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Subject: Movie parody board game - please help! rss

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c d
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Hi everyone,

Long-time reader and lover of BGG - first-time poster! I have a question that I would love some help with.

I have designed a board game based upon a cult movie and I'd love to run a Kickstarter to see if folks would support a hard copy. The mechanics, overall sense of humour and the gameplay itself are all quite true to the mood of the movie and I genuinely think fans would eat it up. There are no alternatives available or plans to make such a thing.

I would prefer not to go down the route of licensing IP (I have found all of the wonderful threads here on the forums related to legal issues very useful and interesting, thank you) as I only want to make a small, fun, casual game for fans of the movie. My question is this - would it be possible for me to release a game that is effectively (and blatantly) a parody of a movie?

Some ideas - character names would all be changed, suggestive artwork would be used in place of real shots from the movie, there would be very clear indication on the box art and suchlike that the game is unofficial and not associated with the franchise.

One possible issue is that the cards (which form the main play mechanic) are based around events that occur in the movie, and also feature small quotes from various scenes that are quite important to the sense of humour and overall point of the game. Although I would be happy to alter the text rather than try to seek permission and get priced out of ever creating this.

TL;DR - Can I make a board game based upon a movie without permission if the game is clearly labelled as an unofficial parody, features no imagery from the movie and has a cast of characters with changed names? Secondary issue - would using direct quotes and/or events from the movie in question on game cards be problematic?

Thank you so much in advance for your advice!

Pat
 
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Matt Hindmarch
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Direct quotes and events would be "problematic".
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Rich Shipley
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I think the issue is if you are using their ideas to sell your game. They may feel that only they have the rights to use those ideas in a game, even if you do it for laughs. Parody and satire are protected, but you are on much safer ground if you satirize a genre and use elements that are common to that genre rather than specific events of a particular movie.
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c d
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Thanks for the advice guys, it's a funny area alright...

The problem is that the movie in question is kind of a genre all of its own! It seems my options are:

1. Clearly inappropriate - use the IP/images/characters etc. and hope for the best
2. Risky - use changed character names, disguise subject matter but still make it a blatant parody
3. Safe - use generic style of movie as a theme, difficult as it's the peculiarities of the specific movie that make the game work

I can see two other options that bypass the IP issue somewhat:

4. Try to contact and get permission from the company themselves.
5. Make a free print and play edition that doesn't aim to actually make any money

 
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mike
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Matt Hindmarch
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cellardoorkk wrote:
... it's a funny area alright...



No. It's not a "funny" area.

#4 is your best, listed, option.

There's another, better one which isn't just lazy theft of other's work. Create something of your own.
 
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c d
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While I appreciate your advice, there is no need for the judgemental tone. I have no intention of 'theft', lazy or otherwise, and I have created something of my own that happens to be a homage to a favourite movie of mine.

I have investigated #4 and received a very promising response from the film company in question.

Thank you sincerely for your advice everyone
 
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Matt Hindmarch
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Sorry, but for your "options" 1, 2 and 5 listed as possible options I needed to speak out.
 
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Oliver Edleston
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As much as I'd love to see an Evil Dead game, it'd be quite hard to pass off a card with "This is my Boomstick" or "Give me some sugar baby" written on it as not being legally infringing, especially with a game set in a 'cabin in the woods' or 'pre-apocalyptic Arthurian' setting.

Basically, if in doubt, contact the rights holder and ask. They might not mind your game, they might take offence, they might offer support... Without knowing how they are going to react, simply rushing a product to market and hoping they don't notice is a significant risk.
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Philip Becker
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I'm not sure you understand what a parody is, because parodies by necessity need to be blatant. But the difference between a rip-off and parody is the parody alters it to make fun of it. Which would be really difficult to do if your source is already humorous, but that never stopped the Wayans Brothers.
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Sam Cook
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I'm really curious what the IP in question is. Is it something like The Room? I think the context would really matter.

I would steer clear of Kickstarter or anything money related if you intend to use anything close to the original source without permission. I would just make it a PnP.
 
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