Game footage

Advice for those new to the concepts of copyright
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allanmark
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Game footage

Post by allanmark » Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:38 pm

Helo, Im trying to make youtube vidioes and dont reli know what i can do due to copyright. my main question is, can i vidio record myself playing a game, and not get in to trouble with the copyright. The vidio will be me talking over game footage (with game sound)?

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:48 pm

Hi Allan,
Your question is a tricky one to answer because the law on copyright dates back to 1988 and largely fails to address such modern day things as computer games. The majority of 'law' we have to guide us is therefore made up of decisions by the courts in certain specific cases. This provides guidance but it doesn't provide the kind of certainty which statute law can provide.
Computer programs (which includes computer games) are treated as literary works and therefore have copyright. But you are not seeking to copy the code so that is irrelevant here. In a 2006 case known as Nova Productions Ltd v Mazooma Games Ltd Mr Justice Kitchin, concluded (paragraphs 98 -106) that the images presented on screen in a game were artistic works. Artistic works are protected by copyright. As your proposed video would include images from the actual game, we need to consider if this would infringe the game's artistic copyright.
There are two specific activitiies which are rights that only the author can authorise, namely communicating, showing or performing a work to the public and making a copy available to the public. Given that you would like to display your video on Youtube, this would amount to communicating or showing a copy to the public. The next step is to decide whether the amount of copying would be substatntial enough to qualify as infringement. Where a film (like a Hollywood movie) is concerned, even copying a single frame (representing about 1/24th of a second) would be considered infringement, irrespective of overall length of the film which might be a hundred minutes or more long. So applying the same principle to a game, it would probably be an infringement of the artistic copyright to include a sequence of game play in your video.
However, there is one possible loophole. You don't mention why you want to do this, but if it was for the purposes of criticism or review, provided that there was sufficient acknowldgement of the game's author (ie the company that sells it) it may be permissable to use short extracts from the game. You would need to make it clear that your video was intended as a review, before going on to demonstrate whatever it is you wish to feature.
Bear in mind that all of this is based on some assumptions about how a court might view this, based on past cases. In fact it is highly unlikely that you would ever end up in court! It's far more likely that if the game's manufacturer objected, they would ask Youtube to take down the video, probably using the American Digital Millenium Copyrght Act process. Only if you were a repeat offender in Youtube's eyes would you risk having your Youtube account closed.
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

allanmark
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Thankyou

Post by allanmark » Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:36 pm

Hi andy

Thank you very much for the reply, it was very handy. I know my original question was a bit brief but I got the info I needed, thank you verry much !

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