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  What are the laws regarding Making a fan Game of a Movie?  (Read 2485 times)
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Offline Andre Lopes
« Posted 2013-08-07 14:39:00 »

What are the laws regarding Making a fan Game of a Movie?

What happens if someone make a , for example, a little star wars game, like Star wars 1 pc (1999) but with mp capabilities? I mean, for free and no $$$$ involved.

Is that a crime ? I saw that sega sued some guys that made a re-make of street of rage 2.... But sega is dumb. so Yeah Tongue
Offline Cero
« Reply #1 - Posted 2013-08-07 14:51:07 »

Yeah its very simple.
Many game companies actually do usual business by acquiring a license from a franchise, like say James Bond, and then they do a game for it, like 007: Blood Stone.

So a license like that costs money (MAY sometimes also include revenue sharing) and game companies do this sometimes because you already have an audience: people that like 007 might buy the game. So they invest the money and hope that the name is good enough. Some license may be cheaper than others of course.

Basic rule, whenever you use anything copyrighted you need explicit permission.

If you dont make any money from it, a company effectively may leave you alone... but they can send you a cease & desist just the same by law.

Offline Andre Lopes
« Reply #2 - Posted 2013-08-07 14:54:12 »

Yeah its very simple.
Many game companies actually do usual business by acquiring a license from a franchise, like say James Bond, and then they do a game for it, like 007: Blood Stone.

So a license like that costs money (MAY sometimes also include revenue sharing) and game companies do this sometimes because you already have an audience: people that like 007 might buy the game. So they invest the money and hope that the name is good enough. Some license may be cheaper than others of course.

Basic rule, whenever you use anything copyrighted you need explicit permission.

If you dont make any money from it, a company effectively may leave you alone... but they can send you a cease & desist just the same by law.

Hm, but lets suppose that, hm, in one year i want to make a re-make of star wars 1 pc game.. Is that impossible? I mean for a common human like me Tongue
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Offline opiop65

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« Reply #3 - Posted 2013-08-07 14:55:41 »

No, Its not impossible but you might get sued if they find out about your game. No offense but chances are they'll never find out about it or even know it exists.

Offline Andre Lopes
« Reply #4 - Posted 2013-08-07 14:58:56 »

No, Its not impossible but you might get sued if they find out about your game. No offense but chances are they'll never find out about it or even know it exists.

Yeah i know Tongue , but still its a risk. Well i could make it only for my friends but, would be a waste.... A license may cost millions...... Especially now that Disney owns everything Sad
Offline Jeremy
« Reply #5 - Posted 2013-08-07 15:04:34 »

No, Its not impossible but you might get sued if they find out about your game. No offense but chances are they'll never find out about it or even know it exists.

Yeah, true.

Also, if your a casual guy - they probably won't sue because it makes them look like an incredibly evil organization. Typically this is why a lot of people get away with just a warning when they pirate stuff.

How many people would support Lion Head Studios if they sued a 16 year old kid (or is parents) for much more than everything they have.

The worst they'll do is tell your to remove the game (but they probably won't)

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Offline Andre Lopes
« Reply #6 - Posted 2013-08-07 15:16:41 »

No, Its not impossible but you might get sued if they find out about your game. No offense but chances are they'll never find out about it or even know it exists.

Yeah, true.

Also, if your a casual guy - they probably won't sue because it makes them look like an incredibly evil organization. Typically this is why a lot of people get away with just a warning when they pirate stuff.

How many people would support Lion Head Studios if they sued a 16 year old kid (or is parents) for much more than everything they have.

The worst they'll do is tell your to remove the game (but they probably won't)

I see. I wonder the laws in my country, Brasil... I mean, i cant be sued if theres a  law in USA but not in my country, right?
Offline kevglass

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« Reply #7 - Posted 2013-08-07 15:18:17 »

I wouldn't bet on that.

Kev

Offline Danny02
« Reply #8 - Posted 2013-08-07 15:28:20 »

they probably won't sue because it makes them look like an incredibly evil organization.

You know you are talking about the big mouse here, do you?
When you touch anything owed by them they WILL sue you into oblivion.
Offline Andre Lopes
« Reply #9 - Posted 2013-08-07 16:10:05 »

Yeah... That sucks.

