Design Used or not?

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ethian

Member
Greetings...

I have ideas for my game that haven't any relation with what i know (favourites), but i'm afraid of knowing they are already used and copyrighted by little known media when they're officially used on my game...!

Also, i'm making my project and its parts not so similar to my favourites' parts... replacing those parts by random ones made by me...

One of those parts that i'm afraid of knowing they are already used when used is the simple art style of my game... and small pieces of leitmofs on the music... I'm going to fix that, but... i want to know to do it or not...

This is the art style of my game:



Simple, black outlines, shading...

Is the art style of my game, copyrighted? And the leitmofts and any of its pieces?
 

chance

predictably random
Forum Staff
Moderator
I have ideas for my game that haven't any relation with what i know (favourites), but i'm afraid of knowing they are already used and copyrighted by little known media when they're officially used on my game...![ /quote]
<snip>
Is the art style of my game, copyrighted? And the leitmofts and any of its pieces?
Storyline elements and gameplay mechanics generally can't be copyrighted. Likewise, art style can't be copyrighted.

Just don't duplicate another game's entire plot, character names, place names, etc. Or copy someone's particular work of art, such as a video game character. That's wrong, and probably illegal.

However, musical compositions are protected by copyright. And a leitmotif (musical theme or phrase) may be an essential part of that composition. So don't copy that. Write your own.

There are dozens (probably hundreds) of websites that explain copyright and trademark laws. Most of them are easy to understand.
 

YanBG

Member
Even if using similar art style is not infringement, your game can still "remind" people of the original too much, especially if you base your ideas on just one game. Then depending on your popularity(e.g. if you sell the game, crowdfund it etc) and theirs(pretty famous/successful), they can bring it to court.
 

ethian

Member
Storyline elements and gameplay mechanics generally can't be copyrighted. Likewise, art style can't be copyrighted.
Thanks! someone said the same before, but i didn't knew exactly what i was saying...
Even if using similar art style is not infringement, your game can still "remind" people of the original too much, especially if you base your ideas on just one game. Then depending on your popularity(e.g. if you sell the game, crowdfund it etc) and theirs(pretty famous/successful), they can bring it to court.
...

I need to confess

When i make the sprites of my game, i make them on an art style i know it's used (I should stop using it?)

The art style is from a sprite from Undertale, this game has various art styles, but i use just one that for me, it's fun to draw the sprites with...

The art style consists on pixel art with simple coloring and shading with MS Paint's default colors

I know that two sprites (Probably more) of this Undertale NPC sprite sheet use that style of art



However, for avoid copyright issues, i make the used coloring "unrecognizable", by replacing the MS paint colors by Adoble Flash's default colors, using the Game Maker's sprite editor's replacing color tool, i even replace black, white and grayscale, just because i'm inspired on the style of art of something else that doesn't use grayscale on their colors.

So, it's good idea to use other colors instead of the ones that one single commercial product are currently using? I know Adobe Flash' default colors are used in almost every flash cartoon, and it's not copyright violation... well... i know one thing is copyrighted because it's used on one single product on the world, however, when it's used by various products on the world, i know it isn't copyrighted... one example of uncopyrighted stuff are the cartoon sounds, but they're not free to use unless you pay a penny for get the license to use them, but this problem is already solved, it just aplicates on the sounds and music, right? or... what about something else?
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
The human-friendly explanation of what constitutes plagiarism is "if it looks so similar to the original that people might think it's the original". The most blatant way to do this is to outright state your game is part of another IP, and tons of people do that to trick people:

So basically try to make sure your game can't be mistaken for the series you mimic and you should be fine. (Stealing ideas from more than one source is a good way of getting this done more-or-less automatically). Also be careful not to duplicate the look of HUD elements and GUI layouts and choosing a name that's too similar (e.g. a tactics RPG game called Flame Emblem probably would get itself a visit from Nintendo's lawyers even if it's green on most of the above points)
 

ethian

Member
try to make sure your game can't be mistaken for the series you mimic and you should be fine.
I was doing this when i firstly made my project, but with the time, i found fun to make my game so original.

