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Can I use these as characters in my game?

09-26-2009, 11:05 PM
#1
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 362
Send a message via Skype™ to micah
Can I use these as characters in my game?

Attachment 8268

Part of my upcoming game involves feeding internet trolls, and I'm trying to nail down exactly what the trolls should look like. Personally I think that having these as characters in my game should fall under fair use / parody. I'd probably not use real photographs, but re-done digital graphics of them instead. But I'm honestly not the most knowledgeable about that kind of patent law.

But what do you think? Is it fair use? If I send it off to Apple am I just asking for a rejection email?

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Last edited by micah; 12-03-2009 at 05:29 PM.
09-27-2009, 02:49 AM
#2
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 439
hmmm.... personally, I wouldn't use those characters... seems like an unnecessary risk.

There was a case of the Garbage Pail Kids as a parody of Cabbage Patch Dolls... the judge said that it was copyright infringement... so any resemblance between garbage pail kids and cabbage patch dolls had to be removed...

09-27-2009, 09:07 AM
#3
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
I think your game idea is more satire than it is parody. To be protected under fair use, you would really need to be parodying the dolls themselves in the game, rather than internet trolls.
09-27-2009, 02:16 PM
#4
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 116
I am interested in this subject as well. Is there anyone that can give the basics to parody/satire/fair use?

For instance, looking at jib jab videos of various presidents (using pictures that they did not take) is evidently okay I am guessing.

Also, something like Potter Puppet Pals youtube videos, they are able to use the Potter name, as well as all the characters names and they do benefit financially from it at their site by selling items. How is this not copyright infringement?

If anyone can put in layman's terms some of the basics of these rules it would greatly be appreciated. Sorry to the thread author for adding more questions, I hope that this is continuing your initial intent.
09-27-2009, 09:30 PM
#5
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 109
I'd suggest that you consult with a lawyer who's knowledgeable about copyright/trademark laws if you want to really CYA, unless if there's a lawyer here on TA who's dispensing free legal advice.

You could also poke around on the net and check out info regarding the concept of fair use and draw your own conclusions, as lots of information is available on the subject matter.

Based on my personal dev experience, my suggestion would be to not use the trolls unless you can justify how their use falls under satire or parody. There's some interesting legal precedent on this, so you should read up on that.

Regarding the Potter Puppet Pals or JibJab, just because they "appear" to be getting away with it now doesn't necessarily mean that they're not violating copyright or may be subject to legal trouble in the future.

Rōnin game developer.
09-27-2009, 10:52 PM
#6
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 427
Strongly recommend you don't use them. You're entering into dangerous territory. Shouldn't be too hard to design your own trolls.

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09-27-2009, 11:01 PM
#7
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 4,761
WoW Dancers is still available. So there is some wiggle room in the app store.
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=326849635&mt=8
09-28-2009, 12:02 AM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMc99 View Post
WoW Dancers is still available. So there is some wiggle room in the app store.
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=326849635&mt=8
I think the only reason it still exists is that Blizzard CHOSES to let it exist. They probably realized it's useful for viral promotion, plus it does not make much sense to sue or otherwise harass the millions of people paying you monthly fees (take the hint, music industry)...

That said Micah, the troll dolls are dangerous territory. Maybe they will ignore your game... or maybe they will simply wait and see if you get popular, THEN file suit for damages so they can get more money. A lot of awful people and companies out there. Watch your back

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09-28-2009, 01:34 AM
#9
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 362
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Hrm, ok, makes sense. I'll just have to figure out some other look for trolls then.

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Cryptose (TA) - Skeleton Key (TA) - Skeleton Key HD (TA link) - Aeropack (TA)
09-28-2009, 01:47 AM
#10
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Munich
Posts: 384
Send a message via Skype™ to rdklein
probably it would be a good idea to contact them and try to get a permission, even paying a small fee from the license might work - usually such permissions are not given, but why not trying. Of course then they watch you, but you are on the safe side.

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