It all comes down to the original copyright holder really. Some may not care that you're using their sound effects as long as you don't make any profit from it. Jim Kitchen had that situation with one of the writers for The Simpsons. True he started to object when he first found out that Jim was using Simpsons sounds, but he desisted when he found out the games were free. But not every developer is so accepting. Some will at the very least serve you with a cease and desist letter regardless of whether your project is free.
Homer: Hey, uh, could you go across the street and get me a slice of pizza?
Vender: No pizza. Only Khlav Kalash.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Thomas Ward" <thomasward1...@gmail.com>
To: "Gamers Discussion list" <gamers@audyssey.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2010 5:20 AM
Subject: Re: [Audyssey] free games


Hi Hayden,
That's where you are wrong. Making a free game, writing fan fiction,
using commercial sound effects, etc is not legal in the United States
unless you get permission from the original copyright holder to do so.
In most cases a copyright holder has specific rights how their
trademarks are used and redistributed unless it happens to fall under
the fair use section of the U.S. copyright law. Fair use generally
means the trademark is used for free, is for specific educational
purposes, or a matter of public review. That doesn't give you or me
the right just to use the content in anyway we feel like, and provents
us from creating derivative products freeware or otherwise without
special permission. Here is a better way to illistrate the point.
One of my favorite mainstream games is Star Trek Elite Force. Under
the ffair use section of the copyright law I can write game reviews,
walkthroughs, and talk about the game all I want publically.  However,
if I decide to rip the game sounds, graphics, cut scenes, etc and
create my own game using the content Activision can legally sue me for
damages regardless if I released it as freeware because I created a
derivative work and broke the end user license agreement that came
with the game. This makes it very messy for a blind game developer,
like me, to use copyrighted trademarks, sounds, music, etc in a game
as it puts me at risk of a  major law suit. Legally the law would be
on their side and not mine. It isn't fair, but that's the law.

HTH

On 3/24/10, Hayden Presley <hdpres...@hotmail.com> wrote:
Hi,
If I am not wrong, I do not see what legal foot they have to standon if they
tried to take it to court. Making Star Trekk a Registerable game might
violate it, but making a free ware with no Copyright is totally legal, unless
I am missing something (which is always possible).
Best Regards,
Hayden

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