Also, i have more doubts:

About music...the animated series called " Jamie's got Tentacles" has a ripoff to Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" on its OST and isn't so similar to the original because of copyright reasons... i can't do the same?
Also... talking about this... i know i can't do any track of my OST be similar to another one, because of what happened to the early version of Alphys from Undertale, it's confirmed that the track was scrapped because it was too similar to another lab music track from another game (What game is? Mother?) right?
As cartoon sounds are not free to use, and i'm making my own, recording and downloading free sounds... with the part of making my own sounds, i'm making my own versions of the cartoon sounds... but not all of them... should not be too similar?

Please answer to the questions!

Also, @Yal, the monocycle game from the beginning of the video you showed me up is hilarous!
 

ethian

Member
However, musical compositions are protected by copyright. And a leitmotif (musical theme or phrase) may be an essential part of that composition. So don't copy that. Write your own.
I have a doubt with this... i can't write and use very simple leitmotifs as they're all used and copyrighted?
 

dannyjenn

Member
Legal and moral issues aside, I will say that using somebody else's leitmotif is a horrible idea. Because the main purpose of a leitmotif is that it's an audio cue to help the player, to make the different characters/places more easily recognizable. If used out of context, it makes no sense and is likely to confuse the player on a subliminal level. And the player is going to walk away thinking, "Why did that game have random Mario music in it?"

Cartoon-sounding sounds are fine... there's a whole industry that does that sort of thing (it's called "foley"). What you're not allowed to do is rip a recording from somebody's cartoon. Or use somebody else's music.
 

ethian

Member
musical compositions are protected by copyright. And a leitmotif (musical theme or phrase) may be an essential part of that composition. So don't copy that. Write your own.
My leitmotifs are similar to what i know. But...
The idea for solve this issue is, don't make them similar to anything what i know, same goes with the rest of the assets, right?
I guess calling it "anything what i know" shrinks something of mine and makes it easier...

I will say that using somebody else's leitmotif is a horrible idea.
Leitmotifs are copyrighted. But… what about the basses?
Also, can’t make my songs have the same order of leitmotifs as other songs? My songs can’t be other songs but with leitmotifs changed?
Also, can i use just a piece of leitmotif for each of my leitmotifs? I had seen instances of leitmotifs using pieces of other leitmotifs before.

...

Can’t use original ideas? Because they’re all copyrighted? What about references?
Also, when a product is free of references, it’s more original and better in rating, right?
 
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Joe Ellis

Member
UGHh, everything has been done before, but everyone uses certain things to build style and mix styles, don't worry about anything to do with this! as long as your not ripping the graphics out of old games
 
S

Steevo

Guest
Reminds me of the plasma shield. Although it hasn't been invented yet no one is legally allowed to do so, because Boeing has patented the 'idea'.

So if you are a genius and can invent it, you'll be bankrupt for the rest of your life.

Love 'murica.
 

Ninety

Member
Leitmotifs are copyrighted. But… what about the basses?
Also, can’t make my songs have the same order of leitmotifs as other songs? My songs can’t be other songs but with leitmotifs changed?
Also, can i use just a piece of leitmotif for each of my leitmotifs? I had seen instances of leitmotifs using pieces of other leitmotifs before.
do you literally not understand how to create things except to copy them
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
Although it hasn't been invented yet no one is legally allowed to do so, because Boeing has patented the 'idea'.
Worldwide or just in the US? I had the impression patents aren't global (but companies that protect their product usually files patents in all markets they care about). Also patents expire and become public after X years so that the technology can be used for the greater good of all humanity (or something like that), which is a reason why things like the Coca-Cola recipe aren't patented - they'd be obligated to make it un-secret eventually as part of the deal.
 
