Hot answers tagged

100

It's important to have a firm grasp of precisely who the legal entities are in any contractual agreement, so you know who you have to sue or blame or whatever if it ever comes to that. Less seriously, if account-sharing were permissible, then blaming "somebody else who was using the account at the time" would be a reasonable response to any punishments for ...


92

Verbal agreements are usually considered valid contracts. But there is an old saying among lawyers: A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. The problem with verbal contracts is that when push comes to shove and someone goes to court, you have a word-against-word situation where everyone can claim that you agreed on something different ...


53

There are several sections of the Unity End-User License Agreement (which is for version 4.x as I write this, although earlier versions are similar) that pertaining to this issue. The most directly relevant is section 3, which reads (in part): You will not delete or in any manner alter any Unity or third-party copyright, trademark or other proprietary ...


53

I don't want to draw too much attention. I don't want to lift my head over the parapet only to have it blasted off, you know? Either you raise your head and get out, or you starve behind the parapet. If you want to make a living as a game developer, you must get as much exposure as you can. Your revenue is proportional to the number of people who know your ...


35

Yes, you can. See this StackOverflow answer: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3969484/can-i-produce-a-commercial-application-using-visual-studio-express-2010 There was an FAQ for the 2008 edition with a line that explicitly said that yes, you can. It's hard to dig up anything conclusive for 2010, but Microsoft actively goes around encouraging developers ...


35

Yes. Their names, logos, and body designs are all trademarked and cannot be used in any capacity outside those explicitly allowed by trademark law, which almost certainly excluded use in your game. And expect to be completely incapable of acquiring those licenses for reasonable terms, as the licenses are generally very expensive and come with a mile long ...


34

Getting legal advice on GameDev.StackExchange is not a great idea. Having said that, if a work is truly in the public domain, you can do whatever you want with it.


33

No. In most cases... also, I am not a lawyer, find one they help. Arrangements of, and recordings of, specific performances of classical music are both copyrighted separately. This means that even if a piece in its original form is in the public domain, the piece itself is still someone's active intellectual property. So, when can you use classical music? ...


31

In my experience, the reason you don't see this very often (at least in the US) is "it's very complicated, we as game developers lack the expertise, and there isn't much profit in it." Online gambling laws are really complicated. I'm not even going to pretend my limited comprehension of legalese is up to the task of parsing them. It's not necessarily very ...


31

From both a legal & security standpoint, the single biggest factor I'm aware of is accountability. If you cannot determine who is responsible for the account, you cannot reasonably hold anyone accountable for actions related to the account. For instance, money laundering is easier if you cannot trace account ownership. Forbidding shared accounts won't ...


30

So, yea "IANAL, get one". However, it seems obvious from your question that your goal is to profit from this game. And the phrase "not interested in treating people like myself as criminals", has little bearing on civil penalties which is your main concern. Use of a trade mark or IP opens you up to financial damages. And companies have to actively defend ...


29

Yes, you can sell OpenGL-rendered games. The specifics depend on the library you're using. I'll get back to that. First: OpenGL is an open standard and related API-set that establishes the protocol for communication between your application and video card / GPU. Typically this communication protocol is implemented by means of an operating system driver, ...


28

Legally I would be prepared for "change this name" notices and make it very easy to change that name; no matter how much in the right you think you are, it's just a nice thing to do. Create and maintain a dictionary of names to avoid, no matter how legal it is anyone who sees "George Bush" in your game will immediately lose their sense of immersion. ...


27

I am not a lawyer, and you should seek out an actual lawyer for a proper legal consultation. That said, the terms of the license seem pretty clear. You may cancel your subscription, at which point you are not entitled to future updates of the engine, but you can still use the version you have: After cancellation of your Subscription by either you or ...


26

In addition to all the other answers: Prohibiting this has also the benefit of balancing the game from the point of view of players that won't be sharing their account. Assuming that account sharing is allowed, a player who wanted to have an account only for himself could think: Ah, even if I dedicate my whole time to this game, and even if I play in ...


