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Title: Legal issues?
Post by: solarnoise on January 07, 2010, 03:16:00 AM
in this topic:  sneaky business >.>

I was wondering what you guys thought about the legal issues in doing a fan game... even Brian Moriarty doesn't own the rights to LOOM or anything to do with it, it all belongs to Lucas.

I'm just thinking of when Square shut down the Chrono Trigger 3D remake.... it was a very sad thing to see that beautiful game go.

I've been pondering what to do about my own project... do I change the names of characters?  Make it more of a "spiritual" sequel?  You never know if the wrong person/lawyer out there will come by and rain on your project   :-/


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: oferbr on January 07, 2010, 04:42:00 AM
Yeah, but we are not the only ones doing a fanmade sequel to Loom.
Besides, the game will be released for free, so it's not like wer'e gaining any profits or something.


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: abisso on January 07, 2010, 05:49:00 AM
Excuse me... I don't remember any of you two... pleased to meet you, btw!

I don't know which projects are you talking about, guys, but I may speak for the one I work on: I'm worried about the legal issues too, but it all depends if doing our fan-game will be considered as a possible loss of money for Lucasarts. The fact that it's free-ware doesn't necessarily mean it won't damage Lucas. Just think about this possibility: Lucas is planning to do a Loom sequel. You, fan-gamemaker, release a good fan-game in the meantime: some players could choose to play your fan-game instead of BUYING the Lucasarts' one.

If this is not the case, doing a fan-game of a no-more-profitable game is a benefit for the owner of the copyrights, instead. You make free advertising for them, and possibly convince some people to buy the original game too.

I hope the case will be the latter, for what concerns our project.

P.S. Changing names isn't enough. If they want to sue you, or force you to shut down, they can. The only hope is that they don't care.


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: solarnoise on January 07, 2010, 09:28:00 AM
Thanks abisso.

I think what worries me is that a fan game can be shut down for the sole fact that it uses copyright material/ideas/etc.  So in fact just calling someone "Bobbin" in a game could be grounds for a cease & desist from Lucas....whether it's a completely free, fan made game or not.

I'm going to have Moriarty call his "people" at Lucas and probe a bit about how they feel on the matter.


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: Da_Duke2000 on January 07, 2010, 12:53:00 PM
I have made many posts directly on the LucasFilm forums indicating that this project is in existence and have not once had anyone contact me threatening me to close down the project. As far as contacting the Lucas "people", my advice would be to simply let sleeping dogs lie.

Beyond this, Abisso is correct, that it does not matter if you game is freeware or not, the fact that the game could reflect negatively on the franchise is enough warrant legal action.

Personally, I think we're in the clear. I would think that Brian Moriarty wouldn't have even this far in offering to assist your project if he shared the same concerns you do. But, if contact is made to the Lucas World, I hope you'll share the response!


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: abisso on January 08, 2010, 01:29:00 AM
Contacting Lucas directly is like going to the police saying: "I'm planning this theft at the Central Bank of Switzerland... is this fine with you guys?". Well, not exactly like this, but you could give them an easy way of discouraging you, by simply answering your email.

Obviously, you're free to do whatever you want, and you have the support of Moriarty, but bear in mind that the only thing to hope for is their carelessness.


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: ylvaon on January 08, 2010, 04:49:00 AM
Lucas is pretty bitchy about fan-made sequels. Most of them are not of quality they would consider threatening, but I do know of some cases where they shut down projects. They're not a bunch to be messed with.

I can't imagine Moriarty stopping them. Imagine yourself doing a remake of Monkey I 2 years ago... How would it impact Monkey I SE that came out last year...


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: ylvaon on January 08, 2010, 04:50:00 AM
I guess the best idea is to lay low, finish the game, and then let it run on the web. They cannot do anything then.


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: Da_Duke2000 on January 09, 2010, 12:40:00 PM
Agreed! Let the internet distribute until no one can stop us! Muahaha. But I do agree with the 'let sleeping dogs lie' scenario.


