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Predatorian3

Creating setting from existing game, how to not get in trouble?

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Hopefully the title of the post isn't misleading. I was wondering what the rules, or stipulations are for creating Genesys Settings using existing games, or stories? I want to create a Half-Life(2) Setting book, and have been replaying, and reading a lot of the Half-life Wikia. I'm not looking to make any kind of profit based off of the setting book, but to share for other people to enjoy as well. Would there be any legal ramifications from doing that?

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Valve could send you a cease and desist any time they wanted, and you would generally need to comply with that (unless you feel like seeking genuine legal advice and seeing what your options are).

But generally speaking that's very unlikely to happen, especially if you make it clear that your setting is a fan work and isn't claiming any rights to the intellectual property you're referencing. As long as you don't try to make it out like you have any ownership or right to the Half Life IP, you're probably going to be fine. It can't hurt to throw in some sort of statement to that effect in your release somewhere, but honestly I'm not even confident that makes a difference. This is what I put in my Dark Heresy setting book.

Quote

No Rights Reserved and all trademarks are owned by their respective companies.
Warhammer 40,000 is Copyright Games Workshop Limited 2017. Dark Heresy, GW, Games Workshop, the Games Workshop logo, Space Marine, 40K, Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 Role Play, Warhammer 40,000 device, Double-Headed Eagle device, and all associated marks, logos, places, names, creatures, races and race insignia/ devices/logos/symbols, vehicles, locations, weapons, units and unit insignia, characters, products and illustrations from the Warhammer 40,000 universe and the Dark Heresy game setting are either ® or TM, and/or © Games Workshop Limited, variably registered in the UK and other countries around the world. All other trademarks or trade names are the property of their respective owners.
Genesys is Copyright 2016 Fantasy Flight Games. Fantasy Flight Games is a registered trademark of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.

 

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That's what I thought, but I wasn't sure, and didn't want to just start putting statements in my material even though I would never claim to have made, or own the material provided by Valve Corporation.

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Write an email to the company owning the IP, and ask about their policies. Usually they give you quite a clear answers. I have done it few times. Different companies have different policies. Some allow you to publish free products freely, as long as you acknowledge the IP owners. Some don't allow you publish anything. Some allow you to even publish and sell. But in my experience, best way to find out is to ask from IP owners. 

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