Joe Mucchiello
United States
Edison
New Jersey
flag msg tools
designer
Vanderdecken wrote:
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.

Did you miss the last paragraph I wrote? This is a design forum. I'm talking about design. Stuff designers do is unfinished. Unfinished works aren't worth registering. Read it again: Registration of copyrights and applications for trademarks are concerns for publishers, not designers. Look at this geeklist From Prototype to Finished Game - Photo Comparisons of Well-Known Games and tell me who could make money illegally duplicating the works created by the designers.

Published works are infringed on? Yeah, that's news. How could you tell me that without warning me to sit down first?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
History In Action Games
United States
Tennessee
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb

I don't care what you want to try and make my comments out to address, the fact is in my very first statement I quoted the OP's original post which discusses Copyright in the context of his larger discussion of IP protection that includes Trademarks and Patents. In his post he discusses his opinion on how and what to protect. His point on Copyright is what I addressed...I guess you missed all those big bold paragraph headers in his post also.

As in his quote below (from where my earlier quote originated) and as to what I have been addressing all along is protection of IP that has reached a state of completion that he recommends protection of:

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.

Once again, I'm giving a different opinion on copyright protection and have given the facts on what the benefits are for a $35.00 registration fee.

I'll also add that in my particular gaming product line text is an integral component. The buyers from retailers such as the National Geographic Society, The Smithsonian Institution, Discovery Channel, and virtually every NASA Space Center from JPL to Houston and Kennedy Space Center, made their decision to purchase my products based on the historical textual content combined with game-play. As this is an important element of my IP, copyright registration offers extremely affordable additional benefits and has been cited in several contracts I've been a party to.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Nowak
United States
Greenville
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
You have paid retail for the last time.
badge
The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - GKC
mbmbmbmbmb
Theme is certainly part of a game that stands out, and the thematic elements (such as artwork, layout, and expression of the rules) are able to be copyrighted. As Vanderdecken said, that can mean everything to a buyer. Registering a copyright is the least expensive of the three IP registrations, and to each their own on whether to pursue it or not.

Regarding the use of Hobbits, it sounds more similar to Lucas' trademark on "Droid" than a copyright issue. A product containing the word "hobbit" is a mark of distinction to a Tolkien work, but saying the word hobbit would probably fall under fair use unless the original work was quoted extensively (or a few other conditions). More and more of these cases are simply settled though, instead of going to court.

Finally: regarding the use of an everyday term as a game name: spell it differently, or design a logo. Many registered trademarks cover specific font use, letter arrangement, and spelling. Consider ALL (the detergent), for example.

Again, IANAL.

Update: Added Vanderdecken's explanation of the benefits of registering to the original post. Very well written summary and opinion, worth making sure everyone has a chance to see it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Northern Rommel
Canada
flag msg tools
jmucchiello wrote:
No one is going to be that dense as to copy your stuff verbatim.


It has been done to me a couple of times. It is not fun to witness. There are quite simply some completely immoral people out there that have no conscience when it comes to stealing from others. If they like it,they just take it.

You would be surprised how blatant and unapologetic some folks are about doing so. You might also be surprised to witness how others in the game community are quick to support that thief, just because his product is nicer looking, flashier, his wife has big tatas, he is rich, etc.

Sometimes you have to live something to understand how significant it can be I guess.



3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Norder
United States
Knoxville
Tennessee
flag msg tools
mbmb
Vanderdecken wrote:
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 a thread about myth busting one has to be careful about trying to discuss these topics, as much that is bandied about as common knowledge about these disputes is nonsense. Fans and people in the role-playing game industry told each other a lot of information about these topics that became well known but lacked any real legal basis.

The situation with the Deities & Demigods book, for example, had far more to do with contractual agreements than copyright. The sections in question were originally used by permission of Chaosium games, which had licensing agreements to certain trademarks and copyrights. TSR thought they had permission for the material. The parties in question were a bit unclear on the particulars of the agreement, and Chaosium objected to the end result. TSR pulled the sections to avoid further problems.

This is not the same thing as saying there was a copyright on, say, Cthulhu. Cthulhu is public domain. But TSR made an agreement with Chaosium to treat material covered in their games in a specific way, and so when there was an objection the whole thing was pulled instead of keeping the items that were public domain.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Szarka
Canada
Oshawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
mbmbmbmbmb
Some of you may be interested in the information I added to the entry for the game Forte Trivia Cards, Volume One. It shows the actual application of trademark laws in a US court on a game issue.

I also work in the IP field as a technology licensing person (mostly patents).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
History In Action Games
United States
Tennessee
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
dannorder wrote:
The sections in question were originally used by permission of Chaosium games, which had licensing agreements to certain trademarks and copyrights. TSR thought they had permission for the material. The parties in question were a bit unclear on the particulars of the agreement, and Chaosium objected to the end result. TSR pulled the sections to avoid further problems.

