monalaw

Moderators
  • Content count

    250
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

1367 Excellent

About monalaw

  • Rank
    Moderator - The Business of Game Development

Personal Information

  1. Are you developing a mod for counter-strike? Or a counter-strike like FPS game for Steam? Or are you trying to reskin it? I'm not sure what you're asking, but referencing a pre-existing IP is making my butt twitch a bit. Generally speaking, you need a license first and foremost to do ANYTHING with a pre-existing IP. If it's just an FPS with shared features (like every other FPS on the market) that's a different matter and I recommend contacting a game attorney (*wave*) if you have more specific questions.
  2. Game development on old pc

    I'm locking this thread for now. Neither GDNet nor its moderators, administrators or members are qualified to offer advice or support with regard to mental health concerns and suicide. Ghonchi-- I urge you to seek counseling and support online or through whatever channels available in your area for your personal mental health risks. You can message me directly if you need help finding available treatment programs or online counseling services. GDNet can provide technical and creative support and input for game development, but as many other members may suffer from similar mental health issues, this thread may pose a threat to the well-being of the rest of the community. Concerning PC procurement, you can start a new thread provided you stay on subject.
  3. A new Game Style

    So not to split hairs, but how are you able to claim that it's "literally unheard of and Revolutionary" when you admit that you don't know anything about game design in the same breath? Fair warning, your post reads like a scam.
  4. A quick question about copyright

    you'd be more likely to run into trademark and trade dress issues rather than copyright, as the components you indicated are more representative of their respective franchises than as copyrightable subject matter. Of course, anyone suing you would likely raise both, as well as unfair competition and a few others.  As Frob said, the issue isn't whether or not you'd win on the merits, it's whether you can bear the cost of defending yourself even against a lawsuit with little merit. You weigh that against the likelihood that this will appear on any of the respective franchise owners' radars. Then you determine the value added by including those elements to the game itself. Looking at those factors, you can decide for yourself whether it's worth the risk. I long ago learned that telling people they "can't" is a waste of energy. They're going to do it anyway, even if the risk is high. It's like speeding on the interstate-- people are aware of the risks (as you are aware of the potential IP implications), but for whatever reason they think they're immune from the consequences or they can "read the system". Or they're in a legitimate hurry, and the consequences of being late are greater than the consequences of a $300 speeding ticket. Everyone has their own circumstances. In 99% of the cases I see the "borrowed" components don't add enough to your product to make it worth the risk of a lawsuit. This is probably one of them. 
  5.   Noooooope. I'm actually not even sure what you're trying to say here. Copyright is life of the author +70 years or 120 years from creation for anonymous works. Generally. Very, very generally. Determining copyright duration is a legitimate exercise in extreme patience and anal retentiveness, but this may help.    http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm     Sorry - i'm no business / laws guy.  But i remember from working at a record company: If the recording was dated 50 years back my company legally sold CDs (e.g. Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra) without paying (any?) usual fees / licenses. I don't know if that 'public domain' declartion covered anything involved (composition, lyrics, arrangements, musicans...). Maybe reselling that music was just cheaper than usual but not completely free. Maybe it covered only exceptions like live recordings or recordings not done by the original record company, dead Artists, my company was EU, or other special cases i'm not aware of.       Aaaaaah I've heard of that: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/arts/music/european-copyright-laws-lead-to-rare-music-releases.html   From my understanding it applies to unreleased music by artists-- if it's not exploited (published) within a particular time frame, the record label would lose rights to release. 
  6.   Noooooope. I'm actually not even sure what you're trying to say here. Copyright is life of the author +70 years or 120 years from creation for anonymous works. Generally. Very, very generally. Determining copyright duration is a legitimate exercise in extreme patience and anal retentiveness, but this may help.    http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm
  7. Combined derivative works ?

