Classify screenshot art as Derivative Work under US Copyright Law.
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Currently, the work of screenshot artists (also known as game photographers) is automatically considered to be owned by the game's developer and/or publisher, and can be used by the owners of the game and by the media without permission from the artist and without crediting the artist.
Reclassifying game screenshots as derivative work would allow both the game developer/publisher and the artist to receive credit for their work. The goal would be to put game photography in a similar category as song remixes. The game developer should be credited by the screenshot artist when a shot is posted online, and the game developer and media should credit the screenshot artist when using their screenshots on their own social media, newsletters, and articles.
Copyright law is a complex subject that often lags behind the times, but with more and more games incorporating photo modes and encouraging players to post screenshots on social media, now is a good time to update how screenshots are handled.
This is not intended to harm game developers or members of the media, or to create needless complicated rules, but instead to clarify copyright law in this area and ensure that all artists (be they developers or screenshot artists) receive proper credit for their work.
(photo credit @Mr_Hasgaha, taken in Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games)
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