Feedback Question of copyright of parady.

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by Misty, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. Misty

    Misty Member

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    Ok say I am making a Star Wars parody movie. And this is a movie to make fun of Darth Vader and luke.

    Am I legally allowed to use the same music as the original movie? Because am not sure if I can compose music better than John Williams. And this movie is going to be a total parady movie for sale.

    Same as games. If I make a parady of games, can I use the same music as the original game. If I put in fake music it will lose the comedic effect. I want to use the exact same music for maximum comedic effect.
     
  2. flerpyderp

    flerpyderp Member

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    No. Just the same as you are not allowed to legally use any other copyrighted material which is not your own.
     
  3. Misty

    Misty Member

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    But shouldn't it be allowed under the provision of parody?
     
  4. Smiechu

    Smiechu Member

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    Unless you have the authors permission or you bought a licence you cannot use any copyrighted material.

    Do you think in Spaceballs everything was "twisted" because it was funny?? They had to do it in order to go around the copyright and trademark restrictions.
     
  5. Misty

    Misty Member

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    Maybe they just didn't know one way or the other?
     
  6. Khao

    Khao Member

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    If I understand things correctly, you can still use actual character names and as long as it's a completely different take on the original stuff. It would fall under fair use, as long as you're creating all content yourself. When it comes to music, you couldn't use the original recordings, but I think that in theory you can use your own arrangements. Or to play it safer, music inspired by the originals, using the same structure but different melodies.

    Still, you should always have in mind that most companies do not care about fair use. They can, and will try to legally stop you from using their characters even when it's legally okay under copyright law. Whether or not you're willing to take that risk is up to you.

    Might be worth reading: https://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/what-is-fair-use/
     
  7. flerpyderp

    flerpyderp Member

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    If I re-released Jurassic Park, but with all the dinosaurs replaced with pictures of chickens, put it up on Amazon as my own work and said "it's cool, it's just a parody", do you think that would fly?
     
  8. The-any-Key

    The-any-Key Member

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    Yes do a parody game or use a music piece or a story from a AAA company, and become banned from steam development program forever.

    https://steamed.kotaku.com/parody-game-notgtav-vanishes-from-steam-after-strange-c-1716839010
    https://kotaku.com/pokemon-uranium-creators-pull-game-after-1-5-million-do-1785258831
    https://www.polygon.com/2017/11/3/1...ccled-ricc-steam-valve-pewdiepie-jim-sterling
    https://kotaku.com/for-second-time-composer-files-copyright-claim-to-take-1797035845
    https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/12/...tal-stores-expiring-music-licenses-steam-sale
    http://www.gamerevolution.com/news/...nts-has-game-taken-down-from-steam-greenlight

    And add all those Youtube videos that got taken down, just because you could hear a piece of popular music on the radio in the background.
     
  9. Misty

    Misty Member

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    Well mine the story would be different, but the music would be the same.

    I guess so because then I can countersue.

    If steam or youtube policy bans me so be it, what I want to know is if I can legally use copyrighted music if the game is a parady.
     
  10. Engineer

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    Seems to be one of these questions, "if in doubt you probably shouldn't".
     
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  11. BattleRifle BR55

    BattleRifle BR55 Member

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    You legally can, so long as you pay for it or seek permission and follow their given guidelines, but straight-up including the music untouched without going through their owners is not legal, regardless of its use or effectiveness in a parody, as you're taking someone else's work and claiming it as your own (there's also no such exclusion as "giving credit", otherwise you could take whatever you want under that guise). Steam and YouTube would be banning you based on legal issues, not power trips.
     
  12. flerpyderp

    flerpyderp Member

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    Did my point go straight over your head? You cannot legally use other people's work without permission.