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: ylvaon on January 11, 2010, 07:51:00 AM
Point is: don't flap your Loom sequel right into Lucas' face. That has proven to be annoying for the bunch. Some amount of advertising is ok, it would seem, though...


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: Da_Duke2000 on January 12, 2010, 06:49:00 AM
I also don't feel Brian has any problem with Loom sequels and would have warned us off a long time ago. the email I received from him in 2005 was a "Thank you, and good luck" type of email. And with his work with solarnoise, it makes sense. Long as we're not profiting.


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: ylvaon on January 12, 2010, 07:17:00 AM
Brian couldn't do anything even if he had anything against fan made Loom games, since he owns nothing regarding Loom, save the honor of being known as the creator of the game. Lucas is the bloodhound in this affair.


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: selmiak on January 20, 2010, 09:45:00 AM
did you notice that about 2 years ago a zak mc kracken sequel was released and no legal action wasmade about that. So I think the Lucas Arts people will enjoy playing a fangame once in a while  ;)


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: solarnoise on January 22, 2010, 06:24:00 AM
Hi all, wanted to give a slight update on this

First of all, Brian definitely is NOT against Loom projects being taken on by fans... if anything he finds it flattering, from what I've gathered.

Second of all, about the legal inquiry.  You have to understand that we absolutely have to probe the issue because my college claims rights to all projects.  Even though we're being advised by Brian, the previous poster was right in that he has zero say in any legal matter.

Luckily our school has lawyers at disposal for just this exact thing... not the scary court-room type lawyers, the ones that just want to make sure the student projects can go smoothly.

I can assure you that our inquiry is very specific and is only regarding our particular case.  If we get word back that they are NOT cool with us using the Loom IP in our game, it will become more of a spiritual sequel.

Either way, whatever happens to our project has no bearing on yours or any other "underground" projects... just make them, don't ask for money, release it on the internet, and you should be fine.

Ours was just a little trickier since  there is press involved and the school claims ownership.


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: Da_Duke2000 on January 24, 2010, 12:21:00 PM
Yuck! The idea of giving up my hard work and creativity to a legal entity sounds vile. But! You get the support of a college, which is wonderful.

Thats one reason why I like not having anyone to answer to, if Luca$Arts chooses to contact us, and be all cranky, I wont have to change my storyline, only our real names  ;).


Title: Legal issues?
Post by: solarnoise on January 27, 2010, 04:53:00 PM

Yuck! The idea of giving up my hard work and creativity to a legal entity sounds vile. But! You get the support of a college, which is wonderful.

Thats one reason why I like not having anyone to answer to, if Luca$Arts chooses to contact us, and be all cranky, I wont have to change my storyline, only our real names  ;).

Hehe yeah.

Well, the worst case scenario for us is Lucas doesn't want us referencing any of their IP in a game... we can go two ways from there... either make a "Loom-like" that tip-toes around the original world, story, and characters... being careful not to trip any copyright wires... or do an entirely original game, that can still be a throwback to the adventure games of old.

I can tell you that my team and Moriarty feel that it just wouldn't be right to make a Loom game if it wasn't truly Loom.... why confine ourselves?  We'd be limited by two things now, staying within  the Loom world and not even being able to say that we're in it.

So I have a back-up design I'm working on, and if we end up having to go with that I'm sure it's something that people who loved the old adventures (particularly The Dig) will enjoy.

At least we still get to play your game eventually no matter what! =D


Title: Re: Legal issues?
Post by: ClericMaster on May 16, 2010, 01:32:12 AM
To tell you the truth, I'm suprised, and glad, that you guys have gotten this far and haven't gotten sued! :)


Title: Re: Legal issues?
Post by: Da_Duke2000 on May 17, 2010, 09:31:49 AM
You know, I'm not really. On the lucasforums there is open talk about fan translation, scumm hacking, graphics upgrades and modifications.

Not to mention the oodles of fan sequels for games like Indy, Maniac Mantion, Day of the Tentacle, and all the Star Wars fan games out there.

I'm thinking (see:hoping) that lucasarts just isn't that anal.