Licensing Guide

What is licensing?

Licensing is a term used in a variety of ways, mostly in reference to intellectual ideas and the way in which they are protected. For example, this wiki and all its contributors license their works under CC BY-SA 3.0. But what exactly does that mean? This guide aims to answer this question and explain why we can't just use anything on the internet on our wiki.

Intellectual Property

Whenever you create a piece of art, whether it be writing, painting, photography, sculpture, origami patterns, music, or anything else, you own it. You can do whatever you want with it: make more art around it, sell it, hide it under your bed. The world is your oyster.

In addition, this means other people can't take your art and share it, sell it, remix it, make art of it, etc., at least not without your permission. Overall, this is a good thing. When most artists make something, they want to make sure they control what they make, especially if money is involved. Stolen art, particularly for small artists, can destroy their ability to provide for themselves and their families.

Theoretically, you could give people permission if they ask. But that means potentially answering hundreds of messages a day of people wanting to use your art. Maybe you're okay with people sharing your art, but that's all they can do. Or maybe you're okay with people building off what you've done, but you still want to be credited. Or maybe you don't care what people do with your art, but you at least want to be credited.

It would be nice to have a blanket statement attached to your art, explaining how other people can share or use it, without needing much involvement from you. And that's where Creative Commons comes in.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that created a framework for people to share creative and academic works. They made it easy to understand how a work can be used and how to provide proper attribution. Ideally, being in the creative commons encourages people to share and create media with each other without needing to worry about infringing on someone's intellectual property.

They have different licenses that you can apply to your work that allow people to share it, change it, and remix it while also protecting your intellectual property rights. Sounds perfect for a community built on the concept of sharing, remixing, and creating a collaborative piece of fiction!

Our wiki uses their CC BY-SA license, specifically version 3 (CC-BY-SA 3.0). But what exactly does that mean? Let's break it down.

CC BY-SA 3.0

CC means that we're releasing this work into the Creative Commons. At the very least, we want to allow people to share what we make without needing to give them permission every time.

BY means that we want to be credited for our work. Somewhere, wherever our work is being shared, there needs to be a name attached to it to say who created it. Otherwise, whoever is sharing it is in legal trouble.

SA means "Share-Alike." Therefore, someone who uses our work and creates something new must release the new work under the same license. Think of it as paying it forward. We make something they built off, so they must make something for others to build off too. If they don't do that, they could be in legal trouble.

So if we put this all together, our license means this:

"You can share, remix, adapt or sell1 this work without needing to ask me directly. But you must give me credit and whatever you make must be shared under the same license."

So, everything on this wiki needs to be CC BY-SA 3.0 or at least compatible with our license, especially when it comes to images. This is a bit of a simplification of what the license means, so for more detailed information, read the whole license here.

NOTICE

Once you submit something under a license, you can't take it back. Even if you ask staff to delete your pages, anything that was submitted to this site is subject to the license as long as someone has a copy of your work with the license. Remember, nothing on the internet is deleted forever, so unless you're okay with what the license permits, it's not recommended to post it here.

Why license under CC BY-SA?

First off, it makes sharing easy. If someone shares your work, they must credit you, potentially bringing in new fans. In addition, if someone doesn't follow the license, you have a framework to use to get your work removed unless they follow the license. For this wiki, it gives everyone a chance to contribute, to add new ideas, and to remix old ones without worrying about the typical pitfalls fanfiction and fanart fall into (namely, that you can't profit off of fanfiction or fanart without it technically being stealing, among other things).

What does the footer mean when it says, "Unless otherwise stated, the content is CC BY-SA 3.0?"

The "unless otherwise stated" part doesn't mean you can release your pages on this wiki under any other license. Because the pages are SA (sharealike), you need to use the same license. Additionally, it's our policy that every single page on the site has to be released under version 3.0 of the CC BY-SA license to match the footer. It's easier that way.

The unless otherwise stated is actually referring to, for example, images used in the page. Those might be under a different, less restrictive license, the details of which would be included in the page's license box.

It should be noted, however, that comments and forum posts are not considered CC BY-SA 3.0 and are instead All Rights Reserved by their poster.

What images can I use?

Any image you find needs to be compatible with CC BY-SA. There a list on our Image Use Policy that lists all the compatible licenses as well as places to find them.

licensechart.png

From most open to least open. Graphic by Jillian Maynard.

But in general, more restrictive licenses can use less restrictive ones, but not vice versa. You can see this in the infographic put together by Jillian Maynard from the University of Hartford. CC BY-SA works can use works that are CC BY, but CC BY works can't use CC BY-SA works. Also, CC BY-SA can't use any form of NC or ND license2. But any form of NC and ND license can use CC BY-SA.

Finding a compatible license is as easy as looking at this infographic. Is it above CC BY-SA or is CC BY-SA? If so, it is compatible.

In addition, we have a channel in our Discord where people post images they have taken or found that are compatible with the license. Anything you create for your page is also allowed, so long as you're willing to release it under CC BY-SA 3.0 or another compatible license.

When citing the image in the licensebox, you must provide a link to where you found the image as well as what license it has. If you cannot find the license, you cannot use it. Failure to have properly sourced images can negatively affect the wiki as a whole. For example, there was a time when Levels 1-9 were taken down by staff due to a takedown request. The images were not CC and understandably, the original artists did not want their images to be used, remixed, and potentially sold without their permission. The images have since been replaced, but we don't want to go through this again, so please do your due diligence.

To properly source your images and provide a way for people to credit you, use the license box.

How to use the License Box

The license box is an easy way for people to know how to credit you, as well as an easy way to properly source images. License boxes are a requirement for all pages on the wiki.

Step 1:

At the bottom of the page, below the wikiwalk footer, put this piece of code:

[[include :backrooms-wiki:component:license-box]]
=====
=====
[[include :backrooms-wiki:component:license-box-end]]

If you have footnotes, add [[footnoteblock]] above the licensebox code like so:

[[footnoteblock]]
[[include :backrooms-wiki:component:license-box]]
=====
=====
[[include :backrooms-wiki:component:license-box-end]]

Step 1.5 (optional):

If you have images or other forms of media, put this block of code between the equal signs:

> **Name:**
> **Author:**
> **License:**
> **Source Link:**
> **Derivative of:** (If applicable)
> **Additional Notes:** (Optional)

If you have more than one piece of media, you'll do this multiple times.

These are required in the license box.

  • "Name" is the title of the media.
  • "Author" is whoever created it. If you made it, put your wikidot username3.
  • "License" is the license it's under. Put it exactly as it says. If it says CC BY-SA 2.0, then put CC BY-SA 2.0.
  • "Source Link" is where you found it. If you created it, put the URL of the page it's on.

These are optional in the license box.

  • "Derivative of" If you Photoshopped a variety of images to create a new image or did something similar, you would list them all here.
  • Additional Notes" If you cropped an image or edited it somehow, you would list those changes here.

You can also use this handy box-ify-er to make the process simpler:

Notes:

  • You cannot use some modules, including CSS, HTML, and listpages, inside the license section. You also cannot use collapsibles or tables.
  • If your footnotes are appearing after the license section, remember to add [[footnoteblock]] above the license template.
  • Do not copy or move the ===== elements. Only have one pair, and place that pair below and above the includes.
Step 2

Add the _licensebox tag to the page.

Step 3 (optional):

You can change the name of the author in the pre-generated attribution by specifying the author variable |author=. This is particularly useful for co-authored works, works in which you wish to be credited under another alias, or works which are attributed via metadata. Add the variable like this:

[[include :backrooms-wiki:component:license-box
|author=YourAliasHere]]

All together, it should look like this:

[[include :backrooms-wiki:component:license-box]]
=====
> **Name:**
> **Author:**
> **License:**
> **Source Link:**
> **Derivative of:** (If applicable)
> **Additional Notes:** (Optional)
=====
[[include :backrooms-wiki:component:license-box-end]]

For further questions, contact a staff member.

Can I use other people's ideas?

Well, it depends. Is it from our site and has it been published? Then yes, you're welcome to build upon what is already here or change it as you desire. However, it's a bit like improv: you want to add to the idea instead of subtracting or denying it. It's polite to respect other people's things.

