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Hello. Question is not bout unreal, but legal gamedev.

I want to use characters from films&other games in my game. Will i get penalty if project non-commercial? Is it legal to use them for non-profit, free games?

Please give a detailed answer. If it is legal - I will make everyones dream-game .

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asked Jan 09 '15 at 12:50 AM in Legal & Licensing

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CAVEAT - I'm not your lawyer and I can't give you legal advice, so the following isn't legal advice to you.

Generally speaking, it's not lawful to take characters from other films and games and put them in your game without permission from the owner of the original IP (intellectual property) because that owner owns the copyright in the character. There are caveats to that, and that includes something called fair use. Fair use is a complicated issue and something I would highly recommend seeking your own legal counsel on before trying to base a project on fair use. The law around fair use differs by country/jurisdiction. In the US, courts weigh a number of factors to determine whether use constitutes fair use. That includes how you are using it (commercial, educational, satire, etc.), what kind of work you are copying, how much is copied, and the market effect. So, for example, taking Mario or Harry Potter is a huge element to take from those franchises, so that would weigh heavily against fair use on the amount of copying factor. If you put Mario in your own racing game, that's not really a transformative use. Generally the kind of uses that work are brief uses for education, editorial use, satire, that kind of thing. AND, even if it's ultimately fair use, you could still get sued and have very expensive legal costs.

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answered Jan 09 '15 at 01:17 AM

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atypic STAFF
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