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How will you handle Unreal Marketplace Blueprints that are already in the public domain via free web tutorials?

I found a tutorial on Youtube for a building system in UE4 that was published on February 16, 2015. One month later, on March 12, 2015, the Modular Player Structure blueprint hit the UE4 Marketplace. The similarities between the two, even the aesthetics, are striking. As far as I can tell, the author of the tutorial is not the same as the marketplace provider.

I have not purchased the Modular Player Structure Blueprint from the marketplace, so I can't attest to whether the blueprint makeup is the same, but I could see this possibly being a legal issue in the future if a developer follows the freely available (albeit in German) tutorial and the Marketplace author feels as though the developer is using Marketplace content without a license.

Keep in mind, the tutorial was released before the marketplace content was released. It looks to me that there is a fair argument that the content was already in the public domain before it was up for sale.

I have attached screenshots of both the Marketplace item and a screengrab from the tutorial below. The marketplace item is on the left in both.

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asked Mar 23 '15 at 07:01 AM in Legal & Licensing

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Gogall
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Gogall -

Thanks for your note; we'll look into that a bit more.

Responding to a couple of your points or questions, all of our Marketplace developers need to have the rights to the Marketplace assets they want to sell before we can sell them; it's part of the agreement to sell.

Also, while not directly related to your question, just because something is on YouTube doesn't make it public domain (i.e., anyone is free to use).

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answered Mar 23 '15 at 06:05 PM

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atypic STAFF
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avatar image Gogall Mar 23 '15 at 11:15 PM

I understand that because something exists on Youtube it doesn't automatically become part of the public domain. When I said "public domain" I was referring to how IP rights can be forfeited if the product is already widely available to the public before you, the Marketplace Author, decide to get some sort of IP protection for it.

For example, you may have issues patenting a product after you have already exhibited it in a trade show (I also understand that we aren't discussing patents, but it's the only example I can think of without cracking a textbook; It has been a long time since I took IP law).

Basically, my point was that if a person follows a freely available tutorial online to build some blueprints, puts his name on those blueprints, and sells it on the Marketplace, then it's going to be very hard to decipher who is actually infringing and who innocently (and legally) followed a tutorial... which could quite possibly lead to a lot of unnecessary legal troubles.

Further, if the blueprints are already widely and freely available to the public before the content was published on the Marketplace, then it's probably safe to say that the developer never had the rights to sell it on the Marketplace to begin with.

avatar image atypic STAFF Mar 24 '15 at 12:36 AM

Well we'll definitely be looking into this one.

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