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Haratino

Copyrights for certain games

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Hi I'm new here. I want to make some small games and I wonder what can I actually use there. For example you can find tons of Dragon Ball games on internet, don't you need some copyrights or something to just use content from Dragon Ball? I doubt owners of all those games bougcht any rights, maybe some of them. Are they just risking getting sued or you don't need any rights for certain things? Of course they don't use scenes from Dragon Ball but some characters, looking similar to those in anime etc. I want to make game like that with some pixelized characters from Dragon Ball and I wanna know if it's even legal before I start. Thanks in advance.

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Welcome!

Note: I am not a lawyer; for actual legal advise, you'll eventually want to talk to a real one.
 

For example you can find tons of Dragon Ball games on internet, don't you need some copyrights or something to just use content from Dragon Ball?

Yep! They are infringing on the copyrights, which is illegal. By 'illegal' I don't mean criminal law, but it is against civil law, and even if their game is free, they can still be sued and forced to pay money, because their games damage the value of the Dragon Ball franchise. But more often, it's just a Cease & Desist letter or a DMCA form requiring them to take down the infringing work, and usually the matter ends there once they take it down. Because they don't have much money, and because lawsuits are expensive for both parties, people are usually only taken to court if they refuse to take down their infringing work.
 

I doubt owners of all those games bougcht any rights, maybe some of them.

For web games, most likely none of them. For console games, all of them *licensed* the rights.
 

Are they just risking getting sued or you don't need any rights for certain things?

Yes, they are risking getting sued. It's a low risk, but yea.

 

Worse still, the more people love your game, the more popular it'll become, and the more likely it'll get found and shut down.

This means your two goals of (A) people enjoying and playing your game, and (B) not getting sued, are almost directly conflicting. Your setting yourself up for failure, or at best, mediocrity.

You don't need to license the rights if it is "fair use" (which includes some forms of parodies), but since everyone on the internet who claims "fair use" almost always use the term incorrectly, and most don't understand what kinds of parodies are allowed, then most claims of "fair use" are actually incorrect. Fair use has nothing to do with free or not.

Further, even when you are within fair use, this means:
A) You are acknowledging you are infringing the rights of the people who own that intellectual property.
B) You can still get sued in court, and then you have to prove to the judge that it actually is covered by fair use.
C) If the judge isn't convinced, you got a problem, because to argue 'fair use', it meant you already acknowledged you broke the law, admitting you're guilty (again, civil law, not criminal. You most likely won't go to jail for it, but your bank account will hurt). After admitting you are guilty, you easily flip around and claim you weren't guilty after all. wink.png 
 

I want to make game like that with some pixelized characters from Dragon Ball and I wanna know if it's even legal before I start. Thanks in advance.


Nope! Not legal unless you get permission from the people who own it, or unless it's covered by fair use (which most people explaining it on the internet are automatically wrong about), and even fair use is a risky defense because of what I already mentioned. smile.png 

But I'll tell you what is legal: You can create your own fictional universe, because you have the creativity and power to do so. You can create your own characters, and make them as awesome as you can imagine. And when you're done investing your work, you can choose whether you want to sell it or not.

Many people just like you are everyday creating their own creative universes (in books, comics, games, and other forms of media). Some are good, some aren't, and a few are freakin' fantastic. smile.png 
It'll take you awhile to warm up your creative juices and create something great, but the once you start, you'll find that better and better ideas occur to you, and you'll have so many ideas you can discard the weaker ones and refine the stronger ones to make something worth making and worth enjoying.
It may or may not be a success, but it'll be an enjoyable (and frustrating) experience regardless.

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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