Intellectual Property (IP) and DMCA Guidelines for Fortnite Island Creators

The Fortnite Team

Hey island creators! 

Making islands in Fortnite opens up a world of possibilities, especially with Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) where you can bring your original ideas to life. We want to help you create responsibly and remember that your work needs to be original. Your island cannot include content that infringes on the copyright or trademark rights owned by third parties. 

If you own copyrighted materials, you can also prevent other creators from using your copyrighted work without permission. But we're jumping ahead: what's a copyright, what's a trademark, and how does this affect you?  

Whether you're new to creating or a seasoned developer, read on to learn about Intellectual property (IP) in the world of Fortnite. The following information is for informational purposes, but it isn't legal advice, so please speak to a lawyer if you have specific questions. 

Intellectual Property Basics

What is Intellectual Property (IP)?

Intellectual property (IP) is a creation of the mind, such as movies, music, books, and games. IP laws and rules ensure that the people or entities who create IP are able to get credit for, control, and profit from their IP.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property. Copyright is the legal right to ownership for original works of authorship, such as music, movies, pictures, and books. Copyright protects the expression of a fact or idea, but not the fact or idea itself. 

For example, the idea for a game, the title of a game, and the methods for playing that game are not protected by copyright law. Anyone can make a game that is similar to any published game. Copyright protects only the specific manner of an author’s expression.   

What is a trademark?

A trademark is another form of intellectual property, specifically protecting the word, slogan, design, or symbols that are created and owned by a company to identify themselves. These trademarks help consumers distinguish different brands. 

What are Epic’s policies around Intellectual Property (IP)?

The content you create, publish, or use cannot infringe or violate someone else's rights, including their intellectual property rights (such as by infringing another’s copyright or trademark). You must own or have obtained the necessary rights to share and publish the content. If you are a team owner, even if another member of your team made or imported infringing content, you are responsible for the content that is published.  

Any license of the content must be broad enough to grant Epic a license consistent with the Fortnite Island Creator Rules. Please note that content that is blocked by our audio filter, which is intended to keep infringing content out of Fortnite, cannot be published at this time, even if you have otherwise obtained a license. 

Even if third party intellectual property otherwise exists in Fortnite (such as Locker items and Characters based on movie or TV characters), you do not have the right to use that content to create your island without a separate license from that third party.  

Are there instances in which I have the right to use someone else’s IP without their permission?

There are special circumstances where you can use someone else’s IP without their permission in your islands, but those are narrow exceptions to the general rule. Fair Use, like commentary and criticism or parody, is one example. But these exceptions are tricky legal concepts and getting it wrong can lead to serious legal consequences. 

If you are unsure if you can use someone else’s IP, be sure to consult a lawyer or just don’t use it. By respecting IP rights, the Fortnite community can continue to flourish.

What is the DMCA?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) limits liability for online service providers with respect to content posted by users as long as certain requirements are met. Abiding by the DMCA allows Epic to have a rich ecosystem of content that protects both IP rights holders and creators. Epic’s DMCA policies and processes are outlined below.  

I believe my copyright is being infringed. How do I submit a DMCA claim?  

You can find instructions on how to submit claims on our Reporting Infringement page. You can only submit a DMCA claim if you own copyrighted material that is being infringed by another user on Epic’s platform. Consider carefully if a claim is warranted, as you are making a formal legal accusation under penalty of perjury. Epic may take action and terminate the account of an individual who submits false takedown notices.

Can I report an island that I suspect is infringing someone else’s rights? 

No, you cannot report an island that you suspect is infringing someone else’s content. 

If I file a DMCA takedown, will my information be shared?

If you file a DMCA takedown, you are required to provide your full name, address, telephone number, and email address. Your telephone number and email address will be shared with the relevant creator.  

What happens if I get a DMCA takedown notice?

If you get a DMCA takedown notice, you will receive notice of it at the email address associated with your Epic Games account. 

If you believe the takedown notice was sent in error, and wish to appeal it, you can submit a counter notice. If you do not provide a counter notice, you will receive a copyright strike against your account. Receiving copyright strikes will result in suspension of eligibility for engagement payouts, up to a ban from Fortnite. 

What will happen to my content?

Upon your receipt of the DMCA takedown notice, your island will be unpublished. There may be other consequences to your island or account if you continue to commit copyright infringement. 

What will happen to me?

We want you to create responsibly. Intellectual property is something that all creators should be aware of, including Fortnite island creators. We need to all respect each other’s IP, and there can be legal repercussions to your islands or account if you don’t. 

For every instance of IP infringement not ultimately resolved in your favor, you will be issued a strike against your account. If you accumulate too many strikes, you may experience, among other things, a pause in your access to features, programs, and/or termination of your account. Remember, as a team owner, even if another member of your team made or imported infringing content, you are responsible for the content that is published.  

Will my information be shared if I file a counter-notice?

If you file a counter-notice under the DMCA, you are required to provide your full name, address, telephone number, and email address, and the counter-notice you filed will be shared with the alleged intellectual property rights holder who filed the original DMCA notice. 

The DMCA allows rights holders to issue a subpoena for user information regarding infringing users. We also may need to share your name, company name, address, and other details to any third party that reasonably claims you have violated their IP rights.  We will provide you with written notice that we have passed along your contact information unless we are prohibited from doing so by law.