Gaming WALKTHROUGH website

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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plshelp
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Gaming WALKTHROUGH website

Post by plshelp » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:45 pm

I know I have already posted on here with a 'game review website' thing, however my website will be more focused on game walkthroughs. Is this still legal or will it interfere with copyright issues? There will be pictures of the game, could I also make revenue from this?
Thanks for helping on the other matter though! :)
Last edited by plshelp on Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:31 pm

Hi plshelp,
There are two answers to this question: what the law says and what actually happens in practice.
Because the graphics, music and sound effects in a game are all separate copyright works, a user who 'copies' them in a walkthrough would infringe those rights if the amount copied was substantial and was not permitted by one or more of the exceptions I mentioned in the other thread. Measuring substantiality is notoriously difficult, but generally the court will look at whether the essence of the copyright work has been copied. I think that unless it was a fairly trivial (and therefore pretty useless) walkthroough, it is bound to use a substantial part of the game. If the purpose of the walkthrough can be be described as a review of the game (your guess is as good as mine whether this argument would hold water), then section 30 might apply. Equally if a walkthrough could justifiably be termed 'quoting' then again that amended part of section 30 for quotation could apply. But with both of these exceptions, the key words are fair dealing, and I don't think that an extensive walkthrough of a game would meet this criterion. That said, I am not aware of any court cases on this particular aspect, so we just don't know.

That's the legal position.

However in practice it appears that some games manufacturers are prepared to turn a blind eye, while others are not. A couple of years ago there was quite a flurry of takedowns of unauthorised walkthroughs posted on YouTube, and in most cases as far as we know none of these were tested by the courts either here or in the USA. Takedowns are effectively an easy option for sites like YouTube to avoid liability for infringement, and they don't always have a good legal basis. I would suggest that, irrespective of the strength or otherwise of your legal position, it is the attitude of the games manufacturers which will determine how viable your project is. The upside is that if you publish a walkthrough and the game's manufacturer objects, the most likely outcome is that they will ask for it to be taken down and if you don't fight it, that's the worst that will happen. Fighting a takedown notice, especially if the manufacturer isn't based in the UK, could be really expensive.

Sorry that I can't give you a clearer answer. If you would like another take on this subject, see this posting by a UK lawyer who specialises in this area of law: Gamerlaw
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

plshelp
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Thanks for the reply!

Post by plshelp » Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:39 pm

How would I gain permission, if that is what I needed to do? Could I risk it as the worst case scenario is just a take down? How would you go about this?

plshelp
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Research

Post by plshelp » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:43 pm

I have done some research and found that most of the publishers that I would like to write reviews of allow their content monetized on YouTube. Would this mean that I would be able to make a walkthrough on my website?
I do not mind emailing directly, I have already emailed EA for permission. Or is that not enough?

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:19 am

Hi plshelp,
I would think that if a company was content to let users monetise their games content on YouTube, that implies that a walkthrough would be OK. I think a lot of the manufacturers have discovered the hard way that it doesn't make good business sense to piss of their fan base who have, after all, bought their games. Let's Plays and Walkthroughs act as advertising and so it is better to let them happen without hassling the players.

If you are in doubt about where a company stands on the issue, then contacting them for permission is certainly a good idea. An email, such as the one you have sent to EA should be fine, provided it gets to the right person in the organisation. If you already own the games you wish to feature on your site, read through the End User Licensing Agreement (EULAs) for each game (they are all probably very similar) to see if creating and publishing walkthroughs are mentioned, even if only in broad terms.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

plshelp
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Thanks

Post by plshelp » Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:20 am

Thank you so much :)

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