QFT
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Taylor Liss
United States
Quincy
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey this is really interesting and relevant to a post I made recently. Could someone give me insight into the situation I created?

A Legal Question about Using D&D Material
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Byron Collins
United States
Suffolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
Here's a good example of someone dedicating their work to the public domain (essentially, though not implicitly stated).

George Nafziger spent years collecting and researching Orders of Battle (OOB) info as his hobby. He has now turned it over to the US Army to host and make available the files for free:

http://www.alternatewars.com/CARL/Nafgizer_CARL.htm

(See the yellow-highlighted letter).
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff L.
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Hi. I am new here to BGG. I have lurked around and have been reading the forums for the past few years, but have never registered.

This is a great thread! Thanks for compiling a lot of information contained in here.

I have a couple of quick questions. It is to my understanding that a board game designer can essentially use the mechanics of another game as long as they aren't called the exact same thing. Can a designer basically copy everything about the mechanics, such as number of cards involved, number of spaces on a board, general instructions of how to play, etc as long as the game is not called the same thing nor looks the same?

The reason I ask, is I have had an idea for a game for about a year, that is based on another popular game. The game would be totally different in concept/storyline/theme, use different pieces, have a different looking game board but the same number of spaces on the board. I'd probably use the same amount of cards. I've layed out the game board, created most of the directions, designed some cards etc.

I think the existing game while it is popular, is not as popular as it could be because of it's theme. The theme I've thought of for the game would be interesting to a certain demographic that does not have a lot of games geared toward it.

I've been debating whether I should add some different game play elements to my game, or leave it as is because the original game is so popular. Tried and true, proven success.

Thanks for your help!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Mucchiello
United States
Edison
New Jersey
flag msg tools
designer
Only a lawyer can legally give you advice and even he would need to know more of the specifics. That's the legal answer.

The social answer depends on how much creative input you've contributed to the game. BGGers might shun your game if it looks like you've just given a known game a new coat of paint and tried to pass it off as your own. So you probably should find a way to make the game truly your own.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Szarka
Canada
Oshawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
mbmbmbmbmb
Here's the safe way to do it: You talk to the copyright holder, tell them, in a general way, what you are thinking of doing, and offer to share a royalty with them in exchange for limited access to their copyright.

Whatever a lawyer tells you will be an opinion, and not 100% certain until tested in court (where you definitely do not want to be). A license will give you a guarantee of protection. If they tell you to pack sand then you have your answer and you should leave it alone.

Mike (member of Licensing Executives Society since 1999).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Fielding
msg tools
Toxidyne wrote:


Another resource for describing patent concepts, strategies, and tactics include Strategic Patenting, which can be read for free here: http://www.fishiplaw.com/home/strategic-patenting.html.



Doesn't a blurb from the CEO of "Vandolay" violate the copyright on several episodes of Seinfeld ? whistle
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Fielding
msg tools
I'd like to see a separate thread discussing the copyrightable issues specifically regarding mechanics for resolving "non-deterministic" events. Mostly I'm asking about the mathematical elements. Can they be the same? What about something that is mathematically equivalent?

For example, suppose a game has these rules for combat resolution:
TARGET ASPECT:
standing +0
sitting +1
prone +2

using a D6 Roll with some AH/SPI style CRT.

Can you use the exact same words & mathematics as long as the visual, graphical layout is different?

Or is something in addition to that required?

Suppose you drop the "ing" in the two words, making only a grammatical change?

Or do you have to say "upright"& "seated" ? (synonyms)

Or do you have to add a math operation that creates no mathematical change, such as "+1 always" and publishing the CRT with all the numbers incremented by 1?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Magnus Esko
Sweden
Piteå
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I just noticed this thread and I think there's some vital information missing. It should be mentioned in the text that registered trademarks and patents (etc) are not automatically global. Copyright of artistic material is pretty standard all over the world (I think it's only in US you can actually register it) but if you file for a registration of trademark or patent you do it region by region and you will only get protection in that region. A worldwide patent is very very expensive. I know you can do a EU trademark registration these days, don't know about patents.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Szarka
Canada
Oshawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
mbmbmbmbmb
Awakening wrote:
I just noticed this thread and I think there's some vital information missing. It should be mentioned in the text that registered trademarks and patents (etc) are not automatically global. Copyright of artistic material is pretty standard all over the world (I think it's only in US you can actually register it) but if you file for a registration of trademark or patent you do it region by region and you will only get protection in that region. A worldwide patent is very very expensive. I know you can do a EU trademark registration these days, don't know about patents.


