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Paul Nowak
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Good point Robert, I'll see how I can work it into the original post. Part of the factor is that copyright has little to do with a game; but posting scans of an OoP game board and cards is not legal just because no one is enforcing the copyright. At any time, though, you can re-theme a game, re-write the rules, and create new artwork to make a personal or even publishable game.

Let's take Dune as an example. Trademark claims aside (for the characters and story elements) Avalon Hill probably still has the copyright on the card, counter, and board images. But fans creating new tokens, boards, and rules have created a "legal" derivative new work.

Theoretically, one could create print-and-play versions of every game, although I am rather certain no one would pay for them and PnP games, and even if they were free few would actually go through the trouble of making their own copies. The labor and costs for materials would be higher than outright buying the original, and the experience in almost all cases would be lessened.

This reminds me: Copyright/Public Domain law in the US gets really confusing after the 1923 rule due to changes in the law. SOME works made after 1923 and before 1963 CAN be public domain if the owners forgot to renew. (Anything copyrighted after 1978 does not need to be renewed, BTW, and anything published after 1963 has not yet expired). It takes some more work, but there was an online database where you can check the 3-year window when a work should have been renewed, and if there is no listing it is public domain.

How much of a mess are things? Well, G.K. Chesterton is a good example. He was an English writer who wrote from the late 1800s through 1936. All of his works are, IIRC, public domain in Austrailia, Canada and the U.K. Anything published before 1923 is public domain in the US; but anything published from 1923-1936 won't enter the public domain in the U.S. until 2018-2031 because for that period the copyright term is 95 years after publication, if it was properly renewed 28 years after it was created (The renewal would grant another 67 years of protection). It gets even more confusing than that though.

The Nolo book has a chart on this, as well as a graphical representation of the "public domain gap" in the United States caused by the Sonny Bono act, but of course I can't reproduce it here. Allegedly, had the act not passed, Mickey Mouse would be public domain. But, as Disney lobbied, he is still the property of Disney for many, many years to come. OF course, they could have possibly made him a trademark... but I digress.

In short, Trademarks have the most impact on games. Patents seem to rarely come into play, and copyright only protects the artistic elements.


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Joe Mucchiello
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overtheboard wrote:
Allegedly, had the act not passed, Mickey Mouse would be public domain.

Technically "Mickey Mouse" was in no danger of becoming public domain. Disney has so many trademarks attached to the Mouse that there is no chance of that. What would have become public domain was "Steamboat Willy", Mickey Mouse's first cartoon appearance. That passing into public domain would allow anyone to sell, distribute, broadcast the cartoon Steamboat Willy. But if in this alternate universe you had tried to advertise it using the phrase "Mickey Mouse" Disney's trademark lawyers would still C&D you in an instant.

I (half-jokingly) suspect Disney really pushed the copyright extension acts in order to save themselves a lot of legal fees.

(This is not legal advice.)
 
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Paul Nowak
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blush Wow, everyone - over 100 thumbs in 3 days, plus the geekgold tips and 3 pages of comments! Thank you for participating and supporting it, and correcting me where it was needed, I've learned quite a bit more from all this.

I didn't expect the thread to be quite this popular! I didn't even submit it for geekgold when I posted it since I wasn't sure it would be considered worthwhile.

If there is this much support for the thread, how do we get it stickied? Thank you Octavian for pinning the thread!
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overtheboard wrote:
If there is this much support for the thread, how do we get it stickied?
Ask an admin.
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overtheboard wrote:
Good point Robert, I'll see how I can work it into the original post. Part of the factor is that copyright has little to do with a game; but posting scans of an OoP game board and cards is not legal just because no one is enforcing the copyright. At any time, though, you can re-theme a game, re-write the rules, and create new artwork to make a personal or even publishable game.

Let's take Dune as an example. Trademark claims aside (for the characters and story elements) Avalon Hill probably still has the copyright on the card, counter, and board images. But fans creating new tokens, boards, and rules have created a "legal" derivative work.


Careful with your language here!

A "derivative work" is never legal, nor is it what you described.

A derivative work encompasses something that takes parts of an actual copyrighted work [like if you used the card art and made it part of a new collage for a new game board, or if you took the character pictures off the cards but made new icons and new layout/design], and it is one of the exclusive rights of copyright holders to control how and when and if derivatives are made from their copyrighted material.

