony.
    - What if the site itself did not distribute the patches, they could still be on GBATemp or a filehost like Mega.
    - What if the site did not accept donations or show ads at all, so the platform itself would have no income.
    - What if you did not crowdfund a specific project, but rather paid a monthly donation to a translation group, similar to Patreon?

    Would any of those ideas improve your view on the project?
     
  20. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    So even though it's less likely to result in the team getting a notice, it's not impossible. The issue isn't so much the project itself, it's the idea of money going into the project and I'll explain more in a bit.
    The two middle ones work just fine, most ROM hacking sites do just that and rarely run into issues. Hell you could still run ads for that site and even have a Patreon for the site itself. That all is fairly legal.
    The issue with the last idea or even the entire idea of paying the teams is, is that that's not legal. Fan translators did not obtain the rights to translate the game, thus gaining profit on it will always be considered intellectual property theft, so long as that company retains the right now the product. This is why hacks like Pokemon Brown and Prism were not above a DMCA takedown notice. Although they were apparently not making any profit off their hack, Nintendo still deemed the hack to infringe on their copyright. Adding a profit lining to a hack only gives companies a greater reason to send a takedown notice to the project.
    Basically it's not the site that would be the problem. It's not sites containing ROM hacks or translations that is the issue. The actual legal issue is money going into fan translations, that's when companies draw the line. It doesn't matter if the game is Super Mario on the NES or Mario Odyssey, the second money starts going into a hack of any sort, Nintendo will stop it. (Same with every company)