There is no single recipe for success in the video game market, but some causes of problems at the distribution stage are clear. In this article, we take a cultural and historical look at the content of games. These aspects may force the producer to introduce changes in such areas as quests or a character’s appearance or “skin.” It is not always enough to meticulously analyse the game content for intellectual property issues. Sometimes it will be better to abandon some content ideas or even create several versions of a game, adapting the content to the market where the game is to be distributed.
Some international or national symbols are subject to special protection.
The sign of the Red Cross, familiar to all, is a symbol of humanitarian aid, protected by international law and the national law of many countries. Contrary to general belief, it is not part of the public domain; it cannot be used by anyone in any way. The rules for use of the Red Cross symbol are strictly defined in the Geneva Conventions, and improper use not only violates the law but, above all, distorts the meaning of the sign, deepening the perception that it can be used freely, which detracts from its value.
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We have already written about the conditions under which the likeness of real-life people can be used in a game. But what if a game developer wants to use the likeness of a deceased person, or make an avatar look like a deceased person, e.g. a dead celebrity (aka “deleb”) or historical figure? After all, obtaining the person’s consent is impossible. So can the likeness of a dead person be used freely? In this article, we point out what rules a game developer should follow to ensure they are legally on safe ground.
The likeness of natural persons is protected on various grounds. In the Polish legal system, it is protected first of all under the Copyright Act, but also under the Civil Code as a personal rights. What does this mean for video game developers?
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Today, the benefits of using video games in education and training are no longer disputed. Simulation, sports, role-playing and strategy games help to improve eye–hand coordination, concentration and spatial orientation, exercise memory, develop perceptiveness, provoke logical thinking, and train users in making choices and decisions and foreseeing the consequences of their actions. Does this mean that teachers can use them in class without hesitation?
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A game is only as good as its creators. Therefore, it is in the interest of game development companies to keep their staff happy, so they don’t even think about switching to the competition. In addition, however, it is worth taking preventive measures, e.g. including clauses in contracts preventing the poaching of valuable employees and independent contractors.
Sometimes, regardless of the industry, companies include clauses in contracts preventing actions unfavourable to them. The most common of such clauses ban:
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Multiplayer gamesare an increasingly important market segment. All kinds of features allowing players to communicate during gameplay, such as voice communication and text chats, largely account for their popularity. While player interaction is desired by players themselves and game developers, it can involve inappropriate and even unlawful player behaviour. What is the provider of an online game to do in such a situation?
A chat in a multiplayergame can even be used to commit a crime. Therefore, providers of online games (in particular developers, but also publishers and distributors) need to be aware of the obligations this may entail. This is important given that a large number of gamers are younger people who may be exposed to criminal activity by other game users.
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In our series we have addressed the issue of protecting a video game against cloning in the context of lack of legal protection for an idea for a game. In this article, we will take a broader look at this problem.
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