Hot answers tagged

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

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 ...


49

When a client tells you they don't want you to resell the asset you made for them, then what they really want is to not see a game which obviously uses the exact same asset. So if you get a very similar request from another customer, then what really matters is that you create an asset which isn't recognizable. They won't care if it uses the same technical ...


37

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.


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. ...


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,...


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 IS ...


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

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 ...


16

This response only addresses the revenue share aspect of the question. I have found Back of a Napkin useful in the past. The (free) website is sponsored by a New Zealand law firm and steps you through five questions: Who is in your team? What are you building? If your project makes money, what percentage stake do you each take home? How will you make ...


14

Foreword: Anything related to laws will always be in a gray area, because the case outcome ultimately comes from a handful of people. Others have accurately pointed out that game code and assets fall under copyright law and that product, company, etc. names fall under trademark law. However, although others have pointed out that you cannot copyright game ...


14

My experience: 2012-11-26 CET: I called DEJUS (+55.61.2025-9115), and I was connected to someone who spoke fluent English. Things look good: It is not necessary to be a citizen of Brazil or to have a company registered in Brazil in order to apply for a rating. In this case, I was told, one just leaves the field CPF/CNPJ empty. I asked if it is OK to submit ...


14

Do I have to say that I'm not a lawyer? I'm not a lawyer. In some/most countries, you can use a pseudonym of your choosing called a Trade Name. You just can't use "Incorporated", "Limited" or any other legal label in the name though. This type of business is called a Sole Proprietorship, and I would highly recommend it because it's easy to create (you ...


14

If it's a good idea or not is up to you. And the success of the strategy depends on what your actual goal is. No Time to Explain did this way back in 2011. They uploaded a special version of the game to Pirate Bay that had all the characters wearing pirate hats. “We thought it’d be funny to leak a pirate version ourselves which is literally all about ...


14

Public things like: country names, state names, county names, city names, street names, etc., are not trademarked or copyright protected. There are no licensing agreements required to use them. See Public Domain


13

First off, this isn't legal advice and I'm not a lawyer. There are tons of opensource licenses: http://www.opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical, and you have many different licensing options. Here's a super brief run down of popular license options... I may have gotten some details wrong. GPL doesn't allow your code to be used in a project that is closed ...


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