Copyright question
timbo152kIf I wanted to release a freeware game based on a book or movie, would I risk any legal confrontation with the party who holds the licence to that book or movie - even if I were not going to make any money from the game? Just looking for advice on copyrights and licenced materials.
Eric ColemanIt really depends on the book or movie. If you want to create a Matrix game, then that's probably violating some copyrights and also some trade marks. Generally copyright is to prevent you from copying "things", with the word "things" being very general with a lot of different possible meanings. If you use text, artwork, or specific scenarios, plots, etc., from the book, then that is copyright infringement. If you use dialogue, artwork, sounds, recreated scenes, names, and anything else in a movie, then that can be considered a copyright infringement. Here is the link to the United States copyright website, , Although it is a U.S. website, I think copyright laws are extremly similar from country to country, as it is with patent laws. Check out the F.A.Q. on that website. You can use old works of are where the copyright no longer applies, such as Greek and Roman mythology, Shakespear, Homer, Beowolf, and all those other borring stories.
BubbaJonesHomer Boring... lol
Eric ColemanThe "author" not the cartoon character. Homer Simpson is copyrighted. The works of Homer are not under copyright, such as The Iliad and The Odyssey.
BrykovianEric -- should I be happy or sad that I knew who you meant right away and didn't even conjure up the Simpsons at all ... [;)] -Bryk
Sr. GuapoI knew what you were talking about, but the simpsons theme song did run through my head... Back on topic: I really have no idea about this type of thing, but I'm sure it varies between company... Does the game have to be EXACTLY based off the book/movie, or can it be tweaked a little. If you wanted a "Lord of the Rings" RPG (or something) you could take that as a base, then change the story line a little, change the character names, etc. Make it different enough that you won't be sued, but similar enough that any user knows what it is representing... It wouldn't hurt to email the company either, just to make sure (Maybe they want a simple game designed for there website, and they'll pay you to do it!!! Not likely, but can't hurt...)
Eric ColemanModifications to the original work don't mean anything when dealing with copyright violations. You either need to create something new or get a license to use the material. If you read the FAQ on the U.S. government website, you'll find this
How much do I have to change in order to claim copyright in someone else's work? Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work. Accordingly, you cannot claim copyright to another's work, no matter how much you change it, unless you have the owner's consent. See Circular 14, Copyright Registration for Derivative Works.