$18.00
GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters: 100.83

6,380 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
40.2% of Goal | left

Support:

Magnus Carlsson
Sweden
Vikingstad
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I need some help from the fabulous minds here on BGG.

Say that I have a company that specializes in events for other companies. One of the events would be playing board games. Buying a pile of well known board games and taking them to a company, teaching them how to play it for an evening.

Is there any strange considerations on copyright/legal matters here?
The reason I ask is that I could definitely not buy a DVD and then display it without serious trouble.

I'll live in Sweden so I guess that I would have to check specifics here but it would be interesting to know the general opinion on this.

My own gut feeling says that as long as I don't pretend to have created the games myself the actual designers would be thrilled of having lots of people playing their games and maybe buying one for themselves.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Liam
Scotland
flag msg tools
admin
I am BGG's official honey trap
mbmbmbmbmb
My opinion is it shouldn't be an issue.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Keiser

Waunakee
Wisconsin
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
grimmymail wrote:
I need some help from the fabulous minds here on BGG.

Say that I have a company that specializes in events for other companies. One of the events would be playing board games. Buying a pile of well known board games and taking them to a company, teaching them how to play it for an evening.

Is there any strange considerations on copyright/legal matters here?
The reason I ask is that I could definitely not buy a DVD and then display it without serious trouble.

I'll live in Sweden so I guess that I would have to check specifics here but it would be interesting to know the general opinion on this.

My own gut feeling says that as long as I don't pretend to have created the games myself the actual designers would be thrilled of having lots of people playing their games and maybe buying one for themselves.


Great question, and the law governing your country would be most relevant, but I don't think that board games have a "rebroadcast for profit" law that prohibits what you are considering.

Although not exact, I would think that items like video games would be in the same "bucket" as board games. I know some businesses and bars that have these games as past-times to be used by customers.

I guess the same could be said for someone buying games and then opening a rental store for them... you are trading money for the opportunity to use those games, and I know that model isn't illegal (although it isn't very profitable).

Good luck.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
My gut feeling is that it should be fine. DVDs have an issue where you can theoretically buy one copy and show it to a billion people simultaneously. One copy of a board game only allows a limited number of people to play, so the same concerns don't apply. In economic terms, board games are rivalrous, where digital goods are not.

Similarly, you probably wouldn't have any trouble with DVDs if you gave each person a private screen and their own separate copy of the DVD. I've seen video games at conventions (in the US), which I assume works by bringing enough legal copies of the game for however many players you want to play simultaneously.

Of course, if you bought one copy of a 4-player game, and then home-made 20 copies of it so that 80 people could play at once, that would probably be an issue. I'm assuming that every copy of the board game that you're using was purchased legally.

But I am not a lawyer and have never been to Sweden.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cyrus the Great
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
There seems to be no issue with people running independent boardgame tournaments, which they may or may not profit from, and I can't see how your situation would be any different.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pelle Nilsson
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
As Upphovsrättslagen (Swedish copyright law) puts it, copyright applies not only to making copies, but also to performances to the public or for "en större sluten krets" (whatever that would be in English, but a large gathering of people) (2 §). Not that I am a lawyer or anything but I guess technically that might apply here if you consider playing a boardgame (and/or teaching the rules) a performance.

But then the law really does not make much of a difference between performances for commercial or non-commercial reasons, so if that really applied then everyone organizing large events at game conventions would also be infringing. Maybe they are and no one cares? Or maybe you could argue that playing or teaching a game is not performing it the same way showing a movie or singing a song would be?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pelle Nilsson
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Renaissance Man wrote:
There seems to be no issue with people running independent boardgame tournaments, which they may or may not profit from, and I can't see how your situation would be any different.


It could be that they are infringing, but companies, if they even notice, understand it would be bad pr to do start suing people over it, just like most of them do not make too much fuzz over photos or files on bgg or VASSAL modules.

EDIT: And I also guess like Magnus that most or all companies would just be thrilled to have someone going around and doing free marketing for them anyway, no matter what the law says in theory.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carrot Ironfoundersson
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
I doubt it.

Firstly I am no lawyer, nor do I have any experience in this area, what follows is solely my opinion.

There are many pubs in the UK that not only hold the standard non-copyright general games like chess, draughts, cards, dice etc... but also stock branded specific board games.

