Web Paint-by-Number Forum
Topic #15: Copyright Stuff
By Jan Wolter (jan)

#1: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jun 10, 2006

On the puzzle creation page, it says: These notes have been there since this site was opened to the public, but a discussion in the Conceptis Puzzle Forums recently brought them back to mind for me. People seemed to be collecting puzzles from puzzle sites in PDF form, and making them available on the web without a lot of concern about copyright issues.

I happen to care a lot about the principles behind copyright laws. These laws are designed to protect the right of a person who creates something to potentially profit from their work, or more generally to exert some control over the way their work is used. Since my entire livelihood as a programmer and writer depends on copyright law, this is important to me, as it should be to all people who create or appreciate art, books, music, programs, film, or whatever.

I don't actually expect to make any money from the puzzles I post here, nor do the other people who post puzzles here, I suppose, but that doesn't mean the copyrights can just be ignored. The creators of the puzzles here still have exclusive rights to determine how they are distributed, and one shouldn't just assume you can do what you like with those puzzles. The law still holds where there is no expectation of profit (although there is little chance that a court would offer anything much in the way of damages in such a case).

I, as the owner/operator of webpbn.com, do not have an explicit contract with the people who post puzzles here, and I surely don't want one. By posting puzzles here, we can assume that people are giving me permission to use those puzzles here on the site.

When I added the ability to generate PDFs of puzzles, I was actually treading in a bit of a grey area, since it's not clear that people who had previously posted puzzles here had actually given me permission to publish them as downloadable PDFs, rather then as on-line puzzles. I think that was not unreasonable though. For people to take those PDFs and put them up on other sites, seems a bit more of a problem to me. Not seriously awful or anything, but definately a bit rude.

So I took some time I didn't really have to make better PDF's available directly from this site, and to add explicit copyright messages and a "www.webpbn.com" attribution to each page. I hope to satisfy the desire for people to easily download collections of printable puzzles in a manner that is more respectful of the rights of the puzzle creators.

One problem with this is that the copyright messages in the printable puzzles contain the authors name as posted here. If you've set up your account with the name "Bugs Bunny" then it's going to say "Copyright 2006 by Bugs Bunny". I have little confidence in the validity of such a copyright.

I should probably also add explicit copyright messages to the on-line puzzles. I should probably give users more control over the copyright messages that appear on their puzzles.

Anyway, I'm interested in the thoughts and feelings that users have about copyright issues on this site, so I thought I'd start this discussion item.

#2: Rea Aksglæde Karlsen (Rea) on Jun 12, 2008
this dicussion does not seem to be going so well. I like that you think so much about it. I my line of work copyright is very importent to remember all though it is broken alot (not by me). I see your point about bugs bunny. Since im here with my tru name im okay, but some of the others are not. I printed out one of my puzzles and thought it was so cool to see my name with the copyright.
#3: Arduinna (arduinna) on Jun 13, 2008
LOL! I cleared all the discussions quickly when I first joined (so I could only see the new ones), so this is actually the first time I've ACTUALLY read this thread! Thanks for posting on it Rea!

As an English teacher, I'm very much in favor of protecting copyrights. It's hard enough to convince kids today that they should cite their sources when wikipedia is copying anything and everything without citing sources properly!

As for my own puzzles, I obviously am not using my name here, and I really don't care about my puzzles being copied. Though, I wouldn't care for anyone copying my puzzles and claiming that they created them themselves.

All in all, I do appreciate the effort Jan makes on this site to protect copyrights.
#4: Gitte Olesen (granny40) on Jul 9, 2008
Copyright is a good thing.
I must admit that it´s tempting to post puzzles here from puzzlebooks if they are great, but I havén´t done it, and I won´t do it ever.

But Jan... I will allow you to use my puzzles in a book if you ever are going to print one. Or if you can earn some money by selling my puzzles to a company who creates thoose books.

That way I can show you how much I appreciate your work on this site, and maybe it can cover a little of the money you are spending by running this site.

No joke.. I mean it :o)
You Jan, and only you, are free to use or sell my puzzles.. all of them.

Anybody else are free to print them out and puzzle them on paper... even to give to their friends to puzzle... but not to make money on them.

