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LordOverkill

Is this legal?

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Problem: Getting the word out for an Indie game Solution: Sponsor tournaments for games of similar genre in order to gain recognition for own prject. Plan:Host ladder match tournaments for three games similar to our own with a cash reward of 100usd and free copy of our own game for the winner of each tournament. Problem: A company funding a tournament for another companies game of similar traits with the sole intent of gaining awareness for own game. Our game is still getting ready to release a proof of concept and being an Indie company we realize that if we want a big seller we need to start the marketing game earlier rather than later. So, we've come up with several ideas for raising awareness for Warcry. One way is to sponsor tournaments for other RTS games similar to our own, such as Dawn of War, Supreme Commander and Command and Conquer red alert 3. This brings up a legal concern however. Is what we propose legal? www.projectwarcry.com

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Original post by LordOverkill
Is what we propose legal?


I can't think of any reason this would not be legal; it happens all of the time. There are ads for Dish network and DirecTV on cable, and XM/Sirius ads on normal radio.

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Many companies have contests along those lines. Their lawyers write up the terms and conditions of the contest.


Your plan sounds reasonable. Talk to your lawyer and perhaps an additional lawyer specializing in contracts for tournaments and competitions.

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Original post by AverageJoeSSU
indie companies can afford lawyers?


Yes. Lawyers are expensive, but not so expensive that the little guys can't afford them. Chances are that simply outlining what you want to do, getting a "Yes that's legal" or "No that's illegal", and getting a Terms and Conditions (which is mostly likely going to be mostly copy-pasted) is not going to take a great deal of times.

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You will need to get permission from the publishers of the respective games to advertise tournaments hosted by your company where your game is either a prize or promotional item given to participants. Question - would you allow someone to advertise a tourney for your game in order to sell their game?

As mentioned above, tournaments for cash prizes require written entry rules which need to comply with gambling laws in those states you plan to host the tournament.

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Original post by kdog77
You will need to get permission from the publishers of the respective games to advertise tournaments hosted by your company where your game is either a prize or promotional item given to participants. Question - would you allow someone to advertise a tourney for your game in order to sell their game?


He states sponsor, which I would assume to mean there is an existing tournament that they are paying to have their name associated with.

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Quote:
Original post by AverageJoeSSU
Quote:
Original post by frob
Your plan sounds reasonable. Talk to your lawyer and perhaps an additional lawyer specializing in contracts for tournaments and competitions.


indie companies can afford lawyers?


Try not to think of lawyers as an expense... think of them more like insurance.

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I honestly wouldn't see the harm in it myself if another game of similar design hosted tournaments for a game that I no longer supported. Any advertisement is good advertisement right?

But, to be on he safe side I should take the longer route and ask the parent company of these games for their permission to use their product. For a game like Dawn of War which has several big names behind it (THQ,Relic,Games Workshop,Ironlore) would it be required to get permission from all of these names- which would take months?

I'm basically just wanting to sponsor a tournament with my company's name as a sponsor with a link to our site. We will fund all expenses, we have a certain person that has experience with running these kinds of tournaments scheduled to run the events should we decided to go ahead with it. The idea is to gain the RTS communities support rather than steal their fan base. I'm sure gamers have room in their hearts for more than one IP :P


Thanks for the help, guys. I'll make some emails and calls and see what big names are willing to spare a second for the little guy in his garage :D

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I'm not a lawyer and this isn't legal advise. I don't think that it would be a breach of trademark if you sponsor an event but the event itself may well need a commercial/cyber cafe license for the games that they plan to use in the Tourney - you might want to make sure that is all in order before putting your name to the event.

There is also the issue of "right be damned". Some companies may not want you using their game in this way and may threaten or actually take action against you regardless of if they are in the right of not. Bigger companies have packs of lawyers who are fed on nothing but raw meat. They have to pay them anyway so they may set them on you just to dissuade you.

In any event - talk to a lawyer - see List of Game Industry lawyers.

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