IP GuidelinesLast updated: July 12th, 2021
This page details guidelines for fan content related to Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) and DDLC Plus. The guidelines will explain what you are permitted to do, and what you are not permitted to do, regarding DDLC-related fan content.
These guidelines do not grant a copyright license to any DDLC-related fan content. Despite these guidelines, Team Salvato reserves the right to issue a formal takedown request for any content that infringes copyright. This includes content that uses official DDLC and DDLC Plus assets, as well as content that includes any Intellectual Properties (IPs) that belong to Team Salvato. Moreover, this page is subject to revision at any time without notice.
"Fan Work" refers to any content that includes IPs that belong to Team Salvato. The content in question includes, but is not limited to, art, music, animation, writing, videos, websites, apps, and games. The guidelines pertain to any fan work that takes place in the DDLC universe or includes characters, setting, or storyline from DDLC. Fan work does not include officially licensed work by contracted artists, designers, and other partners of Team Salvato.
There are no restrictions on how artists choose to depict the characters, setting, or events of DDLC in their fan work. We value artistic freedom and will not target fan work solely because we disagree with the content, or because it conflicts with official depictions.
Physical versions of fan work may be sold locally, in limited production, by independent artists (eg. at conventions). Independent artists may also sell their fan work online if they run their own online store and manufacture/ship their own merchandise. Artists may not sell DDLC fan work by uploading the art to mass production websites that sell the art for you (eg. Redbubble). Artists may not sell edited versions of official assets in any capacity.
Fan work must be somehow related to the DDLC universe—you may not use Team Salvato IPs for projects that are not considered DDLC derivatives (eg. using a DDLC character to represent a website or product that isn't itself a DDLC derivative, or using a DDLC character as a digital avatar or "vtuber" for use in content creation that is itself not a fan work).
Businesses or companies interested in producing DDLC fan work for sale by any means other than described above should contact us for licensing or permission.
Fan Work That Includes Official DDLC Assets
Some artists choose to include assets created by Team Salvato in their fan work. These assets include, but are not limited to, any art, music, writing, or code that was included in the DDLC games (including DDLC Plus) or DDLC-related marketing/promotional material.
Examples of fan work in this category may include games, websites, videos, or music that include DDLC assets in them. This category also refers to edited, recreated, or altered versions of official assets, or components of assets. This may include graphic designs or artwork that include official DDLC artwork or fan music that samples music or other audio from DDLC.
Any fan work that includes official DDLC or DDLC Plus assets may NOT be sold under any circumstances, online or offline. No profit may be made from these fan works in any way, except for fan work that constitutes as Fair Use under the United States FAIR USE Act of 2007. For example, a gameplay review video, an academic article, or a commentary video typically qualifies as Fair Use. It is the artist's responsibility to understand Fair Use and design qualifying content.
Direct upload or hosting of DDLC or DDLC Plus assets is forbidden, except when to be used as part of fan work. No profit may be made from these uploads.
Fan work that includes official DDLC or DDLC Plus assets may not be used to create new video games. The exception is mods that must be patched into the official game. See the "Mods" section for more details.
"Fan Games" refer to any fan work that is a game. This also includes new games that contain no official DDLC assets, as well as mods of DDLC or DDLC Plus.
You are NOT allowed to redistribute DDLC, DDLC Plus, fan games, or mods on any app store including Steam, the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, the Microsoft Store, GameJolt, itch.io, or any others. You may not port DDLC, DDLC Plus, or any fan game or mod to these platforms.
You may NOT create, copy, or distribute any fan game that is designed to be played in lieu of the official DDLC game. Any fan games, including mods, that "replace" DDLC or DDLC Plus, or imply that it should be played before the original games, are forbidden. This includes mods that add to or change official DDLC game content, including, but not limited to, new art, new scenes, new visual effects, or voice acting, or mods that take features or content from DDLC Plus and ports them to the original game. Fan games may ONLY be created with the assumption that the player has already completed the original DDLC game, and is looking for fan content.
A common example is fan games that let players spend more time with the club members, possibly including new story arcs, or to satisfy the players' desire for additional dialogue. These games are usually considered okay, because they fairly provide new fan-written story content to the DDLC community. Any fan games or mods that suggest new players should play it instead of DDLC or DDLC Plus are not allowed.
