Game Guides - do you need permissions from the publishers?


I see a lot of game guides/cheat apps doing well, and I was thinking to release a few as well. I would not use any game related graphics and I would make sure that users would know it’s an unofficial app (fan app). Doing it like this could still get me in trouble?

What about asking for permission from the publishers? Is that mandatory?

Your help is appreciated. Thanks.

Why don’t you ask Google about it, and post their reply. :slight_smile:

You’re not being helpful. However, I did find some guidance:
The Second Life® Brand Center | Second Life
Help - GameFAQs
Video Games and the law: Copyright, Trademark and Intellectual Property | New Media Rights

When I said ask Google. I literally meant sending an email to Goggle support asking that…

Don’t do it. My app was suspended by Google because I was using similar name, icon and resources.
It was an app for cheats.

AFAIK the law would be on your side (“fair use”), but Google is above the law, so good luck fighting them if they just decide to remove your app.

its not compliant and google doesn’t go through icon, screens and content. The app is taken down when:

  1. Automatic suspension: there is policy violation like too many keywords, ad violation etc.
  2. Manual suspension: Some one file DMCA or Reditt bad apps against your app.

If google decides to ban such reference app today, 20-30% apps will be suspended. I have observed that sometime the reference app ranks better than the app for which it is a reference :stuck_out_tongue:

Fair use law is valid only if you don’t get any money from the app. No ads or any other way to get money.
Anyway there is another rule of the policy you will broke : impersonation.
I suggest to stay away from that.
Google has recently patent a way to automatically detect that.

i read this thread yesterday … I update my sdk and put a banner ads on apps when user close the apps.
Boom. Today my apps get suspended… It reached 20k install already and increase 800-1000 every day … :frowning:

Thanks guys for the answers. Yeah, exactly as you say @javaexp, these apps (cheats/guides) are extremely popular and I see that one of the bigger “indie” game makers started releasing a whole bunch of guides. I believe they are doing better with those than with their games (cheaper, easier, as much as popular, if not more).

However, I’m told that they contact each and every publisher and get all the necessary approvals. So they use “official” images, icons (or very, very similar graphics), and all. I’m not sure how could Google know which app is done with permissions and which isn’t.

Also, there are a lot of similar apps on Amazon Appstore, and I think that Amazon isn’t as strict - but that’s only my opinion.
@Jill Kelly: Sorry, I thought you were being sarcastic. Google would never answer such a question with more than a generic reply.

Google suspend an app only if the owner of game contact them for Impersonation or copyright infringement.
They will never do anything alone unless the app break a policy where Google itself is involve.

So you’re saying that they won’t ban any guides by themselves unless the publisher contacts them and asks them to do so? If that’s the case, I’ll try to contact a few publishers and see if I can get a permission to make a guide.

I think so because it’s a massive job to control all of them.
My app for instance was suspended while another app very similar with same issues is still there.
This app is a lot more popular than mine.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

I tryed some apps with cheats for about 3 months and I was banned. Then I bought a new account to try it again, and after upload 7 apps I was banned in less than 40 hours.

OK, I’m definitely not going into the Guide business. I’ve learned recently, that it’s possible to do these guides, but you need to buy the rights. This can cost up to 5.000 USD.

Did you buy an account from someone on the internet or did you register a new one? Thanks for sharing, btw.

There are tons and tons of Minecraft guides and they are one of the rare apps that just stay. :slight_smile: GTA game games were banned pretty quickly, but Minecraft guides have a staying power. :slight_smile:

I never thought that Minecraft guides were getting banned. Sorry to hear that. People on Amazon are even selling them.

Did they ban your account or just your app? Did the lawyers want it taken down or where they looking for more?

That’s serious, man. This definitely puts the last nail in the coffin of the idea of making game guides!

Amazon, for example, has a nice guide on how to use their name in the app’s title, so you’re not in violation of anything. It’s on the very bottom of this link: Trademark Guidelines