View Full Version : Maps in use without permission?

09-25-2010, 03:09 PM

I came across recently that someone has used one of my maps for a forum RPG. After I talked to him and he begged pardon for using it without my permission, I allowed him to continue the campaign with my map.

Now I have again found a forum where one of my maps was used without asking me. In both cases, changes were made to the maps.

How would you act?


09-25-2010, 03:28 PM
If they're just for personal use I'd simply ask them to provide attribution..."I'm going to use this map made my mearrin69 over at the Cartographer's Guild". If its for anything else, or if they try to put off that it's their creation, then I'd look at doing something stronger.

09-25-2010, 03:32 PM
Well, first, I'd get ****ed off (happened to me once). You can go to great lengths to try to protect your work with watermarks, your signature, digital watermarks and digital signatures, posting only snippets of a map, expressly putting the license in a post or even on the image itself but in the end, it really does nothing cuz most of the folks looking thru our site are kids, teens, and 20-somethings who don't care or don't know about legalities. Posted images are like fonts...who really reads those "read me" things and accepts the limitations? Second, if I'm gonna get all over the dude's case then I'd better make sure that he removes it otherwise what good is it to get all over the dude? Third, ya gotta take the big-picture, philosophical road - anything you post is probably floating around out there somewhere without your knowing...that's why I post no pics of me or my family. Fourth, if it's just some free thing that he and friends are enjoying then I'd ask him to, at minimum, leave my name on it and offer to make changes myself for a small fee. If the dude's trying to make money from the map then he better freakin pay me something.

The thing that angers me the most is when they try to take credit for it; ooo that steams me. They obviously come here so just get Gimp and try a tut...not that hard. Now, if you run something on some other site then they might get it from there so that's why I only post here and not on deviant art or some personal website. You can only get my stuff here so if you're here...try a tut.

09-25-2010, 04:57 PM
Well, it's a complement in a way and you know there is a limit to how much you can do. Hopefully, they will give you credit for your map. If they have altered it and are taking the credit that would be upsetting.

Most people who are using your map are probably having fun with it and out of appreciation should give credit to you. This matters because it's like advertising and if someone else wants a map they can only look you up. That could be profitable. So they could be held liable. (A hassle to deal with though I'm sure)

If they are jerks I'd say post here and let us know what website it is so we can blackball them or at least go post on that website about how wrong it is that they are taking credit away from the artist. That should fire up their community and that pressure would I hope cause them to rethink their position. It would be a pretty stupid thing to ****off a community of artists because we have ways of making you look bad. How about a challenge that paints them in a bad light? Don't directly use their names of course so you can't be nailed for slander but you know what I mean..."Behold the Asslands where credit-denying map users reside." hehe

Fortunately most people seem willing to give credit where credit is due. And as long as I get credit people can find me. I would try to look at it like an advertising budget. You have to spend some to get more and as long as it's promoting your name it's probably good.

Ultimately you have to ask if it's worth your not doing any more maps. I figure I'm going to get used at some point if I'm good enough and sure, I'll be mad at first but hopefully all the folks here will be ready to help me calm down when and if it happens. :)

09-25-2010, 06:24 PM
If nothing else, and it is not the admins of said community using your map, you could send a message to the community's admins informing them of the plagiarism and hope they do something about it. Although it was not a map, I had someone use some of my art as their own with no attrib. When I messaged the admins, they pulled the art down and blackballed the individual. In another case, I was attributed with the original work although they changed it to fit in their usage. I am always fairly with others using my stuff as long as attribution is made.

And as Ascension said, it is difficult at best to constantly search the web for any use of your stuff. Back in 94 to 98 when the WWW was still fairly small, it was easier. Now, it is damn near impossible. The only solution I see is to place a watermark where it is very difficult to remove. I for one will always ask to use something before I actually use it. Or, in the least, I will attrib the work with a link to the artist's gallery.


09-25-2010, 06:53 PM
In both cases I would disallow the further use.
I don't know if you've put the maps under any licence, but it is not a sign of mature habit to use them without permission BUT what is worse: the maps were changed.
Most of us are here to improve their skills and to get new ideas and I don't think anyone has problems that the maps were used in private RPG sessions, but changing them and presenting the maps on the internet without reference is absolutley lousy.
If you don't have success with the admins to remove them, post the URL and I think a lot of people here are willing to help you in flaming them.

09-25-2010, 08:42 PM
I think it's a sign of the times that everyone thinks anything on the internet is "free" and or/ in the "public domain". Like everyone said it's one thing to use someone else's stuff in private but if your going to post it somewhere throw some credit (and asking would be nice..) Having said all that I hope to one day be good enough that my stuff gets..*ahem* stolen.. ;)

Mark Oliva
09-25-2010, 11:27 PM
How would you act?

I would make my usage conditions/restrictions clear when I post the map. A lot of people don't understand what they can and can't do with things posted in the Internet.