You can file a patent in Europe as an entity but at later stages you still have to convert it to filings in individual European countries. But it would be rare for patenting to be used for game design. Too expensive and too difficult to apply to a game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Szarka
Canada
Oshawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
mbmbmbmbmb
There is a very big $$$ case (alleged $2 billion in damages) that has recently been decided (likely to be re-tried). The originator of the Bratz dolls (those little girls dolls that look far, far sluttier than Barbie) created the original concept drawings when he was working for Mattel. He showed them to management and they weren't interested. Subsequently he took the concept to another company and they made millions (or I suppose billions give the damages sought be Mattel). Mattel sued that they owned the IP, and a 2008 decision was in their favour. However, an appeals court recently overturned the ruling and litigation is likely to continue.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38366780
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
mcszarka wrote:
The originator of the Bratz dolls (those little girls dolls that look far, far sluttier than Barbie) created the original concept drawings when he was working for Mattel. He showed them to management and they weren't interested. Subsequently he took the concept to another company and they made millions (or I suppose billions give the damages sought be Mattel). Mattel sued that they owned the IP, and a 2008 decision was in their favour. However, an appeals court recently overturned the ruling and litigation is likely to continue.


I really hate the US legal system. They had their legal rights to the product, they turned them down.

Case frickin' closed. Just because the product you turned down becomes hugely successful later, you don't get a bloody mulligan. "Oooh, now that we know this idea is actually worthy millions, we change our mind."

I can't believe cases like this last 10 minutes in court, let alone actually get decided in their favour. shake
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Talbot
Canada
Fort Smith
Northwest Territories
flag msg tools
Be seeing you... -Alphonse
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
I really hate the US legal system. They had their legal rights to the product, they turned them down.

Case frickin' closed. Just because the product you turned down becomes hugely successful later, you don't get a bloody mulligan. "Oooh, now that we know this idea is actually worthy millions, we change our mind."

I can't believe cases like this last 10 minutes in court, let alone actually get decided in their favour. shake

In the US and Canada, and presumably other countries, intellectual property you create while in the employ of a company belongs to the company (if it's in the same industry, anyway, so within reason). He worked for a toy company and created a toy. It makes sense that Mattel would file suit against him when he took IP he created while in their employ to one of their competitors.

Whether you agree with that line of thinking in law is another matter entirely, but it's not something about the US legal system. It's a rather common practice among employers that work you do for them while in their employ belongs to them, not you.

Chris
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
ctalbot wrote:
In the US and Canada, and presumably other countries, intellectual property you create while in the employ of a company belongs to the company (if it's in the same industry, anyway, so within reason). He worked for a toy company and created a toy.


But why should it still belong to them after he took it to them, says "here, I made this thing, legally it's yours if you want it", and they state it's worthless they don't want anything to do with it?

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Talbot
Canada
Fort Smith
Northwest Territories
flag msg tools
Be seeing you... -Alphonse
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
But why should it still belong to them after he took it to them, says "here, I made this thing, legally it's yours if you want it", and they state it's worthless they don't want anything to do with it?

Just because they choose not to do something with a property doesn't mean they give up ownership of it. That's not the way intellectual property works. Like I said, whether you agree with intellectual property laws or not is a different topic. In part, my response was to point out this is not common to just US law as you suggested.

Now, I'm not a lawyer, I don't play one on TV and I don't know the particulars of the complaint or everything that went on before, during and after the Bratz pitch to Mattel, but I'm a writer and I make my living on intellectual property. I know there are some tricky parts to IP law, and I know there are even some fuzzy areas regarding what an employer or employee can lay claim to in regards to ownership. It is also possible to make errors to the point that you give up rights to IP that you maybe didn't intend to.

IP law is never simple; that's one thing that's been made clear to me in my profession.

Chris
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Szarka
Canada
Oshawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
mbmbmbmbmb
Well, if you read the article the appeals court judge did imply that he considered Mattel's position to be anti-competitive. That much is pretty clear. So they may be stretching their position beyond what is reasonable. But Chris is right that one really has to wade into the details to understand the subtleties.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Gee
United States
Detroit
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
So basically to protect the game that I am working on...

I have to fill out paperwork that somehow involves my first born and my kidneys...

Takes anywhere from 3 months to a year...

Could be refused (depending on what gov is working that day) and of course the $ 375 won't be refunded.

If I trademark multiple names, I could come out of like 1K. The names may or may not be trademarked (depending on what gov is working that day).

And the forms...my God the forms. It's like trying to read an ancient alchemical text.

I almost feel like not bothering at this point.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Szarka
Canada
Oshawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
mbmbmbmbmb
Trademarking is best left to a professional (a trademark agent). However copyright is automatic. If you publish anything, the content is yours automatically and requires no registration. Trademarking is only really important if you have a big budget to promote your "mark" and confer value upon it.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James C
msg tools
Let's say someone is stealing my unpublished game concept. How damaging is this scenario?

If a game is really amazing and original, can't the originality prevent people from understanding it before purchase, hindering it's profit? Could a ripoff increase the original's exposure to the market? And what does better, the first game that is published, or the one that reaches the shelves later, maybe piggybacking on the first one's marketing campaign?

Does anyone know stories like this behind the most successful games?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
[1]  Prev «  2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6  Next »  [21] | 
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.