    Just in case you weren't aware, this applies to all assets you might find on the internet or elsewhere, free or not. Art, music, sound effects and even fonts. Even the ones labelled as "free" will fall under one of various different licences, some requiring that you simply credit the author, others requiring that you only use it for personal use and not commercial. The creative commons 0 licence lets you use it however you wish, even for commercial use and without giving credit. I guarantee that the music from the original Star Wars movie does not fall under any of these licences, and if you want to use it, you'll have to contact the relevant people and in the extremely unlikely event that you are given permission, prepare to pay a lot of money for it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
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  13. Engineer

    Engineer Member

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    AKA - 'licensing'
     
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  14. Rayek

    Rayek Member

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    No. Quote from entertainment lawyer Gordon Firemark:

    "If you use something in your video project that comes from someone else's work of artistic creation - like a film, or video clip, or music, or photographer or whatever, then you need to obtain permission - a license from the owner of that work."

    Simple as that. You cannot use ANYTHING, any original asset, from the original Star Wars productions, books, publications, art, etcetera. You gotta draw your own, in a style that is your own (because a style of drawing may also be copyrighted).

    Even if you create a parody, you would have to ask permission from the copyright holders to use the original music, because you are not doing a parody of the music, but of two primary lead characters.

    Fair use is also often used by people who think they can just take whatever asset for their fan-based projects.

    "Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement; and that means by the time you get to argue about fair use, you’re involved in a lawsuit. So that’s troublesome point number 1."

    The trouble is that even IF you created a true parody or use the original assets to create a documentary, or something for research that is released in public, you may still find yourself in court defending yourself. The courts decide in the end what "fair use" is in each specific case (if it goes to court). I just wouldn't risk it.

    Lucasfilm has hosted the official Star Wars Fan Film Award for years now, and in the small print only documentaries and parodies are allowed, and they forbade the use of music and film clips from the original films. So if Lucasfilm tells their fan film makers to NOT use the original music from the films - well, do you feel courageous (stupid?) enough to do so anyway in your parody that isn't part of the official SW fan film awards? Just don't.

    As far as games go? Again, I wouldn't take the risk. Creating a fan game can ruin your life, and it's not worth the risk or hassle. Besides, it is much more fun and challenging coming up with an original game/IP than reusing an existing one, which is kinda lame in the first place if you think about it. It is different when you create a game in the same spirit - for example, Doom and Serious Sam, because you'd be creating your own game IP and assets.
     
  15. flerpyderp

    flerpyderp Member

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    That said, Another Metroid 2 Remake was completely awesome. :p
     
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  16. The-any-Key

    The-any-Key Member

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    If you get a licence from the author, yes. Which may be impossible, so no.

    Also note that EA Games has exclusive rights to the Star Wars theme:
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolp...e-for-core-star-wars-videogames/#7567ae872c75

    You could however join the "rebellion" and make EA lose the license:
    https://www.change.org/p/lucasfilm-revoke-ea-s-star-wars-license

    But be prepare to fight against other AAA companies when the deal is on the market again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  17. Misty

    Misty Member

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    I don't know, I just want to hear the specifical legaleze that exact copies of music isn't covered under parady.

    My friend told me I can use up to 8 bars, but I want to know if I can use the full song.


    Since when can styles of art be copyrighted? That sounds beyond even absurd. Under what court would that even fly under?

    "Hey joe. You drew in an anime style. I gots the anime style all to myself. Gonna sue if you dont stop drawing in anime style."

    "Hey joe. You drew the colors red, black, and blue. The word red is trademarked and I own the rights to that color scheme. Gonna sue if you dont stop using my color scheme."
     
  18. Rayek

    Rayek Member

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    Ah, sorry, I really mean the word "design". Was quite tired when I wrote that.
     
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  19. Smiechu

    Smiechu Member

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    From the more pragmatic point of view:
    1. upload a movie with SW soundtrack on YT and look what happens,
    2. the SW soundtrack will be detected right away,
    3. it will fall under licensing conditions given to YT,
    4. very probable, the video will not be banned, but ads will be automatically turned on, and you'll have no right to claim monetization from it...
    5. there are couple of alternatives to no.4... but in most cases you won't have any chance to unbann your video.
     