You cannot use someone's unfinished draft unless they have given you explicit permission. Permission to submit another's Backrooms idea usually occurs when the original writer is unable to do so themselves, and staff must be notified beforehand with proof, preferably with all involved members showing agreement.

If it's NOT from this wiki or isn't licensed with a compatible license, you cannot use it. You can take some inspiration, but copying something and changing a few details is still stealing. Whatever you create, even if it's inspired by something, should still be able to stand on its own.

If you use something that is not compatible with our license or is not in the creative commons, staff may get involved. Usually, we'll ask you to remove or change what isn't compatible. But if it's more severe, or if the offense is continually repeated out of negligence, it may result in your membership being revoked or a site ban.

If you have further questions, please contact a staff member.

Notes For YouTubers, Artists, and Game Devs

YouTuber Info

Making videos based on the Backrooms is great and all, but you must license your videos under CC if the particular featured content does not fall under fair use. Most Backrooms YouTube content, being either audio readings or original animations based on the Backrooms, do not fall under fair use because they either reproduce the content of a work in its entirety or are entirely based on the Backrooms universe.

"What falls under Fair Use", you ask? For a simple example, let's say you are reviewing a Backrooms Level. As long as you include minimal passages of text (or even no text from the article), this counts as Fair Use.

A statement that you can copy paste into your video descriptions can be found below, and you can feel free to err on the side of caution if you're not sure whether your video needs it. You are also encouraged to choose to use Youtube's own CC licensing feature in addition to making the statement, though this is not required.

Sample release statement: "Content relating to the Backrooms is licensed under Creative Commons Sharealike 3.0 and all concepts originate from https://en.backrooms-wiki.ru/ and its authors. This video, being derived from this content, is hereby also released under Creative Commons Sharealike 3.0."

Artists Info

If you create a piece of art based on a Level, Object, PoI, etc. and share it publicly, ie via Deviantart, Tumblr, or Twitter, it needs to be licensed under CC. This is particularly important if the artwork is being sold for profit, ie as a merchandise image on a website like Redbubble. Attempting to restrict use of Backrooms artwork to all rights reserved or noncommercial use only is not compliant with the license, and does not fall under fair use.

Should you find that your art is being used without proper credit being given, please contact a member of Staff.

Game Developer Info

We'd love to see Backrooms games! However, you would have to release said games under under CC-by-SA-3.0. This means including the release statement prominently on any store page the game is distributed on (as well as developer websites and the like), releasing the game without DRM if the game costs money (Steam and similar platforms have developer options for this), not imposing additional legal restrictions through EULAs or equivalent user forms, and not attempting to impede any alternate distribution sources so long as those sources in turn follow the terms of the license.

Sample release statement: "Content relating to the Backrooms is licensed under Creative Commons Sharealike 3.0 and all concepts originate from https://en.backrooms-wiki.ru/ and its authors. [Insert Game Name here], being derived from this content, is hereby also released under Creative Commons Sharealike 3.0."

Alternatively, you may release your game under GPLv3. It is a more specialized software license that includes provisions for patent rights, but requires you to release the full source code of your game publicly- in a manner that is immediately playable and modifiable. If you do so, please still credit the Backrooms wiki and its authors via attribution. See here for more information on why the Creative Commons organization recommends GPLv3 for software.

Sample GPL release statement:
"(one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what it does.)
Copyright (C) (Year) (Name of Author/s)
This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>."

FAQ

The CC BY-SA license is too restrictive! Can't you make an exception for my [insert project here]?

No.

Not only is all work published into Creative Commons irrevocably placed in said Commons, the license cannot be changed once it has been posted. Moreover, we, the staff of the Backrooms wiki, cannot and will not suspend the Creative Commons license for any reason whatsoever.

If I want to include a specific Level/PoI/Object/etc. in my project, do I have to release the whole thing under CC BY-SA 3.0?

Yes.

This is due to the Share-Alike aspect of the license, which means that if you were to build upon something that was released under CC BY-SA, you would be required to release it under the same license.

Will you sign any sort of exclusive adaptation rights over to us?

No.

We have no ability to do that, nor would it actually stop anyone from adapting something from us (or even using your own adapted works) so long as they have proper attribution listed for all parties.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License