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dark_ronin

What copyright issues are there when your game is freeware?

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I am making a game thats entire purpose is to reference and/or make fun of movies or games ( Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc). When does it become illegal if my game is freeware?

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Quote:
Original post by dark_ronin
I am making a game thats entire purpose is to reference and/or make fun of movies or games ( Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc). When does it become illegal if my game is freeware?

Ron,
Your attorney can advise you on where to draw the line in regards to parody (you can read about "parody" and "fair use" with a good Google search).
Also read FAQ 61.

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Wah! Your FAQ makes it sound so evil. The problem is that the game isn't just a parody. It's a lot of mini-parodies strung together. Most of them last less than 30 seconds. Is that illegal or should I keep up the good work?

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Original post by dark_ronin
the game isn't just a parody. It's a lot of mini-parodies strung together. Most of them last less than 30 seconds. Is that illegal or should I keep up the good work?

Your attorney can help you decide where to draw the line. And those articles on "parody" and "fair use" should be useful, too.


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I really don't know....

MODERATION
The above says it all. The contents of this post was utterly incorrect and as such misleading and likely to cause confusion for the OP. Please do not post comments on complex legal issues unless you are sure of what you are saying.

Dan Marchant - Forum Mod

[Edited by - Obscure on July 7, 2008 4:32:48 AM]

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Original post by markadrake
it boils down to whether you are creating money from the project's use.

A lawyer could give better advice than that. Just sayin'...

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Original post by markadrake
I really don't know how far a company can actually go over anything you do as long as you're not making money from it. If they could, a lot of web sites would be in some serious trouble for barrowing graphics from games as well as many flash based games that are using textures, sound effects and even character sprites from popular games.

Definitely do some research before going to far into your idea, but it boils down to whether you are creating money from the project's use.

I'm sorry, but that's just not true. Look at Plasma Pong for example. It was free, but Atari shut them down. And there have been a lot of websites that people have gotten in trouble for using copyrighted material. Disney has been known for cracking down on people who use their characters on their websites.

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For an example of a game that makes heavy use of film parody, take a look at
">Conker's Bad Fur Day.

To avoid copyright infringement I'd say you'd need to be very clever and tip-toe around the minefield of things which wouldn't be considered fair use (as Tom says, your Lawyer will know best), but when done well (like in Conker's) it really is awesome [smile]

Regards,
ViLiO

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When all else fails, sometimes you should just assume that fair use doesn't exist.

A lot will depend on the property you're taking from, as well as the amount of the taking. Also bear in mind that Fair Use is not a universal standard, and some countries have author's rights and other limitations that create a cause of action for the unauthorized "mutilation" and manipulation of another's work. You also have to keep in mind issues like product disparagement, brand tarnishment and/or dilution, etc., etc.

Also keep in mind that the other side doesn't need to win to ruin your life.

You can get an attorney now or later, but rest assured that in this case an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

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Quote:
Original post by markadrake
I really don't know how far a company can actually go over anything you do as long as you're not making money from it.


Whether you're making money off it or not is irrelevant - lack of profit is no defence against being sued. They're more likely to just send a cease and desist rather than going for damages if they think you have no money though.

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