Largest English-language hentai manga publisher turned game publisher and merchandise store FAKKU has addressed the unauthorized and illegal usage of assets from Illusion's popular eroge Honey Select.
Ever since the 2016 Japanese premiere, and the subsequent 2018 English FAKKU release, of Illusion's Honey Select as Honey Select Unlimited, a significant amount of commercial projects directly utilizing assets from the game have been appearing in the wider adult gaming industry.
Many of the projects have gained sustained and large monetary support from many eroge fans especially on crowdfunding platforms like Patreon. Despite the quite overwhelming success of some of these ventures, the legality surrounding the usage of Illusion's assets have been questionable and up in the air for several years with no official statements from either Illusion or FAKKU, until now.
A user of the F95 Zone forums going by the username TowerCrow had initially started a dedicated thread in order to hopefully prompt an official response from either the English publisher or directly from Illusion themselves regarding the commercial use of Honey Select assets by some developers of a Discord purposed to creating eroge:
A discussion involving many non HS and some HS devs like Runey on a gamedev only server on whether to invite more HS devs resulted in someone inviting a Fakku representative to clear up the issue of using Studio NEO and Honey Select in general for commercial purposes. This question was and still is relevant to many existing and upcoming developers. I did not start this discussion, but I expressed my opinion and supported the decision to get an official response that would clear the issue once and for all. I have a bias against HS content but my personal opinions are irrelevant on this issue as they impact nothing related to the legality of HS content or Fakku's ability to enforce Illusion's copyright. I simply won't use HS myself. I'm sharing the results of that discussion so you are informed about the current happenings.
FAKKU's founder and CEO, Jacob Grady, has made a direct appearance on an eroge dev Discord to address the longstanding issues. In a few of Grady's statements on the Discord server, he addressed that using Honey Select assets or any assets from Illusion games in a commercial capacity without permission from Illusion and FAKKU is not allowed:
Grady also added that they intend to work together with some of the HS developers and potentially allow some of the game projects to stay in operation:
Many users of Honey Select, as well as curious onlookers, have questioned if FAKKU is authorized to invoke cease and desist claims on Illusion's behalf. The answer to that questionable argument has been quickly addressed in an e-mail reply issued directly by Illusion's Japanese offices, which support the English publisher's claims.
The original e-mail Inquiry in Japanese, Illusion's official reply, as well as their respective translation shared by an anonymous source "well-known in the industry" on F95 Zone's forum:
Original e-mail translation:
Nice to meet you, I ’m a big fan of Honey Select. I hear a lot of rumors. Do you have permission to use a model made with Honey Select for commercial works? Do you give FAKKU's Jacob permission to sell your products in the US and Europe? Do you give FAKKU permission to punish and enforce the use of Illusion's products on your behalf?
Thank you for your inquiry.
Do you give permission to use the model made by Honey Select in commercial works?
This is not allowed.
Do you give Mr. Jacob of FAKKU permission to sell your products in the US and Europe?
Regarding Honey Select, we have formed a business alliance with FAKKU and issued a sales permit.
From http://www.illusion.jp/ Dear customers in foreign countries, http://www.illusion.jp/contact/japanese_only.html
Do you give FAKKU permission to punish or enforce the use of Illusion's products on your behalf?
After confirming sales and use on other sites, we ask FAKKU for cooperation to encourage sales suspension and suspension. Thank you for your continued support for our products.
With the Honey Select asset debacle seemingly resolved by Illusion's official endorsement of their English publisher and business partner, one of the last remaining questions regarding the future of unauthorized Honey Select game projects is if FAKKU will be actively following through and shutting down illegal commercial games by issuing DMCA notices and what aspiring eroge developers can potentially do to get their permission to use Honey Select assets in the future
Honey Select Unlimited is already available digitally for the PC in English on FAKKU's official storefront.
To find more about the game itself, please refer to our past articles.
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