If you guys remember there was a bit of a fuss on Tumblr earlier this month about some Voltage Fandom blogs being removed due to copyright infringement claims against them. Well, Voltage has since apologized for the incident and updated their Fair Use policy which I have included in it’s entirety below:
Fair Use of Voltage Inc. IP
Since its creation in 1999, Voltage Inc. has been a leading name in interactive romance novels. We develop more than apps—we produce dramas about love and the challenges associated with it. This passionate subject has created a passionate, talented community of fans. We are humbled by the interest shown by our fans in sharing our games and creating their own work based on our creations! At the same time, we at Voltage spend a lot of time, thought, and money creating these games you love, including the characters, music, sound effects, stories, and illustrations. We need to protect them so we can keep creating.
You can consider this document a guideline for “fair use” for our English-language games. Copyright can be complicated, however, and this cannot cover all situations. Please be respectful of your fellow fans and of us.
Here are some examples of things we are okay with:
- Original art inspired by our games and characters
- A few screenshots
- Avatars, banners, and other personal-use images
- Our announcements and images as released on social media
Here are some examples of things that are not okay:
- Videos, screenshot series, or text reproductions of a story
- Posting our music and sound effects
- Anything being sold
- Misleading or confusingly similar apps or art
In short, we don’t want anyone confused, we don’t want to spoil stories, and we don’t want what you share to replace the experience someone can get straight from the source (us!).
Please remember that these guidelines are subject to change and are not legally binding. We want to find a balance with our fans; it takes time to do that. Whenever possible, we will reach out to fans posting material in the “gray area” before making a formal takedown request.
Thank you for taking the time to read this policy. We hope it helps!
First let me say this: Finally Voltage is giving us a straight answer! I have been with the Voltage fandom for a while now (back during the days of Pirates in Love and A Knights Devotion), so I can’t tell you how big of a step this is for Voltage to actually take the time to spell everything out in plain language like this. I remember the days when all we got where vague responses like:
Thank you for contacting us.
And thank you very much for your feedback!
We are very afraid but, as for future releases, we are not allowed to tell anybody about details of future plan.
Once it’s settled, we will announce our new updates on our Facebook page at
However, we are very much appreciated for your feedback.
We will pass your opinions to our development team. We are always grateful to hear from you and encourage you to pass along your thoughts.
We look forward to serving your future needs.
Thank you for your continued support of our game.
“Love Letter from the Thief X” Customer Support
Now, I say “New”, because the ToU Agreement that we are getting now has been in place in Japan for years. So to be frank this is nothing Voltage hasn’t already done before. However, Voltage has never seen fit to enforce the Agreement on it’s foreign users until just recently. Because while we may be an enthusiastic and creative bunch, the non-Japanese market is not nearly as large as the Japanese Voltage market.
Back in the day, Voltage Inc.’s non-Japanese users were simply put, not a priority because we weren’t shelling out the dollars needed to make us a priority. I know this brings up the argument that companies aren’t localizing games in the west to the same degree as they are in Japan, so the fandom is restricted. But, lets be honest for a moment, before you even knew what an otome game was, would you have even dreamed of paying money to “romance” 2D Pixel men? I’ll wait…
In fact they barely had a market for Mobile Otoges outside of Japan three, four, or even five years ago, so I can see why they didn’t care what we did with their apps. Their main focus were their Japanese users, who even now, make up the bulk of their market.
But, that does not excuse Voltage for claiming rights over all fan made artwork and or fiction… That is…excuse my language… FUCKED UP! That shit is not okay! Edit: Voltage has since provided clarification on this issue. Voltage does not claim rights over any fanart or fanfiction. Sorry for the misunderstanding. But, I will say that anyone who posts fanfiction and or fanart, please make sure to brush up on your rights! On Voltage Inc.’s part this is a declaration of war, and artists and writers need to be informed about their rights!
Now, as for the 1-year lease policy… Apparently any Voltage apps that you or I have purchased are not ours to keep, but have simply been leased to us by Voltage Inc. So if for whatever reason you do not use their apps at all for a period longer than 12 months, Voltage has the right to rescind your use of the app…. In short if you don’t use it you lose it!
First let me say that, while it isn’t hard to log in to one of their apps once every two months or so, the principle of the matter is, THAT I PAID FOR IT AND IT IS MINE TO DO WITH AS I EFFING PLEASE!!! When I purchased these apps, there was no disclaimer saying the apps were for rent and that after a period of time I would have to renew my purchase…If there had been, I never would have bought the damn thing in the first place! I have spent hundreds if not thousands on Voltage Apps over the years, and for them to bring this crap up now is a slap in the face! What the WHOLE fuck, Voltage! I am disgusted and hurt by this! I have been with Voltage for years now and I usually forgive them for BS, but this hits me where it hurts…my wallet!
I want to continue to support Voltage Inc. so that other companies will see that there is a market for otoges in the West….but, damnit why do you have to make it so hard? I can deal with price increases and slow updates, but renting games? That is unacceptable!
Update: It has come to my attention that I may have jumped the gun on the 1 year lease issue…See Here