Questions tagged [legal]

As a business, game development is fraught with legal concerns and issues, especially on copyright, terms of service, and licensing fronts.

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142
votes
11answers
40k views

How closely can a game legally resemble another?

Most games build on other games' successes and many are downright clones. Where is the limit of imitation before legal issues come into play? Is it down to literary or graphic work like characters and ...
33
votes
4answers
6k views

Legal issues for a “fangame” of a commercial franchise? [duplicate]

I've played around in the past of the 2D Flash fan-made version of the popular Valve game Portal. It has basically the exact same mechanics, but as a 2D side-view flash game. Lately I've toyed ...
12
votes
2answers
9k views

Legal issues around using real players names and team emblems in an open source game

I'm writing a sports management simulation game. Like most sport management games, it makes heavy use of statistics. I would like to use real players, teams and league names. i) Am I running the risk ...
8
votes
2answers
20k views

Do I need to obtain a license to use real car brands in a game? [duplicate]

We are small team which working on car racing game but we don't know about licensing process for branded cars like Nissan, Lamborghini, Chevrolet and etc. Do we need to buy any licence for using ...
10
votes
3answers
5k views

Is it legal to use car manufacturers' names in a game?

Is it legal to use car manufacturers' names in a game? For example: to describe Audi's quattro drive system? to display a rendering of an Audi? to include a photo (to which I have rights) of an ...
35
votes
6answers
29k views

Is it legally possible to make a clone of the game?

With board games like "Monopoly", "Domino", "Checkers", or "Chess", can game developers make clones and sell them? Also, can I make a clone of ZX Spectrum games? Are there many parts of the game with ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Using modified copyrighted music in non-commercial games

Background: I'm making a retro style game for both fun, and an unofficial contest. I have bought a song, song X. However, I then found notation for song X, and all the instruments. So basically, it'...
17
votes
4answers
10k views

What resources can I use to determine if the name of my game violates any copyrights or trademarks?

I'm a indie/hobbyist game developer. How do I check that I'm not infringing any copyrights or trademarks when I release my game? I'm not making megabucks so it's not financially feasible to get ...
15
votes
1answer
34k views

Is it legal to sell or monetize games created with the Unity 3D free edition?

Is it okay to use Unity 3D programming and gaming software to create mobile game apps for Android and iOS? I am using a free version of Unity 3D and planning it to sell my current game app I've ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Legality of using names in a game?

If I am creating a board-game type game, does anyone know if it is legal to use others' names in the game? ie. A playing card with "George Bush" or "Michael Jackson" on it. Also, is it the same for ...
9
votes
7answers
3k views

Can I use copyrighted sprites for a demo?

I just had a quick question and wanted everyone's opinions. I'm making a 2D demo game for a resume which I want to post online. I'm applying as a programmer position so I don't really have my own art....
15
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I protect my rights to my game on the web?

My small games all have different gameplay. I want to showcase them through the internet. However, I'm worried about them and their concepts getting copied. How can I protect them? Also, if I have ...
15
votes
1answer
415 views

Where can I find legal or business resources for a game production company?

Where can I find information on the legal or business aspects of running a game production company?
29
votes
2answers
22k views

Is Tetris public domain? [closed]

is the concept for Tetris in the public domain or is there someone who is still collecting royalties on the concept? I mean, if I were to write a variant of Tetris would I owe somebody some money? ...
29
votes
6answers
61k views

Can I legally remove the default Unity splash screen by removing it from the APK?

While using Unity I export an Android game as an APK. When the APK is run, the first thing that is displayed is the Unity splash screen. I worked out that I could replaced that image by opening the ...
2
votes
6answers
6k views

Using a particular font in a commercial game

I'm working on a game I intend to sell, and I want to use this font. The license says: "You may NOT copy or distribute the font outside of the licensed household, company, school or institution. ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Does it require any license to use soccer players and teams names in a paid or free game?

I would like to know if any license is required to use Fifa registered team names and player names in paid or free games (e.g. Spanish League teams, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo names etc). I'm currently ...
8
votes
2answers
7k views

Are fonts covered by copyright?

I want to use the font Trajan Pro, but I'm not sure that it would be legal. I've read a bit on fonts and copyright, and the only thing I could get was it depends on the license and where it was ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

How legal would it be to use some elements of the Half Life universe in my non comercial, indie game?

I'm planning to make a simple, HTML5 game, that would use some elements of the Half Life universe. Basically, it would be a 2D Portal clone, but it would have it's own story, and portals would be ...
44
votes
7answers
8k views

Licensing (or similar) for my fan-game?

For the past 8 years, I've been working on a Pokémon fan-game. It's been awesome, well-received by players, and I'm very proud of the community we've built. But, as with all things "fan-game", there's ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What should I do about legal considerations for an indie game?

Apologies if there's a bit too much background information here, not sure what's relevant but figured I needed to outline the financial situation to differentiate this from other questions whose ...
17
votes
1answer
960 views

Process of getting DEJUS rating (Brazil)?

I would like to get DEJUS rating for my HTML5 game on the Firefox Marketplace, so that I can tell Mozilla to make the game available to users in Brazil. I want the game to be rated as: Livre (general) ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Do I need licensing to use real city names in my game?

I want to allow people to go to real places (Seattle Washington, Portland, Maine, etc.) in my game. Will I need licensing to make those places and use their names?
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Splitting profit - Equal share vs equity investment (work & money spent = share)

Coming up with an appropriate one-liner question was so hard I wrote the body before the header... So we're a team of 4 developers; two designers, two coders to put it simply (naturally we don't tie ...
30
votes
4answers
2k views

Can I run into legal issues with random names?