  20. Misty

    Misty Member

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    Wasnt talking about youtube polices, but laws of the earth.
     
  21. The-any-Key

    The-any-Key Member

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    I think he mean Youtube follow the "law of the earth". And see what happens if you broke the rules. There is no loophole here.
     
  22. flerpyderp

    flerpyderp Member

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    You have been given a multitude of answers on the topic, and you're still simply waiting for someone to tell you what you want to hear. If you truly "just want to hear the specifical legaleze", look up the laws yourself.

    Why won't you accept what you've been told in this thread so far, but are eager to believe your friend's complete nonsense about being allowed to use 8 bars of copyrighted music without consequence? Do you really believe this is true? Do you think artists can legally sample entire sections of other people's songs without first gaining permission to do so?
     
  23. The-any-Key

    The-any-Key Member

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    +1
    I also think this is the main problem. But you can't force a person to change his mind. Only he can do that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  24. Misty

    Misty Member

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    I looked up the legalese but it is vague. If you could show me the actual, legit legalese then I would be sure.
     
  25. BaBiA Game Studio

    BaBiA Game Studio Member

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    You'd be better going to talk to an actual lawyer, not us.
     
  26. Misty

    Misty Member

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    Any lawyers you recommend?
     
  27. flerpyderp

    flerpyderp Member

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    It absolutely is not vague, unless you're specifically looking for grey areas, and in the hypothetical situation you have provided in your original post, there isn't even a grey area.

    I'm not going to do homework for you (for something that really should only need common sense to come to the correct conclusion), only for you to also ignore that and continue looking for the answer you wish to be true.

    Agreed, although it's ridiculous to seek out a lawer just to ask "can I commit copyright infringement and get away with it because it's supposed to be funny?".
     
  28. Misty

    Misty Member

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    I dont recall you ever actually posting a link to the legalese, non-existence is as vague as it gets.

    The closest thing was posted by Khao, which was rather vague concerning my purposes. It litterally has a 3 sentence paragraphing vaguely describing what parody is in terms of fair use.
    "A parody is a work that ridicules another, usually well-known work, by imitating it in a comic way. Judges understand that, by its nature, parody demands some taking from the original work being parodied. Unlike other forms of fair use, a fairly extensive use of the original work is permitted in a parody in order to “conjure up” the original."
    "Unlike other forms of fair use, a fairly extensive use of the original work is permitted in a parody in order to “conjure up” the original."
    If that is not vague to you then I don't know what is.

    "Common sense' would dictate that there is no clear conclusion I could come to, given the vagueness of the information.
     
  29. flerpyderp

    flerpyderp Member

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    I don't recall claiming to have. Do your own homework, if you seriously believe there's a chance that you are legally allowed to use the music from the original Star Wars movie in your own work and even have the nerve to attempt to profit off it.
     
  30. Misty

    Misty Member

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    It is not me who has the nerve, it is Disney who has the nerve to sacrilege on Star War's holy name. If and when I make a star wars parody it will be more genuine than any form of disney heresy.
     
  31. flerpyderp

    flerpyderp Member

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    Alright, I'm done here. Good luck.
     
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  32. BaBiA Game Studio

    BaBiA Game Studio Member

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    I don't know where you are. I don't care where you are. I can't recommend a lawyer for someone that I don't know, or know where they are. Do your own research and find someone that deals with copyright law. I'm not going to provide information for you that you should be able to find yourself.
    As opposed to the heresy that had already been perpetrated by George Lucas with his repugnant prequels? The new films are better than the prequels, the originals are better than the new films.
     
  33. Misty

    Misty Member

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    Was hoping to talk to someone who was "in the know".

    Nope prequels were still better. Because at least they were original and had substance. The new ones are generic procedural generated plastic from a formula.
     
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  34. Engineer

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    Here you go - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_(song)

    And the song wasn't even close to the original. It just contained a small riff periodically that had the same 11 notes played in the space of 2 seconds.


