Web Paint-by-Number Forum
Topic #1024: Concerns about copyright
By Teresa K (fasstar)

#1: Teresa K (fasstar) on Aug 15, 2019

I just solved two puzzles by Angela (fenchurch802). She has only solved a handful of puzzles and has created puzzles that seem to be of professional quality, perhaps from a published copyrighted book? Sometimes solvers recognize them.

https://webpbn.com/32713 Justic League Heroine
https://webpbn.com/32715 Fair Play

I am aware of what Jan's policy was. Valerie, what is your policy on this?
#2: sanane samanye (maceraseven) on Dec 25, 2019
Maybe she's just talented. My first puzzles were good jusat like her.
#3: Valerie Mates (valerie) on Jan 3, 2020
Oops, I just found this question now, half a year after it was entered. Teresa, what was Jan's policy on this? I don't think he would have been okay with copyrighted material being re-entered here without permission, so probably he would have deleted it?
#4: Norma Dee (norm0908) on Jan 3, 2020
This is what he says on the puzzle editor page:
Please do not enter any puzzles taken from any copyrighted source, such as books, magazines, or other web sites. Enter only your own original designs.
The copyrights to all puzzles on this site are retained by the people who entered them. Please do not re-publish them elsewhere without permission from the author.

I don't think he deleted them as there are still copied puzzles on the site that go back several years.
#5: Valerie Mates (valerie) on Jan 4, 2020
Thanks. Hm. My understanding is that I'm legally responsible for deleting any copyrighted puzzles that are copied here by anybody other than their copyright-holder. So if a copied puzzle came to my attention, I would unhappily need to delete it.
#6: Byrdie (byrdie) on Jan 4, 2020
First off, I agree that copywriten puzzles should be deleted. It's unfair to those of us who have taken the time an effort to create a puzzle to have others just copying from known sources, let alone the legal ramifications.

In this specific instance, I don't think that has been proven yet. If I read T correctly, she is suggesting that the puzzle quality is too good for someone who seems to be so new at puzzling so she's asking if any of the regulars recognize the puzzles from other sites. When I saw this post, or rather S's response, I tried one of the puzzles and it is quite well crafted. However, I'm not as suspicious.

A caveat, there are some well done puzzles on this site as well and I wouldn't put it above other sites or publishers to "borrow" from here as well. I think it would be important to check the publish date of both puzzles before a determination was made.

I believe there was also discussion at one time about how much alteration would make a puzzle unique rather than copied. Since the colors on this site are limited it's not enough to just change the color scheme.

It'd be interesting to hear if someone recognizes these from a published source. Personally, this site is my only activity in PBN so I wouldn't be able to recognize a copied puzzle if it bit me.
#7: Norma Dee (norm0908) on Jan 4, 2020
We had someone a couple of years ago that published a lot of puzzles that she called her own. The copies were easily distinguished from her own puzzles which were very primitive. The original work was often easy to find by just asking Google for those images in pixels. I looked into her copies as I was concerned if this site in some way could be held responsible for allowing them to be published. I did not find a definite answer. But here is a copy of what I wrote about it. The first puzzle I mentioned is not longer there by the others are.

. It seems Donna has been publishing puzzles she has gotten from other sources as her own. I first discovered a copy of an image that can be seen on the home page of Conceptis Puzzles which I pointed out in a comment on that puzzle. Unfortunately that did not stop her from copying other people’s ideas. Here are a just a few examples:
29262 Sylvester

28812 - This is one of her robot puzzles. Hers is a mirror image with some slight changes.
28774 – This is an image of the Joker from Batman, again with some slight changes. She commented, “Thank you both. I think characters are my strength.”
291663 - This is the deer she posted just before Christmas. She added a blue hash mark background to make it solvable. Her response to one compliment was “Thanks, I am so excited this puzzle has a quality of 5!!!! I feel like I am in the big league now.”
29190 – This is her bird in a cage. She made the bird red and added a green hash mark to make it solvable.

It makes me very sad that someone feels they have to copy other people’s ideas and I have no idea what her motivation is in doing this, but it bothered me that people were unknowingly making nice comments on puzzles that were not hers and I thought they should know.

It might not have mattered so much if she had acknowledged the source and gave them full credit and said something to the effect that she was sharing something she liked with us, but you could see from her comments that she wanted us to think she was the creator.
#8: Teresa K (fasstar) on Jan 4, 2020
We used to have a few people who could identify the copies and cite the source (like a published magazine) when they were flagged here like this. If someone could report the source of the copy, Jan would remove it. The two I mentioned above were followed by a third, then she disappeared.
#9: Valerie Mates (valerie) on Feb 18, 2020
Circling back to this again: My understanding is that if I am told about a copyright violation on the site (or any other posting that breaks the law) then I am responsible for removing it. I don't know how different from the original a copied puzzle needs to be in order to count as a new puzzle and not a copy.

Puzzle 29262 (Sylvester) seems to be gone. I did not delete it.

Puzzle 28812 (R2-D2) was an exact copy of an image online, so I've deleted it.

Puzzle 28774 (Joker from Batman) was very similar to an online image, but had significant changes, so I left it posted.

Puzzle 29163 (Deer) is an exact replica of a deer that is posted online, but the added background and text make it different from the original -- but the deer itself is exactly identical to the online deer. So I am not sure whether it counts as a copyright violation.

Puzzle 29190 (Caged Bird) - ditto.

Does that seem reasonable? I could convinced to delete the other ones too, because they aren't entirely original.
#10: Norma Dee (norm0908) on Feb 18, 2020
Some have posted exact copies of art work from other sources with the additions of some color to make them more solvable on our site. If the original exists in the copy despite the additions, it should probably be deleted. As the saying goes: Better safe than sorry.
#11: Teresa K (fasstar) on Feb 20, 2020
Very reasonable, Valerie.

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