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Is illegal to use the real player and team names in a game? When I say game could be and desktop, mobile or fantasy game.

If is illegal, is ok to change a little bit names? Instead of using Messi could I use Messsi (or something similar)?

All gambling and statistics soccer websites have permissions to use those names?



marked as duplicate by Trevor Powell, bummzack, Anko, Sean Middleditch, MrCranky Jul 14 '14 at 14:51

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No, not generally. Not without permission.

Gambling and stats sites are a different case. There's a difference between using someone's name in a factual article about that person and using their name and likeness in a FIFA-like game.

Minor spelling variations are not enough, otherwise we'd all be playing Lorrd of teh Ringz games.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your answer would be more complete if you made the difference between using a name for pure information and using a name for a commercial purpose. Other than that, +1. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexandre Desbiens Jul 11 '14 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlphSpirit: I touched on it, but honestly I don't know where the line is. I Am Not A Lawyer and all that jazz. Typically, I prefer to just stay so far on the safe side of the line that I can barely even see it anymore. Be original and make your own game/world/characters/sport, IMHO. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Middleditch Jul 11 '14 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! But what is the difference using the name in a game or using it in a gambling site? For example, this website: tools.fifaguide.com/player.php?id=1694519617 \$\endgroup\$ – Jose Daniel Jul 11 '14 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoseDaniel why do you think this site is legal? or that it doesn't have a license? You don't know, most likely, so it's pointless to compare yourself to that. \$\endgroup\$ – o0'. Jul 11 '14 at 23:18

Celebrities have the rights of publicity in their own likeness which means that you're not allowed to make a profit off of something with their name or face without their permission. You could make a game that uses characters that are clearly meant to represent famous athletes (as long as the difference is enough to protected under the fair use policy and it's not simply a caricature).

I would strongly suggest that if you make a game, you should use all of your own original content because it's much better to make a less popular game than to be sued by your favorite soccer players.


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