#5: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 9, 2008
Thanks. I have no plans to do anything like that, but it's a nice thought.
#6: Byrdie (byrdie) on Nov 21, 2008
Good topic and discussion. I (rightly) assumed that the sole purpose of being able to print the puzzles was for personal use to solve them at a later time and not online. I think it's rather presumptuous to either collect them for publishing elsewhere or for loading to other websites as if they were your own.
BTW, I'm pretty sure there's a date stamping function here so it would be pretty difficult to claim ownership.
As a former musician and composer (I like to believe I'm just taking a break but it's been a *really loooong break) I too appreciate what copyright and ownership means.
#7: Jan Wolter (jan) on Feb 22, 2009
I've just deleted Shay's puzzle #3871 from the site. It was a nice puzzle, but it was titled "from the newspaper", a user said they'd seen the exact same puzzle in "a book they bought in London" and it was in a completely different style than all of Shay's other puzzles. It really sounded like it was one of the Daily Telegraph puzzles that they re-publish in their Griddler series of books.

This is the first time I ever actually deleted a puzzle from the site instead of just un-publishing it. I actually had to write puzzle deletion software, which didn't previously exist. An unpublished puzzle can still be seen by people who solved it before it was unpublished, and I wanted the puzzle completely off the site.
#8: Robyn Broyles (ginkgo100) on Sep 3, 2009
I'm no expert on copyright law, but I think it is reasonable to assume that by publishing a puzzle on this site, the owner is implicitly giving permission for it to appear on the site. I think an argument can be made that putting the puzzles into PDF format, then printing them for personal use, qualifies as fair use.

Selling printouts and distributing or selling the PDF files without the permission of each owner is a violation of copyright law.
#9: Kadou (Kadou) on Jan 3, 2011
Puzzles # 125, 126, 174 and 11280 are all copies.
See the individual puzzle's comments for details.
#10: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 15, 2011
I unpublished the first three and had a question about the fourth.
#11: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on Feb 16, 2011
<rat mode>
Puzzle 11280 is definitely a pixel-for-pixel copy.
Also 12247 is a copy of the demo puzzle in Games magazine.
#12: Kadou (Kadou) on Feb 16, 2011
Puzzle #11694 is acknowledged as being copied from Games World of Puzzles magazine. Puzzle education course completed! :)
#13: Jan Wolter (jan) on Feb 18, 2011
I've unpublished 11280 and 11694. Thanks.
#14: Kadou (Kadou) on Mar 30, 2011
The copyrights to all puzzles on this site are retained by the people who entered them. Please do not re-publish them elsewhere (or here!) without permission from the author.
Puzzles #12874 and #3846 are the same as #14.
Puzzles #10221 and #7693 are the same as #845.
#15: Kristen Vognild (kristen) on Mar 31, 2011
Well, there's certainly room for artistic license, as many of these have unique descriptions. I can forgive their being inspired by earlier genius. (Everyone should check puzzle #14, then go from there.)
#16: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Sep 22, 2011
A question for Jan: If a group of people on this site make a combined account and design puzzles, can one of those members have the right to change the password and control all said creations for their own personal use?
#17: Teresa K (fasstar) on Sep 22, 2011
Tom, is this just a theoretical question, or do you know of such a group? Creation of puzzles is an artistic venture and as such artists tend to guard ownership of their creations. It's a personal thing, creating art. I can't think of a reason why I would subscribe as part of a group.
#18: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Sep 22, 2011
T ...this has happened already, I was such a fool and did subscibe to such a group. This is why I'm trying to reach Jan for advice. Enought said for now!
#19: Teresa K (fasstar) on Sep 22, 2011
Jan may not be around here for awhile. You might want to email him. Contact info is on the FAQ page.
#20: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Sep 23, 2011
thanks Teresa
#21: Gator (gator) on Oct 21, 2011
Puzzles #15604, #15606, and #15611(1 pixel different) come from Picross DS. See the comments for specific references to the puzzles.
#22: Jan Wolter (jan) on Oct 21, 2011
Re #14: I don't think I really hold the copyright on one-pixel puzzles, even if I published the first one here.

Re #21: Thanks for pointing those out gator, I have unpublished them.

Re #16: Legally speaking, the person who made the puzzle holds the copyright, even if he used someone else's account to post it. Practically speaking it, that makes it hard to prove.

