Disclaimer: Knowledge and limits of responsibility First of all, let me say that all incoming advices and explanations are from me. My legal knowledge comes from currently being a Law student at a Canadian University with about one year left (at the time of writing, April 2019. I still got to take the Bar afterward), and I mostly focus on commercial law (when we have optional classes, I usually take all the commercially related ones since I want to practice in that area in the future). So not being a barred attorney yet, I can't give legal advice for a client, nor do I have the necessary legal insurances. However, what I can do (and will do here) is give explanations on general questions and give general advices on general situations. What I can't do is give specific advices for someone pertaining their particular project or business. On that note, feel free to ask anything that isn't specific to your project. I will answer to the best of my abilities and update the questions/answers list down below. Also, if there is any inaccurate information or error, please notice me and will correct it immediately. Note on the legal validity based on geographical jurisdictions Spoiler An important and legitimate questions arises from the simple fact that many of us live in different countries than others and therefore abide by different laws and answer to different authorities. This however has a limited impact here since the most important rule in commercial law is that "the contract is the rule of the parties" and that it usually takes precedent over laws. This principle is however also limited by 2 facts: Contracts can't oppose public order laws (ex: you can't have a clause that makes someone a slave for all eternity since slavery is illegal in most countries), and public order laws are different in different countries. International laws and customs offer an international basis for certain things. Some customs are so uniform and used across the world that they constitute customs that can't be ignored by a contract, sometimes even explicitly (ex: the Force Majeure clause). As for the provenance of my legal formation, it will be mainly based on Canadian laws, more specifically federal laws (public sector) and Quebec's provincial laws (private sector). I want to add that Canadian laws have a common law tradition, so it highly resembles many things in the UK and other Commonwealth countries. In addition to that, Canadian laws are highly inspired by the United States legislation and jurisprudence, especially since the Canadian Supreme Court seems to almost be in love and always follow the US Supreme Court. So to sum it up, if you're from Canada, the US, or a Commonwealth country, chances are your laws are similar, or at least very similar, to what I will be describing. QUESTIONS: Everything on the subject of commercial and non-commercial Spoiler Q: What makes a project commercial? (the principle of the commercial aspect) A: The general consensus in the usual business practices is that the moment you gain money, directly (ex: sell your game for a set price) or indirectly (ex: receive money from patreon, crowdfunding, adds), it makes your project commercial. Q: If my project doesn't make money, is it still considered commercial? A: It can still be considered commercial. Remember, the principle to evaluate if your project is commercial is to ask yourself if your project makes money directly or indirectly. The criteria isn't if your project makes a profit, it's either it generates money or not. Do not forget that profit = money generated - money spent. The money spent is not relevant to the commercial attribute of your project. Q: If all the money I receive is used to finance the project, by for example buying assets, and that I also make no money from my project, can it be considered non-commercial? A: No. How you spend your money is irrelevant to evaluating the commercial aspect, or lack of it, of your project. The question isn't how the money is spent, it is if there is any money earned directly or indirectly by or for the project. Q: Does that mean that the moment I buy an asset, it makes my game a commercial game? A: No, your game can still be considered a non-commercial game, but there are a lot of things to consider. First of all, let's be reminded that the commercial aspect can be defined in a contract with the asset creator. In that scenario, the definition of commercial will be the one from the contract, not the one from the laws and customs. However, in the lack of a consensual and contractual definition, here's what happens: If the money comes from your own pocket (1) and wasn't earned in relation with your project (2), your project will be considered, in general, non-commercial. Makes sure both criteria are met, and even then it might be considered commercial. Bear in mind that even if you're right, any disagreement on the commercial aspect of your project is susceptible to be decided in front of a judge, and nobody wants that. If you do not met both criteria, it's probably a commercial project. If the money is earned in relation with your project, it means that your project generated directly or indirectly money, so I once again have to refer to the commercial criteria. For more info, check out the legal definition in the US law, and see the definition proposed by Creative Commons: Definition: "The term “used for commercial purposes” means the carriage of persons or property for any fare, fee, rate, charge or other consideration, or directly or indirectly in connection with any business, or other undertaking intended for profit." (18 US Code Section 31) (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/31). From Creative Commons (to give an idea on international customs): "The definition of commercial use is broad, covering more than just obvious 'profit-making' uses. In practise, the term is equivalent to income-generating use of any kind, whether direct or indirect." (https://www.thehelpful.com/creativecommons/what-is-commercial-use.html) QUESTIONS: Intellectual property Spoiler Q: Can I use the default RPG Maker RTP assets in other projects? A: The answer depends on 2 criteria that must both be respected: You must own the RPG Maker Engine from which the RTP assets you are using come from. You must use those assets for a project created with an RPG Maker Engine. In order for you to be able to use RTP assets in your project, you must respect both criteria. Here are a couple of examples of legal and illegal usage: Using RPG Maker MV's RTP assets in a project created with RPG Maker MV: legal of course. Using RPG Maker VX Ace's RTP assets in a project created with RPG Maker XP: legal if you own both VX Ace and XP. If not, it's illegal. Using RPG Maker MV's RTP assets in a project created with Unity: illegal. Q: Do I have to register my project to have the intellectual property on it? A: No. For most countries, the creator is presumed the legal owner of his work and have the intellectual property on it. Furthermore, because of many international conventions, you can claim your ownership in most countries. However, some countries allow you to publicly register your work legally by following a procedure, but that only helps you reinforce your ownership presumption. This is an unnecessary step, but could help if you want to be extra safe. However, I believe that the inconveniences of the procedure (usually annual costs, annual review, or the hassle in general) is not worth for most project of little size. Q: What's the difference between a patent and a copyright, and is it relevant here? A: No, it isn't relevant. Patents and copyrights are two different types of intellectual property that offers the owner of its right the exclusive right to exploit the object of the intellectual property. However, that object differs for patents and copyrights. Copyrights: They protect the right of the author of an original work, that is either literary, dramatic, musical and artistic (it is a limited list of categories in Canada because of the Copyright Act, but the general idea must be the same for other countries). The work needs to be original. Patents: Is an invention, not a work, which refers to any "new and useful art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement in any art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter" (Patent Act, Canada). That list is generally an exhaustive list of categories (in Canada, see Havard College v. Canada,  4 RCS 45). Furthermore, the invention must be completely new, it must be useful (so have a practical application), and must not be evident (easily deduced). As you can see, copyrights protects work (simply have to prove the originality of the work) and patents protect invention (have to prove that it's from one of the named categories, that it is new, have a practical application, and isn't evident). In the case of game projects, it is a work of art and is therefore protected only under copyright laws. Unless you create a game engine which use new rendering and computation techniques, you own copyrights, not a patent (which must be filed anyway).