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Subject: Help me get authorization to translate game rules rss

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Gilad Yarnitzky
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In order to promote games here in Israel, one of the game importers and I thought of a simple way to increase sales. Simply provide Hebrew translation with the games. Not reproduction of the game locally or anything of this kind. We have the people who are willing to translate. We have shops willing to give shelves space for the games as long as the have the rules in Hebrew (the box and other component do not have to be). So what seems to be the problem? We tried contacting several game companies in Germany (the importer has just return from Essen) to give us permission to add the translation to the games. Not a single company gave the permission.
Either the people in Essen were not authorized to do so, or they were too busy to talk (and sending email to the companies themselves, in the last year, did not yield any responds to any emails on the subject), or said it might be problematic, or said to have a representative in Israel (who does nothing with the games since producing them in Hebrew is very expensive), but still they can’t give authorization to someone else, or simply didn't know...

There are so many games that are almost language independent, that only need rules translation (and maybe add a page with card translation). This can increase sales and exposure here by a magnitude if not more. Why are the companies not encouraging this? As I said, this is not meant to give rights to produce a local production of the game, but simply add the rules in Hebrew with each purchased game.

If someone can forward this request to gaming companies like Kosmos, Ravensburg, Queen Games, or any other game company that might be interested we’ll appreciate the help.

I can be reached at either (or of course here on BGG)
Info at boardgames dot co dot il
Or
Giladyarnitzky at hotmail dot com

 
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Gilad Yarnitzky
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We thought about that options, this will work well with small stores. but there is actually one store chain that is thinking of selling those games, so we need to put the rules with the games. maybe we'll turn to that solution until we have a better one. starting with the small game stores. We will also plan on putting a large sticker on the box that says "rules are available inside/at counter" depanding on the agrrement with the store/game companies
 
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Andy Leighton
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Technically a translation is a copyright violation too, especially if you distribute it.

I guess that game companies in Germany and elsewhere would be uncomfortable with people translating their rules as a business. But as mentioned a lot of game companies overlook fan translated rules.

Also it does depend a lot on the legal climate of your country (Israel in this case). Britain applies a fair bit of common sense - for example it is against the law to transfer a CD onto tape or to digitise it onto a computer or MP3 player even for personal use. However everyone knows that the majority of people do just that, and in interviews senior politicians have been asked what is on their MP3 player.
 
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Guenter Cornett
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Hi Gilad,

when I get request for permission t translate and publish my rules I'm happy for this support. I give the permission instantly but keeping the right to take the permission back at any time (because maybe another company will buy license and don't like published rules or maybe the rules are published on an offending website or so).

At yucata.de it wasn't a problem for Kosmos and me to give the rights for publishing a noncommercial online version of Kahuna (rules, graphics, online playing).


A problem may be violation of rights of graphics designer or game designer. This depends on the contract.

Maybe there is no contract for a country and publishing a version for this country needs an additional contract. F.e. a game designer keep the rights to sell it to another company in this country. But this point should be solved by contacting him.

If the graphics designer is not paid by sales but by a fix amount another language version may increase the sales without an increase of payment. This can lead into further payments.

I guess both is not a big problem in your case and could be handeld. But this needs a little time. Maybe you didn't found the right responsible.

I would do this: Translate it, offer it to the company for publishing it on the companies website for free and than ask for a permission.

If you don't get an answer ask the game designer for permission and contact to the big company. If you like to translate the rules of Kahuna or Hey!Thats my fish! I'll ask for you. But please tell me a few words about you by email and iv you have your website.



At Bambus I publish low numbers of games and pay the game designer (if it's not my game) and the graphics designer for all games printed, not based on number of sales. Rules are usual part of the game and publishing it in different languages is not a special point of contract with graphics designers. Rules in different languages will not increase the number of games for which I buyed the rights, so I guess there is no copyright problem. Moreover the graphics designers are very kind and know that I cannot pay what the real worth of their work is.

best, Guenter




 
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Gilad Yarnitzky
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I fail to see how any agreement between the designer and the game publisher is effected by what I plan on doing. As I said earlier, I’m only attaching a translation of the rules to a sold game. The rules will not be published by themselves or distributed freely. If we look at FFG for example, I can’t believe they’ll give royalties based on the number of languages that are published in each game, but rather on the number of games sold. Both, publisher & designer, will benefit if the game sales increase. So I still fail to see the problem.
The only problem that might rise is if the company has any agreement for distribution here in Israel, and this action might damage the sales by the local company.
 
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Guenter Cornett
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In Germany a designer also has the right to decide in which way his creation is published. So he may decide that's not published in a language. You may do it for private use but adding rules in a shop is a commercial use and in Germany needs it a permission.
Of course this is are very hypothetical point. I'm very sure nobody cares if you add the Hebrew rules, because it's a good support.

Maybe big companies don't want to think about theoretic points and ignore your request.
Maybe they didn't got your message. My company is small and I get 200 Spams per day.
Maybe they got your request and have more important requests to answer. Sometimes I don't answer request or answer late becqause of Essen fair (now f.e. there are many requests in my inbox I should answer).

So I recommend
- just do it (there is a very little chance that you get a letter from lawyer, but I don't see a big risk)
- ask again and again ...
- contact the game designer. For a game designer it's interesting to see his games 'published' in different languages. Maybe he'll pace Hebrew rules at his website. In most cases he has good chance to reach the company. One time I made such contact between a company and a translator who told me he didn't got response. It's now published at the companies website. If you contact the game designer you may interview him and give your customers further maybe exclusive information.

 
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