As a business, game development is fraught with legal concerns and issues, especially on copyright, terms of service, and licensing fronts.

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64
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7answers
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How closely can a game resemble another game without legal problems?

The majority of games build on successes of other games and many are downright clones. So where is the limit of emulating before legal issues come into play? Is it down to literary or graphic work ...
25
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4answers
2k views

Can I run into legal issues with random names?

I'm currently building a game whose NPC's are going to be assigned a random gender and a random name for the right gender. To do this I will be using a "database" of names (actually a text file with ...
24
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4answers
2k views

Legal issues for a “fangame” of a commercial franchise?

I've played around in the past of the 2D Flash fan-made version of the popular Valve game Portal. It has basically the exact same mechanics, but as a 2D side-view flash game. Lately I've toyed ...
22
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6answers
7k views

Is it legally possible to make a clone of the game?

With board games like "Monopoly", "Domino", "Checkers", or "Chess", can game developers make clones and sell them? Also, can I make a clone of ZX Spectrum games? Are there many parts of the game with ...
20
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3answers
5k views

Am I allowed to sell an XNA game by myself?

I just started the developpement of an XNA game and I'm asking myself if it wouldn't be better to use an open-source alternative since I absolutely want to keep the complete control over my game. I ...
19
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3answers
3k views

Is Tetris public domain? [closed]

is the concept for Tetris in the public domain or is there someone who is still collecting royalties on the concept? I mean, if I were to write a variant of Tetris would I owe somebody some money? ...
18
votes
1answer
832 views

How do we keep ourselves from being sued for unknown patent infringements?

There's breaking news about Zynga being sued over some very obvious implementations. This is making me think that the game industry is full of landmines to be stepped on at every turn. What input does ...
18
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2answers
3k views

Can I legally sell an XNA game made with Visual C# Express Edition?

I've dowloaded Visual C# Express Edition and when it starts up it says "for evaluation purposes only." What does this mean? Does this mean I have to buy the full version to legally sell my game I ...
18
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5answers
455 views

What are the implications of not owning the IP of a character graphic in my game?

I'm currently talking with a design studio for the artworks of my game. They are saying they want to still own the IP of their chracter graphic in my game as they want to sell merchandise with my ...
17
votes
1answer
525 views

Process of getting DEJUS rating (Brazil)?

I would like to get DEJUS rating for my HTML5 game on the Firefox Marketplace, so that I can tell Mozilla to make the game available to users in Brazil. I want the game to be rated as: Livre (general) ...
17
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2answers
1k views

Where can I Find Free TOS or Privacy Policy Templates?

I've come to the point in development where I think I should take care of some of the "cover my butt" things. In particular, I'm looking for free samples or templates for "terms of service/use" and ...
16
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3answers
11k 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 ...
16
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4answers
4k 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
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4answers
5k views

Set up indie game studio (UK) - how?

I am UK based and am looking to set up my own game studio - essentially, just myself working from home, looking to build casual game apps. I want to ask you guys what steps or process i need to go ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Am I liable if my game damages someone's computer?

Do i really have to tell somewhere in my game documents that "there is no warranty for this software for any damage" etc? I see it a lot in almost every program, if not all, but is it really ...
14
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4answers
3k views

Can and should a game design be patented? [closed]

I have an idea for a game that I want to develop and I feel is unique, and I'm wondering if I should patent it. I read on the web that games can be patented, but just because it can be done doesn't ...
14
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5answers
2k views

How do I protect my rights to my game on the web?

My small games all have different gameplay. I want to showcase them through the internet. However, I'm worried about them and their concepts getting copied. How can I protect them? Also, if I have ...
14
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4answers
2k 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
1answer
858 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 ...
12
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3answers
955 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 ...
12
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1answer
239 views

Where can I find legal or business resources for a game production company?

Where can I find information on the legal or business aspects of running a game production company?
12
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1answer
282 views

Conundrum with quality and virus reports: is our game releasable?

I've just got done talking to the CEO of our independent game studio about one of our projects nearing completion. We're considering canning the whole project for a number of reasons: There are ...
11
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2answers
4k views

Am I allowed to make my Minecraft clone open source?

I'm developing in my spare time a game like Minecraft. In fact, it isn't "like Minecraft", because I'm trying to make it a close as possible copy of it (meant as exercise for myself at the age of 16 ...
11
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1answer
581 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
604 views

What legal matters do I need to consider when releasing an MMO?

Let's say I've finished programming an indie MMO game similiar to Tibia. I've got: a stable server application ready to launch; a tested, bug-free, working client application ready to play; the ...
10
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4answers
549 views

Does using an licensed game engine prevent you from open sourcing a defunct work?

