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plazma

a quick question all.....

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Hi, just wondered if any of you guys can answer this quickie.....Game companies copyright their games and their characters etc, why is it that fan games are allowed that make use of the same characters etc. An example of these is Zelda and Sonic fan made games. thx in advance

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Are these fans distributing these games for money?
&
and do they make any of these character''s look bad?
if no to both then, i personally don''t see why they couldn''t be allowed to use these characters.

or maybe nintendo and sega just don''t know.

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these games are all free, and the characters are exactly the same, like they''ve just taken a ss of the characters and backgrounds and used them in the games.

thx

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quote:
Original post by plazma
Hi, just wondered if any of you guys can answer this quickie.....Game companies copyright their games and their characters etc, why is it that fan games are allowed that make use of the same characters etc.

They asked.

The fans make a request for permission to use the characters and adhere to strict guidelines. Simple.

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If that were true they would be swamped with such requests lol, there''s quite a few sonic fan games and several zelda fan games, which is one I am hoping to design, a lot smaller than the commercial versions with modifications, only thing really that I wanted is to call the character link, and the place hyrule, thats more or less it, everything else will be different, and it will be free like all fan games.

thx

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I don''t think you can violate copyright if you are freely distributing a game.

You can protray the character in the worst light possible but at the end of the day it''s your right (freedom of speech and all that) and since your not making money from it your not classed as a competitor. If your not a competitor then copyright can''t effect you.

I suppose there might be problems if you are copying game data (sprites and stuff) due to intelectual property rights. But if your taking it from a screen cap or your own drawings (no matter how exact), i don''t think they have any ground for complaint.

Lastly, i can''t see the big N trying to sue a bedroom programmer for this stuff anyway. It''s bad publicity, and nobody likes that.

zipless

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by zipless
I don''t think you can violate copyright if you are freely distributing a game.

You can protray the character in the worst light possible but at the end of the day it''s your right (freedom of speech and all that) and since your not making money from it your not classed as a competitor. If your not a competitor then copyright can''t effect you.

I suppose there might be problems if you are copying game data (sprites and stuff) due to intelectual property rights. But if your taking it from a screen cap or your own drawings (no matter how exact), i don''t think they have any ground for complaint.

Lastly, i can''t see the big N trying to sue a bedroom programmer for this stuff anyway. It''s bad publicity, and nobody likes that.

zipless


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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by zipless
I don''t think you can violate copyright if you are freely distributing a game.

You can protray the character in the worst light possible but at the end of the day it''s your right (freedom of speech and all that) and since your not making money from it your not classed as a competitor. If your not a competitor then copyright can''t effect you.

I suppose there might be problems if you are copying game data (sprites and stuff) due to intelectual property rights. But if your taking it from a screen cap or your own drawings (no matter how exact), i don''t think they have any ground for complaint.

Lastly, i can''t see the big N trying to sue a bedroom programmer for this stuff anyway. It''s bad publicity, and nobody likes that.

zipless


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Dead wrong, zipless.

quote:
Original post by zipless
I don''t think you can violate copyright if you are freely distributing a game.



You won''t violate copyright unless you copied art or code out of the originial game. You will violate trademarks, however.

quote:

You can protray the character in the worst light possible but at the end of the day it''s your right (freedom of speech and all that) and since your not making money from it your not classed as a competitor. If your not a competitor then copyright can''t effect you.



If use a character without permission, wether it be favorable or unfavorable, you will be violating any trademarks on that character.

quote:


I suppose there might be problems if you are copying game data (sprites and stuff) due to intelectual property rights. But if your taking it from a screen cap or your own drawings (no matter how exact), i don''t think they have any ground for complaint.




Screen caps are definately a problem with copyright, but re-drawing probably is not, so long as you can document that it is in fact your own work. Of course, if you draw something under trademark, it''s still a violation.

quote:

Lastly, i can''t see the big N trying to sue a bedroom programmer for this stuff anyway. It''s bad publicity, and nobody likes that.



It''s been done before, and will be done again. In the united states, a trademark that is not defended becomes void. So if someone makes a game featuring link or triforce, and Nintendo does _not_ sue them when they become aware of the game, they may lose their trademark rights to link. This is why big companies do (in fact they have to) sue people who distribute but do not make any money of their trademarks.

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yeah thats exactly what I thought, I don''t exactly have any money to give them should they sue me lol, and I also don''t think they would because of that particular reason you pointed out, the big N wouldn''t bother wasting time on a bedroom designer (not programmer, yet lol, I''m trying to find opportunities to study c++).

The games working title is Legacy of Link, as it is based on Links son, and his adventures as he adventures and participates in quests like his father.

The game is basically a shorter version of the zelda games in full 3D, based on directx, and will run in episodes which will be patched to the quest libary of the game. The player would be able to play any quest from the menus, any quest would be approx. 2/3 the length of Ocarina of Time.

thx

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d''oh lol

spoke too soon, well..I don''t want to be sued, so it looks like I''m going to have to design my own character and use some of my own ideas, dammit

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Yeah i figured i''d put my foot in my mouth with the screen cap comment. I just couldn''t be bothered editing it again.

