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I would like to know if any license is required to use Fifa registered team names and player names in paid or free games (e.g. Spanish League teams, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo names etc).

I'm currently developing an interactive soccer game for mobile platforms (iOs and Android specifically) and I was wondering if it there is any legal issue on using this information. I suppose that if I publish it as a paid-app, it is maybe ilegal without a Fifpro License or something like that. But would it be ilegal if I publish the game for free, and charge for special items in the game?

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As far as I know making a "free game" has very little to do with things legally - they will still hunt you down. What I have seen is making similar names (especially in some racing games). For instance: "Christian Ronalds"; people who know enough about soccer will recognise the name - especially if you clever about them (my example is pretty bad). –  Jonathan Dickinson Jan 29 '12 at 9:57
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2 Answers

I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. If you are considering this, and any business really it would be wise to seek one.

Yes.

That you are 'giving it away' doesn't make it any less infringing.

Furthermore, this License is currently held by EA. Giving them, as well as FIFA reason to pursue you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIFA_(video_game_series)#FIFA_World_Cup_licensed_games

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I'd just like to add that whether or not you are making a profit DOES actually affect whether or not something is fair use (see: copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html) However, it doesn't automatically mean something is fair use, in I agree in this case it would likely not be fair use. (Always best to ask a lawyer though) –  DeM0nFiRe Jan 29 '12 at 18:01
    
Actually "giving it away" is something that helps other games (like Pro Cycling Manager for instance) release FREE real name databases after the game has been released. Databases that are updated with the rider and team names that they didn't get the license for. You see the team and player names everywhere, they don't own the names being mentioned. They own the names being profited from. If you give stuff away containing their name, you're safe. That's how it's always been. If you made a manchester united shirt yourself and gave it away, that would not get you in trouble, but selling it would –  Tor Valamo Jan 29 '12 at 21:37
    
@TorValamo The circumstances of Pro Cycling Manager are very different than what the asker is proposing. And because they are presenting the logos' at the bottom of the page, it wouldn't be unreasonable to believe that they have some sort of official sanction and/or recognition. –  Noctrine Jan 30 '12 at 0:51
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@Noctrine - The circumstances aren't different. The logos presented IN the game are ONLY of those teams they have a license with. The teams that they do not have a license with have no representation in the SOLD game at all. They ONLY appear in the after release FREE REAL NAME database, which is released by the actual developer. I'm not sure how it is the past few years, if they have got a license for every single team and that's what you mean, but a few years ago they barely had a license for any team. –  Tor Valamo Jan 30 '12 at 15:47
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Why not give players the option to name players/teams themselves? That way, you avoid copyright issues and players can play with their team of choice. Everybody wins!

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