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Legal Disclaimers for small Indie Game


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#1 bonus.2113   Members   -  Reputation: 630

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:01 PM

Hi all,

we'll soon be releasing a demo of the game we've been working on for the past few month and we want to make sure that we don't get sued for some reason (copyright stuff is taken care of).

Are there any disclaimers, like an epilepsy warning, we might want to include?

 

Thanks for your help!

bonus.2113



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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22692

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:37 PM

There might be, depending on your country of origin, your distribution method, and so on.

 

Talk to your lawyer.

 

Before you reply that you cannot afford one, consider the cost if you DON'T get a lawyer and you get sued because you were missing something.  It will be a far greater cost than the initial investment up front.


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#3 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1879

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:14 PM

Talk to your lawyer.

 

While that is of course good advice, a lawyer will tell you what you generally can and can not be sued for, but not specifically whether or not your game infringes on anything.  It's up to you to know where everything you used to make your game came from.

 

If you have created all the assets yourself, or paid to create them, you are probably in good shape.

If some of the assets you got for free off the internet, then you're at greater risk.

 

Where a lawyer can be helpful is if you have a situation like "I'm using this "GPL License" for code/art, etc I got from somewhere. The lawyer will be able to read that and explain to you what you can/can't do with that code/art, etc.


Brian Schmidt

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#4 bonus.2113   Members   -  Reputation: 630

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:39 PM

Thanks for your answers,

 

 

It's up to you to know where everything you used to make your game came from.

 

I know that copyright/licensing is probably the biggest concern when you make a game and use premade assets. We made sure to only include assets that are clearly labled as CC - BY and give proper credit, hence I'm pretty certain we are on the save side concerning copyright infringement.

 

We were rather worried about things on the user side, which are usually burried deep in an EULA. Are there any health or system damage disclaimers ( e.g. an epilepsy warning or a "fit for purpose" disclaimer) you should include in any case?

I know that you can't answer anything specific to the game, but I figured there might be some best practices anyone releasing a small game should know.


Edited by bonus.2113, 09 February 2013 - 02:40 PM.


#5 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1879

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 03:55 PM

Ah...got it.

 

That is indeed a question best left for a lawyer who is familiar with videogames.  One option would also be to look at existing games' disclaimers and write something similar.

 

There is of course no way to protect yourself from being sued, regardless.  All disclaimers or documentation of art/music/code pedigree do is provide you defense in the event your are sued.  The cost of being sued can be quite high, win or lose...

 

It is for that reason, that many people create a company or LLC, and then have the company develop and release the game.  That way, if there is a problem, people can sue the company, but not you personally.  In that sense, the company acts as a sort of blanket of personal protection.  As long as you make sure you've dotted all your i's, crossed all your t's and adhere strictly to the rules (eg no co-mingling of personal and corporate assets), that is usually an effective protection against losing your shirt should the unlikely/unthinkable happen.


Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

GameSoundCon 2014:October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

Audio Technology Consultant


#6 bonus.2113   Members   -  Reputation: 630

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 04:41 PM

I'll think about your tip with the company, I didn't consider that yet at all.

 

Anyway, thanks for your insights. I guess the project isn't serious enough to consult a lawyer at the moment. I'll definitly do it if I we get even remotely close to earning money with it or at least when we get a large enough audience.






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