Including quotes in a game?

In the WIP I have there is a particular scene involving a real world scientific endeavor.

Apologies that this is vaguely written.

Spoilers!!! SKIP AHEAD!
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The game includes the finding of the Voyager probe which contains the Golden Record. This is the first attempt by humanity to contact extraterrestrial life. I am wondering if providing a brief section of the transcript on the disc would be acceptable.
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Spoilers over.

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Considering most of the spoken words are greetings from public figures like then-U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim and Jimmy Carter (and they were cool with their words being broadcast literally across the galaxy), I think you’re safe. Unless you’re including a full recording of Johnny B. Goode with the game, I can’t imagine anyone slapping a C&D on it.

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Choice of Robots quotes from several things and came out about 7 years ago, and nobody’s come after me yet.

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@RascaldeesV2 Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and I don’t know much about the Golden Record, but looking it up briefly, here’s some points to consider. This is also for US cases only, I’m not familiar with how things work internationally.

  • In general, quotes are okay to be used in media like novels and games if the quotes aren’t copyrighted or trademarked. Anything before 1923-1925 in our case (or something like that) in the US is okay. Ghandi’s “Be the change you want to see in the world” - fine. Aristotle or Socrates or whomever - fine. “I’ll be back” (Terminator), I believe, has been trademarked, so you can’t sell merchandise with that quote on it… I’m pretty sure that also would apply to games? But I don’t know if the GR has any quotes on it, so I don’t know how much this applies to you.

  • Looking at the Golden Record, however, I see that it has some lyrics from songs on it. Quoting lyrics in books always requires the permission of the copyright holder, in a legal sense. Lyrics are different from regular quotes because there are so few of them in a song that lyric-writers have to be somewhat more aggressive about protecting them, where as novels have so many words that they may naturally share small sentences or quotes by coincidence.

All this to say is that if you are transcribing 1) real-life lyrics or 2) popular quotes from the Golden Record, you would technically need permission from the copyright holders to do so, in a strictly legal sense. Even the people who made the Golden Record had to request the music studios’ permission to include their songs on the record.

HOWEVER, if your game is for free and not intended to be commercialized, none of this really matters and you can do whatever you want (because you’re not violating copyright by making money with your product) as long as you’re not defaming anyone.

I don’t know how heavily any of this would be enforced or how likely someone would notice/come after you for a small quote in your game, but that’s how things are in a technical sense. I hope that helps!

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Does the case change if it’s only quotes from world leaders on the item in question?

Also how do you blur text?

Love your game by the way. Played it when it came out and still play it to this day.

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Quotes made by US politicians during speeches to the public (like JFK’s “I am a Berliner” speech or etc.) automatically enter the public domain. So you can use politicians’ quotes to your heart’s content. I don’t know if that’s true of politicians from other nations, but I would assume it would be very similar. You’d have to look that up, though!

You can blur your spoilers by bracketing the words with:
[spoiler][/spoiler]

In other words, typing this:

[spoiler]hi[/spoiler]

Results in this:

hi

You can also highlight the spoiler, click on the gear icon in the text box upper bar, and hit “Blur Spoiler” and it will do it for you automatically.

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Thanks!

Also what’s a Shepherd Mod?

Some of the moderators have different custom titles/nicknames that they choose for their “moderator” badge. Mine is “Shepherd mod” because my game is called Shepherds of Haven and I thought it was a slightly funny nod to that. :slight_smile: Think of it like the Spice Girls! Like there’s a Sporty Spice, there’s a Shepherd mod. Though I think I’m the only one who has a different name now…

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No idea what sporty spice is. I’ll take your word for it.

Sporty Spice is a reference to the British singing group from the mid-1990s called The Spice Girls.

There were five members, and each took a name of “X Spice” as in “Baby Spice” and “Sporty Spice.”

Rinari is just saying that they were assigned the title “Moderator” and decided to add a custom moniker in front (“Shepherd”) in the style of the Spice Girls’ members.

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Nah, Bryce is still Radioactive Mod, and I remain…undecided. :sob: Almost three years later and I still can’t figure out what I want to be called! lol

@RascaldeesV2 idk if you have a clear idea just yet on how to present it or if you even want this unsolicited advice, lol but I think it’s worth considering that…not many younger readers will know what the Golden Record even is.
I’m only 27 and the only reason I even know about is because instead of having friends as a teenager I spent an inordinate amount of time just…going on wiki walks and reading tons and tons of articles on Wikipedia and I just so happened to stumble upon the article for it. If it hadn’t been for that…

I think there’s maybe one movie, out of all the movies that I have seen in my life, that even reference it. So if the Golden Record makes an appearance within the narrative itself, I think it’d be worth it to, like, have a Star Trek style aside where a character briefly explains context before getting back into the meat of the story.

Lastly, I have a whole thread dedicated to the formatting commands available on the forum that I think you might appreciate.

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