The difference is participation in my view - it is not a performance or a broadcast for an audience (spectating on a game in progress is a akin to going to a theatre), as the "audience", barring a few spectators will likely be participating you are not preventing actors or artists from receiving their performing rights. Personally, I think that is where the difference will be.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoffrey Burrell
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
flag msg tools
My cousin made a movie over a decade ago and he was able to use newspapers as long as they got an acknowledgement. This sounds like the same thing. You might give them a shoutout. Some of those makers would like the free press just like Dungeons & Dragons making an appearance multiple times on the Big Bang Theory.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
Norway
Oslo
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I doubt that any court will consider playing a game to be "performing" the work, though. Any "work" in regards to the game playing will be made by the players, using the game as a "prop".
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Freelance Police
United States
Palo Alto
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
You can also write to the companies to ask for permission *and* free games. Some companies have organized demo volunteer programs (eg. Steve Jackson Games) and also : http://www.dexposure.com/envoy/
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wouter
Netherlands
Noord-Brabant
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Sam and Max wrote:
You can also write to the companies to ask for permission *and* free games. Some companies have organized demo volunteer programs (eg. Steve Jackson Games) and also : http://www.dexposure.com/envoy/

I doubt any publisher will provide free copies to a company which makes money by hosting events with board games. Apart from that I think just plain asking for permission is worth it, I see no reason why they should deny it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Magnus Carlsson
Sweden
Vikingstad
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Thanks everyone for your replies!

It seems that there are no obvious "Don't" but as stated it might be good to contact the companies and make sure that they agree. Even if I earn money on it I think it's quite beneficial for them to have there games exposed.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dex Quest
United Kingdom
Maryport
Cumbria
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Just do it mate and act all innocent when the bloodsucking, charisma free, creativity-devoid, charmless, money-mad, bland, cold-hearted, miserable, dire, stinking, cheap-suit-wearing, BMW driving, divorce-about-to-happen-ing, children even hate them-ing, lawyers get in touch.

Watch DVDs while you're doing it as well! You might get the guy from the IT Crowd's piracy advert round to add to the fun (he takes the policeman's helmet off, sh*ts in it, then returns it to his grieving wife... then goes back and steals it again!!!!).

Bu then again, you've already peed on your chips by asking this in a public place (Doh!), so this advice might be best for people who are about to do the same and haven't made a whole load of hassle for themselves for absolutely no reason.

If a boardgame publisher was stupid enough ever to complain about some Twin Peaks-like boardgame convention in the middle of nowhere then they thoroughly deserve to be humiliated and shot down in public for being so tight arsed in the first place.

I am a lawyer and I will sue anyone who disagrees with that statement.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Graham Robinson
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
grimmymail wrote:
Thanks everyone for your replies!

It seems that there are no obvious "Don't" but as stated it might be good to contact the companies and make sure that they agree. Even if I earn money on it I think it's quite beneficial for them to have there games exposed.


Two points. First "I think it's quite beneficial for them" is not an argument that courts tend to have much time for. It was used a lot by music pirates, without success.

Primarily, though, if a lawyer thinks he can argue something may be illegal, he can sue you. There doesn't appear to be any clear precedent saying "charging people money to play someone else's boardgame" is fine. Therefore, doing so is a risk. Remember, if you get sued, even if you win, you can be out an awful lot of money.

How big the risk is will depend on what you are doing - how much money, how many people, are you always exploiting the same game or do you ring the changes, how close are you to the "generally accepted model" of playing games at a convention with a small entry fee, how aggressive is the publisher about protecting rights, is there another interest in the boardgame (i.e. Star Wars themed games way more likely to get you sued...)

Notes: I am not a lawyer, and I am not providing legal advice. I am flagging up things to think about. I am also in the UK, so your local legal system may differ significantly.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dex Quest
United Kingdom
Maryport
Cumbria
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
"exploit the same game" - gotta love that warm and friendly phrase, Graham.

Hey, we had a tug of war competition at our village fair this summer and the rope maker wants to sue us for using his rope without permission. It stretched a bit and made the rope look rubbish, so I suppose they've got a point.

Isn't the legal world full of joyous people - just think of the statues they'll carve in memory of your work.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Dewsbery
United Kingdom
Sutton Coldfield
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
IAAL, but I'm not going to run around giving legal advice for free; it would get me drummed out if the profession.

But one suggestion I would make is to steer clear of trade marks. Partly because they are reasonably easy to infringe, and partly because anyone with the money to get a strong trade mark probably also has their trade mark lawyers on speed-dial.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Big Sean
United Kingdom
Leicester
Leicestershire
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
escribblings wrote:
I doubt it.

Firstly I am no lawyer, nor do I have any experience in this area, what follows is solely my opinion.

There are many pubs in the UK that not only hold the standard non-copyright general games like chess, draughts, cards, dice etc... but also stock branded specific board games.

The difference is participation in my view - it is not a performance or a broadcast for an audience (spectating on a game in progress is a akin to going to a theatre), as the "audience", barring a few spectators will likely be participating you are not preventing actors or artists from receiving their performing rights. Personally, I think that is where the difference will be.


My thoughts exactly.

I have used Pandemic as a team builder and Cheapass Games The Big Idea. Both went down fantastically.
I work for a large blue chip public company and there was no issues whatsoever. The legal department wanted to use Pandemic at their next team day!!!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl
Austria
Salzburg
Salzburg
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
willsargent wrote:

Hey, we had a tug of war competition at our village fair this summer and the rope maker wants to sue us for using his rope without permission. It stretched a bit and made the rope look rubbish, so I suppose they've got a point.


You are joking here, right?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.