Your Flash Games Stolen and Sold

Chances are you have seen one of those Flash arcade sites, which have Flash games from all over the web put on their web site. One thing I have noticed is that no one ever asks the creators of these games for permission to do so, because I’m sure most of them would have not consented to it. Some sites have a little form on their site in which the author could request theirs to be removed, but the chances are they won’t even know it’s out there. And even if he gets it taken off one site, it’s probably on 100 other sites just like it. What is happening is the web apps are being made to open any SWF file out of a folder, along with some database info on it, the application is usually sold and for a higher price they include the games. While there are some free web apps that do this, some require a fee to remove the copyright for the application or sell games to make extra money. The web site owners buy it and put up a site and then market it around the web and make money off of ads, but the creators of the games won’t get a penny.

Here is a list of a few web applications which do this (this list isn’t complete by any means):

Things Flash Developers can do to try to prevent this:

  • Be sure to put copyright information in your Flash in the form of graphics or text and a link back to your site in the game itself. It maybe a good idea to do what console games do and have an intro screen with credits and a start button required to be pressed in order to play.
  • Setup your server to not allow hotlinking to SWF files (edit .htaccess for Apache servers). – Although it’s unlikely people would want to keep huge lists of URLs to SWFs to hotlink to.
  • Check the domain name in ActionScript and redirect the page to your domain if its been loaded elsewhere. – Although people could then just IFRAME your SWF. Or they could decompile the SWF to remove all that code and copyright information, which is unlikely but who knows how desperate people are now days.

NOTE: This isn’t only with Flash games, I’ve also seen people do the same thing with Shockwave games.


Comments 1-3 of 3 to “Your Flash Games Stolen and Sold”

  1. 1 · Amorina says:

    The second idea is valid only if you put your game on a html that could be linked to from blogs wanting to. I’ve seen several game developers that use pop-ups from a Flash site and make impossible to link to their games. They’re not thinking that blogs are a great way to make your name known. Of your game becomes a “meme”, you get gigs 😉

    The third one is useless. The best one is the first one. That way you can rest and let all those game-stealing sites advertise your work.

  2. 2 · John says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned this before. So many games are taken from web sites and sold like the seller owns them. People think its OK because its promoting the flash games but a simple link would do just as much promotion, isnt that what Digg and Delicious are for? To help promote good sites, tools, news and cool stuff? I’m sure it wont be long before people take other peoples videos and build up their on collection on their own website and possibly sell them for money as well.

  3. 3 · Andrew says:

    Gaming sites like miniclip have paid game developers for the right to brand and allow others place games on their site. It gives miniclip and the developer exposure. The developers know this is going to happen.

    These developers are usually ‘geeks’ have little business acumen and may in fact be getting screwed but its there obligation to wise up and not for big gaming sites to tell them what to do

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