Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

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Sayumi101
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Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#1 Post by Sayumi101 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:43 am

Hey there everyone,
I remember there being tumblr posts about a "Kuroko no Basuke" dating sim that was in the process of being developed. I liked the idea (though felt a tad bad when it was cancelled).
Now I'm tempted with wanting to create a smaller scale one for NaNoReNo, featuring only a key number of characters. Now before I start actively working on the sprites, I need to know, would this be something I could find myself in trouble over.

The game would be non-commercial of course and I'm not entitled to profit of any kind at any point.
Everything will be made from scratch (Except the BGs, music etc which'll be free resources)
Basically, it's like a fanfiction...but with pictures/sprites.
So what's the verdict?
Yay or Nay?
Any help at all would be appreciated, thanks.
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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#2 Post by SundownKid » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:00 am

Yes, there is a chance you may get sent a cease-and-desist and have to take it down. Doesn't matter if you are selling it or not. Anyone making a fangame has to be willing to take that risk. It may never happen of course, but there is a risk of it happening, however small.

The only time a fangame is legal is when it gets express permission. Like SC2VN got permission from Blizzard to include Starcraft, for example.

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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#3 Post by gekiganwing » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:34 am

I have seen some free fan-made games get released, and become easily available for months or years. This includes some fan games with original art assets, and writing which does not distort the source material. This also includes a few fan games which take art assets, and which barely resemble the source material in terms of writing or characterization.

I have also seen some fan games get cancelled due to a cease and desist letter. There is a *possibility* that this will happen to your visual novel.

For what it's worth, there's a lengthy article on Wikipedia about the large topic of fan labor. Some of it is relevant for people creating games/stories based on others' intellectual properties.

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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#4 Post by Aviala » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:00 am

If you make a fan game based on an anime or manga series it's very unlikely that it will ever get found. Japanese companies are also more accepting of fan creations in general - loads of people sell doujinshi for profit there and the original creators know about it and allow it to happen because they know that having an active fanbase can only be a good thing.

If you make a fan game based on a western comic, game or whatever it's way more likely they'll send you a cease and desist.

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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#5 Post by Mad Harlequin » Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:13 pm

The fact that a derivative work might go undiscovered for a while doesn't mean it's legal, regardless of the original's country of origin. Yes, Japan has doujinshi, but I'd still be careful---while I'm not knowledgeable about the ins and outs of Japanese copyright laws and their interpretations, I'm sure there are creators who would rather not have their intellectual property used, for profit or no, by someone else.
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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#6 Post by Aviala » Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:07 pm

Yeah, sorry - I didn't mean to make it sound like it's legal. It's definitely illegal even in Japan, I think, but most Japanese creators are okay with doujinshi-type of things especially if you don't make any profit.
As I said, the chances of getting caught are very small if you don't make a profit with your game and it's just for fun AND it's based on an anime. I actually think fanfiction, fanart and fan games are a wonderful way to express yourself and your love for a series/game/thing, and it's a shame when fan productions get taken down. If you make a fangame you need to be prepared for that possibility, though - that's reality...

P.S. I'd imagine that if the anime is licenced by an American company that might drastically rise the chances of receiving a cease and desist.

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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#7 Post by Saitoki1582 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:18 am

Yes technically it's illegal, just like the million of fanart, fanfiction, doujinshi and doujinsoft based on anime out there on the internet.

Every fanwork creator out there take a risk to create things for fellow fan and their own enjoyment. It's a risk but it's a small risk, as japanese company generally don't care about fanwork, as long as it's not published in large quantity, copy paste from original, pretent to be the original or get too popular. Even in comiket, the biggest doujin event in japan, there are even a section to sell fanwork for kuroko no basket (yes, they sell them for money), and shuesha never take any action against it (actually it's bad publicity if they do).

So If you like to do it and is willing to take that risk, do it. Just try to keep the scope low so if something happen you won't regret it. I drew a lot of fanart, doujinshi and even did a fangame because I like to create and share what I enjoy, but if the original creator ask me to take down something, I will do it.