In terms of a group of people creating an account, and then one person changing the password and excluding other group members from logging in...uh...don't do that. Group accounts are an inherently bad idea, almost anywhere, almost always. Given that such an account was created, it sounds like someone acted dishonorably, but I can't say that I have any real interest in trying to adjudicate such a disagreement. About the most I could do would be to freeze the account so that nobody could use it, and even then it would take some doing to convince myself that that was the right action.
#23: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Oct 21, 2011
Thanks for responding Jan. I agree that group accounts are a bad idea to my dismay. Would it be possible for you to move the puzzles made by someone in the group account and then put those puzzles into that person's regular account. Especially if the characters of said puzzles were first introduced in that person's regular account?
#24: Jan Wolter (jan) on Oct 22, 2011
Maybe. I'd have to build tools for moving puzzles between accounts. Haven't actually got any. And I'd have to be convinced that the puzzles actually belonged there.
#25: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Oct 22, 2011
never mind Jan.... you have done soooo much already... I'll just live with my mistake....THANK YOU
#26: bugaboo (bugaboo) on Oct 22, 2011
sensei why dont you divulge a few more of the details (who, etc) so none of us fall into the same trap?
#27: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Oct 23, 2011
bugaboo: just take Jan's advice and you will have no probs
#28: bugaboo (bugaboo) on Oct 23, 2011
party pooper
#29: Aldege Cholette (aldege) on Oct 24, 2011
Tom,your not the only fool,it happened to me also.I won't divulge who did it either,all i'll say is it wasn't a nice thing to do to people.I'm over it now,but i will admit,my foolish mistake ended up hurting a few innocent people,like my family for instance.
#30: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Oct 24, 2011
hugggssss to aldege
#31: Aldege Cholette (aldege) on Oct 25, 2011
Same to you Tom.:)
#32: Martha Valdés (maval) on Dec 23, 2011
Puzzle #6522 is identical to the one published in Pictologic No. 8 (Spanish magazine) on page 11.
#33: Kadou (Kadou) on Feb 23, 2012
Puzzle # 17311 is identical to # 2.
#34: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Feb 23, 2012
wow Kadou, and used the same title also
#35: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 9, 2012
Time to clean up your act Tom (sensei69)!
I have found MANY puzzles you submitted on other sites from various authors. I called you out this morning on puzzle # 19227 which you deleted. Now you swear you didn't do anything... Come on!
Do you want me to list all your copies, or are you man enough to admit your actions and rectify them?
#36: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Jul 9, 2012
That puzzle was a joke...guess you lost your sense of humor, Kadou. I might have looked at different pictures and proceded with making my own puzzles, who hasn't? When you say rectify...what does that mean? I deleted that puzzle because you & monkeyboy have ganged up on me for some kind of vendetta. I hope you two are happy with your feelings of victory. I will continue with my creations even though i'm under attack. If you believe i'm a cheater then you should have contacted me via e-mail instead of a public forum.
#37: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 9, 2012
Copying other people's work is no laughing matter!

The few you have deleted were called out. The large puzzle Adam accused you of copying was in fact a copy, you know that!

I am now giving you the chance to clean the rest of your mess, or everyone will be informed of the extent of your plagiarism.

#38: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Jul 9, 2012
Kadou: One more word on this public forum and I will call my attorney. You have trid to damage my character and perhaps you have done so. Like I have stated, one more insult forecoming from you or Adam (monkeyboy) will be considered an attack on me and my family name. You will be dealth with legally. Make sure your ducks are in a row. Print your supposed list if your ego dictates that need, otherwise SHUT UP!
-end of transmission-
#39: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 9, 2012
If you think you must call your attorney, do. Only you can damage your character.
#40: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 11, 2012
Tom, the list keeps growing... Take the chance you are given to remove the puzzles you have copied.
#41: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Jul 11, 2012
guess you want that fight afterall...laterrrrr dude
#42: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 12, 2012
Thanks Tom, for doing the right thing.
#43: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 13, 2012
It is the policy of this site that all puzzles posted must be the original work of the person posting them.

I recently have had a couple dozen cases of specific webpbn puzzles that are identical to specific griddler.net puzzles pointed out to me. I'm astonished that people manage to detect these duplications among the tens of thousands of puzzles on both sites, but I can't argue with the cases that have been found - they were clearly copies, even if some differed by a few pixels.