If you create truly new tokens, boards, rules, art, etc... it is not a derivative work. It may or may not be legal, depending on the extent to which you infringe upon trademarks or patents and how close you get to overstepping the bounds of the original copyrighted art [how close your imitation looks to the original art, rules, etc]. If you made a "cartoon" version of the art in similar-ish poses, for instance, you'd be in trouble.

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Joe Mucchiello
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NateStraight wrote:
If you create truly new tokens, boards, rules, art, etc... it is not a derivative work. It may or may not be legal, depending on the extent to which you infringe upon trademarks or patents and how close you get to overstepping the bounds of the original copyrighted art [how close your imitation looks to the original art, rules, etc]. If you made a "cartoon" version of the art in similar-ish poses, for instance, you'd be in trouble.


*Most of this is true but there are other considerations. Can you defend yourself in court? Being 80% right is not enough if you could lose in court. So skirting the edge of what is allowed is a great way to become a test case costing you tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Design a new game. It's safer.

I said most above because if something were cartoonish enough and the renaming of things "funny" enough, you might be able to defend it as a parody. But remember that is still just a defense. You would still need to convince a judge that it was a parody if the original IP holder sued you.
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jmucchiello wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
If you create truly new tokens, boards, rules, art, etc... it is not a derivative work. It may or may not be legal, depending on the extent to which you infringe upon trademarks or patents and how close you get to overstepping the bounds of the original copyrighted art [how close your imitation looks to the original art, rules, etc]. If you made a "cartoon" version of the art in similar-ish poses, for instance, you'd be in trouble.


*Most of this is true but there are other considerations. Can you defend yourself in court? Being 80% right is not enough if you could lose in court. So skirting the edge of what is allowed is a great way to become a test case costing you tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Design a new game. It's safer.

I said most above because if something were cartoonish enough and the renaming of things "funny" enough, you might be able to defend it as a parody. But remember that is still just a defense. You would still need to convince a judge that it was a parody if the original IP holder sued you.


Absolutely, I made that post to dissuade people from trying to make what Paul had implied were "legal derivatives".

The fact of the matter, when it comes right down to it, is that willfully trying to copy something someone else created is wrong in principle [at least in the eyes of the law; morality is a completely separate issue that can't really be debated here] and is going to get you in trouble most of the time.

There are a number of technicalities and loopholes that one might try to exploit, but the rule of thumb for designers should be that if it feels wrong, it probably is and you will have to pay for it in the end one way or another. If you willfully copy from or financially benefit from something you did not create [be it copyrighted artwork, a trademark game or game series name and/or characters, a unique mechanic or method for playing a game, etc], you will almost certainly be the one with the burden of proof to show that you have not infringed upon the other person's intellectual property.
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Andrea Doria
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The key issue, as I recall, is whether the duplication of name is likely to cause confusion in the minds of consumers. So, for example, unlike the situation with the word "bronco," nobody's going to expect that if you call your product "Spider-Man" you're not associated with the Marvel Comics character (even if you manage to find some product market that Marvel isn't already in).


This is entirely correct. Trademarks protect an actual mark (word, picture, etc.) together with its association.

Tim's point about the loss of trademark rights is also correct: patents and copyrights have definite, fixed lifespans. Trademark rights are theoretically indefinite, but will terminate if the mark is sufficiently diluted by others' uses.
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Copyright protects printed works of artistic expression.


This is only partially correct---copyright protects published artistic or expressive works. Thus, it protects things like newspaper articles (not artistic) but does not protect a manuscript I write on my typewriter and then leave in my desk drawer forever (unpublished). Fortunately, the definition of "published" for these purposes is expansive, including, for instance, transmittal over a wire (e.g. sending to someone via e-mail).


Quote:
That's not quite true re: copyrights. Current copyright laws also protect unpublished works set down in fixed form.


Hmmm, perhaps my emphasis on publication is misplaced, if Lee is correct. I would need to do slightly better research. But regardless, copyright protection is not limited to printed or purely artistic works.
 
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Andrea_Doria wrote:
This is only partially correct---copyright protects published artistic or expressive works. Thus, it protects things like newspaper articles (not artistic) but does not protect a manuscript I write on my typewriter and then leave in my desk drawer forever (unpublished). Fortunately, the definition of "published" for these purposes is expansive, including, for instance, transmittal over a wire (e.g. sending to someone via e-mail).


This is not correct at all [at least not in the United States].

