$18.00
GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters: 108.95

6,750 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
42.5% of Goal | left

Support:

Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

Crowdfunding: Kickstarter» Forums » General

Subject: Protecting my design/concept rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Mark Seymour
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
new user
Hi all,
This is my first post. I am on the road to bringing a game to kickstarter. I'm happy with my concept and gameplay and I'm ready to start the process of playtesting with people I don't know, and starting to get the word out but I'm concerned about protecting my design/concept/name from being stolen by those of a more dubious nature before I start this.

I've tried to get my head around copyright/trademark rules but in typical government fashion it's all a bit confusing.

Can anyone who has successfully kickstarted give me some advice on this? I am based in the UK
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Kundlak
Slovakia
Bratislava
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Don't.

"Protecting" your concept does nothing other than hide it from people even more. As was and is reiterated again and again, everyone has their own ideas to pursue, so does not need to find and exploit yours.

Moreso if you are a new user here on BGG, where you are lacking any traction with the community, have no "ties" to the boardgaming world here and no "word of mouth" can spread about your planned game.

The mentioning of Kickstarter right form the bat (when your game is not yet even developed) is another bad sign. Forget about the Kickstarter for at least 6 months, if not more, develop your game, share your ideas and plans, your rules and bits, put your game into the treadmill and see what comes out. Perhaps you will find that the concept is not so innovative or "needed". Or perhaps it is, then pursue it further.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M.C.Crispy
United Kingdom
Basingstoke
Hampshire
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
siddus wrote:
Hi all,
This is my first post. I am on the road to bringing a game to kickstarter. I'm happy with my concept and gameplay and I'm ready to start the process of playtesting with people I don't know, and starting to get the word out but I'm concerned about protecting my design/concept/name from being stolen by those of a more dubious nature before I start this.

I've tried to get my head around copyright/trademark rules but in typical government fashion it's all a bit confusing.

Can anyone who has successfully kickstarted give me some advice on this? I am based in the UK
In short: you can't protect your game. All you can do it use Copyright to protect the written words and images that you use and use Trademarks to protect the... trademarks. If you have some utterly unique mechanism you might be able to patent it.

Frankly, I'd suggest that you spend some time on the board game design forums here /forum/974616/boardgamegeek/board-game-design and the numerous other boardgame design websites around The Internet where you might pickup some useful tips on (a) successfully designing a game (b) successfully playtesting and developing a game and (c) successfully publishing a game.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Somerton
Australia
North Ryde - Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
NINE LITTLE LETTERS
badge
FECK! ARSE! DRINK! GIRLS!
mbmbmbmbmb
In this database there are over 4,500 games listed as published in 2016 alone, and the market is growing strongly, year upon year. Assuming a figure of 10% were published, that still makes 45,000 games being designed, although the true amount of probably much, much higher.

There are tens of thousands of designers out there, all with their own game design, ideas and goals. Most of them are far too preoccupied with their own designs to want to steal yours.

Don't waste your time worrying about copyright and trademarks. Spend time here doing serious research before you even consider going anywhere near a Kickstarter project.

Here are a few places you could try.

The designer's resources list

MythBusting: Game Design and Copyright, Trademarks, and Patents (US Law)

Game Design & Self-Publishing – A Resource for Game Designers
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Seymour
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
new user
Thank you for your replies and the links.

I get why people are saying to forget about kickstarter, but it isn't like I just woke up this morning and thought "that would be a good idea for a game, i'm gonna get rich on kickstarter". I'm not looking to launch a campaign any time in the near future.

I'm already several months in on this, and have spent plenty of time already on design and internal testing. I was merely wanting clarification from a copyright/trademark standpoint before I start the external testing, which is my next phase.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Game Steward
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
siddus wrote:
Thank you for your replies and the links.

I get why people are saying to forget about kickstarter, but it isn't like I just woke up this morning and thought "that would be a good idea for a game, i'm gonna get rich on kickstarter". I'm not looking to launch a campaign any time in the near future.

I'm already several months in on this, and have spent plenty of time already on design and internal testing. I was merely wanting clarification from a copyright/trademark standpoint before I start the external testing, which is my next phase.


It's possible to use an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) with small groups of play testers if you are in the final phase of development, but those are typically used by larger game companies who don't want details of their upcoming publishing schedule leaked out yet (think FFG and the next "Wave" of ships for X-Wing).

Truly, there is little or nothing you can do to protect the intellectual property of your game or game idea. Here in the US, the law is very clear that game mechanics are not capable of being patented. The actual text of the rules can be protected. But in practice, I could design a game that is functionally (i.e. mechanically) identical to Monopoly, but as long as I use all original art, all original text for the rules and game components, and use a completely unrelated title for the game, then Hasbro couldn't stop me from publishing the game, strictly speaking. They could threaten legal action, but assuming I have competent attorneys and enough money to pay them, I'd win that case without question.

On a more practical level, please take to heart what others have been saying. Visible efforts to protect your "intellectual property" are considered a sign of being an amateur in the hobby game industry. No publisher will even look at a game prototype in which the designer requests an NDA or any other type of legal protection for a game design. Moreover, you will have branded yourself, and they will refuse any future communication because of the stigma associated with designers who try to prevent anyone from "stealing" their game.

All of this is to say there are a lot of downsides to trying to prevent someone from "stealing" your game, and almost no upsides. It's really not worth it.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rocco Privetera
United States
New York
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
siddus wrote:
I'm concerned about protecting my design/concept/name from being stolen by those of a more dubious nature before I start this.


1. Do a little searching and find - out of the hundreds of thousands of designs tested in the last 5 years and ten thousand games published - how many were reported stolen.

2. Your idea is not new nor unique, most likely. There is someone else out there with your idea. What marks a designer is getting your version to market first.

3. Even if you do have a totally new awesome thing going on, your best protection is getting a lot of proof out on the internet that an idea is yours. No company looking to steal your idea is going to touch something that anybody can google and see years of proof available.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Mathe
United States
Greenfield
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
http://www.Game-Universe.com
badge
http://www.MinionGames.com
mbmbmbmbmb
My blogs cover all of this and much more...

http://www.JamesMathe.com

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brendan Riley
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Nos operamur, te ludere
badge
"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
mbmbmbmbmb
As Cory Doctorow puts it: the challenge facing most creators right now is not piracy, it's obscurity.
4 
 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.