taking assets from abandon ware

i have yet another question for the unreal community regarding assets, lets say a game has being classed abandon ware, meaning the company that owns the game no longer cares what happens to it, can i dismantle a few things such as 3d models and all sorts of junk and import it into unreal or another engine to be used later in a game project or to add to another asset ect i know people do this but can i do it legaly and not have to worry about a law suite down the track. any thoughts at all unreal community ?.

The only situation where you don’t have to worry about the legal status is where you clearly have legal rights to the assets. This means you have a contract with the company or they have released them under a license that gives you the permissions you need.

There’s no such thing as abandonware. It’s a name made up by people who want to think they have the right to something that they don’t. The companies still own the rights, they can still use the rights, they can still sell the rights. There’s never a time when you’re in the clear just because they don’t appear to be using their rights.

William is right. They aren’t doing anything with the game because they don’t think it will make them enough money to make the effort.

As soon as they see a game using their assets, it will just take a single lawyers letter, and they have you bang-to-rights to the tune of [enter currency here][enter amount here].

Someone still owns those assets. and it isn’t you. :frowning:

Two things:

  1. Going to internet forums for legal advice? Probably not the best source for that. :slight_smile:
  2. There’s no legal recognition of “abandonware”, at least in US and Int’l IP law. There was a push a few years ago to let things move into the public domain if, for example, the owner of rights is a legal entity that has been dissolved. It was not successful. Even if the company isn’t around, there are likely successors in interest who could go after you. Will they? Totally depends, but you’re definitely at risk using someone else’s IP.

Now, there are situations where you might be okay. There are legally recognized exception to copyright, such as fair use and parody, but I doubt any of them will apply to your case and few of them are bright-line and free of risk.