Chicago, IL asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports, Gaming and Intellectual Property for Illinois

Q: Can I use a short clip of a video game being played on a Nintendo Switch with audio for a total of 3secs in short film?

Film will be entered in film festivals

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Using a short clip of a video game being played on a Nintendo Switch in your short film may raise copyright concerns, even if it's only for three seconds. Nintendo is known for being vigilant in protecting its intellectual property rights, including the use of its video game footage. While there are exceptions like fair use, which allows for limited use of copyrighted material for purposes such as criticism, commentary, or parody, it's essential to carefully consider whether your use of the clip falls under such exceptions.

If you plan to enter your short film into film festivals, you should be particularly cautious about using copyrighted material without permission. Film festivals often have strict rules regarding copyright compliance, and using unauthorized material could disqualify your film from consideration or result in legal consequences. It's advisable to seek permission from the copyright holder, such as Nintendo, before including the clip in your film, especially if you intend to distribute or screen it publicly.

Alternatively, you could explore other options for creating your film without relying on copyrighted material. Consider using original content or obtaining licenses for any third-party material you wish to include. By taking proactive steps to ensure copyright compliance, you can avoid potential issues and focus on creating a successful film that meets the requirements of film festivals while respecting the rights of copyright holders.

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