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Blues 04
Canada
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Hi everyone,


I was wondering if people are paying, or getting some kind of permission to use existing themes, characters, movie names etc...

Because i see alot of games outhere about Lord of the rings for exemple... or Marvel stuff...


I'm not planning to do something like that, but just wondering.


Thank you


Daniel
 
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James Wahl
United States
Chicago
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Yes.
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Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
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Aggravating people worldwide since 1964
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Yes. The very foundation of our civilization is based on licensing. Without it, we would all perish.
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Colm McCarthy
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If it's not public domain, then yes they have to play for licensing rights.

You want to make a game about Shakespeare's Macbeth? You're free to do so.

You want to illustrate that game with images from the 2015 film version of Macbeth? Then you have to pay some or all of Anton Capital Entertainment, Creative Scotland, DMC Film, Film4, See-Saw Films to legally use those images.
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Rob Harper
United Kingdom
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But typically it would be the publisher, rather than the designer, who would pay the licensing fee.

If you, as a designer, design a game using a particular IP owned by someone else, you may find it difficult to find a publisher, as they would have to make arrangements for the licensing (if you hadn't done this) and this always assumes the cooperation of the IP owner, which is not a given.
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Blues 04
Canada
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Thank you all,

This is what i thought, but never really knew the answer


 
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Matt D
United States
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polyobsessive wrote:
But typically it would be the publisher, rather than the designer, who would pay the licensing fee.

If you, as a designer, design a game using a particular IP owned by someone else, you may find it difficult to find a publisher, as they would have to make arrangements for the licensing (if you hadn't done this) and this always assumes the cooperation of the IP owner, which is not a given.


This. Generally speaking, it goes kinda like this:

Twilite Trolls takes the paranormal teenage romance genre by storm!
After a fierce bidding war, Super Duper Game Co lands the exclusive rights to make board* games with those characters and settings. (Collectively referee to as an IP for "intellectual property")
SDGC goes through its Rolodex (they are old school there) and calls designer Taylor Pattinson fresh off of two very popular Ameritrash co-ops.
"Taylor, you gotta design a Twilite Trolls game!" they say.
"Well, sure, but right now I'm working on a game that simulates the congress of cardinals selecting a new pontiff."
"Can it be re-themed to Twilite Trolls?"
"It's a game about selecting the most devout and thoughtful pious man."
"We'll give you a $250,000 advance and an extra 2% of the royalties..."
"I mean, I guess instead of becoming the leader of a world religion the end game could result in being named head cheerleader..."

I kid of course. But this is actually closer to the model than the designer led idea. Typically a publishing house will secure the IP rights and the churn out games with that IP. Some might be steeped in theme or designed with that IP in mind from the get go, some are just games the designers are working in recast in that world. It just depends.

Obviously this story plays out only with big companies who have big IPs and big name designers for the most part. But from what I've seen that's usually how the big IPs get handled. FFG wouldn't want to waste a Star Wars game on someone like me.

* don't forget that some arrangements subdivide it further. You may have the IP split across multiple companies with some having rights to card games, some board games, and some maybe only having the IP rights to minis, etc.
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