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Is it legal to use the web browser widget in your game?

There is a plug-in that allows you to create an in game widget that works like a web browser, but unlike the Launch URL node which triggers the users default browser to open, this plugin does it all within the game itself.

So obviously I’m a bit skeptical on how this legally works and I’m also surprised that there are literally no questions on this matter.

I want to make a computer that the player can interact with and I thought it would be cool to use the web browser feature with this, but once the player gains access to the web I have no control over what they look up or what links they press, so even if this was something harmless like linking them to my website or a fundraiser, they can just go off the beaten path and go on sites like google, YouTube, Twitter, etc (which are websites who’s trademarks I clearly don’t own or have rights to)

  • Will there be legal issues having this plug-in in my game?

  • Does the legal matter of this case change based on whether the game is free or paid for?

  • If this is illegal then what’s the purpose of the plugin in the first place if it can’t be used in any meaningful project and why are there no details on the plugin webpage explaining this at all?

If I can’t use this I’ll just make my own made up web within a bunch of widget blueprints, but regardless I still want to know.

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asked Apr 30 '19 at 08:16 PM in Legal & Licensing

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First of all, i don't think it's illegal as long as you not use those trademarks outside of web browser it self, web browser becomes feature of your game and if that illgial pretty much all web browsers become illegal. Also note that there was games that include web browsers in the game, EVE Online which used extra features to JavaScript scripting to integrate websites with the game, they removed because it was hard for them to maintain. Other is VRChat which had intractable web panels, but they removed it for security concerns. None of them had copyright issues because of that.... since they just web browsers.

I think only way to have any copyright issue from web browser in the game is when you explicitly use those trademarked websites in marketing, which i bet you not intend to do.

But if you really worried you can block web browser to specific domain or have entire whitelist, on url change (https://api.unrealengine.com/INT/API/Plugins/WebBrowserWidget/UWebBrowser/FOnUrlChanged/index.html) you can check if domain is match, if it is block the widget or quickly change address to some other website, showing "Access Blocked by network administrator" or something like that.

Main perpace of web browser widget in UE4 is to include HTML snippets very quickly as some games run news feeds purly on HTML that are included to the game. Some UI systems in software you see are HTML content, because a lot easier to add/edit something on HTTP website on the go then UI of the game or software. Epic store and Steam is good examples of that.

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answered Apr 30 '19 at 11:58 PM

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avatar image Qent00001 May 01 '19 at 01:09 AM

Okay I kinda had similar thoughts to what you said here, I just wanted to be sure.

It’s just this whole idea of web browsing within a game is kinda new for the most part, so I wasn’t sure if this would be hitting a grey area in the law because it’s in a game and not on an official web browser. Also I didn’t know of any other games that had tried this, regardless I’ll just experiment with it in a few free projects.

Thanks for the info.

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