The Creator's Legal Clinic: Advices and Explanations

BreakerZero

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I have another legal concern related to MV. Perhaps more specific is that I ran into an issue where a host app that I built to support Xbox deployment has the unfortunate limitation of not being able to read an LZString when saving files - only the raw JSON code is visible to my WinRT interface (and the base64 compression used by the default save method has no effect on this). So my implementation has to use the "behind the scenes" version instead, because in a browser-based app the storage is not saved on the local disk but in the browser cache. And needless to say, I require a hybrid save solution to accommodate this properly such that a missing disk file affects its matching file in the browser cache. (Or in other words, if you accidentally move or delete the file while not in the game, then its pair is deleted from the browser cache on the next launch.)

Obviously this is useful for things like cloud backup which is my primary reason for doing so (I mean, who the hell wants to redo their entire game because of a device failure?) but at the same time I don't want to go too far with this.
 

MushroomCake28

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Hmm, I'm not sure to grasp what the particular problem is, but it seems to me more of an implementation problem than a legal one.
 

Kupotepo

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@MushroomCake28, I get what @BrakerZero might be lead to. He might talk about if this implementation of the system move or delete user data in the game. Is he liability of the data failure?

I mean he can counter this by the user agreement that said he is not liable for the data loss. That is my stupid thinking. You are probably better equipped of this area lol.
 
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BreakerZero

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I was referring to the fact that I am currently storing the raw save data instead of encoding it. Right now I have not completed my replacement encoder, however I still have to ask about using the raw JSON data that is generated by the MV core scripts prior to encoding. The reason of course is that I'm coming at this from a license impact perspective relative to the MV package itself.
 

MushroomCake28

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Depends on the data I suppose. If it's just the save files for instance, there shouldn't be any issue, but if you're storing more, like DLC assets or other stuff that requires you to encode them, then yes it will be an issue. As far as the MV code, I don't think it's an issue. I mean, for most MV games you can already access the MV core scripts from the game folder. It shouldn't be any different in this case.
 

Lihinel

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Hey, I develop a free game and need a lot of skill images in my game and a lot of my skills are similar in nature to those of Guild Wars 1. (Except the battle turn based RPG, while GW1 is an MMO and so on...)
Now I know that I can't use their graphics, but what about painting images on my own that resemble the original skill icons?

Examples original / my version:
Searing Flames:
SearingFlames.png
Backfire:
Backfire.png

I know that artists don't like people who copy or trace, but to be honest, I am not an artist and I need dozens if not hundreds of skill icons, so I'd only refrain from it if there is a legal problem with it.
 

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Dopan

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@Lihinel
i didnt study jura , but in my oppinion these are different images, (not just added some effects)..and if resembling is a crime, than i dont know how this(link to mona lisa satire) can be possible
 

Finnuval

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@Lihinel I don't know about your icons however I do want to respond to @Dopan and Mona Lisa:

That's a case of Copyright last up to 70 years post mortem auctoris ( "after the author's death"). Putting it into the public domain.
 

BreakerZero

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@Lihinel that would most definitely be pushing it. Rips are a no-go and those may be too, so I don't really see a way forward with that (unless someone else says otherwise). For my needs using something that's standardized does the trick much better and without the need for clearing things up later if there's a problem (or worse). To give you an example: in my game the stun state icon is literally the stick man that fell on his ass, and which is also the universally-understood symbol for a real-life trip hazard. Much easier to understand and not as subjectable to someone else's concerns.
 

MushroomCake28

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Hey, I develop a free game and need a lot of skill images in my game and a lot of my skills are similar in nature to those of Guild Wars 1. (Except the battle turn based RPG, while GW1 is an MMO and so on...)
Now I know that I can't use their graphics, but what about painting images on my own that resemble the original skill icons?

Examples original / my version:
Searing Flames:
SearingFlames.png
Backfire:
Backfire.png

I know that artists don't like people who copy or trace, but to be honest, I am not an artist and I need dozens if not hundreds of skill icons, so I'd only refrain from it if there is a legal problem with it.
Copying infringes copyright, but inspiration does not. I admit, the line between both can be blurry at times, and sometimes it's not something you can know for sure until it gets in front of a judge. Those look a bit too much like the original in my opinion, it's almost like you took the original and applied some filters on it.

That's a case of Copyright last up to 70 years post mortem auctoris ( "after the author's death"). Putting it into the public domain.
Correct! Although the number of years can vary depending on countries (it's 50 years in Canada and in the US). It can also differ if it's the creation of a corporation, in which case it's just a set amount of time after the creation of the work (75 years in the US I think, but let's see if Disney can fight to make it longer lol).
 

