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User avatar   Uber Modder Uber ModderMember since: 28.01.2009, 20:54Posts: 2050Location: Under Ruan's bed. Likes: 1
 

 Post Topic: Creating a mod: Copyright, IP Usage & You
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 17:46 
This is just a short list of games and companies its best not to try and make a mod of as if the company finds it, they will serve a cease and desist order - which often happens just before the game happens to be ready for release and its absolutely horrendous to see all the work go down the drain.

Please note - this is to help you not waste months of your time developing something only to receive a Cease & Desist letter. This is just advice - but its a good idea if you take it.

RULES FOR CRYENGINE IP USAGE
  • You are not legally allowed to import Crysis assets into the FarCry Editor.
  • All Crysis IP rights belong to EA, however, you are allowed to use Crysis assets with the CryEngine 2's Crysis, Crysis: Warhead and Crysis Wars SDK only.
  • All FarCry assets belong to Ubisoft and as such may not be used within the Crysis Editor.

SHORTLIST OF IP'S NOT TO TOUCH
  • Mods based upon ANY Marvel franchise
  • Alien/Predator mods
  • Star Wars mods featuring the Jedi/Sith powers
  • Square Enix
  • Sony
  • Konami
  • Mods based on any Hasbro franchise

The main problem is that companies can perceive a modification on their Intellectual Property to be harmful to them - it may harm their sales, or may harm their appearance as two examples, hence why some companies won't let you do it at all.

RULES FOR MICROSOFT IP USAGE:
  • Microsoft is slightly more lax about the usage of its IP - yet you have to follow certain rules to be able to do so. You can read the rules of usage in this post, here.

RULES FOR GAMES WORKSHOP IP USAGE:
  • Like Microsoft, Games Workshop is more than happy to let people use its IP, as long as its rules are followed - disobey them at your peril! You can find them in this post.

(Thanks to MWLL|Death_Grin for finding those, and correcting my original post.)

RULES FOR AUDIO/MUSIC USAGE:
  • If you want to use an artists' music, then you need to contact them first. Obviously, this is a lot easier if its an independent artist than someone whose been signed.
  • Most of the time, artists will be fine with you using their music, but you really should ask before doing so.

GOOD RULES TO FOLLOW:
  1. Most companies don't like clones made of their work on another engine - particularly if they have the possibility to be better than their own work, and its free to access.
  2. You're better off asking permission if it is using someones IP, than just not bothering - perhaps they will say yes to you using their work, if you present it as not showing any kind of threat to their work, or a cause of loss of income to their work. They might even offer you work if you've done a good enough job!
  3. You're always better coming up with your own IP than copying someone elses. Remember - An idea cannot be copyrighted ("surviving in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with mutants, slavers, and raiders constantly attacking you" is an idea). An expression of that idea (Fallout 3) CAN be copyrighted.

If you have any suggestions to add to this, that I may have missed, please post and I'll edit this post to reflect that.

Update: 2010 December. Added some information on music/audio usage.
Update: 2010 August. Added information on FarCry/Crysis/EA/Ubisoft/Crytek.
Update: 2009 December. Some companies terms of use may have changed since.


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Last edited by Squiggers on 12.12.2010, 23:40, edited 8 times in total.

User avatar   Uber Modder Uber ModderMember since: 06.10.2008, 23:11Posts: 1586Location: Virginia, USA Likes: 0
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 17:54 
Noted. Thanks man.


Quote:
Originally posted by Hmmm:
/Closed
Because some things never deserved to be open....
User avatar   Crytek Staff Member Crytek Staff MemberMember since: 11.07.2008, 20:25Posts: 11735Location: Nottingham, UK Likes: 75
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 18:00 
/Stickied, useful idea. :)


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User avatar   Hardcore Modder Hardcore ModderMember since: 16.10.2007, 23:13Posts: 884Location: Iowa, USA Likes: 1
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 18:04 
Most of your examples have rigid rules for modding/using their IP. For example most if not all require it to be a total conversion because you can not mix any other IP with their IP. In other words no boltguns from wh40k in crysis unless its a TC mod or no halo suits in crysis instead of nano suits.

The primary reason for such rules is that they have the legal responsability to protect the integrity of their IP. Also if there already is a popular game that is a equivelant it is likely to get CD'd (Cease and Desist.) For example a Halo RTS using SAGE engine (command and conquere) would probably get a CD because of Halo Wars (despite the fact that halo wars is a consul exclusive. Or a direct clone of Halo (even if its a TC) in crysis since its then a direct competitor (and not published by microsoft so theres another check against it.) You must carefuly think about the reasons why your mod could be canned.

