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I have always been a fan of the game Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (let's call it simply HOMM3), which shined long ago, around 1998.

For more information, this game was created by the 3DO company - which sadly went bankrupt in 2003. Then in 2015, somehow it was 'revived' (a rendition, actually) as HOM3-HD edition by Ubisoft.

Now, I'm thinking of my own game that uses the theme from this game (well, at least use the game characters and audio for example), which might be published onto Google Play and/or App store.

So I'm wondering: would there be any issues (e.g. risks of being sued, for example by Ubisoft) if I try to use HOMM3 (the original one, as I called it above) art and audio ? For audio, I still own a copy of HOMM3 so I have access to the audio (MP3) files directly from the game folder. For arts, there are spritesheets like this: spriters-resource, which seem to be freely available to use.

These are two versions (owned by 3DO vs owned by Ubisoft), but things could get complicated if we are not prepared, so better be safe than sorry.

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    \$\begingroup\$ FYI, variations on this question have been asked multiple times in the past - gamedev.stackexchange.com/search?q=copyright+assets - as a general rule of thumb, if you have to ask if something's legal, it's probably not. Also: if you need legal advice, ask a lawyer; "some random person I don't know on the internet said it would be OK" is not a defence that will hold up in court. \$\endgroup\$ – Maximus Minimus Feb 24 '20 at 12:42
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Using creative works from the game — including audio and visual assets, names of characters, etc. — without licence to do so is copyright infringement.

Just because the original company shut down does not mean legal rights to those assets lapsed or entered the public domain. Most often they just change hands to a new owner.

Buying a copy of the game does not constitute a licence to use its assets in derivative works. What you've bought is the right to play it, not distribution rights to its materials.

If you didn't make the asset, or pay the copyright-holder for a licence to use it, then it is not yours to use in your creations.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So in this case even using the spritesheets l(like the example link I showed) is also not allowed ? That's pretty harsh. But, if this is kind of illegal and dangerous then what about games like this one: play.google.com/store/apps/… ? I'm not sure 100% this creator borrowed the original game assets or drew similar ones himself, but could that be risky too ? \$\endgroup\$ – ramcrys Feb 23 '20 at 15:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ An artist made those sprites. They automatically hold copyright over their work, unless they transfer or license those rights to someone else - like their game studio employer. Someone ripping a sprite set out of a game does not gain rights to use or distribute those materials - neither does someone who downloads that sprite sheet. The recognizable design of the characters is also protected, even if you re-draw the assets yourself. It is likely the example you've shown would be deemed to be infringing, if the holders of the rights ever chose to bring a DMCA takedown or legal case against it. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Feb 23 '20 at 16:38

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