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Gardon

Song use / legal issue

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Gardon    100
Ok, say I'm making a RPG (which I am, psych!), and I decide to throw some megadeth, iron maiden, and metallica songs into my game to make it totally rock! ...uh, do I have to pay them royalties if I put their songs in my game, and I sell my game to other people? I mean, I'm not selling their songs, I'm selling my game with their songs in it. what if I mention their names or something? How does this whole legal thing work? Thanks, Gardon

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
You can't just "throw in some songs" that you don't have the right to use. Of course you could buy the rights to do so, but that would be a lot of work and quite expensive.

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Cmaza    122
If you want to use any form of music other than your own, you must first obtain a release contract or a license agreement to that music.
If you don't, you can be up for hefty fee from music copyright protection organisations such as the RIAA or be sued by the copyright holder of that music.
Generally, trying to obtain either of these for commercial music can be both difficult and expensive in the long run. If you've got the funding and the time, I'd say go for it! However, if you're an individual producer creating developments off your own back without much in the way of funding or backing, you're probably better off searching for non-commercial music artist or an music auter working outside of the record company.

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Gardon    100
Dang... is that why there's never any cool music in games thesedays? (usually no music, but you know, whatever).

This sucks. I really wanted ironmaiden songs in my game. God damnit

Gardon

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Gardon    100
what if I was just selling my game around school and stuff? you think I'd get busted? Should I try it, lol?

Gardon

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Gardon    100
what if I were to play their songs as a cover on the guitar (quite possible), like a cover for a band, but it'd be me, and I'd record myself playing it

Could they charge me then?

Gardon

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dreadknought    122
No, you can't use copyrighted songs without the copyright holder's permission. And in Metallica's case, they will most definitely not allow you to use their music, as they already hate file-sharing as it is. Your best bet is to find some independent artist who's music you like, and ask them for permission to redistribute their music as part of a game you created (note that if you're selling this game for money, they'll say no if you don' give them a cut or your game sucks).

So, for example, I decided that I really like the music that The Black Lotus puts out (great demo scene group), so I asked them if I could use their music in a non-commercial, open-source game. The guy said sure, as long as I gave him my full name and address. Easy as that. Just make sure you keep all this documented somewhere, because if they decide to become asses in the future, then you can just show them the documentation and give them the finger.

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Gardon    100
Fuck, I should just take my chances and sell it anyways lol.

Today in this age everything is a legal outfit. Lawyers are suing people up the butt left and right about stuff that is so pathetic.

Without ironmaiden in my music for my game, it's totally worthless (by the way, the battle scenes rocking out to iron maiden really kick ass).

Thanks,

Gardon

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Cmaza    122
Quote:
Original post by Gardon
Lawyers are suing people up the butt left and right about stuff that is so pathetic.


That's probably a good reason NOT to go again and sell it without the authors permission.

Also, I think it's a bit unfair of you to generalise that using any form of using other than Iron Maiden will make your game suck.

If you did a bit of looking, a bit of sucking up and gave a bit more information about your game, you'll find there's dozens of very talented small independants out there that would be willing to offer you their valuable help.

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krikkit    792
"Busted" or not, everything you are describing is copyright violation. Even if you gave the game away for free, you are distributing their music without a license.
Nobody's saying you can't do it, and if you are making just something fun and cool for friends, then nobody really cares, but under law and all policies, it is illegal and completely enforceable should anyone care. If your game "takes off" for whatever reason and it hits the internet running, you could be in for a world of hurt.

The moment you start selling it, even to friends and schoolmates, without permission, it becomes both illegal and wrong, and even more enforceable.
The cost of licensing Megadeth or whatever is straight up out of your league, so find a buddy who has a similar band and get his permission to use his songs. It gives your game character, and is a good act of kinship between you.
It sucks, but if it isnt just for you and a friend or two, its the way IP works. Play safe, and take advantage of these crappy limitations to exercise some creativity in your game design and soundtrack.

EDIT: I'm not trying to be a dick, but I gotta tell you what's up. Make your own decisions, but if I interpret the rules of these forums correctly, further stating that you plan to rip those songs without license constitutes piracy discussion and may warrant mod action. Just a heads up :)

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Gardon    100
Does anyone know how much money we're talking about for a license? (Normal price)

and,

do you think they'd cut me some slack if they knew I was a 17 year old kid making a video game for his friends?

Gardon

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Gardon    100
Does anyone know how much money we're talking about for a license? (Normal price)

and,

do you think they'd cut me some slack if they knew I was a 17 year old kid making a video game for his friends?

Gardon

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Gardon    100
Does anyone know how much money we're talking about for a license? (Normal price)

and,

do you think they'd cut me some slack if they knew I was a 17 year old kid making a video game for his friends?

Gardon

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krikkit    792
I dont have an offhand figure, but you can bet it'll be a goodly sum.

Heres your best case scenario if you get caught: You recieve a cease and desist letter threatening jail time and severe fines for you or your parents, and you have to immediately stop all distribution of your product.