Microsoft and Games Workshop in particular have modding/IP usage rules that are published online that you can take a look at.

Heres what Microsoft says in a nutshell:

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community/developer/rules.htm

"Here’s the magic words from our lawyers: so long as you respect these rules, Microsoft grants you a personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use and display Game Content and to create derivative works based upon Game Content, strictly for noncommercial and personal use. We can revoke this limited use license at any time and for any reason."

* You can’t reverse engineer our games to access the assets or otherwise do things that the games don’t normally permit in order to create your Items.

* You can’t use Game Content to create pornographic or obscene Items, or anything that contains vulgar, racist, hateful, or otherwise objectionable content. We can’t help you much here except to say that just like the old saying goes, you know it when you see it.

* You can’t sell or otherwise earn anything from your Items. We will let you have advertising on the page with the Item on it, but that’s it. That means you can’t sell your Item, post it on a site that requires subscription or other fees, solicit donations for your Item of any kind (even by PayPal), use it to enter a contest or sweepstakes, or post it on a page you use to sell other items (even if those other items have nothing to do with Game Content or Microsoft). This doesn’t restrict you from using your Item for film festivals – that’s not our intention, even if you get a prize for winning. But where someone is trying to promote their commercial venture (even just a commercial website) with a “machinima contestâ€


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Last edited by MWLL|Death_Grin on 06.06.2009, 18:21, edited 5 times in total.
User avatar   Uber Modder Uber ModderMember since: 15.02.2008, 14:13Posts: 2735Location: Greece Likes: 5
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 18:06 
Very useful info, but hard to read. Please change the red color it is very tiring for the eyes.


User avatar   Uber Modder Uber ModderMember since: 28.01.2009, 20:54Posts: 2050Location: Under Ruan's bed. Likes: 1
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 18:07 
Ah, sorry there - the info I found on Microsoft and Games Workshop IP use was a tad outdated it seems. >_>
I'll change the original post to reflect what you've said there.

Cheers Death_Grin.


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User avatar   Hardcore Modder Hardcore ModderMember since: 16.10.2007, 23:13Posts: 884Location: Iowa, USA Likes: 1
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 18:09 
And heres the Games Workshop policy:

http://uk.games-workshop.com/legal/canandcant/1/

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

* Please make it clear that your use is unofficial by including some wording to the effect that, for example, "This website is completely unofficial and in no way endorsed by Games Workshop Limited." Are people likely to be confused as to whether your web site or any material was produced by Games Workshop just by looking at it? If so, then you need to alter it. In other words, do not try to make your material look "official."

* Please do not change our trademarks in any way (e.g., stretch or deform them)

* Include an appropriate disclaimer on your web site from the list on the following webpage

* Please make the origins of the intellectual property very clear, in other words, make sure that from a brief review of your material people know that you are unofficially using Games Workshop's intellectual property (and not your own IP or the IP of a third party

MODIFICATIONS, TOTAL CONVERSIONS, AND GAMES

We want people to express their enjoyment of our games with as little interference from us as possible, as long as they behave reasonably with our IP and follow any reasonable requests that we may make. We are not inherently opposed to hobbyists creating games or mods using our IP, in fact we are flattered that people want to spend so much time creating games and mods in the GW universes.

If you want to make a game, TC or a mod using our IP you must adhere to the following (in addition to the general principles as outlined above):

* Any game or mod must be a "total conversion." In other words, you must not use our intellectual property (logos, images, names etc.) in relation to the worlds, names, logos, or images of any other company. For example, you cannot place our Space Marines in a Disney total conversion using the Unreal engine, but you could make a TC solely using Space Marines with the Unreal engine. This is, of course, assuming that you have permission to use the Unreal engine.

* Please bear in mind that we may require you to remove the game or mod from any public forum at any time so that we can comply with any licenses that we may have with computer game publishers/developers. Be aware that we may even have to insist that the mod be destroyed. Please take very careful note of this statement, as we would not want you to feel unfairly treated at a later date.

* The game or mod must be strictly non-commercial – this includes any web site that the mod or game is hosted on. You also cannot pay a printing company to publilsh copies of it onto CD. It may also mean that you cannot get sponsorship.

* It must be made clear on any readme files, splash/intro screens and accompanying material that the game or mod is unofficial and the origins of the intellectual property must be made obvious (e.g., your mod might say �Battletoes � a total conversion for XXXX (insert game name) using intellectual property owned by Games Workshop. Used without permission...etc." See the relevant disclaimer on the following page.).

