Is making a fan made game illegal?

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ssunlimited

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If you think you can make a good game using an IP, why can't you make a similar game without stealing someone's IP?
 

sabao

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This discussion has got me curious about something. What about satires?
Same thing if you intend to lift IP directly. Most commercial satires go around this by creating indirect references (ie, Balrog from Street Fighter being a satire of Mike Tyson, Johnny Cage of Mortal Kombat of Jean-Claude Van Damme, and every Bruce Lee clone in every fighting game ever).

GUYS, what if you get permission from the copyright holders to create a fan game, is it still illegal? I'm thinking not...
If you do, then you're all clear. Chances are very high that you won't. Large companies work very hard to protect the image of their brands, and an endorsement from them for a fan game from an unknown developer is a big risk.

I agree. As long as it existed, it's from someone. Getting something from someone without permission is stealing, so yeah.
As long as rights remain with the holder, then you will require permission lest you risk legal action from them.

Mind, this all depends on how heavily whatever company chooses/is able to enforce their rights as owners of the IP. Japan, for example, has a thriving doujin or fan comic/art/game community because first, their laws are a little matter and as far as their industry is concerned, they wind up finding a lot of their talent within those circles.
 

ssunlimited

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Hey sabao, how are you? Yeah I asked about getting permission to make a fan game. I have a slightly off-topic question to you and everyone else. First of all has Nintendo given permission to use any of their IP to 3rd parties? Like Mario, Zelda etc...? Super Mario RPG(SNES) is different from the regular side-scrolled Mario. Is it 3rd party? Also what about Mario Maker that came out last month or something, does this give people permission to create Mario games and sell them?
 

Kes

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@ ssunlimited

This is getting more than off topic, If you want to know about Mario Maker, please go to their site where you will get a proper answer.
 

sabao

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Hey sabao, how are you? Yeah I asked about getting permission to make a fan game. I have a slightly off-topic question to you and everyone else. First of all has Nintendo given permission to use any of their IP to 3rd parties? Like Mario, Zelda etc...? Super Mario RPG(SNES) is different from the regular side-scrolled Mario. Is it 3rd party? Also what about Mario Maker that came out last month or something, does this give people permission to create Mario games and sell them?
Super Mario RPG was a game made by Square in partnership with Nintendo. Mario Maker was a game made by Nintendo designed to allow users to make playable levels within Mario Maker itself. I don't have Mario Maker, but last I checked, there's no way to actually sell said individual levels. SMRPG was officially published by Nintendo, so neither games really fall under discussion here.

If you think you can make a good game using an IP, why can't you make a similar game without stealing someone's IP?
That's a reasonable thought, yes, but outside the scope of discussion. The topic isn't so much about why you should/shouldn't as it is how permissible it would be to do by law.

That said, again, if one were to feel absolutely compelled to do so, it can absolutely not make a profit. I'd also imagine you'd have better luck not getting in trouble if you restricted distribution to specific regions and used only specific franchises. Your chances at producing a high-profile Chrono Trigger fan game for example may be on the low end because Square Enix is historically infamous for shutting these things down. Something like Touhou Project, on the other hand, thrives on content generated by its fan community.
 
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kerbonklin

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Grand Chase as a game has ceased, but technically the franchise does still live on in Elsword. Whether or not an IP is active however may be irrelevant. Yes, better safe than sorry.
Actually Grand Chase is still an active game with their Korean server still being live but with halted content creation. (permanently stopped development of new content) The BR (?), NA, LA, Indo, PH and Thai servers all closed down. (rip NAGC, you will be missed cause the current NA private server ForeverGC is under lengthy construction)  Also KOG is currently using the remaining Grand Chase assets for their Mobile clicky-RPG game on apple/android, "Grand Chase M" published/partnered with Eye-dentity Games.

Players and LevelUpGames (PH hosters) asked KOG multiple times to buy the rights to continue hosting the server on their own terms, but they denied shared licensing since they still use the assets and everything. (Since we would want to modify the game/pvp over time for balance purposes, not just keep a stagnant server running)

All that's left for non-Koreans is like 2 Brazil pservers and an NA pserver that's down right now. Korean KOG definitely know they exist, they never decided to take action though over all these years. It's probably because all these servers have no actual new content/assets to make use of, they're all old Season 2 servers that are very slightly modified just to operate and nothing more. This includes KOG-USA, their american branch that was originally Ntreev, not taking action either.
 