Fan games should not confuse the player in any way that it might be related to official DDLC content. The game should also not be mistaken for DDLC itself, or an official guide or add-on to DDLC. This includes how the game is displayed both before and after downloading (eg. a title or download page too similar to DDLC may confuse players).
Features, scenes, and assets that originate from DDLC Plus may NOT be ported, replicated, or included in mods or Fan games. Mods of the original DDLC should only use assets present in the original game, as well as any assets you create yourself. Fan games and mods should not seek to replicate or replace DDLC Plus.
Official DDLC assets may not be used in standalone games—they may only be used in mods that must be patched into the official DDLC or DDLC Plus game. See the "Mods" section for more details.
Fan games must be free and may not be sold. Donation links are allowed on the website that hosts the game. However, fan games may not include any payment or donation link in the game itself, or encourage the player to donate, buy merchandise, or contribute to a patreon or other service from within the game.
Fan games must state upon first run that it is a fan game unaffiliated with the official Doki Doki Literature Club. They must advise that the original game should be completed before playing, as well as provide a link to the official website where it can be downloaded (http://ddlc.moe).
Below is an example disclaimer for your convenience:
This is a Doki Doki Literature Club fan game that is not affiliated with Team Salvato. It is designed to be played only after the official game has been completed. You can download Doki Doki Literature Club at: http://ddlc.moe
The above guidelines regarding fan games also apply to mods of the official DDLC game, as well as for mods of DDLC Plus. A mod is any game or project whose content relies on making changes to the official game, such as adding/replacing code, art, music, writing, or other assets.
Any mods must NOT be distributed as a complete game. They should contain only the files that are necessary to install the mod (usually files that are added to the DDLC game folder). Most mods for the original DDLC only require the scripts.rpa file to be replaced—sometimes images.rpa if new graphics have been added to the game. In this example, please distribute your mod ONLY as these files, so that the user installs it into their existing official DDLC game. For DDLC Plus mods, "patchers" or programs that help install a mod may be needed but should not enable players to play the game for free, or include the game itself in its download.
Additional Notes About DDLC Plus
Although covered elsewhere in the guidelines, this section is to increase visibility and clarification on rules that specifically pertain to DDLC Plus.
DDLC Plus is a commercial game release, and all of its new content is considered paid content. Examples are the Side Stories, new music, new pictures, and other new game assets and features. This means that DDLC Plus, or features from DDLC Plus, may not be ported to the original free game. Furthermore, it is illegal to distribute DDLC Plus by hosting the game elsewhere, copying it to additional devices, or porting the game to other platforms.
In DDLC Plus, the Side Stories provide new backstory and interactions between the club members. Fan content inspired by the Side Stories is perfectly acceptable and welcome, including in fan games and mods. However, the fan content must be fully original content—text or scenes from the Side Stories cannot be borrowed and/or modified.
There are three backgrounds in DDLC Plus that are as permissible to use in fan work as the original game backgrounds:
- The "music room" background
- The "stairwell" background
- The "morning clubroom" background
These three exceptions are to provide more freedom of storytelling in DDLC fan work. For all other DDLC Plus assets, the regular rules apply.
In DDLC Plus, "Side Stories" is the official name of the new story content. To avoid confusion, the phrase "Side Stories" should only be used when referencing the official Side Stories in DDLC Plus. For example, fans may want to create their own short stories inspired by the Side Stories in DDLC Plus. These stories should be referred to as something other than "side stories"—for example, "short stories", or "short stories based on the DDLC Plus Side Stories". There should be full clarity that it is fan content, and that it cannot be confused with the official DDLC Plus Side Stories.
These guidelines are not necessarily exhaustive. If you wish to work on anything DDLC-related that is not covered here, or you are unsure of the specifics, then please contact us for clarification. Furthermore, please contact us if you would like to request a personal exception or a change in the guidelines, or to report a mistake on this page.
Thank you for taking the time to understand the IP Guidelines. We chose to publish these guidelines not to restrict artists, but to express our desire to allow them to produce DDLC-related content. We wish to encourage artistic freedom and hope to see fans enjoy DDLC in many different ways.