      What are the attribution requirements under your 3rd party IP/asset license with the copyright owner? 
  8.     Are you calling me cheap, Frob? ;) Yes, it's perfectly legal to enter a contract with an individual as another individual. It sounds like you're interested in either a work for hire, an assignment, or an exclusive, royalty free, perpetual, universal, alienable, and sublicensable right and license in and to the assets. And generally the agreement you want will contain all three, each to cover the event of the other not being enforceable. You should have an attorney at least review anything you're putting together, especially when it comes to composer agreements, as there are multiple moving parts you need to consider.     
  9. Music Rights

    Composer licenses have a bunch of different structures, and I gave a talk on the subject a while back (actually I somehow end up talking about licensing music in games quite a bit, but these are the recorded ones, so have fun):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkb2PryemW4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_6hxDP-V8g   Summarizing: You can go a few routes, based on the facts you presented: non-exclusive, perpetual, universal, irrevocable, transferable, sublicensable  exclusive, perpetual (or term), universal, irrevocable, transferable, sublicensable exclusive, term, universal, irrevocable, non-transferable, sublicensable   etc. etc. How you structure your license really depends on what you plan on doing with the music. If you want to release a soundtrack, for example, you'll want exclusive, perpetual rights, as you won't want that music to be available elsewhere.  If the contract is limited in term, this generally won't apply to copies that have already sold, but you'd basically have to pull the game at the end of the term.    Ultimately this will come down to your leverage and both parties understanding the licensing terms. I'm generally against templates for something like this, because that often results in a situation where neither party is 100% clear on the actual license terms. If you're willing to invest in a composer, you should invest in a lawyer to draft your composer agreement. 
  10. there's no such thing as a copyright in a name. The trademark is sufficient. It has a great big "DO NOT TOUCH" sign on it, so I would avoid it like the plague. I can attest (from experience as counsel) that, as frob mentioned, Nintendo is extremely aggressive about protecting their IP, and have gone after others for far, far less.
  11. I think the biggest concern is the "likelihood of confusion" issue, which would be the trigger for any potential lawsuit or claim. Using the name of a very prominent object from another game may give players the impression that the creator of the game in which the very prominent object exists is the creator of your game-- or it may imply that your game is a licensed spin-off of their product, which I'm assuming it is not. It's worth noting that even if they don't have a registered TM in the "very prominent object's" name, their rights would still be protected under common law unfair competition protections and state law. 
  12. Presumnptions were necessary, since you didn't provide that information with your initial question. The use you suggest seems innocuous enough, but perhaps our resident attorney can provide you with a more useful opinion.     And you're actually calling me out now.  On the design/trade dress issue-- covered under trademark/unfair competition On the trademark-- protected statutory right   So the threshold question is whether your use will create a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the goods/services sold. If you are simply identifying a trademark as a source of a particular good that is theirs and not yours, there's little to no likelihood of confusion-- trademark doesn't prohibit use of a brand name unless: 1) the use disparages the brand; 2) the use suggests endorsement of your product by the brand owner; or 3) and most commonly, the use creates a likelihood of confusion in commerce.    I think you're clear on number 3. Your use intends to properly identify and catalog games based on platform, which is probably okay. I say probably because there are several tests to determine likelihood of confusion, none of them particularly definitive, all of them highly subjective and dependent on substantial market research. But generally speaking, in your case, where it sounds like you're effectively aiming for a game database, you're probably cool.    Endorsement isn't an issue unless you directly or indirectly imply that those companies are supporting you or you are otherwise speaking for or on behalf of their brand.   Disparagement-- just don't trash talk or misidentify products. Don't let forums devolve into proxy fanboy console wars if you can help it, or disable interaction completely.   Good resource for stuff like this (the cataloging, not the legal question: http://www.mobygames.com/ 
  13.   yup, just shoot me a PM on here or on Discord, (Cherished#9159), or shoot me an e-mail. 
  14. Ooooh  ooooh. I wrote a couple of pieces on this. http://maientertainmentlaw.com/2008/03/open-source-faq/   http://maientertainmentlaw.com/2008/03/open-source-f-1/   I should probably update these, to be honest, but reasons. I have a couple of clients who have "open-sourced" certain components of their game, but generally I've advised them to simply open source the mod tool and not the game itself. Ping me directly for specific questions. 
  15. Depends on your risk aversion. Registration isn't required to qualify for TM protection, despite bschmidt's earlier claim to the contrary. The Lanham Act allows unfair competition claims based on "common law" trademarks, where the (in this case) sound effect is easily recognizable in commerce. But the question is whether an audience would be confused.    From a copyright angle, unless you (or the person you hired) intended to copy the sound, and the sound is distinctive enough to meet the originality test (it's not a sound that can be found in nature, for example), there's a limit on the level of copyright protection something like that can expect.  But typically the question for an indie isn't "would I win if they sue", it's "can I afford a lawsuit, regardless of how little merit their claim actually has?" So that's something to keep in mind.