Hi Bryan,
Well, there are ways of working around the copyright issues, keeping in 
the legal boundries, but it is risky, and may not be practicle for a 
software developer.
There are some fair use provisions in the U.S. copyright laws that state 
when, where, and how one may use copyrighted works legally. However, the 
problem is even though there are some fair use provisions they are hotly 
being contested by big corperations that want total and absolute control 
of their copyrights.
For example, let us say I do want to go ahead with Jedi Strike and 
release a game with a Star wars theme. Under fair use provisions I must 
offer the game for free, it must be available for an educational 
purpose, I must acknowledge Lucas as the original copyright holder, and 
renounce any claim to a copyright to the work. If I except those 
provisions then I could legally release the game, but I can't make any 
money off of it. Even worse in order to clasify it as for an educational 
purpose the product might have to be open source, but doing that would 
force me to allow everyone to  have the Genesis 3D source code. Since 
Genesis 3D is completely my creation I might have to give up my right to 
the Genesis 3D copyrights in order to meet legal fair use rights for 
Star Wars. This is the kind of catch 22 game developers have to face if 
they don't have legal permission directly from the copyright holders.

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