sonic the hedgehog,copyright laws

lupas

New Member
right i was thinking of doing a sonic the hedgehog pc 3d game.but with sonic the hedghog being owned by sega.would i be infringing on copyright laws if i made one.i wouldent be selling it.i would be giving it away free to sx users.so could i be effectively hauled into court and sued?.
 

mal

Member
For free or not you probably still could be taken to court.

It all depends on whether Sega cares enough about it to bother. SegaXtreme freely operates in the grey area of things...
 

Curtis

Member
Any copyight laws applicable to Sonic the Hedgehog in the past are still applicable today. I would think that he(?) is covered by whatever goes in Japan. Unless they have laws that are completely different from the rest of the world, they will remain in effect until about 50 years after the death of his creator.

However, it is unlikely that Sega would take action against you simply because there is no profit gained from it. As mal said, SX has been operating like this for many years.
 

Myname

Member
If you're giving it away for free I can't really see that it's different to people making hacks of games or whatever. You never know, Sega might give you a job :
:
 

ExCyber

Staff member
Standard disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, but I have actually read about this stuff.


with sonic the hedghog being owned by sega.would i be infringing on copyright laws if i made one
Probably. Definitely, if you intend to use Sonic sprites ripped from an existing STH game. Also, since Sonic is Sega's de facto mascot, you may have problems with trademark laws also.

well ther'es no profit involved, so no i don't think so...
Profit is not required for infringement, though a finding of infringement is obviously more likely if profit is involved.

It all depends on whether Sega cares enough about it to bother.
This pretty much says it all. Copyright violation is nominally a civil offense rather than a criminal one, so it's up to Sega (or whoever they may have authorized, such as the IDSA or a law firm) to decide whether or not to take you to court for the infringement. However, since you intend to use Sonic, you could put Sega in a position in which they are obligated to sue you in order to maintain protection of any trademark protection Sonic might have (unlike copyright, trademark privileges can be lost if the trademark is not actively defended).

Any copyight laws applicable to Sonic the Hedgehog in the past are still applicable today. I would think that he(?) is covered by whatever goes in Japan. Unless they have laws that are completely different from the rest of the world, they will remain in effect until about 50 years after the death of his creator.
The basis for international copyright law is the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which requires all signatories to enforce foreign copyrights under their own laws, and sets a minimum copyright term of 50 years after the death of the author, or 50 years for anonymous/pseudonymous works, or works which are considered to have no natural author (Sonic probably falls into this category as a "work for hire" owned by Sega). In the United States, these terms were extended to 70 years after the author's death and 95 years, respectively, thanks to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (sometimes referred to by its opponents as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, in reference to the fact that Congress seemingly has a habit of extending copyright terms whenever Steamboat Willie's is about to expire).
 

lupas

New Member
hmmm everyone made some good valid points.do any of you think it would be more likely of sega to simply tell me to cease distributing it,and to cease any other games i might of had planned.but i am thinking of what excyber said about,they could basically void there trademark if they are not seen to be active in protecting it.i know i probebly wouldent face a sentence or nothing as drastic as that,more like a very big fine.its just i couldent really afford a big fine.

what if i sent a finished copy to sega for them to check out,with a letter or email stating that it is only a fangame and under no circumstances would i attempt to make a profit from it.do you think they would maybe allow it then,or point blank say NO.
 

ExCyber

Staff member
do any of you think it would be more likely of sega to simply tell me to cease distributing it,and to cease any other games i might of had planned.
That's far more likely than an actual lawsuit. I think I misstated the threat in my previous post; AFAIK Sega doesn't have to actually drag you into court, they just have to get you to stop using it. They could threaten a lawsuit, but it would probably only be the "... or else" to a request for you to stop distributing the game(s). Suing someone is expensive. Having someone in the legal department fire off an email threatening a suit is much cheaper.


what if i sent a finished copy to sega for them to check out,with a letter or email stating that it is only a fangame and under no circumstances would i attempt to make a profit from it.do you think they would maybe allow it then,or point blank say NO.
In all likelihood, that would either get you a boilerplate "We don't accept unsolicited game prototypes/ideas" response (it's policy at most game publishing companies to not even look at such submissions, apparently in order to avoid "they stole my design" lawsuits), or a "request" to not distribute it.
 

lupas

New Member
thx EXcyber for your responce.oh well if the worst i can expect to happen is recieve a email saying NO!! STOP IT RIGHT NOW,then i may as well go ahead and start some designs.i probebly wont be using anything out of the sonic games,except maybe the sound effects,and music.becouse there is no way in hell i could write music.also i will probebly make my own sonic 3d model from scratch using the sonic sprites as a reference only.but when i do finally post on here that the game is ready for tests,please dont expect anything of sonic adventure quality.there is only me doing this,not teams of professionals
 

lupas

New Member
thx for the offer m8.i dont know what its going to be in yet.either c or c++.i have microsoft visual studio.theres alot of good 3d engines,and 2d engines allready made.
 
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