General Information Regarding Character Copying/Stealing In-Game
Lately staff seem to have experienced an increase in private messages from users claiming character designs in the game, how other users are stealing them and if we could or should take action against these users. Since this is no plain black and white matter and it has been going on since the dawn of FeralHeart, this post is here for general information for what is and what isn't in cases regarding so called "Character theft" and what applies to you as a user in FeralHeart.So what "Is" exactly character stealing/copying?
In the most plain and simple way explained it's another user or even users plainly copying a look or design that someone else is using within the game, this can be said for colors used, markings worn on the character or even certain objects and other details on the character making them close to identical. Sometimes it can be intentional where a user just plain off "steals" the look from someone they've seen and sometimes it can be unintentional where a certain set of colors and/or markings match up to make a similar looking character to someone else. Users are prideful of their characters and it's of no surprise, but it's also where heated arguments and fights can arrive when some users might step over the boundaries.Can anyone get banned from "stealing" my characters looks?
It does depend on the situation but in most cases it's a no
. If seen needed we can take action against users causing trouble but as far as characters goes made within the game using the original set of markings and tools provided in character creation to make your character, no design or look can be claimed by "you" as a user neither can it belong to you and you only. We've said this many times before and will repeat it in this thread as well. All tools and markings provided in the game is there to be used by everyone, even though there's plenty of space for creativity and unique characters there's only so many ways one can make a fox or a zebra. Certain combinations of markings will be more popular than others and we need to take this into consideration. We also need to take into consideration if there's more on the line like "Impersonation" or a user trying to take someone else's identity or claim someones work as "theirs".Someone stole my character, Can I report them?
Even though we never stop anyone from sending in a report we want to inform you that a report does not equal to us being forced to take action against said user and when it comes to a matter of similar looking characters in FeralHeart there's not much we can do. As mentioned earlier in this thread, most cases of so called character stealing/copying we do not, and cannot take action against them. Not only is it hard to know despite getting information in a report who truly used the character first or made the design(might not even been made first the users involved in the situation), but they were all made using the game tools which is a part of the game itself and does not belong to you. You're free to send in a report here on the forum, but depending on the situation we cannot promise anything. Just plainly whispering a staffer in the game too and claiming that your character made has been copied doesn't get anyone far either.Is there's a difference between characters made in the game and presets?
Yes there is quite a difference when it comes to presets since presets has been made specifically by the users of the game and it represents work they made themselves. If someone plain off is using/stealing someone else's preset without permission we could take action against these users as long as sufficient proof is provided and that the preset at hand belongs to you. We could also more closely inspect the situation if someone appears to have replicated someone's preset or stolen their work but it's yet again back to a case by case situation. No one should really steal or use someone else's preset without permission but we need to be certain.What do staff suggest then?
Block the users that appears to copying you if they bother you and try to be wise about the situation if possible. There's just two types of intentional copying/character stealing cases. One being a user doing so to intentionally provoke or annoy you with their copy in which it's best not to give them what they want, the other case being users actually wanting the same design as you since they think it's great or that they simply cannot come up with something by their own. The rest is unintentional and probably a matter of "similarity" rather than hard copies of characters.
IMPORTANT: Staff remain the right to kick and/or ban users if they so see fit and they're known to repetitively provoke and copy users characters, and by no means does this general information state that it's ok to steal/copy users characters. Do behave and do not intentionally run around and copy designs. Be reasonable. Thank you.
!! Good To Keep In Mind !!
Is your case an impersonation matter or are they harassing you?
Character stealing is not necessarily the same matter as impersonation or harassment. If a user is also trying to intentionally replicate your username(or in some cases character names) and not only the character, and tries to represent you and your work in the community it could be classified as impersonation which is a far bigger problem. A user should never claim to be someone else or represent someone else's work as their own and if this happens to be the case we gladly look over a report proving this is taking place. If a user is copying/stealing another users character to add onto the effect of harassment as they're attacking another user then we more directly focus on the fact of it being harassment, which is also something we more directly deal with. It's always important we get as much(clear) information and proof as possible of "what" exactly is taking place.
It's a matter of being fair
It's probably easy to feel left out or maybe one might even think the rules are too weak or like the staff do not do enough on the matter but please be mindful of the situation. Staff or moderators cannot simply blindly go and ban/kick users in the game because someone claims to own a character, a character made using the game tools never the less. We appreciate that many users take help of the game to make their characters or even first fursonas, but it truly is a matter on trying to be fair. If users constantly get to claim a basic design made in the game, there would not be many ways users would be allowed to make characters anymore. What users might do to one another sometimes might be really bad and even rude, and we do not support character copying, theft, stealing, replicating or whatever word suits the most. Try to keep this in mind when playing the game.
Don't be foolish
We understand that no one really likes a character stealer or someone that copies users characters, but try to keep a level head in all this. Don't go to attack and break other rules just because they annoy you because that can get you in trouble instead of them. If talking about it leads no where block them instead, no one says you must talk to them or even see them. You know what you know best and you know why you made or use the character of yours.
Hope this helped and answered any questions you've might had regarding character copying & stealing in the game, if not feel free to message the staff on the forum.