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hian

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I wish people in this thread would stop saying stuff like :
 

Making a fangame is by definition always illegal.
All fan games are automatically illegal of trademark infringment.
It's not just Andar (so I'm sorry for quoting you twice), but several people in this thread. This is categorically wrong.
If you have permission by the copyright holder(s) of the source material for all the material(s) you use in

your fan-game, then your fan-game is not illegal.

A fan-game is not inherently something made without permission, and therefore it is not
inherently illegal either.

Most people will not ask for permission, nor attain it, and still make fan-games, and that might very well be a problem - that being the case

however, still does not excuse making the categorical mistake of saying that fan-games or fan-materials are illegal by default.

They're not.

I direct you to the Star Wars Extended Universe of fan-created non-canon material for reference.

So please stop.

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.
Wrong. Copyright violation is not theft - it's called copyright violation for a reason - because it's copying.

Stealing is what happens when property changes hands without the consent of the owner of the property

I.E I gain and you lose.

In the case of copyright violation nothing is changing hands. I am copying something, and you are still left with it as well.

The material in question has been multiplied, not redistributed.

You can hold that this is morally wrong, or reprehensible all you want - and I am not saying I necessarily disagree - but you cannot call it theft. That is another categorical mistake.

It's hyperbole that was sold the public by the music and video industry to combat piracy by convincing law-makers of the seriousness

of the situation. However, granting piracy as a serious problem or not, mischaractrizing it as theft is hardly productive at all - it's even worse

because it supports the logic of the big companies which they've used to pass copyright-laws specifically meant to enable these big companies

to screw over the little guy artists they employ for their bigger projects.

In the context of fan-games there are issues that follows from this logic - the entire reason why most modern copyright violation laws

have been granted in terms of digital media to combat piracy to begin with, is largely on the basis of loss of potential profit.

This logic rarely if ever applies to free fan-games though, since they don't replace the original product, are often only played by people

who already bought the original product, and sometimes even incentivizes new people to buy the original product.

In other words - The copyright breach in this instance is more likely to not impact your profit in any way, and if it does, probably in a positive way.

I get why people are so up-tight about copyright issues on this site - because most of the content creators here are in the lowest

echelons of digital media production, and as such, when your products are illegally copied and distributed, this directly impacts

what little income you get off of what you make, and makes it harder for you to pursue a career in the field - or so it would seem.

(I still hold that it's problematic to assume that a pirate would buy your product if piracy wasn't an option. I find

it likelier that they'd just move on to something else that they actually consider worth their money to begin with)

However, that still doesn't make a good reason for buying into the legal pitch of AAA companies in the music and movie industry

who shaped the current copyright environment (Piracy is theft etc.)

These guys don't give 2 shits about you. They'll happily throw artists under the buss, like what happened with Uematsu Nobuo after

the merger of Squaresoft and Enix, who now does not hold

the rights to his own Final Fantasy music, which is now the intellectual property of SE.

(I'm never going to buy any soundtrack containing his music released by SE before I know he gets his royalties, and that's final)

The current copyright laws and the mentality surrounding digital property, ideas and concepts etc. are riddled with problems and is something

any serious artist should think about long and hard - not just run with the talking points spoon-feed to them by big corporations, and gobbled up

in complete and utter short-sighted self-interest.

Chances are illegal copies of material etc. are some of the biggest reasons you are all here being capable selling stuff to begin with

(the RPGmaker community in the west probably wouldn't have been a thing for a very long time if not for piracy).

I wouldn't be here if I hadn't first used the old pirate versions of RPG maker, and probably wouldn't have bought most of the materials I did,

if I hadn't first hadn't come across them elsewhere.

That being said - I am not defending piracy, trying to say it's "ah-ok", or that you're wrong for being against it. I am simply saying that the "It's theft, it's immoral"-attitude is overly simplistic and betrays a profound ignorance on why piracy exists to begin with, and who's actually shaping current copyright laws and why -

and trust me, it has little to nothing to do with protecting things like the sales of tile-sets made by people on this site.

But by all means, keep on enabling the status quo here, and look forward to getting screwed over by AAA companies in the future if you ever get

your career off the ground.

If somebody wants to make fan-games, and they're willing to go about it the right way - all the more power to them.

I see a lot of dismissive attitudes about making fan-games, and that's probably a result of the fact that most fan-games blow harder than

a spring tornado, but I think there is a different angle to this as well -

You can look at it as a person lacking imagination and just want success of the coat-tails of someone else (and many might be like this),

or you can look at it as a person willing to give up almost any credit they'd otherwise get if they made a good original IP,

and to instead add to the success of somebody else's IP because of how much they love it.

Some fan-game makers strike me more as the latter (such as the ones who worked on the 3D Chrono Trigger fan-game in the past,

or the people who worked hard over at Qhimm to upscale and remaster FF7 for years and years thinking that game would

never get a proper remaster or remake).

Did these people break copyright law? Yeah, definitely. Are they immoral scum? Hell no. To my mind, these people would be heroes.

People who can't recognize that, or even acknowledge the other view, and then proceed to generalize about such people and morally

condemning them really have no leg to stand on what so ever in talking about morality in any capacity.

There are so many IPs being treated like sheep by the companies they were made within, with the original content creators and writers

long since fired and without any say in how the IPs are treated - with the company leaving the IP in complete disuse and no regards

for the fans of them out there in the world.

When Konami treats Suikoden and Silent Hill like they do I hope the fan-community comes back to bite them in the ass.

It's not a useful opinion to my mind, to say that if Suikoden and Silent Hill fan-games were to be made, in light of Konami's recent company policy, that would

be theft and immoral (potential profits or intellectual property notwithstanding) - After all, the greedy corporate heads of Konami already

ripped these IPs of the hands of their original creators, and have no real plans of continuing them or treating the IPs with respect.

No - in a scenario like that, I hope fans go berserk with fan-games and stomp all over them. The artists who original conceived of these IPs

won't suffer from this, nor will the industry as a whole.

A final disclaimer though - I won't be distributing any fan-games on this site ever, or ripped materials etc. nor am I defending people who think to do so,

nor am I advocating you change this.

I'm simply stating my position on the matter of fan-games and intellectual property on a general basis.
 
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Andar

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It's not just Andar (so I'm sorry for quoting you twice), but several people in this thread. This is categorically wrong.

If you have permission by the copyright holder(s) of the source material for all the material(s) you use in

your fan-game, then your fan-game is not illegal.

A fan-game is not inherently something made without permission, and therefore it is not

inherently illegal either.
But if you get official permission, you're no longer making a fangame, you're now making an official game for that series.

So it basically comes down how do you define a fangame as compared to an official game.

And for me that is defined as "a fangame is a game where the creater did not ask (or did not get) official permission".

Of course you are not illegal if you have an official licence - but in my view then it's no longer a fangame but an official game.

Wrong. Copyright violation is not theft - it's called copyright violation for a reason - because it's copying.

Stealing is what happens when property changes hands without the consent of the owner of the property I.E I gain and you lose.

In the case of copyright violation nothing is changing hands. I am copying something, and you are still left with it as well.

The material in question has been multiplied, not redistributed.

You can hold that this is morally wrong, or reprehensible all you want - and I am not saying I necessarily disagree - but you cannot call it theft. That is another categorical mistake.

It's hyperbole that was sold the public by the music and video industry to combat piracy by convincing law-makers of the seriousness

of the situation. However, granting piracy as a serious problem or not, mischaractrizing it as theft is hardly productive at all - it's even worse
Nothing you said is directly wrong - but unfortunately you don't take into account what happened around it.

Yes, I agree that the naming left a lot to be desired and I wish they had used other words for those crimes - but it does not change the fact that they're crimes, not just "morally wrong" but also illegal. And yes, that wording mess had given those who do copyright piracy a chance to do make a defense by claiming "copyright infringment is not theft" - I really wish some of those idiots in the Music Industry had thought about long term consequences before coining those terms.

But we are left with those terms and conceptions unless we want to start lengthy debates on how to word what crimes - If we had better words, those criminals could not claim any moral defense.

But also don't forget that while a lot of the copyright infringments and trademark violations are done by kiddies who don't know what they're doing (or even by idealists who really have no intentions to cause harm in any way),  a lot of those people know exactly what they're doing and using the rest to divert from the fact that they intent to cash in on other peoples work and hide behind debates like this.

Let's go to an example that happened hundreds of times:

You're an aspiring artist and using DeviantArt to show your art, even using it to sell some of it as posters, earning yourself a tiny bit of money from your work.

Now someone else comes along, copies your artwork from Deviantart, prints it out and sells it around (on cons or even on ebay) making money for himself/herself without ever asking you for permission or giving you any part of that money.

That is called "Art Theft" by everyone around. And that is a fact that you have to live with, even if it is not "Material Theft".

And sorry - anyone who even starts to defend that because of semantics (that already have been discussed to death, and where I agree that the semantics should have been better) does defend a crime - specially a crime that leaves the artist out of money that he would otherwise have gotten, because those copied posters had been sold.

Yes, fangames rarely sell - that is why a lot of copyright holders go out of their way to ignore them as long as possible.

But it isn't only the money that is a problem - a lot of times the content is also a problem, especially if the maker of the fangames associate it with concepts that are simply unwanted by the original author/artist. Like the Spock/Kirk fandom where the friendship got really intense - or the fact that in some countries some specific content is directly illegal, for example you don't want anything of yours connected to the symbols of the Nazi's from WWII if you live in Germany.

And that's what it goes down to:

No matter how the content industrie twisted the laws to get more money for themselves, the main intention and focus of all copyright laws has been to give the creator control of what is done with his work. It is his decision whether it should be sold, copied or whatever.

And by making a fangame, you take that decision into your own hand, with the intention of getting on of the popularity that the other creator had worked for instead of using your own ideas to try and get your own popularity from your own work.

And the copyright laws make that a crime (a legal crime, not just a moral one) if you do that without permission or outside some very specific exceptions defined as "fair use".
 

hian

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But if you get official permission, you're no longer making a fangame, you're now making an


official game for that series.


So it basically comes down how do you define a fangame as compared to an official game.


And for me that is defined as "a fangame is a game where the creater did not ask (or did not get)


official permission".
No, that's an original definition - one I do not accept at that.


The Star Wars Extended Universe is fan-fiction regardless


of whether it is tolerated and blessed by Lucas himself - as long as it is


not being made with his supervision, not distributed by him or his company, and is not accepted


as canon, then it is fan-fiction.


I don't see why games should be held to a different standard,


and how doing so wouldn't be special pleading.


If I make a Metal Gear fan-game, and Kojima productions says "Hey, go ahead, why not?" but


remain completely detached from the game, to say that it's an" official Metal Gear game" is absurd.


And, what you're doing here is defining a problem into existence. It's a tautology.


"Fan-games are illegal because I define Fan-games as illegal".


That's a pointless way of looking at it, when there exists plenty of fan-art out there in the world


that is allowed for and accepted by artists without affiliations or endorsements.

Yes, I agree that the naming left a lot to be desired and I wish they had used other words for


those crimes - but it does not change the fact that they're crimes, not just "morally wrong" but also illegal.
They did. It's called copyright violations and illegal file-sharing among other things.


The only time "theft" is brought up, is in the inane public service announcement trailers on


movies, and by people who parrot that to justify their morally black and white outraged perspective


on piracy due to their emotional investment in the issue.


Also, unless you've got the magical argument that ended the centuries long debate on whether morality is


subjective or objective, or even a thing at all, I would say you got this backwards -


The only thing that really matters here is whether it's illegal or not.

And yes, that wording mess had given those who do copyright piracy a chance to do make a


defense by claiming "copyright infringment is not theft" -


I really wish some of those idiots in the Music Industry had thought about long term


consequences before coining those terms.


But we are left with those terms and conceptions unless we want to start lengthy


debates on how to word what crimes - If we had better words, those criminals could not claim


any moral defense.
It's a valid defense when major corporation tries to go after breaches on copyright with the same


vigor you'd usually reserve for people who've robbed others at gun-point in the street.


Piracy not being theft does not change what it is - illegal breach on copyright laws.


Saying "it's not theft" is not a valid defense for that. Saying "it's theft" though, grossly


distorts what's actually going on, and puts people on the spot for having done something that often


has had no real effect on the market, nor on the individual artists who made the products that were


pirated - and in some instances, even lead to increased profits.


And, as I've already said -


We already have better terms and they're already in use. As I said - the legal system does not


refer to copyright infringement or illegal file-sharing as "theft". Only the companies, and the


people who support them do.


This discussion, to my mind, is to put everyone at the same page - so people stop conflating


one crime with another, and form their opinions on the issue based on that conflation rather than


on the distinct nature of each crime.

But also don't forget that while a lot of the copyright infringments and trademark violations


are done by kiddies who don't know what they're doing


(or even by idealists who really have no intentions to cause harm in any way), 


a lot of those people know exactly what they're doing and using the rest to divert from the


fact that they intent to cash in on other peoples work and hide behind debates like this.
I'm sure there are many callous individuals out there who don't care about copyrights and break


them for a profit. Whether they hide behind debates like this, I am less certain -


and it shouldn't be relevant in either case.


Truth is truth, inconvenient or not. Beliefs, true or false, can be used to justify bad behavior.


Saying that we should sweep facts under the rug because they might be abused by bad people strikes


me as an extremely problematic position to hold.

Let's go to an example that happened hundreds of times:


You're an aspiring artist and using DeviantArt to show your art, even using it to sell some of it as posters, earning yourself a tiny bit of money from your work.


Now someone else comes along, copies your artwork from Deviantart,


prints it out and sells it around (on cons or even on ebay) making money for himself/herself


without ever asking you for permission or giving you any part of that money.
Which is illegal, and should be pursued through the justice system.


The laws and the mechanism of them should however aspire to be able to distinguish between


individual cases, and treat them differently.


Most of the copyright laws pushed for by big corporations such as in the aftermath of Napster etc.


have nothing to do with this though.


That these laws might be used to protect certain artists from abuse does not change the fact that the


laws were not primarily designed to do this, but to protect major businesses profit margins that


were themselves founded on unethical business practices abusing those very same artists.

That is called "Art Theft" by everyone around. And that is a fact that you have to live with,


even if it is not "Material Theft".
And you have to live with the fact that this crime, can in the eyes of the law, with the correct


forces pushing for it, treat 13 year old Thomas who downloaded a couple of Beyonce albums the exact


same way as the abusive "art thief", whilst also tying into a vast network of other laws conspiring


to keep intellectual properties of individual artists in the hands of the distribution/publishing


companies they work for, whilst siphoning the vast majority of the profit of those intellectual properties


into the hands of people who did little to nothing to attribute to the production of them


in the first place.

And sorry - anyone who even starts to defend that because of semantics


(that already have been discussed to death, and where I agree that the semantics should have been better)


does defend a crime -


specially a crime that leaves the artist out of money that he would otherwise have gotten,


because those copied posters had been sold.
This isn't semantics though - It's me calling out a an extremely naive, ignorant and judgmental attitude


based on people having been duped by a semantics (which was started by the music/movie industries).


I am not defending the crime of "art theft" here - I am pointing out the absurdity of creating a set


of laws that can end up treating the kind of crime you describe here the same way it would treat


a victimless crime like a fan-game, fan-movie, fan-fiction or remix from dead franchises


that have been co-opted by the distribution/publishing companies, taken completely out of the hands


of the artists that originally made them to begin with, and who won't see a penny from the source


regardless of whether it is copied and redistributed by hackers/pirates or not.


Do you really not see how ridiculous it is to hold a hostile and judgmental black/white attitude


on the issue of piracy in light of what I've just said? Simple because we can point to the occasional


indie-artist that is hurt by piracy?


Despite the fact that I am not arguing that piracy laws shouldn't exist, nor arguing that it's okay?

Yes, fangames rarely sell - that is why a lot of copyright holders go out of their way to


ignore them as long as possible.


But it isn't only the money that is a problem -


a lot of times the content is also a problem,


especially if the maker of the fangames associate it with concepts that are simply


unwanted by the original author/artist.


Like the Spock/Kirk fandom where the friendship got really intense -


or the fact that in some countries some specific content is directly illegal,


for example you don't want anything of yours connected to the symbols of the Nazi's from WWII


if you live in Germany.
And again, that usually has very little to do with the artists, and almost always everything to do


with the publishers, share-holders and economical backers of large corporate structures.


I wouldn't give 2 dongles about whether or not my game spawned a fan-game that contained stuff


that I personally would be uncomfortable with, because I know that guilt by association is a fallacy -


a fallacy I'll be quick and brutal about calling out - and I recognizing that one product does


not in any way change or hamper the nature of another.


Like most people like to say when talking about the FF7 Remake - There is nothing this game can do


to take away from or spoil the original.


More on point though - This paragraph is irrelevant - because fan-games shouldn't be made


to begin with unless the person has the permission of the original IP holder, and I think it's safe to


assume that of the original IP holder green-lights the fan-project, that this isn't an issue.

And that's what it goes down to:


No matter how the content industrie twisted the laws to get more money for themselves,


the main intention and focus of all copyright laws has been to give the creator control of


what is done with his work.
And that's where you're just wrong. That's not why most of these laws were made. They were


made so the publishing companies that have assumed most of the rights to the IP, and the profits


derived thereof, can protect their future stream of income whilst also protecting


their power-house and continued ability to keep abusing the artists for profit.


Sometimes, as a side-effect, these laws benefit indie-artists, but more often than not, they don't -


because the artists who have publishing companies to pursue these offenses for them,


have gained that at the cost of having given up most of the IP rights to their creations.


It's an inherently abusive system, that punishes the little guy, and often the little irrelevant


pirates, whilst not doing nearly enough to address the real problems with piracy, such as the


one you raised in your example. Suing people for copy-right violation is a costly and time-consuming


thing to do.


How many deviant art users who've been ripped off do you supposed has successfully


carried out a lawsuit against the offending party?

It is his decision whether it should be sold, copied or whatever.


And by making a fangame, you take that decision into your own hand,


with the intention of getting on of the popularity that the other creator had worked for


instead of using your own ideas to try and get your own popularity from your own work.
And there you go with the presuppositions again.


No, you could be making a fan-game that you attained permission to make. And even if you didn't,


you could be making a fan-game of a franchise that no longer turns a profit, nor ever will,


especially for the artists that actually made it in the first place (rather than


the publishing company).


As I said - it's perfectly possible to make a fan-game for altruistic reasons in light of that.


So without further ado I present you with this


http://materiacollective.com/music/materia_final_fantasy_vii_remixed


Which is for sale here


https://loudr.fm/release/materia-final-fantasy-vii-remixed/VxYsz


and here


https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/materia-final-fantasy-vii/id1046849552?ls=1


I think this makes my case perfectly.
 
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VirusChris

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Oh my reading this topic is a real head turner. ^_^;

Well I'm glad with the Touhou Project ZUN is cool with fan-games for it and the community, however someone DID try to do a Super Smash Bros. style Fighting Fan-Game of Touhou and the creators were "asking" money for support and both fans and ZUN did not LIKE that and so ZUN ask them to stop. Well I can't recall the exact events, but all Touhou fans beforehand made their own fan-related stuff with no profit and these guys come along and do that and angered them and ZUN told them to halt as it wasn't part of the whole "Touhou Project is free/fun to everyone" mindset he has for it.

Well I'm going to play it cool still and see if I can ask permission when I can.

Though here's a quick question for y'all. If I made an original game of sorts where it has original characters, settings, music, and such but adds crossover characters from other series or characters based from other series with alternatives does that count as "fan-gaming" or something else? Is that more "lenient" to have?
 

Andar

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Though here's a quick question for y'all. If I made an original game of sorts where it has original characters, settings, music, and such but adds crossover characters from other series or characters based from other series with alternatives does that count as "fan-gaming" or something else? Is that more "lenient" to have?
Yes and no - and it has nothing directly to do with "lenient".

Copyright infringments need some content to even invoke the copyright, so if the character is only "accidential similiar" to some other game but in an original story, it would depend on the judge before court to decide if it was copyright infringment or fair use. That does mean there is a risk of the trouble of getting a lawyer and appear before court, but because it isn't sure the IP holder will win this won't happen every time.

However, Trademark laws will prohibit that - IF the character had been trademarked as well as the entire game. That you can check in the international trade libraries - and it's usually only done for the main characters of series, not for every sidekick in oneshot games.

So it's still a risk, but you can check the probability before using a character and it won't be as high as if you made a fangame focusing on everything from the IP holder.
 

VirusChris

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I see, thanks for explaining that for me.

Though I do remember someone making a KH fan-game with RMXP. Got it made and released and nothing came out of it, no C&D, though this was years back and mostly used the RMXP tilesets and everything except for the featured characters from the series (but played as original character for the main party). Well I guess it comes down to if the company decided to take action or not even if it's risky. I know this topic talk about using Disney character would have them breathing down your neck faster than you can say "Garwrsh".

Any what if you cannot get a hold of the owner/original creator of the IP you're trying to make a fan-game of? 
 
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jwideman

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Any what if you cannot get a hold of the owner/original creator of the IP you're trying to make a fan-game of? 
This sort of thing came up a few years (give or take) ago. The issue was that a certain website was using content without permission from the copyright holder, and there excuse was that they couldn't get in contact with the owner. That site no longer exists. Care to guess why?
 

Andar

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Any what if you cannot get a hold of the owner/original creator of the IP you're trying to make a fan-game of? 
That concept is often called "abandonware" and used as an excuse to distribute very old games.

But it has two sides, and you need to do your research extremely careful in such a case.

1) If the company of the original IP went bankrupts without its assets being sold, then there is no one to take you before a judge and you're theoretically save.

2) If the company of the original IP was sold somewhere for other reasons and the new IP holder had no direct interest on it, he might ignore the IP and the fangames for years - until he suddenly remembers (possibly even because your fangame got popular) that he has the IP and wants to market it. Boom - you're down.

Case 2) has happened before, I even heard of a case where a fangroup asked and got a "we don't care" from the original company (but never something in writing), then several year later a new owner of the IP decided they had to cancel.

Copyright infringment is always a risk and always depend on the action and decisions of the IP holder who might ignore the infringment for years before taking you down if you don't have a written agreement. But because it's commercial law and not criminal law, there always has to be someone to point at you before the law gets invoked, and that's why a lot of people get away without being sued.

But the more popular your game becomes, the higher the risk of being sued, no matter what it is, unless of course the copyright was really abandoned or timed out (decades after the death of the original creator, all IPs get timed out and the IP becomes public domain - that's why you can use old classic music in games without paying for a licence)
 

VirusChris

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I see... very tricky. I want to make a well-made fan-game, but not if it gets me in trouble.

Though my first fan-game I like to make is a Touhou one so I don't think I'll get as much trouble with that one unless ZUN doesn't want fan creations anymore or someone manages to grab ZUN's series which I doubt will happen. Kinda shrewd with these laws, nothing to do about it. I want to make fan-games for fun though, not profit. Kinda sucks.

Unless it's like with Capcom having given permission or bless to use someone's fan-game in their own media source like that Megaman X Street Fighter fan-game a while back. 
 

jwideman

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I see... very tricky. I want to make a well-made fan-game, but not if it gets me in trouble.

Though my first fan-game I like to make is a Touhou one so I don't think I'll get as much trouble with that one unless ZUN doesn't want fan creations anymore or someone manages to grab ZUN's series which I doubt will happen. Kinda shrewd with these laws, nothing to do about it. I want to make fan-games for fun though, not profit. Kinda sucks.

Unless it's like with Capcom having given permission or bless to use someone's fan-game in their own media source like that Megaman X Street Fighter fan-game a while back. 
There's just TWO simple rules you should always follow when considering making a fan-game or otherwise using someone else's IP:

1) Ask permission before you do ANYTHING.

2) If you can't contact the owner in order to ask permission, assume the answer is "no."

It's really that simple. If you ask permission, the absolute WORST that can happen is they say no. You've invested no time or effort, so you lose nothing. On the other hand, the consequences for not asking permission can be pretty bad.

Full disclosure: I once joined a project where the goal was to make a fan-game based on "abandonware." Wisely, I contacted the company that bought out the company that had created the game. I explained everything we planned to do, which included using assets from the game. They wrote back within a week to say that they'd talked it over with the lawyers and were 100% behind us. We had permission to make a perfect clone of the game, provided we didn't use the game's assets or the trademarked name. Since you can't really make a fan-game that way, that was the end of it. However, the team (I left the project for other reasons) continued on and made an entirely original game which merely "borrowed" some of the concepts. To the best of my knowledge, it is still in development.
 

9tkitsune

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It's just like...
just don't overdo it, by trying to make a business empire out of your fan-game.
Stay humble. Accept if they ask you to take it down.
 

oriju

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No, that's an original definition - one I do not accept at that.


The Star Wars Extended Universe is fan-fiction regardless


of whether it is tolerated and blessed by Lucas himself - as long as it is


not being made with his supervision, not distributed by him or his company, and is not accepted


as canon, then it is fan-fiction.


I don't see why games should be held to a different standard,


and how doing so wouldn't be special pleading.


If I make a Metal Gear fan-game, and Kojima productions says "Hey, go ahead, why not?" but


remain completely detached from the game, to say that it's an" official Metal Gear game" is absurd.


And, what you're doing here is defining a problem into existence. It's a tautology.


"Fan-games are illegal because I define Fan-games as illegal".


That's a pointless way of looking at it, when there exists plenty of fan-art out there in the world


that is allowed for and accepted by artists without affiliations or endorsements.


They did. It's called copyright violations and illegal file-sharing among other things.


The only time "theft" is brought up, is in the inane public service announcement trailers on


movies, and by people who parrot that to justify their morally black and white outraged perspective


on piracy due to their emotional investment in the issue.


Also, unless you've got the magical argument that ended the centuries long debate on whether morality is


subjective or objective, or even a thing at all, I would say you got this backwards -


The only thing that really matters here is whether it's illegal or not.


It's a valid defense when major corporation tries to go after breaches on copyright with the same


vigor you'd usually reserve for people who've robbed others at gun-point in the street.


Piracy not being theft does not change what it is - illegal breach on copyright laws.


Saying "it's not theft" is not a valid defense for that. Saying "it's theft" though, grossly


distorts what's actually going on, and puts people on the spot for having done something that often


has had no real effect on the market, nor on the individual artists who made the products that were


pirated - and in some instances, even lead to increased profits.


And, as I've already said -


We already have better terms and they're already in use. As I said - the legal system does not


refer to copyright infringement or illegal file-sharing as "theft". Only the companies, and the


people who support them do.


This discussion, to my mind, is to put everyone at the same page - so people stop conflating


one crime with another, and form their opinions on the issue based on that conflation rather than


on the distinct nature of each crime.


I'm sure there are many callous individuals out there who don't care about copyrights and break


them for a profit. Whether they hide behind debates like this, I am less certain -


and it shouldn't be relevant in either case.