Worst case scenario: They decide to be dicks and charge you damages and say lots of mean, threatening things. If you are still 17, those damages will come out of your parents. If you are 18 by that time, they will come out of you. See the cases of 14 year olds getting their parents sued by the RIAA for using p2p programs a year or two ago to see what kind of damages they could put on you. Worst case.

If you make this game and give it to three or four buds, lets be realistic: no big deal. But if you charge a dollar for it, you're stepping into hot water, and if, like I said, for some reason its that totally cool and it blows up onto the internet, then you will have your world rocked.

Allow me to offer some advice:
Build your game such that any songs can be used for any level. Have some general tunes built in, but have an easy menu to change them. THen, anybody with -legal backups- of their megadeath CD or whatever could use your "recommended track list" to set up the perfect soundtrack.

Do I have to put the *wink* in there?

Just dont distribute the songs with the game. Leave the legalities in whether or not someone playing the game should have the songs any way. Take the distribution out of the equation.

Sound good?

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Gardon    100
Ya definately.

To be honest, I was thinking about a recommended playlist too, but the problem is what if the people don't have the songs. There are different moods of the game, you know, and it's just not the same.

However, since napster and kazaa are popular these days, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find those songs :P

But the question is... would they take the time to download those songs when they want to play a simple game?

Gardon

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Gardon    100
But it would be cool though if I had some songs built into the game... like blank tracks with the lengths of the actual songs, so like the people could just make their own file, make the name the same as the file I put into the media folder during distribution, and voila! the same length track, same name, but not my song.

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zike22    163
I'm curious, would it ok if gardon used copyrighterd music, but didn't sell the game, but instead gave it away for free??

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Gardon    100
Heh, and "asked" for donations.

I don't know man, but that would be cool. I don't see the harm if I don't sell it, but then again, what if the player doesn't own the music, and copied it off the game to listen to at their leisure?

Gardon

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Trapper Zoid    1370
No, you can't just use someone's copyrighted material without having their permission. That's what "copyright" means; the right to make copies. It doesn't matter whether you make any money from it or not, it's still illegal.

If you did release the game including music without the permission of the artists involved, then it's likely you'll end up in one of the positions that krikkit outlined in the post earlier. There's also a chance that the RIAA might decide to make an "example" out of you, since they tend to be doing that kind of thing these days.

All in all, it would be better to either use your own music, or music that you've got permission to use (local artists looking to make a name for themselve), or let the player choose their own tracks.

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krikkit    792
Quote:
Original post by zike22
I'm curious, would it ok if gardon used copyrighterd music, but didn't sell the game, but instead gave it away for free??


Distribution is the crime. Making and distributing copies breaks any license agreement you might have by owning the original album. Selling it only compounds the problem, makes it more criminal. Those kids weren't charging people to download their songs on Napster, and the RIAA still took their parents to the bank.

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swordfish    276
Think of music the same way you think of the code you wrote to make your game. Under copyright law, they are the same exact thing - an intellectual property.
Your code is unique to you just as an artists music is unique to them.

Now lets pretend you're selling your game for a profit and are quite successful. Joe Schmoe, a book author from Anywhere, USA, happens to come across the code to your game. He figures your code would make a perfect extra to his new book on game programming. So in chapter 5 he gives out the complete source code to your game without your permission.

Whether or not Joe Schmoe is selling his new book or just giving it away for free, he is still distributing your intellecutal property; your source code. He even gave you proper credit, but since he did not get permission, you probably never will know the complete source code to your game is being circulated around the world.

The comparison I made is somewhat lopsided, but I think it gets the point across.

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jbadams    25676
To be honest, if your game is no good without those particular songs, it's no good. < period.

How about you find some decent bands that will be willing to let you use thier music for free and use that, but also include an option for people to choose thier own music if they want to. As much as you think only those specific songs will suit your game, a lot of your potential userbase is likely to absolutely hate the music you've chosen. [wink] If the game doesn't work at all without the specific music, then it's time to redesign so your game can survive without it.

It's illegal to use someone else's music without the correct positions, whether you make profit or not, and if you get caught there are some very nasty potential consequences. Take the risk if you insist, but I do not recommend it, and there are plenty of alternative options around that are perfectly legal. Telling people to illegally download the tracks could also get you in hot water btw. [wink]

That being said, it sounds like you've already made up your mind and you were hoping we'd give you some way of getting around the copyright rules -- You can't, and if you get caught, we've warned you.

Go get some legal music.

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zike22    163
I'm not trying to advocate any illeagalities. But the way I saw it was, if you buy a cd you can use it for personal use, if you want to listen to it do so, if you want to load it onto your mp3 player do, if you want to make a copy (for purely archival purposes) do so, if you want to put it into a game you made for your self, no profit, do so??

But if you want to give it to your friends (for free), don't do so.

Is this correct.

p.s sorry about the spelling, dont have my dictionary up.

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zike22    163
Oh yea, and I'm not trying to be mean here but...

Unless your working on the sequel to Gitaroo Man if a single band will make or break your game, you've got some major design flaws.

Personally i wouldn't have enjoyed Halo 2 if they replaced the blasting rock n' roll with country music, but it still would have been a damn good game, because everything else was done so damn well.

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