Is making a fan made game illegal?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by FlameEX, Sep 25, 2015.

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  1. FlameEX

    FlameEX The Volcanic Member Veteran

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    Sorry for many post in one day. I just realized this now. Is making a fan-made game without paying the company, illegal? I've seen so many fan-made games here, but I'm not entirely sure if they have permission...
     
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  2. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    This has been asked many times and a quick search should bring up numerous threads about it.

    Long story short:

    Any game which infringes either copyright or registered trademarks is illegal.  Fan games using the names/world/sprites/story etc etc (i.e. are sufficiently like the original to be recognised as a fan game) will be infringing one or both of those.  Therefore fan games are illegal.
     
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  3. OM3GA-Z3RO

    OM3GA-Z3RO Wounded Seraphim Veteran

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    Unfortunately it is illegal, people still do it though but for non-profit reason because if you are trying to sell a fan-base game you are definitely going to get into huge trouble which will result to lawsuits and high fines.
     
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  4. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @OM3GA-Z3RO

    Even if you are not trying to sell it you can still get a Cease and Desist Order and can be sued for damages.  And it is not "unfortunate" that it is illegal - stealing someone else's IP is theft whether you use it to make money or not.  Consider if someone stole your game assets, ideas, characters etc.  I think you would not be pleased.
     
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  5. Shaz

    Shaz Veteran Veteran

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    I've moved this thread to General Discussion. Please be sure to post your threads in the correct forum next time. Thank you.
     
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  6. Dreadshadow

    Dreadshadow Lv 38 Tech Magician Moderator

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    Here are some things you can not do, including why:

    • You can NOT make a game named "FInal Fantasy: The random chapter name" because "Final Fantasy" is a registered trademark owned by Square Enix. You have to take their legal written permission first. Of course you understand that they will not give you permission just for a fangame.
    • You can NOT use a recolored sprite of Sonic the Hedgehog in your game. Firstly because the sprite is copyrighted and secondly cause that sprite is a registered trademark of SEGA. Same applies for Mario and Luigi.
    • You can NOT get a music tune from a game and port it or remix it to your game, since it is copyrighted.
    • You can NOT make a "Pokemon" game. See the first reason.

    Thus fangames are NOT legal no matter what.

    On the other hand:

    You can make something LIKE Pokemon, as long as you use your OWN assets. That means you have to have your own scenario, names, ideas, system, graphics, music, scripts, sound fx, etc etc.

    You can for example make a game named "Battlecreatures" that you use cubes to tame creatures. Creatures are random encounters and blah blah blah....

    You can do things you can normally not, if and only if you get permission from the owner of the copyright and/or the registered trademark. You should also ask a lawyer how to get such permission since an e-mail reply is not always sufficient.
     
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  7. SLEEP

    SLEEP grunge rock cloud strife Veteran

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    unfortunately, they're illegal. nothing illegal about inspiration though. also, it just feels better to put all that time and effort into something that's your own, something you can own. There's a lot of argument about the usefulness of copyright, the value of derivative works, and why parody can "get away with it", but this isn't a topic for debating those merits i'd assume. although im sure some people would argue fangames should be legal. i would lol if i could be bothered but i cant. hey
     
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  8. Milena

    Milena The woman of many questions Veteran

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    Not in Japan's case.
     
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  9. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Japanese companies do sue for copyright and/or trademark infringement.
     
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  10. OM3GA-Z3RO

    OM3GA-Z3RO Wounded Seraphim Veteran

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    Yes, even if you are not going to sell your product people still do it regardless, go through the games in this website, you will see a lot of fan-base, pokemon, DBZ, Fairy Tail etc. People will still make it anyway. Also I was stating the unfortunate for the OP not as a whole in general such as: "Unfortunately for you" it is not unfortunate I know it isn't because this goes against the laws of copyright infringement. Another thing, I know full well how it feels to have my things stolen so I do consider it.
     
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  11. Milena

    Milena The woman of many questions Veteran

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    Oh how come Japanese companies have the "doijinshi" and the doujin makers are not getting sued? Why were the doujins of Lucky Stars games not sued and was even featured by the company personnel as well? In Japan, they also have the kaigai doujin / kaigai games which are fan made games that you can make. It's not really illegal so long as you WON'T GAIN PROFIT ON IT. They think of it as a promotion of their original product.

    Remember guys, the world is not just US or Europe.
     
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  12. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    There are some factors you are missing. A company CAN say they want people to make fan games. If that is the case, then the game is legal. The games you are talking about Milena probably have permission from the company to make the games. Or, maybe they are illegal, and you don't know that. Maybe they are being sued as we speak. Or, maybe they got permission first.

    But back to the OP. To answer your question, making a fan game without permission is automatically illegal. Some of this is due to laws that say that if they do NOT sue you, then they have voided the (trademark? copywrite? Don't remember which one). Japan is a little looser on the law and does not require the suing to keep the IP (from what I hear), which is why they often let the games slide.

    If you wish to see more on how sticky fan games can get, look up what happened to Kings Quest 9 (an adventure game, but same ideas apply) once the copywrite holder got involved. It got messy for a while as they had to appeal a cease and desist.
     
