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Using Unity for High School Project

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Liamono, May 22, 2019.

  1. Liamono


    May 22, 2019
    I'm a high school senior and one of the final projects for AP Environmental Science is to create an environmental board game, and I'm starting to worry that I might accidentally do something illegal.

    The teacher says it'd be awesome if i made a video game instead of a board game, but now that I've gotten the coding down and am ready to begin creating the board and cards, I'm getting worried about copyright laws. The project rubric, which is written for board games rather than video games, says I can use any images I want within the "question cards" and "problem cards" as long as I include a photo credit. Could I get sued for using copyrighted images in the video game, even though I'm making the game as a graded high school project and not charging any money?

    My second concern is about using Unity to make something for a school. I know you're not supposed to use the free version of unity for commercial purposes if your game's revenue, or the revenue of your organization, exceeds $100K. I'm making the virtual board game first and foremost as an assignment given to me by the teacher, but due to the nature of the project, it is possible (unlikely, but possible enough to be a concern to me) that the game could be a useful review tool to pretty much any AP Enviro teacher with internet access and a computer, due to the fact that I will be making my game based on standardized content. Would there be any problems for me, the creator, if other teachers can download and play the game with their students?

    My third concern is about using questions directly from the AP Environmental Science textbook and/or those AP books which are designed to prepare students for the AP exam (both of which the teacher provides). When a student lands on a question space, they get asked the question and get a boon if they're correct and debuffed if they're incorrect. I'm pretty sure I'd be fine using the questions from the book in my game if I were making a board game, since nobody other than the teachers at the school would ever know about the game and the fact that I copied the questions. However, a video game, and the questions within, might be accessible to anyone with a computer, and someone would eventually notice that I copied questions from the books. I am not charging any money for the project, but would there still be danger of getting sued and losing in court if i use questions straight from the book? Or would I have to create my own questions?

    Sorry for the long post. I can't seem to find any forums by AP students considering using Unity to make a video game in place of a board game for a graded project.
  2. Schubkraft


    Unity Technologies

    Dec 3, 2012
    Disclaimer: Not a lawyer

    1) yes, copyright holders can sue you for using their work in a way you are not eligible. just crediting creators doesn't mean they give you a license to use their stuff. try using pictures licensed under Creative Commons maybe?

    2) See about licensing Unity for Schools and Students.

    3) probably the same as 1) since the creators of the books don't grant you a license to their work to just copy and paste them into a game.
    Ryiah likes this.
  3. Joe-Censored


    Mar 26, 2013
    If neither the teacher nor school has any intention of distributing your game beyond grading your project in class, I wouldn't be concerned with any of these issues.

    On licensing, you're not actually working for the school. You're making the project for your own self interest. You're not an employee or a contractor for the school, you're not being paid by the school for the project, and it doesn't appear you are using school computer hardware for the creation of the game. I don't see any reason why your Unity copy would need school licensing. You're relationship with the school is that of a customer, not an employee or contractor.

    On copyright, you're handing in an assignment to the teacher, not publishing a work to the public. All I'd do is ask the teacher to please not distribute the project outside of the classroom. Even if the teacher ended up posting your project on Steam, the first step the IP owners would take are threatening letters and take down notices, not lawsuits. Even if they did go after you for damages, they can't go after your revenue on the project, since you're not making any. It is unlikely the companies could articulate any monetary damages to their company, IP, or lost revenue in which they need to recover money from you. Your game is unlikely to be displacing their products in the market. I think you're over thinking this.

    I Am Not A Lawyer
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    Kiwasi likes this.


    Jun 1, 2017
    In an alternate universe, I might be lawyer. I did meet a lawyer once. So basically I could be an expert, maybe, and I agree with the above post. If it ain't leaving the classroom and it's just something you are building to grow knowledge's in the brain, do what you want.
    xVergilx and Joe-Censored like this.
  5. Kiwasi


    Dec 5, 2013
    The concerns are mostly identical for making a board game or a video game.

    For using others IP, that's generally a copyright violation. However often IP laws are relaxed for educational products. If you follow the same standard for credits other students are required to follow for board games, you should be fine.

    On licensing, you are making this as an assignment. That means you are the one making it, for you. If you personally would qualify for personal, that's all that matters. An educational license would only be required if Unity was to be installed on school computers, or if the school was somehow benefiting from the project.

    On the questions, just don't distribute your game. Hand it in to the teacher, then that's it. Exactly the same deal as if you had copied the questions for a board game version.

    If you do intend to publicly distribute your game, all bets are off. You need to have the rights for all content you distribute. But its not an issue if you just hand it in and move on.
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  6. Liamono


    May 22, 2019
    Thanks so much for the information guys, I'm glad to have these questions answered. I'll make sure not to publicly publish the game unless I've made sure to remove all the things I don't have permission to use.

    Turning in the project tomorrow, thanks so much for your help everybody!