I have looked over many different threads all over the internet about this subject, and the answers I have found have been very, very contradictory. Can you copy a Minecraft map or other arrangement of any number of blocks in the game and put it on a public server legally, and does anyone have the ability to take any sort of justified legal action on you for copying a Minecraft creation?
And if you can in fact copyright a Minecraft creation, to what degree does someone have to significantly change a work they copied before they *can* claim that it is theirs and that it only "looks similar" to another person's creation? And could they get away with that?
I have heard people say that you can't copyright a Minecraft creation because that Mojang "technically" owns what you create, but then I hear others say that Mojang "technically" does not own what you create in the game, and that it only belongs to you.
The reason I'm asking is because on my own server, one of my co-owners wants to help me create a map, but they want the map to be made based off of another person's map which is on Youtube. They said that it doesn't have to be exactly the same, and that they don't have to create the entire creation and that we can simply modify the details enough that it only vaguely resembles the original creation. Is it illegal to do that? Regardless of if it's illegal or not, I would rather not base my ideas off of someone else's ideas, I would rather make works that came from my own mind randomly, because then I can proudly say "this design came randomly to my head with no outside-influence that I am immediately aware of." But still I'd like to know if it really is illegal or not.
And if copying a map is illegal, would it at any point not be illegal? If copying a map made out of thousands of precisely placed blocks is illegal, would it also be illegal to place a single block in a specific location in a specific map seed, because "someone else has also once placed that block in the same coordinate in the same exact map, therefore it is an original creation"? What about creations such as named items? It seems silly to me to copyright something like, say, a chair made out of a stair block and 2 signs because "somebody else created that arrangement of blocks first and has placed it into a server, so you can't use that design without their permission." But if that's silly, then why would a map, of any size, big, small, huge, or teensy tiny, be any more serious? Is there a difference when you're talking about scale like that? Questions like these have been answered by "none of this is copyrightable because Mojang owns it all", which seems fair, but if it was that obvious then why do people say that that's false? Is it true or not, or is there simply no definitive answer because basically nobody cares enough to make it a law that you can't copy a *Minecraft map*? And if all of this is still illegal, then would it be illegal to accidentally create a perfect or near perfect copy of a creation without ever having known that it was something someone had previously created? Simply by pure chance and accident? And if that isn't illegal, then what's stopping someone from just copying a creation and just saying "oh, someone else already created this? that's just a coincidence, i had absolutely no idea, im but an innocent and totally original person and you cant do anything about itttt"? How could something like that be fought against? All of this seems kind of stupid to me, but I'd like to know.
And please give reasons for why the scenarios I listed would or would not be illegal, because I've heard people say "You can't copyright it." and then the next person down say "Yes you can." without any explanation. It may be obvious to you, but it clearly isn't to the guy contradicting you, which doesn't help me in any way.
Sorry if this was the wrong place to put this thread, I didn't know exactly where to put it, so if it's in the wrong place then please move it.
If you have a serious question regarding legalities, call up a lawyer and schedule a meeting. Consultations are usually free, and I imagine they would be happy to explain why they won't take the case or why it's not against the law or whatever (or refer to you the proper type of lawyer who can do the same).
In general, however, if you used Minecraft to make your creation or are required to use it to experience your creation then Mojang owns the creation instead of you.
As always with these things there's a very important aspect overlooked by almost everyone: when it comes to legal aspects then being right doesn't always imply that this will be acknowledged by others. And if someone challenges you for it then yah, you're probably need to proof them wrong.
Alas... You can easily copyright your own work and it doesn't matter if Mojang owns the game ("the tool") or not. It was merely a tool. Heck, if it did matter then it also wouldn't be possible to create copyrighted work with, for example, Visual Studio because technically you only gain a license for its usage but Microsoft still owns the product itself. If it is an original work then that's definitively yours and can be protected by copyright.
So obviously people can take action if you copy their stuff. Question is basically "will they?".
But I do agree with the previous poster. The issue is too vague and there isn't a right or wrong kind of answer here. Also not really worth the time discussing because no matter what people say there's only 1 place where the subject can be proven right or wrong beyond doubt, and that's in a court of law.