Journal of Intellectual Property Law


Video game modifications, or "mods," made by third parties or fans of a video game, have reached the limelight of mainstream video game popularity. The internet has become a space for mod makers to share their creations with any user, without the need for physical modifications to a game cartridge or circuit board. Instead, mod software allows a player to install mods with ease and is extremely accessible, yet under the law, the legal status of video game mods remains uncertain. Video game mods are seen as infringing the copyright of the original game. This Note examines the application of the fair use doctrine, as it was expanded in the Supreme Court case Google v. Oracle, which found that Google’s infringing use of Oracle’s Java API was protected under fair use. The Note draws on the Court’s holding and argues like Google’s use of Oracle’s API, in creating the Android platform without authorization, video games mods should similarly be protected under fair use in circumstances where the use is transformative. The Note concludes by calling for greater protections to video game mod makers and creatives alike to afford copyright protections to their transformative work.