I am creating a fangame. Specifically a game where you can open weapon cases from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for free and collect or trade skins that you obtain. The entire game source is my own work, except there are two files containing names and parameters of items from CSGO. I want to distribute my game's source including these files.

I am ready to retract these parts should Valve contact me regarding intellectual property, however I'd like to put some kind of disclaimer in case somebody else used my source code and then got hit by Valve or anything. To state that I don't have a right to the IP contained and that the use of these files is at the risk of the user, not me; so they couldn't point at me, claiming the game was fully open sourced by me under MIT (which I plan to use). What would the best approach in this be?


2 Answers 2


IF part of your code and data is non-open-source, you can't release this software under the MIT license.

However, from what I know, CS:GO uses real-life weapons, and their names aren't protected by copyright. Weapon stats aren't copyrightable either. With skin names, you should be safe as well, since there isn't enough (or any) lore around them to establish them as literary works.

However, if you are using any in-game descriptions or images, they are copyrighted content and can't be legally copied without permission from Valve. Which might be easy to obtain by writing them.


There is no reliable disclaimer. Sure, you can publish a game under an Open Source license, but you can only license those rights that you have. You do not have rights to others' copyright or trademark, such as names, settings, or characters from another video game. Using an Open Source license cannot absolve you from any responsibility.

In some cases, a copyright exception might be available, that allows limited use of others' IP. For example, it might be OK to parody another video game, especially if that parody is not made with a profit motive (compare the US concept of fair use). But the reality is that a lot of fan works are in a legal grey area – probably not fully covered by copyright exceptions, but often tolerated to some degree by publishers.

Another technique I have occasionally seen is a fan game that was created independently – but the data formats happen to be compatible with another game, so a user who were to also own the original game could mod the fan game by copying the other game's assets into a different folder. This kind of approach could be an elegant solution in your scenario, since you wouldn't be copying any of the original game's assets. But it might not be that easy, since "contributory copyright infringement" is a thing as well.

The only safe move is not to play. Instead of doing legally risky stuff, it might be better to turn that creativity towards creating your entirely own game. Remember that you can be sued even if you did nothing wrong. And even if you would win such a case, you might not have the resources to put up a good defense.

  • If I released my game as open source without the files in question, and only included empty structures for other users of the code to fill in (since the game could function with any other items if their database followed the same structure), could I link to these files somehow externally? Or even put them in my source code repository directly as examples, excluding them from the software's license and claiming no ownership?
    – Nik333
    May 1 at 17:50

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