Here is the actual text of US Copyright law regarding scope:

US Title 17 wrote:
Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.


If it is:

a) Original [not derived]
b) Authored / creative [not factual, mundane, data, etc]
c) Fixed in any tangible medium of expression from which it can be perceived, etc

It is copyrighted, regardless of who has seen it.

In fact, one of the rights afforded to copyright owners is the right of first publication.
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Andrea Doria
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This is not correct at all [at least not in the United States].


Well, it appears that my memory is incorrect. I do wish my law school had had better IP offerings. Seems I need to do some research. And now that you mention the right of first publication, I can easily remember myself that my original statement was incorrect.

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It's crazier than that. There are laws whose text is copyrighted by the law firms who wrote the bill.


I'm not aware of this being the case at all. I do a nauseating quantity of legal research and have never seen a copyright notice referencing a third-party author in a statute. What you DO see are notices similar to the Gutenberg one referenced above: copyrights on the presentation of statutes by research services like Westlaw and Lexis.

Quote:
To amend that, an explicit comment should be made dispelling that persistent and frustrating myth that copyrights must be defended or be lost.


Right---you won't lose a copyright if you don't defend it, but you very well might lose the ability to litigate it against a particular infringer if you put off defending it for too long.
 
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Derivative is most definitely the wrong word as I used it, sorry. I'm more accustomed to working with Public Domain elements where the derivative works are the copyrightable new creations.

If you completely re-themed the game of Dune, left all the mechanics, re did all the artwork and rules, you have a new game, not a derivative in the legal sense, though you might say to someone in casual conversation (not marketing!) "I derived this game from Dune."

This is why science and the Catholic Church use so much Latin. Words in a dead language don't change meanings in the vernacular so much.

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Right---you won't lose a copyright if you don't defend it, but you very well might lose the ability to litigate it against a particular infringer if you put off defending it for too long.


Actually, you won't lose the ability or weaken your case to litigate. Copyright is based on date of origin, not usage. The popular Che image's copyright saga is evidence of this. Likewise, the saga of the movie "It's a Wonderful Life."

Quote:
But regardless, copyright protection is not limited to printed or purely artistic works.


It's not limited to printed matter (as music and sculpture can be copyrighted) but it is a requirement that the work be artistic, although the courts' definition of "artistic" has been broad enough to name blank forms demonstrating significant creative ingenuity as being copyrightable.

Another reason IP law in the US is a mess is because so much isn't tested. To use an example we are all more or less familiar with, Games Workshop may not have been within their rights to send a C&D letter to BGG for all 4 of the files they named. They probably had less right to sue for the many more that BGG admins removed later (and IIRC, GW would have had to send a C&D for those specific images before initiating legal action).

However, the actions of the BGG admins had a certain wisdom for avoiding potential legal fees they could not afford. But this leaves GW's actions unchallenged, and other fan sites will recoil, and the implicit strength of GW's rights expands - not necessarily legally. For the record, I would have acted similarly to the BGG admins, and support their decision.

In a very interesting case, consider Despair Inc.'s registration of the frowning emoticon, and threatened legal action across the internet: http://www.despair.com/frownonthis.html I wonder if BGG would have deleted all posts with the "frownie" then?
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overtheboard wrote:
Works in the public domain have no copyright.


This isn't quite true. When discussing copyright one most often misses that copyright consists of two unrelated parts: economic copyright (that's what one usually speaks about when talking about copyright) and moral copyright (the term has nothing to do with morals).

Article 10bis of the Bern Convention (the thing that governs what copyright should be in pretty much all the world) states that the creator has a right to be recognized as the creator of a work and that this right can not be taken away, ever. This means that you can't take a work and claim to be its creator no matter if the economic copyright has been relinquished (i.e. it is public domain) or not - no matter what, you can't claim to have written Romeo and Juliet...
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overtheboard wrote:
It's not limited to printed matter (as music and sculpture can be copyrighted) but it is a requirement that the work be artistic, although the courts' definition of "artistic" has been broad enough to name blank forms demonstrating significant creative ingenuity as being copyrightable.


There's a brilliant example of this in Swedish copyright law:

In a dispute between two journalists one sent a letter to the other which said:
Quote:

You bitch!

