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Copyright Issues with movies and books

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I was wondering what copyright issues would be involved with creating a game that is based off of a sport from a book or movie. If you were to create something like this, would you still have to get permissions? Could you change the appearence of the objects, name of the sport and other stuff and just use the idea of the game and not be in legal conflict?

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If you want to use any of the intellectual property from the movie''s/book''s sport, you would have to get a license. However, you should be in the clear if you don''t use the sport''s name or its logo, and are careful to make your game different enough in terms of content (appearance of objects, modified game rules, etc.).

Copyright infringement/intellectual property is a very touchy area, so be careful.

-Mike

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Luckily an idea cannot be copyrighted. Just make sure you inject enough creative content of your own to sufficiently distinguish it from its original expression. What that level is hard to say, but it isn''t much. Copyright mostly protects from extensive literal copying.

Good luck.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Adam Hill
Luckily an idea cannot be copyrighted. Just make sure you inject enough creative content of your own to sufficiently distinguish it from its original expression. What that level is hard to say, but it isn''t much. Copyright mostly protects from extensive literal copying.

Good luck.


Try doing that with a potential game in the style of the rollerball license, I believe about the only thing left we could have used was skates.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
While I''m not an expert on this or anything, I think you might find the problem will be with trademarks rather than copyright.

While copyrights can''t protect an idea, things become a bit murkier with trademarks - which protect names etc. (trademarks)... even if you change the names and stuff - if it is still obvious what you''re doing, then you could be infringing on the trademark - cashing in on the marketing efforts of another company.

If what you are doing is going to be a commercial game... take a bit of time and talk to a lawyer - they''ll be able to give you a better answer (actually, they probably still won''t give you a definite answer, but they should clear some things up for you )

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Copyright - as a previous poster mentioned there is no protection for ideas. If you change all the names and locations and characters and do not copy any images/sounds from the film then you can do a motorbike/rollerskates beat-em-up. - If its good your in luck but if it stinks everyone would say "Ha what a lame Rollerball rip off".

Trademarks - No AP is wrong on this. A trademark is exactly what it is (the name in the form that it appears in the trademark). If you change the name then you are not infringing the trademark. (But AP could be aiming in the right direction - see "passing off" next).

Passing off - This doesn''t really apply as much to this situation. It is more applicable to manufacturing industries. If you were to copy something closely using a different but similar name and a different but similar package (example Puffin biscuits in a wrapper that looks very similar to Penguin biscuits); then the manufacturer could claim you were trying to fool people. That you were trading on their good name by passing off your product as theirs.

Passing off might apply for example if you called your game Rollball, written in a similar font to that used for the film and used a similar image as your title screen/in adverts.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions

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I have a few friends of mine, and we decided to work together to make a game. Our first project was just to get us used to working together, so we are going to work on a Pac-man clone.
The leader wanted to make a game that was just like Pac-man. He thought it would be easier, since we wouldn''t have to change anything in terms of gameplay but simply make it. Nevermind the flaw in that thinking, but I was pushing for a game that played like Pac-man but looked completely different. That way we can distribute it without having to get Namco''s permission.
I mean, how hard would it be to make a Pac-man game that didn''t have a yellow sphere as the hero, but instead had a space ship or an archeologist? Instead of ghosts, we have alien space ships or angry natives? Instead of pellets, we have energy spheres or jewels?

At the very least, the graphics can be interchangeable so that the only real difference is how it looks. So long as Pac-man is not actually used, the game would be perfectly fine to call our own.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Obscure


Trademarks - No AP is wrong on this



I wish I was, it cost us nearly 800 internal man hours and over $50,000 as a result of our little "Steel Rush" debacle and at that time Rollerball had no electronic license issued.

Just steer clear of them. Unless your willing to spend the money on lawyers etc upfront to verify your position. Your probably going to lose no matter what, if someone decides to prosecute.

Note: It isnt the eventual outcome court that is the issue, so what if the court gives you your rights but only after alot of years and extreme amounts of money. That is, its the whole litigation phase which saps resources, time, money and distracts things.

Note: Check some recent cases involving NZ "All blacks" and their "Silver fern logo". They have basically made claim to the color black on any rugby uniform and have a successful case behind them. Yes, I''ve oversimplified the law side, but the end result is as described.

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