Truth is truth, inconvenient or not. Beliefs, true or false, can be used to justify bad behavior.


Saying that we should sweep facts under the rug because they might be abused by bad people strikes


me as an extremely problematic position to hold.


Which is illegal, and should be pursued through the justice system.


The laws and the mechanism of them should however aspire to be able to distinguish between


individual cases, and treat them differently.


Most of the copyright laws pushed for by big corporations such as in the aftermath of Napster etc.


have nothing to do with this though.


That these laws might be used to protect certain artists from abuse does not change the fact that the


laws were not primarily designed to do this, but to protect major businesses profit margins that


were themselves founded on unethical business practices abusing those very same artists.


And you have to live with the fact that this crime, can in the eyes of the law, with the correct


forces pushing for it, treat 13 year old Thomas who downloaded a couple of Beyonce albums the exact


same way as the abusive "art thief", whilst also tying into a vast network of other laws conspiring


to keep intellectual properties of individual artists in the hands of the distribution/publishing


companies they work for, whilst siphoning the vast majority of the profit of those intellectual properties


into the hands of people who did little to nothing to attribute to the production of them


in the first place.


This isn't semantics though - It's me calling out a an extremely naive, ignorant and judgmental attitude


based on people having been duped by a semantics (which was started by the music/movie industries).


I am not defending the crime of "art theft" here - I am pointing out the absurdity of creating a set


of laws that can end up treating the kind of crime you describe here the same way it would treat


a victimless crime like a fan-game, fan-movie, fan-fiction or remix from dead franchises


that have been co-opted by the distribution/publishing companies, taken completely out of the hands


of the artists that originally made them to begin with, and who won't see a penny from the source


regardless of whether it is copied and redistributed by hackers/pirates or not.


Do you really not see how ridiculous it is to hold a hostile and judgmental black/white attitude


on the issue of piracy in light of what I've just said? Simple because we can point to the occasional


indie-artist that is hurt by piracy?


Despite the fact that I am not arguing that piracy laws shouldn't exist, nor arguing that it's okay?


And again, that usually has very little to do with the artists, and almost always everything to do


with the publishers, share-holders and economical backers of large corporate structures.


I wouldn't give 2 dongles about whether or not my game spawned a fan-game that contained stuff


that I personally would be uncomfortable with, because I know that guilt by association is a fallacy -


a fallacy I'll be quick and brutal about calling out - and I recognizing that one product does


not in any way change or hamper the nature of another.


Like most people like to say when talking about the FF7 Remake - There is nothing this game can do


to take away from or spoil the original.


More on point though - This paragraph is irrelevant - because fan-games shouldn't be made


to begin with unless the person has the permission of the original IP holder, and I think it's safe to


assume that of the original IP holder green-lights the fan-project, that this isn't an issue.


And that's where you're just wrong. That's not why most of these laws were made. They were


made so the publishing companies that have assumed most of the rights to the IP, and the profits


derived thereof, can protect their future stream of income whilst also protecting


their power-house and continued ability to keep abusing the artists for profit.


Sometimes, as a side-effect, these laws benefit indie-artists, but more often than not, they don't -


because the artists who have publishing companies to pursue these offenses for them,


have gained that at the cost of having given up most of the IP rights to their creations.


It's an inherently abusive system, that punishes the little guy, and often the little irrelevant


pirates, whilst not doing nearly enough to address the real problems with piracy, such as the


one you raised in your example. Suing people for copy-right violation is a costly and time-consuming


thing to do.


How many deviant art users who've been ripped off do you supposed has successfully


carried out a lawsuit against the offending party?


And there you go with the presuppositions again.


No, you could be making a fan-game that you attained permission to make. And even if you didn't,


you could be making a fan-game of a franchise that no longer turns a profit, nor ever will,


especially for the artists that actually made it in the first place (rather than


the publishing company).


As I said - it's perfectly possible to make a fan-game for altruistic reasons in light of that.


So without further ado I present you with this


http://materiacollective.com/music/materia_final_fantasy_vii_remixed


Which is for sale here


https://loudr.fm/release/materia-final-fantasy-vii-remixed/VxYsz


and here


https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/materia-final-fantasy-vii/id1046849552?ls=1


I think this makes my case perfectly.
i literally made an acc just to tell you on what an excellent post you did. well done, great job.
 

ConkerMich

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Wow big time necropost
 

Kes

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oriju, please refrain from necro-posting in a thread. Necro-posting is posting in a thread that has not had posting activity in over 30 days. You can review our forum rules here. Thank you.



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