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I am planning to make a Plymouth theme with some pokemon images (like this) from Bulbapedia.

I want to release the theme under GPL3.

Bulbapedia's Fair Use policy seems confusing to me. Under this policy, can I reuse their images, giving due credit to them in the copyright file?

How should I acknowledge these images in the copyright file?

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    The answer is written in parentheses on that page: "Bulbapedia does not own the image's copyrights and can therefore not give permission to use them".
    – Brandin
    Aug 9, 2023 at 6:38
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    A possible workaround is to design your boot theme without using the copyrighted elements (e.g. use a substitute image instead), and then add a feature which allows the the end-user to easily customize to a different image if she wishes. This is basically what all Desktop themes do. All of them that I've seen come with a default wallpaper image (which is designed and licensed to be included in the system). But all desktop environments include an option to let the user pick her own image (perhaps an unlicensed one).
    – Brandin
    Aug 9, 2023 at 6:56

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No chance whatsoever.

Those images are copyright Nintendo and friends, and are not released under a free license of any kind. There are only two legal ways you can use the images:

  • By obtaining a license from Nintendo
  • Under fair use doctrines. This is the basis on which Bulbapedia are using the images, and whether or not that is valid depends on what the images are being used for; you cannot place them under a free license.
    • Personally, I'd say Bulbapedia's fair use claim wouldn't stand up in courts in most jurisdictions but nobody really cares what I think.
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    So, does that mean, one cannot use any pokemon images in a software without obtaining license from Nintendo? Aug 8, 2023 at 18:13
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    Pretty much yes, that's exactly what copyright is for - to prevent other people copying your work. Aug 8, 2023 at 18:14
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    @ArchismanPanigrahi Strictly speaking you would also need permission from Creatures Inc and GameFreak, because the Pokémon IP is jointly owned (and possibly also The Pokémon Company and/or Shogakukan depending on where you are in the world and where the images originally came from). In practice though Nintendo would be all you need, since they’re the only ones who really go after violations (and they interestingly only seem to care about violations if you’re making money off of them, even if the derivative works are extremely undesirable for the brand image by most measures). Aug 9, 2023 at 11:41
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    @AustinHemmelgarn the "and friends" in the earlier paragraph was my attempt to cover the complexities of Pokémon licensing :) Aug 9, 2023 at 12:03
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    @ArchismanPanigrahi You can use as many pokemon images as you want in your software. You can not distribute that software without a license from Nintendo.
    – blues
    Aug 9, 2023 at 12:05

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