Q: if I were to post videos online of a group playing a tabletop game based on copyright material could I be sued?

if I were to post videos on youtube of me and some friends playing tabletop RPG based around copyrighted material (pokemon) could I be sued for copyright infringement and could I monetize it without legal repercussions?

1 Lawyer Answer
Thomas James
Thomas James
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Cokato, MN

A: This response is based on U.S. copyright law. Laws in other jurisdictions may be different.

While game rules are not protected by copyright, the manner in which they are expressed might be. Images (artwork, drawings, photographs, etc.) generally are protected by copyright. Names of games and/or the characters in them may be protected as trademarks. A trademark license/permission could protect you against trademark infringement liability. You also might be able to protect yourself from trademark liability by publishing a conspicuous trademark disclaimer in the videos. The copyright issue is a bit more complicated. There are cases holding that incidental use of a copyrighted image in a video is not infringement. The use you describe, however, does not appear to fall into the "incidental use" category. The safest course of action would be to request license/permission from the copyright owner.

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