Can You Sell Maps Made in Wonderdraft?

A banner showing a Wonderdraft map that could be sold

Many artists are selling digital fantasy maps they’ve made in Wonderdraft. If you would like to sell maps that you have made, there are several important considerations to be made. In this post, I’ll cover some of the common nuances around licensing.

It is legal to sell maps made in Wonderdraft. The license for the default assets included in the software allows selling maps without paying any royalties or licensing fees. However, if additional user-made assets are included in your maps, those assets each have their own license terms.

There are many different licenses, and you should know them before trying to sell your maps. Some licenses do not allow you to use the assets commercially, and if you’re selling maps with such assets, you could even get sued. If you want to avoid issues, you should read through this article! I’ll cover everything you need to know before selling maps.

When Can You Sell Maps Made in Wonderdraft

The End-user License Agreement (EULA) of Wonderdraft works the same as most other graphics editors like Photoshop. Only the content within Wonderdraft itself is copyrighted, while user-generated content is not. To put it simply, you cannot sell assets themselves that come with Wonderdraft. However, you can use those assets to create your own maps and sell them. When you, the Wonderdraft user, have added value by assembling them into a map you own the copyright of the derived work.

The Wonderdraft software is developed by Megasploot using a legal entity called Tailwind Games, LLC. The terms are fairly short, so I’ll cover each for you. [1] To quote the official PACK LICENSE Terms:

  1. SELLER [Tailwind Games, LLC.] hereby grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable right to use, modify, and reproduce the ITEMS worldwide, in perpetuity, as permitted by the AGREEMENT

This means that you (and other users since it is non-exclusive) can use, modify, and reproduce the items anywhere (worldwide) forever (in perpetuity). You can’t however transfer that right to others (non-transferable). It is for Tailwind Games, LLC. to transfer those rights.

  1. You may manipulate and incorporate the ITEMS into compilations or derived works as defined by 17 U.S. Code § 101.

This means that you can use the assets (forest, trees, mountains, water, etc.) in your own maps and you own the copyright to your map. This is the meaning of a derived work in copyright law.

  1. The SELLER does not claim copyright and ownership to any originality added by you.

In other words, Tailwind Games, LLC is explicitly not trying to claim copyright to maps made by you. This could be implied by 2, but lawyers like to be explicit and clear.

  1. You may distribute copies of compilations or derived works of the ITEMS for commercial advantage.

Here Tailwind is giving explicit permission to sell maps made with Wonderdraft.

  1. You may not sub-license, resell, share, transfer, otherwise redistribute the ITEMS on its own under any circumstances (i.e. without incorporation into an original derived work or compilation).

This means that you are not allowed to sell Wonderdraft assets on their own. The assets need to be incorporated into a map before they can be sold.

  1. This AGREEMENT and the rights hereunder will terminate automatically upon breach by you of the terms in this AGREEMENT.

If you break the agreement the copyrights automatically transfer back to Tailwind Games, LLC.

This covers all of the details for maps made using the default asset packs. What about selling maps that use imported user-made assets? If you are interested in learning how to import custom assets, check out my complete guide covering multiple methods! If you are looking for awesome custom assets, check out my post covering the most popular assets I could find!

Wonderdraft Asset Licensing and Custom Assets

To know whether you can sell Wonderdraft maps that include assets made by other people, you should understand there are different types of licensing. Most people that are sharing their creative work online are copyrighting their work under Creative Commons (CC) licenses that you can read here. CC is a non-profit organization based in California, which offers creators free licenses to protect their work online.

Just like other artists, Wonderdraft asset makers sometimes license their work to protect their copyrights. Even assets that you download for free could be licensed in a way that doesn’t allow you to sell maps that include those assets.

When downloading or buying Wonderdraft assets, pay attention to what kind of license they fall under. Sometimes it’s simply written that the assets are royalty-free, which means that you can use those assets without any licensing fees. However, most assets are licensed under 1 of 6 CC licenses, which restricts what you’re legally allowed to do with those assets.

What makes it confusing is that these licenses are only presented in letter pairs which indicate what restrictions they impose. As a result, it can be hard to understand what you’re allowed to do just from looking at the name of the license. I certainly used to think so! I’ll cover them for you here.

