Using real places in game. Is legall?

Hi i working on my game and i have a question. I can use real places like Miami or Houstone ofc. without real car and companies brands … and only similar design for buildings? This game will be a life simulator style game with multiplayer system. Or better and more save option will be used fictional names for the cities likes Palm City (Miami)? I asking because in Europe soon will be proceed restricted copyright law and we cant predict how it finnaly looks and i dont want to be striked by copyright .

New law in shortcut (they are still working on it, and it will be finally launched on a next year):

Article 11. It refers to Directive 2001/29 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 and thus guarantees the publishers the exclusive right to reproduce the work. In practice, this means that the possibilities of sharing materials restricted by copyright will be limited.

Article 13. It obliges widely understood providers of information society services, and therefore the largest online players, to cooperate with organizations associating copyright owners. This will be based on the fact that automatic algorithms will be launched, which will search for content protected by copyright, and blocked, similar to those that currently exist on YouTube. All content available on the Internet for citizens of EU Member States would be scanned.

Well in 2018 the largest issue Indy devs face today is what is considered fair use versus the rights of the IP owner to “claim” that they own the rights so there is no 100% guaranty that one would be on the right side of litigation issue where the result is not what would be considered fair use but who has the better story in a court of law.

To be honest I don’t think that accepting reasoning from a forum group such as this one will not give you a same day solution as to once you go down the rabbit hole becomes progressively complex as to fair use doctrine but avoiding branding is a good start, as in calling a building Trump Towers or even a fast food joint called McDonalds, as a sub issue of trade mark violations.

A good place to start as far as preforming due diligence you can start here.

The focus is on legal issues, and the first of it’s kind, as to the ins and outs of copyright to at least becomes self educated as to the what is allowed under fair use versus where the line is drawn and has support forums where you can ask questions and receive a better overview to at5 least be prepared as to what could occur and not be surprised as to cause and effect.

In general.

No one cares what you do until you release your effort to public release or for sale via platforms like Steam and most companies will inform you that they have a complaint where there are companies that will sit on their issues until you “product” becomes successful. I’m sure with a market evaluation of 4 billion dollars Epic faces a few days where someone comes out of the wood work with their hand out as to the success of Fortnite.

Bottom line it’s far to easy to state a claim on even original works so as even a hobby tracking current cases in the courts is an eye opener and a fun past time :smiley:

“Fair use” is unlikely going to help you if you bring contemporary architecture into your game. That would be my main concern if I was to recreate something. You can always try to stay below the radar. The worst you can do is to make a controversial game.

If you want to be totally safe then only use fictional assets or assets that you have the rights to use.

Like Frankie mentions you will not get any great advice from a forum, you would have to hire a lawyer.

Its main painfoul thing in placing game in real world … Copyright on everything. And what about monuments to use these as orientation points like Golden Gate bridge or Epire State Building? I can use it on same name or i need change them? So if i make fictional cities only inspired on real places like GTA i will be free for copyrights?

I’m not a lawyer so if it matters hire one. :slight_smile:

A thing is not covered under copyright as CR can only cover a collection of ideas as a single form as to fair use to, well, copy said works. One can not copyright a building but can as a representation of an idea that represents the building in question. If say you take a photo of a building than that photo can be copyrighted. So in this example, and context, making a building in digital form can be copyrighted but only as to it’s completed form as a digital asset.

So per this example where would one be in violation of copyright?

Well if you take or download a fixed asset that represents the Golden Gate bridge or Empire State Building then one is in violation as to the rights by extension that the original creator may or may not be in agreement to as to what is considered fair use directly to the issue of making copies . To put in another context a major issue to some is whats called asset flipping or content ripping with the intention to sell such creative assets as “original” work.


Once again in context if you make these buildings then you have the right to determine how such assets are used as part of the public domain but you can not “copy” the buildings from GTA to make use of such assets in your own game or product if the purpose is to “distribute” your game for the purpose of commercial profit or other wise.

At it’s core copyright is not about the rights to copy an idea but to limit fair use as to who has the right to distribute such works.

So whats the plan? If making a GTA style game and you make your own art work then you own the fair use for the purposes of distribution. It’s all about context. :wink:

For architectural structures like bridges the U.S. Copyright Office lists them as ineligible for copyright registration:

Ineligible Building Designs

The following building designs cannot be registered:

• Designs that were constructed, or whose plans or drawings were published,before December 1, 1990

• Designs that were unconstructed and created in unpublished plans or drawings on December 1, 1990, and were not constructed on or before December 31, 2002

• Structures other than buildings, such as bridges, cloverleafs, dams, walkways, tents, recreational vehicles, mobile homes, and boats


Anyway to stay safe is always better to avoid anything from the real world that is not absolutely a generic type … like fruits meshes that afaik can’t be copyrighted that easily… obviously avoiding adding a real world brand name on them.

“Once again in context if you make these buildings then you have the right to determine how such assets are used as part of the public domain but you can not “copy” the buildings from GTA to make use of such assets in your own game or product if the purpose is to “distribute” your game for the purpose of commercial profit or other wise.” I just said like GTA V for example thier solution for copyright problem. I dont want to ripping models, every model in my game i create personally.