May I use images made from NES game screenshots (Mario, Pac-Man) in an Open Source Project?

E.g. these are for "Error happened" events:
Mario jumps on a hedge Pacman eats mushroom


  1. Pac-Man seems to be not from a game screenshot, but a reproduction (couldn't find the source).
  2. I'm not sure about whole screenshots too — may I, in example, use screenshot of Pac-Man bug as a page background? As an accompanying picture on the page/blog post?
  • 3
    Not knowing some facts is not a reason for downvote, especially when author tried searching an answer and his question is well formed. Thanks for you answer though. Jul 30, 2017 at 15:23
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    For what it's worth, this seems to be a decently fair question. It's a bit of a legal question, but I'm not worried about that.
    – Zizouz212
    Jul 31, 2017 at 3:51
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    What possible reason do you think you would be legally allowed to use someone else's copyrighted assets without permission?? Jul 31, 2017 at 3:54
  • @curiousdannii I don't use assets verbatim, I change them, so it is a derivative work and it's not always clear when derivative becomes a separate asset of its own. Also screenshot is like a photo and I'm not sure if every photo belongs to those whose assets are depicted on it. Jul 31, 2017 at 18:31
  • Under no circumstance you can use somebody's copyright works without permission. Whether your project is open source or not don't matter.
    – SmallChess
    Aug 1, 2017 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


Even if your work pretends to be collage:

Remixes will inevitably encounter legal problems when the whole or a substantial part of the original material has been reproduced, copied, communicated, adapted or performed – unless a permission has been given in advance through a voluntary open content license like a Creative Commons license, ... Generally, the courts consider what will amount to a substantial part by reference to its quality, as opposed to quantity and the importance the part taken bears in relation to the work as whole.


Does this quote concerns using whole screenshots too (see question)?

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