Hang on (thinking on my feet here) what your saying is this (i''m not trying to put words in your mouth so if i overstep the mark let me know)

If i create a elfin character called "link" and deck him out in green and give him a sword and shield and set him off to wander aroud the game world, called "hyrule" and then place my game on the net i''m breaching certain legal boundaries? I can''t see how this can possibly be right, YES if any material was copied. YES if the plot or game history was copied, but not from taking inspiration from a game. If a company produced the game and ditributed it for free the YES again but not an individual.

zipless

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Ah OK i just noticed something.

What your talking about (i think) is delibarately stealing a character. What i''m talking about is creating a character who is identical in almost every respect but who is NOT the same character.

Of course you don''t have to state that he''s not the same, just don''t include small details, like the coat of arms for the hyrule shield, or if you do change them.

I''m not sure about link but you shouldn''t be able to trademark zelda, it''s a name for crying out loud. I guess they might be able to grab link *if* they could prove that it had never been used as a name before. I dunno, i''m no lawyer, and i guess the law changes depending upon the country your in as well.

zipless

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by zipless
Yeah i figured i''d put my foot in my mouth with the screen cap comment. I just couldn''t be bothered editing it again.

Hang on (thinking on my feet here) what your saying is this (i''m not trying to put words in your mouth so if i overstep the mark let me know)

If i create a elfin character called "link" and deck him out in green and give him a sword and shield and set him off to wander aroud the game world, called "hyrule" and then place my game on the net i''m breaching certain legal boundaries? I can''t see how this can possibly be right, YES if any material was copied. YES if the plot or game history was copied, but not from taking inspiration from a game. If a company produced the game and ditributed it for free the YES again but not an individual.

zipless


Unfortunately, you can suffer legal action over this. Specific characters, coporate mascots, etc are protected by trademark laws. This is why spider-man lunchboxes have to be licensed by marvel, and why you can''t include superman or batman in your game without paying. Link is legally protected in the same way.


Gamedev just posted an article about this happening with Bard''s tale and ultima clones. Check out http://www.wired.com/news/games/0,2101,47624,00.html

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This is doing my head in.

OK what about if you make the game and only give it out on a person by person basis. It''s no longer in a public domain so you should be able to do whatever you want with it right?


cheers for the link, i''ll have a looksee now,
zipless

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by zipless
This is doing my head in.

OK what about if you make the game and only give it out on a person by person basis. It''s no longer in a public domain so you should be able to do whatever you want with it right?


cheers for the link, i''ll have a looksee now,
zipless


This law is kind of ''what I don''t know won''t hurt me.''

Nintendo only has to sue if they become aware of it. So if no nintendo employee ever sees your game or any material relating to it, you will be fine. Or even if Nintendo pretends it doesn''t exist to such a degree that no one can prove they knew about it. However, if you give it out on a person-by-person basis and one of those people faxes a screenshot to a nintendo exec, you could still get in trouble over it.

The main thing is that someone disputing the trademark later on can''t be able to prove that nintendo knew about your game. If anyone can prove nintendo knew about it and didn''t sue you, they will lose their trademark.

The ultima clone probably got in trouble because some magazine writer doing a piece on it asked EA what they thought of it.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by zipless


I''m not sure about link but you shouldn''t be able to trademark zelda, it''s a name for crying out loud. I guess they might be able to grab link *if* they could prove that it had never been used as a name before. I dunno, i''m no lawyer, and i guess the law changes depending upon the country your in as well.

zipless


In the US, names are protected as trademarks. The author of Tetris has this kind of protection, and won a court case with it. That''s why Tetris knockoffs have to be called ''Tumbling blocks'' and not ''Tumbletris.''

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Guys what if I were to put a disclaimer up stating that the characters etc dipicted were property of nintendo? Wouldn''t that solve any sueing issues?

thx in advance

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quote:
Original post by plazma
Guys what if I were to put a disclaimer up stating that the characters etc dipicted were property of nintendo? Wouldn''t that solve any sueing issues?

thx in advance


Nope. You need written premission from someone with the proper authority at nintendo.

If you can''t get that and you want to be safe, you need to create your own characters.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
One of the things of making fan games is that when the company is aware of that, it is more likely to simply force you to shut your site & game down. They might sue you, but it does cost money for them and as other said it''s bad publicity, so they should start by shutting you down. Anyway, they don''t really care about fan made games, some companies even encourage this (like Capcom, send them an email and you''ll see). However, this is not Nintendo''s case (Someguy I know tried once by asking permission via email to them, but they didn''t want to).

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Guest Anonymous Poster
And no, crediting them or placing a disclamer does nothing. You still violate copyright laws when using copyrighted stuff, for any purposes.

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