A photo of the Creative Commons Website
A photo of the Creative Commons Website

Creative Commons (CC) Licenses Explained

In the following sections, I will cover every CC license type that most user-made Wonderdraft assets are licensed under. I will explain what each license means, what restrictions it imposes, and whether you can sell your maps with assets that are protected by these licenses [2].

Attribution CC BY

This license is the least restricting one. Assets that are licensed under a CC BY license can be used, modified, and distributed without any fees. As a result, you can sell your Wonderdraft maps that use such assets. Additionally, you can even modify the assets themselves and distribute them as you wish.

The only restriction is BY, which means that you must credit the original creator of the assets. So if you’re selling a map that uses assets under a CC BY license, you have to explicitly mention the original creator of those assets.

Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA

This license is the same as CC BY but has an additional restriction of SA or Share-Alike. It’s commonly called “copyleft” (compared to copyright) and is used for most open-source projects like Wikipedia.

You are free to use these assets as you wish, but they have to carry the same CC BY-SA license. As a result, you can sell your Wonderdraft maps that are using the assets licensed under CC BY-SA. However, others can adapt or modify and then sell your now-modified map so long as they credit you as the original creator.

Attribution-NoDerivsCC BY-ND

This license I would not expect to see many assets released under. This is because this license does not allow derivative works which is how Megasploot is allowing you to use the default assets. Technically, you could sell unmodified assets released under the license so long as you credit the original creator. However, the ‘derivative works’ restriction prevents those assets from being used in maps you create.

Attribution-NonCommerical CC BY-NC

This license is similar to CC BY, except it has the NC element, which doesn’t allow commercial use. As a result, you can’t sell your Wonderdraft maps that use unmodified assets licensed under a CC BY-NC. Also, if you’re sharing your maps that use such assets, you have to credit the original asset creator. However, since the license does not include the ShareAlike term, you could modify the assets, credit the original creators, and then license the derivative assets under terms that allow commercial use.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA

This license is a combination of previously covered CC BY-SA and CC BY-NC licenses. It allows only non-commercial use of the assets, and you must credit the original creator. Additionally, your derivative work has to be licensed under the same CC BY-NC-SA license. To put it simply – you cannot sell your maps that include assets falling under this license.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND

This license is the most restrictive one. You cannot modify the assets themselves, and you can only use them non-commercially. As a result, you cannot sell maps made with assets under this license.

A photo of the Cartography Assets Website where you can find many community-made assets
A photo of the Cartography Assets Website where you can find many community-made assets.

Custom Licenses

You might encounter assets that are licensed under custom licenses. If that’s the case, look for licensing information on the website where you found those assets. However, chances are you’ll get most of your assets from CartographyAssets, a website that lets community members share their assets and maps. Assets there are licensed under custom licenses that are based on the ones by Creative Commons. [3]

Here’s a quick rundown of licenses that allow you to sell the maps you made using other people’s assets:

  • CAL-NR (no restrictions)
  • CAL-BY (attribution required)
  • CAL-BY-NRB (attribution required, no reselling of base items)
  • CAL-BY-NCR (attribution required, no reselling of base items or modified items, but can resell maps)
  • CAL-NA (no attribution)
  • CAL-NA-NRB (no attribution, no reselling of base items)

And here are the licenses that don’t allow selling maps that you made using other people’s assets:

  • CAL-BY-NC (attribution required, non-commercial)
  • CAL-BY-NC-NS (attribution required, non-commercial, modifications cannot be shared)
  • CAL-BY-AS (attribution required, non-commercial, no modifications)

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Words

Copyright and licensing are both topics full of nuance, but I hope this article helped you understand when you can sell your maps made in Wonderdraft. As a rule of thumb, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re ever unsure about using user-made assets, don’t hesitate to contact original creators and ask what you’re allowed to do with their work.

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    References

    1. Megasploot. “WONDERDRAFT/PACK_LICENSE.TXT at Master · Megasploot/Wonderdraft.” GitHub, 15 Mar. 2019, https://github.com/Megasploot/Wonderdraft/blob/master/PACK_LICENSE.txt.
    2. “About the Licenses.” Creative Commons, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/.
    3. “License.” CartographyAssets, https://cartographyassets.com/license/.

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