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if i want to make a game about a particular character(s) from a movie/game should i ask the creator's permission to use them on my game ???

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asked May 17 '14 at 04:30 PM in Legal & Licensing

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TragicFX
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2 answers: sort voted first

Yes, copyright is generated when people make art work such as movies and games as a way of recognizing they are the owners of that work. If you don't want to run into problems, in order to use creative work from others in your game you should make sure the copyright holders allow you to do it, and in which conditions (they may want that you give them attribution or money, for example).

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answered May 17 '14 at 05:15 PM

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Albert Espín
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avatar image TragicFX May 17 '14 at 06:36 PM

And what if they don't answer ??

avatar image Albert Espín May 17 '14 at 06:40 PM

In copyright affairs you should always take no response as a no: as those creators have not given you permission to use their work, you shouldn't use it unless they indicate somewhere that their work can be used by others (which may require following some conditions they indicate, such as attribution).

avatar image TragicFX May 17 '14 at 07:22 PM

Ok got it thanks bro

avatar image Albert Espín May 17 '14 at 07:41 PM

Just to point out for a more complete response with what @Hyperloop says: if your work is completely non-commercial (directly and not directly, so no publicity) you may use recreations of characters from other's work and make what's called fan-art.

But watch out, if you make a game with characters from and existing game and the first title makers find your work problematic for them (for example if it makes its benefits go down because you are offering something similar to their game but free) they may use legal options to take your product down from the web.

avatar image TragicFX May 17 '14 at 08:01 PM

Well let us say that I am making a horror game , and I want to use jason x , and he is a famous horror character , could I just use him in a godd way of course if the creators won't reply to me ?? ( for the record it's highly unlikely for them replying my email )

avatar image Albert Espín May 17 '14 at 08:19 PM

If you don't have an official permission from the creators, whatever you do is done at your own risk; you may have problems or you may not. If your work is a completely non-commercial game (fan-art) it might be just fine; if it's commercial you may or may not have problems (in some movies and TV series they have used others' characters apparently without permission and with no problems, for example, but in some games there have been problems with funded mini-movies with characters and the ambientation of a released game franchise, as another example), so you should be very careful.

Maybe if your game is commercial the best solution (in legal safety terms) would be creating a character pretty similar to the one it's inspiring it, but not identical, so people know that it's a reference or parody but you don't have to face legal problems.

avatar image Hyperloop May 17 '14 at 08:23 PM

Tragic - the best thing to do generally, is to be creative. There's nothing wrong with being inspired by a famous character, but take it a step further and add your own twist. Mix and match, mash it up and put your own spin on it. There's a long history in film in particular of paying homage to the work that has gone before, but it's important to bring your own creativity to bear on it as well.

Good example is Star Wars - a lot of the x wing fights were directly inspired by world war 2 films about fighters and bombers. Some of the shots were directly copied even, but Lucas changed the setting to space, so it put a whole new twist on it.

Int your particular example, I'd say ask yourself this: what makes Jason scary? Break it down into the elements: His face is hidden so you can't tell what he is thinking. Ok, so that's a cool element, now how else might we use that other than a hockey mask? Anyway, that's how I like to think of it: deconstruct and then rebuild in your own way.

Hope that helps!

avatar image Albert Espín May 17 '14 at 08:29 PM

Good piece of advice beyond legal stuff.

avatar image TragicFX May 17 '14 at 10:07 PM

Wow thanks for the help , but what I fear is that only a few people would buy my game , so in my opinion i think it would be a great idea if I put some elements in the game which everybody knows of , so that more people could notice my game

avatar image Hyperloop May 17 '14 at 11:03 PM

That's a good instinct - putting a known character in your game could increase the market appeal. This is, however where you'd likely get into trouble. Companies keep close hold of intellectual property precisely because they know money can be made off of it, and they want to be the ones to do that, or licence the IP for a fee.

One thing to check out though is the public domain. Certain books and works of art have passed into the public domain, meaning you can use them as you will. There are several places you can search for these online.

What this may mean, is that there are some characters that are both well known in culture AND in the public domain so they may be free for you to use.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer so this shouldn't be taken as legal advice :)

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If you plan on releasing your work publicly, then most definitely you will want permission.

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answered May 17 '14 at 07:06 PM

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Hyperloop
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