The other journalist promptly published the letter and was sued for copyright infringement. The court ruled that although the letter was quoted in its entirety the quote did not have enough artistic merit to be deemed copyright infringement.
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Lacombe
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overtheboard wrote:

In a very interesting case, consider Despair Inc.'s registration of the frowning emoticon, and threatened legal action across the internet: http://www.despair.com/frownonthis.html I wonder if BGG would have deleted all posts with the "frownie" then?


The Despair trademark thing was a joke [the threat of lawsuits, that is... the trademark is real, but only--as ever--for the trade in which they use it].
 
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Paul Nowak
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NateStraight wrote:
overtheboard wrote:

In a very interesting case, consider Despair Inc.'s registration of the frowning emoticon, and threatened legal action across the internet: http://www.despair.com/frownonthis.html I wonder if BGG would have deleted all posts with the "frownie" then?


The Despair trademark thing was a joke [the threat of lawsuits, that is... the trademark is real, but only--as ever--for the trade in which they use it].


It was a great publicity stunt. But there was some legal basis to it, and IP classes should discuss it as to what was really legal and what is not.

Quote:
This isn't quite true. When discussing copyright one most often misses that copyright consists of two unrelated parts: economic copyright (that's what one usually speaks about when talking about copyright) and moral copyright (the term has nothing to do with morals).

Article 10bis of the Bern Convention (the thing that governs what copyright should be in pretty much all the world) states that the creator has a right to be recognized as the creator of a work and that this right can not be taken away, ever. This means that you can't take a work and claim to be its creator no matter if the economic copyright has been relinquished (i.e. it is public domain) or not - no matter what, you can't claim to have written Romeo and Juliet...


Actually Moral Copyright has everything to do with morals, provided you're not using the vernacular definition of "morals"

According to US law, which we are discussing here, Moral Copyright has no binding legal obligation. It is represented in other areas of US law, such as defamation.

In the US, you CAN claim to be the author of Romeo and Juliet. However, you can't suppress the truth of the fact and your actions, while legal, would be considered "immoral" by most of the world.

The Bern Convention is a convention, not a treaty. It has no jurisdiction, no power, and cannot govern anything. Nations can subscribe to any, all or none of the decisions or recommendations - though there may be diplomatic repercussions.

It is more accurate, however, to say that works in the public domain have no copyright protection.
 
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overtheboard wrote:
The Bern Convention is a convention, not a treaty. It has no jurisdiction, no power, and cannot govern anything. Nations can subscribe to any, all or none of the decisions or recommendations - though there may be diplomatic repercussions.


In international law there is no difference between a convention and a treaty (although, as far as I understand it, a treaty is signed by a small number of parties while a convention is signed by a large number). Thus the repercussions for not abiding by a convention are the same as those for not abiding by a treaty: diplomatic stigma, which may or may not be enough to affect the breaker of a treaty/convention.
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Andrea Doria
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It's possible that the poster who originally attempted to discuss derivative works was actually meaning to reference transformative works, which are generally permissible under fair-use rules. (Although transformative works are almost invariably challenged if they are derived from IP owned by a large and vigilant company.)
 
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Paul Nowak
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filwi wrote:
overtheboard wrote:
The Bern Convention is a convention, not a treaty. It has no jurisdiction, no power, and cannot govern anything. Nations can subscribe to any, all or none of the decisions or recommendations - though there may be diplomatic repercussions.


In international law there is no difference between a convention and a treaty (although, as far as I understand it, a treaty is signed by a small number of parties while a convention is signed by a large number). Thus the repercussions for not abiding by a convention are the same as those for not abiding by a treaty: diplomatic stigma, which may or may not be enough to affect the breaker of a treaty/convention.


In domestic (US) law there is quite a difference.

Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution makes any treaty signed by the President and ratified by Congress to be on equal standing with the Constitution, i.e., the Supreme Law of the Land.

Conventions, like U.N. resolutions, are non-enforceable to citizens of any given county unless their domestic government adopts provisions by making laws via their own internal processes. Moral Copyright is one example: we in the U.S. are not bound by it, but it passed in a convention. (UPDATE: We are only bound to those provisions enacted in the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988)

There is no governing body which can prosecute global copyright violations; hence the China piracy problem. A product in China that violates a U.S. Copyright can legally be sold in China, but not in the U.S. - the Bern Convention cannot even allow a U.S. copyright holder to sue someone in China for selling a product that is illegal in the US within China; hence the Bern Convention is powerless.

Along that line: Any works created in Iran, Iraq, or a handful of other countries get NO copyright protection in the US. Such works are automatically considered public domain here in the US.


