Legal clarifications


I’m a freelance designer from Spain (one man) and I’m interested in testing the Unreal Engine tool to see if I can include it in my work pipeline. I’ve read some posts about legal issues and royalties, but I want to clarify two issues just to make sure I’ve understood them well:

  • I usually work for clients that hire me to do a specific job and pay me for it after accepting a budget (is this called work-for-hire?).If a client pays me to create any kind of animated video with the engine and me or the client publish it in YouTube, Vimeo or a Website to show it I don’t have to pay royalties, right?

  • If I create a specific interactive application for a client in the same terms for Pc, Mac or Android, do I have to pay royalties from the invoice I charge the client?

Finally, I’d like to know if you have an agent in Spain, just in case I need some specific information about the use of the tool or how to pay royalties from my country.

thank you

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To answer each of your questions:

  • Yes, we call that work-for-hire where you are paid a fixed amount to a certain job. If you are paid as a work-for-hire job to create a non-interactive animated video for YouTube or similar streaming, there are no royalties.
  • Work-for-hire fees are never subject to royalties, even if you are creating an interactive app. However, the app itself becomes a Product under the EULA, and royalties may be owed on the app if it is sold. The best solution for you is to get the party who is selling the app to become a licensee of Epic, so that they can take over royalties. But if they won’t do that, the creator of the app is responsible.
  • We don’t have an agent in Spain, although we have presence in Europe. Questions about royalties can go to; they can answer questions about any country. As for technical support, the forums and AnswerHub are you best bet for questions, and of course there is lots of video and documentation too.
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Thank you Canon for your responses.

If I create an interactive app for a client it is supposed they’ll use it to show to their clients (let’s say an architectural walkthrough or a reconstruction of an ancient building for a museum), not to put it in a digital market like Google play or similar. This way would’nt pay royalties, right?

Let’s suppose I create ten applications … I won’t be able to track all of them all the time to see if the client is using them in a way they don’t break your Eula … as I told you, I’m a freelance and this would be difficult for me and I think it is not fair I’m responsible for the bad use others can make of the product. Is there a way I can protect myself of this possible situations? I also don’t know what it means for the client to become a licensee of Epic, can you explain it a bit, please?

thanks again

No royalties would be owed on an interactive app that is not sold to end users, like in the cases you described.

You have become a licensee of Epic by signing the EULA and taking at least one month subscription; your client could do the same very cheaply.

I understand your concerns about your client selling the app later, but I hope you can appreciate Epic’s concerns too - we need to be paid royalties on apps that are sold to end users which use the engine and can’t have a loophole for apps that were made-for-hire. In those cases, either the developer or the party selling the app needs to be responsible for paying royalties.

Ok, so if my client signs in the website like I did, pays the 19€ for one month subscription and then cancel it, would this make him responsible if he ever uses the app without paying the royalties, although I was the creator of the app?

Thanks for your quick answers

Yes, they’d have responsibility

Ok, understood. Thank you Canon.