If some friends and I want to make an online video game based on a fantasy book series that we do not own, is it a copyright infringement?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If some friends and I want to make an online video game based on a fantasy book series that we do not own, is it a copyright infringement?

 If it is infringement, how do we get around the legal issues?

Asked on February 17, 2012 under Business Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It would absolutely be copyright infringement; copyright gives the rights owner the right to control the creation of derivative and adapted works, including in different media.

It may also be trademark violation, if any of the characters, etc. are registered trademarks.

There is no way "around" the legal issues; you can either license the right to use these characters from whomever owns the rights; or you can create your own characters, settings, etc. Certainly, there can be similarities--for example, Tolkien's Elves and Dwarves are similar to the Elves and Dwarves of the Warhammer universe. However, while there can be similarities, they must be "generic" similarities, of type, not of specific characters, places, etc.--if anything is obviously adapted from another's work, you are infringing.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption