Rules Around Using Episode Art Assets and Community Edits

I think you would proooobably be OK with the first one, as it seems one-to-one sharing of background edits is OK, and no one can argue for sure that’s not how you obtained it. It seems to be the people sharing the edits on public drives and Instagram accounts etc. that are in violation of the rules. I’m not sure how this applies to sharing on the forum threads, though.

Honestly, I think it’s fair that you are confused. This announcement clears up some things, but it also creates a lot of confusion in other ways…

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But what about the first one? Am I okay to use it?

Another question, let’s say a background which everyone is allowed to use, like INT. PHILADELPHIA BEDROOM - DAY for example. If that background is edited and some things are tweaked (eg: the walls, decorations, windows etc.) would I still be allowed to use it? Because most of the backgrounds I have are edited but I’m confused as to if I’m allowed to use them or not.

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Could @Liz or someone else officially affiliated with Episode weigh in on whether sharing (non-hidden bg) edits on forum threads is considered “sharing/producing on a scale beyond personal use.” I apologize if I’ve missed this somewhere in the 650+ comments, but it’s not clear to me from the OP. I can see why they’d crack down on sharing assets on non-Episode sites to eliminate their circulation on the internet beyond use for the app, but I feel like everyone on the forum is likely saving these edits for personal use in Episode stories, so it’s not intuitive to me that this would be a violation.

Yea this basically says no edits unless episode gives permission for you to do so. A few sections detail what Episode permits to be edited and how it can be used. I know I ranted above. That’s what happens in the moment so I apologize lol. Now that I know more I completely get it: They don’t want people making money off their hard work or using for things that could reflect the opposite of what they stand for. I wouldn’t either.

As sad as I am about losing free premade edited backgrounds, I understand now. @Episode please bless us with a large variety of backgrounds and furniture overlays (Please let at least one of them be a male bedroom that our characters would be able to lay correctly in aka a side view of a bed).

Thanks

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My takeaway is that you can personally edit backgrounds Episode has published, but you can’t share them publicly via a drive or anything. So if you want to edit one of the bedrooms that’s fine, but it can’t be shared with others.
When it comes to using backgrounds others have edited and posted on public drives, that’s not allowed, unless there are NO episode assets used in them. (Think @lonewolfe’s drive, who has original backgrounds).

I think, anyway. @Liz?

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All I can say that Liz told me we are not allowed to even share it on the forum.

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Thank you!

Personally I think that kind of sucks for a lot of reasons I won’t go into, but I’m not sure why they can’t make an area of the forum only people with accounts can access if they are that worried about internet randos finding their way here and using assets for whatever non-Episode purposes they might find for them.

I’m pretty useless at editing backgrounds personally, and will miss how accessible edits used to be.

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Do you happen to have any office overlays in the private drive? I was thinking of donating (your work is AMAZING) but I don’t quite know the contents :slight_smile:

Edit: ah screw it, you deserve it. I bought you a kofi :heart:

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I’ve bought you a koffi!

Ive been looking trough your backgrounds and wow! They are amazing!
Can’t wait to see the rest of your drive

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The key word is “wide-distribution”. So putting a link to your public drive on the forums would not be okay as it would allow people from anywhere to access a multitude of episode assets, however sharing your backgrounds individually on a thread would be okay.

If someone did want to access your drive from the forums, you’d just have to make sure that they are episode-affiliated in order to give them permission to access your drive. <3

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This is what Liz has told me. Regarding sharing edited episodes background on threads. The Episode forums are public so sharing edited versions of Episode backgrounds or overlays here would go against the rules around edits being for personal use only

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It seems an easy solution to this would be a section of the forum that isn’t public: one for sharing edited assets we had to login to view.

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The problem is, someone with this login could still take advantage of the system and distribute it widely.
It still opens up Episode to liability. Especially if any of those edits came from hidden assets.

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I would say hidden assets would be forbidden in this hypothetical scenario, as they would be anywhere else.

I see what you are saying, but I would weigh the needs of the community against the off-chance of someone outside of it creating an account because they just had to have Episode edits for some weird non-Episode-related reason. What’s to stop this same theoretical random thief from creating an account to access the portal, stealing backgrounds from there, and distributing/using them wherever? Who’s to say that someone who obtains a background edit from a one-to-one share through DMs won’t turn around and stick it on Instagram? I get that they want to draw a line somewhere, but drawing it so that it fully excludes their own forums does not seem to me the most productive solution.