Well, i guess i will wait the year of 2050. When The laws will be better.. Hopefully.
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Offline kpars

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« Reply #10 - Posted 2013-08-07 16:11:53 »

I don't suppose you'll get into TOO much trouble if you keep the game private.

You don't want The Mouse to finish you have with a "Ho-Ha!".

Offline Andre Lopes
« Reply #11 - Posted 2013-08-07 16:15:03 »

I don't suppose you'll get into TOO much trouble if you keep the game private.

You don't want The Mouse to finish you have with a "Ho-Ha!".

Just for the sake of " well at least i asked " , i think the answer will be a NO but...

Is there any chance that disney support small, very small devs and giving some kind of help, like.. if someone made a game like that and send them or idk, some kind of special license?

No, right?
they would never do that Tongue
Offline gouessej
« Reply #12 - Posted 2013-08-07 17:52:21 »

Yeah... That sucks.

Well, i guess i will wait the year of 2050. When The laws will be better.. Hopefully.

There is a better solution: create an "original" game without copyrighted contents. There are tons of materials, models, samples, ... that you can legally use for free. You can create your own ones too. Why do you absolutely want to use copyrighted contents without the prior authorization of the copyright owners? Brazil signed the Bern convention; therefore, you can't use star wars artworks. Sega contacted me once because a computer artist had given me a model coming from "Alien", the guy just asked me to remove this model from my game. You still risk prosecutions even though your game is free of charge.

I'm not a big fan of copyright but I respect the right of paternity (the attribution), I consider that the artist should have to decide under which license his contents are and I don't like people who want to use for free things whose creation costed some money. I don't like people who want to benefit of the fame of something or someone without the efforts. I gave 10 € to the guy who maintain bbbike.org, nobody forced me to do so, I did it because the maintenance of a server isn't free of charge and his maps are useful for me. I'm just grateful. I don't mind people telling me my game is ugly, I accept starting with unpleasant models. Can you just accept this idea? We aren't all good both in programming and in computer graphics with modelers.

Offline Andre Lopes
« Reply #13 - Posted 2013-08-07 18:26:56 »

Yeah... That sucks.

Well, i guess i will wait the year of 2050. When The laws will be better.. Hopefully.

There is a better solution: create an "original" game without copyrighted contents. There are tons of materials, models, samples, ... that you can legally use for free. You can create your own ones too. Why do you absolutely want to use copyrighted contents without the prior authorization of the copyright owners? Brazil signed the Bern convention; therefore, you can't use star wars artworks. Sega contacted me once because a computer artist had given me a model coming from "Alien", the guy just asked me to remove this model from my game. You still risk prosecutions even though your game is free of charge.

I'm not a big fan of copyright but I respect the right of paternity (the attribution), I consider that the artist should have to decide under which license his contents are and I don't like people who want to use for free things whose creation costed some money. I don't like people who want to benefit of the fame of something or someone without the efforts. I gave 10 € to the guy who maintain bbbike.org, nobody forced me to do so, I did it because the maintenance of a server isn't free of charge and his maps are useful for me. I'm just grateful. I don't mind people telling me my game is ugly, I accept starting with unpleasant models. Can you just accept this idea? We aren't all good both in programming and in computer graphics with modelers.

Oh its ok.
But you got the wrong idea from me.
I really love star wars. And if i could make my own game of it, would be awesome. But hey, since i cant its okay.I was just checking the idea Tongue

Plus i will look into the bern convention.
Offline erikd

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« Reply #14 - Posted 2013-08-07 18:37:38 »

they probably won't sue because it makes them look like an incredibly evil organization. Typically this is why a lot of people get away with just a warning when they pirate stuff.

You're not really dealing with copyright, unless you literally use copyrighted material (sound, images, video, music etc).

When making a 'fan' game of an existing franchise, you're probably dealing with trademark laws.
The thing is that if you have a trademark, you're actually legally obliged to defend your trademark. Failing to do so may result in losing the trademark.

So if if Lucas Films find out about your Star Wars fan game, they have basically no choice but to demand to at least take it offline.
I wouldn't risk it.

(but also, I'm not a lawyer etc)

Offline Andre Lopes
« Reply #15 - Posted 2013-08-08 13:35:52 »

Well, i can always learn C++, and dedicate my life to go work at disney :O
Offline Oskuro

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« Reply #16 - Posted 2013-08-08 15:54:16 »


Oh its ok.
But you got the wrong idea from me.
I really love star wars. And if i could make my own game of it, would be awesome. But hey, since i cant its okay.I was just checking the idea Tongue

Plus i will look into the bern convention.

