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  #1    
Old February 20th, 2013, 08:05 AM
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I was just wondering if anyone thinks about the trademark and copyright issues when making a game with the Pokemon Essentials starter kit. Even if you don't plan on making money off of your game, it's still in violation. I don't see how someone can spend years making a game without worrying about receiving cease and desist letters.

It is a great system though. I'll probably end up using it to make a pokemon-like game in the future, because Nintendo and Pokemon don't like granting copyright permission to anyone.
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  #2    
Old February 20th, 2013, 08:24 AM
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I haven't ever asked them but in short; Game Freak and Nintendo probably don't care too much if no profit is made by it because they make millions every day from selling their games to the general public of the world, it would be nearly impossible to stop people making their own fangames anyway because, like illegal downloading, it is a losing battle - people will always do it.
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  #3    
Old February 20th, 2013, 08:44 AM
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I heard of them sending out cease and desist letters to quite a few people (not sure if those were trying to profit off of it though.) I actually just sent 2 letters (Pokemon and Nintendo) to see about getting copyright permission and made it clear that no money would be made. But on both sites it clearly states under Terms of Use that they don't give copyright permission to individuals.

I just know I would hate making a fan game that I poured my blood and sweat into over a few years only to receive a cease and desist letter. It's also a lot easier to go after game makers than pirates. Your comparison is right that no matter what they do, they will still do it, but there are far fewer game makers to hunt down than people that pirate software, videos, music, etc.

Last edited by Tigerbite; February 20th, 2013 at 08:50 AM.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 09:26 AM
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It's essentially fanart. You don't see Nintendo/The Pokémon Company/Game Freak, going around suing every kid who does a drawing of Pikachu. They're not going to do the same with the countless games out there either.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 10:03 AM
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They won't give you copyright permissions. Technically, it is illegal even if you're not making money because you don't own the copyright. Fortunately, Nintendo won't care because you're basically advertising their game for free. They could still easily shut you down if your game is too good though, even if it's free. If your game is too good, then you would make Nintendo lose money because people would play your game instead of purchasing the official ones. Either way, it's Nintendo's decisions and they could shut you down if they want. You will not get sued, most likely you'll only get a cease & desist, which should be no biggie.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 10:53 AM
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No biggie except the past couple years of hard work and dedication destroyed!

So, the morale of the story is, make a crappy game so they stay away altogether! hehe
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  #7    
Old February 20th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Well all of that hard work is just part of a hobby, no? You do it for fun. It's not like your life gets thrown away. lol

It's a risky move to make a fan game anyway, even if the risks are around 1% (made up percentage, most likely true though).
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Old February 20th, 2013, 05:14 PM
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When they say "Making money off the game", what exactly does that entail? Forcing a person to buy it before they can download it? If that's the case, what about setting up a donation box for people who, if they were feeling like it, wanted to donate money to the developer to help support making the game?

Furthermore, what's the policy on having two download links - one that links to a straight up download, and another that is set to go through an Ad-hosting website, where every click generates a fraction of a penny for the person who made the link?

I figured I'd ask these questions now, because I was discussing this stuff with a friend earlier and we weren't sure what the deal was.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 05:52 PM
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Eh I don't really know. I've wondered about that too.

Technically, the game is what makes people come and look at the ads, but technically you're making money off of the ads and not the game. I don't think it counts as making money, but it's still somewhat of a philosophical question. Think about it this way: non-profit organizations get money from donations but are still non-profit. It should be fine, but you should consult a lawyer.
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  #10    
Old February 20th, 2013, 06:08 PM
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Forcing people to click a link to go through ads to download something is making money off the download. Having ads on the main page is not.

Companies have more of a reason to sue you if you make money off of their copyrighted information. Not like $50, but a few thousand. If you don't make a profit off of it, it's more likely you will get a cease and desist letter.

Either way, if you want to make money, don't use copyrighted information or get consent. If you don't care about making money, do whatever you want and have fun!
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  #11    
Old February 20th, 2013, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerbite View Post
Forcing people to click a link to go through ads to download something is making money off the download. Having ads on the main page is not.
It wouldn't be forcing them. It'd be an alternate download link which people could click if they felt like sitting through 5 seconds of an advertisement. There would still be a plain, vanilla download link for those who just wanna download it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerbite View Post
Companies have more of a reason to sue you if you make money off of their copyrighted information. Not like $50, but a few thousand. If you don't make a profit off of it, it's more likely you will get a cease and desist letter.
Unfortunately, companies can't stop the distribution of games once its in the hands of the user and no longer in the hands of the developer. it's not like they can systematically check every single computer to see if they have this product, then eradicate it.