22

Add a disclaimer: "All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental." Use the above to cover yourself. And I'll use the below to cover myself. I'm not a lawyer and your legal decisions and consequences are your own. Of course, since neither of us are lawyers, the amount of ...


22

From the Unity FAQ: Can we sell games and make money with the free version of Unity? Yes you can create and sell a game with the free version of Unity, without paying royalties or any revenue share. However, the free version of Unity may not be licensed by a commercial entity with annual gross revenues (based on fiscal year) in excess of US$100,...


21

I assume that you're based in the U.S. I'm not a lawyer, and I imagine that these kinds of things vary from state to state, but here's what I know. Common sense dictates that you should verify all of this, however. First, you can always be sued. A civil suit can be levied for any claim of damages exceeding $20. This is a constitutional provision, so it ...


20

Well, let's talk about intellectual property, since that's really where it seems like your focus is right now. Before I continue, though, I just want to briefly mention that you also want to make sure that you understand where you stand with other aspects of the law as well, things like taxes (Do you have to charge some kind of sales taxes? What sort of ...


20

Okay, so here is my understanding of this - coming from developing games and a constant attempt to obtain more knowledge on licensing, copyright, open-source projects, etc. You are allowed to make a Minecraft clone and open-source it with no repercussions as long as you don't use the title Minecraft, don't use any of Minecraft's source code, and don't use ...


20

It can be assumed that all non-trivial software contains bugs. Unreal Engine 4 has a bugtracker here. Unity has a bugtracker here. If you browse these sites you can see the many known issues with these engines. The licensing agreements for these engines (and most software generally) will contain clauses similar to this: No Warranty. THE SOFTWARE ...


19

Don't steal assets or code. For the technologies you are using, make sure you're complying with their terms. Avoid emulating other games. Use an original name and logo. Follow the terms of service on whatever channels you're selling the game through. Incorporate your game company and keep its financial assets separate from your own. Comply with the ...


19

Yes and no. "Public domain" does mean that, by definition, you can do whatever you like with that creative property. However there's an important caveat here. What's public domain is the underlying story, not every specific creative work based on that story. So, like, you could have a book titled Alice in Wonderland, but its cover can't be Disney's Alice in ...


19

Besides the legalese mentioned in other answers, there are also simple business reasons. Some games like World of Warcraft charge people by account. If you let two people share an account, you lose 50% of your revenue. Other games like League of Legends charge people for being allowed to use ingame content. That content is bound to each account. If you ...


18

First, a disclaimer: I'm a lawyer who practices in California, but this post is not intended as legal advice. "Is it legal" questions are inherently not a good idea for the stack exchange format. Different jurisdictions have different laws, and in many jurisdictions, offering legal advice absent a license constitutes unauthorized practice of law (i.e., it'...


17

Fonts, like all forms of creative expression, are covered by copyright unless their copyright owner explicitly releases them into the public domain. Distributing a font, or derivative works of the font (bitmap images of text rendered using the font, for example) would be a violation of copyright, unless you have a license to do so. The particular font you ...


17

Neither one is legally acceptable. In short: a person's name and likeness is their own property and they have a right to decide how it's used, and the same goes for a sport team's emblem (but under separate laws). Using someone's name and likeness without permission Wikipedia has this to say: The right of publicity, often called personality rights, is ...


17

As made painfully obvious by recent events, 'Europe' is not a unified place in terms of laws or taxation, so giving a definitive answer here would be tricky to say the least. Even EU law is only a guide as each member state implements it differently. Generally speaking, everything is legal until decided otherwise, so it's not so much "how do I earn money ...


15

I am not a lawyer, the following is not legal advice. If you would like legal advice you should consult a real lawyer. My anecdotes regarding the law are biased entirely towards that of the United States. No, you should not use copyrighted sprites (or any other asset) in your demo. It is a bad idea. Copyright gives the author of a work (in this case, ...


15

First, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, if you follow my advice and get sued and lose your house then it's your fault not mine. Unfortunately, as simple as that question is, it really needs to be broken down into two questions. 1) If I get sued for copyright infringement, will I win? Maybe! Assuming those pieces are in fact public domain now, ...


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