Background: I'm preparing research about a music-based arcade game, playable in the arcade game center. Requiring video dataset (including music in it), I recorded videos from the game playing by myself.

Question: Is it legal to use the videos for publishing an academic paper, even though they are just a kind of replay-videos?

Like many published research about games (e.g., Super Mario, League of Legend, ...), it seems to be possible to use in-game contents for research. I know there is a copyright issue especially using audio data for commercial use, but I'm wondering if it is still an issue in terms of academic research.

Actually, I don't know where to start searching keywords about this.

  • 1
    Interesting. Does research on music include excerpts of the music? Does research on movies include clips from the movies? Does research on poetry include quotes from the poems? I assume the same "fair use" allowances will apply in the case of research on arcade games. But probably this is a legal question, so should be asked in law.se
    – GEdgar
    Mar 28, 2021 at 12:11
  • @GEdgar Thanks for the reply, I'm just curious about how other people handle the copyright problem in their research. I'll go law.se for the same problem. Mar 28, 2021 at 13:55
  • @GEdgar and well... there are several MIDI dataset or Movie dataset researchers can use without permission of content owners, and I haven't thought of the use of data beyond the well-known dataset. It is really the case for me... Mar 28, 2021 at 14:41
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    If your university has a legal department that might answer IP questions, perhaps the office that manages grants and things, ask them. Media copyright owners are very trigger happy. There are some exceptions to copyright for research, but I don't think they are broad enough for what you suggest here. They order takedowns on non-commercial stuff also. You would like to avoid a lawsuit.
    – Buffy
    Mar 29, 2021 at 1:00
  • 1
    Can you be more specific about what you're doing with it? Writing an analysis of the characters is different than, I dunno, reverse engineering Mar 29, 2021 at 4:04

2 Answers 2


Don't worry about it.

After all, you might be using copyrighted data during your research, but when you're writing your paper, it's not going to include the music or gameplay recordings itself, right? It'll probably be a pdf file written in LaTeX, which wouldn't include encodings for rich media formats; at most, you'd just include screenshots of the process used to produce the data, or individual still images from the gameplay. Neither are likely to infringe copyright, being fairly clear Fair Use.

Of course, using copyrighted material in your datasets might prevent you from distributing the raw datasets, but that wouldn't stop you from writing papers about the analyses performed on the data, or the conclusions drawn from those analyses.

  • This has been solved in link, so I closed this question. Apr 2, 2021 at 10:10

Quoting from www.copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html:

Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use. Section 107 calls for consideration of the following four factors in evaluating a question of fair use:

The cited section of the copyright act would clearly cover your use of videos of you or someone else playing the game for scholarly purposes. Sentence (4) of this section states as a criterion:

"the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work"

which gives you additional cover. Outside of the US, similar rules apply.

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