> You should check out what's needed to protect yourself legally, and see what the going rate is to have an expert help you with that sort of thing before you start saying stuff like "suppressing independent thought".
> That's what I think.
Yes all game designers and authors of any material to be published should be aware of and comply with copyright laws but what this attorney is doing is scare advertising in my opinion and hurts the independent game designers and suppresses creativity.
Some commercial games allow addons and fan games because it helps promote their games.
The big issue is with knock off games using ripped sprites and using a well known registered copyright and trademark in the title and you will find black market copies of Nintendo games all over usually produced in foreign countries and they do take that serious.
I just think the article is way over the top scare advertising and needs additional clarification as to what you can and can not do legally. Parody and using sprites in public domain or unique homemade sprites that RESEMBLE but are not copies of commercial sprites is legal and there are also fair use laws that apply.
If you want to create a unique plumber character that jumps through unique plumbing and kicks unique turtles and you make it clear it is parody it is extremely unlikely you would face any legal challenge but companies will try to scare you off and if you do receive a DMCA notice take your game down but ask for the exact sprites or assets they claim are being infringed and for the exact game or source of the infringement.
If they can't give you an exact source it is just a scare tactic. Make some changes and avoid close resemblance to a commercial game.
This is completely wrong. Here's why.
1 - IP Holders can go after anyone to the fullest extent of the law, which in the US is heavily in their favor. See: any Nintendo IP fan game that Nintendo notices. If you don't comply, Nintendo WILL prosecute. The attorney is correct.
2 - If you're an independent game designer and you think not being able to use other's successful IP hurts you or suppresses your creativity, you've already failed. Create something new or get written permission from the IP holders. In the indie world, people are more willing to provide this. The attorney is correct.
3 - "Some" commercial games, maybe. But they allow it. And it's their decision to allow it or not, and no one else's. The attorney is correct.
4 - Nintendo would sue the pants off of the creator of any parody game based on Mario, legal or not. Unless you're Nintendo-sized, you cannot afford to fight them. Once again, the attorney is correct.
5 - IP holders are not required to provide the exact source of where you used content from their games. That is not part of the requirement of such a lawsuit. Even if you used not a single sprite from one of their games and drew every single sprite yourself, if you used content similar enough to be mistaken as content from one of their games, they can sue you, and because they have more money than you, you cannot afford to fight them. The attorney is correct. Noticing a theme here yet?
6 - If you need more clarification, contact an attorney familiar with IP/copyright/trademark law. Expecting all of the information for free to be handed to you by someone who's entire career it is to understand and ensure compliance with related law matters is unrealistic. As he states, most attorneys will provide a free consultation, but once you need to dig deeper into that information, expect to open your checkbook. Otherwise it's like expecting a free meal at a restaurant because you're curious what a hamburger tastes like.
Posts like this are dangerous because it makes people inexperienced in matters related to IP/copyright/trademark law think they can get away with more than they can. Listen to the lawyer. If you think he's just advertising his services with his post, you probably can't afford him, in which case make doubly sure you know what you're doing when it comes to content ownership laws in your respective country.
By way of an example, my game Sombrero includes characters from a few other games. To make sure this is entirely legal, a written agreement (written by a lawyer, but not this lawyer) was supplied to each and every IP holder, discussing what my rights are in relation to using their IP - the characters are legally permitted to be included in Sombrero, which is its own separate IP, registered with the US trademark office - as well as establishing that they still retain full ownership of the IP and are granting a limited license to use the likeness of their character in-game. If the game content is monetized outside of the game itself (t-shirts, posters, etc.) and that additional content includes usage of their IP, they retain final approval of the look/feel of their IP, which keeps everyone happy, and keeps everything legal. It's really not that hard to do, but it does involve at least a limited understanding of how the law actually works (in the US, where I'm based. This may vary by country).