Legal question...

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  • Hi guys, I have a question concerning something in my game.

    Is it legal to stream music from youtube into your game? as it's not piracy because it's not downloaded. Streaming is the way forward. But could I get in trouble at all if I'm streaming it?


  • I would say that's asking for trouble if you're trying to find loopholes in copyright law. Might not get noticed if the game isn't played much, but when you have as much money as the music industry, you can blur all sorts of legal lines

  • lucid, Thanks for the conformation; would you know how music based games use big name tracks then?

  • Streaming music is technicly still downloaded i think just not to a permanent spot on your drive but to cache. For example.. if you go to a clip but keep it pauzed at the start and wait for the preload bar to fill, even if you then disconnect your internet the clip will still play. I don't have much knowledge on the subject but i think it works something like that. And a lot of youtube clips do not have permission either to begin with ofcourse so that would be dodgy stuff either way..

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  • lucid, Thanks for the conformation; would you know how music based games use big name tracks then?

    By asking the artist and often paying for it would be my wild guess *nods

  • UberDark is right even if it is often big publisher (EA for example) having agreements with music publisher (universal for example) and they both know that "big" music beeing used in "big games", and having "big games" using "big music" reinforce both.

    This is all marketing both of the time.

    And sometimes there are indys like "Insanely twisted shadow planet" who will have agreement with lesser music publisher ("Nuclear Blast") and have Dimmu borgir as sound track.

    From the moment the music is published, you have to deal with the publisher.

    Finaly "streaming from youtube"... well, youtube streams video, not music only so it's like downloading more than required and I'm not sure it is legal as you require the authorization of the video author (as long as his the right-holder for the video and the soundtrack).

  • Kyatric, Yeah I understand now <img src="smileys/smiley6.gif" border="0" align="middle" />. I just thought there must be some sort of work around because there is this game called Tap Tap Revenge 4.

    Basically this is a music based game, and all the tracks in the game are real well known tracks. But the game is free! and always will be, but there are in app purchases to download more tracks.

    So I though there has to be some work around, I study A-Level media, part of our course is the music industry, And the problem with the music industry is piracy, the combat to piracy is streaming, So if I streamed the music then I'm not doing anything illegal but they might bitch. But maybe using youtube is not a good idea, maybe another API..

  • Basically, if you gain any money from someone elses creation without permission. Its illegal.

    So charging people money to unlock tracks that you do not own the copyright to and dont have permission to use would be a big no no.

    Though its my understanding that even if you werent making money at all from it they still have the right to tell you to stop, and then if you didnt it would be illegal again.

    I could be wrong.

  • Yeah I understand. I just don't get how tap tap did it when there a free game..

  • Basically this is a music based game, and all the tracks in the game are real well known tracks. But the game is free! and always will be, but there are in app purchases to download more tracks.

    There you go. That's exactly the deal they've made with some music publisher. "We hook the people with some fancy graphics, and integrate a shop system to directly buy songs from you, dear publisher"

    If your game is interesting enough to bind players to it for more than just a few minutes, you could try to get such a deal yourself. Just stick to the model, when advertising your game to a publisher:

    -Free frontend

    -Just a couple of already well sold songs, to tease the player

    -Ingame shop system to make it as easy as possible for the player to buy songs without thinking too much about that process, by instantly integrating the downloaded songs in the game.

  • Ahhh I see thanks <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

  • yes you can stream you tube music in your game this is not illegal, because you are giving third party link into the game, If there is any legal activity happen against you then you are safe.

  • larryparker, Thanks! I though this too. <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

  • That's not necessarily true, As lucid said earlier, companies will find ways to get you.

    smitchell, it's a pretty blurry line you're treading. I can tell you for a fact that it does not matter if your game is free or not in the case of infringing on copyright. Plus, YouTube also has agreements set in place with all those record companies so that they get paid in ad revenue. As for "big games" with "big songs" in them, the game companies are licensed the music, which is likely a sync license (that's what movie studios and television networks pay for when putting an artist's song in time to a visual medium). I say likely because I'm not entirely sure on how it works with licensing to video game companies, but it's the closest thing I can think of. Either way, sync licensing terms are made up on a deal to deal basis.

    You "advertising" or linking to places to purchase the music also isn't going to help your case. The copyright owners have a lot of rights to their works, among them include dilution or defamation, or some similar term. Basically, they can sue you for using their work in a product that would hurt their own sales or reputation by having their work associated with something they don't support, whether it be a cause or an indie film or whatever. Dumb things like that.

    You obviously won't be able to obtain a sync license deal from any big name record companies or artists. What you CAN try to do is find indie artists who have released their works under Creative Commons Licensing, which would allow you to do exactly what you want to do. Big name bands are largely out just because their music is also owned in large part by the record labels they're under.

    Indie doesn't mean bad though, and neither does Creative Commons. A good example would be Jonathan Coulton, who has released all his music under CC, allowing you to screw around with it and use it in derivative non-commercial works as long as you credit him for the music.

    Each Creative Commons License allows something slightly different, but it's still a pretty sweet (read: infringement free) deal.

    You can read more about it here:

  • Why not use some of the excellent free music in your game. Then when you have more people playing it, it would make more sense for publishers tow ork with you...

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