Machinima: Is it legal?

So, Machinima has finally made it to the mainstream in a great article by games blogger chick Aleks Krotoski. Machinima, in case you are too bored to click on the Wikipedia article, is a new type of creative expression that uses 3D games engines to tell a story, produce a music video, or just have a little fun.

One of the best examples of Machinima is Red vs. Blue, which uses the Halo engine to generate an excellent serial. See for example their Public Service Announcement to tell us how real life is different to internet life. Other examples of Machinima can be found in, you guessed it, My favourite is still this music video based on City of Heroes.

The growing popularity of the movement poses interesting legal questions. For example, does the use of a computer game engine to produce a new work give any rights to the makers of the engine? This would seem unlikely, it would be like Polaroid owning the copyright over pictures taken with their cameras. Yet, it is increasingly common to see online games providers claiming that they own copyright over content uploaded to the game, and often claim ownership of everything created within the game.

The question will have to be if these agreements are valid, and if they apply to Machinima. I personally don’t think so.

Comments 1

  1. Ye I do machinima as well,and I'm always scared that microsoft will be up my ass in a second if I do halo machinima.Best advice for anyone is to do your movies for free and don't make any donations or profit or anything.Secondly,always use your own music if you can,since you can't justify using others music for free in ur music videos,it's still not legal and is seperate to machinima,so if all your music and ideas are original,and you'r not charging for your movies,then game companies won't mind you doing a few fan movies with their game,it's just free advertisement for them :-DGood metaphore with the camera there,that makes machinima seen more simply*Nice site

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