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68

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 ...


42

It is often said that game ideas are a dime a dozen, but that's not true -- they're probably cheaper than that. An idea alone is essentially worthless, what matters is that you have the skill or capability to flesh that idea out into a design, and then execute that design. Professional game developers do not trawl the internet looking for ideas to "steal" ...


38

Lawyer here for a change. You can copy all of gameplay without any issues at all. That is not copyrightable or enforceable. The things that matter are assets - art, sound, music, video, etc. For example if you take ZX game and clone it with your own assets you will be perfectly fine doing that. But if you take some asset and use it in different kind of game ...


34

Yes, you can. See this StackOverflow answer: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3969484/can-i-produce-a-commercial-application-using-visual-studio-express-2010 There was an FAQ for the 2008 edition with a line that explicitly said that yes, you can. It's hard to dig up anything conclusive for 2010, but Microsoft actively goes around encouraging developers ...


34

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 ...


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? ...


26

I am not a lawyer, and you should seek out an actual lawyer for a proper legal consultation. That said, the terms of the license seem pretty clear. You may cancel your subscription, at which point you are not entitled to future updates of the engine, but you can still use the version you have: After cancellation of your Subscription by either you or ...


23

I am not a lawyer and this is not considered legal advice. Yes it would be illegal. You have to contact the owner of the song, and work out licensing details. It is likely to be very expensive.


22

Legally I would be prepared for "change this name" notices and make it very easy to change that name; no matter how much in the right you think you are, it's just a nice thing to do. Create and maintain a dictionary of names to avoid, no matter how legal it is anyone who sees "George Bush" in your game will immediately lose their sense of immersion. ...


22

Yes. Their names, logos, and body designs are all trademarked and cannot be used in any capacity outside those explicitly allowed by trademark law, which almost certainly excluded use in your game. And expect to be completely incapable of acquiring those licenses for reasonable terms, as the licenses are generally very expensive and come with a mile long ...


21

Hire an attorney. There is no substitute to having some actual legal advice, especially in an instance like this. No one here can give you the advice you need. Business folks who are after a contract over "IP" are usually looking for a way to screw you over. You need an attorney to help you avoid losing your rights.


21

I assume that you're based in the U.S. I'm not a lawyer, and I imagine that these kinds of things vary from state to state, but here's what I know. Common sense dictates that you should verify all of this, however. First, you can always be sued. A civil suit can be levied for any claim of damages exceeding $20. This is a constitutional provision, so it ...


19

Have a read of this. Here are some quotes. The original copyright holders have full legal justification to order a cease and desist upon fangame projects, as by definition, fangames are unauthorized infringing uses of copyrighted property. Most companies that don't outwardly promote or challenge fangames have in the past exacted a de facto policy of ...


19

Check out this answer here. The simple answer is: Yes. The networking stuff that uses "Games for Windows Live" does not work on Windows without Microsoft's blessing. But you can always just use the plain ol' networking stuff in the .NET Framework. You cannot distribute XNA Game Studio (the Visual Studio bit) - this affects the Content Pipeline APIs for ...


19

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 ...


18

Okay, so here is my understanding of this - coming from developing games and a constant attempt to obtain more knowledge on licensing, copyright, open-source projects, etc. You are allowed to make a Minecraft clone and open-source it with no repercussions as long as you don't use the title Minecraft, don't use any of Minecraft's source code, and don't use ...


17

Fonts, like all forms of creative expression, are covered by copyright unless their copyright owner explicitly releases them into the public domain. Distributing a font, or derivative works of the font (bitmap images of text rendered using the font, for example) would be a violation of copyright, unless you have a license to do so. The particular font you ...


17

Add a disclaimer: "All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental." Use the above to cover yourself. And I'll use the below to cover myself. I'm not a lawyer and your legal decisions and consequences are your own. Of course, since neither of us are lawyers, the ...


17

As made painfully obvious by recent events, 'Europe' is not a unified place in terms of laws or taxation, so giving a definitive answer here would be tricky to say the least. Even EU law is only a guide as each member state implements it differently. Generally speaking, everything is legal until decided otherwise, so it's not so much "how do I earn money ...


16

First, a disclaimer: I'm a lawyer who practices in California, but this post is not intended as legal advice. "Is it legal" questions are inherently not a good idea for the stack exchange format. Different jurisdictions have different laws, and in many jurisdictions, offering legal advice absent a license constitutes unauthorized practice of law (i.e., ...


16

Don't steal assets or code. For the technologies you are using, make sure you're complying with their terms. Avoid emulating other games. Use an original name and logo. Follow the terms of service on whatever channels you're selling the game through. Incorporate your game company and keep its financial assets separate from your own. Comply with the ...


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" ...


15

The likelihood of this approach producing the results you want is effectively zero. First, if you have built your prototype using the actual IP, then you have almost certainly committed (in most jurisdictions) copyright infringement or some similar IP law violation -- it doesn't matter that you have kept the project private. It's unlikely that the IP holder ...


14

Don't worry about your concept getting copied wholesale. It's much more work implementing a concept than coming up with one, and anyone who can put together a finished product will either have ideas of their own, or will change the game enough that it becomes different. If your game is awesome, then it'll be really hard to copy it and make a version that's ...


14

My experience: 2012-11-26 CET: I called DEJUS (+55.61.2025-9115), and I was connected to someone who spoke fluent English. Things look good: It is not necessary to be a citizen of Brazil or to have a company registered in Brazil in order to apply for a rating. In this case, I was told, one just leaves the field CPF/CNPJ empty. I asked if it is OK to ...


13

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 ...


13

I am not a lawyer. You've got two separate sets of games. Chess, checkers, dominoes, etc. are very old - literally thousands of years. They obviously have no copyrights. You can make a chess game and sell it with no problems. ZX Spectrum games and Monopoly are copyrighted/patented; that is, the game belongs to someone. You would need to seek out the ...


13

Wikipedia says: This patent expired in 2005, and it is now legal for the graphics community to use it without royalties since more than 17 years have passed from its issue date (December 1, 1987[2]). Still it's always a good idea to double-check with your lawyer.



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