    Then Ray Parker Jr got sued also for the Ghostbusters theme song also - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostbusters_(song)


    Then MC Hammer got sued also for Can't Touch This - http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5745


    The list goes on and on and on...
     
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  35. Misty

    Misty Member

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  36. Engineer

    Engineer Member

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    Cool. If you already know, then why did you make this topic?
     
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  37. Misty

    Misty Member

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    I don't. I asked what were the policies of songs used in a parody, and noone seems to know for sure.
     
  38. Engineer

    Engineer Member

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    Just make sure you have enough in your bank account before you make your first 'Super Mario' parody.

    Even if you are in 'the right', it may still cost you many many millions of dollars to convince Nintendo's lawyers this.
     
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  39. BaBiA Game Studio

    BaBiA Game Studio Member

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    You seem pretty sure here:
    And the fact still remains: regardless of whether the film or game is a parody of another film or game, if you use a copyright piece of music that you do not have the rights to, you are in breach of the copyright laws and you will be prosecuted, served C&D orders, or other legal course of action taken against you.

    No they're not. I'm using your stance from one of your other topics: that the prequels are garbage when compare to the original films - especially when we (fans that had seen the originals at the cinema in the years that they released, and multiple times) had been waiting since the originals trilogy for a decent continuation of the stories.
     
  40. Tsa05

    Tsa05 Member

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    This is ridiculous. There is no exclusion principle.

    A copyrighted work is protected. You are not permitted to use a work unless the person who controls the copyright says so.

    You want to know about the "policies of songs used in a parody."

    Think before you type. Copyright covers USE. All of it.
    Parody is a use. You're looking for a special sub-case when the general case already is disqualified.

    Suppose there were a "policy" explicitly forbidding "use in a parody." Would you then ask us: "but what if the parody is for use on a cell phone? What if I cover my ears while playing the parody?" The use is already illegal, and no amount of additional sub-conditions changes that.

    As already explained above, "fair use" is NOT permission to use a work. "Fair Use" is a defense. You get arrested, taken to court, and you are found guilty of using the work. You *might*, however, be forgiven and not have to pay a sentence because you "broke the law for a good reason" (fair use). And just to be clear, "fair use" isn't an internationally accepted defense. In other words you are always not permitted, and not all countries have "defensive" terms to exonerate you.

    You want specifics? Fine, but you can't ask for the specific law and then summarily dismiss it as too confusing. Here's the definition of stuff that's explicitly protected under the terms of the Berne Convention, which is the most widely adopted international set of copyright terms.
    Do you see the phrase "exclusive rights of authorization"?
    That means "only when permission is given by the person who owns it.
    If you want to do any of the things above, without permission from the copyright holder, you have violated copyright in 176 countries.

    Do you want to see the entire text of applicable exceptions to the above rules? They are laughably short:
    Article 9, section 2: Each of the governments of the 176 signatories to the Berne Convention may determine case-by-case exceptions as long as the exceptions do not prejudice the interests of the author. I don't suppose that your friend is a government of a nation, by any chance?

    It is the case, as I and others have mentioned, that some nations have added "legally defensible positions" to their national copyright laws, as section 2 permits. Your friend may have heard that 8 bars in a song is ok--I've heard the same kind of lunacy in the college where I work and teach. Some of our faculty believe that "10% of a movie" is acceptable and other outrageous nonsense. There's a case in New York where a newspaper book reviewer was successfully sued for using 1 single sentence from a 1000 page novel in his book review.

    You can totally see, though, how myths like the "8 bars" that your friend told you came to exist. Part of the definition of "fair use" stipulates that you can be cleared of guilt if you only used a little bit of the work. Some people like to grab this 1 part of the policy and to run away with it. And you will definitely find cases where people have used 8 bars of a song or 10% of a movie or 1 sentence from a book and have gotten away with it due to "fair use." As a result, people take the one example they heard about and assume that it's the rule.

