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Would I have to pay Royalty on video rendered out in Unreal Engine 4, used in a separate game engine?

This question has been asked a few times, but the answers and questions don't exactly match the parameters we're looking for, so we wanted to get clarification.

If we were to create a rendered out animation using Unreal Engine 4's sequencer and were to put this in a separate game engine, would we have to pay royalty on this?

Judging from the EULA, it's not quite clear to us because it mentions in parts that no royalty is owed on still images. However, couldn't you argue that video is simply a collection of still images?

Say for example were to create the rendered out animation and gift it to a separate company, who then made a game using the rendered video, what is the stance there? Because they wouldn't have signed the EULA and we haven't broken the rules of the EULA as we did not release the video as a product. I don't understand why we'd be forced to pay for actions of others, especially if the output was released as a linear video file CC-0.

What if we were to transmutate the rendered output by 2D rotoscoping the output (as an example), transforming the output. At that point, would royalty be owed then. If so, clarification on the reasons why would be helpful.

If we can get some clarification here, it would be helpful. As a small developer, we are evaluating our options on where to produce the rendered animation for our project and the EULA as it stands is quite murky on this subject.

Product Version: UE 4.18
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asked Feb 01 '18 at 03:53 PM in Legal & Licensing

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4 answers: sort voted first

UPDATE - after internal consideration, we're going to change the Licensed Technology definition in the near future. After that change, a linear-only use of UE4 will be royalty free, even if used in another engine's game.

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answered Mar 05 '18 at 01:32 AM

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atypic STAFF
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avatar image Erika Karisawa Mar 05 '18 at 12:55 PM

I hope you don't mind me asking about this while it's probably not finalized. According to this blog post "Licensed Technology is defined to include Content, and Content includes Marketplace Content." Does it follow that rendering Infinity Blade assets in UE4 is a linear-only use of UE4 and therefore the resulting images could be used outside the engine? Specifically, could I then create a sprite sheet of Infinity Blade characters (algorithmically turned into pixel art) and release them as CC0 resource for everyone to use?

avatar image atypic STAFF Mar 05 '18 at 02:57 PM

Well the Infinity Blade assets are marked as UE4-Only which means they can only be used with UE4.

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A video that plays from start to finish is non-interactive. If that video is the Product, then no royalty is owed. However, if that video is placed into a full interactive game, the game is then the Product.

I agreed with this guy . thanks for solution.

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answered Apr 18 '19 at 02:08 PM

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Veron Dawan

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Hi there,

Thanks for the question.

Based on your question the output from UE4 when placed into an interactive product would make the project a Product per the terms of the EULA and a royalty due.

Best, -j

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answered Feb 01 '18 at 09:26 PM

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Truffle Muffin STAFF
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avatar image Joviex Feb 01 '18 at 10:53 PM

This "answer" is specious at best, and in line with the current muddy terms in the EULA.

Your suggestion is equal to photoshop laying claim on any work anyone has made with it, or the inventor of the pencil owed back due.

If Unreal is used to output content, that is then LATER TRANSFORMED, tell me, how you plan to uphold that battle in a court.

Any JR citations is a plus.


avatar image AvGaHo Feb 01 '18 at 11:36 PM

I am also curious on the answer to this, it's hard for me to understand why you'd have to pay the same royalty as if you developed your full game in Unreal Engine 4 if you export a video rendered in Unreal Engine 4 - that uses assets generated outside the engine and the engine doesn't get used past the point of a renderer. Does this mean that you could look at it as "Use us as your renderer but WHAT you do with that content, we'll decide if we want money from you"? The point where something becomes a product outside of Unreal Engine but remains an Unreal Engine product confuses me. Wouldn't this mean that monetisation on YouTube with that "Choose your own Adventure" video style people sometimes do means you owe Royalty? If not, why would they be royalty free but doing on a different platform incur a royalty payment?

avatar image atypic STAFF Feb 02 '18 at 12:02 AM

I'm sorry but I'm not sure that I follow all of your comments/questions. High level, royalties are owed on Products (unless a royalty-exclusion applies). And use of UE4 to create a video game means that Product is royalty bearing.

I'm not familiar with what you call choose your own adventure YouTube. Normally speaking, there is no royalty on Products which are linear video (the normal content on YouTube). It's an interesting question if there is some kind of semi-interactive video content.

avatar image AvGaHo Feb 02 '18 at 12:05 AM

Just to truly prod your brain whilst your here, when technically would a video be classed as "Interactive" as opposed to non-interactive? I believe that is the part I'm struggling to grasp in the EULA.

avatar image atypic STAFF Feb 02 '18 at 12:09 AM

The normal kind of video you see on YouTube is not interactive. You can't change the video - you can just start and stop it (fast forward, slow, etc).

avatar image AvGaHo Feb 02 '18 at 12:11 AM

So video that can only be played from start to finish is counted as non-interactive? Does that mean you could do something essentially like your games intro cutscene in Unreal Engine 4 as a rendered video and put it in a different game engine?

avatar image atypic STAFF Feb 02 '18 at 12:12 AM

A video that plays from start to finish is non-interactive. If that video is the Product, then no royalty is owed. However, if that video is placed into a full interactive game, the game is then the Product.

avatar image AvGaHo Feb 02 '18 at 12:17 AM

I think I understand now, thanks. So as long as the video is a separate entity, such as a YouTube video or a video basically not packaged with a game or interactive experience, you owe no royalty, even if you sell the video as like a DVD or digital download?

avatar image atypic STAFF Feb 02 '18 at 12:19 AM

If the video is a separate experience, like on YouTube, DVD, or digital download, that experience (Product) has no royalty.

You could even do a trailer in UE4 for a game made in another engine, and there would be no royalty (because the trailer is the Product).

avatar image AvGaHo Feb 02 '18 at 12:21 AM

Ah, but then you get into false advertising territory and thats a whole different ball game, hehe.

I'm satisfied now, I understand it! The EULA was a tad confusing so I appreciate you clearing up the questions I had - thanks!

avatar image atypic STAFF Feb 01 '18 at 11:57 PM

I don't know what you mean by JR citations.

Based on your comments, it sounds like you don't disagree that the resulting game would be a Product under the EULA. If you're not following that line, I can walk you through how that works in the EULA.

It sounds instead like you're saying you don't think the EULA, or at least part of it, would be enforceable in court. I certainly disagree, but I don't think this is the appropriate venue for discussing litigation strategy.

avatar image AvGaHo Feb 02 '18 at 12:01 AM

I can't speak for Joviex but I would certainly appreciate if you could walk me through the whole "Product" situation in the EULA. At least to me, there are parts I'm having difficulty following, for example the still images Vs video parts and when my output becomes a product and when it is not. Thanks!

avatar image atypic STAFF Feb 02 '18 at 12:06 AM

Sure, here's how it works.

  • Under Section 5, you owe a royalty on all revenue for a Product (unless a royalty exclusion applies).

  • Product is defined in Section 25. High level, it's any product made using or which includes the Unreal Engine, or any part of it.

So in this case, part of the game is made with UE4, and that makes it a Product, which makes it subject to royalty.

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Your question is tough my friend, in my opinion which I use personally is to separately render all the games in Unreal Engine 4. It provides very good frame rate and King Citation at real time without any delay which I like the most in it. Anyways thanks for asking this question, if my answer helps you out then I will feel it my privilege.

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answered Apr 20 '19 at 03:58 AM

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Nancy Dane
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