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Copyright status of game footage in broadcast
March 2, 2010 9:57 AM   Subscribe

What's the legal position with including footage of (mostly console) games in a video podcast?

Some friends want to start a video-podcast about games, and want to include reviews, featuring full-screen footage of actual gameplay. They'd rather record their own material, not use pre-packaged stuff from whoever's handling the game's PR. Do they need to get permission from the publisher to do this, either for copyright reasons or for game-industry etiquette? And is there anything else they need to be aware of before they start?
posted by Hogshead to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Read the U.S. Copyright Office's take on fair use.

This isn't to be construed as legal advice, because I'm not your lawyer and have not reviewed anything you're doing, but in general, using snippets of copyrighted material in journalistic works for the purposes of commentary is considered fair use under the law. You don't generally need permission to do this, though citation is appropriate, both morally and legally.

Getting video capture of full-screen gameplay is probably a better trick than the legal side of things, but that shouldn't be too difficult if you know what you're doing.
posted by valkyryn at 10:02 AM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, but I/they are in the UK.
posted by Hogshead at 10:12 AM on March 2, 2010


In the U.K. they call fair use Fair dealing

Getting video capture of full-screen gameplay is probably a better trick than the legal side of things, but that shouldn't be too difficult if you know what you're doing.

Camera + Tripod + LCD. It actually works really well.

posted by delmoi at 10:29 AM on March 2, 2010


I can tell you that when I did video game reviews, I was required to get official permission to use official materials, but could use my own screen captures freely. How much of that was legal requirement, how much was industry standard, and how much was ass-covering, I couldn't tell you.
posted by lore at 10:31 AM on March 2, 2010


Getting video capture of full-screen gameplay has been mind-numbingly simple for a long, long time.

The legal issue is much more hairy.

Valkyryn's comment notwithstanding, it is almost always better to ask for permission for such things because that obviates the need for any sort of legal provisions which may or may not hold up in court.

More importantly, understand that being right isn't the endgame here.

You might have the most clear-cut case for fair use in the world but unless you're willing and able (financially, for starters) to see that through to the end of the process, it hardly matters. Put another way: if you're going to fold to the first Cease and Desist to make its way to your doorstep, you have nothing to lose by asking for permission.

From a purely practical (non-legal) standpoint, just ask. If the company says no, you have a decision to make . . . do it anyway and risk the consequences or find a different game to promote.
posted by toomuchpete at 11:34 AM on March 2, 2010


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