I've googled this and haven't come up with anything. Can I create a Pac-Man game and not get in trouble with?

Like can I sell it, and be able to make money without having to pay someone else royalties?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ NO. SO says \$\endgroup\$
    – Dialock
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ 1. Maybe you should post this on a Stack Exchange site that has to do with law; it's more related to law than it is game development. 2. How does this have anything to do with c++? \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 18:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I just needed to know. I was going to create it in C++ ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 1, 2013 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ If a specific game is public domain or not is too localized in my opinion. Voting to close as too localized, and -1 for lack of basic research. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 23:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the related questions we have the very popular gamedev.stackexchange.com/q/16455/982 Should that be closed for being too localized too? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 1:30

2 Answers 2



In 2011, Namco sent a DMCA notice to the team that made the programming language Scratch saying that a programmer had infringed copyright by making a Pac-Man game using the language and uploading it to Scratch's official website.[94]

Considering they sent a DMCA to someone who wasn't making money off of it I'm going with no.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay thanks. I guess I'll look into something else. Thanks again ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 1, 2013 at 18:36

Pac-Man is still covered by copyright, and has not reverted to the public domain.

Exhaustively sourced proof:

  1. Copyright for works created during or after 1978 lasts a bare minimum of 70 years. (section 302.a) (In the case of Pac-Man, 120 years is probably a more likely duration, as it presumably would have been a work for hire performed for Namco by its employees. But we'll assume the minimum of 70 years for the rest of this proof)
  2. Pac-Man was created in 1980.
  3. At the time of writing, the year is 2013
  4. 2013 - 1978 = 35
  5. 35 < 70

Therefore, Pac-Man is still covered by Copyright.

Quod erat demonstrandum

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Not to be too picky, but you might want to check your maths again. \$\endgroup\$
    – DaleyPaley
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 4:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ It was, alas, a natural confusion, as I wrote this response whilst sitting comfortably within the decadent confines of my time machine, ten years hence. ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 2, 2013 at 5:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hehe, I thought it was something like that ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – DaleyPaley
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 5:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ For lazy: pacman might become public domain in 2050. \$\endgroup\$
    – slim
    Commented Apr 16, 2022 at 20:34

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