I’ve seen a few people on here ask some very good questions about copyright.
Most commonly, they ask things about using things from other games/fandoms. One person wanted to make a Dragonball Z game, another made sprites based off a video game.
Its pretty common, to want to make something based on what you love. If you’re a writer, it’s called Fan Fiction. If you’re a costume designer, its Cosplay. If you’re an artist, its Fan Art.
In most forms, this is usually tolerated by the copyright holders for various reasons.
Its non-commercial (the fan doesn’t make money off it directly), it doesn’t conflict, or take away from the original creation. And, its good for the copyright holder, it potentially exposes them to a larger audience.
But, at any time they desire, the copyright holder can enforce their copyright and have the fan created work taken offline.
Less common, is Fan Video Games.
They exist, but they are rare.
They are usually small little things someone made for fun and released online for free, making no money from it, and not competing with the original.
Or sometimes you just want to use the art from a game for your own.
For the purposes of these courses, and this site, I would almost bet money that you would get away with using sprites from the videogame of your choice, or creating a clone of your favorite game.
The problem is, what happens if your game gets popular. What happens when hundreds of thousands of people download and play it? You might release it for free, but what if you have banner ads on your site, or a paypal donation button?
Thats what happened to the creators of a fan game called Pokemon Uranium.
They spent 9 years developing a full fledged pokemon game, with all new pokemon, bad guys, and towns to explore.
From what I’ve seen of it, this game seriously looked professionally made.
And now its no more. Well, you can probably find it on your bittorrent site of choice, or various file sharing sites, though as the creators say, they cant guarantee it’ll be a legit, virus free copy if you do.
This is why you should never use anyone else’s art (of any kind, 3d models, sprites, music, logos, graphics) without permission (a proper license such as Creative Commons) or base your game off of someone elses game.
Best case scenario if you get caught is you’ve only used some sprites or models, and can replace them and repackage your game. Worst case scenario, you based your entire game off someones else’s copyright, and now you cant do anything with it.