Cody Ferguson
Canada
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Hi all,

I'll keep this very short and to-the-point.

I'm developing a rather extensive supplement for the game STARMADA by Majestic 12 Games. STARMADA is a game based on building custom ships, so fans creating custom content for it is par for the course. The supplement I'm working on is simply a fan project for the game, that will be released freely to the public for non-commercial use.

It's quite extensive however with proper names of places, history, historical figures, starships, etc. It's essentially a complete custom universe built on the Starmada game system. As such the entire project has the name "Warfleet: New Era", which I have copyrighted as per my legal disclaimer here: http://www.rimworldproductions.com/legaldisclaimer.htm

I received an e-mail from an IP acquisition company that is interested in the name "THE WARFLEET GAME" and wanted to know if I was interested in selling the name. I'm not interested in selling the name or renaming my project as far too much work has gone into it. However, my intention was to copyright "Warfleet: New Era", and furthermore it's a non-commercial project. I'm willing to amend my copyright statement to make that more clear, but I'm really out of my league as far as my legal options (if any). I'm located in Canada if that makes any difference.

I was going to write back saying I can make my copyright statement more clear, but I wanted to get some advice first.

I have ZERO interest whatsoever in making any money off of anything I create, whether it be by name or any other method.

Thanks.
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Gláucio Reis
Brazil
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You don't "copyright" stuff. Copyright is automatic but does not apply to names. If you want to protect a name, what you need is a trademark. The company is being kind by asking to buy the name. But I'm not a lawyer.
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Jesse Garza
United States
Texas
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right! but its just common copy right laws right? basic stuff, also your forgetting to tell him to incorporate his product, atleast thats how it worked in the jobs movie i just watched with ashton kutcher, lol.

ahem, also hey man, how do i get my avatar to say im a game designer as well? i like that!
 
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Mike Raymond
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You own the 'copyright' of what you write automatically but you put the term copyright on it as a 'warning' and to say that you own it.

You don't own the name. I had a game design back in the eighties called "Global Conflict". I didn't run it commercial but thought I owned it. In the late nineties I re-wrote it and wanted to start it again, online. I found that another game was already on the web called "Global Conflict", even though it was different than mine. I had to change my name so as not to be in conflict with them.

The 'name' was not copyright - but the contents were. The name is a trade mark which you can register. That involves a legal title search by firms that do that for a fee. They search registered marks for conflicts and let you know in writing that your name is clear to use.

Then you file for a registration, again for a fee, they do it for you.

Then you own it. Probably easier to change your name.
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Cody Ferguson
Canada
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r6751 wrote:
You own the 'copyright' of what you write automatically but you put the term copyright on it as a 'warning' and to say that you own it.

You don't own the name. I had a game design back in the eighties called "Global Conflict". I didn't run it commercial but thought I owned it. In the late nineties I re-wrote it and wanted to start it again, online. I found that another game was already on the web called "Global Conflict", even though it was different than mine. I had to change my name so as not to be in conflict with them.

The 'name' was not copyright - but the contents were. The name is a trade mark which you can register. That involves a legal title search by firms that do that for a fee. They search registered marks for conflicts and let you know in writing that your name is clear to use.

Then you file for a registration, again for a fee, they do it for you.

Then you own it. Probably easier to change your name.


Fair enough. So what I get from this, is the production company/person/whatever is likely to trademark the name which would force me the change it anyway, and the due diligence by the IP company is simply a courtesy?
 
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Stijn Hommes
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You can't copyright a name.

Copyright is to protect the execution of an idea. The prototype of a board game, the written rules of a game, the manuscript of a novel, the script of a movie.

What you actually want is to "TRADEMARK" the name (to exclusively use it in a particular field or market) and that is fine. Depending on the content the other person is making, you could give them a license to use the name if it fits with your universe.

Frankly, though, if someone was willing to pay me to give up the rights to a name of a game that was still in development, I would jump at the chance. Names are a dime a dozen, but you could actually make money of it. Ask for something larger than you could think you could earn on your own -- who knows what you could squeeze out of them.
 
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Greg S
United States
Pipersville
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I'm not a lawyer, don't pretend to be one, and have absolutely no idea of what laws do/do not apply.

My advice - consult a lawyer if this is an idea that is worth the cost and effort. You can never go wrong hiring experts.

I don't wish to start a debate about lawyers/law/etc., but better to KNOW what rights you have than to guess.

Best of luck to you and your creation!
 
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Charlie L
United States
California
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I am not a lawyer, this isn't legal advice, etc.

The term you need to Google is 'trademark prior user.' You are currently in a position where, if you objected to their trademark filing, you could potentially throw a giant monkey wrench into their plans to use the name. It seems like the publisher likes your game's name and would be willing to pay you to not throw that monkey wrench. If they paid you, they might also want you to stop using the name, that would depend on how the contract was written (getting a lawyer to interpret/negotiate any contract they offer would be highly advisable!).
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Cody Ferguson
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

 
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