Apopka, FL asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports, Gaming, Trademark and Intellectual Property for Florida

Q: can I use an unrecognizable video game character to hit a block similar to Mario Bros?

On my website I'd like to have an unrecognizable character jump up and strike a block having an item come out of the block. The motion would be similar to the Mario bros. Would this create any copyright issues with Nintendo?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: Using an unrecognizable character in a video game-like scenario, where the character jumps and hits a block to release an item, may still raise potential copyright issues with Nintendo or other video game companies. While the character itself may not be recognizable as a specific copyrighted character, the overall concept and mechanics of jumping and hitting blocks to obtain items are closely associated with the Mario Bros. franchise.

Copyright law can protect not only specific characters but also certain gameplay elements and concepts if they are distinctive and associated with a particular franchise. If your use of similar gameplay mechanics is too reminiscent of the Mario Bros. series, it could potentially be seen as infringing on Nintendo's copyright.

To avoid legal issues, it's advisable to consult with an intellectual property attorney who can assess the specific details of your game, character, and gameplay mechanics to determine whether they may potentially infringe on any existing copyrights. They can provide guidance on how to modify your game to reduce the risk of copyright infringement while still achieving your desired gameplay experience.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.