    But I'm going to tell you the rule:
    Title 17, section 107 U.S. Code:
    I'm going to get ahead of you on this, OP, because I think I sense you starting to type "I'm ok, then because of Number 1."
    You're not. In every case in which Fair Use is used as a defense, every single one of these 4 questions is applied by the court. If you fulfill 1 condition for fair use, then it's game over for you. You have to qualify on all 4, every time, or it's not Fair Use.

    And here's the most difficult part, thanks to Article 9 of the Berne Convention. Remember that part where signatory countries are only allowed to make exceptions in cases where the original author suffers no harm? Can you guess how the U.S. got away with creating section 107, the "Fair Use" clause? Simple. You're always guilty, unless a court says otherwise.

    In other words, you can claim that you are using copyrighted work under "fair use" defense. But the only way to find out if you’re right is to have a court rule on the matter. You might think that you fulfill all 4 of the above cases, but the only way to know is to be sued. Fun times!

    Please note, regarding the above advice:
    I am not a lawyer, and I am especially not your lawyer. The opinions stated here are my personal understanding of US copyright law and international copyright treaty. My opinions have been informed by a lawyer and also by workshops on the subject of copyright law provided by the Massachusetts Bar Association. I have not specifically shown your post to these parties nor have they contributed to my writing this post. That being said, it's an informed post.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  41. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    how do you suppose Robot Chicken gets away with it? The entire show is based around parodying other shows. Don't think they could afford a license for everything

    Sorry, just dropping in.
     
  42. Toque

    Toque Member

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    Ive only watched a couple episodes but I dont think they use any copy-protected music. But yeah movies and videos get some leeway for parody for sure. Halloween is the king of parody as well.
     
  43. Samuel Venable

    Samuel Venable Time Killer

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    Edit: I think it is better that I ask someone about this who knows their stuff, in private, rather than talking about these examples publically.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  44. Engineer

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    Quite possibly.

    Generally 'parodies' will use music of similar style so they are recognisable, but are completely different and unrelated to the original.
     
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  45. Samuel Venable

    Samuel Venable Time Killer

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    Yeah I had a feeling of that. I'll run that by him but I really shouldn't be talking about my friends behind their back as often as I do even if I mean well it's not very considerate and I've been doing it without even asking them first...
     
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  46. Morendral

    Morendral Member

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    The "family guy" star wars parody comes to mind as a good direct reference.
     
  47. flerpyderp

    flerpyderp Member

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    Stepping back in here to mention that Family Guy was given permission by LucasFilm, and that Lucas himself was a fan of the show.
     
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  48. Misty

    Misty Member

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    Dunno.

    Found this website, it says this
    "
    An artist has full rights to use reasonable care in producing parody. If clips of the original are used for any other purpose than parody of the show being jested, then it becomes illegal. If the NBC News theme was used in song unrelated to news, then, and only then does it violate copyright laws.

    Under common law, the fair use doctrine, and the decisions of the Supreme Court, use of copyrighted material in parody is necessary, acceptable, and legal."

    It seems to say that, clips of the original are allowed, if it is a parody. This would also seem to imply, that music clips would also be allowed.
    http://borgus.com/legal.htm
     
  49. rIKmAN

    rIKmAN Member

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    That website looks really legit - especially when you click the "Back to Main" link and it takes you to a creepy picture of a guy that "many know as The Hitchcock Whisperer"...

    Here you go: "Yes Misty it's fine to use others original work in your parody game".

    Now go and make your Star Wars parody with the original music instead of wasting everyones time and ignoring the plethora of information you have been given in this thread that supports the opposite because it isn't what you want to hear.
     
  50. flerpyderp

    flerpyderp Member

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    Surprise surprise, you have avoided Tsa05's comprehensive post full of the "legaleze" you were previously interested in, and simply continued looking for any scrap to support your notion.

    All this time wasted discussing this, and you could have simply found your answer by making a "parody" game with the original Super Mario World sprites and music, uploading it to itch.io with a minimum price, and sending an email to Nintendo asking them to check it out.
     
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