Question about Copyrights of names and characters

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IndigoBlue 101 Aug 21, 2013 at 13:31 licensing

Hi,

I am new to the indie game business and i have a question about copyrights.
Sorry if some of the questions look stupid, i really dont want to make a game and cant publish it and get sued, LOL

If i’m going to make a RPG game on App store or Play store, the game i want to make is about tales or myths ( haven’t made up my mind yet XD ) and say i made
1• A young girl character in a red cloak and hood and name her “Red Ridding Hood”
In this case i wanted to know if its wrong to make a character like a tale.
2• A small boy name “Peter Pan”
I want to know if its wrong or not to use i character from a tale that Disney made a cartoon out of it, does Disney owns the character in all use?
3• Am I allow to use characters like Zeus,Hades or any other Greek gods without having to ask anyone for permission?

Anyone who knows or have experience please explain it to me,
Thank you :)

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TheNut 179 Aug 21, 2013 at 14:15

I’m not a lawyer so my advise should be taken with a grain of salt. I believe Red Riding Hood, and many of the Grimms works, are public domain. However, those are just the texts/books. Back in the old days many people were not incorporated. In some jurisdictions you own copyrights for something like 50-70 years after your death. After that, it becomes public domain. When a corporate entity copyrights something, well, corporations do not die until the owner officially dissolves the corporate entity. So a copyright can be held indefinitely. It gets more complicated as you enter the world of derived works. Peter Pan is a bit more complicated. You can learn more about the state of this at wikipedia. Given its popularity and heavy derived works in the broadway and cinema scene, I would be cautious here.

Greek mythology is not copyrighted, haha… No religion will ever be copyrighted unless you want that religion to have a single follower :) However, that doesn’t mean derived works are not copyrighted. So basing your stories on a fiction created by a corporate entity will get you into legal trouble. You have to stick with the facts and not take from other peoples derived works.

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IndigoBlue 101 Aug 22, 2013 at 00:49

@TheNut

I’m not a lawyer so my advise should be taken with a grain of salt. I believe Red Riding Hood, and many of the Grimms works, are public domain. However, those are just the texts/books. Back in the old days many people were not incorporated. In some jurisdictions you own copyrights for something like 50-70 years after your death. After that, it becomes public domain. When a corporate entity copyrights something, well, corporations do not die until the owner officially dissolves the corporate entity. So a copyright can be held indefinitely. It gets more complicated as you enter the world of derived works. Peter Pan is a bit more complicated. You can learn more about the state of this at wikipedia. Given its popularity and heavy derived works in the broadway and cinema scene, I would be cautious here. Greek mythology is not copyrighted, haha… No religion will ever be copyrighted unless you want that religion to have a single follower :) However, that doesn’t mean derived works are not copyrighted. So basing your stories on a fiction created by a corporate entity will get you into legal trouble. You have to stick with the facts and not take from other peoples derived works.

So i should really play safe with no Ridding Hood ? :( hahaha

Anyway, thank you so much for your answer :)