Patreon for Fan games

Discussion in 'Commercial Games Discussion' started by Powerise, Feb 28, 2019.

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  1. Powerise

    Powerise Veteran Veteran

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    Hi everyone, I want to ask a topic.
    I plan to make a crossover game from other famous game characters such as pikachu, digimon characters, chocobo and others.
    The marerial used is made by myself or I hire someone else to make some sprites, music and scripts.
    If this game is finished, I will not sell it and this game will be a fan game where everyone can download for free. Question, am I allowed to open Patreon to help with the budget for making this game? Because I see many painters or artists who paint game characters, anime or other famous characters and they open patreons for themselves.
    I do not know whether this has been discussed or not before, but I say thank you for your attention.

    Regards...
     
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  2. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    There are two problems with that, and both are legal issues:

    1: Fan games are by definition illegal unless you got permission from the holder of the IP. Fair use does NOT, despite rumors to the contrary, protect fan games.

    2: If you use a patreon, you game will be considered commercial the minute you get $0.01 or more in revenue. That is by the legal definition of the term commercial. So that can affect what assets you can use, and if the IP holders file suit against you can increase the size of the lawsuit as well.
     
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  3. Bumblefish97

    Bumblefish97 Veteran Veteran

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    It generally depends, but as a rule no, usually not. I can't think of game examples so the main example I'll use is Star Wars fan films I've seen. While you can usually get permission to make them, they have to be funded out of pocket as crowdfunding counts as you profiting from them. I'd assume it's the same with games.
     
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  4. EthanFox

    EthanFox Veteran Veteran

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    Just to say, these are legally murky at best, and likely illegal. I'm not throwing shade on artists who draw and sell fan-art. That's what they choose to do, and they choose to take that risk; just part of that involves accepting that it could come back to bite you.

    Whether things are possible and whether they are truly legal are two different things. You're right; there are many people on Patreon who draw characters from places like Pokemon, Star Wars, etc. and they profit from it via their patrons, without asking for permission from the license-holder. It's technically not okay, but there's the tacit idea that Disney or Nintendo or whatever generally gain more from allowing these things to exist than shutting them down.

    However, if an artist like this gets too big, or too popular, Disney etc. could issue them a cease-and-desist, and there's not really anything the creator can say against that. They usually have to go on and do something else. This actually happens even more with videogames (Sega used to be pretty litigious about this, though they've eased up a bit in recent years).

    So yeah, you can see it on Patreon, but that's just because those artists either have permission, or have gotten away without having it due to the relative obscurity afforded by the internet. The problem with doing this as a project is knowing that if you get popular and finally reach people... You might have it all just taken away from you.
     
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  5. dulsi

    dulsi Veteran Veteran

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    I would also say there is a difference between "I will make things" and "I will make a thing (or few things) directly tied to an IP". With the first, you can argue that the money goes for original things and the things without rights are more like fun freebies. If you directly say you are using the patreon to fund a game tied to an IP, you are clearly profiting on the IP without the rights.
     
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  6. Powerise

    Powerise Veteran Veteran

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    Thank you for everything for the answer. I became quite aware of the limits that I had to do and the consequences if I kept forcing a Fan game with funding from Patreon. The safest way might be to make a game without additional funds without funding from other parties and with the aim without profit, just a free game fan. Even so, you still have to be careful because some companies also ban game fans from their franchises.
     
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  7. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    it really depends on what you're making a fan game off too, though. Make a fangame of Pokemon and put it on patreon, and Nintendo will immediately send one of their snipers to kill you 25 minutes after you make your patreon account and work with the U.S. government to create a coverup story, while you can make a Breath of Fire fangame and capcom will send you a letter asking how much money you'd want for your luxury cruise to japan and how much they love you

    disclaimer: this is not legal advice
     
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  8. Powerise

    Powerise Veteran Veteran

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    Yes, I am more careful and try to choose which one is good so that my efforts are not in vain. Thank you for the (not legal) advice :D
     
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  9. Jomarcenter

    Jomarcenter jomarcenter-MJM Veteran

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    Patereon usually don't allowed people to just get money to make fan games or fan works most of the time, you have to try to create original content and put those fan works on the side, it just their policy.
     
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  10. Powerise

    Powerise Veteran Veteran

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    Really nice info, thanks Jomarcenter! :)
     
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  11. atoms

    atoms Veteran Veteran

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    @Powerise My advice would be is work out what it is about the fan games that you really like, and if you can do it, create your own content that has similarities but is different enough from those fan games. Make something similar to them, but something that you own so it becomes legal what you do and hopefully you can still enjoy it.
     
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