GMS 2 About getting inspiration from other games and copyright

Suzaku

Member
Im not sure if this is the right place for this question, but I dont know a better place for it, so...
I have tons of ideas for projects in my mind, but for one of them I would like to take inspiration from final fantasy oldschool games like final fantasy 1 and 5, but I have fear about getting into copyright problems, as I ve seen even freeware games having similar problems with Nintendo and others, so I wonder to what extent you can get inspiration from something that doesnt belong to you. Lets take the example bellow:

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It is the white mage from final fantasy 1 Origins, by Square Enix. Lets suppose that I want to make a character that purposely is similar to him and put it in a comercial game. Can I get that same pallete or use the same color combination for the clothes? And even if my character will use a wizard robe too, can I still do that? Can I do that even if Im going to make it in a completely different body size? I guess those are my main questions about this topic, I want to know what the copyright laws allow us to do, and I think this is a important topic because its not good for the quality of your work to keep limiting yourself just because of fear of the unknown, if the copyright laws freely allow you to do things to a certain extent .
 

pixeltroid

Member
It is the white mage from final fantasy 1 Origins, by Square Enix. Lets suppose that I want to make a character that purposely is similar to him and put it in a comercial game. Can I get that same pallete or use the same color combination for the clothes? And even if my character will use a wizard robe too, can I still do that? Can I do that even if Im going to make it in a completely different body size? I guess those are my main questions about this topic, I want to know what the copyright laws allow us to do, and I think this is a important topic because its not good for the quality of your work to keep limiting yourself just because of fear of the unknown, if the copyright laws freely allow you to do things to a certain extent .
Its just a robe and a hood. Nobody "owns" the copyright to a costume that has appeared in comics, movies and cartoons countless number of times.
 
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If you use the exact image I'm sure you'll run into problems, but if you change it enough there shouldn't be an issue. There are a ton of retro FF-like games that use very similar graphics, so I don't think you have to worry, a ton of games almost straight up clone other games and I don't hear of them having problems
 

dannyjenn

Member
It's at least a little risky. There's nothing morally wrong with it, as far as I know. But you could run into legal issues since secular laws are easily abused by greedy companies. These companies don't like competition and will use the law to threaten small commercial projects such as yours, in order to shut down your project as well as destroy your company before it even gets its foot in the door. And if such a company were to sue you, you'd probably lose.

I want to know what the copyright laws allow us to do, and I think this is a important topic because its not good for the quality of your work to keep limiting yourself just because of fear of the unknown, if the copyright laws freely allow you to do things to a certain extent
The laws that allow you to do this sort of thing are called 'fair use' (in America anyway). The problem is, 'fair use' isn't very well-defined but is more of a legal defense, and ultimately the court decides whether or not your use is a 'fair use'.

[rant]I agree that this is an important issue. I could be wrong but I am currently of the opinion that copyright is complete nonsense and perhaps morally evil. The intended purpose of copyright is to provide artists with an incentive to produce more original works, but it also leads to the opposite effect: artists cannot freely go about making what they want to make, out of fear of getting sued. It also leads to monopolies and artificially inflated prices which hurts customers. No artist is allowed to improve upon or build off an already-existing idea... everyone must start from scratch.[/rant]

Its just a robe and a hood. Nobody "owns" the copyright to a costume that has appeared in comics, movies and cartoons countless number of times.
Except there's also the color combination and the fact that it's worn by a similar character. While none of these things are copyrightable when considered separately, the combination is clearly derivative and the courts could judge that it's in violation of somebody's intellectual property. Now I don't believe in intellectual property, but the courts sure do. And only the courts can determine whether or not this falls under 'fair use'. But if the other company has better lawyers then they'll probably win.

If you use the exact image I'm sure you'll run into problems, but if you change it enough there shouldn't be an issue. There are a ton of retro FF-like games that use very similar graphics, so I don't think you have to worry, a ton of games almost straight up clone other games and I don't hear of them having problems
That's true. But there have been some projects, especially fan games and clone games, which big companies have successfully shut down. And some of these projects weren't even commercial. So just because most games don't run into legal trouble, that doesn't mean you're safe.
 
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pixeltroid

Member
That's true. But there have been some projects, especially fan games and clone games, which big companies have successfully shut down. And some of these projects weren't even commercial. So just because most games don't run into legal trouble, that doesn't mean you're safe.
Fan games can get shut down because they directly use the copyrighted material. For example, the Metroid 2 remake.

Except there's also the color combination and the fact that it's worn by a similar character. While none of these things are copyrightable when considered separately, the combination is clearly derivative and the courts could judge that it's in violation of somebody's intellectual property.
So if you want a create a character wearing a robe don't use a color combination that's already been done! But good luck researching to make sure that your color combination has never been used before. :D

I guess the only way is to make sure your robe-wearing character is 100% unique is to include unique markings on his robe. Like these guys:

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:D
 
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