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_Bebe_

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I have a question, maybe dumb question, but here it goes... There's this old game released by some famous company, and I am making with my friend a game, that is very very similar to that old one, and we want to give it the same title and even use some of graphics that were in that old game. And I am wondering, if I make a game that uses some graphics and name of an old one (the name is not very original, it's in dictionary, so I don't see problem here) I know it will be breaking copyrights, can it bring any trouble on me, I'm not going to make any profit from it, just for my own satisfaction and free for anyone on internet.

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You could indeed get in very much trouble.

As far as I know, copyright protection is not restricted to preventing making money from other people's work. Here in the UK at least, you are not permitted to distribute copies of copyrighted material to the public without the express permission of the copyright holder, even if it is for free.

I'm sure someone else here knows the law in more detail though.

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If the games author haven't been dead for 70 years or something(I don't remember when you lose copywrite but it's for a long time anyway...)

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The fact that you're making no profit has absolutely zero impact unless the company in question has stated specifically that they allow not-for-profit projects using thier intellectual property.

Names are typically protected by a Trademark and the fact that it is a common word doesn't lessen that; consider for example the company 'Apple'.

Using the original graphics or derivative works is a violation of copyright and could most certainly land you in trouble. If you really want to use the original media you could create an engine that actually loads in the original files and require that people own a copy of the original to play, but you wouldn't be able to distribute the graphics yourself and would still have to respect the remainder of the copyrights and trademarks protecting the product.


Depending on the company in question they may allow you to develop a not for profit project if you ask for permission, but many companies simply don't allow this, in which case you would be best off creating a similar game but using original graphics/names/storyline/etc.

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You should, of course, consult a lawyer for any actual legal advice.

However, you basically can't use other people's intellectual property without their permission. Doesn't matter how you use it, as long as its not under the fair use clauses (and your game would not be), you can't do it.

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You specifically hit the two WORST things to copy. The NAME and graphics absolutely cannot be used for a clone. The legality of making a clone depends on many factors related to exactly what is being copied and what is different, but game logic / mechanics / etc are not copywritable ... so the games fundamental functionality is mostly yours to clone to your hearts content. But the graphics are very speicifcally not free to be used by anyone except the copywright holder. The name also is tricky. In general you can usually use the same name in a different domain (Super Script Madness as a dev tool and as a caligraphy pacakge would not be a problem) .. and given enough time passing you can often use the same name in the same domain .. but NOT in any way which could possibly seem derived or endorsed / related to the original - for instance their are mutliple games named "Maelstrom" .. but they have no relation other than name alone. Even these uses can be brought in the question if the original company actually registered the trademark and feels you are in any way damaging their business - but in this case the burdon is often on them to show either "bad faith" or convince the court of damage (which isn't very hard to do).

So go ahead and make your imitation game .. but by no means should you use the original name or art ... you might be able to get away with "inspired by the class game XXX*" where the footnote says something like "the developer and publisher of this game has no affiliation with XYZ corp or the ABC game" ... although to really avoid trouble companies usualyl use such statements as quotes from reviewers, so that the chance of legal problems are minimal ...

as for art, make you own, or use placeholders in your dev version and allow users to drop in replacement art (which could in fact be the original art if they own the original game).

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Thank you all for information.

Last post by Xai pointed out all I need.

I'll make my own title, show info that it is based on other game and make my own graphics.

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