Copyright is the legal right of the creator of a work to define how that work may be used and distributed.

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90
votes
11answers
15k views

How closely can a game legally resemble another?

Most games build on other games' successes and many are downright clones. Where is the limit of imitation before legal issues come into play? Is it down to literary or graphic work like characters and ...
25
votes
6answers
34k views

Can I legally remove the default Unity splash screen by removing it from the APK?

While using Unity I export an Android game as an APK. When the APK is run, the first thing that is displayed is the Unity splash screen. I worked out that I could replaced that image by opening the ...
21
votes
2answers
10k views

How does one buy the rights for a game?

Let's take some old popular at a time but abandoned game: WorldRacing/HiOctane/Constructor/any other. Say I with a team want to revitalize said game and bring it to year 2011 without major changes and ...
18
votes
5answers
9k views

Can I use popular classical music as my game's soundtrack?

Can I use popular classical music in my game as a soundtrack? I'm concerned about copyright protection. I don't plan to make money off of my game. Will I break some law if I do that?
16
votes
3answers
1k views

How to monetize and protect a engine's and its framework's copyrights and patents?

I created a game engine that handles: Rendering levels with 2d textured curved surfaces Collisions with curved surfaces Animationn paths on and navigation in 2d-sapce I have also made a framework ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it ok to use copyrighted assets for educational purposes?

A friend and I were wanting to create a Pokemon battle simulator in our mobile development class as our final project but are worried whether or not it would be permissible under "Fair Use" for ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Must know legal issues when releasing a game?

Alright, some day in the far future I would love to independently release my own game. My question is, what is the minimum amount of familiarity I need with copyright law, software patents, and other ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

What resources can I use to determine if the name of my game violates any copyrights or trademarks?

I'm a indie/hobbyist game developer. How do I check that I'm not infringing any copyrights or trademarks when I release my game? I'm not making megabucks so it's not financially feasible to get ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Releasing a game without really having an officially registered company

I'm thinking of releasing my iOS game without formally registering a company at all. I'm not sure I even want to create a company. ITunes wants to know the copyright holder of my title. I have 2 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Are weapon names or pictures copyrighted/licensed?

Will I get a copyright strike or something if I use a picture of a weapon and the name of it? (e.g. a shop where you can buy guns, AK-47 with the pic)
12
votes
10answers
4k views

Is it illegal to use a commercial song in your game (that you intend to sell)

If I were to buy, say this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fumBcKC6RE, strip/find/get the instrumental, and use that instrumental in a game I'm making, as a theme, say for a recurring boss fight,...
11
votes
1answer
748 views

What to consider legally when cloning an old game? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How closely can a game resemble another game without legal problems I'm going to make a game in the form of a 100% free Android phone app that will be basically a clone of ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Can I use a certain song in my credits as long as I credit the original author?

I am working on a commercial game and I'd like to use a certain song during the credit, because it would be very fitting for my particular game. I know using music that other people made in your game ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Does it require any license to use a real city landscape in a car racing game?

I'm now planning a casual car racing game that want to model some real cities sight into it. I doubt if there is copyright of the landscape or city planning of those real cities in the world. Can I ...
9
votes
2answers
297 views

When should I talk to a lawyer about intellectual property for an indie team?

Let's say you have a team building a decent game and all is well technically and people-wise. You feel pretty sure you'll get to a product that can be sold. How does an indie studio (with good ...
9
votes
2answers
283 views

Demo (and real game) Protection

In a few months I plan to start showing off the (hopefully commercial) game I'm working on to the public (internet). The thing is, besides screenshots and a trailer (of say feature functionality), how ...
8
votes
7answers
2k views

Can I use copyrighted sprites for a demo?

I just had a quick question and wanted everyone's opinions. I'm making a 2D demo game for a resume which I want to post online. I'm applying as a programmer position so I don't really have my own art....
8
votes
3answers
485 views

Intellectual rights to game concepts

For a client I might be making a small puzzle game about getting a item out of a puzzle. The concept will strongly resemble this game : http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/355972089/...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Using modified copyrighted music in non-commercial games

Background: I'm making a retro style game for both fun, and an unofficial contest. I have bought a song, song X. However, I then found notation for song X, and all the instruments. So basically, it'...
7
votes
3answers
527 views

How do I get Apple to pull an App that violates a copyright?

A friend of mine has had his Flash game stolen and published on the iPhone app store without his consent. What is the best way to get Apple's attention about this?
7
votes
1answer
2k views

I found a game with the same name as mine! What should I do?

I published my game Eyeroller on Google Play the other day. I checked there was no game on Google Play with the same name. But today I searched for "eyeroller" on Google (Yes, I should have done it a ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Do I need licensing to use real city names in my game?

I want to allow people to go to real places (Seattle Washington, Portland, Maine, etc.) in my game. Will I need licensing to make those places and use their names?
7
votes
6answers
1k views

When does a game idea cross the line between homage/parody to ripoff?

I'm not sure where this question belongs, but as it pertains to the development of a game idea, I figured I'd try to post it here. Recently I've been inspired to create a game based on another game I'...
7
votes
1answer
215 views

How does a developer ask for the rights to use a character?