If you just love the material and want to make a game for yourself, go ahead. They can't say anything to you unless you publish it in any way.


This subject has been tackled before. I myself am working on a fangame of  DooM, and I'm fully prepared to scrap the whole thing the instant I get even a stern look from the copyright holders.

So, again, if the enjoyment of making the game is worth it, even with the knowledge that down the line you might be forced to bury it (or modify it to be non-star wars related), go ahead.


Oh, and claiming that copyright laws are crappy is easy to say when you're not defending your own copyright. Don't be so hasty to demand that others let you use their content freely.


Offline erikd

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« Reply #17 - Posted 2013-08-08 18:52:22 »

On a more positive note, anyone noticed how 'spiritual successors' became a thing?
The most high-profile 'spiritual successor' was probably Bioshock. They didn't make a sequel of System Shock 2 because they didn't have the rights to do so.
So they exchanged outer space with under water, but essentially made a new System Shock game.
You see, it's just a work around.

If you like the Star Wars universe so much that you want to make a game about it, why not make some changes to make it in the same spirit, but in an original setting.
Featuring Dave Waterman with his little droid M1D1, saving the deep oceans of planet D3PA of the evils of Moss Dother (who turns out to be Dave's daughter). Or perhaps something more serious, but you get my drift Smiley

Offline gouessej
« Reply #18 - Posted 2013-08-08 18:53:59 »

This subject has been tackled before. I myself am working on a fangame of  DooM, and I'm fully prepared to scrap the whole thing the instant I get even a stern look from the copyright holders.
Why not using some free models? FreeDoom has its own ones.

I like erikd's suggestion, you can make something a bit similar but different enough not to have any legal trouble.

Offline Cero
« Reply #19 - Posted 2013-08-09 00:52:20 »

also game ideas aren't protected by copyright.
so you can make a clone (which will transform into your own version / spiritual successor anyway in development)
and then later just swap texture, models, sounds whatever

or just use free stuff from the get go

if you really want to do a star wars game you would have to join a company that has a license from disney or open one yourself and acquire one =P

btw, which game do you mean by "Star wars 1 pc (1999)" ? Do you mean the freaking phantom menace game ? Grin

Offline MatthewNicholls

Junior Member


Medals: 1
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« Reply #20 - Posted 2013-08-09 18:07:31 »

This will not answer the general question of making a fan game of a movie but if you are interested in making a Star Wars game you could  make a mod/level for Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast or Jedi Academy using GtkRadiant.

Or just make a game for your own personal use.

I've been dreaming of my own SW game for years some day it will become a reality  Grin

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Offline Oskuro

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« Reply #21 - Posted 2013-08-10 13:04:45 »

This subject has been tackled before. I myself am working on a fangame of  DooM, and I'm fully prepared to scrap the whole thing the instant I get even a stern look from the copyright holders.
Why not using some free models? FreeDoom has its own ones.

I'm making my own assets, but the characters and setting are still the same, even if cute-fied and somewhat partially a parody, and that still means I can be shut down.


The spiritual scucessor option is a very good idea. I myself originally set out to make a spiritual successor to the original DooM games, but decided to make a fangame first because I was getting lost in designing the new setting.

Offline Andre Lopes
« Reply #22 - Posted 2013-08-10 17:19:48 »

also game ideas aren't protected by copyright.
so you can make a clone (which will transform into your own version / spiritual successor anyway in development)
and then later just swap texture, models, sounds whatever

or just use free stuff from the get go

if you really want to do a star wars game you would have to join a company that has a license from disney or open one yourself and acquire one =P

btw, which game do you mean by "Star wars 1 pc (1999)" ? Do you mean the freaking phantom menace game ? Grin

haha yeah
Phantom Menace game.

Idk, a license would cost like millions, right?
Offline Cero
« Reply #23 - Posted 2013-08-10 20:57:43 »

btw, which game do you mean by "Star wars 1 pc (1999)" ? Do you mean the freaking phantom menace game ? Grin

haha yeah
Phantom Menace game.

Idk, a license would cost like millions, right?

I actually do like that game, but it was pretty horrible and buggy Cheesy
Well that specific game was published by THQ I believe. But yeah every star wars game license would be pretty expensive.