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Steevo

Guest
Worldwide or just in the US? I had the impression patents aren't global (but companies that protect their product usually files patents in all markets they care about). Also patents expire and become public after X years so that the technology can be used for the greater good of all humanity (or something like that), which is a reason why things like the Coca-Cola recipe aren't patented - they'd be obligated to make it un-secret eventually as part of the deal.
US Patent as far as I am aware. But the US assumes the world revolves around them anyway.
 

dannyjenn

Member
Reminds me of the plasma shield. Although it hasn't been invented yet no one is legally allowed to do so, because Boeing has patented the 'idea'.

So if you are a genius and can invent it, you'll be bankrupt for the rest of your life.
Are you sure that's the whole story? Because as far as I know, the "idea" of a plasma shield is too vague / too abstract to patent. What they probably patented was a particular kind of plasma shield which they've designed or invented (even if they haven't physically built one yet). I would think that somebody else could still come along and invent a different kind of plasma shield which uses some other design or some other kind of technology.
 
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Steevo

Guest
What they probably patented was a particular kind of plasma shield which they've designed or invented (even if they haven't physically built one yet).
How can you invent something if you haven't physically built it?

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8981261.PN.&OS=PN/8981261&RS=PN/8981261

They have been given exclusive rights to try and invent something.

The patent itself even says it 'may' do this and it 'may' do that.

I don't even know how a patent can be granted for something that 'might' do something.
 

ethian

Member
I need to say anything...

I actually know how to do the stuff of don't avoid using assets from other games and to avoid "ripoff-ing", it's just don't have the choice of use the assets and fix the ripoff issue making the thing less similar to anything i know.

I just started this thread just to tell i'm afraid of being arrested by using original stuff without knowing they're already used by media that i don't know or something else...
With this, what i do?
 

Toque

Member
I've suggested this before, and I'll say it again. Everyone and anyone can benefit from reading "Steal Like an Artist."
He has an interesting take on it. Watched him do a lecture about it.
Not sure the general gaming community would see it the same way. Maybe they would.
 

ethian

Member
Read this story made by me :

Isab is a solo game developer that started to make a full videogame called "Malab" and one of the characters made by him and inserted to the game is called "Oveja", a dude that likes chocolate, hates farts and loves fruits.
2 years after the start of the development of "Malab", Isab finished the game, and he published it on a popular website of indie games.
One year later, Isab is now enjoying with watching media related to the fandom of his own game, "Malab", while he is watching a top 10 video of comic dubs of Malab, the police came kicking the door of Isab's room suddenly, then the police arrested Isab because of copyright infrigement. He copied a character from a little-known TV show called "Baladasia", a character called "Sheepy" who also likes chocolate, hates farts and loves fruits... even the physical appearance of that character is also copied.
Isab doesn't knew Baladasia before, until the point where the police show it and the character called Sheepy...

And that is because i don't want to publish my game.

What do you thinka about the story?
 
I think you're worrying a little too much about this. The odds of copying the exact details of someone else's character by accident are fairly low. Also (disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer and don't know the laws in your area), while you can be sued for copyright infringement, I'm fairly certain you can't actually be arrested.

But make all of your characters hate chocolate, just to be sure. :p
 

ethian

Member
Storyline elements and gameplay mechanics generally can't be copyrighted. Likewise, art style can't be copyrighted.
Musical instruments for the OST can't be copyrighted?

using somebody else's leitmotif is a horrible idea.
Use sounds from other media for the game is also a bad idea?

Also, after all, is more fun to make original stuff than using stuff from other places, right?

be careful not to duplicate the look of HUD elements and GUI layouts
When mimicking another game, i recently did this, and i had fun when trying to doing it.
 
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ethian

Member
Just don't duplicate another game's entire plot, character names, place names, etc.
What names i can't use? Renaldo? Marlena?

And what names i can choose? Renalda? Marlene?

I just need to use the words made by me as names? Or there's actually names that can be used without issues? Are the names for people in real life, free to use?
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
You need two names for a person to be real, if you only use one name you can use any name. As long as they don't look like someone else with that name.
 

ethian

Member
you can use any name. As long as they don't look like someone else with that name.
Thanks! Also, i won't use Renaldo nor Marlena because they're copyrighted modifications of existing names... or i can use them anyways???
Also, y'know where do Marlena comes from?
i'm afraid of knowing they are already used and copyrighted by little known media when they're officially used on my game...!
I'm currently not afraid of that anymore because that won't occur, right?
 

