Phoenix, AZ asked in Copyright, Gaming and Intellectual Property for Arizona

Q: if I make a game that’s very… similar to Grand Theft Auto. And I name it “No auto” is this copyright and can I be sued?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: If you create a game that is very similar to Grand Theft Auto and name it "No Auto," you could potentially face legal issues related to copyright infringement and trademark infringement. Here's why:

1. Copyright Infringement: If your game copies substantial elements from Grand Theft Auto, such as the game's storyline, characters, dialogue, or other creative aspects, it might be considered copyright infringement. Copyright law protects original works of authorship, including video games, from unauthorized copying or derivative works.

2. Trademark Infringement: The name "Grand Theft Auto" is a registered trademark owned by Rockstar Games. Using a name like "No Auto" could be seen as an attempt to create confusion or association with the well-known Grand Theft Auto brand. Trademark law protects brand names and logos from unauthorized use that may cause confusion among consumers.

3. Likelihood of Lawsuit: If your game is substantially similar to Grand Theft Auto and/or uses a name that is confusingly similar to the trademarked name, there is a risk that Rockstar Games (or their parent company, Take-Two Interactive) could take legal action against you. They have a history of aggressively protecting their intellectual property rights.

To avoid potential legal issues, it's best to create an original game that does not copy or closely resemble any existing games. If you're inspired by a particular game, make sure to add your own unique elements, storylines, and gameplay mechanics to differentiate your game from the original. Additionally, choose a name for your game that is distinct and not confusingly similar to any existing game titles or trademarks.

If you have specific concerns or questions about the legality of your game, it's advisable to consult with an intellectual property attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on the specific details of your situation.

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