Titanic Copyright - Questions Not Yet Answered

g2crafted

Member
Hi! I am a video game developer and have some questions on copyright. I have read several threads here, but I still have some questions that relate to my current project.

My team developed a game in early 2020 with a lost at sea theme. It was so popular that we are in the planning phase of making a 2nd one. This time, we wanted the feel of the game and the characters to be in the early 1900's and we were thinking about creating a ship wreck that looks like the Titanic at the bottom of the sea. The game itself will not be named Titantic, but there would be a nod to the Titanic and it's time-period. We were also considering having icebergs in the ocean as a design element.

Considering we would not be using the name (not even on the ship), nor would we be using dialog or real photos, could there possibly any legal issues with using the Titanic as an underlying theme to the game? Since it is a video game, we will benefit from the game monetarily.

If unknown, do you have any idea what group I would need to reach out to, in order to get a more definitive answer?

Thank you!
 

Jason D. Tiller

Staff member
Moderator
Member
Considering we would not be using the name (not even on the ship), nor would we be using dialog or real photos, could there possibly any legal issues with using the Titanic as an underlying theme to the game?
Not that I am aware of. The name Titanic is not copyrightable by any company, like Coca-Cola is for example. Creating a video game with Titanic as the theme has been done before and no one has been sued - most recently in Call of Duty Black Ops: 4, as the zombie map was based on the ship. And in 1999, Titanic was the theme in a Duke Nukem game. But if you wish a more official answer, contact Cunard Line as White Star and Cunard merged in 1934.

I hope this helps.
 
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Seumas

Member
It is in the public domain.
Thanks Jason. I thought Cunard might have still kept the rights but evidently not.

This thread just reminded me of that eccentric bloke, Douglas Faulkner-Wooley, who used to pop up a lot in the UK press during the eighties and nineties with his stark raving bonkers claim to own the Titanic. :D

I'm not entirely sure whether he genuinely believed it or whether it was a joke that got a wee bit out of hand.
 
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Jason D. Tiller

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Thanks Jason. I thought Cunard might have still kept the rights but evidently not.

You're welcome, Seumas. The only instance where Cunard pays tribute to White Star and may have rights, is in Cunard's White Star Service which is the service level for the company.

This thread just reminded me of that eccentric bloke, Douglas Faulkner-Wooley
Yes the same thought crossed my mind as well. I've had my dealings with that individual on Facebook. The last time I saw one of his posts in a FB group a few years ago, he was still firm on his position.

I'm not entirely sure whether he genuinely believed it or whether it was a joke that got a wee bit out of hand.
I think it was a bit of both, but more so that he was firmly convinced that he owned the wreck. Now it's simply laughable.
 
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