Lihinel

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Thanks, I guess Ill remake those and change the style and other details, glad I asked while I only had about a dozen icons done.
This is a version of a different skill, I think this should be on the save side:

HealingBreeze.png

If so Ill continue along those lines.
 

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BreakerZero

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Those look a bit too much like the original in my opinion, it's almost like you took the original and applied some filters on it.

That's exactly what I was thinking. May as well change 'em out and be done with it.
 

BreakerZero

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A quick question regarding soundtrack design: I'm thinking that I'm gonna go ahead and do it for design purposes, but I'm trying to decide on which database to go with. For what I intend to do, I'm kinda split between going with ASCAP or BMI, and while I have a request filed with the latter they have a bit of a backlog at the moment. Additionally, one of my originally-planned bits doesn't seem to be covered by ASCAP (or so says their database) so obviously the final product will have to be given a balance split in terms of priority and budget.
 

MushroomCake28

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@BreakerZero I'm not well versed into the licensing contracts of both organizations. You should check them both up, there's probably a page on their websites explaining their licensing fees and permissions. Another option would be to go with free resources, or even music packs.
 

BreakerZero

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I checked and the lowest website/app rate for ASCAP is like $266 for an estimated 300,000 sessions (actually the number is 369,000 assuming the first $24,600 of sales revenue). I don't have any further info on BMI yet (and as I said, they have a bit of a backlog) and... wait a sec, what counts as a "session" for a video game anyway?
 

MushroomCake28

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It really depends on how they defined it in their contract. Usually, such agencies have a license for performances, shop environment, all the places people listen to a music based on location, and such a license can potentially calculate the number of sessions. However, there's usually a different license, or just an alternate way to calculate royalties, for distributed materials, physically or electronically, that use a copyrighted soundtrack (example: CDs, movies, etc.). Video games logically falls under this category.

Your best bet is to try to contact them to get clarifications.
 

BreakerZero

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After further consideration I think I'm leaning toward synch terms (and whatever I have to do to cover the cost) rather than going through as I originally planned. I also believe after further research that such an approach may actually be a better fit for what I intend to do. Thanks for the input, though!

EDIT: Based on communication with other parties, it seems that it wasn't a good fit after all... and that I'm better off going straight to the source. But at least I tried.
 
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BreakerZero

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Quick legal question regarding boss design. I haven't decided on actually using it (because reasons) however I managed to come up with a decent "broken pieces" boss. What I mean is that the boss splits into pieces with a flash of light, and then proceeds to move to the other side of the room by one piece at a time before another flash reforms the boss. On top of that, reducing the boss to a certain amount of HP while in combat also triggers a boss split and therefore ending the battle sequence until the boss reforms itself and you engage combat again. And to complicate matters further, you only have a second and a half to start a combat sequence before the next split begins.

Obviously I'm using a different name for the boss, but I'm not sure about any other specifics to be aware of if I do end up using it.
 

EthanFox

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Quick legal question regarding boss design. I haven't decided on actually using it (because reasons) however I managed to come up with a decent "broken pieces" boss. What I mean is that the boss splits into pieces with a flash of light, and then proceeds to move to the other side of the room by one piece at a time before another flash reforms the boss. On top of that, reducing the boss to a certain amount of HP while in combat also triggers a boss split and therefore ending the battle sequence until the boss reforms itself and you engage combat again. And to complicate matters further, you only have a second and a half to start a combat sequence before the next split begins.

Obviously I'm using a different name for the boss, but I'm not sure about any other specifics to be aware of if I do end up using it.
Are you concerned this is too similar to the boss from Megaman that does something like this?

You don't have to worry about this; you can't actually patent/copyright game mechanics, and this is an example. You can patent certain things about games pertaining to their content, so if you mad this enemy look just like the Megaman enemy and/or gave it the same name, you'd potentially be in hot water, but it doesn't sound like you're doing that.

I think it's came up here before, but this has been arbitrated in various courts over the decades. Midway tried to patent "side-scrolling" as a game mechanic in the 80s with Defender, and Sega even tried with the four-button viewpoints for "3D games that allow the user to select from custom viewpoints" in Virtua Racing. Neither of these attempts were successful. Hell, a few years ago, Zynga completely ripped off a game called Tiny Tower with their game Dream Heights, which was pretty much the same thing.

You can't patent game mechanics.

Bear in mind, this is also a good thing. If you could, MB Games could've patented games that use paper money as currency for Monopoly, or Taito could've patented, I dunno; that enemies explode when you shoot them in Space Invaders.
 

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