09-26-2010, 02:50 AM
Legally speaking, a great deal depends on the jurisdictions involved. I don't know what the process would be in Germany, but if one of the infringing websites is based in the United States, the appropriate response within our legal system is to send a "cease and desist" notice to the administrator of the website. Most of the time, that's enough to get the infringing work taken down.

Personally, I'd start with a civil notice to the user who posted the map asking that it be removed or attributed or paid for, according to whatever license you may have issued (or not issued, as the case may be). If that didn't meet with results, an informal message to the forum administrator would be my next step, and a cease and desist if that didn't work. If I could find the administrator's address and send the letter on some sort of letterhead, that's even better, as a real physical letter is much more intimidating than an email.

Of course, the lengths to which you should go to protect your intellectual property are directly proportional to the harm you will suffer by having your work disseminated without your name attached. If you're a professional artist, then obviously you have a much bigger stake in protecting your work than I, as a hobbyist, do.

09-26-2010, 06:37 AM
Thanks for your answers. I don't know. What bothers me personally is not so much if someone is using my map without permission. But if someone stamped out the name of my world and my sign and paints over the map, it's starting to annoy me.

I found the map in a french forum. The forum seems to have no other reason than showing my map splitted in many parts. The google translator doesn't work and I don't know, for what exactly the forum was made, not even if the maker gave me credit. Last entry is from August. Maybe someone has started an RPG-project and had soon no more motivation to continue. Or it is just some kind of background information for an RPG which runs in another forum.

Personally, I don't like watermarks. I want to view a map in full size, without restrictions and ugly watermarks. I will probably have to live with the problem that has been mentioned here already a few times. If someone wants to 'steal' something in the web, nobody can prevent him from it.

I'm going to send the admin a PM or Email if I find the right button or adress somewhere. Maybe he can bring some light on the matter.


09-26-2010, 10:06 AM
I agree that credit should be given where credit is due. If someone took my creations and then took credit for them then I would do everything in my power to make it right. which would be to either give me credit for my work, remove it from the site, or pay me for it.

I could probably translate some of the thread for you if you can't get anything straitened out with the site admin. I know there are some french and canadian cartographers in our midst who could probably do it better though, but I don't mind trying.

Did you come across your maps by accident or did you search for them somehow?

09-26-2010, 11:11 AM
Did you come across your maps by accident or did you search for them somehow?
I have searched Google for "Caeruin", the name of my world. I often try to find out on which rank my homepage is listed that way. I tried a few more keywords, like the names of my lands and cities. And so I found the site: http://foretdesenchantee.xooit.fr/f34-Information.htm

It seems as if the area should not have be made public. The previous part of the board requires in any case access permission? However, thanks for the offer. Not, that there is much text to translate. ;) If you can find a hint, for what the forum or the maps were made, I'd be glad to hear from you. :)


09-26-2010, 11:48 AM
Looks to me like he's assigned the various areas of the map to fantasy races. That's all I can figure. Chrome did translate the main page but there just isn't much to read. There are very few people who belong to the site and it looks like it might just be a few friends doing something but it would be better if you knew for sure. And seeing as it's just a few folks it would seem like they would have no issues adding a blurb assigning credit to you for the original map. I'd hit up one of the French speaking members here though and have them check it out for more details.

09-26-2010, 12:34 PM
Well, I don't give much for credit in this case. I'm more interested in finding out what's the idea behind it. I really enjoy reading about my world in a forum I've accidentally found anywhere. Even, if this version of my world is filled with elves and orcs, who I personally banished from my world. Inspiration and entertainment is always appreciated. :) Might only be a problem, when Chrome doesn't translate it for me and I don't understand a single word. :(


09-27-2010, 10:30 PM
According to this, there is only one member: http://foretdesenchantee.xooit.fr/memberlist.php.

On that page there is a small PM button which will take you to the Private Message board, but you will have to be a member.

Good Luck with your endeavors.


P.S. - Now there are two members. Wonder what he'll do? Leave me in? Drop me? We'll see.

09-28-2010, 12:02 AM
Tineye (http://www.tineye.com) can find some copies of graphics in odd places. It only works on our map attachments when I upload a copy from my hard disk ... and I think it finds our 3 and 4 Mb files excessive :-). I tried a couple of Caeruin versions, and no copies were found -- not too surprising that immense Google has done a better job indexing a French site off in a corner of the net, than the (fairly new) Tineye service has. I tried some other random maps from the Finished Maps forum and it found a couple of the perfectly legitimate deviantart versions put up by the cartographers themselves. Tineye might also miss a copy if someone had made a lot of mods. But I did try it with a simple poster that I'd modified, and it found the original.

10-04-2010, 06:55 PM
It only works on our map attachments when I upload a copy from my hard disk ...

Attachments are only visible when logged in (unlike personal galleries) so a web service like tin-eye can't access them by URL.

-Rob A>