But hey just make your own kinda game but take everything you like from that game.
I dunno what we are talking about practically anyway: youwill not make a 3D star wars game by yourself, even if you were allowed to Tongue

Offline Sammidysam
« Reply #24 - Posted 2013-08-11 00:14:29 »

also game ideas aren't protected by copyright.
so you can make a clone (which will transform into your own version / spiritual successor anyway in development)
and then later just swap texture, models, sounds whatever

or just use free stuff from the get go

Wait, so does that mean that this old game of mine is okay besides using some images from Google (that it does)?  If so, that is surprising to me - I was always under the notion that because it used the name "Hunger Games" in its name it would be against something.  I could always rename it anyway (can't rename the JGO topic, though, due to a weird bug with me posting too much in that topic), which if that then makes it copyright-resistant I would definitely do so.
Offline Cero
« Reply #25 - Posted 2013-08-11 02:14:49 »

yeha names are trademarked often times so you would have to use your own.
but game concepts aren't subject to copyright.
see zillions of racing games, sports games, shooters and stuff which are allll the same

Offline Sammidysam
« Reply #26 - Posted 2013-08-11 21:51:37 »

Ah, okay.  So if I were to rename it, get rid of all of the other stuff I don't necessarily have rights to, and remove download links for the versions where it had Hunger Games in the name would that be enough?  GitHub would still have history of the code when it had Hunger Games in the name and a version of my website with download links with that in the name - could that still result in a lawsuit, or do I need to actively be displaying it at the time?  If it could still result in a lawsuit, I guess I have to mess with my website's GitHub history and completely obliterate the old repository.
Offline gouessej
« Reply #27 - Posted 2013-08-11 22:57:17 »

Hi

Ah, okay.  So if I were to rename it, get rid of all of the other stuff I don't necessarily have rights to, and remove download links for the versions where it had Hunger Games in the name would that be enough? 
You shouldn't have used these copyright contents since the very beginning of your project. Imagine that you create a great game, you pay to protect its name, you hire a computer artist to create some unique models, you try to sell it to earn some money. Would you be happy if someone else used your stuff for free without your prior consent? Don't do to others what you wouldn't like them to do to you. In my humble opinion, you should have asked for the authorization first. If I were you, I wouldn't be proud.

There are so much contents under free licenses, there are tons of unused available names, why do some people absolutely want to use trademarks and existing copyrighted models?

GitHub would still have history of the code when it had Hunger Games in the name and a version of my website with download links with that in the name - could that still result in a lawsuit, or do I need to actively be displaying it at the time?  If it could still result in a lawsuit, I guess I have to mess with my website's GitHub history and completely obliterate the old repository.
I'm not a lawyer but I think it is ok if you simply remove any occurrence of the trademark from the trunk but not in the history. When I had to remove a copyrighted model from mine, Sega didn't demand the complete removal from the history.

Offline Sammidysam
« Reply #28 - Posted 2013-08-11 23:35:58 »

I realize that I should never have used the copyrighted title, but the goal of the game was to make a video game version of a board game my friend and I created as a school book report on The Hunger Games, so I don't really regret it a ton.  I wouldn't have made it with a copyrighted name in the title if it was just a game I thought up of.  I am not proud of the game anyway because it isn't object oriented lol.  Really all I need to do is rename it and remove images gotten from Google (not many, I think), which won't be that tough (the images I make will be horrible, but that's not a huge problem).  It isn't based off of a video game and no art was stolen from the movie (I think 2 screenshots from the movie are there though Shocked), which makes it easier.  Thanks for letting me know about not needing to alter the history, that will help.
Offline Cero
« Reply #29 - Posted 2013-08-11 23:50:58 »

Ah, okay.  So if I were to rename it, get rid of all of the other stuff I don't necessarily have rights to, and remove download links for the versions where it had Hunger Games in the name would that be enough?
Haven't played Hunger Games, so I can't say 100%, but generally yes. if you make like a 100% clone of space invaders with different assets, thats absolutely ok.

GitHub history
Doesnt matter. Cease and desists  talk about current publication. Some history doesnt matter.

I should mention that a company might still TRY to stop you. IFFFF: hunger games is really unique, your game really emulates it, gets incredible popular AND the hunger games makers find it, they MAY try to stop you.
But in general it would be unlawful and you may win.

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