Intellectual Property rights and Copyright law can be confusing. With our internet culture and the ability to easily share or transform pictures, stories, and ideas it can be seemingly impossible to know whether you can use something to pitch your game idea. This article will help shed some light on how the law and our rules affect game submission and general interaction on the BrightLocker site.
Notice: Before we continue - THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. IT IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. YOU SHOULD SEEK YOUR OWN LEGAL COUNSEL AS IT PERTAINS TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. ACTING WITHOUT SUCH ADVICE COULD EXPOSE YOURSELF TO LIABILITY.
We here at BrightLocker understand that hard work goes into creation. From that hard work creators should reap the fruit of their labors. Having your work taken and used by another without permission can not only be frustrating, it can cause actual monetary damage. With that said, all materials used in submitting game ideas should be created by the submitter or the submitter should have full permission to use those materials before submission. It may be easy to do a quick internet search for a picture to represent your game idea, but those images most likely have a creator. If you don’t have permission, don’t use it. (Do a quick internet search of “Socially Awkward Penguin Copyright” for an example of what could happen.)
BrightLocker will remove offending material from the platform if notified by the Intellectual Property holder or their official agent. The removal of said content can happen without notice, but we will try to notify the user to educate them and in some cases allow for a replacement of that content with something else.
There will be some cases where we remove or change content preemptively (without notice from the IP holder.) Large IPs that we can identify with little or no research (Like: Disney, DC Comics, Halo, DBZ, anything Nintendo, Doctor Who, Magnum P.I., Gilmore Girls… etc,) will be removed or replaced. We are video game fangirls, boys, people, too! We understand how cool it would be to have a Marvel MOBA or Halo 10, but BrightLocker does not have rights to any of those IPs and cannot make their games.
What if something does sneak by or is so popular it is voted to the top very quickly? Well, that puts us in the uncomfortable position of changing or removing the content anyway. In the end BrightLocker has to approve a game for funding and development. If a game would violate any of these laws it would be rejected.
In the end we (you and us) are all held accountable by the DMCA (17 U.S.C. §§ 512, and other applicable laws,) so we all need to be vigilant in making sure we don’t include content that does not belong to us.