What channels must a developer go through to ask for the rights to a character? I want to make a point and click adventure based on Freddy Krueger, and I know my chances are slim, but how do you even ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

When do I copyright a game? [closed]

I don't know how to copyright a video game idea. I don't know if I should make a game document and get that copyrighted first or make the game then copyright it. The main gist is.. I am lost.
5
votes
3answers
706 views

Legal Lego game

As Lego (the old blocks not the 'new' hi-teck stuff) are now in the public domain, can I make a game where the graphics are made out of lego blocks? Well, I can, but is it legal?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Using “screenshots” in a game, is it allowed?

Lets say I have a game that is some kind of a quiz, and its questions are themed around gaming. For it to be interesting, I would need to make references to well-known games and game-related stuff. ...
5
votes
2answers
159 views

Whose name should I put next to my copyright notice? [closed]

I've seen other developers put their own names next to their copyright notice while others choose to put their studio name instead. I read that having a studio name could potentially protect me ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Are references to other games considered an infringement of copyright?

My team frequently reminisces about the games we grew up with in the 1990s, and we'd like to include references and Easter eggs that pay homage to this decade and that will invoke nostalgia or even ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Copyright laws on famous buildings and monuments in games?

I am working on a commercial card game based on the middle east. We would like to have famous buildings and monuments in the game, such as the Burj Al-Arab in Dubai. Are there laws that would prevent ...
5
votes
2answers
237 views

Guitar hero clone and music

I am an indie game developer and I am doing a game similar to guitar hero. I am using tracks composed by musicians and I contacted them to sing a licensing contract. As is my first indie project I ...
4
votes
5answers
4k views

Does a pong clone called “Ping” infringe on any copyrights or trademarks?

Long story short, I made a retro Pong clone and submitted it to the App Store as my first app. It survived for a bit, but I eventually received a message from Atari tell me to remove it. There was ...
4
votes
1answer
548 views

When do I need to ask for permission to recreate an old game? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: How closely can a game resemble another game without legal problems Legal issues for a "fangame" of a commercial franchise? I want to do a mobile version of an ...
4
votes
2answers
130 views

Can I use New York City in my game?

I want to make game more realistic, for that I need a city. So, I decided to take New York City, as it can be seen through Google Maps with Street View, 3d view and much more and will help me a lot to ...
3
votes
4answers
758 views

Is it OK to reuse art from open-source games?

There are a lot of open source games, such as Flare (Diablo clone). Is it OK to re-use the art they put in their open source game and make a profit?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What do I need to do legally to protect my game with copyright?

I am in the process of writing a game and I'm wondering what the copyright laws about publishing this game are. I do not (for now) intend to make money from this. The beginning of my code contains a ...
3
votes
3answers
517 views

Is there a grey-area with Copyright infringement?

Currently a student, I'm trying to put together a game for iOS. From everywhere I've read, it seems any game's sound and art are apart of their IP and covered under their Copyright. That being said, ...
3
votes
2answers
553 views

Rules to start and naming a game studio

I would like to know if there is any copyright related rules to name a game studio specially for android appstore. I searched at the U.S. Copyright Office website and found many matches for same names....
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Do I have to ask for permission to use real company logos for advertising props in the world in my sports game? [closed]

I'm making a simple turn-based Android ball flicking soccer game and I was thinking of creating a theme in a sports game, like soccer for example, usually had advertisement banner on walls and a bit ...
3
votes
3answers
814 views

Copyright infringement in game title [duplicate]

I'm a wanna-be indie developer, and I am working on my first flash game. But, before I even start with the code, I want to know this: When determining the title of my game, how can I decide if it is ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I create a remix of a song & incorporate it into my game music?

DJs frequently remix eachothers work and use as they please. Can I as a programmer do similar - remix a song I like and embed it in a game I create without royalty/copyright issues? Disclaimer: ...
2
votes
2answers
354 views

How can I handle copyrighted music?

I have a curious question regarding on musics used in music rhythm game. In Guitar Hero for example, they used all different music albums in one program. Then, each album requires to ask permission to ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Can I reuse the name of an old arcade game?

I've done an indie remake of an old arcade game from 1980. Can I use its name? I thought copyright expired after 25 years but I could be wrong, hence this question.
2
votes
1answer
259 views

What is a legal way to use music from registered authors in a game?

I have recently asked a question about music in games like Guitar Hero. I have found that that in Europe (at least) if I do want to use a track composed by a musician member of a royalty collecting ...
2
votes
2answers
131 views

Questions on the legal protection of games and their parts (assets, sounds, title)

we started new pirate game, and I just want to ask some questions about rights. So I am new in game dev, I guess there are a lot of answers, but I guess professionals can advise something for first ...
2
votes
1answer
231 views

How or when to add a copyright notice in published games?

I've seen lot of videogame title screens show a copyright notice together with the company name. I'm about to publish my game and I am looking for possibilities or requirements on how or when to add ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Can I legally use retro video game music in a quiz game?

I am considering making a video game music quiz game, where you guess the game that the music is taken from. For example from NES and SNES games. In that regard I was wondering if anyone know of any ...
2
votes
3answers
206 views

Can I use a no longer protected by copyrights game's sprites?

I've been looking around but couldn't really find anything conclusive. First of all, as the title says, in case a game's copyrights expire can I use its sprites for my own game and claim copyrights? ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Making a mobile app from a board game. Copyright infringement?

Me and a friend got hooked on a board game and soon realized that we didn't need the board game to play, instead we could play it with pen and paper with extreme ease and satisfaction. The next step ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

May I distribute a game engine that is based on textbook examples?

I have purchased several game programming books to start my journey as a game developer. One of them teaches its readers by building a game engine's parts in each chapter until finally you have a ...