Sure, this is all possible, but I think having a forum with a login requirement kind of takes away Pocket Gem’s ability to control this kind of thing from happening.

It’s possible someone could share a background from a one-on-one edit and distribute it, but in this hypothetical scenario, it would be easy to take control of the situation. The creator of the edit might be upset that someone they trusted is violated the TOS with something they took the time to make themselves. I imagine that same hypothetical editor would feel pretty slighted, and wouldn’t hesitate to either make them take the drive down, or report it.

Sure, there’s a chance the editor doesn’t care, but I imagine someone who sends someone one of their edits trusts them to honor the TOS (even though no one is perfect) and doesn’t want to risk their work being removed from the app.

And while we’re Episode’s customers (and as a business, they should take our wants and needs into account for customer retention) they still have legal obligations, and these are always taken into account when making decisions related to our experience on the app. They have to think about a hypothetical person who isn’t honoring the TOS. In terms of users, Episode has seen some significant growth, and there’s a pretty good chance that the situation could get even more out of hand that it already has.

Even if they wanted to do something like this, it would require A LOT of behind the scenes legal work. They would need to make significant revisions to their legal documents and they would need to work closely with their legal team to make something like this happen.

Bottom line, it’s not an easy solution, and forum users make up a small segment of their customer base. It’s pretty unlikely to happen.

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Oh, for sure! I appreciate your thoughtful response, and I think you make several good points. Ultimately, I’m not convinced, but my ability to remain unconvinced is probably meaningless, as Episode clearly has already made their decisions, and it’s pretty far from what I suggest.

I suppose for me I have trouble seeing why the degree of trust Episode has for its community by allowing us to access assets through the portal would not be extended to a section of the forum with limited public accessibility which they themselves moderate.

My example of the edit pulled from DMs was meant to show that these scenarios would still lead to the to the public sharing of Episode assets… less meant to comment on violations of editor trust, though those editors would of course be within their rights to be annoyed by this kind of dishonesty.

If Episode is giving users access to assets (via the portal) to produce their own content, they are already opening themselves up to the possibility of dishonest people exploiting that. I suppose I see the designation between “we trust people who pull our backgrounds from the portal” and “we don’t trust people who pull our backgrounds from our moderated forums” as somewhat flimsy. The only solution that really insulates them against exploitation of assets would be flat-out doing away with the ability of users to create their own content, which would be a terrible move. As it stands, they open themselves to certain risks already, so I guess that’s why I don’t see the forum scenario as particularly more risky.

I can understand where you’re coming from.

I guess the reason I’m not particularly moved by the decisions Episode makes is that at the end of the day, they’re a business. Of course, they care about keeping us happy, because they retain customers and generate revenue for themselves. But as a business, they still want to protect their own assets. So, that means considering any and all hypotheticals. I

Sure, they have opened themselves up to risks with their portal, but it’s clear that they’re making efforts to regain control. You can edit Episode backgrounds for personal use, meaning for yourself and a few friends. It becomes an issue when you widely distribute it and/or sell it. Right now, they’re focusing their attention on making sure this doesn’t continue to happen.

Having a forum would slow down these efforts and make it more difficult to control. They’ve already realized the risks they’ve opened themselves up to, and they’re taking the best courses of action that could prevent something like this from happening again. That’s why I doubt they would make a private forum for something like this.

I understand that, but my point still stands. Basically, I believe your scenario has the potential to trigger an emotional response from the editors; causing them to snitch on the person, or make them get rid of it. I know I would. Furthermore, one-on-one sharing could probably slow down this kind of thing. If I shared an edit I made with a friend, I catch them promoting it on their drive on Instagram, you can bet that I will demand that they take it down before more people open up the link. There will definitely be people that will do this with one-on-one sharing, but it will be easier to catch than one person distributing it widely.

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Yeah, ultimately, that is what it comes down to. And I do understand why they would want to protect their copyrighted material. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable concern for them to have at all. It seems like any system they come up with has shortcomings, as the goals to (1) keep the community happy and (2) to protect their intellectual property often won’t align very easily. To some extent, whatever proverbial line in the sand they draw will, depending on one’s perspective, seem like it could just as easily be nudged in one direction as it could another.

Can peeps be able to use their own background they made themself or not??