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  13. Milena

    Milena The woman of many questions Veteran

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    No, the Lucky Stars game never had any permission from the original content creators. It was roaming around the net and when the creators of the content saw it, they called it automatically as a fan game. Did they sue the poor hobbyist out? No. They said it was okay as it becomes a promotion to their original content. Somehow, I saw that most of the C&D given games were LoZ back then, but it wasn't Nintendo of Japan but of America. I think big companies do this though. Like I said, the law doesn't apply that much in Asia. Here in Europe though, its stricter and even hard to get a fan game released.
     
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  14. Rikifive

    Rikifive Bringer of Happiness Veteran

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    It varies from company to company. Some companies allows making fan-games (of course as long as following some rules), where the others may completely not allow to do that.

    Most of the time nobody cares when you're making a fan game, unless you try to sell it or the project goes way to serious. Or completely using ripoffs etc..

    In my example, Hasbro does not care that much about fan-stuff - there are SOOO MANY games and such, there are even fan-made episodes on YOUTUBE and nothing happened (while when somebody posts an original episode on YT it gets deleted). There are many games out there, but if project is too much hyped (serious and stuff), then you'll get a C&D.

    Or something like this, I'm not sure of that, but at least that's what I heard.

    The example game that got halted after some time (after certain thing) is that game. You can read the story and stuff by yourself.

    They received a C&D and their game has to be changed, but guess what! Lauren Faust, who created the characters for MLP decided to help them, by creating original characters for their game - they were kinda lucky.

    Well - but as I said - I'm not 100% sure. The best way is to read Copyrights and stuff about certain company or send them a message and ask as it may vary.

    To be honest - I think my game will be also canceled, because my project is kinda serious (at least I'm aiming to make it serious - by that I mean no major changes to the true story/theme etc.) and the fact, that I'm making it ABSOLUTELY for free does not make me immune to that... I'm really afraid of that. ( ͡° ʖ̯ ͡°)

    But I'm from Poland so they will not find me. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) JK, If I'll receive such a message, then... *greater multiple ( ͡° ʖ̯ ͡°)*
     
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  15. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Milena: And sometimes you get lucky like that. The point we are trying to make is don't count on the company seeing the game and deciding to support it. I know here in US if they see the game, they have to sue you or lose the rights to the product. Europe might be the same way, where it is a choice between sue or lose the rights to the product completely.
     
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  16. Milena

    Milena The woman of many questions Veteran

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    Here, they usually do both. You lose the rights (that you never had in the first case), then sue you. Sadly, if you're even planning to get quick buck out of your fan game, the payment of you getting out of being sued is higher than what you can actually get from making the fan game. But that at least drives people on copying and releasing an original game.
     
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  17. Yanfly

    Yanfly Developer

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    I think I can answer this as I've worked on doujin games before.

    Just like how the world is not just US or Europe, the same goes for each country's laws. Japan's copyright laws and culture differ from the US and Europe's. There's no "fair use" clause in Japan's copyrights, which means it's forbidden to make parodies of the said material. This is actually more strict than the US and European laws regarding copyright because in those countries, you can at least make jokes targeting a character (i.e. Mario can make a jab at Sonic for the purpose of satire and comedy) protected under free speech. So, if their law is stricter than the US and European copyright laws, how come Japan lets doujin artists, programmers, music, etc. get away with so much?

    That's because in Japan, tradition runs deeper than law. Comiket (short for Comic Market) is an ongoing tradition for what is now currently its 88th iteration. When Comiket first started, it was during a time where anime/manga wasn't established as strongly as it is now. That said, anime and manga companies held little aversion to fans appreciating their works by drawing their own fanworks for it. After all, what's a better way to advertise than to have someone else advertise for you? That and because anime/manga had such a little following at the beginning, it would have been suicidal for them to kill off their few fans. This eventually became tradition with time.

    On the flipscale, despite Japan's strictness, Japan's anime/manga aimed and looked towards doujin to find suitable candidates for professional anime and manga material. A lot of the popular anime/manga you see today stemmed from artists who had doujin roots (such as No Game No Life). Although in stepping up to the professional scene, some doujin artists are forbidden to work in the doujin field as long as they're in the professional field. The relationship between official works and doujin works is more symbiotic in Japan than it is in the US and Europe.

    And for those reasons above, it's the answer as to why doujin works are "allowed" in Japan despite stricter copyright laws. Tradition >>>>>> Law
     
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  18. captainproton

    captainproton Dangerously Nifty Veteran

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    It's a pretty strange phenomenon altogether. I mean, one would think it would fall under the same heading as fan art or fan fiction--that, as long as you don't try to make money from it, and acknowledge the owners and creators of the source material, you'd be good, right? after all, aren't games just another artistic medium?

    And even then--I've seen people selling artwork of copyrighted characters, which one would think is illegal. Yet, even sites like deviantArt allow artists to sell prints and other merchandise featuring depictions of characters over which they have no ownership.
     
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  19. Sennie

    Sennie Demon Slayer Veteran

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    Hi there,

    Yes it is illegal to make a fan game of a company's game, be it whether you are using their sprites, graphics, etc. You're more than likely better of just creating your own game with graphics from the RPG Maker Store with an original story :)

    Matthew.
     
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  20. Probotector 200X

    Probotector 200X Probotect and Serve Veteran

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    I hear Capcom is pretty chill about fangames for the most part. That doesn't mean it's not illegal though...

    Still...a Capcom crossover fangame, yeah! (just don't use Strider because he's got extra baggage I think)
     
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