Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Ibuku

Using names in other games?

Recommended Posts

Does anyone remember the game Alex the Kid for the Sega Master system? There was a gorilla enemy in there named Gorjen... Now say I wanted to call my game this name (dont ask heh), could I legally use it? I am not totally sure that it isn''t TM/R but you never know. Thanks guys. Ibuku

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Original names such as Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit) are protected under copyright.

If the name Gorjen was created by Sega for the game then it too would be protected by copyright. Of course it could have been the name of a mythical Japanese gorilla god, which they decided to use, in which case it would be public domain and you could use it. The problem is you need to make SURE. You can''t breach someone''s copyright and then claim you thought it was public domain.

Having said that it depends on how you use it. If you used it for a game with a gorilla as the main character then you could end up in trouble as it would be pretty obvious where the name/character came from. Sega could take you to court for "passing off" - creating something the same as, or similar too, their creation so as to fool people or trade off their good name.

If it was used somewhere within the game as a homage to the original you might get away with it but I think having it as the title of your game is too prominent. If people see the title of your game and go "Hmmm Gorjan, he was in that Sega game, lets check this out" then Sega would have the basis for a suit against you.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well what about all the references to other games/cartoons in Streets of Rage 2? From http://www.classicgaming.com/soronline/sor2_info.htm :

"There''s a sign before the Round 4 Stadium that says "It''s like Boo!". TurboKiller''s theory on this is that it has something to with Dragonball Z - check out the pic of Fat Boo and Big Ben from the stadium for a weird similarity."

"Timo Takalo''s theory is that the Big Ben type enemies in SOR 2 & 3 named Heart are probably a reference to the popular manga Fist of the North Star (Hokuto No Ken in Japan), which featured an extremely overweight martial artist also called Heart. Check out a pic of FotNS Heart from the SNES game Hokuto No Ken 6."

"Check out the similarity between Skate and DJ Boy (from the game DJ Boy, strangely enough). They obviously look pretty similar, and both come from side-scrolling beat-em-up games. DJ Boy was originally an arcade game by Kaneko and was later published by Sega for Kaneko on the Megadrive in some markets. The link continues with the fact that Sega changed the character of Sammy in Bare Knuckle 2 into Skate for SOR2 and that the US publisher for the Megadrive conversion of DJ Boy was a company called SAMMY... Cheers to Joe Talledo for this."

No doubt there are plenty of other games with references like these.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Billy Lee
TurboKiller''s theory on this is that it has something to (do) with Dragonball Z.


We are not talking about things that are inspired by something or similar to or something to do with. We are talking about a direct copy. I clearly stated that a homage to the game similar to the examples you have given would probably be ok (a character in your game or a similar character). But taking the name and using it for your game is a different matter all together.

As for claiming you didn''t know that doesn''t work. Ignorance is no point of the law.

To give another example of what your planning this is the same as making a film and calling it Boba Fett. It doesn''t have to feature Boba Fett, a bounty hunter or anything else related to the Boba Fett we know and love but you can be sure that George Lucas'' lawyers would start paying attention pretty quickly.

Of course the truth is that Sega may long have forgotten and you could do it and no one would worry. But there is a small chance that someone somewhere will spot what your doing and the question you need to ask yourself is are you will to risk having to pull the game and change it and possibly pay damages/fight a legal battle just in order to use a name you know belongs to someone else? Is it really worth it?

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites