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Hello everybody,


I have a straight question, to a rather complex sistuation.


I read quite some stuff about commercial and non-commercial games, and if I understand it right, as long as the game is intended to earn money - even if it fails to do so in the end - it is commercial...


BUT what about the games created by people who get money from i.e. Kickstarter or *******? I mean, peaople, who create a game, which is entirely free to play, never was intended to earn a single cent on its own? I mean there are many creators, who have an information : 'If you wish to support my work, please pledge' or something. There is no even slight mention about the games being sold in any way - the games stay 100% free after all, and the creators page don't ask people to BUY or PAY for the games in any way...


I've been wondering for quite some time now, whether such games are considered commercial or non-commercial?


And I would be happy to hear from a person, who actually has some knowledge, because othewise we will end up with personal guesses, which are probably as good as mine...


Thanks in advance for the replies.
 

Andar

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As a general guideline, if the developer gets money for creating the game, most artists consider that a commercial project - no matter if that money comes from sales, donations or whatever.


You'll have to see it from the other side to understand that:


The artists put a lot of work into that part (music, picture, script, whatever). A lot of them are willing to let others use it if those others work for free as well - but if others get money for it, they usually want some part of it for the work they made themselves.


However, that depends on the artists decision and can't be generalised - that's why a lot of artists do not simply place a price on commercial use, but state that they have to be contacted for a licence before commercial use is allowed. And I know several who are willing to settle for a token price in the case of hobby projects intended to become commercial. But they don't want some AAA-Company use that resource and make a lot of money for the same token price they would give someone small.
 

Namer

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Andar


Thanks for the answer. And I clearly understand your point.


However, I am interested if there is a 'simple' answer to this matter?


I know that it does NOT matter if the creator gets money by in-game ads, donations or sales. I know that the exact way is not important.


I just wonder about this one special case, when the creator is raising money (not a big company funds or anything like that - though I doubt it matters here...) in general, and not for sepcific title. Like i.e. someone creates 5 games, 4 of these don't use any external materials, while fifth uses just a few... All 5 of these games are 100% free to play...


My question is, if such a game (the fifth one) is a 'commercial' one, if it technically doesn't make a single cent on its own? And if it's 'hard to say' thing, then if it is 'commercial' in the eyes of law? I'm just looking for a clear statement, close to '0-1 system'.
 

bgillisp

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I'm afraid you may be best to ask a lawyer for a clear answer, as the only one we can give is to consider it commercial if it makes $0.01 or more. For more than that you may need official legal advice.


Edit: Andar probably said it even better than me below. So in short, we can't give you a black and white 0/1 answer to this.
 
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Andar

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That is completely the decision of the creater of the terms.


For example I know one case where the creator clearly stated in his/her TOS that the existance of a donation button on the same website/adress as a free game would make that free game count as commercial and requiring a paid licence.


And others state that a game only needs to pay for a licence if it gains more than X$.


There simply is no general answer, and you won't get any free ticket for any case - you always have to check the specific terms of service for the specific resource you want.
 

Namer

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So all in all such projects should be considered commercial 'just in case'. That's the right deduction here, yes?


Thanks for answering.


bgillisp - yeah, consulting the lawyer is an obvious thing ^^ Though it's just me wondering about such cases, so I am not going to invest money just to have a better look into the matter ;) I've mentioned the legal solution just in case the forum has any user, who happens to be a lawyer or someone similar ;)


Anyway, thanks guys :)
 

Andar

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So all in all such projects should be considered commercial 'just in case'. That's the right deduction here, yes?



No - the correct deduction is that you have to check for every resource that you plan to use. There are some resources that are free for commercial use - you just can't assume to know under which terms they are free and under which are not. You have to check every case where you want to use something.
 

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Andar - that's exactly my idea of 'just in case' :)


I can read the terms just fine :)


But when there are 'contact me for commercial use' - it's better to contact just in case the above situation is considered commercial by the creator in question. :)
 

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