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Bovine13

Copyrighted material in a freeware game

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Is it illegal to use copyrighted names, (i.e. Star Wars, LOTR, Harry Potter), etc. in a freeware game? As in, if I wanted to make a Star Wars game that was free, would that be illegal?

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That's trademark, not copyright.

You can still make a game called Cosmos Fights, starring Leonard Nightcrawler fighting the evil Death Evader.

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Quote:
Original post by Bovine13
Is it illegal to use copyrighted names, (i.e. Star Wars, LOTR, Harry Potter), etc. in a freeware game?
Those are trademarks and their use isn't permitted without permission.
Quote:
As in, if I wanted to make a Star Wars game that was free, would that be illegal?
Use of the story, character, imagery and sounds would be breach of copyright.

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Really? I thought use of a trademark that you give due credit for and gain no profit from was perfectly legal. I mean, how many fansites, online role-players (chats, message boards, et cetera), and fanfics would be liable to be sued?

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Just because someone hasn't been sued yet doesn't render it legal. Whether you give something away or sell it has no bearing on whether or not something violates copyright/trademark laws.

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Original post by orionx103
Really? I thought use of a trademark that you give due credit for and gain no profit from was perfectly legal. I mean, how many fansites, online role-players (chats, message boards, et cetera), and fanfics would be liable to be sued?

Trademark law gives the trademark owner the exclusive right to use that trademark for the purpose of business or to grant rights to others to use it (terms and conditions apply, your trademark may be at risk if you don't keep up payments on the ... etc etc).

Copyright give the owner the right to control how their creations are used and to grant to others a license to make creative or commercial workls based on the copyright material.

If you use them without the owners permission you deny them those rights and breach copyright/trademark law.

As johnhattan said. Just because others haven't been caught doesn't mean it is allowed. Many fan/hobby projects have been closed down by companies like Fox and Lucasarts.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
All of them. It just doesn't make business sense (yet) to sue every website out there.

Quote:
Original post by orionx103
Really? I thought use of a trademark that you give due credit for and gain no profit from was perfectly legal. I mean, how many fansites, online role-players (chats, message boards, et cetera), and fanfics would be liable to be sued?

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So what happens if you already released a product, thousands of people have downloaded it, and then they catch you? Do you get fined, or are you forced to stop distrbuting it, or what?

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