How To Make A Fan Game And Not Get Your Ass Sued

Illustration for article titled How To Make A Fan Game And Not Get Your Ass Sued

Making a fan game - like this, or this - can be a tricky thing. Is it a tribute, or is it stealing? We like to think it's the former, but lawyers often think the latter.

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Over on Gamasutra, attorney Mona Ibrahim has provided a handy guide on how to go about making a fan game (whether it be a remake or all-new title), get it finished, and not end up with a nasty letter from Nintendo or George Lucas for your troubles.

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The best plan of action is to "rely on unprotected game elements, mechanics and processes" and ask the IP owner for permission before commencing work. If those don't work, you can always take what inspired you from somebody else's game and use it as a foundation to build your own game on.

Budding modders and developers note, however, Ibrahim's advice is followed by a big 'THE INFORMATION IN THIS ARTICLE IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. The content of this article is not legal advice" disclaimer, so, yeah, tread lightly.

To read the whole thing in-depth, hit up Gamasutra below.

Analysis: Clone Games & Fan Games — Legal Issues [Gamasutra]

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DISCUSSION

Yet, despite similar laws existing in Japan, the doujinshi culture there his huge and large companies knowingly turn a blind eye. In fact some circles do make some decent money, even when operating with the understanding that quantities produced must be limited.

So you could say another loop hole would be to give your game a Japanese language option, and post it to Japanese websites first. Give the game either selectable dual language (default to Japanese) or an English patch. Soon enough everyone will be sharing the English patched version of your game, and vuala.