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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#8 Post by Schwartzlicht » Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:08 pm

I'm currently working on a OSVLN of The King Of Fighters that is based off a fanzine parody of The King Of Fighters I wrote ages ago. The OST is composed of remixes of popular music from my country and remixes from KoF.
The Visual Novel will probably be seen by the selfsame 20 persons that read the original work, but sometimes I wonder how and if I could get it out to the internet safely.
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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#9 Post by fleet » Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:15 pm

Schwartzlicht wrote:I'm currently working on a OSVLN of The King Of Fighters that is based off a fanzine parody of The King Of Fighters I wrote ages ago. The OST is composed of remixes of popular music from my country and remixes from KoF.
The Visual Novel will probably be seen by the selfsame 20 persons that read the original work, but sometimes I wonder how and if I could get it out to the internet safely.
I am not a lawyer.
If the copyright holder(s) notices what you did (and doesn't like it), they could issue a take down notice to whoever hosts the visual novel. Hosting sites usually act quickly to remove copyrighted material when they get a take down notice for copyright infringement. Generally speaking most hosting sites require the complainer to either affirm that they are the copyright holder, or are authorized by the copyright holder to act in their place.
Note that giving the copyright holder credit in your game does not relieve you of copyright infringement.

Having said that, they might never find out about it.

There are multiple sources of royalty free (Creative Commons) music. I'd use royalty free (creative commons) music.
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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#10 Post by Schwartzlicht » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:15 pm

Oh well, I guess it'll just get burned into twenty CDs and be hand-given.
[offtopic]
Just to make sure, are you saying arrangements and remixes are still copyright infringement? Darn.
[/offtopic]
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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#11 Post by SundownKid » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:19 pm

Schwartzlicht wrote:Oh well, I guess it'll just get burned into twenty CDs and be hand-given.
[offtopic]
Just to make sure, are you saying arrangements and remixes are still copyright infringement? Darn.
[/offtopic]
OCRemix does remixes of game music all the time and haven't got taken down.

Anyway, you can put whatever fan game you want on Dropbox, Megaupload or MEGA, it won't be noticed by anyone unless you are advertising and distributing it widely to a massive audience.

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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#12 Post by Androol » Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:26 pm

It depend on country regulation. For example USA has some law that protect fan art if there are not for making money. (frendly use)
French have law that make it legal if it's an humoristic parody derivation.
Communist country may not recognise intellectual property at all.

In clear if you distribute it on the internet the answer is probably: it's illegal somewhere.

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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#13 Post by juunishi master » Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:21 am

I'm curious, is there anyone here that already made a fangame (or more)?

I'm currently making one too, actually, and, yeah, I know the risk, but still working on it because it's fun. :))

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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#14 Post by TheJerminator15 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:24 am

Illegal? Definitely, without a doubt barring express permission.

But most Japanese creators are pretty fine with fans creating fanfiction, art etc. Especially as it typically increases their fanbase and is in of itself a big business over there. Over here in the West it depends on whose creation you're making fan creations from. Some are completely fine, some take full advantage of copyright laws.

Also remixes are fine under copyright law from what I know. You're taking an existing material and then creating something new from it by altering it. Remixes for music are completely fine from my experience.
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Re: Would making an anime fan-game be illegal?

#15 Post by UkiTheMaid » Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:32 am

Adding my two cents to the discussion:

My first VN was a WWE fangame (don't look at me like that!!) and, I know very well that WWE is very "strict" when it comes to using their property and anything related to it. However, they are yet to file anything against my fangame, and I guess that's because it's just a free, small thing in the vast sea of the Internet (also I made pretty much all assets myself).

So, if a company as vigilant as WWE didn't bring the hammer down on my game, I think you will be mostly fine! But what everyone said here stands: it's always a gamble to make a fangame, specially if it gets too much attention.

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