... of course we're drifting a bit since in the US (Scope of this thread) there is virtually no copyright protection for a game.
 
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NateStraight wrote:
Probably, yes. It would be easier to say if you would discuss what the actual name / "part thereof" is, but then you're not likely to do that as you're being overprotective and paranoid. This is probably something else that should go in this thread somewhere: the tendency of new authors / designers to overvalue their creative work and commercial trademarks.


Speaking as someone who has been badly burned in the past because of exactly this situation, I would hardly call it being "paranoid" to be somewhat diligent and cautious when it comes to legal foolishness. Although the more I look into it, the more I have to agree it seems a waste of time. Unless you have a vault full of dough, you just have to go out there and take the chance.

Quote:

There are bazillions of possible names out there. The chances of somebody thinking yours is so great as to be market-shattering are extraordinarily low. If your game is so great, it could sell itself under a different name just as well, so why would they be so afraid of your using the one you originally thought up? They can't "steal" every possible name you could use.


Well yes I agree there are. However there is not just the legal aspects to consider too. Marketing and Branding these days requires some uniqueness. The main reason people try to hijack other companies names is to ride the coattails of that other company or service, by tricking consumers into buying it and thinking they are getting the same thing. That is in no way my intention, and I doubt very much it would be theres, however what do judges care?

The name for my game is also a common everyday phrase in some circles, as well as a reference to the underlying mechanic of the game -- as all the games produced under the advanced title will be historical variants but use the same basic systems of play for familiarity reasons. It is one of the reasons why I am considering pursuing a patent or industrial design registration if it were not for the dam costs and time involved. Neither would protect me from a vindictive company set on "making my day" anyhow.

Honestly I had no idea how the legal side of things had become such a huge ugly morass since the last time I put a game out there. Make no wonder many first time publishers are turned off or "paranoid".

Truthfully the whole legal issue is a total mess, reserved for the rich, and the poor be dammed.

I wonder how long it will be before every noun in the English language is trademarked so that you have to pay royalities just to pick up a pen lol.


 
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NorthernRommel wrote:
The name for my game is also a common everyday phrase in some circles, as well as a reference to the underlying mechanic of the game

But this is exactly why you should stay away from that name. If you use a descriptive word or phrase as your game name then you will constantly and vigilantly pursue casual use of that term in order to protect your trademark. It's not worth it. There is reason why everything now is given weird non-real names: they are easier to trademark and easier to maintain as trademarks.

Also, you run the risk of angering your target audience by needing to be pushy about defending the mark.
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overtheboard wrote:
If you are going to create a line of games on a similar theme, I'd consider registering a trademark. If you have a very unique new mechanic, consider filing for a patent. In my humble opinion, it is not worth registering any copyrights for games.

Great thread and good info. As has been said before, copyrights do not cover game ideas, mechanics or trademarks, but in my opinion registering copyrights are very much worth the small effort and fee to cover the text in rules, cards, and other components, as well as the original art and graphic design used in your game design.

Currently the cost is only $35.00 (in the US) to register online and it's easy enough that you can do it yourself without the assistance of counsel. I've registered a number of copyrights and also found that the folks at the US Copyright Office are easy to reach by phone and very eager to answer questions and offer assistance with the forms.

One benefit of registering is that it creates a definitive time-line and presumption that ownership of the copyright is as set forth in the registration. In addition, if you registered the copyright on a date earlier than the date of an act of unauthorized copying, or under certain other circumstances set forth in the copyright law, then if you prevail in court against the unauthorized copier, you can be eligible for statutory damages and for recovery of attorney's fees.

The benefit of statutory damages and attorney's fees that come from registering a copyright in advance of infringement far outweigh the small bit of time and cost it takes to register a copyright. Lastly, the financial impact of those benefits add an additional level of consequence that an infringing party must contemplate when on the receiving end of cease and desist letter.

http://www.copyright.gov/register/

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Joe Mucchiello
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Vanderdecken wrote:
One benefit of registering is that it creates a definitive time-line and presumption that ownership of the copyright is as set forth in the registration. In addition, if you registered the copyright on a date earlier than the date of an act of unauthorized copying, or under certain other circumstances set forth in the copyright law, then if you prevail in court against the unauthorized copier, you can be eligible for statutory damages and for recovery of attorney's fees.

How are you going to win a copyright case against anyone in regards to a board game? The only thing the copyright protects you against is a verbatim copy of your rules text or verbatim use of your images. Anyone foolish enough to make this mistake is someone who probably cannot payoff the debt created by losing the court case.
 
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jmucchiello wrote:
How are you going to win a copyright case against anyone in regards to a board game?

To win a case that one deems as having merit and substantial provable damages based on the infringement, you file a lawsuit. Because the copyright is registered you can have attorneys fees awarded.

jmucchiello wrote:
The only thing the copyright protects you against is a verbatim copy of your rules text or verbatim use of your images.

I guess you missed the part of my post where I acknowledged that:

Vanderdecken wrote:
As has been said before, copyrights do not cover game ideas, mechanics or trademarks,

But text and artwork are not insignificant elements of intellectual property. Disputes based on copyright issues involving such elements have ranged from TSR's use of the race Hobbits in early publications to their later use Cthulhu Mythos and Melnibonéan Mythos in early versions of the Deities & Demigods manual. A more recent example is Hasbro's filing of a copyright infringement suit in 2008 against the owners of the facebook game Scrabulous. It wasn't long ago that in these very forums Martin Wallace spoke of a copyright dispute regarding the Age of Steam logo art after the issue of trademark had been settled.

Text and artwork are major properties in various forms of media that are subjects of lawsuits and damage awards everyday, ask any IP attorney, people with money do stupid stuff everyday...look at Bernie Madoff, a former multimillionaire now serving a 150 year prison sentence. The foolish thing is to not protect yourself the best you can against the nut-jobs.

jmucchiello wrote:
Anyone foolish enough to make this mistake is someone who probably cannot payoff the debt created by losing the court case.

Probably or probably not, I don't care. Courts are full of both types everyday, they're called litigants.
 
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Vanderdecken wrote:
jmucchiello wrote:
The only thing the copyright protects you against is a verbatim copy of your rules text or verbatim use of your images.

I guess you missed the part of my post where I acknowledged that:

So what does your $35 do for you? No one is going to be that dense as to copy your stuff verbatim.

Quote:
Disputes based on copyright issues involving such elements have ranged from TSR's use of the race Hobbits in early publications to their later use Cthulhu Mythos and Melnibonéan Mythos in early versions of the Deities & Demigods manual.

In the first case TSR was very small and settled out of court rather than risk the company. There was no reason the Tolkien estate should have been able to assert any kind of copyright or trademark on "Hobbits". This is just a case of deep pockets versus small pockets.

In the case of Cthulhu I do believe they thought it was public domain (some of it is, some of it isn't. The morass of legalities surrounding Cthulhu would make Cthulhu proud.) As for Melnibonea, I had thought that was a misunderstanding about who had acquired the rights and TSR just didn't fight it. My point here is that whether those properties were properly registered did not really figure into those cases.

Quote:
A more recent example is Hasbro's filing of a copyright infringement suit in 2008 against the owners of the facebook game Scrabulous.

Again if it hadn't been called Scrabulous, Hasbro would have left them alone. That was pure trademark. They may have claimed it was a copyright issue as well. But that was just icing on the cake. Hasbro had them 100% on the trademark issue and were just hoping to add copyright as more ammunition.

Quote:
It wasn't long ago that in these very forums Martin Wallace spoke of a copyright dispute regarding the Age of Steam logo art after the issue of trademark had been settled.

I'm not positive but I thought this was really a contract dispute where it was unclear whether the logo had been commissioned as a work for hire or not. That's not the same as an infringement case.

Quote:
people with money do stupid stuff everyday...look at Bernie Madoff, a former multimillionaire now serving a 150 year prison sentence.

What does a ponzi scheme conman have to do with IP infringement? People rob convenience stores too. I fail to see the relevance.


Regardless, I think we are approaching this from different points of view since you have that little "game publisher" tag under your name and I don't. I agree completely that publishers need to register copyrights and apply for trademarks. But this is a designer's forum. Designers are not publishers and need not register version 3456 and 3457 of their game rules. That is whom I was talking to when I questioned the need for IP protection on game rules.
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jmucchiello wrote:
No one is going to be that dense as to copy your stuff verbatim.

I believe otherwise as so do many writers, designers, artists, photographers and other creative professionals. If you think visual and written creative works aren't copied or infringed on through blatant plagiarism or illegal derivation, I won't be the one to break the bad news.
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