I'm curious as my previous company is asking us (people who developed the game) on what to do to the game since it's no longer financially viable. My suggestion was to open source it so people can ...
10
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2answers
552 views

Does using Creative Common data in a GPL game mean the code must be CC-BY-SA?

Let's assume we have a game where the code is GPL-licensed, and all the resources (like music, textures, etc.) are licensed under the CC-BY-SA license. Now, the first issue would be that the GPL is ...
10
votes
1answer
756 views

Can I use Playstation controller button icons in my game?

I'm currently working on a game that will be released on PC with controller support, and I'm trying to find a way on how to best represent controller icons within the game. I'm assuming I can't ...
10
votes
2answers
793 views

Legality of using names in a game?

If I am creating a board-game type game, does anyone know if it is legal to use others' names in the game? ie. A playing card with "George Bush" or "Michael Jackson" on it. Also, is it the same for ...
10
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4answers
578 views

Legal considerations when starting a game development team

I am about to start a project with two other developers and an artist, who I still haven't found. I'm not sure how exactly should we handle that from a legal perspective, though. Are we supposed to ...
9
votes
1answer
466 views

What should I do about legal considerations for an indie game?

Apologies if there's a bit too much background information here, not sure what's relevant but figured I needed to outline the financial situation to differentiate this from other questions whose ...
9
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3answers
679 views

Splitting profit - Equal share vs equity investment (work & money spent = share)

Coming up with an appropriate one-liner question was so hard I wrote the body before the header... So we're a team of 4 developers; two designers, two coders to put it simply (naturally we don't tie ...
8
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8answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
281 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
610 views

Marching Cubes - Legalities?

I know this isn't a "Is this legal" website, but because Marching Cubes is definitely a large subject in game development, and isn't really about a specific graphic/item, it would pass... To the ...
8
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3answers
450 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 : ...
7
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4answers
967 views

Can I take a finished game based on a licence to the holding company?

Ok so I went through 11 pages on here and have done a decent amount of Google searching, but found nothing specific to my question. I'm working on a game based on a movie. For the purpose of this I'm ...
7
votes
3answers
615 views

Can you use well known buildings in your game?

Is it legal to reference a real city in your game and use the same architecture of well known shops and buildings? For example, I'm sure you can't create an exact 3D model of McDonalds, put it in ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Legal issues around using real players names and team emblems in an open source game

I'm writing a sports management simulation game. Like most sport management games, it makes heavy use of statistics. I would like to use real players, teams and league names. i) Am I running the risk ...
7
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1answer
593 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
0answers
191 views

How do you fully publish a game under your name, under 18? [closed]

This has been a week of stress in trying to get things done correctly. It's all tied with keeping things legal and making sure I don't lose out on benefits of any kid. I have just recently finished up ...
7
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2answers
440 views

What constitutes satire? [closed]

For business reasons, I would like to know what constitutes satire in a game. Also, is there a better place to ask questions like this on the business side of game development?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Do I still owe Epic royalties if I am not enrolled in the Unreal Engine subscription?

I have just started using Unreal Engine 4 and I have had a very good experience, though I have left the subscription now. I've made an Android game with it and I am planning to release it, but I have ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Do I need to obtain a license to use real car brands in a game?

We are small team which working on car racing game but we don't know about licensing process for branded cars like Nissan, Lamborghini, Chevrolet and etc. Do we need to buy any licence for using ...
6
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3answers
2k views

Is it legal to use car manufacturers' names in a game?

Is it legal to use car manufacturers' names in a game? For example: to describe Audi's quattro drive system? to display a rendering of an Audi? to include a photo (to which I have rights) of an ...
6
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2answers
3k views

Are fonts covered by copyright?

I want to use the font Trajan Pro, but I'm not sure that it would be legal. I've read a bit on fonts and copyright, and the only thing I could get was it depends on the license and where it was ...
6
votes
5answers
790 views

Cloning a game and releasing the source

I'm not really aware of the legal issues surrounding game clones. I'm around halfway done of making a clone, but it's not just the same gaming concepts, I'm literally using the original game's files ...
6
votes
1answer
420 views

Showing “Please buy” screen to pirates [closed]

I recently saw this and this, and that got me thinking When publishing a commercial game without DRM, would it be a good idea to upload a slightly modified copy of the game that shows a screen like ...
6
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3answers
307 views

Exclusive ownership of game artwork

I'd like to pay an artist to create art assets for my game. Is it common for the client (myself in this case) to exclusively own all the artwork that I pay the artist to create and deliver? How can ...