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Free characters and stuff questions

HI everyone, let me start by saying i place this question here instead of legal and licensing as i believe that section is about epic related questions. apologies if this is supposed to be somewhere else.

Now the problem im having is with free characters. i tried making all my own content such as characters, textures and animations, but with my ambition taken into consideration that would take me a decade to complete my game. so i have decided to search up free characters. the issue is about using them in a commercial project. many of these come with royalty free licenses. however there are so many characters, usually some of the best, which cannot be used due to the fact that they are owned by marvel or dc comics or some other company (some easily recognisable characters have restrictive licenses). These are easily recognisable. Who doesnt recognise the flash? Then you have other characters that are less recognisable and this is a problem. if i use those characters with that free royalty license and it turns out the model actually belongs to another game company then i am in massive legal trouble. would i be expected to know that each of these characters are intellectual property or copyrighted somehow.

For example, im not a legend of zelda player but im a little bit familiar with its style and so when i look at this character which has a royalty free license, i am not sure that this character can be used. maybe it could be used if its "inspired" by a game. similarly this character looks like it belongs to some brand. specifically the name earthborn seems like some existing IP. a quick google search shows an earthborn dire troll. looking deeper into it the troll is actually different but it is possible this is a variation which could still get me into legal trouble, with some game called hordes.

Is there anyway we can prevent this from happening. Is there a forum where i can post this kind of content and see if anybody can confirm that this cannot be used. Could epic staff make a sticky forum if this kind of thing doesnt exist already. i believe vetting stuff is extremely important to keep developers big and small safe.

of course i could ask for permission but it is a commercial project i am working on my own and so it would cost money to use unless someones really generous.

Thanks for your time

Product Version: UE 4.16
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asked Sep 20 '17 at 05:53 AM in Everything Else

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