Question about copyright

The role-playing games (I-X) that started it all and the various spin-offs (including Dark Messiah).

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d4rk3lf
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Question about copyright

Postby d4rk3lf » Oct 24 2020, 21:15

Ok, so someone decides to do the remake of, let's say, MM6: Mandate of Heaven, in Unity, CryEngine, Unreal, or his own engine... whatever..
As far as I know, Ubisoft have all rights to M&M franchise.

HOWEVER,
If somebody make remake, but to play a remake would require buying original MM6, either from Ubisoft directly, or Gog, would that make it legit?

It doesn't even have to sell.
It can be distributed freely, but with back of some Kickstarter campaign.

Long story short:
MM6, Kickstart, Free, but you can't play without original.

Thanks.

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Re: Question about copyright

Postby raekuul » Oct 25 2020, 13:10

Kickstarter would likely be the sticking point. Most companies turn a blind eye to fan remake projects of older games under the condition that no money is changing hands. Once you get Kickstarter or any other crowdfunding campaign involved, they will be legally required to act at that point in order to protect copyright and trademarks.
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Tress
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Re: Question about copyright

Postby Tress » Oct 26 2020, 13:38

Depends on project type. Usually making engine remake or addon doesn't ring any bells, as you can see from tons of projects that do it. Once money is involved which is more than donation to keep site up, i guess there is a lot of legal issues, which probably will be way too much to deal for, for a fan project.

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Re: Question about copyright

Postby raekuul » Oct 26 2020, 16:14

The main examples for this scheme would be KeeperFX (for Dungeon Keeper) and the many, many source ports of Doom/Doom 2 (since the engine is GPL but the assets aren't, what OP describes is exactly what Doom source ports have to do). As I said before the main problem would be the crowdfunding aspect - Ubi will be legally required to shut it down (in order to protect their ownership of the IP) if they find out money changes hands over this.
Last edited by raekuul on Oct 26 2020, 16:16, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Question about copyright

Postby Angelspit » Oct 26 2020, 18:18

I guess the trick would be to make it an hommage to the original rather than a remake. Use a new name, and avoid using any copyrighted assets.
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Re: Question about copyright

Postby raekuul » Oct 26 2020, 18:34

That's kind of the opposite of what the OP is talking about - they're saying "an engine remake, but the player has to provide the copyrighted assets themselves" rather than "an all new game in the vein of the games"
Last edited by raekuul on Oct 26 2020, 18:34, edited 1 time in total.
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tomchen1989
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Re: Question about copyright

Postby tomchen1989 » Oct 27 2020, 11:16

First, you'll make your game strictly non commercial: you do not ever make money from it

Then you can choose one of the following paths:
1. you use MM's engine and/or assets of the original MM games
2. you don't use MM's engine, or any assets of the original MM games (however if you choose this path, then the requirement of the original MM6 would be bizarre, but still feasible anyway)

But inevitably, regardless which of the above paths you choose, as a remake, I guess you'll have to use MM's storyline, and Enroth's map (the places' location and names)

As long as you use MM's storyline and maps, It can't be 100% legit.

But yes, lawsuit against a strictly non commercial remake or other fan project that requires the original game is extremely rare, or virtually unheard of. Such fan projects may fall within scope of the "fair use" doctrine. Also, action against such fan projects would be ugly and could hurt fan community and backfire somehow.

But, the crowdfunding, kickstarter part could make your game look not that non commercial. While crowdfunding+nonprofit combination is possible, you can imagine how complicated it would be to make your crowdfunded project strictly non commercial.
Last edited by tomchen1989 on Oct 27 2020, 11:50, edited 1 time in total.


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