I'm currently building a game whose NPC's are going to be assigned a random gender and a random name for the right gender. To do this I will be using a "database" of names (actually a text file with ...
10
votes
1answer
6k views

Can I use Playstation controller button icons in my game?

I'm currently working on a game that will be released on PC with controller support, and I'm trying to find a way on how to best represent controller icons within the game. I'm assuming I can't ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Can free Unity Store assets be used in non-Unity games?

Does Unity Store allow to use assets listed as free in games built without the use of Unity engine? It's a pretty big place for free assets and I wonder if this isn't against the Unity Store's usage ...
2
votes
2answers
449 views

Questions on the legal protection of games and their parts (assets, sounds, title)

we started new pirate game, and I just want to ask some questions about rights. So I am new in game dev, I guess there are a lot of answers, but I guess professionals can advise something for first ...
13
votes
10answers
8k views

Is it illegal to use a commercial song in your game (that you intend to sell)

If I were to buy, say this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fumBcKC6RE, strip/find/get the instrumental, and use that instrumental in a game I'm making, as a theme, say for a recurring boss fight,...
8
votes
3answers
539 views

Intellectual rights to game concepts

For a client I might be making a small puzzle game about getting a item out of a puzzle. The concept will strongly resemble this game : http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/355972089/...
4
votes
4answers
315 views

Who has ownership of publicly developed projects?

After seeing the comments on selling an idea to developer for a game, the general concencus is that without a game, or atleast a demo, it’s not going to happen. So…someone (yes, Noctrine, I am looking ...
3
votes
4answers
139 views

How can I open source my Unity project when I use third party assets?

I know you are not allowed to open source a Unity project that contains asset store items that are either paid or under the default license. I am just wondering if there's any way to make my git ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Can I reuse the name of an old arcade game?

I've done an indie remake of an old arcade game from 1980. Can I use its name? I thought copyright expired after 25 years but I could be wrong, hence this question.
2
votes
2answers
292 views

How not to break licence laws? [closed]

I have an idea for a game. Also I have almost everything worked out considering coding. What interests me the most is how can I know if that game can be published. As it would be for iOS and android,...
0
votes
5answers
11k views

Can I get around a Pokemon copyright with new art and minor changes? [duplicate]

If I develop a game that is essentially pretty much Pokemon (you're a trainer, you catch "monsters" and put them to fight and level up etc), and I do the next things: I'm a trainer with a 6-"Monsters"...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Can you use well known buildings in your game?

Is it legal to reference a real city in your game and use the same architecture of well known shops and buildings? For example, I'm sure you can't create an exact 3D model of McDonalds, put it in ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Are there legality issues using a company's name in a game?

I'm working on an RPG of sorts where the character has a "day job" that determines how much money they make each time the day cycles and other things like that. Are there any legality issues with ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it legal to add a cameo appearance of a known video game character in my game?

If I am not going to name the character and I use my own original art that very closely resembles a well-known video game character that appears in my game for a very brief moment, is it legal to add ...
4
votes
5answers
475 views

What are the legal considerations about making a game with a dynamic age restricted content?

What I mean by this is - is it legal to make a game which asks (or proves) your age during install or on initial load, and then dynamically sets the content to the players age. For example if the ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there any level design copyright?

I am planing to develop a game, in fact a puzzle game, I have changed the graphics but the level design is all the same. For example, the original puzzle game have five aliens as the obstacle in the ...
2
votes
1answer
356 views

Using real football (soccer) names from the past?

Is it legal to use really old names in a manager style game? It there an expiration on name license rights?
2
votes
2answers
520 views

Using Copyrighted Images

I was thinking about developing a sidescrolling platformer very similar to an old Mario and Luigi game for NES. To start out I was thinking about taking the images from a site like this: http://www....
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Can I put real people in my game?

When and how can I use the likeness of real people in my game? What are the legal restrictions involved? Real people are rarely found in games because it's hard to present them tastefully, but they ...
2
votes
2answers
522 views

Will there be legal issues in using cracked assets for internal development?

While the artwork for my game is being finished, can I use cracked assets for internal prototyping or testing? I am not going publish anywhere outside my company. Does it attract any legal issues? By ...
1
vote
1answer
256 views

Am I allowed to release a fan-made version of a Trading Card Game on a fansite? [duplicate]

Consider a Trading Card Game that is currently available for play in digital format only, the game in question would be HEX: Shards of Fate, but this question is intended as a general question about ...
1
vote
2answers
219 views

What is the proper, legal way to make a derivative video game?

I want to make a game derived from an existing game. That game is owned by a live company. How do I go about contacting the rights owners correctly and negotiating for the rights to the content?
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Issues using real names in a soccer player game [duplicate]

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

How do I publish to Google Play if I'm under 18?

I've finished my first Unity and want to release it on the Google Play store but can't because I am under 18. The main issue is that Google Wallet requires you to be over 18. How could I work around ...
0
votes
2answers
91 views

Who should be contacted to request permission, for commercial songs (and cost ballpark)

While playing to Fifa, it occurred to me that there is probably a license that EA pay to musicians to play their songs in their game. Does anyone know if there is a standard license for indie games, ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Unity remove logo in splash screen

Heavily related to this question, as of now, Unity's TOS has changed dramatically. And searching in the TOS, it looks like I'm allowed to remove the Unity logo in my exported game. Looking at Section ...