Copyright issues when releasing a demo, advice needed

I have a demo for a space combat game that will be ready soon. First stage will be single player for basic testing similar to this demo Projectiles Pack in Blueprints - UE Marketplace (which is a lot of fun btw)

My assets are from Turbosquid and the Unreal Store. My 2 issues of concern are:

  1. How do I copyright what I’ve made so far (assuming I own all the rights) and make sure someone doesn’t try to steal spacecombatdemo.exe and repackage it?

  2. Should I send out legal notices before I receive donations? I made as sure as possible that the assets I bought/downloaded had the Royalty Free License All Extended Uses clause

I want to put the demo up on GumRoad so I can receive donations to fund development. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Hey Mike… if you find that answer, please let us know…lol!! but yea man… if you made everything yourself then you don’t need know to worry about copyright. but if you bought some assets from Turbosquid to speed up
development then i am sure people put in some kind of Attribution notice in the description section saying you have to give credit which would usually be in your credits page. if there isn’t any notice then it usually mean the
artist is giving that model for free. but i would try to contact the artist via E-Mail just to make sure. and as for the Legal Notice on your side, you can put what you don’t want the consumer/player to do with your product in your ELUA.
i mean it’s helps but it isn’t going to completely stop it, but it helps. all we can do is hope for the best… and as for the funding part, i don’t know anything about GumRoad i am assuming it is like Kickstarter and in that
case i would advise you post a Gameplay Video or and little Trailer showcasing your game instead and wait till your game starts getting some traction and then maybe post a demo.

Hope this helped

Most of the time, when you buy an asset they give you the license to use it however you want, you don’t need to credit them with it. To make sure, you’d have to check the user agreement from the place you bought the assets from.

As for other copyrights, you automatically own copyright on something you create without having to do anything–at least that’s how it is in the U.S.
That doesn’t necessarily stop someone from doing stuff but if you find someone doing something then you have legal rights if you want to pursue it.

For the donations stuff, the only thing is that you have to keep in mind that if someone is giving you money in return for access to the game then you will owe royalty to Epic on that money. If you don’t give them anything for the game in return then you don’t owe royalty.

And as far as using third-party assets, just make sure that you do some degree of packaging (cooking) so that the third-party assets can’t just be yanked out of your build and used easily. There’s no stopping it from happening period, but that one little step generally makes sure you’re doing due diligence on behalf of the marketplace/asset/content creators. It’s not necessary, but it’s a neat thing to do.

It’s actually the other way around. The asset remains the property of the creator unless specifically stated otherwise.

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that, as far as #1, all you have to do is state that the file cannot be redistributed, and people would not legally be allowed to do so. Just like with assets. Won’t stop people from doing it though; there are entire sites devoted to openly distributing massive software like 3DS Max or Maya that have been operating for years without repercussion, so don’t expect to be able to actually enforce much as an individual developer. Pirates are like cockroaches.
The best option is to just not distribute the .exe directly like that. Try getting on Steam or something similar.

Gumroad essentially lets people donate if they want or just download it for free if they want. I eventually want to be paying UE4 because that means I’m making money but I don’t know if a voluntary payment where they get the game for what they want counts as donation or paying for a product even though access will be free.

The early demo will be simple but fun so I’ll post videos and everything soon. Huge space battle, cool color design, grandiose atmosphere, physics based flight, huge cap ships, small fighters, fun gameplay and AI fleets are all done.

If they have to pay to get the game then that requires royalties, if they can get the game for free but also can donate then you don’t owe any royalties.

I don’t think that’s how it works. I’m almost certain that you pay the royalties on whatever you do happen to make off of the game, including those “donation” purchases. If people donate over $3,000 in a quarter, or whatever that amount is, then you pay royalties on it.

No, it’s only on money that people pay to receive the game. For example, if you have a Kickstarter and one tier gives the game for $20 then you owe royalty on the $20, if you have a tier that gives the game and a T-shirt for $40 then you only owe royalty for the value of the game itself and not the T-shirt which would be just the $20

I could understand if you were simply given a donation by a fan of the game, but Gumroad is a little different; by “donation,” he’s talking about the ability to basically choose how much you pay for the game. You can pay $0, but you can also choose to pay $100.
The payment is optional, but it’s still being given in exchange for access to the game.

Right, and if someone were to pay $100 for access to the game then they’d have to pay royalty on that $100, even if they can get it for free otherwise. They would have to use some kind of donation system that isn’t like a “pay what you want” type thing. A donation can’t be a purchase of the game.

Ok that makes sense. My plan is set up on Gumroad so people can pay for it when they download if they want and set up a website later where people can donate but not download the client. That way people can pick whatever they want to do, for an alpha demo I want as many people to try it and have fun messing around I think it will be fun just as a demo. Thanks for the help.