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Fair Use in the Coloring Book

Fair Use is an interesting thing. I've been sharing little snippets of my 90s Video Game coloring book and got my first side-eye comment that it's obviously (it is) a coloring page from a screenshot of a video game. I was doing some digging on the web and found a really good article written by Northwestern University on the subject (link). Specifically they put together a coloring book (how serendipitous!) of work in their art collection. Columbia also has a good page on just explaining these four categories to consider (link).

I decided to fill it out in the same way for what I'm doing with this 90s Video Game coloring book.

1. The Purpose and Character of the Use
The coloring book is designed to celebrate and used as a teaching tool that showcases influential and relevant video games from the 1990s. The work itself is also transformed as the utility of the original work has changed substantially (i.e. a coloring page will not be confused with a video game nor be confused as a legitimate reproduction).

2. The Nature of the Copyrighted Work
The original nature of the work is that they are published works as both the full video game experience as well as the screenshots themselves used in publications, which is favored in Fair Use. The nature of the copyrighted work is also interactive entertainment, and the transformed work is far removed from that.

3. The Amount of Substantiality of the Portion Used
While the work itself, a coloring page, utilized the full screenshot, it is limited to a single screenshot from an entire video game experience. Let's use the example of a video game that takes four hours to complete that runs at 60 frames per second. A specific scene is 1 of those 60 frames, which is 3,600 frames in a minute. That computes to 216,000 frames in an hour, which computes to 864,000 frames in four hours. A single frame thus being a fraction of a percent of the actual work.

What is also important to note is that this coloring book only selects a single frame from the entire work as opposed to multiple frames from multiple points in the work.

4. The Effect of the Use on the Potential Market
Use of these transformed images have no effect on the market as the transformed work is based on individual frames or screenshots of the video games themselves. These coloring book pages will not replace the video game nor is there any confusion of whether or not the coloring book is the video game itself. In addition, no similar product is being marketed by the copyright holder to my knowledge. If there are similar products, such as a coloring book featuring any of the games in this coloring book, that specific page will be removed from my book immediately.


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