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Greg Quinn

Question about copyright in a sports game

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Hi,

I've been reading a few forum posts and faqs on here about copyright in games.
Although I can't seem to find the answer related to my question.

If I create say a football game, and call it World Football Championship, and have all the countries of the world in it, and all those countries players, is any of that illegal?

Surely using the name of a country in a game doesn't infringe on copyright, and as for the players names, does linking the real players names, to their specific country give any reason for a player to claim use of their name? If so could I just use their surname in the game? Because surely they have no hold over their surname only?

Thanks

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You'll have no issue using the countries of the world, but using the real players (even if its implied by using only their first name) would be a risk I wouldn't be willing to take - almost every sports league has a player's association that handles protecting the usage of player likenesses.

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Greg,

You can't use a player's name without their permission. Many jurisdictions recognize the right of individuals to control the commercial use of their name and likeness. In the US, 28 states have statutes recognizing individual's right of publicity, while the rest allow individuals to sue for misappropriate or violation of privacy when they did not grant permission.

Not sure where you are located, but it would be good to contact a local IP lawyer to help you navigate various rights issues for your game.

Good luck!

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Many games have the same problem, not only sports games. The names can be different yet close to the original. For example, in STALKER you have lots of real weapons, and you can recognize them despite the fake names : FT2000 instead of FN2000 and so on. Then one of the first mods is always a "real names" mod. It's only a few text files to edit.

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Quote:
Original post by Greg Quinn
Ok thanks guys yeah that makes sense.
Looks like I will have to make up some fake player names then :/

You can always just design the game such that you don't need to use names at all in the first place, avoiding all these issues entirely in the process.

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Quote:
Original post by Sik_the_hedgehog
Quote:
Original post by Greg Quinn
Ok thanks guys yeah that makes sense.
Looks like I will have to make up some fake player names then :/

You can always just design the game such that you don't need to use names at all in the first place, avoiding all these issues entirely in the process.


Well how would you avoid using names?
Just having numbers?
What about showing stats on players? going by the number is very user unfriendly.

Also trading a player to another team, how would you identify them?

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There is an excellent tradition of using fake names in sports games, and sometimes of parodying the real athlete names. And if you store your names in some "easily" accessible text resource, then players can replace the names (of players, managers, clubs and more) if they want to.

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Thanks Oluseyi,

So you are saying instead of having a name like Fabregas in the team, you could have a player called Fabergus or something similar?

I also like the idea of having a text name replacer. Excellent idea :)
If the gamers edit the names themselves, then the player associations or whoever have no tie back to me as the game developer on what names are used, as long as the defaults are safe.

Thanks!

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If I remember correctly, this was an issue with EA back in the day. EA, 2k Sports, and some other people battling over getting exclusive permission from the various leagues to use player likenesses.

Also recently, with UFC and EA. The UFC Owner-dude said that if any competitor allowed EA to use their likeness their contract would be terminated.

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