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?



2 Answers 2


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.

  • 1
    \$\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\$ Jul 11, 2014 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\$ Jul 11, 2014 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\$
    – user49215
    Jul 11, 2014 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, 2014 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.