Does recreating the Titanic's wreck in video games infringe?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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just askin
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Does recreating the Titanic's wreck in video games infringe?

Post by just askin »

I've been creating a game based on the wreck of the Titanic. To do this I've been watching footage of the wreck, making notes on the location of items and modelling the items as I've seen them, replicating them as they appear.

With the intent of placing these in game models as they appear on the wreck.

However it appears that some of the footage used is copyrighted and in the agreement on a website which distributes the footage, the site says " you may not use the Work to sell a product or service; use the Work in any publication; take the results from the Work and reformat and display them; exchange any Work for other copyrighted works by means of digital file-sharing; or use any robot, spider, other device or manual process to monitor or copy any Work"

I have not signed this agreement, since I viewed the footage on YouTube. But I know the protection still applies.

The part that particularly is of concern to me is the "take the results from the work and reformat and display them".

Does my game infringe on their copyright? By displaying the items in the exact place that they appear on the wreck according to the footage?

- Other people have stated "The actual real-world object (the wreck with the items as they appear) is not protected by copyright. Also, factual information (such as the location of the objects) is not protected by copyright.

The video is protected as a creative work, but that copyright does not extend to the real-world object, so you are free to reproduce the wreck in your game."

I believe this to be the case, so long as both 1. the location of the object 2. the appearance of the object - count as facts

But do the examples I highlighted above count as facts that can be copyrighted? Ie facts that are revealed through an image.

I also don't know whether this makes a difference - but some of the items are only photographed and published in copyrighted material, whilst others are available in non copyrighted material too.

And just for clarification - the footage does not appear in the game, only the items modelled from scratch based on the footage.

I'm hoping to get as many second opinions as possible.
Many thanks!
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi just askin

The advice you have already been given is correct. The rights of a copyright owner apply only to their expression of an idea or fact, whether that is in the form of a book, song or video. Certain things within their work - assuming that they have created them themselves - such as characters or plot devices, will often be protected because they form part of the overall expression, but protection for descriptions of real places, events or people is limited to the actual words used or video footage etc, and not the underlying events or people which are portrayed. So exactly the same applies to the footage you have mentioned. Since the videographer did not make or position the objects on the ship, you can freely use these details which are treated as facts. I think there is little doubt that none of the objects shown in the Titanic will be covered by any other intellectual property rights belonging to a third party, due to their age and the law which applied at the time they were made.

Clearly the video maker wishes to protect his work from out and out copying of the actual footage, and thus has used these fairly expansive terms for how the footage may be used. They can do this because there is no rule that says they can't make overblown claims, however I am sure you will be on safe ground to go ahead with your game even though you have derived the physical appearance and positioning details with the aid of the video.
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
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