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Subject: Tsamina mina eh eh! - Name rights rss

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Andreas Pelikan
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This is more a publishing than a design question, but the fields are overlapping. While the publisher usually has the final word on the setting and especially on the title, good suggestions from the designer don't hurt.

This year Kosmos and Rüdiger Dorn have come up with a truly clever game name: Waka Waka. While the game has nothing to do with music or football, I'm sure it profits greatly from the 2010 Soccer World Championship song. And I'm furthermore pretty sure that Kosmos doesn't have to pay any fees to the holders of the song rights.

Now my question: how can you find out whether a particular name can be used for a particular game without third party licensing. Where are the borders of fair use? I suppose if Waka Waka had been game like Mammut Mambo, they'd have had to find out who holds the rights in the song and contact them. Or is this case special, because the chorus is based on an elder song - Zangalewa - which in turn might be based on a traditional song?

The Myth-Busting thread in part covers this topic (trademark, brand name, name mark designation), but the discussion is interwoven with copyright and patent issues. The subject here is explicitly "Name rights". Any good, free databases (like DPMA, but more extensive)? Likewise, databases to find out who holds certain IP rights (e.g. whom to contact if you want to make a game on the Beatles). This is not for a 100% check, just to get a 99% gut feeling. As said, for me, the publisher has the final word (and their legal department the work to remove the final 1% uncertainty).
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Jon New
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Text coming soon... probably...
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Isn't that the noise that Pacman used to make?
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Drew Dallas
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or Fozzie the Bear
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John "Omega" Williams
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Or when the stormtroopers were defeated by the Ewokkas. ninja

The recent Shibumi contest saw many a game with bemusing variations on the required "sp" start in the name. Sadly mine was mundane. Sphinx. heh-heh.

Coming up with names for games, and owrse yet, names for places, people and things in the game can be either a desighers heaven, or hell.

Personally I love comeing up with names for stuff.
 
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