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Legal Guide to Legal Needs & Prices by VideoGameAttorney

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  • No, you can't make a damn fan game. Yes, it's infringing. No, it doesn't matter others do it. O.J. got away with murder, don't try to do it yourself though. I've seen so many developer lives ruined (lost home, wife, kids, etc) all because of a silly fan game. These companies are brutal about protecting their IP. The reason you never hear about it? All settlements come with an NDA that makes it so no one can write or talk about it.
  • STOP MAKING FAN GAMES AND NO YOUR EXCEPTION IS NOT A LOOPHOLE. YOU CANNOT AFFORD FAIR USE. IT'S NOT PARODY. JUST STOOOOOOOOOP!!

QFE++

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Ryan has some serious (and admittedly justified) rage about fan games. XD He's a great guy, and those prices are within the scope of what a lot of firms offer indies (ours included). 

Edited by monalaw

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themoregames: Can I make a fan game out of your post? It will be fair use!?
VideoGameAttorney: I'll kill you >:(
Hahaha. :) Edited by Nypyren

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Has has very useful tips, but I highly recommend filing your own trademarks. You just search if the name exists -- if it doesn't, just file it for about $225 and it took me an hour with 0 knowledge. Both of mine passed. His prices are...well... as an indie dev with limited budget, let's just say I'd recommend a quick Google search for price comparisons.

Edited by Imperium42 Game Studio

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You can certainly save some money by doing things yourself, but keep in mind that those fees aren't just mark-up over the cost of doing it yourself.

For the extra money you save the time you would take, and you're sure it's done correctly. An industry experienced lawyer can also advise if you should be registering in different territories and should be able to do that for you.

It's certainly worth shopping around if you're on a tight budget, but you do get something out of paying more for a lawyer.

It's also worth noting that the costs listed are normal costs, and you may be able to negotiate cheaper as a package deal or similar.

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I'm a bit late to the party but wanted to say that, based on my experience with startup lawyers, those prices are reasonable for USA. More, and you'll be getting ripped off. Less, and I'd be worried about how serious the counsel is. It may seem like a lot but the cost of mistakes down the road is higher. You should expect to pay more though if you're in the EU or elsewhere. 

General advice: always negotiate, and always work out a flat fee or capped quote (which means hourly rate but capped at some pre-agreed amount). Lawyers default to hourly rates and as an indie you cannot afford to pay lawyers by the hour (which can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 per hour and adds up very fast since you'll be charged for every email, phone call, and even research time).

Especially with stuff like setting up companies and contracts, those items are well understood and standardized and your counsel has the necessary template documents ready to go, so getting a good quote is not a problem. 

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