Honestly, the best method is probably a donation system. That way, you aren't making money directly off the game, but the contribution of the people who felt like giving you their money as a sort of "Hey, I like this game. I think I'll give this person a dollar or so to show them I appreciate it.". It wouldn't be a forced system, and I want to say I've seen numerous fangames and hacks do this stuff, but it was mostly when they were further in development.
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Development Blog:
For more information future news and updates to any projects, the following blogs are where I post information. You can usually hit me with a message there when it comes to bug reports or feedback, or general conversation about something.
Game Projects:
In Progress:
  • Touhoumon Essentials Development Starter Kit for RMXP - Version 1 finished and released.
    The following version is outdated a great deal. Do not bother downloading it. I will have a new, revised version up eventually. If you really want the engine, I can provide you with the current engine Faith & Prayer version uses.
  • Touhoumon: Faith and Prayer Version - Demo 3.1 Released
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  #12    
Old February 20th, 2013, 08:21 PM
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You're right, they can't stop the distribution, thus they sue!

And yes, a donation system would be the best route to go when making a fan game.
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  #13    
Old February 20th, 2013, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerbite View Post
You're right, they can't stop the distribution, thus they sue!

And yes, a donation system would be the best route to go when making a fan game.
At that point, if the game has been finished and distributed, there's not much they can do. They can order you to take it down so additional people can no longer download it, but by that point, it really just becomes the same issue as torrenting. They can't really sue after that. You no longer have control over it, and they didn't take action early enough to prevent it from spreading as much as it did.

Once it's out of the developers hands, there's not much they can do to control who gets it, and what the individual does with it afterwards.
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Development Blog:
For more information future news and updates to any projects, the following blogs are where I post information. You can usually hit me with a message there when it comes to bug reports or feedback, or general conversation about something.
Game Projects:
In Progress:
  • Touhoumon Essentials Development Starter Kit for RMXP - Version 1 finished and released.
    The following version is outdated a great deal. Do not bother downloading it. I will have a new, revised version up eventually. If you really want the engine, I can provide you with the current engine Faith & Prayer version uses.
  • Touhoumon: Faith and Prayer Version - Demo 3.1 Released
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  #14    
Old February 21st, 2013, 05:49 AM
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Distribution has nothing to do with it. It's the fact that you used copyrighted and trademarked information without consent. That's all it takes to sue someone. That's why companies trademark, register, copyright everything. So they don't have to watch the world to see if someone is stealing/using their stuff, but when they catch someone, they can take whatever action they want to, including suing.

Got this in an e-mail from Nintendo.
Quote:
Although we are unable to grant permission, use of Nintendo properties without our formal permission may still be allowed depending on the circumstances. You are encouraged to seek your own legal counsel if you have any questions about whether your particular proposed use is permitted without Nintendo's authorization. This is not a comment on whether we believe your particular proposed use is permissible—Nintendo cannot provide legal advice.
Sounds like permission to me! ;D

Last edited by Tigerbite; February 21st, 2013 at 03:21 PM. Reason: Your double post has been automatically merged.
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  #15    
Old February 21st, 2013, 04:24 PM
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Not true. You can only use copyrighted material if it qualifies under "fair-use". The only way it qualifies under that is if you posted copyrighted permission for the sake of criticism (like reviews) or education purposes (like a school project).
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  #16    
Old March 1st, 2013, 09:49 AM
kudoms
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Yeah I don't think it would be a problem unless you claimed it as your own, or profited.
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  #17    
Old March 1st, 2013, 03:59 PM
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If we were talking about how to decrease the chances of C&D or legal action from Nintendo, then I'd say one of the important things to do is avoid trademark infringement. Nintendo is required by law to protect their trademark, either by sending a C&D or demanding royalties, otherwise they will lose that trademark. A while ago, I read a thread where the OP said they had sent an e-mail to Nintendo asking about fangames, and Nintendo said they would allow fangames as long as they didn't infringe on their trademark.

As a start, that means you shouldn't use the blue-and-yellow Pokemon logo you see on every official non-Asian media; either make a new logo in a different font or don't include the word "Pokémon" in your fanwork's name at all.

Last edited by Mugendai; March 1st, 2013 at 04:16 PM.
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  #18    
Old March 2nd, 2013, 11:47 AM
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For most people out there, risk of having any run-in with Nintendo at all is nothing to worry about. First they will C&D you, then they will take legal action. You get out of this when you get the C&D, or you go off and mess with your sprites and sound effects to make something different on the surface. MonsterMMORPG pretty much did this, removing all official sprites and going fakemon-style. And that's only if you want to make money. PokeNet and Pokemon World Online both received C&D orders from Nintendo, quietly exited from their work, and thus avoided the company going at their throats at all.

Quite honestly, the games that seem to get hit the most are the MMORPGs...

However, Pokemon Mystery Universe and Cyrus ran on a donations system purely to keep their servers up, and they haven't had any trouble yet.

Pokedex apps on mobile devices were peacefully removed at no detriment to the creators other than their work no being available. Pokemon Tower Defense used to be on an app store, whereas now you just play it at newgrounds or their own site.

Hope this helps.
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