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59

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. These are things I've heard many times over and have no reason to doubt. Game mechanics cannot be copyrighted or protected in any fashion. I could make a game called "Crystallized" that was Bejeweled, in every imaginable way, and as long as I didn't copy the art from Bejeweled (either directly, or by drawing ...


26

No. In most cases... also, I am not a lawyer, find one they help. Arrangements of, and recordings of, specific performances of classical music are both copyrighted separately. This means that even if a piece in its original form is in the public domain, the piece itself is still someone's active intellectual property. So, when can you use classical music? ...


25

There are several sections of the Unity End-User License Agreement (which is for version 4.x as I write this, although earlier versions are similar) that pertaining to this issue. The most directly relevant is section 3, which reads (in part): You will not delete or in any manner alter any Unity or third-party copyright, trademark or other ...


18

Well, let's talk about intellectual property, since that's really where it seems like your focus is right now. Before I continue, though, I just want to briefly mention that you also want to make sure that you understand where you stand with other aspects of the law as well, things like taxes (Do you have to charge some kind of sales taxes? What sort of ...


16

No. You can't distribute anything you don't have permission for. Crediting or not makes no difference. Unless the song was distributed under a license which explicitly permits redistributing it (such as CC-By) you'll need to get permission from the copyright holder, else it will be copyright infringement and the copyright holder can sue you for it.


15

First, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, if you follow my advice and get sued then it's your fault not mine. That said, you've talked about "copyright issues". I'm going to break this down into two questions: 1) If I get sued for copyright infringement, will I win? Probably! Game mechanics can't be copyrighted, so you're safe there. If "potion" ...


13

You're asking about more than the name, if you re-made the actual game (rhyme unintended). In the US, copyright has been constantly extended, and is now the author's life + 75 years - so no, the game is still copyrighted. And the name is covered by trademark, not copyright (which also would not have expired - I don't think it does expire). If your name is ...


13

First, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, if you follow my advice and get sued and lose your house then it's your fault not mine. Unfortunately, as simple as that question is, it really needs to be broken down into two questions. 1) If I get sued for copyright infringement, will I win? Maybe! Assuming those pieces are in fact public domain now, ...


13

Do I have to say that I'm not a lawyer? I'm not a lawyer. In some/most countries, you can use a pseudonym of your choosing called a Trade Name. You just can't use "Incorporated", "Limited" or any other legal label in the name though. This type of business is called a Sole Proprietorship, and I would highly recommend it because it's easy to create (you ...


12

Other answers have covered trademarks and copyright pretty well, but do not forget patents. Many game mechanics developed in the early days of gaming are patented. The 2 that I know of are minigames while the main game loads (Ridge Racer), and jump-in multiplayer (Gauntlet). That is why you almost never see these features in any games, even though they are ...


12

I am not a lawyer, the following is not legal advice. If you would like legal advice you should consult a real lawyer. My anecdotes regarding the law are biased entirely towards that of the United States. No, you should not use copyrighted sprites (or any other asset) in your demo. It is a bad idea. Copyright gives the author of a work (in this case, ...


11

This will depend entirely on the license applied to the art assets. The number of open source licenses is always growing, so attempting to provide a list here would be pointless. You will need to research the specific license that's applied to the art. Some of these licenses will allow you to reuse the art. For example, in the link you provide, a majority ...


10

Why bother? It's pointless to clone a game widespread such as that one: doing so you automatically give away any chance of success for your game! You risk getting sued to build something that will be worthless anyway? Why, lol, that's nonsense! You'd better focus on actually creating something original instead.


10

It depends on the level of detail you go into and how you generate your data. From Will's post, deriving your layout from OSM does seem to be a way of doing this to an extent, however if you derive anything from any other source you'll need to carefully check their licences very carefully. There may be certain buildings or objects in real cities or ...


10

Licensing You can try to monetize your game engine & framework from licensing. This most probably means that you will make your software proprietary and closed source to fight piracy (obfuscated AS3 code in your case, maybe you have some external tools that can be protected a bit more), but not necessarily. There are mostly two types of license that ...


9

I'll paraphrase my answer from Audio copyright questions (and I am Not a Lawyer :) Note that this assumes you're in the US (or other Berne signatory countries), and in particular, Canada may be different, as was discussed. It also assumes that when you say, "bought a song", you meant bought a copy from Amazon or somewhere - if you actually bought the ...


9

The video game rights to the My Little Pony franchise appear to currently be owned by Hasbro. While Hasbro does not appear to have an internal game development studio, Hasbro does have strong relationships with both EA and Activision, with core-audience games ("Transformers") typically being developed by Activision-owned studios, and casual games ...


8

Hire a lawyer. The earlier the better -- you should have done it already to draw up contracts concerning who retains what IP if people leave or disagree, et cetera. See this article on the legal issues related to ad hoc, indie development teams (written by a real lawyer, which I am not, so my advice is not legal advice).


8

Copyright expiry depends where you live. The simple answer is that they are copyright, and you can get sued. (More likely you'll get a cease-and-desist shutting down development of your game and threatening legal action.) If you really want a pokemon-style game, create your own unique game world and characters and use those.


8

You can use OpenStreetMap.org - their license is clear and suitable: You are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt our maps and data, as long as you credit OpenStreetMap and its contributors. osm2xp is for example using this data for the X-Plane game:


8

The legal perspective: No, you cannot legally redistribute someone else's copyrighted work. This is international law. It is not debatable. It is not made okay by giving credit. It does not become okay by giving it away for free. By copying someone else's copyrighted work, you are violating their copyright -- literally, their exclusive right to make ...


8

You need a lawyer and this is not legal advice. That said, being free usually makes no difference at all "game concepts" usually cannot be subject to copyright, but in many perverted jurisdictions apparently are subject to patents regardless of being legal or not, remember you can be sued anyway: if you can't afford to defend yourself you'd better play ...


8

tl;dr: Tattoo the phrase CITE WHAT'S NOT YOURS on your arm, and you'll be happy forever. Some details: Wikipedia says (emphasis added): Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of ...


8

Neither being an indie developer, nor releasing game for free, doesn't grant you some additional rights implicitly. You can either need to have agreement with rights owner, or use music that is in public domain or other license (like CC license) that allows some sort of free usage. Also as Markus correctly mentioned in comment, Public Domain is a tricky ...


8

If the artist has entered into an agreement with a royalties collection agency - whether for the recording, or the songwriting - then you can't use their music without a licence from the relevant agency or agencies in order to use the music. This is because the artist has assigned their rights to the collection agency, and is no longer legally allowed to ...


8

Let's rephrase this: would it be OK for the musician to take your game and sell it along with his song as long as he mentioned you somewhere in the "About" page? Without even asking you? I did not think so. Since you are creating copyrighted works yourself now, I suggest you spend an hour browsing wiki on the subject of Copyright and then Trademarks to ...


7

I'm going to start off by being That Guy and noting that this site is the wrong place for this question. It's a potentially non-trivial legal issue whose precise answer, under various circumstances, will likely depend on details of local law and legal precedent, as well as on the relative abilities of the lawyers on each side to twist said law and ...


7

Distributing copyrighted music without a license from the copyright owner is a violation of copyright, and is illegal in most parts of the world. Yes, it's still a violation of copyright even if you distribute it for free. Yes, it's still a violation of copyright even if you credit the artist. Yes, it's still a violation of copyright even if you hold your ...


7

Not a lawyer, here's my personal interpretation. I'd think that using the name of a company that doesn't exist could be considered fraud. The copyright holder should be you for now. This covers the contingency where you don't form that company, or you don't form it soon. A copyright is property that you can transfer to your company later if you wish.



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