TsukaYuriko

🌠
Forum Staff
Moderator
Thanks! Also, i won't use Renaldo nor Marlena because they're copyrighted modifications of existing names... or i can use them anyways???
Names can not be copyrighted. They can, however, be trademarked if they are used to identify a brand (example: Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, but not Ash Ketchum).

Also, y'know where do Marlena comes from?
I think she was from Poland?

I'm currently not afraid of that anymore because that won't occur, right?
This is the GameMaker Community, not a fortune telling office. Certainly not a dating site, either.
 

dannyjenn

Member
Names [. . .] can, however, be trademarked if they are used to identify a brand (example: Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, but not Ash Ketchum).
I'm not sure that this is correct... I think trademarks are not limited to just brand names. Because, for example, I'm pretty sure that each and every Pokémon's name is trademarked even though very few of the Pokémon names are used as brands or in branding. And I'd think your example of the name "Ash Ketchum" would be just as trademarkable as the name "Rattata", neither of which could legally be used in an indie game, even if the indie game's "Ash Ketchum" character looks nothing like the Ash Ketchum character from the Pokémon anime, and the indie game's "Rattata" character looks nothing like the Pokémon games' Rattata.

edit - On second thought, it's kind of hard to say. As I understand it, the theoretical basis of trademark law is to protect customers from getting ripped off and also to protect the reputation of the official companies (since nobody else can try to pass off a poorly-made product as "official", or give anyone the impression that that their own company is affiliated with the official company). But in practice, it seems that trademark laws provide a lot more coverage than that. I don't know why. Maybe the trademark laws are ambiguous, or maybe companies are exploiting the laws in order to trademark stuff that shouldn't even be trademarkable to begin with.

I'd think that the names "Renaldo" and "Marlena" wouldn't be trademarkable, since both of them are pretty generic real-world first names (albeit uncommon names, at least around where I live). But I'm no lawyer.
 
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Again with the copying Undertale? Really?
You should make art using your OWN style, and that goes for music, too. You can have inspirations, sure, but the moment you're using someone else's art as a direct reference when drawing yours, that's stealing. More importantly, that's lazy.

Get multiple inspirations. Not just one.
Don't use songs or art as a direct reference. If you want something similar, look at something then close it. Then attempt to make something using the ideas you saw WITHOUT a reference. Then it's more stylized.

On a further note, you don't WANT your game to look too similar to another game because not only will people notice, but it could make them not want to play your game and prevent your game from reaching stardom, if at all.
 

ethian

Member
I have another doubt :

Are designs of drawings of real life objects, including animals and others, copyrighted?
 

chance

predictably random
Forum Staff
Moderator
Are designs of drawings of real life objects, including animals and others, copyrighted?
Of course they are. My photograph of a butterfly on a flower is copyrighted.

Perhaps you're confusing the creative piece of artwork, with the subject of that artwork. Those are two different things.

A photograph or a painting is the creative artwork, so it's copyrighted. But the subject matter is not copyrighted. Anybody else can photograph the same mountain, the same flower, the same butterfly, etc. without copyright violation.

There are exceptions, of course. If I take a photograph of a painting that's in the public domain, that photograph is not copyrighted. Because it's just a copy of a public domain work.
 

ethian

Member
Now i can't even use round eyes on my characters because they're copyrighted! Right? What else and what i do instead?

Or the idea is : i can add anything to anything i make without legal issues in publishing but i need to make it different to anything enough to avoid any legal issue?
 

chance

predictably random
Forum Staff
Moderator
Now i can't even use round eyes on my characters because they're copyrighted! Right?
(snip)
This is the opposite of what I just explained. You aren't reading the answers people are giving you here. So I think it's best to close this topic.

Millions of people produce creative artwork everyday -- legally. They aren't limited by copyright laws. They are only limited by their own creativity.
 
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