* The game or mod must not devalue any Games Workshop product in any way.

* Any distribution (zipped or otherwise) of the whole, or any part, of the mod or game must be accompanied with the appropriate disclaimers and must also follow these guidelines.

* The functionality, atmosphere, and parameters of any mod or game must be consistent with the relevant IP.


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Last edited by MWLL|Death_Grin on 06.06.2009, 18:11, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar   Uber Modder Uber ModderMember since: 28.01.2009, 20:54Posts: 2050Location: Under Ruan's bed. Likes: 1
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 18:19 
Okay, cheers - updated it to reflect that info. Cheer MWLL|Death_Grin.


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User avatar   Hardcore Modder Hardcore ModderMember since: 16.10.2007, 23:13Posts: 884Location: Iowa, USA Likes: 1
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 18:24 
No problem :)

I think the main thing to look at when making a mod based on another IP is
"Is there another [recent] game that is similiar?"

If there is then it will likely get canned. The IP holders do not want compitition from others to those that they have licenses a IP to. It wouldn't be in good business practice. Plus whats the point if theres already a game that is similiar to your idea anyway.


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Last edited by MWLL|Death_Grin on 06.06.2009, 18:26, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar   News Posters News PostersMember since: 02.02.2009, 18:53Posts: 5220 Likes: 79
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 18:31 
What about Capcom?
User avatar   Uber Modder Uber ModderMember since: 28.01.2009, 20:54Posts: 2050Location: Under Ruan's bed. Likes: 1
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 18:32 
This is the information I found on their website in regards to use of one of their characters, but it isn't clear. I'd assume that you'd have to contact them yourself, and ask their permission to use one of their IPs in a modification.

As a general rule, its best to contact a company in regards to this sort of thing, as they often don't make it too clear.

Quote:
Capcom does not object to a one-off use of a character for such things as school projects or a personal T-shirt with the understanding that this is done as a personal activity and that you do not intend to receive revenue by this use of our property. Also, we will not object to such use as long as it is not obscene, defamatory, libelous, offensive or slanderous towards Capcom, our products, or employees, or any third party and does not violate any intellectual property right or a person's right of publicity or privacy. This policy is in no way meant to be interpreted as creating an agreement or grant of license from Capcom to you. We reserve the right to withdraw our permission should this prove necessary.


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Last edited by Squiggers on 06.06.2009, 18:39, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar   News Posters News PostersMember since: 02.02.2009, 18:53Posts: 5220 Likes: 79
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 06.06.2009, 18:41 
Thanks, apreciated. Also, the Resident Evil mod guys should have a though or 2 too.
  Trained Modder Trained ModderMember since: 16.03.2009, 13:57Posts: 319 Likes: 0
 

 Post Topic: -force Baska-
PostPosted 04.07.2009, 22:18 
All saw the movie District 13. (B-13) Here in this film, you can make modifications to steep!
  Uber Modder Uber ModderMember since: 04.10.2008, 16:13Posts: 1976Location: England Likes: 1
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 04.07.2009, 22:33 
What about Nintendo?

And damn, it's a shame about Square-Enix. Some of their game OSTs are great...

Edit: Would be entertaining to see how many C&D orders you could get for one project. Next stop, an Alien mid with Castlevania weapons, Square-Enix music and Force powers ;)


Quote:
Originally posted by Cry-Ruan
The trollface avatar is hereby banned. Those of you who wish to use it know who you are.


Last edited by DarkLite on 04.07.2009, 22:39, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar   Uber Modder Uber ModderMember since: 28.01.2009, 20:54Posts: 2050Location: Under Ruan's bed. Likes: 1
 

 Post Topic:
PostPosted 05.07.2009, 13:16 
Quote:
Originally posted by DarkLite
What about Nintendo?

And damn, it's a shame about Square-Enix. Some of their game OSTs are great...

Edit: Would be entertaining to see how many C&D orders you could get for one project. Next stop, an Alien mid with Castlevania weapons, Square-Enix music and Force powers ;)


Not overly sure on Nintendo - I'd assume the same stance as Sony there.

Well, not that I endorse it, but Square-Enix doesn't actually hold the rights to those tracks, unless its otherwise stated - its defaulted to the composer of the piece. Within mod projects, you're generally able to get away with using OSTs, as its not really enfringing on their IP.

Heh, well, it wouldn't be hard - I could count... Hmm, 5 there, I think!


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