I will delete any such puzzles that I know about. In this instance, every puzzle that was pointed out to me had already been deleted before I got here. I thank those who found these problems, and I thank those who removed the puzzles.
#44: Tom O'Connell (sensei69) on Jul 13, 2012
I want to appologize to Jan and the whole family of phb'ers for my mistaken and wrongful activities in the last few months.
#45: Kai-Uwe Zickerick (conzick) on Aug 10, 2012
#46: Kristen Vognild (kristen) on Aug 14, 2012
See Forum topic #345
#47: Kadou (Kadou) on Sep 17, 2012
puzzle #2251 by guspilla is a copy of a pic-a-pix from conceptis puzzles as seen here: http://www.coker.edu/static/art/stdnt3_gd/370_fa04/mistuh_jj/play.html
#48: Kai-Uwe Zickerick (conzick) on Sep 18, 2012
thanks for investigating. I'm shocked by every case you find.
#49: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Sep 18, 2012
Do you know the creation date of the other puzzle from pic - a - pix, in case they copied her?
#50: Kadou (Kadou) on Sep 19, 2012
Adam, did you at least browse the link's site a little? Take a look at the "news" page...
#51: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Sep 19, 2012
No, I didn't. I just thought the link was to another website that was similar to this one, where there were a multitude of puzzles. I was just curious, so that's why I asked. Anyway, what I see was that there are only 4 total puzzles to play?
#52: Kadou (Kadou) on Sep 19, 2012
It looks like a student made site that promotes "Conceptis puzzles" with "borrowed" puzzles from the original site.
#53: Kadou (Kadou) on Sep 22, 2012
As per comment #11, puzzle #12247 by atrain99 is a copy which is still available. For proof see: http://www.thonky.com/picross/example3/
#54: Kadou (Kadou) on Sep 22, 2012
As pointed out by maval in the puzzle's comments, #6522 by chunn16.1 is copied from a magazine.
#55: Kadou (Kadou) on Oct 1, 2012
Puzzle #8570 by haras89 is the same as puzzle #2214 by cmellen.
#56: Jan Wolter (jan) on Oct 12, 2012
I've unpublished various puzzles listed above. I'm not sure the last case mentioned is necessarily a copy - both puzzles are copies of an image that Window's FreeCell pops up, and two different users may have thought of copying it. However, copy or not, we don't really need two of them.
#57: Tom King (sgusa) on Oct 12, 2012
#58: Kai-Uwe Zickerick (conzick) on Oct 13, 2012
Go on, Kadou!
Go on, Jan!
#59: Kadou (Kadou) on Oct 14, 2012
Sadly, for every one that is caught, there's probably two that get away...
#60: Kadou (Kadou) on Oct 19, 2012
Puzzle #8560 and #8561 by goalie_31 are from conceptis puzzles as confirmed in the each puzzle's comments.
#61: Jan Wolter (jan) on Nov 7, 2012
Ok. Unpublished those. Thanks.
#62: Kadou (Kadou) on Aug 7, 2013
Puzzle #20596: Funny animal
By uki (cerfall) is a copy from android game Logic Square as noted in the description.
#63: Jan Wolter (jan) on Sep 9, 2013
Unpublished. Thanks.
#64: Kadou (Kadou) on May 28, 2016
Puzzle #23099: Motorcycle is a copy. See puzzle's comments
#65: Kadou (Kadou) on May 28, 2016
Puzzles #25203 and 25204 by vitalnuka are taken from http://www.conceptispuzzles.com/
#66: Beebs (kbeban) on May 6, 2020
Wondering if it's ok to use copyrighted images with attribution or is that also not ok?
#67: Norma Dee (norm0908) on May 6, 2020
This is a quote from a Google images page:

Is it possible to use a copyright-protected work without infringing?
Yes, in some circumstances, it is possible to use a copyright-protected work without infringing the owner’s copyright. For more about this, you may wish to learn about fair use. It is important to note that your content can be removed in response to a claim of copyright infringement, even if you have...

Given credit to the copyright owner
#68: Beebs (kbeban) on May 9, 2020
got it. Thanks

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