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Can I refer to a character as a Jedi in a game?

12-29-2009, 11:34 AM
#1
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 40
Can I refer to a character as a Jedi in a game?

I was just wondering if I can use the word "Jedi" in a game. I would not call the game "Jedi whatever" nor would the main character be a Jedi. Just a character is passing or to distinguish a group of characters but they would not be playable in the game. Just referenced once or twice. Something like, "the only way to beat a Jedi in a game of Balderdash (Balderdash is a game in which you read a definition and make up false definitions with it and the other players have to guess what the real definition is) is to not know what the word means yourself."

Let me know.
12-29-2009, 11:35 AM
#2
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 686
Yes.

Cannot see why not.

12-29-2009, 11:59 AM
#3
The Men Who Stare at Goats did it Granted, they were intending it as a nickname based on a movie reference, not a real Jedi.

You could always do it with voiceover, and then credit “jet eye” in the fine print!

Or Lucas may simply not care. They’ve tolerated other fan homages, like UT2004 Troopers (although maybe not in products that make money). If it’s a pretty trivial part of your game, not used in the description or marketing, I wouldn’t worry too much. At worst you could be asked to change it later. (Or maybe they could take your dog away. I’m no lawyer!)

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12-29-2009, 12:27 PM
#4
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 197
On the other hand, the makers of the smartphone known as "Droid" are licensing the word from LucasFilm.

So go for it if you feel like taking a chance that a C&D will show up within hours of release.

The use you mention may not be a problem... not like calling a character in the game a Jedi, which I think would almost certainly trigger a response. Do you have an IP lawyer? Ask him or her what they think.
12-29-2009, 12:29 PM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravity Jim View Post
On the other hand, the makers of the smartphone known as "Droid" are licensing the word from LucasFilm.

So go for it if you feel like taking a chance that a C&D will show up within hours of release.

The use you mention may not be a problem... not like calling a character in the game a Jedi, which I think would almost certainly trigger a response. Do you have an IP lawyer? Ask him or her what they think.
thats exactly what i was going to say! The verizon/google 'Droid' is licensed under Lucasfilm. ahah i found it very ironic haha

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12-29-2009, 12:37 PM
#6
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 10,966
*waves hand* You should not use the word Jedi...


Quote:
Originally Posted by NickFalk View Post
Squids!?

Worst idea ever!
12-29-2009, 01:01 PM
#7
Do it. But it may be a bit risky.
12-29-2009, 01:20 PM
#8
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 40
They are licensing the word "Droid?" That is just silly. That would be like licensing the word Android from Star Trek or some other sci-fi show. In that case let's license the word robot. Well if I do use something like that I will just have to reference it in a way that relates to a game but may not in fact be in the game.
12-29-2009, 01:58 PM
#9
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1
Consult a lawyer

First, I would recommend consulting a lawyer. Second if you want to try to save some money, you can look up websites on US copyright laws. You need to do some research and coming to a gaming chat room is not the place to get legal advice.

IANAL but here's some direction. It depends on how you use "Jedi." If you use it as a nickname ("He's the Jedi of programming"), or you are making a movie like reference ("Those Jedi in Attack of the Clones rocked!") it's legal. The statement "the only way to beat a Jedi in a game of Balderdash" is also legal, but only in and of itself. If this were a statement within a type of word or trivia game, or some kind of nonsense throwaway line, it's not a problem.

However, it sounds like you are actually going to call a character "a Jedi." If you are, that's 100% not legal under current US copyright law. Lucas owns the license to that. Even if you were making some kind of fantasy based game with a character known as a "Jedi" and Jedi were not sword wielding knights with mental powers, it's still not legal.

As a side note that's got nothing to do with legality, if you were to do this, creatively I don't think this makes much sense. Why use a common but licensed name for a game that has nothing to do with Star Wars when you could make up your own?

Lucas can't own words like "Stormtrooper" because that's what many soldiers in WW2 Germany were called. Same with Bounty Hunter, it's a common term English language term. These are part of the English language and were not made up as part of a movie or development of a product.

PS: Droid is one of those borderline things, an argument can be made to try to break the copyright on this, but it would be too expensive to try and I'm sure the makers of the droid found Lucas' license requirements reasonable enough to not try to sue over it. Android is not copyrighted, but Droid is "slang" that was "invented" by Lucas for star wars and Lucas had enough legal standing at the time to get the copyright (that and enough legal sense to copyright everything in that movie and keep all the merchandising rights for himself). Please note I'm not defending Lucas which is why the word invented is in quotes.
12-29-2009, 02:04 PM
#10
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 197
No, it's not "silly."

It would seem that LucasFilm owns the word "droid" as a trademark (did you ever hear it before Star Wars?). So if you want to use it, you get to license it or be told to stop.

When Apple decided to name the computer "Macintosh," they were forced by the court to pay a licensing fee to McIntosh Labs, who already had the name (despite the different spelling) trademarked in the electronics market.

Trademarks are arguably the most important form of IP, and guarding them is no joke.

Also, don't take legal advice from strangers on the internet. They're just guessing. Call a lawyer if you don't want to get called on it.

Last edited by Gravity Jim; 12-29-2009 at 02:09 PM.