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Reuse a game's GFX, images - of a defunct game company - for commercial game dev.

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Greets.

 

Am I right to think, it is allowed freely to reuse games' gfx of defunct companies in my indie developments even for commercial purposes?

 

eg. 

ancient game:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_Faerghail

from publisher :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReLINE_Software

as for the Developer, I cannot find them:

Developer(s) Electronic Design Hannover

 

----

And here's another case,

an ancient title, with an active pulisher (Electornic Arts) and developer (Interplay):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bard's_Tale_(1985_video_game)

Should I ask for their permission?

 

Thanx for any info. Bye.

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No you are wrong.  No matter how defunct the company is somebody, somewhere still owns the rights.  Unless the company has open sourced their stuff then no you cannot use it.

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Nope -- its still someone's copyright and very possibly trademark. IP law has very little to do with whether any entity is actively using a piece of IP or not, and you can't assume that IP is freed just because that entity isn't around any more. The IP always goes somewhere -- someone acquires the assets either by purchase or inheritance. IP protection only really goes away under four scenarios -- 1) the author explicitly gives it up 2) the term of protection expires 3) a regulatory body or court rules that it doesn't meet the standard necessary to receive protection 4) the IP holder fails to vigorously defend said IP from infringement and it becomes defacto public domain.

 

Be aware that #4 is not your golden loophole. It doesn't mean that the first movers to start selling unlicensed Mickey Mouse tees get away Scot free if their numbers simply overwhelm Disney's army of lawyers, it means that if, at some point, Disney simply gave up defending that IP, they can't come back years after the fact and start demanding payment from those who've pilfered their IP.

 

Yes, people sometimes make fan-games, mostly without explicit permission, but sometimes with. Whether or not the fruit of their work is released for free or commercial purposes has no impact on how enforceable the IP is, whether they can seek financial damages, and even very little to do with how much financial damages a plaintiff could seek. These kinds of projects, without permission, are illegal strictly speaking (save few exemptions); they don't charge for their product because doing so would guarantee that their infringement and damages would be pursued, not because being free inoculates them from their potential liabilities.

 

Standard Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and if you desire to attempt navigating the finer points of IP law, you really should hire one who specializes in such.

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Many thanx for both of you!  

 

A wild, naive thought:

And possibly "creating" a fake of their pictures / images - ie. copying it with minor modifs - like in paintings world, a non-original Mona Lisa, would also make someones very-very angry with me.

 

thanx and ave

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Legally, copying an existing work with minor modifications (or even just recreating it by yourself without modifying it) without permission is called a derivative work, and everything you were told above about using defunct artwork also applies.

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